Randomness

Aug. 18th, 2014 03:02 pm
elfinblaze: (Torchwood)
- Just found out that Michel Foucault died of AIDS in 1984. I always thought of him as a mid-century theorist, but this actually happened in my lifetime, in the gay community, at the start of the AIDS epidemic. I always thought of Foucault as that theorist I respect who wrote about power and its uses and abuses, but this personalises him for me.

I also didn't know that Jacques Lacan was a womanising dickhead, or that Roland Barthes was run over by a laundry van after coming back from a dinner party. [/things they don't teach you at school]

- I own the game, Village. I did not know it had an official theme song.

- Cheesiest songs of the 90s. Oh lordy, the flashbacks! But I have to protest. Where the hell is Aqua's "Barbie Girl" from 1997? That was the cheesiest song ever!

- Comment: Forget quotas for women MPs, it's time to limit the number of men
It is time to reframe gender quotas as quotas for men. We should introduce quotas to limit the number of men in power, ensuring that only the best and brightest of both sexes prevail. This would mean placing much more scrutiny on the credentials of men, rather than taking their competence for granted.

What a fascinating idea...

- There's a discussion on reddit on whether or not the Catholic Church is a fertility cult.

I'd say no, because all the fertility cults I'm familiar with (panganism, some strands of animism and hinduism, etc) have a goddess at their centre, rather than a god. Fertility cults also generally allow women to take the leading role in their rituals and fertility. Also menstruation is sacred in those cults.

The Catholic Church doesn't have nearly that level of respect for women. It places males at the centre, and fetishises fertility, not worships it.

Randomness

Jun. 19th, 2014 11:46 am
elfinblaze: (quiltbag)
- Latest opinion polls say that 64% of Australians support marriage equality. The site links to various polls, all of them (even the most conservative Murdoch owned ones) show well over 50% support, always somewhere between 60% and 80%. That's a massive change from when I was at university and I remember the numbers hovering around 50%. What a difference a decade makes.

- Most stupid thing I have read this week: The comments to this interesting piece, especially this one: "I am very disappointed in Hilary Clinton for expressing such a political opinion." I'm still laughing. Politicians shouldn't be political, and clearly talking about gender is too political... for a politician. Right-o.

- Hopeful news: Commonwealth funding of school chaplaincy program struck down in High Court
The High Court has upheld a challenge to the National School Chaplaincy Program, ruling the law used to maintain Commonwealth funding for chaplains is unconstitutional.

For non-Australians: in 2006, Prime Minister John Howard (the one who followed George W. Bush into Iraq), introduced the schools Chaplaincy program, which set aside money for all schools (private and public) to fund a school chaplain. This money was specifically for chaplains, and couldn't be used by a school to employ a student counsellor in a secular school instead. When Julia Gillard was Prime Minister, she expanded the program to cover secular counsellors too. Since Tony Abbott has become Prime Minister, he's restricted it again to religious chaplains.

Now the High Court has found that this whole program is unlawful. The above link has a copy of the decision. I'm trying to read the legalese and from what I can tell it came down to whether or not the commonwealth has the power to fund schools in this way, given that schools are a state jurisdiction. The High Court found that it doesn't.

Meanwhile, I'm doing the happy elfin dance. The government should never have funded religious counselling services in public schools.

Randomness

Jun. 3rd, 2014 05:45 pm
elfinblaze: (quiltbag)
- This is what happens when I'm allowed online way past my bedtime. I get weird. -Er. Weirder that usual.

- Another great post on the Isla Vista massacre.
How in the hell did his misogyny seem normal? How did he snow the cops last month when they did a mental heath check in? I wonder if hating women is so normalized that his kind of hate was just--a fantasy, nothing to worry about. Do we seriously live in a world where threats against women are so commonplace we don't assume they will be carried out? One wonders just what level of woman-hate makes anyone take notice. How very horrible does it need to be?

- Also, this post made me love Bill Lindsey even more than I did before. I cannot recommend his blog more highly. He is learned, wise, and compassionate, and one of the best people the Catholic church will never see.

As a gay man who has long known in his bones that homophobia is deeply grounded in misogyny, and that the cruelty practiced towards me by more than one straight male over the course of my life stems from the need to control women and put them in their place, why would I ever want to maintain toxic religious and cultural constructs that center on the supremacy of heterosexual men?

And as a queer woman and former Catholic, I completely agree with him.

- This is for anyone interested in anthropology or psychology: The Violence in Our Heads. Schizophrenia is expressed differently in different cultures. In America people hear voices urging them to violence. In India people hear voices urging them to cook or clean.
These observations suggest that local culture may shape the way people with schizophrenia pay attention to the complex auditory phenomena generated by the disorder and so shift what the voices say and how they say it.

- An Evolutionary View of Gay Genes
Rather than thinking of them as "gay genes", perhaps we should consider them "male-loving genes". They may be common because these variant genes, in a female, predispose her to mate earlier and more often, and to have more children.

I've read of this research before, but I want to keep this link to it.
elfinblaze: (quiltbag)
Most of this post is just stories about the niece. Just, because.

- Magpie just had her first game of Drop-the-Laptop-on-the-Floor. She's still miles behind me though. I'm the defending champion of that game. I'm sure she'll get better as she gets older though. I'm also very good at Drop-the-Phone, and Find-the-Chair-in-the-Dark-With-My-Shin. The only things she's beating me at are Walk-Into-the-Wall and Find-the-Edge-of-the-Bed-in-Her-Sleep.

- Magpie has also decided that today is Da-da Day. She's calling everything "da-da". Breakfast is da-da. Pizza is da-da. Trying to make someone laugh is da-da. Except Weetbix. Weetbix is da-dax. See, she can even make the X sound; she's just decided she doesn't want to try pronouncing anything else today. Strange child.

- I don't wear earrings, but her other auntie does, and normally Magpie finds that confusing. Doesn't everyone have shiny things on their ears? Yesterday Magpie took hold of my necklace charm and lifted it up to my ear, as if to say, "this is how earrings work." Or possibly, "you need earrings so I can play with them too."

- We were looking out at the garden earlier, and I told her the birds were singing. In response, she started singing. Well, she hummed one note, but she clearly understood what singing meant.

- On a different note, I love that it's an Old Girl of my high school writing about feminism in Australia. It says good things about the school that it produced so many feminists. We're politically aware women. If Hornsby Girls taught us one thing, it was the value of our minds.

Natasha Stott Despoja would be a really smart bet. Not only is she revered by a certain demographic of women between 30 and 45 who still think it was so cool she wore Docs in the Senate, Stott Despoja has years of political experience and has kept her post-politics career focused on women's issues.

This bit just about killed me with glee. Yes, I remember how much of an idol Natasha Stott Despoja was to all of us at school.

I'm not sure I agree with Judith Ireland's general point though, considering that any expression of support for feminism or workers unions has been thoroughly demonised (by both politicians and the media) in Australia today. Let alone if you support both (like I do), which makes you practically the antichrist. So I doubt a Feminist Party would be successful in Australia today. But give it 10 years and things might look more promising, when a generation of those who actually understand what feminism is about get into positions of power. I'm hopeful that the pendulum that has swung so far right today, will swing back around to the left in a decade or two.

Randomness

May. 29th, 2014 12:58 pm
elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
- If you want to get depressed, try reading the comments in newspaper articles about the Santa Barbara/Isla Vista massacre. The number of people chiming in with: "it's not about hating women, it's a concern with mental illness/guns/media!" I mean, obviously most events are the result of multiple factors, it's just... The guy was a mysogynist. There's no guessing at his motive, when he tells you what his motive was! The fact that he killed more men had to do with the fact that he couldn't get into a sorority house when he tried. But he did try. The fact that he killed more men doesn't mean he didn't hate women. It means he failed to get at his intended target. But the above-linked article is the best one I've read so far. ( This one is also good.)

- On the other hand, my brother is the most awesome feminist. He went on a rant about exactly the same thing yesterday morning over breakfast. "It's male privilege and entitlement!" (direct quote). I've never heard him so passionately talking about gendered injustice before. My brother is a good man.

- This is why I left the Catholic Church: Why Can't the Vatican Hear Women.
It's almost hilarious that the powerful single men who own the Vatican think that Catholics ignore them because they aren't "explaining their view well enough." No, Catholics hear them, they just choose not to listen, because no matter how well you powerful single men explain the view from where you are, lay Catholics are just not seeing life from the same viewpoint as powerful, single, or male, in the first place. The old saying is still true: Catholics have the most authority [of any church], and the least obedience.

So I agree with Bill Lindsey that when the Church says it wants discussion, what it's really saying is, "listen to me! Why is no one listening to me?"

- Still, it took me years to un-learn the whole "suffering is redemptive" bullshit I was taught. Suffering is not redemptive. It's just suffering.

- My sister, meanwhile, is dealing with trying to find a Catholic church to get married in, which won't ask to see a baptism certificate (because she'd have to get that reissued all the way from Germany). She's thinking of just hiring a church for the day and bringing along her own (German) Catholic priest for the ceremony, to skip that bureaucratic mess.

Randomness

Mar. 14th, 2014 10:16 am
elfinblaze: (quiltbag)
- March in March, this weekend.

- Boosting my faith in humanity: Australian Government MP slams colleague over opposition to gay parents
I've been a single parent, I know what it's like to do the washing at 3am in the morning to make sure the uniforms are ironed. I think it's the quality of the role model, male or female, not the sexuality of the parents that matters.
The fact that this conservative party member was applauded after speaking up, by members of the same conservative party, gives me hope.

- I haven't said this enough, but every time I see or hear a straight person speak up for my rights I want to thank them, for taking up the fight even though they don't have to, for not leaving it to queer people to carry that burden all by themselves. Because fighting all the time, every day is exhausting. So it's nice when someone fights the battle for you every once in a while. It makes me feel... important. Important enough to be defended, at least. So thank you, Allies.

- This is specific to America, but it applies in other Western countries too: We need to hold hand more, not less.
Now that it’s obvious it’s not necessarily safe to hold hands even in Greenwich Village, NYC, where gay people have been out of the closet for longer than probably anywhere else on earth, maybe it’s time we showed solidarity by holding hands MORE in protest.
I'm sceptical of Spirit Day and Wear It Purple Day, because I think wearing purple for a day is just too obscure to have any impact. Many people wear purple every day. Some people who don't know about those days will happen to wear purple on the same day. It's just not evocative, or rather, provocative enough. I'd rather have a Hold-Hands-With-A-Member-Of-The-Same-Sex Day, which is less catchy, but far more dramatic and more likely to have a lasting impact. Because that would get attention.

- In news that should be no news to anyone: Catholic Hospitals endanger women's health.
The range of women’s health care options that Catholic facilities offer is limited — sometimes, like when a pregnancy goes wrong, to a deadly degree. And while most doctors have an ethical obligation to inform patients of all their options, Catholic facilities routinely refuse to offer even abortions necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life; their doctors are also barred from telling a patient with a nonviable pregnancy that there are other, often safer options available elsewhere, lest the patient seek care at another facility. (LGBT patients may also run into problems, whether it is with hormone therapy for transgender patients or simply the right of married same-sex partners to be treated as next of kin in making health care decisions).
elfinblaze: (Default)
New LJ layout. Because it was time to change it again.

I'm very slack at updating this journal more than once a week, so I'm again going to point you to my tumblr., which is updated almost daily, if you want more to read or pretty pictures to look at. But, for now, things I've been reading that might interest some of you:

- This fic is a great example of what intertexual hypertexts (jargon for: fanfiction on the internet) will let you do.

Give it a quick look, even if you don't read it, because I am very impressed with the combination of mediums used to tell the story. Apart from the written linear narrative, there's images of "screencaps" depicting the "fan" blog posts, twitter accounts, etc. Even on the first page there's a "screencap" of a fake IMDB page for the film being created in the story.

This is another one of those instances when I ask, "why wasn't this around ten years ago?" When I could have applied it to Extension English in high school (we studied the evolution and variations of the textual form).

- Did people catch this profile of Alex Day in Forbes? If you're a capital-F Fan, you might remember him from working with the Wizard Rock band, The Parselmouths, or forming Chameleon Circuit, who did Doctor Who themed music. Now his own music is gaining wider success, all without an agent or a label.

"I've had talks with all the major labels," Day said, "but I reckoned they were trying to sign me in order to squash me; they hate the fact that I proved you can get songs out there without any corporate involvement".

- This is a good recap of an issue that's been boiling recently:
A woman declared her intent to publicly voice her opinions about video games. For that, she was called names, racial slurs, threatened with violence, rape, and murder, told to get back in the kitchen, and die of cancer. Her video was repeatedly flagged for terrorism in an effort to get YouTube to pull it. Her Wikipedia page was defaced with pornography and profanity. All for the crime of being a woman who had announced that she would, at some point in the future, be talking about video games.

- And now for something more uplifting: 8 Tiny Things That Stopped Suicides.

- This is probably the best heading ever: How to Talk to Human Beings.
The best marriage advice book I've read is a paperback called How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. As you might deduce from the title, it wasn't meant as a marriage advice book. But the techniques in this book are so brilliant, I use them in every human interaction I can, no matter the age of the conversant.

- Stories like these make me think I had it right when I was considering becoming a nun. With all these stories of awesome nuns, I can't help but think maybe that wouldn't have been such a bad career move. These women rock!

My mother has told me of her Catholic schooling by nuns, of highly intelligent women who taught her maths and the sciences, and it's clear how much respect she still holds for them. I don't disagree.

Link Dump

Sep. 11th, 2010 01:39 pm
elfinblaze: (Default)
Another post, because I've been reading all morning.

- Re-blogging from The Hathor Legacy: You know that insanely catchy Cee Lo Green song "Fuck You"? There's now an appropriate response from the woman's perspective. Although personally, I cannot listen to the original without thinking he's singing to the guy. ¬_¬ You don't hear quotation marks being sung, you see, hence my skewed initial listen and all subsequent listens.

- Also from The Hathor Legacy: An anti-rape campaign that focuses on men. This actually brought tears to my eyes. This is the best ad campaign I have ever seen!

- An article about prejudice in Australia. (Although I have a better example to counteract the arguement that women voted for Julia Gillard "just because she's a woman": It didn't help Pauline Hanson.) Just don't read the comments, unless you feel like punching someone across the internet, although they really just confirm her point.

- Bollywood's last taboo. India's prolific Bollywood film industry produces about 1000 films a year but same-sex relationships is one subject it has dared not tackle.

I remember studying this at university. Five years ago. Now, I'm amazed by how much has changed in such a short amount of time.

- Opposition to gay marriage cost Labor outright win, by Brian Greig, forner Democrats Senator. This issue came up when Julia Gillard spoke at a people's forum in Brisbane, and it came up again when Tony Abbott spoke to a community meeting in Sydney. These questions weren't planted by the gay lobby, this was middle Australia speaking. Increasingly it's mums and dads raising this question, demanding to know why their gay and lesbian children suffer this discrimination.

Which confirms something I've also suspected from my layman's position just watching the election campaign and results unfolding.

Good grief, I'm turning into a political junkie.

And now I've got to dash.
elfinblaze: (Default)
I've been reading a bunch of inspiring posts recently.

This is just the latest one:
She went to college in an era when women expected to go to college and still have all the jobs in their field go to men, whereupon they would marry one of said men and settle down to raise kids and be good housewives.

Undoubtedly a number of women found satisfaction and fulfillment raising said kids, and I don’t mean to claim that it’s not a perfect valid and potentially fulfilling choice for those who want it, but being one who desperate does NOT want it... I’d go quietly and desperately mad... and dear god if I’d been born just a few decades earlier, that would have been me.


Me? I've known since I was 14 that if I'd been born a few decades earier I would have become a nun. Not because I'm religious, because I'm not at all. But as a nun I would have had books to read, and been well educated, because at one point the church provided the best education a girl could have. The nuns who educated my mother were amongst the most intelligent women she ever knew. As a nun I would have spent my life helping people, and best of all, I wouldn't have had to get married!

The prospect of being compelled to marry a man freaks me out to the point that living in poverty and discomfort, and serving a deity I don't believe in, seems infinitely preferable.

So thank you all the feminists who came before me and rebelled and argued and in some cases put their lives on the line so that I would have all the freedoms I do today. Maybe some of you (people reading this) could have stayed sane, if with difficulty, but I owe those women so much!

I'm so glad the countries I've been lucky enough to grow up in have changed so much since then.

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