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Shout Out To A Decade Ago When I Was The Guitarist Of A Pop-Punk Band.

29 Feb

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One upon a time I was a tragically weird, hard-drinking scrawny homo working in a lesbian bar that was about to close down a few months later. I was dating a really cute drag queen at the time as well, but that relationship was kinda falling apart. I had also decided to part ways with Destroyed For Comfort’s guitarist/other founding member Dave Bates, and wasn’t sure if I could perform solo yet. Summer 2005, and damn near everything seemed up in the air.

So I joined a pop punk band as the 2nd guitarist.

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Secular End had just relocated to Austin, Texas from Phoenix, Arizona. I’d seen them perform a few times before then, and even booked one oft their early shows (the above is the flyer for it, but they aren’t listed). Shortly after I had joined, they released the album “Revenge Of The Phoenix“, and most of our live sets were based off that album. They had an undeniable clockwork tightness, and I brought a chaotic energy the band never had before or since. They performed in understated jeans and tshirts, while I spat fake blood and wore wild costumes and makeup. We played to larger crowds than either of our projects had attracted before; it was pretty damn cool, honestly. We even had a music video that had rotation on Austin Music Network, something else that no longer exists sadly.

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I was in the band for about a year before we parted ways and I started booking shows as Destroyed For Comfort again. It still remains this odd episode in my life, this surreal adventure.

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“Gender-Critical” Extremists Encouraging Men To Undress In Women’s Restrooms.

24 Feb

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(EDITORIAL NOTE BY ME AUGUST 2018: Shit this predates the whole #ManFriday garbage by almost two years)

As of the writing of this article, there are over 40 bills targeting transgender individuals being voted on in various states. This is despite having zero justification to do so, as transgender protection laws lead to no increase in crime. In response, a group of self-identified “gender-critical” activists has been encouraging men to undress around children and women. What sort of men would do this sort of grotesque predatory exhibition, what could possibility be their motivation?

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Gender-criticals don’t care, as long as you say you hate trans folks. Just ask gender-critical convicted pedophile Nelson Garcia, who rants all day about the evils of transgender bathroom use on his sad little blog.

gendercriticaltoiletTERF2…and still fantasizing about men having sex with little boys

Anyway, these men acting out their creepy predatory fantasies out of some perverse sense of righteousness does nothing to test or examine the laws in place. These men were ejected, the laws work the way they were intended. And yet these creeps turn around and continue scaremongering based on the actions of their own protesters.

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If that isn’t repulsive enough, they are also attempting to goad their children into illegal acts of sexual assault.

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Astonishing.

Honestly, Who Actually Gives A Damn About Hitler’s Penis? And Why?

22 Feb

hitlerspenis1Above, faked footage of “Hitler’s Jig

So, like, no offence but Hitler is a piece of shit. Cool, we got that out of the way.

He occupies a particular place in history as a reviled and defeated political force, as well as the public face to unfathomably horrible human atrocity. There is an instinct when discussing him to relegate his humanity to some sort of “othered” status. “Normal” people would be incapable of what he has done, people say, somehow missing the irony of assigning aberration to a political regime devoted to exterminating aberration. More curious, however, is how folks choose to relegate Hitler’s otherness.

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The current lascivious sexualized detail is his life folks are gleefully poring over is an atypical urethra formation that affects as many as 1 in every 250 folks born with penises, and an undescended testicle (a commonly associated malady). But why in the world should that matter? The frequent assertion is that it “could explain things”, but what exactly?

Gratuitous exposes assigning various sexual deviancies to Hitler gloss over the devastation his reign had on homosexual and gender-non-conforming people. 100, 000 gay men were arrested during the Nazi Regime, 50,000 of which were jailed and up to 15000 may have died in concentration camps. Records of transgender folks involved in these arrests is difficult to ascertain because they were lumped in with homosexuals, but it was enough to be contemporarily remarked upon. Alongside human cost, the Nazi Regime also destroyed the records of Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute For Sexual Science, annihilating invaluable decades of compassionate scientific research and political works on homosexuality, gender-non-conformity and transsexual surgery.

It’s one (fairly complicated and not particularly admirable, tbh) thing to attempt to remove Hitler’s humanity rhetorically, it’s another to disdainfully invite others into the crossfire who suffered under him as well. One would think that after meditating on the man’s horrible quest for ideological, racial and sexual purity through terror, one may choose not to engage in similar demonization of historically marginalized individuals.

Sorry Shitnerds, Twitter (And Other Social Media) Is Not A “Public Forum”

25 Jan

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First sentence in, I’ll acknowledge that yes Twitter is public, in a sense.
Second sentence in, I’m going to point out this has nothing to do with my premise.
Doesn’t matter, however, because all of you dipshits have already forgotten me saying that three sentences in. Anyway, you can’t throw a rock on Twitter without beaning some creepy entitled fuck undulating up into a stranger’s mentions to assert that “Twitter is a public forum/platform“.

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Let’s see, there’s a Gadsden flag, an anime avatar, a generic knight… all this needs is a Gamergate hashtag and…

publicforum3YAHTZEE

Anyway, we were talking about “public forums”. First of all, a “public forum” as a concept only has meaning in relation to the First Amendment in the United States Bill Of Rights, which surprise surprise isn’t international law. A judge in Canada declaring that “Twitter is a public forum” in a court transcript means jack shit. He could have declared Twitter a “First Amendment Naked Pool Party” and it would have carried the same weight legally because Canada is not the United States. Trust me, I’ve googled a few boring as fuck law school PDFs and I know I my shit here.

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The concept of public platforms was established in US Federal Law to allow political demonstration, rather than to bolster the sad fragile egos of sneering manchildren surrounded by cumstained anime figurines that wanna yell insults at women and minorities about video game politics. As defined by US Constitutional law, there are three types of public forum:

  1. A closed public forum, like a jail or military base. Typically not open to public expression, but political and religious views are still protected to an extent.
  2. A limited public forum, like a meeting or organization hall or public theater. Much more freedom of public expression, but you can’t exactly yell “FIRE” in the middle of it.
  3. A traditional, open public forum. These sorts of locations are set aside by communities or the government expressly for the purpose of public expression. These are places like parks and street corners.

The thing about actual “open forums” is they aren’t private or corporate owned, because that would defeat the purpose. Twitter is very much a corporate-owned entity, signing on requires agreeing to Terms Of Service, and content is moderated to accommodate that (or at least is ideally). It could even be argued that Twitter fits more the definition of a “limited public forum” but that isn’t the way these dweebs contextualize it.

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Is Kylo Ren Queer-Coded? Well, Yes And No.

14 Jan

kyloren0Image from this comic by Andi Espinosa.

Since finally getting to see the new Star Wars movie about a month after everyone else did, I’ve found myself immersed in the surrounding discussions of it. Like, why the fuck was Han so excited to use Chewbacca’s weapon for apparently the first time in the decades they’ve been friends? How come in 30 years has none of the computer tech advanced past 16 color raster graphics, blinking lights and LEDs? Also is Kylo Ren technically yet another Disney queer-coded villain, and how awful are you for empathizing with the Nazified little shit in a queer way?

kyloren5Okay maybe I’m participating in different conversations than y’all.

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk lately about how Kylo Ren is the modernized face of impotent nerd rage. He’s like a one-man Gamergate, without all the Nazi imagery… oh wait. And, honestly, many of the traits that could be read as queer have been gradually integrated into uneasy heteromasculine posturing the past few decades, as addressed by fans and critics thinking of him as “emo“. There is a lot to be said about imagery of nerdbro ego projection and predation in many of his actions as well.

kyloren8Above borrowed from this comic strip.

And yeah I get that. I’m sure even more can be said in that regard. I’ve personally been humoring the idea that Kylo Ren’s encounter w/Han Solo is a commentary on neo-masculinity. Like Han represents old-guard swagger and grit and “benevolent sexism” and is a masculinity relic… he’s literally a cowboy. An artefact of a different age of manhood. Kylo Ren represents the new face of such: internally tortured, confused, with wildly inappropriate idealizations and bad posture. Watch Kylo Ren walk around uneasily in his uniform next time you see the film, see how forced his movements are. Kylo’s nervous stilted gait represents the new guard carrying the torch for men’s advocacy. Kylo winds up doing what he does (SPOILER: murders his dad) cuz of his misplaced interpretation of how masculinity works: aka a compulsive desire to “prove himself”.

But we’re not actually suggesting that Kylo Ren is queer. Or at least I’m not. But we have to keep in mind what queer coding is. We also need to differentiate queer coding from queer-baiting, a more modern trope of hinted sexuality, which also appears in the film.

kyloren1And how.

Spoiler alert, but I’m gonna be hammering on and on about this sort of thing over the course of several upcoming articles (not about Star Wars tho). In this case, I believe whether Kylo Ren is queer-coded or not may mean different things between folks older or younger than 30. Folks like us grew up with less media representation. Some of us may be a bit more sensitive or in-tune with the “nod-nod wink wink” aspects of this than folks growing up in an era where a character can actually be queer without also having to be a mass-murderer to satisfy some garbage moral clause.

To me Kylo’s unmasking scene in the torture chamber more than a little bit resembled when Ra unmasks himself in the first Stargate movie. The hard, cruel gray and black immobile feature-obscuring mask giving way to reveal a soft androgynous face and sensitive eyes. In the case of Stargate, particularly, strategically revealing the face of the actor that played a trans woman in The Crying Game just a couple years before, one of the most iconic and recognizable trans characters in film (for good or for bad).

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And it’s not like we haven’t seen the “prissy evil son in the shadow of an impossibly badass father whose shoes he may never fill” dynamic before.

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Also, this is Disney we are talking about. The company that pretty much wrote the book on queering up their baddies.

kyloren4Coincidence? I think… actually yeah probably coincidence.

The thing about Star Wars movies, however, is that just by existing they change the face of  everything they touch. While doing so, they completely reinvent the visual language surrounding such, from fashion to archetypes and of course special effects. These changes become so widespread because damn near everyone winds up seeing them.

kyloren7Well everyone that matters, anyway.

Perhaps this really is a calculated narrative side-step to replace tired Hollywood Golden Age homophobia with biting commentary on evolving male ego. If so I have to admit I’m impressed.

Godey’s Magazine Mockery Of An 1851 Men’s Rights Convention (With Actual Sources)

2 Jan

1851mensrights6Pic Unrelated

It’s a brand new year, and a weekend, so I can understand why folks may be choosing to phone it in at their chosen profession. “Best Of” Articles and such are all over the place; I get it. But the sadclowns over at A Voice For Men have taken it a step further, recycling material from two centuries ago. Unable to find an example of men’s oppression in the past two hundred years, they are currently ugly sobbing about a satirical article from 1852. 1851mensrights7

But rather than, you know, make any commentary on it, they just copy-pasted the text and called it a day. Because ethics in crying about 200 year old satire, I’m sure. They didn’t even post source material, just a couple half-ass links to Wikipedia. With about ten minutes on Google, I managed to track down the source material, which I will now post/reference because public domain. Also, I want this archived somewhere besides A Voice For Men.

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Anyway, the article comes from the April 1952 issue of Godey’s Magazine And Lady’s Book. The magazine itself was incredibly popular in pre-Civil War America. Edgar Allen Poe got his start there, when they published several of his short stories (including “The Cask Of Amontillado”!). You can find archives of the entire print run of the magazine at archive.org and at accessible-archives.com. The article in question can be found here:

https://archive.org/stream/godeysmagazine44gode#page/268/mode/2up

As for the author, Chericot, Google is really not helping much with finding details. Apparently they also wrote a short story (with a sequel) called “Who Wants A Monkey” for Arthur’s Home Magazine around the same time. Maybe a pen name?

The article itself is as vicious as it is hilarious, in an olde-tymey way.

On taking- a survey of the meeting, one thing struck us very forcibly—the uneasy and restless anxiety that characterized the demeanor of most of the men; the slightest noise caused a general sensation; and, in one instance, the shrill cry of a fishwoman threw a gentleman into hysterics, which he explained, on his recovery, to have resulted from his mistaking it for the voice of his wife.

The basic premise is that the author is beholding a formative “Men’s Rights” meeting, in which a bunch of 19th-century sensitive “nice guy” patriarchs get together to kvetch and wring hands about how empowered their wives have gotten. It’s pretty brutal.

That an unblushing claim has not only been made on our clothes, but on all our masculine privileges; and as this evil has resulted, in the first place, from the impunity with which the women have put their hands in our pockets, and as it will end only in the usurpation of our business, and of our sole right to the ballot-box, it becomes necessary for us to impress upon this rebellious sex our united determination to resist their aggressions

As a work, it definitely hasn’t aged well in terms of racism. There’s a scene involving a Native American MRA that is as embarrassing as it is unnecessary. Seriously, skipping over it doesn’t even make a hiccup in the narrative.

The proceedings themselves are a series of bickerings, non-sequitors and displays of plumery until such moment as the founder’s wife appears, beckoning him home. After which the henpecked revolutionaries tuck tail and disperse.

“Here I am, my dear 1” said a sharp voice, and a small, thin, vinegar-faced lady entered the room, and walked up to the platform, at the head of a numerous procession of females. “My love,” continued she, “it is late; I am afraid you will take cold. Hadn’t you better come home?”

“If you think so, my dear, certainly,” replied Mr. Husband, turning pale, and trembling so he could scarcely stand, perceiving which, his wife affectionately offered him her arm. Mr. Easyled meekly obeyed an imperative gesture from Mrs. Easyled, and Mrs. Bluster picked up the general, who had fainted, and carried him out in her arms.

Exeunt omnes, in wild confusion.

Scans of the article are below:

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There Were No “Men Thinking They’re Napoleon” – Debunking Anti-Trans Armchair Psych

26 Dec

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Inevitably, when trans folks existence gets mentioned online, the topic gets bombarded with folks throwing out half-remembered medical/psychological diagnoses about what is “really” going on. Now, armchair philosophy isn’t exclusive to topics related to trans stuff by any means, or is it any less annoying or hostile. I’ve just observed enough that I found common patterns I want to address/de-construct directly.

Also, a reminder that if someone online is claiming to be a professional and throwing around dismissive and pathological implications of your behavior and what medical/psychological measures you “should” be taking to address them, that is very likely a violation of their professional license.

That said, for starters, I actually kind of love when people start throwing this one around: because it proves their knowledge of psychology begins and ends with Bugs Bunny:

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That’s not a thing. “Men who think they were Napoleon” was never a thing. Ever.

It’s a frequently cited example of classic 19th century “schizophrenia” symptoms, but has no actual recorded documentation of such. On page 604 of William James’ 1890 treatise Principles Of Psychology, he describes instances of hypnotizing men to believe they are Napoleon (amongst other things), but only temporarily. It was also used an early-20th century comedy trope misrepresenting the Adlerian concept “Napoleon Complex”. It’s referenced in cartoons, Laurel and Hardy shorts, and even used as a prominent character trait for one of the antagonists in John Steinbeck’s classic story Of Mice And Men. Ironically, Napoleon Complex itself also been proven not to be a thing. Hell, Napoleon wasn’t even particularly short for his time.

But, nine times out of ten, the reason people think it is a thing is because of this:

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The classic 1956 Bugs Bunny cartoon “Napoleon Bunny-Part” more or less established this concept to mainstream audiences. And, hilariously, you see people reference it like they are citing a case study.

This sort of stuff, however, I don’t have quite the sense of humor for:

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Comparisons between gender dysphoria and body dysmorphia are inevitable, and always bunk. They aren’t clasified the same, they aren’t treated the same, and they do not respond to the same treatments. Conflation of the two is also very dangerous, because many trans folks experience dysmorphic disorders (eating disorders, self-harm ideations) that need to be treated separately. Also, reminder that Paul McHugh is a domestic terrorist hack and considered a laughingstock by his peers and pretty much anyone but the anti-trans right wing.

Anyway, the “really not thinking this through” award goes to this sort of crap:

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So, like, how do folks that propose this think this will work? First of all, it’s actually kind of difficult to get committed to a state mental hospital, without police or family escort. Unless you are considered an immediate threat to yourself or someone else, such places are actually reluctant to take folks in, because of costs. For that, these religous right dweebs can thank their idol Ronald Reagan. The idea that politically inconvenient folks can be mass-boarded in mental asylums away from the sight of “decent” people like in a Victorian Novel hasn’t been a thing for decades.

Speaking of cost, who would be paying for this? I thought these sort of dweebs were small government/no-taxation without representation don’t tread on me types?

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Right now, even as underfunded as they are, the average yearly cost per state to run their institutional hospitals is over $188,000. By comparison, even though data is limited, the cost for transgender health care is looking like around $77,000 a year (and this data is from an extremely liberal area). Opponents trot out the expense of surgery, but there’s only a handful of surgeons that even take insurance. Many of the well-known surgeons popular for their pioneering techniques do not. Yes, more surgeons will likely be emerging in the future, but what folks that aren’t trans may not be aware of is that word-of-mouth is a huge influence on doctor choice. Many of us forego insurance covered doctors for others with better recommendations. Coverage costs have always sailed way under predictions every time for this and other reasons.

And yeah, I’m definitely putting more thought into this than any of them are. I’m sure someone is gonna diagnose me with something or other for that. Feel free to do so in the comments I guess.