SNTDBIDW - The Same Damn Thing You Did Last Time

OK -- here's installment two in SNTDBIDW:

How To Break Patterns

I do not personally know a single adult human being who hasn't danced out at least one horrifically dysfunctional (at worst) or annoyingly ineffective (at best) pattern in their life.

Granted, I do not personally know the Dalai Lama, and I acknowledge that there may be a plethora of exceptional human beings who do not run up against this challenge -- but if they exist, I have not met them yet.

If you are one of these exceptional human beings -- someone who has never once had the thought: "Uh-oh, here we go again!", or "Oh shit, I've had this exact same argument before, with this exact same person", or "Crappity-crap-crap! I KNEW I shouldn't have done this!!!!!!" -- please introduce yourself -- I will consider you the exception that proves the rule.

I will leave aside, for the moment, the multitudinous psychological and metaphysical discussions that we might have about why otherwise bright people sometimes engage in patterns of behavior that are self- or other-destructive, counter-productive, or just plain stupid.

I will instead, attempt to describe the "Because It Doesn't Work" aspect of dysfunctional patterns, and offer some suggestions.

I will start with an example, by way of personal anecdote, about one of the "patterns" that plagued me for many years.

For many, many, many years -- (like 46 years) -- it seemed to me that the only type of person that I could possibly be attracted to as an intimate partner was a "withdrawer".

Which was problematic for me.

You see, I am not a "withdrawer". I am an "advancer".

If a conflict arises, I am the type of person who wants to confront it immediately, and talk it out until it is resolved, no matter how tired, hungry, angry, or cold I am at the time (and therefore, often, how fairly in-equipped I am to find resolution at the time) .

However -- I have, with atomic-clock-like precision, paired with partners who were my polar opposite in this respect -- human beings who tended to want to take time away from the issue until they were not so tired/hungry/angry/cold before they attempted resolution -- or who wanted to take time away from the issue altogether -- forever -- and seemed to actually prefer entertaining the subtle, toxic undertone of unresolved shit, as if it were some kind of exotic spice for Relationship Stew (pun intended).

For many years, I approached this dilemma with a single strategy: I would simply batter away until I got them to "deal with it".

Ask me how that worked out.

Over time, I began to realize that I was approaching these situations in a most unscientific, illogical, and irrational manner -- I, who prided myself on my rationality, and my logic.

Here's the metaphor: If you were a scientist, and you went into the laboratory and mixed two chemicals in a beaker, and the reaction of the two chemicals was such that it blew the laboratory sky high, and burned the fuck out of you -- would you rebuild the same exact laboratory, and mix those exact two chemicals in precisely the same kind of beaker again?

OK -- maybe you would -- one more time. Tops.

On this second attempt, though, if you blew the lab to smithereens and burned the fuck out of yourself again -- well, chances are that you would . . . . . . Try Something Different.

Strangely, I didn't do that for many years. Instead, I kept applying the same disastrous formula to my experiments -- over, and over, and over, and over.

It went like this:
a) Problem arose in relationship (usually in the form of conflict or disagreement).
b) Argument ensued . . . . or Discussion ensued -- and quickly devolved into Argument.
c) Partner who had low-tolerance for conflict or ongoing process demonstrated fatigue, or expressed desire to go away and process internally before continuing to talk. (I tend to process "on-the-fly", as I talk.)
d) I would press partner further, often pulling out the "Never go to bed angry" card, or claiming that their need for a break was simply avoidance (which observation may have actually been correct, in some cases).
e) My pressing would simply add to low-conflict-tolerance partner's overload, and render them even less likely to want to engage.
f) At that point, I would generally push harder and thus, exponentially grow the conflict.

(Lab Note, circa 2002: After several dozen disastrous explosions in the period between 1974 and 1983, I undertook a slightly different approach for the next eight years in which I chose to give the subject "space", while fastidiously resenting the fuck out of them. This procedure ultimately resulted in a somewhat delayed, but much larger, explosion. During the period from 1991 to 2002, I alternated between the "press on" and "back off and simmer" procedures, with consistent results. [see attached slides of rubble and broken glass].)

I'm not 100% sure why I persisted in applying just these two strategies for so many years, but I have a partial hypothesis, and some strong hunches. The hypothesis is the result of years of in-depth therapy, wherein I figured out that I was in reaction to my mother's tendency to withdraw in the face of any conflict. The hunches are along the lines of: I suspect that I held in my mind some notion that if my partner got what they wanted, it meant that I couldn't get what I wanted (because that was the way it had worked in my FOO).

I'm not fond of the concept of "compromise". I don't think it's bad as a theory, but I've rarely seen it work in practice.

The Merriam-Webster definition of compromise demonstrates why that may be so, I think:

Compromise:
1 a
: settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions b: something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things
2
: a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial compromise of principles
I think that, all too often, while meaning #1 is usually the intended theory, meaning #2 more often represents the actuality.

What's interesting to me is that, even though I had self-awareness about my dynamic with my mom and my family-of-origin, and insights about my own judgments concerning the concept of compromise, this didn't magically get me to stop blowing up the laboratory (I'll speak more below on what did end my lab-annihilation streak).

Before I do that, however, I want to note that these were my particular chemicals and beakers -- yours may be different.

You may be the person at the other end of the spectrum -- the person who overloads easily in conflict, and needs space to process internally before having the energetic resources to resolve things with others (and isn't it remarkable how often we pair in just this manner -- Withdrawer with Advancer, Introvert with Extrovert, etc.?)
OR
Your particular pattern may have nothing whatsoever to do with personal relationships, but rather, it may a pattern that you have repeated ad nauseum in your work life, or your spiritual path, or in some other arena of your life.

Here's what I did to change the withdrawer/advancer dynamic in my intimate relationship:

I did something different.

About six months into my current relationship -- the relationship in which I found the love of my life -- the apple of my eye -- the floatage for my boatage -- the frosting for my flakes -- I noticed that "that thing" was starting to show up. That oh-no!-so-familiar thing: My partner withdrawing, and me pressing on.

Prior to meeting my Beloved, I had assumed, from the frequency of my patterned behavior in intimate relationships, that I just had what I called a "broken picker". I assumed that I had simply made poor choices in pairing -- by choosing partners who happened to demonstrate traits that were like my mother, and which, consequently, triggered the living hell out of me.

However, with the Beloved, I felt quite clear that I had made the correct "pick". I was madly, frothingly, in love with her, and she was madly, frothingly in love with me back. This was not at question for either of us in any way.

So, when the dreaded pattern started showing up, I had two epiphanies: 1) Maybe I was picking people "like that" for a reason -- that reason being that I actually needed to clear up this pattern, and 2) Maybe my past approaches had simply been ineffective -- not "wrong" -- not "bad" -- simply inefficient.

During our third big repetitive fight (in the car -- bad place to fight, btw), as I found myself thinking: "Here I/we go again!", I did something I had never done before -- I pulled the car over to the side of the road, and I said exactly what I was thinking:

"Sugar, I adore you. I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with you. And. . . . . .what we're doing now? -- Where you withdraw and I press on? I've done that before, and I don't want to do it any more. So, if this is what we're going to do in the future, I think we should just break up right now, even though I'm madly, frothingly in love with you, and I know you're in love with me, too. Because I already know where this goes, and I just don't want to go there any more."

My Beloved stopped, looked thoughtful for a minute, and said: "Yeah, I've gone here before, too, and this isn't how I want to do it, either . . . . . let's do something different."

Since that day, six years ago, we've been doing it differently.

Our particular form of doing it differently means that we don't compromise -- but rather that we work collectively to make sure that each of our needs gets met in our interactions. This means that I sometimes give her space to think and process at her own pace, but that she also recognizes my "need for speed", and that when she does take space to process, she makes a concerted effort to actually process, rather than simply escape (which she admitted was one of her patterns). It means that I acknowledge that my "need for speed" can be just as much a tactic for escape from discomfort as I used to think her need for process-time was. It means that when we come into conflict with each other (which is remarkably rare these days), we often end up choosing to do things that are not necessarily as immediately "comfortable" as our old patterned choices were -- but since we've tried those patterns out pretty thoroughly, and discovered that they just don't work, we're each willing to go through that discomfort.

So, if you hear yourself saying or thinking things like: "Here we/I go again!", or "Damn! I thought I had figured this out, and here it is once more!" -- or even "See! I told you this would happen!", I'd suggest to you that you have just admitted that you are dealing with a pattern -- something with which you have enough experience that you can recognize it when it comes around again, and dread the results as predictable.

I would posit that it is at this precise moment of recognition that you have the opportunity to Do Something Different.

That "Something Different" will probably feel (at least initially) uncomfortable and unfamiliar -- which is usually a very good sign that it is actually Something Different.

And if you blow up the lab again?

Well, at least you will have new data about what works and what doesn't work.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 5:55 PM 5 comments Links to this post  

I Have a Better Idea

Since we're looking at a $700 Billion Bailout, I thought I'd be helpful and offer some suggestions.

I think that I have a better idea than handing one man $700 billion dollars, while agreeing that "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

Actually, I think I have THREE better ideas.

Better Idea #1: The Keep It Simple Stupid Idea

Since we're talking 700 Billion dollars, and there are nearly 7 billion people on the planet, how about we just go Absolute Deregulation on their asses? -- Give every single human on the planet 100 dollars and let them do whatever the fuck they want with it.

Now, the current estimated world population is only 6.725 billion as of this month, so, rather than fight over that remaining $27.50, maybe we could do something else with that -- let me think . . . . oh . . . . like, having a huge fuck-off party!

OK, now I realize that this KISS approach may be too "Act Globally, Think Universally" for some of you, so I have a couple of other ideas -- especially if you think that it would be unfair for US taxpayers to have to foot the bill for the whole world's sudden multi-billionaire status. I have to say that some part of me agrees that, even though we will all be multi-billionaires, too, each of us USofA tax-payin' citizens would have to part with $2,324.50 of our new-found wealth to pay for this approach, and that would just not be fair.

If you want to "keep US wealth in the US", my other two Better Ideas might be more palatable for you -- and they're both actually based in another KISS principle -- How about we just obey United States law?

Since legal precedent generally treats a corporation like an individual, and some corporations are teetering on the edge of financial ruin, why don't we just treat them like individuals?

We happen to have a couple of ways of dealing with some of the individuals who are in financial distress in our country.

For those in debt who want a "new start", we have Bankruptcy. For those who can't seem to make it on their own at the moment, we have Welfare.

So, for those who worry that Better Idea #1 smacks too strongly of Oh-Noes!-Teh-Socialism!!, I invite you to consider:

Better Idea #2 -- Bankruptcy:

This'll be easy! We even have a handy-dandy new bankruptcy law -- barely three years old! It's designed to help those in financial distress become more Responsible[tm] about how they handle their $$, and stop misusing the bankruptcy process! Doesn't that sound all warm and friendly and fiscally responsible and shit?

If we simply follow the 2005 law --

First, the troubled individual corporation will have to pass a means test, to be certain that they can qualify for a straight Chapter 7 bankruptcy. They will have to prove that they don't make more than the median income in their state.

What's that? You say that some of these corporations are incorporated in many (if not all) states? Oopsy! Well, let's just say that we take the average of all the corporations in all the states that they're incorporated in. That seems fair.

If they pass the median income test, they have to go to mandatory credit counseling, and then file Chapter 7, but any tax-debt, student-loan debt, fines incurred for violating the law, or debts incurred through fraud will have to be paid back. Properties that secured debts will have to be returned to the creditors.

If they don't pass the means test, they will have to file Chapter 13, and make monthly payments over a five-year period to repay their debt.

What's that? You say that the corporation itself doesn't have any money, because the CEOs and consultants and other high-level folks took all the money and are personally indemnified against the corporation's debt or mismanagement? Oopsy!

Whatever will we do with these naughty, naughty corporations? They can't pay a thing, poor dears, and they're penniless! Penniless, I tell you!

Well, I suppose that leaves us only:

Better Idea #3: Welfare

OK -- fine -- everybody makes mistakes. But don't worry, we're here to help -- of course, you'll need to do what everyone else who wants welfare has to do:

Depending on what state you're in, you can only have $1000-3000 worth of assets (including cash, checking/savings, stocks, bonds, IRAs, and 401ks). Since the corporation may be in many states, let's split the diff and say $2000 as an assets-cap. The corp can keep: (one) house, (one) car, a burial plot and up to $1500 in pre-paid funeral home accounts, and any assets that cannot be turned into cash. Maybe the CEOs can move in togther in the one house -- and they can car-pool.

Oops -- I forgot -- the CEOs are not the corporation, and they get to keep their houses, and cars, and yachts, and planes. And cash. And stocks. And bonds and IRAs and 401ks.

But on with this welfare thingy -- First, Mr. Corporation has to fill out an application, and wait. And wait. And wait.

What's that, Mr. Corporation? You're in trouble right now? Bummer. The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly!

Well, now that I'm looking over your case-file, you might qualify for emergency food-stamps. (maximum benefit $155/month -- average $86/month). Maybe that'll help.

What's that? You're not feeling well, Mr. Corporation? Well, here's an application for medicaid. I'll warn you though -- it takes about 3 years for the approval. What? You're dying now? Bummer. The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly!

Oh -- and just a reminder, Mr. Corporation -- *stern tone* --you have to report any change in your income to us immediately -- and if you don't, you may have to pay back any benefits that you may eventually qualify for. We may also schedule periodic home visits to check up on you.

What's that?

No
, you don't get a five-year advance on your welfare checks . . . .
No
, not even a three-month advance . . . . .
Well, Mr. Corporation, I hear that things are looking very grim for you right now, but . . . . yes, I understand that sir, and I've done all that I can do for you right now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
lookit, Mr. Corporation!, nothing is going to be helped by you yelling at me! If you're approved, you'll get your check when everyone else gets their check, and I'll advise you to just go home now and I will get back to you if there's any change in your case!!!!!

(This dramatization brought to you by someone who has sat on both sides of the desk at the welfare office.)

So, I guess we're probably back to Better Idea #1, huh? Sounds more fun to me, anyway.
==========
(Note for the hard-of-humor: Although I actually think that all of the ideas listed above would probably be better than those currently being considered by our government, I have no illusion that my suggestions will ever be taken seriously, and so, have not bothered to work out the actual practical details. If you try to take me to task for this in comments, I will laugh derisively at you as a humorless twit.)

(Note for the hard-of-math - ME: My original version was screwed -- it's $100/person, not $100 billion -- I suck at math, which is maybe why that $100 is looking really good to me right now.)

Posted byPortlyDyke at 2:45 AM 7 comments Links to this post  

Check Your Perspective

Recently, I've read a lot of posts from people who are very angry about the unregulated fat-cats who have been profiting obscenely from our financial system, and whose obscene profits have led to the current financial crisis in the USA.

They are pissed that rich people are whining because they might have to take their kids out of private school, or give up their private jet, or sell one of their eight or ten or twelve houses. They are rightly pissed, I think, when many of them are struggling to keep their only house, or their job, or the pension they worked 40+ years for.

I know that I feel mad when I think about massive corporate bail-outs. Someone suggested that all the CEOs of these "rescued" companies should have to go through the same legally-mandated credit-counseling that any individual considering Chapter 7 Bankruptcy must undergo -- I'd take this a step further, and require that any counseling sessions they attend be televised on C-Span (since it's taxpayer dollars which will cover their debt).

But . . . . . and . . . . .

It's kind of surprising to me sometimes that, when people who have been in the "have-more" class suddenly get to experience what it's like to be in the "have-less" class, they don't take a moment to consider . . . . .

There are people in the world -- many, many, many people in the world -- for whom the thought of even having a house, owned or not -- with actual walls and a roof that keeps the wind or rain out -- is a dream that seems so far away and distant that they may have never even considered it as a possibility -- people for whom the question is not "Will I need to adjust the way that I eat? Will I be able to afford healthful food for my family?", but rather "Will there be anything to eat at all?"

I have a friend who works as a personal assistant to someone whose net worth is over 10 million. My friend works for this person (by choice) on a contract basis -- my friend has no employer-paid health insurance, no other benefits at all -- just her hourly rate -- and she's carrying significant debt. She chooses to work for this person as she does for her own reasons, and recognizes this clearly as her own choice. However, she admits that it was sometimes difficult for her to deal with her employers complaints when said employer lost a million dollars last year (when my friend's net worth is hovering somewhere between minus-significant-something and her cash worth is a couple hundred bucks).

It's amazing to me, though, that even when this is difficult for her, she can say to me: "You know, it's all a matter of perspective. If I lost 10% of what I had, I'd probably be freaked out too -- but I try to always remember that I'm well-fed and well-housed and well-clothed. I'm rich."

As pissed as you might be at people who have more than you do when they may be whining about having to part with something you can barely imagine having, think for a moment how someone in the third-world might consider the fear that a lot of Americans are having about the possible loss of their home or their job (or even just necessary adjustments to their "lifestyle", like no more dinners out or a couple less lattes a week or maybe cutting cable-service from premium to standard) -- think about that for a minute.

Think about it and realize that, in some sense, for someone in this world -- you are the fat-cat.

Now, don't get all guilty about it -- just consider it for a minute, and look around at what you have.

If you're reading this, you have internet access -- and even if you went to the library to get internet access because you can't afford a computer at home -- you have a library to go to. Consider that the very fact that you can have the fear that you will lose something means that you have something to lose.

It's my personal belief that our entire "financial crisis" is a product of fear.

For the greedy, who may have clawed their way up the ladder of "success", perhaps it is the fear that they can never have enough which has driven them to lose all perspective about how their own welfare is tied up with the welfare of millions of other people -- people who make up the rungs of that ladder, and without whom, their wealth cannot exist.

For the working stiff, perhaps it is the fear that the rug can be pulled out from under them at any moment, or their rank fatigue at being stepped on by others as they ascend ever upward, which has led them to a place where they have hocked everything -- their ethics, values, and concern for their own real fulfillment -- in an attempt to climb up that ladder toward the greedy ones -- the greedy ones who they simultaneously despise, and aspire to emulate.

For the desperately poor, perhaps it is the simple, unadorned, and reasonable fear that, when the ladder collapses under the weight of all that fear, it will land squarely and most damagingly on them -- and there will be no food, no water, and no shelter for them.

Bank-runs and stock-market crashes are made of 100% pure, unadulterated, FEAR. Economic advisors may speak delicately about a lack of "confidence", but you and I both know that they're lying.

What they are talking about is a surfeit of fear.

Nearly everyone in this country has something to lose. Which means that we have something. Which means that somewhere, someone out there in the world could quite justifiably look at us (regardless of our relative station of power or status in this country) and think: "What the hell are they complaining about?"

Take that perspective with you, if you like, and if you want to do something -- if you want to stop being afraid -- look around you right now, and find something that you currently have that you aren't afraid of losing (even better -- something that you're completely and totally ready to have move along -- something that has stopped being a treasure to you and has simply become something that you have to "keep track of"), and give. it. the. fuck. away.

Preferrably to someone who would think of you as a fat-cat.

Because, after all, isn't that what you wish the fat-cats would do?

=========================
*h/t to WomanistMusings, whose heads-up about Haitian people eating mudcakes laced with shortening and salt gave me a much-needed perspective check today.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 4:00 PM 12 comments Links to this post  

SNTDBIDW -- Shit Not To Do Because It Doesn't Work

So, I've been thinking recently -- many bloggers have some kind of daily or weekly video theme, or various "watches" that they do, and I thought to myself: "You know, Portly, you could do that. You could have some kind of theme -- a trademark kind of a thingy."

Then I answered a QOD at Shakesville (Question of the Day -- see? that's one of those trademark kind of thingys) -- a QOD about what single sentence summed up your personal political philosophy. I answered with this: "See what is, and do what works" -- and Voila! I knew exactly what I wanted to adopt as a ongoing series/trademark:

SNTDBIDW (pronounced Snot-od-bidow) -- Shit Not To Do Because It Doesn't Work.

I thought about calling the theme: "Pet Peeves", but I realized that this simply did not cut the mustard for me -- I didn't just want to talk about shit that pisses me off -- I wanted to get to the bottom of why it pissed me off, and why I don't want to do it, and why I don't want anyone else to do it.

I already had a list of SNTDBIDW that I had adopted for myself, and in examining that list, I realized that nearly all of them were either a) things that I had tried repeatedly with ineffective or disastrous results, or b) things that I had seen being tried repeatedly by others with ineffective or disastrous results.

When I was younger, I tried out many different forms and systems of "self-discipline", "morality", "philosophy", and "ethics". I always wanted to be a "good" person, but found that the definition of what it means to be a "good" person was so completely fluid from culture to culture, group to group, etc., that this was actually a very crappy guide as an approach to a consistent and effective system of personal ethics or pinciples.

So, I began to approach my personal ethics/principles much more from this basis:

"Does this choice/thought/speech/action actually produce the result that I say I want to produce?"

In other words: Does it work?

I decided to leave good/bad/right/wrong out of it -- and frankly, it's been a huge relief.

Hence, I will be offering my new "theme" (SNTDBIDW) from that standpoint. I will actually name the Shit Not To Do, but I will also offer my insights on why the SNTD doesn't "work" (doesn't produce the result it claims-to/wants-to produce).

Here's my starting example in Shit Not To Do Because It Doesn't Work:

Talking About People Behind Their Backs
OR
Complaining to General Mills When You Have a Problem With General Motors

We all "know" that we "shouldn't" talk about other people behind their backs. Taken from a purely culturally "moral" perspective, we all "know" that doing this means that we're back-bitey, and two-faced, and gossipy, and "bad".

Taken from a purely internal experiential perspective, I think it also probably scares us a bit (or maybe even scares us a lot), because there's always the possibility that our back-bitey, two-faced, gossipy-ness might actually "get back" to the person that we've talked about -- and if we have any sort of relationship to the person we're back-biting, that shit is probably going to result in either a) an uncomfortable confrontation with that person, or b) a slow icing-over of said relationship.

In fact, I believe that the closer the relationship you might have with the person that you are talking about (but not to), the more scared you'll probably feel, because there is more at stake for you when the inevitable shit hits the inescapable fan.

But I'd like to offer you a better reason for not talking about people (rather than to them), when you have a complaint or a bitch or a problem with them -- and that reason is:

Because It Doesn't Work.

If I have a problem with my car, and I write a letter to my cereal manufacturer, chances are very good that said letter will be so much wasted time, energy, paper, and ink.

Cereal-Manufacturer might even write me a letter back, saying how right I am about how crappy Car-Maker is, and how my outrage is completely justified, and what a dip-shit Car-Maker has been, and always will be.

Then, maybe I'll write a letter back to Cereal-Manufacturer, and say: "Yeah, and you know what ELSE Car-Maker has done to me? Blah, blah, blah de blah-blah!!!!!!" And we might carry this correspondance on for days or weeks or months or years.

But my car will still be broken.

And Car-Maker will never know I have a problem with them.

Let's compound this a bit, now, and say that Car-Maker is my neighbor, and not only am I not writing them my letter of complaint or talking to them about my broken car, but every morning, I walk out of my house and greet them with a cheery "Good Morning! And in case I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!" -- and then we smile and wave to each other.

Now let's say that Cereal-Manufacturer and I get each other all worked up with our letters, and start blogging about how crappy Car-Maker is, and enlisting others into the CarMakerSucks.com website, so that they, too, can contribute their stories of how completely Car-Maker sucks.

Then let's imagine that Car-Maker is doing what we all do at some point or another -- Googling "Car-Maker", just to have that internet affirmation of their own virtual existence (admit it -- you do it, too), and they stumble upon CarMakerSucks.com, and start reading the blog-posts and the comments where we and our enlisted others ream Car-Maker a new one, and all sorts of thoughts cascade through Car-Maker's mind:

"WTF?"
"They never told me they had a problem."
"If they didn't tell me this, what else haven't they told me?"
"That person can't be trusted."
"That person is a fuckhead."
"That person isn't really interested in getting their car fixed -- they're just trying to ruin my reputation"

However colored with cultural/moral judgments some of Car-Maker's thoughts may be, some actual "That doesn't work" facts remain:

1. My car is still broken.
2. The likelihood that Car-Maker would ever want to fix my car is probably greatly reduced at this point.
3. The likelihood that Car-Maker will ever believe another fucking thing I say to them is probably also greatly reduced at this point.

So, if my real intention was to get my car fixed, I have done something that is actually completely counter-productive to furthering that intention.

I have adopted a personal precept in the past ten years -- a precept which I do not practice perfectly by any means, but which I strive to adhere to and improve with every day -- and here it is:

If I am involved in any relationship in which I claim that I want to experience connection, I will refrain from saying anything about that person that I would not also speak willingly and forthrightly to their face.

I chose this precept because I've found that it works (when I adhere to it) -- it works to create and expand the sense of connectedness that I say I want to experience in my life, and in my relationships.

I also chose it because I'm a big promoter of the Golden Rule, and I hate it when people talk about me rather than to me, so I figure that I have to refrain from doing things to others that I don't like being done to me.

I fuck up with this precept often, but when I do, I come back to adherance by remembering how to fuck up.

Now, there is the possibility that you might actually have written to Car-Maker in the first place, and they didn't fix your car, and you're pissed -- but in that case, tell them that you're putting up CarMakerSucks.com ---------- and stop fucking waving to them in the morning.

Here's the thing: When we bitch about someone else, it's usually because we want them to change something -- but if we never tell them what we want them to change, or we only talk about it behind closed doors with people who are not them -- then it's just energy and time and focus and talking and paper and ink and bandwidth that we're wasting when we think/talk/write about them -- and, quite likely, simply another example of SNTDBIDW.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:15 PM 2 comments Links to this post  

Everything I Have to Say About Sarah Palin

(In response to a suggestion/request from a reader in comments.)

She was chosen as a ploy. Period. Nothing more. In my humble opinion, there is no need to discredit her, disparage her, or dissect her.

She'll do that on her own.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 9:42 PM 4 comments Links to this post  

Honor Your (Radical) Ancestors

(Rant Ahead.)

Recently, I read a couple of blog-posts that were very difficult for me. One indicted my entire generation (baby-boomer) as the root of all evil, and another was about a writer who claimed (and reiterated in comments) that second-wave radical feminism really had very little impact on feminism.

*sigh*

When I was coming out as queer in the early-to-mid-70s, and later, when I was blossoming into my feminist identity in the late 70s (yes, I was a radical queer before I was a radical feminist), I remember that I deconstructed my own "radical ancestors" (the flaming drag-queens of Stonewall, the clearly demarked butch/femme couples of the 50s and 60s lesbian scene, and the bra-burning 30- and 40-something erstwhile housewives who were attempting to cast off the chains of the patriarchy).

I talked with other young radical queers and radical feminists about how identifying strictly as butch/femme might hold too many seeds of culturally-defined and stultifying gender and sex roles, how the emulation of very traditional glamor imagery by drag-queens might be counter-revolutionary or even fully anti-feminist, and how my straight feminist sisters might be "sleeping with the enemy".

I discussed this stuff, and plumbed the pros and cons of revolutionary and conscious separatism vs. revolutionary and conscious assimilation.

As with most young people, I had complaints about how my "social ancestors" had performed.

Many complaints.

Sometimes they had not been radical enough for my feisty, fresh-faced self.

Sometimes they had been too radical.

Sometimes I wanted to (and did) blame those who I supposed had handed me this pile of crap they called a society (as if they themselves really had such a different level of choice than I did in the raw materials they were working with) -- a society where most people either outright hated me for being queer, or at best, would "tolerate" me if I kept a low profile and didn't make waves. A society that saw me first as female, and thought nothing of dictating an entirely different set of standards and requirements for me as a result.

During my first year of High School (1970), mini-skirts were still popular (well, mini-skirts or long hippy dresses -- depended on which social group you belonged to). But in any case -- dresses were not optional for school wear.

Not only did girls have to wear dresses to school, regardless of Kansas blizzards and sub-zero temperatures (Broce spoke recently in a comment thread about an experience I remember well -- wearing pants under my skirt to the bus-stop where we stood in the freezing cold until the bus came, and then having to take them off before I could board the drafty, unheated school-bus), but in my freshman year, the principal decided it was time to crack down on all us slutty girls who were wearing our skirts too short.

This crack-down resulted in a new morning routine at the school entry -- as the boys skimmed past us (the principal giving them only a cursory glance to make sure that their hair wasn't "on the collar"), all the girls in my school lined up on the stairs, the queue inching upward slowly, as, one by one, we knelt in front of His Majesty Assholyness at the top of the stairs, to assure that our hems touched the floor. (Of course, we would roll our skirt-tops up later, but only if Mr. Badass was not prowling the halls.)

At the time, I didn't really understand what I was feeling -- I didn't know that the crumbling, compressed sense of tinyness that I experienced at the beginning of every school-day that year was. . . . . humiliation. Humiliation that I had somehow earned -- because I was female.

I also did not understand that this ritual was meant to enforce that humiliation -- to burn upon my consciousness the fact that I would be obedient and compliant and kneel and face the crotch of my overlord every day as if it were the most usual thing in the world -- because it was a most reasonable request, after all -- because it was done for my own safety, so that my slutty short skirt didn't get me into "trouble".

My intellect didn't understand all of the nasty nooks and crannies of this ritual, but my psyche sensed it.

At that time, the thought of rebellion -- of refusing to cooperate in my own humiliation was, literally, unthinkable to me -- even the tiny rebellion of rolling my skirt up after felt incredibly transgressive.

Four years later, by the time I graduated High School, I was wearing tattered and patched overalls to school every day. A move to a larger town and school was part of this, but even in my old hometown, the dresses- and skirts-only requirement had been dropped at my previous school by the time I graduated.

I believe that radical feminists made that possible.

When I was a freshman in High School, I had known I was queer for two years, ever since I saw the definition in a health-department sex-ed brochure for teens (believe me, the definition wasn't favorable, but, however much I didn't want to identify with it, I knew that --"a sexual perversion in which a person is attracted to another member of their own sex" -- described me, even at age 12, because I was madly in love with my best friend, and wanted nothing more than to kiss her on the mouth).

By the time I was a senior in HS (many unrequited loves later), and my friends and I were perusing a copy of "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask", which Karen had stolen from her parent's bedroom, I still knew enough to "ewww" along with everyone else when we got to the icky homo parts.

But less than two years after this, I was quite happily, if nervously, coming out to a gay man in my theater department, and finding -- not repulsion (even though he had never met a lesbian before -- or so he thought) -- but a welcoming -- into a community of closeted gay men who adopted me as their token lesbian mascot . . . . . or something . . . . (still not entirely clear about all that).

Two years more, and I was coming out to my parents and marching in Gay Pride parades.

I believe that radical queers made that possible.

Sure -- later, more "mainstream" activists made headway as well, but without those pushy bra-burning feminists, and those flamboyant screaming queens, there would have been no pocket of acceptability for those moderate activists to inhabit.

I believe that with my whole. entire. brain.

Later in my life, when the late 80s stirred up the Fundie Right and they began organizing state ballot initiatives to curtail hard-won rights that queer and feminist activist had carved out of an oppressive landscape, there were new radicals: Act Up! was full of fresh, young, angry faces, and I stood by in horror as more assimilated, mainstream queer organizers attempted to marginalize the Act Up! groups, asking them to refrain from attending certain rallies, asking them to curtail their activities and edit their press releases because "we" didn't want to "scare off" straight "allies" who found certain types of queers acceptable, but who could not stomach the "radical element".

It was amazing to me, really, that gay men and lesbians whose success and freedom could be traced back to some outrageous fucking queens in 60s New York would even consider asking Bi queers to shut up (because it screwed with the "I was born that way" meme), asking trans-people to shut up (because it just "wasn't time yet"), asking leathermen and women to disappear from gatherings (because it hurts our "we're just like you" political slogans), and asking Act Up!ers (who were only responding to the outrageous discrimination that was killing thousands of their friends and lovers with predictable anger) to "stop sounding so strident".

It was amazing to me that I was asked to refrain from singing a song about lesbians having sex at a night-time Dyke-Pride event because it wasn't "family friendly". Actually, I wasn't even asked not to sing a specific song, but rather, not to sing "that song".

I countered with: "Well, whether you believe it or not, the real objection that the Right Wingers have with us is that we . . . you know . . . have SEX with each other -- I mean, isn't that what makes me a lesbian?"

The organizers replied with: "Yes, WE know that, but we don't want to upset 'them'."

Joy.

It was at that moment that I truly began to appreciate my radical ancestors.

Now, I've done some difficult things in my life:

After Measure 8 passed in 1988 in Oregon (an event which "re-radicalized" me after a lazy hiatus in assimilationville circa 1982-88), I swore that I would never take another job where I couldn't be completely out of the closet (this, after ten years of being a social worker who was partially-mostly closeted). In an interview for the job that I both wanted and needed, I told the panel of ten interviewers (all over 65 -- it was a job with an Area Agency on Aging): "I need to let you know that I'm an out lesbian, and if that's going to be any kind of a problem for you, you should not hire me." (I got the job, btw, and all ten of the interviewers gave me private words of encouragement after the interview.)

I've stood in a parking lot collecting signatures for a petition for equal rights for queers, while a huge man screamed: "Pervert! Queer! Faggot! You should be killed! God hates you!" from less than 12 inches away. Close enough for his spit to hit my face, and for me to pray his fists wouldn't follow.

I've walked out of the funeral of a friend who died of AIDS where the preacher (authorized by my friend's parents) gave a 20 minute homily which basically boiled down to "he deserved it".

I've come out to my all-straight-all-the-time midwestern family-of-origin and mustered up the courage to invite my fundamentalist sister and brother-in-law to my "wedding" (such as it was -- and they attended).

I've marched in protests and participated in actions where I stood a chance of being arrested or tear-gassed, but I was fleet (and lucky).

I've tended the bruises and lacerations of friends who were queer-bashed, and stood up to three men who wanted to queer-bash me and my girlfriend outside a dyke bar.

I've intervened on the street between a man who was nearly two feet taller than I was, and the girlfriend he was threatening to hit.

I've volunteered in domestic violence shelters, and stood at the window while someone's ex screamed from the street, while wondering if he was organized enough to plan to a) bomb the place or b) burn it down, or just drunk and enraged at his sudden opportunity to feel what it is to not be the one in power.

I've had the conversation with my parents where I revealed the abuse that I experienced as a child at the hands of their trusted friend.

These things were difficult for me.

But the truth is, I would have done none of them if my radical ancestors had not done things that were much, much more difficult.

And to those who think those radicals were nothing more than a flash in the pan -- to those who think that such radicalism has nothing to do with them, I want to say:

There was a time when being "out" at all (much less considering legal marriage) was not really a choice for any queer -- but some radicals made that choice anyway. They chose to be out, even when this might, and probably would, mean complete ostracization by society, severance from their families, and beatings on the street. Or worse.

There was a time when shaving your legs or not shaving your legs, wearing a bra or not wearing a bra, wearing pants or not wearing pants, leaving your abusive spouse or not leaving your abusive spouse -- was not really a choice for any woman -- but some radicals made that choice anyway. They chose to do things that they knew might, and probably would, mean they would be judged and criticized and fired and expelled and divorced and disowned and beaten. Or worse.

Perhaps those radicals weren't thinking about you when they did these things -- maybe they were only thinking about themselves and what they could stand in that moment -- what they felt they must do for themselves in order to make life bearable (actually, in a way, I hope they were) -- but I know -- I absolutely know -- that I walked into a future where I was more free to choose because of what they chose.

They were my bridge to a more liberated future. They stretched the boundaries so that I had a larger place to live in.

Because of them, I had choices that they could barely conceive of -- without them, I would not live as I do.

So --

Honor your fucking radical ancestors, already.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 12:23 AM 15 comments Links to this post  

Relieved Sunday Blogging

I really am just so delighted to be back online and blogging. Hell, I'm glad just to be able to surf the web effectively (editing, rendering, and burning tasks kept my every-so-swift desktop computer completely tied up, and I was surfing -- if you can call it that -- on the 8-year-old laptop, when I had a spare moment, which was rare).

Problem is, I now find myself slightly tongue-tied. There are so many topics that I read (but didn't have the time or the techno-fu to comment or post about) in the last four months that now my brain feels like a too-full hard drive, with files scattered willy-nilly all over the place.

So, I'm opening it up to suggestions: Anything in particular that you'd like to read me blog about? Old topics left dangling? New topics front and center? Leave your suggestions in comments.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:59 AM 4 comments Links to this post  

Fine Feathered Friend

When we moved into the place we've been living for almost three years, one of the extra-added bonus bits was this crow who showed up and hung out with us.

He was a peculiar and spectacular crow -- big, bold, and smart (as crows are wont to be). Peculiar enough for me to be able to identify him easily by his behavior, even when he showed up with other crows (more on this later).

I can't remember if it was me or my Beloved who dubbed him "Jacob". It was one of those things where that was just his name, you know? As if it came out of thin air.

Jacob visited us nearly every day for the last three years. He (and later, his various families) would arrive on the wire outside the kitchen window each morning, and my Beloved or I would take the previous day's leftovers out to the big stump where we had placed a big water platter for his bathing and drinking pleasure. We took out the things that couldn't go into the garden compost -- bits of fish from last night's dinner, leftover bits of squishy cat food that Her Majesty couldn't be arsed to eat, slimy cheese (his favorite), etc..

My Beloved and Jacob were especially close. She's kind of Ms. Nature-Girl, and has a way with critters and plants. She would sit out, writing in her journal, and always had a pocket with a few cat-kibbles in it, which she would periodically fling out to Jacob, who would venture amazingly close to her (although he always remained very much a "wild" bird). His relationship with her was not a simple habituation to humans in general. He would be near (but not that near) to me. He would be less near other humans, even those who were at our house frequently.

The love affair between them progressed to the point where I started calling Jacob her boyfriend. Each morning, if she was up early (common), he would sit on the kitchen wire, right where he could watch her making her morning tea (and no doubt inspect any leftovers she might be preparing for him). If she wasn't up early, he would actually come to the skylight that looked in on our bed in a completely different part of the house (never at anyone else's skylight), and tap at the frame, then peer in to see if a sleepy head would lift from the pillow.

He would greet her with a ritual that crow-experts say is usually reserved between family-members in the crow clan -- he would sort of bow his head, clack his beak, and coo -- we called it his "Bowuh-Bowuh" sound.

The first Summer it was mostly just Jacob -- and his mate, which Beloved named Cee. When they brought their two fledglings (baby crows are big, but you can ID them as babies because of their bright pink mouths, blue eyes, and constant clamoring to have food rammed down their throats), we were delighted and honored. The four crows (later three -- one of the fledglings was lost) came daily, and the babies entertained us endlessly as they played with anything they came across. Tuft of grass? Play with it! Pebble? Play with it! Water platter? Attempt to balance on the edge of it and fall off!

The family hung around for the summer, Cee and the baby (Ink) left, but Jacob stayed on through the Winter, and appeared alone most of the time. The next Summer, he seemingly "fostered" another fledgling (crows do this, apparently -- uncles helping out families even when they don't have a brood of their own), who we called Farley.

Farley stuck with Jacob through the season, and this Summer, Jacob took on another fosterling who Beloved named Yi. Yi was a strange bird, still begging from Jacob long after s/he was bigger and had learned to eat for itself, and generally seemed a bit slow on the uptake. We could hear him/her begging from any available adult crow all through the neighborhood -- and if you've never heard a baby crow begging and being fed by an adult, it's sorta like this:

"Aaack. Aackkk. Aacck. aack-aack-aack-gargle-gargle-gargle-aack-gargle-aack."

All the while, flapping their wings in a rather comical fashion.

If he and his various clans did not show up immediately after sunrise, we would say: "Have you seen the crows today?" or "Jacob hasn't showed up today." If he arrived while I was sitting on the stoop in my PJs, having a first smoke of the day, I would call into Beloved: "Your crow-friends are here!" or "You have a/two/three/four crows."

Occasionally, he would be joined by a host of six or seven others. Inviting friends in for brunch, I suppose. They would be properly cautious of us (as Cee, Ink, Farley, and Yi always were) -- which meant that Jacob always got the pick of the leftovers, as he was always the first one to venture down as we walked away from the stump. He buzzed Beloved's head a couple of times, coming nearly close enough for a wing-brush.

Anyway -- Jacob has been part of our daily existence for nearly three turns of the year. My beloved and I are now considering a move, and Jacob was one of our shared concerns -- if we moved across town, would he find and follow us? If not, would the new residents of this house honor him, or shoo him away (or worse).

This last Tuesday, Jacob was acting very strangely. He perched at the edge of a bird-bath under the Magnolia tree for an hour or so, very still, peering down at his own reflection in the water. We were concerned, because the neighbors have a new black kitty who is young and a voracious hunter (he catches hummingbirds, and makes it look very, very easy), and we worried that the cat might attack Jacob, who appeared ill or, at the very least, not his usual self. However, Black Kitty snoozed away nearby under the hardy fuschia, and left Jacob unmolested as he scried the bird-bath.

The next day, Jacob showed up for his morning meal, but he was on the ground most of the morning (a dangerous place in terms of our local feline population, and unusual for the usually cagey Jacob). He then flew to a low branch of our huge Rhodedendron bush and stayed there, mostly still, throughout the day. We kept the neighbor kitty inside (neighbors are gone on vacation, and Black Kitty is fending for himself with a cat-door and someone dropping in to feed him), and watched over Jacob off and on during the day, wondering if he'd been poisoned or was ill.

Then, around evening time, he fell from his perch, and as my Beloved sat nearby, he died. After he fell, he lifted his head a few times, stretched his wings in his death-throes, and then quietly folded himself up small and passed out of his body.

We cried together and buried him in the garden. We had considered letting him return to the earth on his own, but on the off-chance that he had been poisoned or ill rather than possibly old, we didn't want to take the chance that a local animal would consume his carcass.

His body, though looking much smaller in death, was sleek and beautiful. He had left us many of these magnificent feathers in his annual molts, but seeing them in place, how they interlaced and overlaid one another, and finally getting to look at his talons up close was sad and amazing.

Next morning, Yi and Farley showed up as usual. It was odd that they hadn't been with him here during the two days of his illness -- although perhaps that's not odd for crows -- but we were glad to see them (both have always been far less engaged with us than Jacob was, but they still seem to know where to get a good breakfast).

The other thing that we thought odd was that Jacob seemed to come here deliberately to let us know he was departing. We struggled somewhat with whether he was asking for help, or just letting us know, but we both came to the conclusion that it was best to let the wild thing be wild.

I'm glad that I knew him. I'm honored that he came so close.

I loved a crow. He's not a crow anymore.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 10:34 PM 7 comments Links to this post  

In Which Portly Learns Much

Well, here it is — the promised post when my project was completed.

Today, I mailed out 32 copies of a 6 DVD set that I’ve been working on since January 2008 -- they are only the pre-purchased copies, but at least they're out.

It didn’t really occur to me until today that it had taken a full nine months, even though I’ve been saying to my Beloved for the last month that I felt like a pregnant mother — a pregnant mother at eight months — at that point where she is fully and completely convinced that the baby will NEVER be born, and that she will be pregnant for the rest of her life.

I was like that a month ago. Seriously.

I was even more like that a week ago.

And I was completely like that this last Sunday.

So, I thought I would blog a bit about the process.

First of all, “process” is such a quaint word, don’t you think?

We use it for so many things, and so often, I find myself tossing this poor, defenseless word out when what I’m talking about is something so all-consuming that seven letters is just not going to cut it.

So I’ll stop using the word “process” for this process — because it’s just not fair to that pitiful little word — instead, I’ll use the phrase “Oh My God What Was I Thinking When I Had Even a Momentary Twinkle Of An Idea That I Could Write Direct Shoot Engineer Animate Edit And Produce a 6 Fucking DVD SET?!?!?!?!??! In Less Than A Year No Less!!?!??!?!?! What The Bloody Hell Made Me Think I Could Do That?!?!?!?!?!?!”

For short, I’ll just refer to that as: “OMFG!!” as this post progresses.

In the beginning, it all seemed so simple, really.

Sure, there would be “learning curves” as I took on new software and new technologies, but hey, I’m a software-savvy type-o-gal! — I could handle that.

Just whip out some computer animations (more on this as the days progress), shoot a bit of film of a class I’ve taught more than 60 times in the last ten years (conservatively speaking), and send those babies out there!

Yeah. Right.

Not so much.

First of all, my experiences over the last nine months have given me a profound and humbling respect for the people who make movies — especially animated movies, but really, all types of motion pictures. Unless you’ve done it, even in the small way that I have done it, you really can not imagine the level of detail and attention required.

I’m putting up this post tonight, and will probably follow with more details in the near future, as I have a desire to chronicle it for myself, but I’ll skip right to last week and give you a hint of what kind of experience has been consuming me up till the moment I walked into the Post Office today with a big fat box of packaged DVDs:

A week ago Tuesday, I was all wrapped. The project was edited and mastered and ready to duplicate. I had purchased a handy-dandy (code for “expensive”) machine to burn and print the disks for me in preparation for sending them out.

Which machine turned out not so handy-dandy right then. Which machine, in fact, decided to morph into a rather expensive paper-weight on my desk right then, and crash my computer again and again and again and again to boot.

I remained fairly calm through this part (which amazes me). However, after I spent the weekend (while tech support was completely unavailable) reloading my entire hard-drive, repairing Windows XP, and hand-burning over 400 DVDs . . . . . well, let’s just say that my “labor” was progressing.

On Monday night, after days of struggle with the computer, and the machine, and the disks, and the OMFG!!!, I received an email from the computer tech at the company that makes the incredibly expensive paper-weight telling me that “Ooops! Maybe it wasn’t a software problem after all! Maybe I had a dysfunctioning unit.”

That was the moment that I lost it. At 2-ish am on Monday, after 5 days of constant, patient trying and retrying something that I probably didn’t need to be doing anyway — cause the thing just wasn’t going to work.

I boo-hooed like a baby at my desk. I ranted and raved internally. (Good thing tech support wasn’t open, or the tech would have gotten an email that would have blown the eyeballs straight out of his head).

But it was good that I had that tantrum, I think — when a woman’s in labor, they call this the “transition tantrum” — it’s the point where she looks at anyone around her who is trying to help her (often/usually the father) and says something really rational like “YOU BASTARD!!!! YOU DID THIS TO ME!!!!”

Doctors and midwives often take this to be a very good sign. It means that everything is progressing perfectly.

At the moment, I was not able to perceive this. Had I been asked at this moment, I would have been, like: What is this progression of which you speak?

However, progress I did, and out it came, and my “baby” has now become a teen (in just under 48 hours), flying out into the world as a teenager, ready to be greeted by others.

That part feels very abrupt to me right now (the infant-to-teen in 48 hours bit).

One of the pregnancy-metaphor moments that I had last Friday was the moment when I was reviewing some material on one of the disks and suddenly thought: “OMFG!!! It’s crap. It’s totally awful, crappy, crap!” This can happen when you’re “too close” to a project. It’s a moment as normal and important as the moment when you think that what you’ve just made is the most perfect and incredible thing ever made by any human being in all of recorded and unrecorded history (and yes, I had that moment, too).

At any rate, it’s done, and it’s out in the world, which feels simultaneously hugely relieving, and incredibly scary. It is what it is, and I hope that others will see it and be helped by it and will enjoy watching it — but even if they don’t, this phase of it is done.

I’ll go and rest quietly now, but I'm very, very glad to be back to my blog.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 1:02 AM 6 comments Links to this post  

Quite Possibly the Most Sexist Phrase in the World

Recently, I've only been able to catch up on my blog-reading very, very late at night (it's 2:59 am as I type this).

In some ways, I think that's a good thing, because much of the crap I've seen being slung around about Sarah Palin has been just mind-boggle-ingly awful from a feminist perspective, and being too tired to get absolutely infuriated is probably better for my blood pressure.

The phrase most often seen that galls me?

The phrase that I have come to see as Quite Possibly the Most Sexist Phrase in the World (QPMSPW)?

I'd hit that.

You're probably asking yourself: "Why, Portly, why? Why is this simple, innocent expression of natural human lust QPMSPW?"


Well, can you say "feminist deconstruction"?

I thought you could.

Let's proceed, shall we?

A. Aside from the quite obvious de-personalization implicit in the chosen pronouns: I'd (I would -- implying me, an individual who is human) -- hit -- that (that thing, that object, that being so devoid of humanity that they don't deserve a pronoun denoting personhood), there is also the subtler subtext of violence that becomes apparent if you simply change the pronouns ("I'd hit her/him", "I'd hit you").

And hey -- if you think I'm being too feministy-picky-sensitivy about language -- well, hell -- let's just forego item A., and move right on to item B:

B. This phrase: "I'd hit that" -- is nearly always -- nearly 100% of the time -- a followup to some extreme criticism of the person in question. As in: "Her politics suck ass and but ...... I'd hit that," or "She's a screaming right-wing nutcase, but ....... I'd hit that," or, "That said ......... I'd hit that". (These are all true-life comments from at least three different blogs I follow -- and these are the milder examples of what I've seen).

So, examining the real meaning of item B, what is actually being said is this:

"Even if I find someone to be completely and totally morally repugnant to me -- even if I think and say that their attitudes and politics are toxic waste and horrifically awful and unthinkably bad and terrifyingly wrong, and absolutely, positively, palpably dangerous to my nation and my world -- if that person fits the cultural definition of teh hawtness closely enough, I would still willingly tangle my very body up with theirs in an act which would place me in the most intimate proximity to their toxic-awful-bad-wrong-dangerousness . . . . . . ."

(Oh, and I forgot to add the last part of the sentence)

". . . . because that's just the kind of complete dick-for-brains idiot that I am."

(Oh, and I forgot to add the other last part of the sentence)

" . . . . . . . . and I'll just keep saying it over and over and over again, because even if people don't admit it, underneath it all, everyone actually does get that the quickest way to neutralize a woman's power in this culture is to reduce her to a FuckObject whose only note-worthy quality is fuckability or non-fuckability, and if I say it often enough (even though I know that I have a snowball's chance in hell of actually having any opportunity to 'hit that') then everyone around me will remember that women are just here to be our whores and our mothers. Never our presidents. Never our bosses. Never anyone who might ever have any personal agency to say: 'No thank you, I'm not interested in you 'hitting' me'."

(Much shorter PortlyDyke: When you say that you would have sex with someone who you hate and abhor, you look like an asshat.)

Posted byPortlyDyke at 2:59 AM 8 comments Links to this post