Combating Dystopia.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hatred Can Be a Useful Learning Tool Too.

"I think it’s time for us to occupy. Not going down and setting up tents out in front of city hall, but it’s time for us to be gainfully involved in boldly proclaiming truth and not backing down in the face of intimidation, whether it be from a school principal, kids if you’re listening obviously talk with your parents first, and parents, don’t be intimidated by school officials, don’t be intimidated by the ACLU. [snip]

"Should we be angry? No. But we should understand that it is the truth that sets people free and those in the homosexual community that are looking for fulfillment, that are looking for the approval that they are trying to get by forcing society to embrace homosexuality, they will never get it that way. They’ll only get it when they come to grips with the truth, that they are created in the image of God and God has a plan for their lives, and it’s not the destructive path that they’re on." - Hate group leader and KKK affiliate Tony Perkins, speaking on his radio show.

via Joemygod.

I find this line of thinking to be one of the largest detractors to a free and egalitarian society. The forthright assumption that any citizen's "acceptance" requires being vetted by their particular religion to be free and equal is a leap I'd love to see supported by say...the very documents and ideologies that make this republic unique in the first place.

On a more personal level, this line of arch-hubris is one of the reasons I stopped consorting with fine and compassionate Christians. I could never in my heart and head reconcile this willful cruelty, this "love my religion and adopt my worldview or else" way of doing religion.In a way, I should thank the likes of Perkins for his "truth". As a teenager, the more I saw this sort of santimonious bile that passsed for "Christian Compassion" the less it made me believe in this God or any other being real and provable.His smug, taciturn "truth" convinced me that the proverbial cake was a lie. His calloused stance on this, and his politicisized version of Christianity defies my upbringing in Herculean ways, and offends my sensibilities as a believer in equality...and yet, these men, the Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischers and Michelle Bachmann's of the nation are the face of modern Christianity. I should thank Perkins for reminding me why this (compassionate, loving, humane) God of his is a myth.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Addressing the numerous misconceptions about "Freedom of Speech"

Its been a while, I know. Pending anymore keyboard mishaps I fully apologize for being a.w.o.l from this bloggy experiment for longer than intended.

A good deal has been going on in my absence of course, I'll use this post to get us back in the swing of things with more topical issues of late.

Lets address the continued and bonheaded misconception that "Freedom of Speech" somehow equals silence of opposition.

Every day I see people butcher the real purpose of "Freedom of Speech". Its not a say stupid things & have no social consequences card. This would violate the freedoms of others. Its purpose is to ensure the government alone cant retaliate for something volitile a given citizen has said.

Other citizens can happily tell them how stupid/awful/wrong they are. Its a falacy I see repeated often and its jarring to see how often people wish it to mean "Sit down and let me say whatever I want without sanction!" No free society would be able to function this way, as some peoples speech would therefore be better and more important than others.

It never seems to stop stupid people from defending other stupid people erroneously, mind.

For a little much needed upbeat music fix? I'm all about M83 lately. Killer killer track. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Get Out, Stay Out- Ken Mehlman and "Forgiveness"

Much has been said this weekend about OUT magazine's "Out 100" list ...and here whereGawker's Brian Moylan makes a brilliant case for why OUT's decision is both jarringly ill placed and wrongheaded..and rightly effing so.

Having read the write up that accompanied the article on Melhman I nearly spit coffee. "As someone who came out later in life I can say It gets better" he says. Please, its better for him because he's wealthy, conservative and most importantly DOESNT live in a state that hurled anti-gay policy around like grenades to make sure he can't EVER get married in them. He lives comfortably in one of the few states where it is better...but refuses to own up to the fact that its significantly less so in other parts of the nation because of his role as RNC chair. It hasn't gotten better for gay couples in the 11 states where they adopted the RNC's gay (southern) strategy and enshrined their state constitutions in bigotry to make sure gay people couldn't share their lives in any meaningful way.

I find the drum and strang on Melhman irksome because there have been very few conversations about him post coming out that even attempt to directly speak to his culpability as head of the party that made and continues to make being rabidly anti-gay a tentpole. Instead he's being lionized by OUT and more than a few apologists because he's out of the closet well after the damage has been done on the national scale and it is no longer politically expedient for him personally. There is in fact nothing heroic about being overwhelmingly opportunistic...and yet, here we are attempting to make excuses for those that haven't admitted wrongdoing. There's something so snide and disappointing in this narrative it makes me genuinely question the collective memory (and sanity) of the group he's profited off of maligning.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Please Pretend You're Straight Until College- A Texan Mom Blogger's Solution to Gay Bullying.

Where to start? Gawker's ingenious in many ways because it often turns its readership onto the blatant stupid that gets published in other parts of the bloggosphere.  I offer this link in a catastrophically sad case in point. TexasSparkle is mad as H-E double toothpicks about gay teen suicides...and she's got the following advice: Stay in the closet, because kids can be mean and it'd be easier to just not talk about it. Because, obviously you can't know who you're attracted to because you're just a kid.

 The above blogger misses the point by a country mile at best, when she decides that the answer to bullying is not say....the bullying and the social punishment that comes with the stigmas associated with being gay... and instead about kids who don't know anything being deciding to label themselves "gay" prematurely. Which is just stupidity personified. (Especially if one knows anything about "fag shaming"- one doesn't have to be out to be shamed or bullied for "unmasculine" behavior)

Feral Children- The Power of Socialization

Feral Children are an odd and disturbing social phenomenon. Nothing anywhere near as glamorous as Mowgli from the Jungle Book hanging around with noble, anthropomorphic wolves, or as theatrical as Nell, here are children so devoid of socialization, so cut off from social interaction that they have been deprived of the ability to function in the conventional social world.

One of the more prominent cases, of "Genie" , I've found on Youtube and plan to show in class as an example of the power and importance of socialization. We're not born with the culture and context of "appropriate" social behavior in us, and not having the primary socialization skills can be so detrimental to our long term growth that... well you can see the results here. Despite the age of the documentary, it still has a lot of validity.

Part 1 of "Secret of the Wild Children" here:

Monday, October 31, 2011

NC Senator Forrester Dead at 74

Breaking news- Staunch conservative North Carolina senator Jim Forrester has passed away at the age of 74.

While it would be unkind to speak ill of the dead, it bears noting that Forrester's handiwork seems poised to do some very real damage to domestic partnerships of both heterosexual and same sex couples due to (vague wording  of the amendment) well after his passing. A legacy tarnished by the looming prospect of enshrining hate legislation into the North Carolina constitution. I don't think Forrester is a bigot of the same caliber as Jesse Helms...but there are grave discriminatory implications to the bill he rammed through the house that make it harder to look favorably upon his body of work as a whole.

The damage he's done to the state's image and its credibility as a progressive place to live will likely outlive him by quite a bit. Especially so as the vote for the state constitutional amendment goes forward in May. Stay tuned.

Speaking of loss, Six Feet Under's series finale still manages to trump any other as one of the most memorable and sweetly satisfying in television history. It makes death and dying seem somehow less crushing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Multi-Purpose Nerdiness- Wolverine and His Amazing Friends. (In Which We Eat Crow)

Okay okay. Honest nerd moment: Despite how little I care for Wolverine and his "I'm the best at what I do and what I do is show up in every single Marvel book there is" level of overexposure, I fully and totally love the "Mutant Hogwarts...on crack" tone new writer Jason Arron  has taken with a book I was frankly planning on skipping altogether. But the early reviews were so good it was hard not to reconsider, and am I glad I did.

Why Wolverine and the X-Men #1 worked:

  1.  The titular character actually comes off a bit out of his depth in his sudden role as Headmaster, which might be a first.
  2.   The staff (Yay for underused characters like Husk getting a glossy new coat of paint) and the students are getting fleshed out, as well as the nature of the school in a way that is both organic and...thanks to Chris Bachelo, rather adorable. Also (poor, sweet, disturbing) Idie is so layered and complex she manages to creep out and endear all at once ...and Rockslide in a school uniform with shortpants is just too cute to miss. 
  3.  The snappy, archly biting dialogue of the members of the school board and their thinly veiled contempt just comes off so amusingly snide I almost hope they stick around in some capacity. 
  4. The tone and feel of the book, with the creative team churning out some incredibly fresh and innovative work, comes off as new and full of the Hogwarts for Mutants weirdness a school housing young mutants should be. 
What doesn't: 
  1. Professor Xavier being out of play during the X-Men:Schism event and being blithely okay with it (making a few admittedly fun one liners and giving the thumbs up and dottering off again)  all of it seems an oversight. 
  2. Kade Kilgore was ...interesting in Schism, and yes, the idea that the methaphorical mustash twirling supervillian is a 11 year old meglomaniac is fascinating. He's the flipside to the coin, self interested and utterly unconcerned with Wolverine's newfound "save the children" mandate. Mutant hatred = his business model, so he's going to make sure it thrives. Bachelo's rendition of him made him seem much older than the artists in Schism and it took a bit to figure out who he was in the story (especially with so many other teenagers in suits and pithy comments around)

So what we have is a new number one in a series that could have easily been a pass for me if not for the incredible treatment. While I'm not always over the moon about Wolverine, and find his involvement in X-Force counter to his sudden humanitarianism as a headmaster and educator... this is a great introduction to what might actually be an even greater series. I'm...begrudgingly going to keep an eye on this one.

Honorable Mention goes out to Jason Asmus on his one-shot Astonishing X-Men issue. Danger and Emma Frost was a team up so random  I didn't even know I wanted it. Having read through the issue I have to say a.) Emma when written well is always a joy read snark from, but her developing bonds with other characters seems somehow rare inbetween crisises. Her place in the X-Men is often dominated by her relationship with Scott, so it seems pretty interesting to watch her actually connect to others. b.) I'm looking forward to Asmus' run on Generation Hope given this interview. 

Pretty great comic book day between the two issues. 

Here's some new comic book day nerdy music to accompany your reading.

Ladies and nerds, the effervescent Toro Y Moi "Still Sound"