August 2007


Have I ever mentioned that blogs make a crappy way to perform therapy?

Because they do.

Feministing (and i believe some other blogs as well) posted a story on another female blogger’s experience of what we shall refer to for the moment as unwanted sex.

Moe from Jezebel had posted about the Cosmo “grey rape” story, and recounts her own experience.

Ann from Feministing leads the charge for calling it rape, and explains her rationale why.

Both have clear stakes here…Moe states that for her to process the event as ultimately non-harmful to her, she can’t view it within her idea of what rape is.

Ann details why in order to maintain the category of rape in a meaningful sense, it must encompass such events fully and not as an afterthought.

Guess what?

You’re doing it wrong.

Specifically counter-claiming another person’s history is a shitty way of doing re-definitional work. If moe says it wasn’t rape, then i don’t know many people better suited to make that call. If one were to believe as ann does (and i agree) that this event ought to morally and legally fall into the category of rape, then one ought to gently leave this particular narrative off to the side for the moment.

It is far, far more productive to find people who previously dismissed their experiences of so called grey rape and have now come to see them as sexual assaults. After that individual has lost their investment in minimizing their experience, and processed the resulting backlog of trauma….

Or find an individual who finds power in labeling their experience rape even if they did not find it overwhelmingly traumatic, and who can talk to the ways in which the total victimhood complex is a harmful fiction, and that one need not be devastated to label unwanted sex as morally and legally wrong.

Those are stories that can powerfully illustrate the need to take date and acquaintance rape seriously as both and individual crime and as sexualized terrorism.

Those are moral actors who can explain in their own words why the “grey” doesn’t cut it.

It is possible to make a claim on the public language of sex and sexual violence without descending into playing “nuh-uh” with other bloggers about if they were raped or not.

It looks silly, but the awkwardness conceals a underlying lack of ethical concern. A blog is not a device for therapy. Someone else’s story is not your lever for moving the world.

Politely say you disagree. Cite another story in response. Move the conversation on to ground that isn’t so shaky, alright? This investment in “But you WERE!” is unsettling at best…

-sly

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Finally, at long last, Dubya compares Iraq to Vietnam.

And says we went home too soon, assigning the moral blame for the chaos that followed on American anti-war efforts.

You know, not mentioning Operation Menu and US aid to Pol Pot…

That omission might be described as willful and malicious.

Never say you’re sorry…

-sly

i’ve got a whole lot of unfinished posts right now. i start them, based on outrage at somebody saying something wrongheaded and narrowminded…

And then my will to write evaporates.

You see, part of me is cheering on the bloggers who are taking yearlykos crowd to task for the Pale-larity* of the whole thing….and part of me is asking why smart and talented bloggers like them are wasting their breath. Maybe i’m not seeing the point…we knew that some of the big names have some nasty oversight issues when it comes to you know, recognizing that people who aren’t middle class white folks exist and have valid political claims that if we believe our own ideology, ought to be answered by liberal political systems.

We know this. We know this.

So why do we write as if it’s still newsworthy? Are we still collectively shocked at our own awakening to the crass betrayal of progressive politics by the established “liberal” institution? Stung by the pernicious and cancerous hold of racism on the American imagination?

Is it just plain difficult to render into words a political and social discourse that isn’t responding to the massive deployment of unearned privilege and generalized fuckwittery that passes for civilization these days?

I haven’t been writing much.

I wonder why.

-sly

* Pale-larity is the the awkward laugh that a White person makes upon recognition that the room is nearly entirely inhabited by White people. It is often accompanied by proffering an explanation for why the room is so White.

A few entries that got me over the past few days…

Over at Slant Truth

In explaining why it was wrong for cops to beat a photojournalist…

“He has no history of…psychiatric problems”

What?

It should go without saying that the ever cool Keven didn’t write this, and that the larger story is still very important. But in explaining the injustice, this man’s advocates repeated an idea that is harmful. And just plain dumb. If he’d been depressed, it’d be okay for them to wail on him and leave bruises all over his body? They don’t really think that. They wanted you to know how not scary he was. And to explain that, they have to rule out the possibility that he belongs to the boogie man category that makes otherwise unassuming individuals in to enemies of the state…blackcrazy.

And then over at Shake’s…

Melissa starts a great series on how “odd” news maligns and trivializes the suffering of women…so this is what they decide to post instead.

Perhaps I spend too much time being critical of Shakes…but because of Melissa, it’s the one of the only “big names” that i read with any regularity. And some of the stuff that’s been posted there by other contributors has been nothing short of rotten tripe, and the most banal stereotypes of mental illness.

Also, it should be noted that you don’t have to say “crazy” to crazy bait. I can see you winking, mmmkay? At any rate, this man experienced chronic pain and for some reason believed that he had to go outside the system for help. That’s an interesting and critical issue right there, not a comedy to relieve everyone’s political angst over the last few days.

To spacecowboy, i hereby confer upon you the “Oh, I See What You Did There” Award. Enjoy!

Oh, I See What You Did There

-sly

So, the bruhaha of the day seems to be Bill Richardson failing to state in uninterrupted prose that being gay isn’t a choice. We have the eager interviewing skills of Melissa Ethridge, Lifer Extraordinare, to thank for this shocking revelation.

His campaign is in full back spin mode, stating the Holy Manta of Gay Orthodoxy.

We believe in one orientation, begotten and not made of culturally based choices…

I’m sorry…they actually said:

“I misunderstood the question. Let me be clear- I do not believe that sexual orientation or gender identity happen by choice. But I’m not a scientist, and the point I was trying to make is that no matter how it happens, we are all equal and should be treated that way under the law. That is what I believe, that is what I have spent my career fighting for. I ask that people look at my record and my actions and they will see I have been a true supporter of the LGBT community.”

Uh. Who gives a crap? Who gives a flying fuck if a presidential candidate thinks we were born that way so we have a right to be who we are?

How about we care if they are going to work to repeal DOMA? Or if they think that since there is nothing wrong with being queer it doesn’t matter why we are what we are?

I have decided to file LOGO, Bill Richardson, Melissa Etheridge, and HRC under the category: Idiots, Un-useful.

-sly