whisper networks

“And whereas one of my students asks a visiting poet about education vaguely getting at what is worth pursuing? The poet suggests looking at whatever is/was missing in one’s life and begin there. So many nods in the room around that table they acknowledge it too. In the missing: power.

— Layli Long Soldier, Whereas (page 67)

Theodoros Stamos (Greek:American, 1922-1997), Low Sun, Blue Bar, 1962, acrylic on canvas

The day Ronald Reagan died – June 5, 2004 – I absorbed the news of his death with reverie as his life was exalted by talking heads and famed acquaintances. Their rhetoric ultimately resting within that exclusive canon reserved only for legends. Crowds swarmed to pay their respects to an American actor.

In another breaking newsfeed, and still witness to a grand spectacle of publicized grief, I was transfixed as a captured tiger dangled from a helicopter high above Santa Monica, California. The majestic predator swung inside a canvas sling that looked more like a collective omen akin to a nursery-rhyme cradle.

The events were not related according to the news, yet the Overton window had widened just enough to propagate rumors into exaggerated false equivalencies. After all, time had shifted in unexplainable ways that leap year. Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” had convinced many that something had happened.

Less than a month later, the spacecraft Cassini reached Saturn (a planet associated with karmic lessons). Some speculate that Reagan’s recently released spirit had guided Cassini as it traveled the critical distance to fulfill its mission. As poetic murmurs, I gather these soft shapes into vivid memories. A gesture of truth.

open-sourced feelings

I’m here in a room and I have things arranged.
I have them likened to code, so they can often be changed. — Karate, Bass Sounds

Barbara Kruger (detail) LA2015

I haven’t found the perfect way to describe you
sincerely shouting victories is something else entirely

the sun rose bland and round
that space between sky and water
absorbed all this energy

such openness feels chosen
I taste frustration on your breath
advancing in spirit and stature

aggression is its own logic
he hit you for the same reasons
he hit us: for your own good

a model of volatile benevolence
in political frameworks, the body does betray

waking up becomes a compulsion
reengineering you get what you ask for
I send this postscript as an invitation

reduction

News cycles are dominated by Russian dramas.
No one mentions rape in context anymore.
We’ve taken solace by decoding mass rhetoric.

I can imagine you beautiful and calm.
Our wandering like scrolling.
This landscape so literal.

Receipts as evidence as expressions.
Fisted conclusions neglect.
A rote search for light in darkness.

Time stretches into manufactured units.
By heart standards, this feels eternal.
Populist hyperbole interpreted as desire feels

dangerous

Some argue identity is residual.
You know it by its attributes.
These compulsory dreams are viral transfers.

Motives unmoored as debts to consent bloom.
Layered political pontifications soothe like lullabies.
I dare you to find love in this absence.

Liberation aside, how does this make you feel?
Inductive reasoning seduces. It penetrates.
Yes, this conversation is a calculated intermission.

Wait. This is my understanding of your manipulations.
A respite of obviousness – of borders unarmed.
Let us, both, reductively fade into this capture.

king tides

photographer: Rachel Lena Sterline
photographer: Rachel Lena Sterline

Isn’t history just repetition and accumulation of power and influence? This is about understanding why you feel so wronged. Don’t you know it takes the Sun and the Moon to make the tides? It’s also true that roaring cats don’t purr. In this specific instance, it is either roar or purr. There is no both.

Cities showed up 6-figures deep. A people’s definition of amazing. Folks are asking if this is another revolution for a problem with no name. Pre-conditions find themselves in dispute along with feeling safe, not comfortable, but safe. You do not have my permission to share this. Pussy is on sale.

Expressions exchanged, uploaded, tagged. Bravery, morality, aggression slants.

Today we celebrate 44 years of codified privacy and personal (white) choice. An axis of origin. To be fair, there’s no standard agreement on how many simultaneous wars we are fighting. Drama should be reserved for love. The noise, the roaring noise, has been the most reliable of our tensions. Hair-triggering sensitivities. Isn’t it ironic?

post-truth

Did our information channels cross? What did you see?

Detroit Nov16
Detroit Nov16

I saw acceptance as evolution or, for some, defeat.
Our blended memories equal parts resistance.
These metaphors really are literal representations.

Over strong coffee and homemade kuchen he said,
America does not have a culture of grief.
For some, this is our language, stories, solutions.

There is nothing in this city that is soft.
Nothing but words that flow from behind your teeth
and the background rhythm of your always working heart.

Working all sides of the angle honors a process.
All conversations end unless you want to move forward.
Value silence found around figurative positions.

The screen read: baptized by boundaries.
I looked for dignity after that simple interaction.
Theories, as perception, in parsimony and in exhale.

pussy whipped

If you are a private poet, then your vocabulary is limited by your obsessions.
— Richard Hugo, The Triggering Town

hedonism by genis carreras
hedonism (the ethical position that pleasure is the ultimate goal and greatest good, and should be the central aim of all decisions made) by genis carreras

It’s a fact. Cycles sync. It is October, 2016. The word pussy is in our mouths again. Full and heavy bodied, it’s paired with a specific violence as naturalized as an inherited ownership tone. This is the fetishized frequency of law and order.

*** you’ve got to stack it so it’s stable – Low, No Comprende ***

So this is what whiplash from a mass capture of imagination feels like. A forced common image. Pussy, for now, functions as an ironic partisan anchor, while still maintaining its gendered significations.

What is the whole of this historical objectification of our parts? Patriarchal logic argues that this violence of disassociation is necessary and even desired. This detachment is inherent in our economic theories, consumer-based language, and mass-produced representations.

We learn, repeatedly, there are far more serious and urgent issues to concern ourselves with than ritualized gender-based violence. We are dismissed. We are told to question less and obey more.

*** underneath this hood you kiss, I tick like bomb – Perfume Genius, Hood ***

We perform this idealized creed through a perpetual liturgy of demure expressions in a culture that protects mobs of high-volume denials. This contemporary shrill masculinity is socially recycled into discourses that tap into an idolization of individual perspective. For most, this illusion only creates isolation.

Manipulating the dark side of vulnerability isn’t a new strategy to win elections, or maintain control. What feels different this Presidential election cycle is the dredge of cultural material to mine and the hypervoyeurism that has been produced. Public and private boundaries are as unstable as our contemporary understanding of when virtual becomes reality.

As we bare witness to the misogyny that rages beneath all our sacred institutions, may the soundtrack to this ride to November include Magnet by Bikini Kill.

I’m keeping this advice on a loop: I’ve got the love that’s strong and not weak.

buttons

Did you know we have started living in isolation to prepare for colonizing Mars?

Seattle Oct10
Seattle Oct10

There is dedicated front cover news space to our collective denial about the basics of life on this planet: water, menstruation, dignity. A particular death-wish resistance to facts because we can’t face our feelings; our responsibility as witness to 24-hour broadcasted cruelty. Gripping so tightly to distance, we can think only about scale not urgency.

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake data reads like an ultrasound of the earth’s surface. What’s at our center?

“An ellipse is richer than a circle. It possesses two centers. It’s a dialogue.” — Louise Bourgeois

Those smallest details of absence and desire go almost unnoticed, felt as impetus. A survivor’s mentality.  An orientation to want (hunger) as something outside of you, something to be experienced. Unapologetic formations to desire are apocryphal stories of purpose. They hold between their lines our remaining humanities. Revelation is all around us. A range no longer than a row of buttons.

 

joyful rejection

We are a cramp nation. Involuntary, restrictive, a tool.

Oakland, June 2016
Oakland, June 2016

our periods, collectively, are politically vogue
as gender representation reflects without liberation
we process its reclamation as speculative transmissions

even the clouds
and now their patterns
wander lost

the simplest narratives are stored in the bends of our flesh
rancor its own habitual expression, a saturation of cultural static
transfigurations of competitive positivity, a sharing economy
Angela Davis said the political reproduces itself through the personal

how far does your radiance reach?

excelsis

We are taught someone has to lose.
Perpetual calculations of how much we allow
in contrast to what we can’t take anymore.
Revery forbidden, outwardly.

I feel nothing but desire to keep myself whole.

Our collective resentments (cultural backlash)
form dysphoric protests, an occupation of complexities.
Mass wish fulfillment to move beyond fear, imagined and not.
In excelsis, suspended.

enough

“We need, each of us, to begin the awesome, difficult work of love: loving ourselves so that we become able to love others without fear so that we can become able enough to enlarge the circle of our trust and our common striving for a safe, sunny afternoon near to flowering trees and under a very blue sky.” – June Jordan

August 7, 2015
August 7, 2015
The truth?
I knew a long time ago.

I shouldn’t deny that I don’t practice conscious love. I do.
All those times when I said no.
All those times I said yes.
All those times worth was mine to know.

July 12, 2015 (photo by Atlee)
July 12, 2015 (photo by Atlee)
“Use the power of man. Use the word. Fuck. The word is love.” – Kim Gordon

over OK Feb16
over OK Feb16
Overhead, the backyards had pools and trampolines.
A land of only oxbow lakes.
A land where delayed gratification is a religion.
A land where there is no sympathy for the devil.

center

and stupid stuff it makes us shout
oh dance with me oh don’t be shy
oh kiss me cunt and kiss me cock
oh kiss the world oh kiss the sky

— Pixies U-Mass

July 4, 2013 (Oakland)
July 4, 2013, Oakland (photo by Atlee)

The Pope sold out Madison Square Garden this week.
It was spectacle, indoctrination by hypocrisy.
Earlier, his message of misogyny delivered to a divided body politic.

Our rituals are to find each other
to worship sacred altars
at those soft edges of mercy.

The body twists, inertia its own reward.

mind sweeping

Anniversaries happen every day.
Be careful or they will accumulate and sneak up on you.

come on baby Dec14
come on baby Dec14

There is a seriousness in being misunderstood. Last week, the public radio station reported on our “confidence crisis.” Nobody trusts the government or banks anymore. I think we were supposed to be alarmed. Another story attempted to convince us that moving tar sands oil is “safer” through pipelines than by railways, while acknowledging all the recent catastrophic train accidents in one breath. This was propaganda, an advertisement.

The heart quickens when analogies are spun out into oblivion. As true as as a bitter cold wind can freeze lungs, the time spent open, prone, authentic is time spent joyously. Believing in miracles once in awhile, mapping out the pace between moments, followed by memories, and finally settling into a pattern is a good life to live.

Yet we are taught when there is space to take up, do, and where there is profit to be made, make.

——————————————

Those in power demanded dark blue tile with a million gold specks; 14k gold stolen from the Sierra Nevada goldfields.

——————————————

To be scalable is to be flexible.

the politics of penetration

I’m seven essays deep into The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure. There are new terms to embrace like “pink films” (Japanese softcore porn) and breathless realizations around phrases like “the key to mutual confidence–risk.” The essays couple academic stimulation with real-world sensations. As the infamous Betsy Dodson so aptly notes, “all forms of sex were [are] an exchange of power, whether it was [is] conscious or unconscious.”

erotic visions
erotic visions

The politics around (re)production, representation, and the permeable moral high ground of porn – “feminist” or not – are chapters of a story that pivot on domination and release. Who’s on top and who is really getting what they asked for? What lies beneath most of the antiporn rhetoric (which is intimately coupled with conservative ideas about the purpose of sex; hint: it’s not pleasure) are “sexual panics” around fluid concepts of decency, normalcy, and obscenity. All of these convictions, and more, build towards a formula that reflects standardized shots designed to maximize profit.

I like Susie Bright’s pithy assessment “porn arouses to distraction” to describe what porn actually does.

In the essay “Emotional Truths and Thrilling Slide Shows,” Smith & Attwood theorize “in making arguments for free speech, its proponents often cede the ground that some forms of pornography are indeed awful, damaging, and to be abhorred, thereby confirming the basic analysis that there is something intrinsically problematic about both the cultural forms of sexual representation and those who seek them out.” This sounds similar to the soundtrack around abortion rights and reproductive freedom in general. This ceded ground leaves the usual suspects, non-wealthy, gender non-conforming, and non-white, maintaining the space of deviance. That is until there is a reason to play with that resistance.

A sexy choice to make, if you can access it.

predicting spring shadows

as memories fade into obscure weather patterns
peach colored sunrises expose ripened emotional damage

manifested as silenced motivation
softened by the way distance deceives

we migrate back
then move forth

power, defined for us, shifts politics of economy
signified by thrift followed by concepts of restraint

did you know orange-eyed pigeons see only pure blue skies
the ironic result of light appearing further from the sun

all of these interactions blend into wider world views
refractions bent in the direction of ineffability

repudiation

It was the sound of rushing, the way the ocean pulls into itself.
Falling and rising, gravity is an indicator measuring distance.

12.30.13, San Francisco, CA
12.30.13, Ocean Beach, CA

In Proofs & Theories: Essays on Poetry, Louise Glück admits, “I liked scale, but I liked it invisible.”  Starting from a place of invisibility, a sense of safety, yet maintaining perspective resonates deep within me as winter slowly transitions into spring.

Water in West Virginia is deadly and smells like licorice for hundreds of thousands. In fact, over 300,000 people have been forced to drink only bottled water; the chemical spill’s impact contained within a complete and conveniently round number.  Bodies, specifically women and girls’ of color bodies in comas, are illusions for a culture that still claims to value human life. National discussions center the paradoxical, for those in power, concept of growing gaps. Shrinking safety nets catch only the most tenuous of “opportunities” for those who have learned how to survive within the thinnest of margins. Pop stars and Fox news package feminist rhetoric in digestible byte size narratives that keep gender politics profitable.

It feels endless, this parade of brazen hypocrisy. There should be no surprise that we opt out behind private screens, devise elaborate rituals of denial, and post selfies to curate what we wish to be.  It’s within this scale of manufactured hopes and inside the disposable commodities of dreams that we strive to find community, love, value, and joy.

heavy hearts beat soundly

jump on the bandwagon
it means we are winning

artist: Sonia Rentsch
artist: Sonia Rentsch

So much to internalize:
confiscated weaponized tampons at Texas abortion rallies
for some, stand your ground means justified deadly force

As fast as cracks form in the system, they are filled.

hot spring nights

california sunset
california sunset: as seen through a bathroom window (May13)

If I told you there are members of our society
who want to regulate menstruation,
will you finally see their strategies of brutality?

Hot spring nights remind me of
places where towns have edges.
All of us carry desire and violence.

Eyes like mouths, wanting:
dirty pillows, tight skirts, faceless crowds;
negatives transformed into positives.

heads and hearts

Do you think we can be radical anywhere? Even in spaces for the wealthy and in the streets?

I make positive: rejection and collaboration.

There are days where maintaining a perspective feels like a fascist project and other days when fracturing it feels barbaric.

I clear my mind: breath and absence.

artist: Endre Tot (1980)

Our public opinions are manufactured though seductive commentary and brazen keystrokes. What have we done by defining luxury as apathetic austerity? Oh Dakota, I thank you for those experiences to know how this rings true.

Operating from a belief of scarcity those who have – hoard.

The energy needed to perpetuate this obsolete system is fear, for which the supply is abundant. This is the real politics. For evidence, witness the events of dissent whose props were semiautomatic rifles and Chick-fil-A sandwiches.

Violence, blessed state violence, is the conduit for pro-life hypocrisy.

letters and soda

“I want all that boring old shit like letters and sodas.” Fuck and Run – Liz Phair

When I imagined the future, I failed to envision a world that censors state lawmakers from saying the word “vagina,” more specifically because they referenced their own vagina when pleading to maintain the right to have an abortion. My future was based on an assumption that there would be some evolution and general social dignity.

Our politics are getting very personal. Can you handle this intimacy?

I am growing ever more annoyed by heterosexual men whose lips are mum than from the to-be-expected cliched responses of misogynists.

To quote Begin the Begin, “Silence means security.” A security maintained by restriction is ultimately vulnerable. If men who love women continue to be mute, their sexuality and their sexual agency will be as equally depressing.

Like rape, this political repression is about power not sex. Seductive patriarchal fantasy and prescriptive subjection create more than fifty shades of grey when it comes to how we all resist domination. Your silence is your implicit consent. Until I hear otherwise, I won’t know that you don’t agree with the assumed benefits you’ve been reaping all these millennia.

Happy Father’s Day – indeed.

“It’s baked into the cake”

Today’s title is a reference to the fact that we all know Mitt Romney is a Mormon. The point being that we (ahem…liberals, progressives, nonbelievers, etc.) shall not question this part of Mitt’s identity lest we look intolerant towards another man’s beliefs. Put away your critical thinking hats people; this is a non-issue.

We do not want to mix church and state.

It’s a fascinating internecine contest. The fascist moralist’s position is precarious which is why they declaim so loudly, and so often. This political project, played out on a very public stage, is struggling to remain coherent as words like “polygamy” and “open marriage” are googled in the middle of the night in small midwestern towns – once closed minds swirling with possibility of alternatives. Oh heteronormativity, the depths of your ironic power seems limitless.

The recent Komen pink scab fiasco and their whine about not wanting “our mission marred or affected by politics – anyone’s politics” is another internecine conflict. The pink frosting of Komen’s “politics” has been well documented as saccharine. It is, after all, baked into the cake.

I will make myself really clear so that you do not wander in the darkness – the commodification of women’s bodies is the real politic. Komen’s philanthropy wrapped in counterfeit feminism was exposed and quickly sussed out for its deceit. That abortions could be associated with screening for breast cancer uncovered one truism: women’s health is still controversial. Let us hope that each time we see the ubiquitous pink, we question intent and ask the hard question of who continues to benefit from such commodification.

To quote Wild Flag, “I like the way you make me understand.”

ciúnas gan uaigneas *

Like silt, it felt settled.
_______________________________________________

artist: Kirill Kuletski

There’s a lot going on and it may or not be televised. Or rather, it may not be uploaded, downloaded, posted, reposted, not even “hearted.” Are we really aghast that sharing information has become a target to shut down? SOPA is a shiny wedge introduced to shatter our disparate foci.

We’ve learned to virtually organize ourselves and they seek to gaslight us. They will fail because we have learned that we are right, after so much sharing. We must trust our perceptions of our reality.
__________

Newt Leroy Gingrich woke up smiling this morning. It’s likely he felt extra smug about his South Carolina primary victory, despite, or because of, the obvious “news” that he is non-monogamous. All those Southern Christians sizing up Gingrich’s “sin” and wishing they could wear his shoes as they roll over and see their anchored loved ones sleeping next to them.
___________

Your observation that the male gaze is about suffering feels concrete based on somatic evidence. The essentialism of such politics fascinates. Tell me how you resist.

———————
Happy 39th anniversary to Roe v Wade. I can’t wait to see you turn 40!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* Gaelic, “Quietness without loneliness” (Next Stop Wonderland)

the maker’s marks

What are you coming to tell me?
Do not bring me anything that doesn’t have apposite details, please.

We only give the sweetest looks, and we only steal from the greatest books. Just use one sentence and insert your name. We should not be ashamed. – Karate, The Last Wars

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why has the antiquated opinion that contraception is dangerous to society resurfaced?

Because this ersatz politics is simply thinly-veiled misogyny. The purpose of creating this false tension (e.g. women are incapable of making autonomous decisions about their bodies) keeps the discourse noisy, distracting, and catatonic. It’s salacious rhetoric and it sells.

Wake up!

“There are few ways in which a person can exercise more power in a relationship than by consciously playing with it.” [Nomy Lamm, make/shift issue no.10, pg 17]. Lamm was giving advice to someone struggling with a long-term BDSM relationship break-up but the agency translates beyond interpersonal politics. The leverage point in Lamm’s advice is consciousness. To be conscious is to be awake; aware.

This realism can be magical. As William Stafford so eloquently states in A Ritual to Read to Each Other,

“For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to
sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.”

So if you are unable to see this darkness and translate these critical details, then you do not have my attention. No matter which side you hustle.

standpoint

found via demighoul.tumblr

Where I came from, it was the lack of choices that overwhelmed you. It should be no surprise that my birth state has maintained this oppression*.

There is one lonely clinic in South Dakota that provides abortions. There are no doctors in the state to perform them; they are flown in from Minnesota. South Dakota has one of the lowest abortion rates in the nation with the most restrictive laws against access to legal abortions (causal effect anyone?).  Starting in July you will have to, after waiting 72 hours, sit through a counseling session at a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC). There are no exceptions, not even if you were raped or a victim of incest, unless it’s a medical emergency. That is worth repeating: not even if you were raped or a victim of incest.

If you’re not familiar, Crisis Pregnancy Centers love to lie to women. They are experts at coercion. They are unregulated. They were established to deceive. They are legal. They have received tens of millions of dollars in federal funding.

What to do?

I suggest that because Crisis Pregnancy Centers apparently can be anything they want, create them with the intent to actually help women and the communities within which they operate. If the law states that you must visit a Center for counseling, then appropriate this trojan horse.  There are no doubt good people fighting this obscene law in corrupt courts (the same courts that allow these laws to exist) and they should continue to do so. But clearly this strategy is not working.

This is a crisis and I see no reason why we can’t take their model and scale it for good.  There are plenty of empty store fronts in downtown Sioux Falls, SD.  Rent this space and counsel women on their reproductive justice options. Because as Leslee Unruh so eloquently states, “What are they so afraid of? That women might change their minds?”

____

* “Being oppressed means the absence of choices.” bell hooks Feminist Theory: from margin to center

she’s gotta have it

“What relationship can you have with yourself if you systematically  hand your genitals over to someone else?” – Virginie Despentes

Waiting in the Walgreen’s pharmacy line, listening to a man get medicine for his cat (to be picked up by his wife), I was seething. Having been told that I couldn’t refill my birth control prescription until my pack was “80% complete” because “people would buy more than they needed,” I stood at the nexus of body, choice, and a child-free future.

I didn’t want to be the “crazy lady” but I also didn’t want to roll over and take it. I knew the women behind the counter were not to blame for this injustice; this discrimination against my sex.  They were simply reading the computer.  However they were responsible for spewing its bullshit on me and justifying that “insurance companies don’t want to pay more than they have to” mantra.  I don’t want to have to pay more than I have to either: dollars, grief, and potential unwanted pregnancy.

In the end, after my blood pressure returned to normal, I walked out with three more months of apparently highly addictive estrogen and progestin. I was lucky this time and I know it.

It seems like we’re all fighting for autonomy these days.  Ironically, me and the Tea Baggers might actually be yelling about the same things. Stay out of my bedroom and I’ll stay out of yours.

bend don’t break

artist: Mel Kadel title: Pusher Woman

There are crazy people in positions of power that are attempting to pull women’s rights into the dark ages.  Last time I checked, abortion was legal in the United States. It certainly isn’t accessible but it is legal, as legal as getting a root canal or breast implants.

I used to escort women and their partners (boyfriend, baby daddy, mother, friend, etc.) into abortion clinics. (Note: There were many patients that were there to simply get birth control or take pregnancy tests.)  The anti-choice protesters were relentless and incredibly cruel.  Their weapons were fear, intimidation, and lies.  It was brutal and wore on one’s soul.

Patients didn’t fully realize the extent of the situation until they heard the verbal assaults as they left the comfort of their cars. They had been informed when they made their appointments of the potential for confrontation but until you are witness to such absurdity, it sounds conspiratorial. As I slowly approached the patient’s cars, I was often assumed to be part of the threat. The bright yellow “pro-choice escort” vest was invisible on my body.

I shouldn’t have even been there; it was actually quite stupid when you gave it some thought.  I volunteered my Saturday mornings to help people from their car, escorted them across a parking lot, and got them safely inside a licensed health care facility.  If I was helping people (women) get their eyes checked, you could argue I wasted hours and suffered unnecessary sunburns and frostbite.  But because these women were attempting to take agency over their own lives, their own bodies, I had to perform such a function.

I don’t know how to fight crazy.

ironic vulnerability

Living in a state of duality is probably not helping my memory recall. There are small moments within the passing days that spark neurons to remind why you do the things you do. From brave introductions, misuse of the word ironic, and over-sharing, there is repressed anticipation at the thought of it only being a Wednesday.

It’s been sunny and dry here; I empathize for those east of me.

So it is a fact: the internet is not 24/7.

Finding joy and creativity in states of vulnerability is a theory.  Implied within this construct is choice.  What happens when you try to apply such a construct to a contemporary problem, like over 75% of the creators of “knowledge” are men or exceptions are predicated on evidence of force? Does this vulnerability manifest itself in feelings of joy or an outpouring of creative expression? This query is not to discredit a very probable logic since I see and know evidence to the contrary. I wish instead that we didn’t have to suffer vulnerability at all.

artist: jeannie phan "contour drawings"

I like good news!

A Saturday editorial in the NY Times, End to the Abstinence-Only Fantasy, is news that makes the heart grow fond.  It’s a bright light on the absurdity of abstinence-only ideologies in a decade of restriction of choices. With the recent abortion debates surrounding government health care, here’s to hoping that comprehensive sex education works.

The entire article, the emphasis is all mine:

“The omnibus government spending bill signed into law last week contains an important victory for public health. Gone is all spending for highly restrictive abstinence-only sex education programs that deny young people accurate information about contraceptives, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. The measure redirects sex-education resources to medically sound programs aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy.

Federal support for the wishful abstinence-only approach, which began in the 1980s, ballooned during George W. Bush’s presidency. As the funding grew, so did evidence of the policy’s failure. A Congressionally mandated study released in 2007 found that elementary and middle school students who received abstinence instruction were just as likely to have sex in the following year as students who did not get such instruction.

Many states rightly declined to participate in the abstinence program, forgoing federal money. Most of the nation’s recent progress in reducing the abortion rate has occurred in states that have shown a commitment to real sex education.

The last Bush budget included $99 million for abstinence-only education programs run by public and private groups. The new $114 million initiative, championed by the White House, will be administered by a newly created Office of Adolescent Health within the Department of Health and Human Services with a mandate to support “medically accurate and age appropriate programs” shown to reduce teenage pregnancy.

Unfortunately, some of this progress could be short-lived. The health care reform bill approved by the Senate Finance Committee includes an amendment, introduced by the Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, that would revive a separate $50 million grant-making program for abstinence-only programs run by states. Democratic leaders must see that this is stricken, and warring language that would provide $75 million for state comprehensive sex education programs should remain.

In another positive step, the spending bill increases financing for family-planning services for low-income women. It also lifts a long-standing, and utterly unjustified, ban on the District of Columbia’s use of its own tax dollars to pay for abortion services for poor women except in cases when a woman’s life is at risk, or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

Ideology, censorship and bad science have no place in public health policy. It is a relief to see some sense returning to Capitol Hill.”

Keep Your Legs Crossed

The newly revised Department of Health and Human Services “Abstinence Only” message will soon apply to unmarried adults up to age 29. This means millions of federal dollars are up for grabs in social programs advocating that abstinence is the only method of [non]sexual activity for mature adults in non-married relationships.

According to Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary of HHS, “The message is ‘It’s better to wait until you’re married to bear or father children. The only 100% effective way of getting there is abstinence.” Horn said the revision will target the post-teen angst crowd because “more unmarried women in that age group are having children.” Implying that the burden of responsibility lie squarely on the actions of women. Teaching the chaste life will be difficult in a culture dedicated to instant gratification, hypersexualization, and hypocritical morality.

The message of “better wait until you’re married” translates into a paternal ideology of unprecedented proportions. Despite the overwhelming evidence that over 90% of the population by age 29 have had sexual intercourse, the state will preach that by not doing anything (pre-walking down the aisle of course) lives will be improved. Certainly not a new strategy in the current administration’s paralyzing stay-the-course philosophy.

Rumor has it the HHS is working with Hollywood on a prequel to the 40-year old virgin.

Niro Just Got Signed to a Major Label

The latest Armageddon propaganda from the American Family Association: [unedited]

Here is what we can expect if the liberals win:

  • Amnesty for 12,000,000 illegal immigrants.
  • A push to make homosexual marriage and polygamy legal in all 50 states.
  • Only liberal judges will be appointed. They will create laws to implement the social agenda liberals cannot get passed through the legislative process.
  • Liberals will make the killing of the unborn more difficult to stop.
  • Liberals will continue to try to rid our society of Christian influence, including any reference to God in our Pledge and on our currency.
  • A return to the “Fairness Doctrine” in broadcasting where opposing views must be given equal time. Every conservative talk show host will be forced to give a liberal equal time on every issue. The purpose of this rule will be to shut down conservative talk shows.
  • An increase in taxes to push new social programs.
  • Passing a new “hate crimes” law making it illegal to refer to homosexuality in a negative manner.
  • Liberals will give terrorists from other countries who try to kill Americans the same rights American citizens enjoy under our constitution.
  • We will withdraw from Iraq, sending the message to the terrorists that if they will just be patient they can win and bring their terrorist acts to the U.S.

Population Control

According to this article, Europe’s “population problem” is directly related to legalized abortion. According to Jitka Rychtarikova, a demographics professor, “abortion has turned childbearing into a choice rather than an act of nature.” (a bumper sticker slogan!)

Low birth rates coupled with legalized abortion is a recipe for cultural chaos and economic disaster. The average European woman currently produces 1.3 children. A number some claim is too low to sustain the population.

Low birth rates have also been linked to women having children later in life due to lack of quality maternity leave. Women often make the “choice” regarding the number of children they can care for and their careers (or lack of).

The US ranks near the bottom of industrialized nations when it comes to adequate maternity leave and affordable day care. And with the shell of what constitutes “legal abortion,” the US growth rate is approximately 2.13%. Using the same narrow sighted argument, the US also has a “population problem.”

It’s a good thing we’ve seen an exponential growth of pregnancy crisis centers.

Patriarchy 101: Women, Republican Babies, and Power

In a recent opinion article, Phillip Longman bemoans the lack of life fostered between liberals.

Conservatives are breeding like crazy which accounts for the historical rise of Bush hegemony and even apparently forgotten patriarchal values. He cites Utah as the conservative example and gay loving Vermont as the liberal signifier of childlessness.

Pop quiz:

Do you think the army is bad and feel an overwhelming urge to protest their killing ways?

Do you believe that “soft” drugs aren’t that bad?

Are you of the mindset that being gay isn’t a one way ticket to the pits of hell?

Then you are probably going to have a dog instead of shuffling the kids to soccer practice 3 days a week.

Looks like my womb will be barren.

This must be due to the fact that the generation before me fostered ideas such as feminism and civil rights which will leave “no genetic legacy”.

These opinions are adapted from the full article entitled, The Return of Patriarchy. Longman harbors such ideas such as:

“Patriarchy does not simply mean that men rule. Indeed, it is a particular value system that not only requires men to marry but to marry a woman of proper station. It competes with many other male visions of the good life, and for that reason alone is prone to come in cycles. Yet before it degenerates, it is a cultural regime that serves to keep birthrates high among the affluent, while also maximizing parents investments in their children. No advanced civilization has yet learned how to endure without it.

Through a process of cultural evolution, societies that adopted this particular social system which involves far more than simple male domination maximized their population and therefore their power, whereas those that didn’t were either overrun or absorbed. This cycle in human history may be obnoxious to the enlightened, but it is set to make a comeback.”

Patriarchy is set to make a comeback? How obnoxious!

Longman continues his patriarchy is good for the evolution of mankind rant:

“Indeed, in almost all the hunter-gatherer societies that survived long enough to be studied by anthropologists, such as the Eskimos and Tasmanian Bushmen, one finds customs that in one way or another discouraged population growth. In various combinations, these have included late marriage, genital mutilation, abortion, and infanticide. Some early hunter-gatherer societies may have also limited population growth by giving women high-status positions. Allowing at least some number of females to take on roles such as priestess, sorcerer, oracle, artist, and even warrior would have provided meaningful alternatives to motherhood and thereby reduced overall fertility to within sustainable limits.

During the eons before agriculture emerged, there was little or no military reason to promote high fertility. War and conquests could bring little advantage to society. There were no granaries to raid, no livestock to steal, no use for slaves except rape.” (emphasis added)

There’s more …

“Another key to patriarchy’s evolutionary advantage is the way it penalizes women who do not marry and have children.”

Longman’s tongue-in-cheek endorsement for patriarchy:

“Without implying any endorsement for the strategy, one must observe that a society that presents women with essentially three options, be a nun, be a prostitute, or marry a man and bear children, has stumbled upon a highly effective way to reduce the risk of demographic decline.”

Again – patriarchy was on the decline? Last time I checked the news, the society I live in hasn’t fostered the advancement of women in quite some time. Ask me where I can fill out my prescription for EC. Or is this the first in a series of effective strategies of the state to increase U.S. world domination?

“Advanced societies are growing more patriarchal, whether they like it or not.”

May advanced societies everywhere heed this warning. The alarm has been sounded. We can no longer advocate for women to have equality for fear of a barren planet.

Don’t worry – it’s the conservatives that advocate for abstinence only.

Cheesy Rhymes With Sleazy

The latest One Million Moms initiative to save our innocent teenage sons.

Jessica Simpson popping pizza bites into a prepubescent boy’s wanting mouth is sexually suggestive. A woman’s body is used provocatively to entice young men to buy a product. This is defined not as sexually explicit, but rather a calmer sexually suggestive. Please be polite.

The official email action alert below:

February 24, 2006

Ask Pizza Hut to drop the ‘cheesy’ Jessica Simpson ad

Pizza Hut is currently airing a commercial featuring a sensually-dressed Jessica Simpson serving Pizza Hut’s new Cheesy Bites pizza. As she places one of the bites into a teen-age boy’s mouth, he faints.

Although not sexually explicit, Pizza Hut chose to use a sexually suggestive theme aimed at young teenagers. They shamefully directed the provocative Simpson to use her body to entice a young teen-age boy.

The ad is not sexually explicit, but it is very sexually suggestive. If you choose not to view the ad, simply move on to the action steps. If you do choose to view the ad, click here.

Here is what we are asking you to do. Please send your letter by clicking below. Then, and this is very important, please call Pizza Hut and ask them to pull the ad. Their regular number is 972-338-7700. A call here, which costs about 25 cents, is most effective. However, here is a toll-free number you can use: 1-800-948-8488

Here is what we are asking you to say to Pizza Hut when they answer the call: “I’m calling to ask that Pizza Hut please pull the ad featuring Jessica Simpson. This is not the message we want to be sending to our young teenage boys. Thank you for considering my request.” You may want to call your local Pizza Hut using the same message. Please be polite.

The Web of Life

According to the American Family Association, one of the most cost effective ways to minister pregnant women who don’t know all of their pregnancy options is to use the internet. Never mind that these are the same folks who advocate that women shouldn’t learn how they could get pregnant in the first place.

A quick Google of “abortion” yields over 42 million choices. Choices that need to be sifted through carefully – no matter what side of the fence you ride.

With the impending confirmation of Alito, choice may become nostalgia. Will the sky fall? No. Will the land of freedom be further defined to include only the suffix? Unfortunately.

Accurate information that doesn’t fall into a binary didactic linguistic nightmare is a rare commodity in this age of “truthiness.

Grinch

If you find yourself without healthcare benefits, access to student loans, unable to get child support payments, and the ability to get food stamps etc. etc. etc.

This is the man you can blame for all your problems next year.
This is the man that you can ask why he hates poor people.
This is the man you can ask why he hates women.
This is the man you can ask why pro-life means destroying lives.

Cheney cast the tie breaking vote in the Senate after racing back from his Middle East trip, his first since the “war” began. Bush was pleased – he gave Cheney a 1.9% pay raise. Hailing the move as necessary to “restrain government spending,” Bush urged further cuts. Meanwhile the Pentagon spending bill passed with a 308-106 vote.

Autonomy, Christ, and Revolution

This morning on the Today Show, Katie Couric interviewed two young women that were “girl-cotting” Abercrombie & Fitch‘s t-shirts. It was early, I thought one of the t-shirts said, “Autonomy Tutor.” Instead it offensively read, “Anatomy Tutor.” One of the girls declared it was classist to pit blondes vs. brunettes.

Have you ever heard a better reason why Women’s Studies should be taught in high schools across this culturally barren land?

 

According to the website where you can purchase this delightful read (for only $14!):

“‘What you are while you are a girl, you will be when you become a woman.’ Somewhere within the recesses of every girl’s heart is the desire to act, and be treated, as a lady. But a true lady is more than just graceful and feminine; she has a Christ-centered character that regulates her inner thoughts and motives, as well as her outward graces. Originally published in 1850, extraordinarily practical wisdom is offered to young girls in the practice of developing womanly character. The girl’s equivalent to Thoughts for Young Men, this book is an excellent workbook for mothers and daughters and a must-read for every young lady-in-training! Paperback. 224 pgs.”

There is also a CD, Sleeping Beauty and the Five Questions, which lectures the father to “guard their daughter’s hearts at all costs.” Fathers are to protect their brides-to-be from “inappropriate romantic relationships” and remind their precocious offspring that God is preparing their sexy soulmate.

 

Shrink to Fit

The lines we fought to fit will soon become our own. — Milemarker

A male veterinarian was recently appointed by Lester Crawford, acting director of the FDA, to oversee the Office of Women’s Health. Norris E. Alderson is an expert of animal science. A few hours later, the announcement was quietly revoked and Theresa Toigo was named the new acting director of Women’s Health.

The idea of a male veterinarian running the Office of Women’s Health seems both painfully absurd and sickly funny – an Onion headline. Fighting for positions of power, jockeying for privilege, destroying hard fought gains for ill-gotten compromise, the power nodules are eating themselves. Hillary Clinton actually believed that Lester Crawford would approve over the counter emergency contraception?

Ford, Moms, and Gay Rights

The One Million Moms organization (a project of the American Family Association) has decided to suspend their boycott of Ford Motor Company for six months – in less than a week’s notice of announcing their latest threat on America’s moral fabric. They met with a group of Ford dealers on June 5th and decided that the dealers were making a “good faith effort” in addressing Ford’s support of homosexuality.

So go ahead and buy that Ford Explorer or the Super Duty Beast (their terminology, not mine).

No need to worry that Toby Keith’s, “Ford: King of the Mountain,” jingle is full of subliminal homosexual agendas. For now, America revels in the awesome boycotting power of a million angry moms.

Slackers of the World Unite!

As Terri Schiavo dies in her hospice bed, the world rotates on its axis. Bombs explode in Iraq, Lebanon, and Minnesota. The GOP and Fortune 500 corporations feast on each others sugary morality. The culture is awash in life.

The Washington Post ran a story today about a trend that is sweeping the nation. Pharmacists’ rights are trumping the rights of consumers. In the hierarchy of personal freedom, who determines who is right? The pharmacist who refuses to prescribe birth control on grounds that it is murder or the married woman who has four children and can’t imagine having a fifth to care for?

If fascist personal belief is all it takes to get out of doing your job, sign me up. It’s the new slacker! The new slacker can claim strong personal belief in order to get out of doing their jobs! Brilliant. They would be the first to claim religious persecution. The first to run to the nipple of Freedom of Religion. The persecution paranoia is getting surreal. I think the liberals have been starving the lions in Hollywood. The giant football stadiums are empty right now. I smell a coup.

We have truly reached the saturation of the personal is political.

Personal vs. Private battles are saved for the Social Security debacle. The body politic is silently raped in the state and federal courts. What is left of personal autonomy is reserved for those who seek to monopolize the discourse on “life.”

It’s enough to make anyone feel blue.

Lust for Life

Ohio Governor, Bob Taft, signed HB 129 authorizing the sale of “Pro-Life” license plates this week. For a mere $30 more, you can get your own Pro-Life plate. It will take 90 days for the bill to take effect.

The majority of the proceeds, approximately $20, will be deposited into the Choose Life Fund. (Choose Death Fund was already taken by the committee dedicated to slashing social service programs.) The money will be distributed to nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to counseling pregnant women about the obscure notion of adoption.

I can’t wait to see what creativity will be garnered from personalized Pro-Life plates.

We need to appropriate their lust for life.

The ideology of such lust is paralyzing. Savvy in their unrelenting worship of dichotomy, it can feel hard to argue against such a mantra.

Living in a world that is white/black, heterosexual/deviant, man/woman, and good/evil makes it easy to understand distinctions and deny what’s in between. All variables that do not fit into these tidy boxes are constructed as less valuable and made invisible.

To see life as it truly exists for most people would mean acknowledging that our systems, institutions, and hegemony favors certain groups over others. Usually the ones on the left of the dichotomy: white, male, and heterosexual.

As we continue to survive in these cultural dark ages, we need to remember that if life is defined for us, it is not worth living. Knowledge is power. And if power produces, we need to fight what the majority produces as knowledge. What is produced as truth is not. Perspective is in the eye of the beholder.

Embryonic Distopia

According to Judge Jeffrey Lawrence in Illinois, “a pre-embryo is a ‘human being’, whether or not it is implanted in its mother’s womb.” His ruling allows a Chicago couple to pursue their lawsuit against a fertility clinic that mistakenly disposed of a healthy embryo they had hoped would have been their child one day. Judge Lawrence stated that the couple is entitled to seek compensation the same as any parents whose child had been killed.

Citing the state’s Wrongful Death Act, which allows lawsuits to be filed if unborn fetuses are killed in an accident or assault, Lawrence precluded that an “unborn child is a human being from the time of conception and is, therefore, a legal person.”

While many believe the ruling will be overturned and is too narrow to adversely affect abortion rights, it signifies the not-so-clever reforms of the anti-choice movement. It would be dangerous to assume that this ruling is absurd. The interpretation of an “activist judge’s” opinion on such a matter is dangerous. According to Judge Lawrence’s logic, the embryo has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

There are many who believe despite a woman’s decision, her well-being, and her circumstance, all unborn should be protected. The anti-choice movement’s passionate desire to reform and eventually abolish Roe v Wade comes at a heavy price. While Roe is still legal in this country, it is becoming increasingly difficult to access a safe and affordable abortion.

While some fight for a mass of fertilized cells, others see authentic human beings outside of the test-tubes, the gestational wombs, and didactic politics.

——

Take a moment to imagine the possibilities, the untapped markets, and the utopian potential for embryos.

We’ll look back someday and wonder how we ever existed without such consumables as: fetal insurance, womb fresheners, aesthetic product lines designed to ensure our eggs are supple, fertile and maintain their viability (The horror of a saggy wrinkled Fallopian tube!), and the designer vaginal canals to ensure sperm have a pleasant experience on their fertilization trip.

"Intellectual Tsunamis"

1. Miss Educated

Harvard’s president, Lawrence H. Summers, is a provocative thinker. He thinks women are less capable of succeeding in math, science, and engineering due to essential differences. Men are naturally better at these subjects. Women’s brains aren’t capable of long difficult mathematical formulas or figuring out why men still believe in sexist 17th century dogma. It must be due to our brains inability to focus on subjects and ideas other than children and being good wives. Send him an email to voice your thoughts.
2. “America’s Future Rocks Today: A Call To Service”Bush’s daughter, Barbara, has her finger on the pulse of today’s youth.

But of course! She’s young, rich, Republican, and a member of the Bush royalty. Barbara helped plan the concert “America’s Future Rocks” – a pre-inaugural event this week. Such super star performers as: Hilary Duff, Ryan Cabrera, Ruben Studdard, JoJo, 3 Doors Down, and Fuel were all rocking for America’s future. Lucious activities such as skateboarding, teaching science to girls (take that Mr. Summers!), and tons of informational literature regarding the White House’s Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Apparently a DJ even threw Girl Scout cookies to the crowd. Rawk!

Punk is not dead. Punk is not dead. Punk is not dead.

3. Bikini Kill

If you don’t want to get your Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition:

Call 1-866-228-1175

Join .8% of the others who demand sports in their Sports Illustrated.

4. A Change of Heart?

Norma McCorvey, aka Jane Roe, has asked the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade on grounds that it hurts women and their unborn babies.

Keep your enemies close.

Bloody Crusades

Tony Andrade, the very same person who was instrumental in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise to political fame, is on a crusade. Limiting even the most basic corporeal information, Andrade desires a world where sex education is normalized to reflect only one heterogeneous ideology.

He seeks a ban on sex education from kindergarten until 6th grade. Most sex education, including menstrual education, begins in 5th grade. Students who are older must get written parental notification for each deviant lecture.

The nightmare goes something like this: Girls learning about menstruation construct false sexualized narratives regarding their newfound precocious sexuality. Some are smart enough to discover where babies really come from and *gasp* how they are produced! Fornication and lust driven behavior surely will follow – some even like it!

Boys discover that their bodily changes and hormonal lusts are easy targets for trolling gay recruiters.

Logic supports that educating children about their bodies leads to overwhelming sexual desires, which in turn leads directly to immorality. Ultimately, the moral fabric of society is unrecognizable.

I wish I could have had the sex education classes that Mr. Andrade was taught. His version is much more interesting that the vanilla penis/vagina model I grew up with. Knowledge of the flesh is truly a dangerous suggestion.