merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
I had to stop reading Facebook and pretty much any news for a full day because I was so triggered by all the "legitimate rape" horseshit. I feel like sending the Republican National Committee my therapy bill for the week.

Group of people I am personally most frightened of in the US: Republican primary voters. They are the ones who have systematically tossed out almost every R with a lick of sense and put in their place people like Todd Akin, who believes in magic rape-detecting vagina juices and whom the other fuckwits they elected nonetheless chose to put on the Science and Technology Committee, and Steve King, who just described all the multicultural groups at the flagship public university in his state as, "people who feel sorry for themselves." 

I really feel like posting on Facebook something like, "If you are willing to put these anti-birth control, anti-abortion, anti-health care, anti-poor, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, racist, anti-government, magical-thinking, radical right-wing religious fanatics in office just so you don't have to pay taxes, get the fuck away from me. I think you are cruel, self-centered, and a bad person, and I don't want to talk to you ever again. You want a libertarian paradise? Move to Somalia. They have very few laws there. You know what else they don't have? Accessible health care, reliable roads, effective public schools. You know what they do have? Pirates, cholera, and a staggering amount of preventable human suffering. Have fun with that. Also, you know where they learned how to organize a country based on a system run by wealthy elites on the backs of huge swaths of grindingly poor people? White colonizers. So take your racism and shove it right up your ass. Or, you know, die in a fire. That works, too."

One of the nice things about being rich is being able to put resources toward things I think need doing. My partner suggested a few weeks ago that we spend a non-trivial amount of money on political contributions; I enthusiastically agreed, because there are a lot of state legislative races in which $1,000 can literally make the difference between a good candidate winning and a total fuckwit winning. Last night we had a lovely evening with some friends who are political professionals, eating Taiwanese food and talking through some candidate profiles so we can decide on the most effective places to spend our money. I have a wee twinge of discomfort about this for ethical reasons. The fact that we have money should not allow us to exert disproportionate influence on the political process. But in a post-Citizens United USA where the Koch brothers have fairly effectively purchased themselves most of the US Congress, I guess you gotta fight fire with fire.
merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
So I had a disability milestone moment recently. 

An acquaintance of mine posted on her Facebook the internet-famous quotation, "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." Some asshole commented that she loves Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand, that "the West" needs to stop being so privileged and annoying, that everywhere else in the world, if you don't work, you don't eat, and that's fine by her.

I know, I know. I shouldn't say anything, because IT'S A TRAP. For two major reasons. 1) It's Facebook. 2) She's a stranger. So I should not engage. 

I did, anyway. The acquaintance OP is a social worker who does badass activist work on human trafficking issues, and I was so taken aback that someone she's friends with would be quite this snotty and oblivious that I got into it. I will admit, I was extra taken aback because the asshole's profile pic showed a middle-aged woman I parsed as African-American. Expectations of alliance aside, it's straight-up statistically hugely unlikely that she's a Republican. So did she really mean all that? 

I started by asking, um, is a world where your right to survive is directly proportional to your level of capitalist productivity a world we actually want? I have some disabilities and sometimes I can't work. Does that mean, in your world, that I don't get to eat on those days? Really? What about the elderly? Children? The chronically ill? I think we can do better than that, I think nearly *every* society has chosen to try to do better than that, and personally I work for a world in which everyone is valued for the unique contributions they bring to the whole human endeavor. (Also that Ayn Rand was one of the hugest hypocrites on the planet; uh, no, you're completely wrong that everywhere outside the G8 the old, the ill, and those with disabilities are just pitched into the sea; and other things.)

And she flat-out said, how unfortunate that you have some disabilities, sucks to be you, but you don't actually deserve to live if you can't get everything you need for yourself. Right now, this minute. And if you live in the West, you and everyone like you should damn well be grateful and say thank you to me as a middle class taxpayer that I foot the bill for you.

....

Wow. I've had people tell me they wished I were dead because I'm a vocal, visible feminist, a queer person, and a progressive. But this is the first time I've been told that I don't deserve to live because I was born with a brain that doesn't work like most other people's.

I was aghast and furious. I started drafting a reply. I started typing a bunch of sarcastic things like, "Oh, well, LUCKY ME, I married rich, you snotty bougie jerkface, so I get to live, even in a Randian capitalist utopia! Eat THAT while you're reading The Fountainhead or Dr. Mengele's Funhouse or whatever other bullshit social Darwinist fuckery you entertain yourself with, asshole. Also, you might consider reading books by people who are NOT delusional sociopaths. Then you might learn things about people with disabilities who have done amazing, world-changing things once they got what they needed to navigate the world, or about other cultures that revere their elders and do a better job of sharing resources, or, you know, human empathy. Or you could die in a fire. Asshole."

But then I calmed down and decided not to talk to her anymore. Because, really, where do you go from there? Where do you go from, "Yes, I see that you are a human being and we have a friend in common and everything, but whatever, I don't give a fuck, you are broken and you survive only on my sufferance?" What conversation is possible to have? This was not going anywhere good. 

This is a shit achievement to unlock. 
merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
I kind of hate fandom.

I am a big geeky nerd. I read, watch, love, and like discussing a lot of speculative fiction. I play video games. I've watched the David Lynch Dune more than five times on purpose. Yep, I'm a nerd.

But I'm also a anti-racist queer feminist. And I fucking detest about 80% of all the fanboys I've ever met. Seriously, I live in Texas and I do politics and policy. I deal with enough smug, self-absorbed, privilege-denying assholes in my professional life. I have zero desire to spend my leisure time around them, too.

A dear friend is spending the weekend selling his wares at ArmadilloCon. I had a brief moment of, perhaps I was wrong! Perhaps this could be fun! But then I spent five minutes looking at the website.

Top three reasons the website reminded me why I hate cons:

3) There is a panel on how awesome the new episodes of Futurama are. Really? Just, really? Boring, sexist, badly written... AWESOME, indeed.

2) Fucking W*ll Sh#tterly is a special guest.

1) The following panel description about MoonFail:
Sa2000T Wiscon and Elizabeth Moon: What Happened and What Can We Learn from It?
Sat 8:00 PM-9:00 PM Trinity
E. Bull*, S. Leicht, S. Lynch, L. Person, C. Rambo, L. Thomas

Elizabeth Moon was invited and announced as Guest of Honor for the 2011 Wiscon, but the invitation was withdrawn following a noteworthy blog post she wrote. What were the issues, and was the situation handled appropriately? How do we avoid similar situations?

WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN. How many things could they possibly get wrong in three sentences? What is the goddamn point of the last question? Moon was an asshole. She could have not been an asshole or chosen to stop being an asshole. That's how the situation could have been avoided. For fuck's sake. Part of me wants to go to this panel just to point out how completely misleading, wrongheaded, and stupid is this entire description.

So that's why Wiscon is pretty much the only con I want to go to. Because I want to actually enjoy things I do for fun, and I don't find it fun to watch while people systematically dehumanize others.
merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
I am LOVING Eureka. A police procedural set in a town full of supernerds! Plenty of women and people of color who are portrayed as smart, capable, and complicated! It's smart and well-plotted, the time travel plot lines did not piss me off, and it has banter! Win.

Environmental racism: a long, shameful 'Merkin tradition!

Steven Tyler was an impressively arrogant, self-centered, exploitative asswipe in the '70s and he should have gone to jail at some point. Ye holy stars, that poor girl. Part of my reaction is feminist outrage, part of it is pure Southern affrontedness - she could have ruined his life by speaking up and she didn't, and then he digs up all this garbage when she's married and many times a mother and dumps it into a memoir which hits the NYT bestseller list. Yeesh. I had hoped getting sober made him less of an asswipe, but this was a continuation of his previous exploitation of her, and he still votes Republican and plays at their fundraisers, so that hope is gone.

I have serious issues with Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign, but sometimes she does awesome stuff, like have her picture taken hugging a young Muslim girl and give great queer-inclusive relationship advice. Well played, madame!

This piece on white privilege in feminist organizations made me feel ill in that way that true and painful things make my stomach clench up. Ouch. Y'all, if I'm an asshole in this particular way, will you please call me out on it? Thanks.

So this story about a couple who choose not to disclose their child's sex/gender has made several appearances in my Facebook feed. I really like this story and am pleasantly surprised by how sympathetically it was written.I have things to say about this, and it gets long )

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February 2016

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