The Wrong Sex

CW: coercion, rape

I may agree that part of adulthood is experiencing bad or regrettable sex—but I refuse to conflate bad sex with coercion and rape.

As much as people may want to argue otherwise.

One of the problems in the recent ‘Grace’/Aziz Ansari issue has been the realization that many of us are not using terms the same way.

What is rape? What is coercion? What is just… bad, regrettable sex, where nobody is to blame and nobody is at fault? We think we know what each word means…

Rapists are guys in ski masks. Or Brock Turner.

Coercion is a powerful Hollywood personality telling you you have to watch him masturbate in the shower, or you’ll never get a good role again. Using intimidation and social pressure, instead of physical force or threats.

If you haven’t heard of the Ansari/Grace issue, it’s the latest development in #METOO—an article was published relating the experience of a nameless woman who recently had a date with the Golden Globe winner. He wines, he dines—he takes her to his apartment. He tries for sex, again. Again. Again. She agrees to some things—not to others. She finally leaves. The next day, he texts to say he had fun–she tells him she felt bad by his behavior. He is—surprised, having thought it was purely mutual. They don’t meet again.

A perfectly mundane incident any number of people could relate to.

When the article surfaced, a mini-meltdown ensued on the interwebs. Why? Why was this a reason to put this man’s name in public? It’s just a Bad Date. It’s just a regular guy (#notallmen, but #usuallymen, I’m sorry) with a regular girl. He had no physical power over her. He was never violent and she could’ve left any time she wanted. He had no social power over her (ok, so he’s a major star, an award winner, and twelve years her senior, but he wasn’t about to block or blacklist her career if she didn’t do as he said—)

Why make such a fuss over a common sexual miscommunication? Why add it to #METOO, amongst ‘real’ rapes and coercion stories, and water them down?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, the connection is clear.

Because honestly, the people initiating the sexual encounters need to do better.

And people who will stop for a clear ‘no’ but ABSOLUTELY will not stop for any other obvious sign—are lying to themselves if they think they are not coercing their partners.

He Said/She Said

‘Me Too’ (coined by Tarana Burke to show solidarity for female victims of sexual harassment and assault) has been around since 2006, but it’s literally exploded in the wake of the recent Hollywood scandals. A handful of men (including Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Louis CK and Kevin Spacey) have found their careers in shambles, more famous men (ala Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg) have demonstrated how spectacularly tone-deaf they are; and the rest of us have found (once again, for the millionth time) that we do not know how to talk about sex. We do not know how to talk about consent. Entire swatches of (mostly cis men) have displayed a complete ignorance to the sheer volume of harassment, coercion (and yes, assault) that many others in society (generally women and femme people) experience. Which means many men cannot understand the anger of women, since they believe incidents like this to be isolated. #METOO has shown these incidents are anything but.

The problem is obvious, endemic, systemic—and most of the times, we still can’t do it.

We still can’t simply say ‘he shouldn’t have done that. It was wrong of him.’

We hear ‘he shouldn’t have done that’ and it is translated into ‘oh so you think all men are rapists and deserve to die over this?’

We hear someone TRY to say ‘he shouldn’t have done that’ and instead of nodding we say ‘yeah well but what was SHE doing?’

Bad Men or Bad Dates?

I wanna make something very clear here. I know I get radical, but I am not grinding my mandibles together in anticipation of every cis man who has ever sexually stepped over a line (legal or otherwise) having his nuts fed to piranhas.

I don’t think Aziz Ansari is a terrible human. I don’t think he is a rapist.

I don’t think he deserves to go to jail or to have his career be ruined over this.

(His career will NOT be ruined over this, so everyone flipping their shit over the injustice of the #METOO ‘witchhunt’ can take alllll the seats.)

I do think that considering his behavior as a public figure (and the ample material out there explaining, for a long time now, that such behavior is harmful),  it is not wrong that this incident is made public. Like it or not, his behavior has unleashed an avalanche of discussion, much of which can be reduced to the following points;

If what Ansari did is sexual coercion, then I’ve never had a consenting partner in my life.

She agrees to go to his apartment; she even performs oral sex on him. And he’s supposed to know she doesn’t ultimately want sex? He’s not a MIND READER! Men suck at picking up subtle cues!

This is a millennial problem. When I was growing up, us women were taught to say NO, forcefully!

I’m sick of these public, online confessions! Why are these women only attacking powerful men? If they have an issue, they can go to court and settle this there!

I’m an awkward guy. I’m sorry, but unless you explicitly tell me NO, I’m NOT going to understand that you don’t want sex with me. 😦 Please Please PLEASE tell me ‘no’, directly. It’s the only way I can figure it out.

We’re coming to a point of treating women like fragile little dolls who are too scared to speak up for themselves. Putting all/most of the burden of consent on the male partner? This is NOT feminism!

I’ve had dates with guys like that often enough. I didn’t say no strong enough at the time, and I regretted it, but that’s my fault, not his. A bad date is NOT assault.

These comments come from all directions. Some from men, some from women. Some are naïve. Some are disingenuous and self-serving. And they point directly to the problems we are having with having dialogue about this issue today. Unpacking all this:

If what Ansari did is sexual coercion, then I’ve never had a consenting partner.

I know this is the part that makes many men cringe, because to confront the issue of enthusiastic consent would mean dredging up all the times individuals did NOT have such consent from a partner, and proceeded anyway. It means confronting that some of us (many of us in fact) are guilty of having violated someone’s boundaries in the past. Maybe even to the point of it being unlawful. Nobody is perfect and nobody is asking anyone to be perfect or to be a saint: the question however is, do we NOW, at this moment in time, have a good grasp on consent?

Only Yes

The legal definition of rape is continuing when someone says no, but in recent years, more states are taking on a ‘yes is yes’ law. Meaning, ONLY a clear enthusiastic ‘yes’ constitutes consent—anything else (such as silence) does NOT. Because it can be difficult (for anyone) for a variety of reasons, to vocally refuse sex, the onus is on the person initiating sexual activity, to make sure their partner is fully interested.

However, too many people are still operating under the notion that consent is the absence of a no.

Even if the partner seems detached, uninterested, is silent or unengaged.

Reading the article, it is obvious that Ansari is one of these people.

People kept blasting ‘Grace’ for staying with Ansari, asking, well if it was so awful, why didn’t she leave? Why didn’t she outright say no? (Ignoring the fact that she said to him twice they would not have sex that night—and moved herself away from him more than once.)

Too many seemed preoccupied with, ‘well, if she didn’t like it, why did she stay?’ and too few interested in ‘well, if he could see that she wasn’t fully into it—why did he keep going?’

Instead of asking women why are you not more forceful about leaving an uncomfortable situation—why not ask men, why are you comfortable fucking people who are obviously not into it?

Because We Don’T KNOW if She’s Into It—A Hoax

When confronted by the idea that men owe it to their partners to make sure they are enjoying themselves and enthusiastic about the encounter, women and men alike began to wring their hands at just how universally AWFUL men are at reading non-verbal cues! You want MEN to pick up on NON-VERBAL CUES??? Soft noes? Gestures?? This idea was translated into a full article that claims Ansari was being put on blast for the non-crime of not being a mind reader.

The funny thing is, ‘Grace’ had told Ansari she did not want sex that first night. A clear verbal cue.

YEAH BUT MEN ARE DENSE. YOU NEED TO BE CLEARRRRRR. SHE SAID SHE DIDN’T WANT SEX BUT SHE NEVER TOLD HIM ‘NO’! If you don’t say ‘no’ outright, don’t get mad if men don’t get it!!

This whole ‘hurr durr men are too dense’ angle really didn’t sit well with me but it was this excellent piece that drove home why.

We Don’t Really Say…No

In our jobs, in our social settings, men, women and ALL GENDERS are saying ‘no’ without saying ‘NO’ all the time. We do this because saying ‘no’ outright is considered (in most social situations) unnecessarily blunt and rude. Compare:

-Hey, you wanna come over for a movie this weekend?
-No.

With:

-Hey, you wanna come over for a movie this weekend?
-Sounds great, but I really need to get some yardwork done. 

Pretty much every social situation in which we refuse an invitation, we cushion the refusal, and we almost never outright say ‘no’ or ‘I don’t want to do that’ (even if that is the case). We may say something complimentary or how we would love to, but— and nobody considers this to be a ‘mixed signal.’ Nobody would be ‘confused’ as to why you are saying a movie ‘sounds good’ when you actually won’t be going. This is normal and polite and everybody (not just women) does it.

-Hey, you want some cake?
(you are full and don’t want cake right then, but you don’t want to offend your host)
-Looks tempting, but I’m kind of full right now.
(The host wonders if you are being polite. They may try again.)
-Are you sure? I have a piece right here.
(Pushes the piece towards you on a plate. You put your hand out. They stop pushing it.
-I’m good, thanks. I’ll have some tea though?

You never said ‘no’ outright, but your host understands clearly you do not want the cake. I doubt any person reading (or experiencing) this conversation (male or female) would have a problem understanding that this person does NOT want cake. I doubt anybody would agree that the host should continue to offer.

‘Grace’ told Ansari she did not want cake on that first date. She pushed his hand away multiple times. She got up at one point and was in the bathroom for five minutes. She came back and asked to just ‘chill’ (at which point, he tried to advance again.)

It was clear reading the story what she didn’t want. I can’t imagine it was any less clear, right there in the room with her. Yet people kept defending that he ‘didn’t get it’ because men ‘can’t read minds.’ I call bullshit. It’s not that he didn’t get it; it’s that HE wanted cake, and he was hoping if he offered a fifth or sixth time, she would change her mind (either happily or unhappily). That’s the point. He didn’t care what she wanted—as long as it wasn’t a clear ‘no’ (at which point, it would be assault, by law)—her desires did not matter.

Many people have made the argument that it’s not her fault if she didn’t leave, because she may have been afraid on some level, even if he wasn’t violent. This is the legacy of the patriarchy. Afraid of angering or displeasing him. Maybe not physically imposing, but a social force to be reckoned with. Others have criticized this argument, claiming that  we are forging a victimized image of women, too weak to speak up for themselves.

Now, point aside that some men DO literally flip their shit and become unexpectedly violently or grossly manipulative if you outright pass on sex (I have experience of this first hand, as I’m sure many others do…) …Personally, I don’t think she was afraid. I think she genuinely liked him, genuinely wanted to be with him at his apartment—and was just waiting for him to STOP OFFERING SOMETHING SHE DOESN’T WANT because it makes fucking sense to stop offering??? When it became clear he wouldn’t be happy with anything less than sex and would not stop pushing for it—she did go.

Yes, she could have clearly said ‘No. I said no and I don’t want you to make another attempt while I’m here.” (…imagine, how weird it would be if you had to outright tell a person whose house you are in ‘I Don’t WANT CAKE, I SAID FOUR TIMES ALREADY AND I WANT YOU TO STOP OFFERING OR I’LL LEAVE’).

She could have just got up and left. (Imagine, having to LEAVE someone’s house, because they keep offering you something, even after you gave clear cues you don’t want any, and you know they won’t stop while you are present?? With any situation other than sex, it would seem ludicrous. With any other situation, we would say—you shouldn’t have to LEAVE for the other to get the hint. We would automatically question the intention for ignoring such a common social cue.)

Which is really what elevates this type of behavior to a certain nastiness, and why I think what Ansari did was harmful.

It’s banking (consciously or not) on the social understanding that we don’t just ‘leave’ someone’s house or say ‘stop that!’ to them, unless they do something REALLY bad.

Accountability

So if he did something really wrong, why not take him to court? Why not take all these men to court? Why the public circus?

A willful misunderstanding of this whole situation, but I will humor the question and answer it. This isn’t about law (or not entirely). And the law has already proven to be woefully unequipped at handling crimes of a sexual nature, even when the case is clear.

This is about asking people who initiate sex, to be decent fucking human beings.

Asking them to not wait for LAWS to make them into decent fucking human beings.

This is important, not because Ansari’s actions reflect an awful, horrible man; but because his actions reflect a very COMMON and ordinary type of man. Who is a ‘feminist’ and who ‘cares’ about women, and who may have very well the next day felt bad, because someone told him outright that she did not feel well in his company and he honestly doesn’t get WHY or what he did wrong.

But who nonetheless, when the chips were down, felt that his need for a certain gratification trumped his partner’s well-being. And as a society, a lot of us are still at a point where we here of someone forcing his will on another, as he did–our initial reaction isn’t ‘why did he do that? Why did he keep doing that?’

It’s ‘Of course he did that, man are sleazy. Why didn’t SHE try harder to make sure it didn’t happen?’

No. no no no no no.
Fucking BE BETTER. Full stop.

People want to talk about accountability? Yeah, let’s keep it out of the papers and out of the courtrooms and ask people to be accountable for their own actions. Because if he had taken her to his apartment, tried something with her once (or twice?) and then respected her wishes, and spent a nice evening doing something else with her, I guarantee, his name would not be in everyone’s mouth right now.

And yes, if you ignore someone’s signals repeatedly, you keep bringing them drinks, you draw them to you when they are clearly not enjoying themselves—if you don’t like the word ‘coercion’ because it sounds awfully like ‘rape’, it’s super easy. LOOK to see if your partner is enjoying themselves. STOP if they look uncomfortable, scared, zoned-out. ASK if you should continue. No, you do not have to ask before EVERY single motion, or every 20 seconds. It’s called ‘reading the crowd.’ Don’t say ‘men are awful at reading the crowd’ when all of us read body cues, and ‘soft’ no’s ALL THE TIME. When we want to.

If they want to stop, stop–and DON’T initiate for the rest of that encounter. Certainly not five minutes later, to see if they changed their mind.

Had Ansari taken her ample cues, they could have stopped that night, easily met again at another time and had a positive experience.

Which brings me to the very last common point, made in response to this issue. And it was saddening to see that the people saying this were mostly WOMEN. Saying that situations like this are awkward, embarrassing—bad… but they’re not WRONG. ‘We’ve all had bad sex. It’s called being an adult. It’s bad, but it’s not wrong.’

No, I don’t agree. These incidents don’t need to be happening. And they could be reduced, if as we start to teach and accept that bad sex does exist. Not being physically compatible or not aroused by the same things, or having someone do something to us in good faith (or us to them) and simply not finding it pleasurable—but there is a line between bad sex and wrong sex, that is easy (or at least easier) to find, via enthusiastic consent. We just have to uhhh… actually give a shit about the people we sexually engage with.

Having sex that didn’t measure up to the fantasy is ‘bad sex’–and disappointment (sexual and otherwise) is part of being an adult.

But sex in which one partner ignores the needs and cues of the other is not just bad–it is wrong.

[Note:  I recognize that not all who have come forward in these recent times have been women (Kevin Spacey’s victims were other men), but I could only find one incident where a man accused a woman. Yes, I understand that sexual harassment and abuse happens to all genders, and is perpetuated by all genders, but anyone who wishes to derail these topics by yelling WHAT ABOUT ALL THE WOMEN WHO RAPE? is just being a twat.]

 

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3:48 am

It has occurred to me, now and again, that I should Make Something Anew. I say ‘make’ and not ‘write’, because I am thinking more in the direction of a graphic novel (though really anything larger or novel-length would be fine as well.)

The problem with that though is that I look back on things I have done and it just fills me with regret. Some pride too, of course, that I have managed to make something that other people perhaps enjoyed or could relate to, or made them think in an uncomfortable new direction (preferably all three?) so yes, most definitely some pride, but when I think back on both books I’ve published (because there are MORE that are unpublished)–and how clean and good my intentions were, and yet how horribly flawed and fundamentally fucked up the final products were–it honestly makes me never want to write again.

Art is so much easier in that respect. Not because my suck in art doesn’t ruffle my feathers (it does) but because a picture is–a sentence. Maybe, a paragraph. You draw it, you paint it. It’s flawed. You know where. You mourn. You are already on the next picture and it’s not–a year. Or five years, spent diligently turning something over in your mind, putting it out, turning THAT over again and again as well, having it published and then thinking damn–how the fuck did I miss that? And THAT? AND THAT?

A piece of art’s flaws are easier to forgive and move on from–the flaws even ADD to the picture, the irregularity is interesting, but the flaws of writing, they are not interesting. They are tiresome and sad, even more so when you created them yourself. You REGRET and that is something I am so, so, so sooo not used to doing. Regretting.

There is so much in my books I wish I could go back and change and FIX and the thought that I could spend so much time making another thing I will spend more time regretting is like ehhhhhhhhhhh.

A Necessary Luxury

For this post, I want to specifically thank Paintblotch, who has been such an inspiration and help to me. Follow her if you’re not already! Her art and her attitude, is amazing. 

I’m not dead! I’m still around!
I’m still drawing! I’m still making stuff!

And lately I’ve been thinking that too many people think of art as an UNNECESSARY luxury.

(OK, this video is so cool, you HAVE TO CLICK AND WATCH, I promise you won’t be sorry~~~~~~)

This idea is reflected in the  ease at which art programs and funding are axed–To be sure, beauty and art is luxurious, but I would argue it is a necessary luxury that all people need and deserve.

Art is all around us, it is not just in museums, it is on juice boxes, it is in designs, it is on clothes, it is on museum and alley walls.

I thought about this idea a lot while finishing my latest commission. To be sure, this commission is a luxury piece and I was extremely grateful to have the chance to do it–I realize I am so lucky to be able to continue to have the time to make art and to have lovely people commission art from me.  Still I couldn’t help but think, self-expression and beauty is something most people crave. It is not just a past-time, an indulgence, it is a necessity.

So the theme of this piece was the necessity of beauty –I call the piece ‘Ran’ from the Japanese character 乱 (A character that means ‘rebellion’ and combines with ‘kon’ to make the word ‘disorder.’) Unfortunately, taking a picture of BOTH pieces together side by side is virtually impossible due to the size, but the images fit together and are supposed to be a mirror onto two worlds….

red

Red Shelf – Day (red and black and bird theme)

tumblr_messaging_oj7r2bmbi11unie72_1280

Blue shelf – Night. (Pink and blue and fish theme.)

But the absolute best part of the piece was the finish. I agonized on what kind of finish to put on the piece–the person who commissioned it told me they wanted to use the shelves. I figured, a simple fixing spray wouldn’t be enough. If objects were put on the shelves, they might eventually damage or discolor the image. But I had used mostly ink on the wood–I imagined any kind of liquid finish would cause the ink to smear.

I consulted good old Paintblotch and she told me, why not try resin? It will make a smooth, hard surface, like glass. I had never heard of or worked with resin, but she recommended a specific brand Art Resin to me and to quote my kid, Jesus Christ and for the love of Cinema! This stuff is absolutely amazing!! Imagine having spent a good month painting something, and then mixing up a goooood steamy vat of gloopy clear hair gel looking stuff. You’re just dying to pour it all over your painting, right? I shat a thousand bricks as I poured it over the finished shelves (I had lightly sprayed them the day before with a finishing spray) and was so relieved to see the resin did not smear the image one bit, I might have even cried a little bit.

Go here to buy the magical resin!! It is very straightforward to use, but feel free to message me if you have a question ❤

‘Shrill’

aka Schrodinger’s Pussy

I know you guys are busy right now, hell, if you’re living in the US, you’re probably busy punching neo-nazis right now, you’re busy putting out fires right now, but you have to put your fists and hoses down for one second and read ‘Shrill’ by Lindy West. I read it this last week while I was at my parents’, and it gave me that feeling, you know that feeling, when you wanna contact and be like ‘listen, I know you’re famous and probably hear this ALL THE TIME and god knows there are a lot of weirdos and sickies out there but I’m harmless and totally not obsessive, and you and I should hang out some time, or at least become IG pals and like each other selfies and leave each other cute comments, and slay twit trolls together, because you are just so awesome and magical and ON.

And I will not go into all the stuff West covers in her book (it’s a loose collection of candid, funny, casual and sometimes so painful thoughts on feminism, body issues, fatphobia, internet trolling, family, loss) but she covers extensively a topic that has fascinated me for so so so so long (namely, why is comedy, much like patriotism, the last refugee of the scoundrel? why is ‘comedy’ one of the last frontiers where individuals are allowed to so casually borrow OTHERS’ pain for a cheap laugh.  Running very parallel to this issue is the concept of the Schroedinger’s Asshole, ie, the person who makes an offensive statement and then based on the reaction of their audience, flees into the ‘lighten up, it was just a JOKE.’) So yeah, she covers the Schroedinger’s Asshole phenomenon (stand-up comedy edition) quite extensively in her book and manages to weave in with it the threads of an equally devastating phenomenon I will now dub: Schroedinger’s Pussy.

Schroedinger’s Asshole was a noun (the one who does it is the asshole) Schroedinger’s Pussy encompasses more the entire thought process that goes something like this: In today’s day and age, especially, most especially, on the internet, where we are all afforded some anonymity–some men’s ability to take the ideas that come out of another party’s brain and attach value to them, so that they may counter and rebut these IDEAS (and not irrelevant secondary details of the other party, such as appearance, weight, promiscuity or proclivity to take a dick)–is inversely proportional to how much this person they are arguing with seems to have a vagina.

If the person does NOT appear to have a vagina, these men seem to have no problem engaging with the person’s ideas. w e i r d

If the person DOES appear to have a vagina, these men stray very quickly from engaging with what is coming out of the person’s brain— to talking about what they would like to do, or what they believe should be done, with this person body–or NOT be done with this person’s body. They will start to expound on how this person should be raped–or how they would never be raped, because they are too ugly. It’s almost as if—-some—–men—-don’t respect women (and femme peoples) like ‘i hope you die and get raped lol’ level don’t respect women, and if you spend a day on the internet these days, you will see it most anywhere.

And the saddest, the absolute absolute saddest is not just that there are an untold amount of adult and teenage men out there who think telling an anonymous woman online that she should be raped, is a reasonable or justifiable thing to do. The saddest is, that even more men, who conceivably (hopefully?) are below such cowardly interaction, are too cowardly to tell their fellow men that acting like this is disgraceful. Like, they’re too coward to tell their fellow men to stop being fucking cowards.And they think this is being tough, unlike those emasculated cucks who know how to respect women.

Cause you know, respecting women is for PUSSIES.

It is mind-boggling.

They have two choices–tell other guys to knock it the fuck off, b/c it is sick and pathetic–

Or to tell women to ‘suck it up’ ‘leave the internet if you can’t handle it.’

And they will pick the latter. Every. Every. Time. Or be silent on the issue.

Like a turd in the grass. (Hungarian saying)

To give a tiny backstory, West, who was part of the Seattle comedy scene in the middish 2010s, was asked to participate in a televised debate after the whole Daniel Tosh shitplosion happened. She was arguing against comedian Jim Norton–and her argument simply was that comedy, like everything else that comes out of our mouths, does not exist in a vacuum and should not be beyond reproach. There is a more than casual connection, she argued, between the ‘boys club’ feel of the comedy circuit and the increasingly violent sexism and sexual assault women face today, on and offline (around this time is also when Steubenville happened). Norton countered that she was wrong: that comedy was a valve for releasing tension and tackling rough topics, that no ‘reasonable’ person who heard a Daniel Tosh rape riff, however crude, condoned rape. Even as a rapey dove flies from his charming lips, Tosh respects women! Norton insisted. His audience, respects women! And none of them would ever, ever, ever. And ever after that, wish actual rape on an actual woman. Because we’re all sane adults who know rape is WRONG.

[Can I take a moment here to say, watching this video made me so fucking sad. I mean, I’m a pretty tough dude with no feels anymore, you know me, but I almost teared up. I thought this. Motherfucking THIS. Is the fight. Squeezed in a 16+ minute clip. You had West and she was just so ON. Her ideas were poprocking. She was magic. She was energy. She was wit. And Norton was this dull lump of clay. Ad hominem? yeh, I’m petty and going for it. He looked like a gray lil lump of clay stuffed into a tired polo shirt and his ideas were gray little lumps of clay. they were so TIRED. they were so. CLICHE. And you read the comments on the video, of all these bros actually thinking he had nailed it. That’s how tired their minds were too.]

So the video clip of the TV segment was put online, it went somewhat viral, and at some point had garnered thousands of comments. Norton argued that comedy, and male comedians’ casual mockery of  domestic violence and rape ala Tosh had NO place in real life and yet in the comments’ section, men…. in the hundreds that passed to thousands… were coming out the woodwork.

Not to unpack flaws in West’s logic–but to talk about what they felt needed to be done with her body.

She should be raped.
She should be killed.
She should be raped and killed.
She should be killed and raped.
She was too fat to rape.
She was too rape to fat.
Rape rape rape. Kill kill kill. Fat fat fat.

This…. woman. They talked of raping and killing a woman they did not know and had never met, for daring to speak about how comedy that makes light of women being raped and killed—might actually be contributing to men thinking it’s okay to openly talk about women getting raped and killed.

This was some heady Twilight Zone SHIT. Then the bass dropped.

You would think this was all the proof West or ANYBODY for the rest of all humanity ever, needed to prove the Schroedinger’s Pussy theory. ‘We need to refute these ideas with word… wait a minute, boys! The vessel that released these ideas seems to be of the woman varietal! No intelligent rebuttal needed —to quote Norton– ‘TO RAPE!’

West has more critical thinking capacity in her goddam pinkie TOE then these dudes had COLLECTIVELY. I mean, even the debate. Norton was a JOKE (hah) prob funnier than his actual stand-up.

Nuance?
I think he thought that was a city in Southern France.
Subtlety. Context?
Those are hipster cocktail names, or??

She was a butterfly DANCING around his stonefooted, shitty ideas and now, a slew of orcs too intellectually brutish to know they were proving her point, poured in to PROVE HER POINT. She won that fucking debate TWICE, and all they could do was rail and rail and rail b/c they had reason to believe this house of flesh and stone that had released these ideas about comedy harbored a pussy and seemed to align with a feminine being.

1:     You can attack her OPINION, I mean fuck, I don’t agree with her opinion. But like, because we debated rape jokes, they were like…
2.     [expectant pause]
1.     …she should get raped…and…
2:     [groan]
1:      And, I don’t tell people how to write or how to tweet, i don’t like to do that, i hate that thought-policing shit…
2:      …Hate it.
1:      But come on, at least just go after her opinion. Cause you’re not helping anything by doing that. She’s not DUMB… […]

This is an excerpt from an audio clip from the Opie and Anthony show that talked about the aftermath of the West/Norton debate. And I listened to this, and I got sad all over again. Forget even how ….incredible it is that they saw no link between these hateful dismissive comments, West being a woman who dared to voice an opinion, and her point entirely.

These guys had an audience of I assume, a sizable body of male listeners. And they talked about the clip and they seemed genuinely PERPLEXED as to why so many men reacted to West the way that they did. But they could not criticize these men nor call them on their cowardice. No, that would be ‘thought-police shit.’ And I do realize this clip is some years old, but being active online myself, I would say it’s stayed just as bad. Yes, world.

The apex of our social civilization where grown men actively SUPPORT other grown men’s validity to anonymously tell a woman online exactly how she should be raped, instead of focusing on her ideas.

Because a man telling his fellow men that the anonymous graphic harassment is the wildlife refuge of pathetic, cowardly fucks–the very pinnacle of loserdom– is ‘PC bs.’

Common human decency and respect has become ‘PC bs.’

But yeah, don’t punch alt-nazis, because violence is bad uwu and we should calmly listen to ppl’s views no matter how despicable ;—-;

These people will legit defend a CERTIFIED NEO NAZI before they defend a woman getting harassed with rape threats on the internet.

I’m out.

And to Lindy West, wherever she is today, may her coffee be hot, may her writing come easy, may the trolls be torpid, and I hope she is having an awesome day  ♡ ♡ ♡


Note: Aaaaand just as I was looking up West’s twitter URL to attach it to my post, I find this article explaining why it’s–gone. ;—; 

Buy her book here.

Watch the West – Norton debate here.

Excommunication

Is not the answer. There has to be a way to separate the naïvely ignorant from the malicious. To give people a chance to change. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and all that.

Nobody is perfect. To demand perfection and publically shame, then excommunicate anyone who doesn’t adhere to a rigid socialmoral code smacks of a scary, cold religious order. There must be a better way. (The idealist in me wants to believe that.)

A person with a swastika tattooed on their forehead.  A vocal terf. A person who posts blatant racist propaganda on public platforms under their own name. If I came into contact with such a person  irl or online, I walk the other way. I can say nothing that will change their mind or bring them around, and to engage would only waste my time and energy. Interacting would be a form of emotional self-harm. After all, you know what the outcome of the conversation will be. Nothing positive.

Open white supremacists, neo-Nazis, some members of the alt-right—anyone who revels in trolling—people argue which of them are ‘really’ dangerous versus which are only out to play.  Do they truly wish you were dead? Do they just want to joke about it?

Turn your head, push the block button. Done.  Disturbing to know they are out there, but what more can you do? At least you know exactly where they stand and that makes them all the easier to stay clear of. .

These persons don’t take time or energy—but a certain brand of ignorant person DOES.

I’m not a bigot, I swear!!

‘Don’t just write people off! If you truly care, you need to educate! Don’t just tell people to use Google!…’ ::makes a pistol motion with forefingers:: ::puts it to own head::

The willfully ignorant person LOOKS EXACTLY like the naïve, ignorant person. However, the more you talk to the willfully ignorant, the more you realize— If it was socially acceptable to be bigoted, they would do so. They only care about not appearing like a bad person. They believe shouting ‘I am not bigoted! I am not racist! I am not sexist! I am not—-‘

Not actively examining their own thought patterns, actively listening, or causing actual change in themselves, let alone in society at large.

They want to maintain their harmful beliefs WHILE suffering no judgement from any group in society.

Essentially, not only are such people bigots—they are also cowards.

On the off-chance that someone is sincere, that their ignorance is based truly, only in ignorance, and not in any stickier stuff, I want to help and offer my time and resources to any and all. But it gets tiresome to deal with those who want social change packed up in a palatable confection that is tasty to consume and easy to digest.

We think of change in terms of protests, petitions, lobbying, and become overwhelmed when in reality, all of us have the power to make a difference every day, in the handful of people we come in contact with, and what is society but millions of these individual minds?

I talk to someone to exchange ideas, to gain from them, to hear what they have seen and to try to expand beyond the narrow confines of my own bubble. If I can enrich someone or share something they haven’t experienced, great, and I will do so even if it takes considerable emotional investment, but if someone’s main objective is to make sure that I (an individual of no consequence) knows that they are NOT A bigot (‘so please, allow me to continue to make awful jokes, observations, assumptions, and racist remarks, now that we have cleared I am most certainly NOT A bigot’)—then what choice do I have but to say—

Goodbye??

Nobody asks for perfection or for total understanding of all issues from all sides.

But here’s where the dog is buried (as we say in Hungarian.)

I can show someone facts and figures, I can lead them to certain books from certain voices, I can debunk and unpack bogus arguments, but I cannot teach someone to be compassionate.

Excommunication is not the answer, and I will not toss away anyone based on their ignorance. I am also ignorant on many things.

What can I do though with someone who revels in their lack of compassion?

 

 

Write What You Know. No. Really.

Sometimes, those old writing adages really are the best:
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.

I see an increased number of online authors (or creators)
distressed by the lack of appreciation for their unsolicited opinions.

‘We can’t talk about anything anymore!’

One piece riffing on this went as far as to suggest that our current era today
was the absolute worst for liberal white women writers.
Nobody wanted to hear what they have to say anymore.
The right sure as fuck doesn’t want to hear it.
But neither does the left.

I couldn’t help but think to myself as I read on: Wait,
nobody wants to hear you writing…about… what? Exactly?

White liberal womens’ interests and opinions on WHITE LIBERAL WOMENS’ ISSUES?

Or–white liberals using other groups’ experiences as intellectual play-structures to climb around on?

Because if it’s the latter, yeh, the world is getting pretty fucking sick of it.
You’re not imagining the resentment. Feel free to stop.

Those Exploratory Think Pieces

About two weeks ago, the esteemed Antioch Review published an essay called ‘The Sacred
Androgen.’ A self-styled ‘transgender debate,’ the article was an amalgamation of some of the worst trans tropes and fears,
masquerading its stinky self behind a floral, academic visage.

Honestly, the article read like the thesaurus-fueled tirade of someone JUST abandoned by a trans person at the altar. Except to be jilted by a trans person, one would have to actually spend some time in such a person’s company, and certain wordings in the article lead me to believe the author had never spoken to a real-life ‘transgendered’ in his entire life.
In this piece, ‘TGs’ served as stereotypes and headcases–they were Concepts, Interpretations, Misconceptions and Breathing Delusions.

They were social Thought Exercises. But they were not Human.

That some bitter soul out there would spend precious time banging out a 3000+ word invective on a copy of a copy of a copy existing merely in his head does not shock me.

I’ve heard others rave about the general need for more barefoot and pregnant woman to craft sandwiches, or the innate sexual aggression of men.
I’m happy to leave such mishmash to the trash can.

What I can’t quite wrap my head around though is that the Antioch Review— didn’t.
Think.
This article
was the total
intellectual and social
embarassment
that it was.

Daniel Harris spluttered out a long-ass essay on a group of people he neither knows, cares
about nor likes, and this college deemed his Distorted Picture Important Enough to Publish, because he is Smart, an Author, has written about The Gays,
and Probably Knows What He Is Talking About, because
the Transgendereds and the Gays are Basically the Same Thing.

And when the shitstorm hit,the college mewed out some
milqtoast  about how the college does not align itself necessarily with the opinions published, nonetheless, it was published to facilitate open dialogue and discussion. i.e. Love it or hate it, we published this because we see in it SOME social/intellectual merit.

Volvo.

(I roll. ‘Volvo’ is Latin for ‘I roll.’
Get it? eye roll? Latin jokes?)

*coughs*

Many people will read the piece for what it is (thinly masked hate speech), some unfortunately, will take it at face value and now have another foothold in the Transgendereds Are Confused People Pumping Cement Into Their Buttocks’ line of arguments.

(Srsly, like… only one person has ever done that. Get over it.)

All joking aside, the article was so BAD, it would be funny–if there was not a disturbing amount of people already out there who still view transness as a mental illness or a strange outburst of internalized homophobia.

And not a SINGLE person at Team Antioch took the time to ask:
This is an OPINION, a particularly troll-y clickbait-y opinion.
… is it important to publish THIS particular opinion?
And if it is NOT important, why? Are we publishing it?

Why are we aligning ourselves with it?

Writers today can get on the Internet and reach thousands, potentially
millions of readers at the click of the ‘publish’ button. The question is no longer ‘can we’
but ‘are we qualified to speak?’ Ill-formed thoughts pop into our heads–do we swallow
them, or share, just because we can?

Do we have a moral obligation to question the importance of sharing our own opinions?

That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way. We all know the answer.

Stop the Social Experiments

Just a week before I read the Antioch poop, a YouTuber with a reach of millions of viewers had a neat idea.
Right now, there’s a big trans bathroom debate roiling; well, he would dress up
as a trans woman, infiltrate women’s bathrooms and show his viewers what trans women
Actually Go Through. Think of it as, a social experiment. Oh, and a trans friend coached him, so It’s Totally Okay.

[This idea is not a new one, of course. The entirety of the book ‘Black Like Me‘ was a guy
walking around in black-face for six weeks in the early 60s to reconfirm that American Blacks really. Were.Exposed to constant racism.] But I digress. Back to the Trans Bathroom Social Experiment.

With a garish platinum wig perched atop his ugly dude face (yeh, I’m being petty, but this is my own blog, so fuckit), this guy pulled a criminally nasty dress oVER HIS PANTS (!) and proceeded to follow women into the bathroom (and sometimes talk to them.) I know this will shock you, but most of the women were freaked out. Because a guy wearing a dress and a crooked wig was following them into the bathroom and trying to talk to them.

Totally not creepy or anything.
[That is, if they were even spontaneous participants, and not actresses.]
The video ends with a beaming YouTuber confirming that people ARE just as intolerant and horrible as we have suspected. Self fulfilling prophesy–
Hypothesis: Cis women seem to be intolerant of trans women in bathrooms.

Imagined result: Cis women ARE intolerant of trans women in bathrooms.

ACTUAL result: All women are intolerant of ugly cis guys in wigs, harassing them in the bathrooms.

‘But that’s what trans women are.’ One commenter argued. ‘Sometimes, they’re ugly guys who decide they’re women, and they don’t look good in their clothes, but they ‘decided’ they’re a woman.’

A haiku on that:

no no no no no
no no no no no no no
no no no no no

A prime example of what happens when someone is observing something they are not part of and yet they try to put it into words that they and people LIKE them can understand:
A loose interpretation at best, a horrible distorted harmful picture at worst.

‘Okay,’ another commenter argued in ‘comments.’ ‘How could he have done it better to impersonate a trans woman?’

He could have NOT DONE IT AT ALL. Just as Antioch College could have decided to
not publish the piece. After all, they presumably do not publish EVERY piece submitted.
If it was strictly about ‘Freedom of Speech’ EVERY piece, no matter how ill-conceived
or ill-written, would see the light of the literary day.

Not freedom of speech, but the hubris of humans, some quite intelligent
and far-reaching humans, being stuck in the simplistic sixth-grade mindset of ‘ALL opinions and viewpoints, no matter how toxic or ill-informed, are valid and interesting :)’

Some really aren’t, and some of the LAST THINGS the world needs right now
are shitty think-pieces and ‘social experiments’ speculating what it means
to live an experience the author has literally no stake in.

They do more harm than good.
They push misconceptions more than facilitate constructive discussion.
They distort the people they describe and focus on an author’s self-centered INTERPRETATION, not the actual people or issue.

Stop. Just stop.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Last year, J and I embarked on a fool’s errand; to chew our way through every vampire movie ever made. (I don’t even know why this challenge started, let’s just run with it.) We sadly never made it through all, or even most, blood-sucking flicks, but one of my favorites made it into a picture:

a girl final

A girl walks home alone at night-– acrylic and ink over a painting I had abandoned YEARS ago– Canvas courtesy of my good friend W—

midnight 1

I’m sorry, but look at those guts. detail 1.

midnight3

allone2

It’s supposed to be a pic for my cousin, but it turned out kind of nice and now I don’t want to give it to him.

Giving it to him though would be the right thing to do… right?
::nervous laughter::

If you haven’t seen the movie by the way, I definitely recommend—a mysterious girl roaming the night streets of a surreal Iranian ghosttown; injecting the fear of God into the wicked and the lustful—

And now, for the staff of WP, why did they change the way pictures on this site function? You can no longer click on a picture to enlarge it, this is so sad, why would you take this away?? ::crying:: Fixed, thank you, Scritch!!! ❤