human condition

Good Advice (Always Be Prepared)

Her plan is to penetrate us … (Detail of frame from FLCL episode 4, 'Brittle Bullet')

“To talk to the government, you fill out a form―getting married is no different. Until today, only marriages comprised of a “husband” and a “wife” were eligible to fill out the papers, so the forms will be gender coded. It can be an uncomfortable moment when you’re standing at the clerk’s counter, pen in hand, one looking over the other’s shoulder, and that’s the moment you have to decide which name goes over “husband” and which goes over “wife.” In advance, flip a coin, have a heavy talk, allocate a gender between the top and the bottom. But, work it out on the way. Our clerk in Toronto picked for us, and I still disagree with his choice.”

Coco Soodek

No, really. This is a moment to lighten up and enjoy that this is really happening. HuffPo blogger Coco Soodek offers some advice to red-state gay couples as they prepare to celebrate their love, and justice as well.

It’s almost enough to make me want to go get married, like in Kansas, or something. You know, just because.

And, no, nothing goes here about the sanctity of marriage. Rather, we might simply mutter something about how stupid the proposition of me getting married could possibly be, and still be making sense. But that’s the fun part; we wouldn’t have to fiddle around or flip coins over gender.

Good luck, everyone. And remember, we might chuckle at the thought of Justice Scalia insulting his own wife, but he does have something of a point. That is to say, you know, just not a useful one for a Supreme Court dissent. Still, though, I used to joke that all feminists were asking was that women be treated like shit in the same way as everybody else. And, you know, that’s kind of a joke we can make about gay marriage. What we won in Obergefell is the right to be just as miserable as our heterosexual neighbors. And, yeah, you know, don’t analyze that point too much; it’s a joke.

Be well, friends.

Congratulations.

And, you know, I owe generations who came before me an eternal debt. Thank you so much.

But, yeah. Here we are.

Stand. Speak. Love. Live.

____________________

Image note: “Her plan is to penetrate us ....” Commander Amaro explains the trouble with Raharu. (Detail of frame from FLCL episode 4, “Full Swing”)

Soodek, Coco. “Open Letter to Same Sex People Getting Married in Red States”. The Huffington Post. 2 July 2015.

Prokop, Andrew. “Scalia’s same-sex marriage dissent blasts judicial ‘putsch,’ Ivy Leaguers, fortune cookies”. Vox. 26 June 2015.

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Texas (Forcing Children to Have Babies Edition … Yes, Really)

Texas

I need to make a point of something I passed over in the last post.

Can we run the lede from Dana Liebelson of HuffPo again, please?

Texas House lawmakers are expected to consider a measure as early as Wednesday that could be used to protect child welfare service providers who want to force kids into discredited gay conversion therapy programs. The bill also protects providers who deny minors access to birth control or abortions.

And, you know, the fight over reparative therapy is important not just for its stakes but because it is a symbol of how far these people are willing to go.

But that last?

The bill also protects providers who deny minors access to birth control or abortions.

Are you fucking kidding me? What the hell am I supposed to do with that?

Let me say this plainly: Protecting those who force children to carry pregnancies.

What the hell am I supposed to do with that?

And, look, we can make whatever joke about the fact that it’s Texas, but the question remains: What the hell is wrong with these people? As a human condition, what under the sun and moon and stars has gone awry in these people? Even as a symbol of how far they are willing to go, what the hell am I supposed to do with that?

____________________

Liebelson, Dana. “Texas Bill Could Protect Welfare Providers Who Force Kids Into Gay Conversion Therapy”. The Huffington Post. 13 May 2015.

An Appeal

I think, therefore you are.

I need to step out of any pretense of character, but it is most important to stress that this is not supposed to be about me.

If you have five minutes to spare, I would ask that you take a bit over four and a half of them to watch Rachel Maddow’s report and commentary about the shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. There is a bit to take in, but the segment includes a point about readiness, and regardless of what you think about how Maddow makes the point—I’m aware many just flat don’t like what she has to say, or how she says it, and so on—the key word is readiness.

Geographic proximity is always a bit rattling when these atrocities occur. And this time it was really close; my daughter does not attend Marysville schools, but that is beside the point. The only reason the two-town hop to Marysville seems like a long drive is because traffic through Everett is often plain obnoxious.

But this is not about fear. This is just the horror and revulsion, and yes, it seems a fairly reliable human behavior that proximity increases the magnitude of those sickening sensations. Let that say what it will.

But this is where it gets weird.

There are a handful of people in this area for whom this was the second jolt in a week.

Nobody died, but this was Wednesday for anyone who reads The Stranger, a weekly newspaper in Seattle:

Who the fuck calls in a bomb threat at GeekGirlCon?

And then one might wonder, “I’m sorry, what? How is it only now that I’m hearing about this?”

For BoingBoing readers, the news came a day earlier:

I didn’t feel safe going into GeekGirlCon. Hours earlier, Game developer Brianna Wu had tweeted about the threats she’d received, about calling the police, about sleeping somewhere else.

Just thinking about it made it hard to sleep. The next day, I was almost late to game critic Anita Sarkeesian’s opening panel, and was one of the last to be let in. There had been a bomb threat, of course, though we wouldn’t know about it until afterwards. They searched our bags.

Either way, there are a few people who experienced a very strange silence in their chests: My daughter was there, damn it!

And it is possible to skip denial, fleeing desperately into rationalization. It is not mine to suggest the threat was treated lightly. True, #GamerGate and its merry miscreant tagalongsα have yet to actually muster the will to follow through on their threats, but that really is not a fate worth tempting. It is enough to know the issue was handled well by conference personnel and local law enforcement. Something about readiness probably goes here.

In the end, it is tempting to skip anger according to the principle of whether it is really worth it to waste the energy of being angry.

Which in turn would seem to leave but a few basic questions that one might dare hope would have some useful purpose:

• What, exactly, is going on here?

• Why is this happening?

• How is this happening?

• What needs to happen in order to change what is happening?

• Please?

The worst thing that could happen now is that we don’t learn anything.

This is going to keep happening. What are we going to do about that?

Please?

____________________

α The dust that followed the dog that followed the horse they rode in on.

Broom, Jack. “Wounded girls identified in Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting”. The Seattle Times. 25 October 2014.

Maddow, Rachel. “Gun-wielding student shocks Washington school”. The Rachel maddow Show. 24 October 2014.

Anonymous. “You Can’t Keep a GeekGirl Down”. The Stranger. 22 October 2014.

Dieker, Nicole. “GeekGirlCon is an oasis of acceptance”. BoingBoing. 21 October 2014.