Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Via Red Light Politics
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Let me be a white, middle-class woman in a long-term heterosexual relationship who is jogging to the gym at 6:30 on a week night, stone-cold sober, in a lovely little historic neighborhood, who is hit over the head in some back alley by some drugged-out crazy fuck with a criminal history who drags me behind a dumpster and beats me senseless before he rapes me. Because then I will not have to apologize for getting myself raped and no one will wonder if I made it up because I was mad, because I was drunk, because I dressed like a skank, because I was a sex worker, because I was in the wrong neighborhood, because I was ashamed, because well, that is just what women do, the silly things what can’t tell the difference between sex and rape.
I was on that beastly stair-stepper-elliptical-machine-thing, and to the beat of my workout, I kept hearing in my head, Who will rape me? I thought of all the different women I knew of who’d been raped, women I knew and women I’d only read about–inspired probably by this Sady Doyle post–and I wondered, fuckinghell, when does this happen to me?
Who will rape me?
How #MooreandMe Worked
Despite the derision that Twitter-based campaigns tend to attract (chiefly as a lazy and ineffective form of activism), #MooreandMe has been a remarkably effective and steadfast protest (thanks largely to the dogged persistence of Sady Doyle and Kate Harding, whose prolific Twitterfeeds will quickly dispense with any and all accusations of laziness). It’s been an astoundingly efficient recruitment tool, it has raised funds, it has been covered everywhere from Salon to Mediaite to The Atlantic, and it has succeeded (as of this writing) in getting at least partial acknowledgment from Keith Olbermann.
Well, Twitter is, quite possibly, the best available medium for this particular kind of protest. The format has a number of features that level a playing field that tends to push women into the outfield.
Read the rest
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
- Say you’re watching the news, and the story of Assange’s arrest comes on, and you say to your spouse, or the cat, I don’t care who, pffft, what a CIA conspiracy, there’s no way he’d ever rape anyone and your thirteen year old daughter hears you. What does she learn?
- Say you’re at the pub, and you say to your colleague, those women just felt pissy when they found out he’d slept with both of them. That’s not called rape, it’s called regret and the woman serving you your beer was raped two weeks ago but has been too afraid to report it because her friend reported a rape once and wasn’t believed by the police. How does she feel?
- Say you’re at the same pub, and one of your colleagues says yeah, and one of them was asleep apparently. Who hasn’t done that after a drunk night out hahahaha and you laugh, because it seems funny after the beer, and you like that guy. That guy, the one that you like, has actually raped an unconscious woman and now thinks you’re all a-okay with that, because it’s just what blokes do, and you laughed. What does he learn?
- Say you’re at a family barbecue and someone mentions that one of Assange’s accusers was a feminist who wrote about taking revenge on men, and you say yeah, rape is terrible but so is being wrongly accused. So many women just cry rape to get the attention, it’s disgusting and your mother-in-law leaves the room because she was raped many years ago by a trusted family friend and nobody believed her, but you don’t know that story, because you never asked. How does your mother-in-law feel, how does she feel about you being the parent of her grandchildren?
- Say you’re on Facebook and someone posts a joke about the blonde, tight-clothes wearing Swedish women Assange is alleged to have assaulted and you hit Like on it because it’s funny, you know?, and then one of your male friends unfriends you the same day and you never notice the coincidence, because you don’t know that he was sexually abused as a child, and now he will never tell you because you think rape is funny and you can’t possibly conceive of his pain, you can’t even touch it, you don’t even know it exists because to you it’s a punchline or it happens to women, only women or maybe in prison, and only when it’s deserved. How does that feel?
- Say you’re on Twitter, and you are enraged, and you retweet some posts that muck-rake about Assange’s accusers and their sexual histories or their clothing or their feminist leanings. You’re probably being unfair to those women but you don’t care, you don’t have to care, this is Assange, this is WikiLeaks, this is important. You don’t know that many of your Twitter followers have been raped and have been through various traumatic experiences from dealing with police and legal process and maybe even the media and how do they feel that this is being dragged up again in their Twitter feed? How do they feel, that you don’t even care about them (and you don’t care, because the only way you could possibly fail to know that a shockingly high percentage of women have been sexually assaulted, even women you know, would be if you didn’t care).
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Glee: A Very Glee Christmas...I think it’s interesting that they chose to have the desexed gay boys sing ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ as a duet. There are pretty solid grounds for thinking of the song as a rape anthem, considering that it involves lines like ‘Say, what’s in this drink’ and ‘Beautiful, what’s your hurry’ (to someone who expresses a desire to leave, and is then told to drink some more) and ‘Baby, don’t hold out.’ The show has yet to show us any serious nonheterosexual making out although it’s happy to show us het people rolling around on various beds, but I guess it’s fine to use the gay characters as a vehicle for…yeah. I don’t even know.
"Prince Charles's car kicked in tuition riot:
British lawmakers pass controversial law"
Beastie Boys making 'Fight For Your Right' film with Elijah Wood
|Date / Time||Venue||Town/City||Seetickets||Viagogo|
Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch is to write and direct a short film, set to star Elijah Wood, about the band's 1987 music video '(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)'.
The film, called Fight For Your Right Revisited, will premiere at the Sundance Short Film Festival, which runs from January 20-30 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.
Although details about the short are scant, Sundance.org reports that Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, John C Reilly and Jack Black will also feature in it. The film has the tagline: "After the boys leave the party".
Palin to visit Haiti for "humanitarian effort" (derisive quote marks mine)
JUNEAU, Alaska -- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin plans to visit Haiti amid a period of political upheaval this weekend to aid humanitarian efforts in the Caribbean country.
A Palin staffer confirmed Thursday that Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee and a potential 2012 presidential contender, planned to travel to Haiti with the Rev. Franklin Graham as part of the outreach of his Samaritan's Purse relief organization.
Yes, this is the same Franklin Graham who is totally concerned about women's rights in the Islamic world. The evil, warlike Islamic world. It's interesting how the fundamentalist right wing drags out the rights of women when it's convenient to deride other cultures. Funny coincidence that. And yes, this is also the preacher who kept repeating the easily, often and thoroughly debunked "Obama is a Muslim" meme, which led to him being disinvited from a Pentagon prayer breakfast in May. Please don't spend any time contemplating the fact that the PENTAGON has an official Christian Conservative prayer breakfast. You'll just do yourself damage. Graham prayed in the parking lot with the other psychotic zealots.
Not that there is any question about the kind of company Sarah Palin keeps, nor is there any doubt about the agenda of her backers and handlers, but it's nice to keep these things in mind when you're trying to one-up your friends and co-workers in your daily "the world is coming to an end, for real this time and not in a Christian way" contest.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
AS HAITI'S deadly cholera epidemic spreads, it may seem irrelevant to ask where the disease came from. The World Health Organization certainly thinks it is, describing the question as "unimportant".
That could not be further from the truth. Haitians themselves care deeply about how their country got cholera. There is widespread suspicion that the disease was brought in by United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal, and that the UN is now covering it up. This suspicion has sparked riots that have killed people, both directly and by impeding medical efforts.
We should care too. Haiti's cholera tragedy - more than 1600 dead and 30,000 hospitalised as New Scientist went to press - tells us something important about our highly interconnected planet, and how we should - but still don't - govern it.
Cholera bacteria thrive on poverty and disruption, and Haiti has plenty of both. The country was free of cholera when the earthquake struck in January, but when the disease broke out in October it quickly took off.
When the news broke on 20 October, suspicion fell rapidly on 454 Nepalese UN peacekeepers based in the town of Mirebalais, 60 kilometres north of the capital Port-au-Prince. Haitian officials tested the river by the base two days later.
There were reasons to suspect these Nepalese. Cholera, which is carried by faeces-tainted water, is endemic in Nepal: there was an outbreak in Kathmandu, the country's capital, just before the peacekeepers flew in from there between 9 and 16 October. Their camp in Mirebalais dumped sewage straight into a stream that led to Haiti's main central river. The first cases were in Mirebalais and downstream, areas barely touched by the earthquake. What is more, the DNA in Haiti's cholera shows it was a single, recent introduction of a strain from south Asia, though we don't know if it is circulating in Nepal.
All of this is just circumstantial evidence, of course. The UN insists it is in the clear because the tests on water on or near the base did not find cholera, and none of the peacekeepers had symptoms.
Yet this doesn't clear the matter up. Many people with the strain now circulating in Haiti do not develop symptoms but shed bacteria in their faeces up to two weeks after infection. Nor are negative water tests conclusive: cholera researchers say the bacteria are hard to find in fast-flowing rivers. To settle the matter, the Nepalese soldiers themselves should have been tested, promptly.
A single positive swab from a soldier early in the outbreak would have strongly suggested they were the source. A negative result would not have entirely cleared them - tests can produce false negatives - but it may well have calmed public suspicion.
But no such tests were done. The Nepalese government claims the water samples alone prove that its troops are not the source. The UN Mission in Haiti even phoned me out of the blue to claim that tests cannot detect cholera in symptom-free people.
They can. That is an elementary scientific fact about cholera.
Why would the UN go to such trouble? I can only conclude that they are trying to protect themselves and their people. Many Haitians dislike the UN force; dozens of peacekeepers have been killed in violent clashes since the mission arrived in 2004 to stabilise the country in the face of political upheaval.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Revealed: Assange ‘rape’ accuser linked to notorious CIA operative
My first thought connected to this whole mess, back in the summer when these charges first emerged, I'll admit it, was "That scumbag!" Such is the power of an accusation of rape. My second and third and fourth...mostly concerned the CIA and some head-shaking and dark muttering about the CIA.
Why has this salacious story hijacked most of the popular commentary around WikiLeaks? If the CIA is involved and their operative "laid a honey trap" (hello problematic phrasing!) and then "cried rape"... huh. I can't even type that sentence out without a long, slow head shake. There is a possibility this may be true. Many things are possible. It would be very clever to use a really tired trope that manages to devalue women's experiences of rape at the same time it congratulates a fiendishly clever temptress. Jesus. You couldn't go with murder, CIA?