Sunday, January 28, 2007

Life is short, what do I read?

It is extremely frustrating to be reading an excellent book or article on racism/sexism (choose one), only to have the author either ignore or make hateful statements about racism/sexism (choose the other). A great anti-racist book that embraces sexism enrages me, and vice-versa. My first impulse is to get rid of the book or article. Am I being too harsh? Is a great essay on sexism ruined if it ignores the racist issues entwined with the feminist ones?

I've been thinking about this for a while: where do I draw the line on things I allow into my brain? Then yesterday, I read a post at The Unapologetic Mexican that almost made me dance. Nezua doesn't just get it right, he gives a brilliant display of analyzing both racism and sexism. Go read the post (if you love movies, you'll especially appreciate his analysis).

The bottom line is this: I don't want to spend time on things that focus on one anti-oppression issue while ignoring other blatant examples of oppression. To be clear: I have no problem with articles or books that focus exclusively on feminism, anti-racism, ableism, or class issues-such works are appropriate. My problem is with authors who attack one type of oppression vigorously, while simultaneously engaging in another type of oppression.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Monday Bunny Blogging

More retro Bumble! From September, 2004:

I can't believe she bought a book from such an awful company. Social justice ain't just a talkative judge! Maybe if I chew fast enough I can destroy the evidence.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I can't do this anymore

I'm coming out of a depression, so I'm very vulnerable, and I might not be seeing things clearly. Maybe by this time next week, I won't feel this way. But I've really had my fill of blogs. I guess I should have stopped reading blogs that feature regular doses of infighting. But Laurelin's right: there's a thin line between stirring and silence.

You know what makes me furious? Heart posted something amazing: she posted Ballastexistenz's video, which was made in response to the Ashley Treatment (parents of a disabled girl have surgically and chemically altered her body to make caring for her easier). The video is about a woman claiming her personhood in the face of society's insistence that she's nothing. Ballastexistenz knows all too well what it's like to be denied personhood. It's an amazing video, a must-see. The next post on Heart's blog is about the monster/Robin Morgan fight. The Robin Morgan post had, at last count, 87 comments. The post of Ballastexistenz's video had 6 comments. Marginalized again.

Assuming I can muster the energy, and that's a big assumption, I'm going to try to take this blog in a different direction. I haven't figured this out completely, but I want to focus on theory, ideas for actions that will actually have an impact, and activism. Suggestions on how to do this are most welcome.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Monday Bunny Blogging

My computer isn't on speaking terms with my camera or with my CD drive. So I think I'll be posting some vintage Bumble photos. This picture was taken the first night we brought him home from the humane society:

His ear to body ratio was very different!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Rant

What exactly is wrong with progressive bloggers? Scratch that. I don't care what's wrong. All I care about is getting people to stop being stubborn and to try doing something constructive once in awhile. What do you blog about? Do you focus on sexism, racism, homophobia, ageism, or all of the above? (I'm deliberately leaving out bloggers who focus on disablism, since they have haven't indulged in all the horseshit expressed over the last several weeks.) If you blog about those subjects, have you been engaging in neverending "discussions" about how crappy other progressives are? Have you been posting divisive statements showing your superiority to everyone else?

Events unfold like this: a blogger attacks a group of people who also fall under the progressive umbrella. A blogger in "group A" deems members of "group B" as stupid, hateful, aggressive, and worthless. Since the two groups have many common interests, it's inevitable that someone from group B will find the post attacking group B. Word of the post spreads among members of group B, and the members go to the post and leave comments protesting the lousy characterization of them.

The next part of the interaction is where we all behave as if we're in junior high school. Let me be clear: there are important issues and points of contention that need to be discussed between groups. I'll repeat this because it's so important: important issues that progressive groups disagree on need to be discussed. Discussion almost never happens. Instead, members of both groups dig in, and they argue their side of the issue. They do not listen to what members of the other group are saying. No progress is made, no understanding results from the argument. People continue to say things about the other group that are simply untrue. Meanwhile, more time has been pissed away fighting each other instead of fighting oppression.

Raising your voice to protest awful treatment of a group of people is a core value of progressives. But in this climate, responding to offensive things said by others is a futile gesture. You will not be heard. You will become even more furious, your blood pressure will take a beating, but you won't be able to educate others as to why what they're saying or doing is wrong. What's the point in trying?

It's my hope that people who are natural allies will start working on understanding viewpoints that are not their own. We don't have to agree on every issue to work together. I hope that we learn to treat each other with respect, because that's the only chance we have for fighting the monstrous conditions in which all of us live and die. What do we really care about? Do we care about fighting for people who are suffering, or is it more important to tear down another group that shares at least some of our goals?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Monday Bunny Blogging

Bumble got mad at his bottle buddy and he bit, scratched, and pushed it to the middle of the room. Then when he decided he wanted to snuggle with bottle buddy, he had to lie in the middle of the room like a foolish bunny.

See what we let anger do to us?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

"Pro-gun activists say women are taking away their rights with domestic laws"

from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

A new fear floated above some of the gun exhibits: judges, lawyers and voters were giving women too much power, and the women were using that power to take guns away from their husbands, their boyfriends and their constituents. A gun-grabber lurked in the heart of the liberated woman.


No one at the law seminar lingered on why there was domestic violence in the United States, or how this violence affected men, women and children, or what steps could be taken to reduce or prevent such violence. For many of the lawyers present, it was strictly a legal issue about due process, federal statutes and legal precedents. What happened in the living room or bedroom, likely sites of what crime analysts called simple assault, was off the political and rhetorical radar screens. I also heard no discussion on how to protect women from men in their own homes. No, the subject was about individuals convicted of misdemeanors or slapped with restraining orders who had lost their right to own firearms. And the big issue was how to get them back. It was all about the guns.


I found out that the police were particularly vulnerable. There was mention of how the Minneapolis Police Department was practically disarmed because so many police had present or past restraining orders against them. No one talked about domestic violence, because violence in the home didn't have the emotional punch of a violent predator breaking into your home.


In 1998, the National Institute for Justice reported that each year 1.5 million women were raped or physically assaulted by intimate partners. Many of these attacks occurred in the privacy of the home. Men were more likely to be attacked by strangers. In contrast, women were seven to 14 times "more likely to report that an intimate partner beat them up, choked or tried to drown them, threatened them with a gun, or actually used a gun on them."

Monday, January 01, 2007

Monday Bunny Blogging

Happy New Year!

Bumble did not celebrate responsibly. Look where he woke up this morning:

Why'd I have to have that last banana?