cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (wtf?)

  • Higher education (every other first-world country manages for it to not be a giant scam)

  • The prison system (for-profit prisons, racial inequality, prisoner abuse)

  • Law enforcement (racism, misogyny, corruption)

  • The entire criminal justice apparatus (i.e. further gaps between reported and prosecuted crimes, jury verdicts like the Trayvon Martin case)

  • Any and all types of social security (i.e. it is almost nonexistent)

  • Military spending (why is it greater than the next ten biggest spenders put together and why is it STILL INCREASING)

  • Disgracefully shitty treatment of actual military veterans (even more nauseating when you look at the amount of faux-patriotic jingoism spewed by the same conservatives who don't want to care for vets)

  • Gun control (every other first-world country is managing a lot better)

  • Campaign finance (enough said)

  • Banks (Wall Street, discriminatory loan practices)

  • Real estate market (still horrifyingly enforcing segregation)

  • Public education (it sucks, it's under-financed, and all the test-focused policies are just making it worse)

  • Regulation of food and food labelling (meat and milk pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, shoddy hygiene and inspection, known carcinogens that are used anyway and which manufacturers aren't required to warn about)

  • Medicine (hospital management and doctor salaries but also the med school system)

  • Public transport (largely missing)

  • Minimum wage (outrageously low)


I saw a post about the mass shooting epidemic, something like "There's nothing we can do, says the only country where this regularly happens", and it got me thinking... this attitude is basically true of almost every area of public policy I can think of.


After having lived in Finland for 10 years, I can only think of 3 areas of public policy where the US is better:



  • The US government will not stop you from naming your child what you want to name it, even if it's a non-traditional name. The Finnish government, in contrast, doesn't allow made-up names or names of the wrong gender and you have to make a case to a judge sometimes even to borrow one from another language or country.

  • US public schools do not have bible school. But on the other hand, Finnish schools only give this schooling by default to children whose names are already registered by their parents with the church (by virtue of having been baptized there). I mean, I still don't think they should do it; I highly doubt that the elementary teacher education conveys enough expertise to qualify the average teacher to teach it, but if it did, the awful anti-Semitic textbook would be automatic fail anyway.

  • A murderer sentenced to life in prison in the US is less likely to be released back into society where he can kill again. This is mostly a side-effect, though, of the fact that he's likely to be put to death (which is bad). There is no such thing as life in prison without parole in Finland (or Sweden or Norway for that matter). The maximum sentence here is... I forget, 20 years or something? The prison/hospital for the criminally mentally ill is the only way and I'm not sure it's even guaranteed. ... And murderers aside, the US tends to let violent and dangerous criminals out to stab and assault again all the time, even though the prisons are stuffed with young black men innocent of anything but, like, driving while black or possessing weed. Plus domestic abusers who attempt to kill their spouses, or who do kill their spouses, tend to be released quickly (or let off scot-free), so it's not like the system actually works in any systematic way.


cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (peaceful)
So, this conversation happened today with one of my oldest (though no longer closest) friends, as soon as I got online this morning and before I even had a chance to eat my breakfast:


X: so, remember when I told you i say stuff like "that's gay"?
X: welp. I have a friend in SF and somehow we got on the topic and of course I got a speech about how I shouldn't say that.
Cim: You shouldn't
X: well yes. i know how you feel about it.
X: but also I happened to counter with the notion that it was hypocritical of her since she probably does the same thing cept with some other topic like jews or something.
X: so today she made a jew joke in front of her best friend who's a jew
Cim: ...people still make jew jokes??
X: yeah lol. they've been friends a while so it's like fair game. he makes asian jokes, she makes jew jokes.
X: anyway, she happened to do it and some other girl happened to be jewish, which was the point of my story :D
Cim: Is that the end of your story? I didn't really wake up today planning to be helplessly enraged and reminded that I'm lacking civil rights all over the world.
X: :/
Cim: Gay jokes not as funny to gay people in the middle of losing battles over marriage and DADT. Protip
Cim: So nice to be told being offended over it isn't valid by straight people, btw!
X: ...
X: that wasn't my point


Oh my fucking Gaga, that wasn't your point?

Obviously I possess the reading comprehension skills to get your "point". You thought it was oh-so-cute and ironic to catch out someone who, like me, dislikes gay hate speech accidentally offending someone with hipster racism. It's you who's missing my point, which is that when you make a point of exercising your privilege to say offensive things to someone across the privilege barrier when you know that they find those things to be offensive, that is by definition offensive.

Like, surely even a privilege denying dude (and this is a dude of color btw!) should realize that there can't be any way to champion the use of "gay" as a slur which isn't offensive to someone who is on the record as being offended by that usage? Because the mere fact that you're slapping me in the face every time you say it and I can't do anything about it is bad enough, but if you acknowledge that you already know how I feel about the issue, then you're basically saying "I could have the courtesy to not talk about X in front of you since I know you're offended by ablist language/not amused by rape jokes/gay, but I choose not to do so! You're not upset that I deny your marginalization, are you?"

Yeah.

And then I got on Dreamwidth and saw this! ontd_political: Governments remove sexual orientation from UN anti-discrimination resolution (includes itemized list of the 79 nations who voted to remove homosexuality from the list - including China, Cuba, Haiti, South Africa, and Russia - and the 17 who abstained - including Colombia, Fiji, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand).
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (tiny small swimwear)
Oh, I forgot to tell you guys last week that the hot recurring lecturer (expert field: special ed) from my course revealed last week that she votes SFP (Svenska FolkPartiet = Swedish-speaking Finns' minority language group advocacy party).

I consider myself part of this minority (albeit by marriage), but the problem with SFP in politics is that it doesn't confine itself to language advocacy, but takes stance on a lot of other issues ... and overall is a fairly conservative party, with most of its support being aging and rural, while the biggest and most active segment of the Swedish-speaking minority moves towards bilingualism and political involvement on other issues. I'd never cast a vote for a party so socially conservative, a party that's all "Oh sure, nuclear power is maybe bad, and sure, we have the money and ideal situation for setting up renewable wind energy on the coast but that might spoil the view from my summer home, and also, I hate immigrants". (The party leader, Stefan Wallin, is a big dicksmack too, as certain recent attempts at suppressing journalists show.)

So as soon as she comes out as a supporter of this asshole party - okay, I make allowances for genuinely old people, like previous generations, just the way I do for their inability to grasp the internet, but not for someone less than 10 years Wax's senior. She can't be much past 40 if that. Anyway, she comes out as SFP in passing last week and just ruins my night.

The rest of the lecture was taken up with internal musing on the unfairness of the universe: Why so hot, yet so, so wrong, hot lecturer? Losing all respect for you will even probably kill some of my enjoyment of your charming red wooden clogs.



Wooden clogs by Torpatoffeln (Swedish) and Sanita (Danish), two of the biggest manufacturers thereof; these are the Nordic equivalent of flip-flops, garden shoes, and indoor shoes for winter, to be changed into when you leave your snow-crusted boots at the door.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (dangerous)
Yesterday [personal profile] twistedchick linked to Karl Marx's contemporary writings on the American Civil War. Reading an outside perspective - especially, cough, having learned history as a child in Alabama - is a real eye-opener.

Besides being constantly told about "The War Between the States" and "The War of Northern Aggression", we in the South at least are generally told that the Civil War wasn't "really" "about" slavery. Of course, an astute observer grasps that this isn't exactly true. An astute teacher admits that slavery was part of a way of life, attempting to intimate that Northern bigotry against Southern culture of the time (which was totally unfair, because the culture just so happened to include slavery!) was truly at fault. But this reading shows that nothing could be more false than this ridiculous claim.

It's long, but it's gripping reading even though I know how it ends.

The advice of an amicable separation presupposes that the Southern Confederacy, although it assumed the offensive in the Civil War, at least wages it for defensive purposes. It is believed that the issue for the slaveholders' party is merely one of uniting the territories it has hitherto dominated into an autonomous group of states and withdrawing them from the supreme authority of the Union. Nothing could be more false: "The South needs its entire territory. It will and must have it." With this battle-cry the secessionists fell upon Kentucky. By their "entire territory" they understand in the first place all the so-called border states-Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. Besides, they lay claim to the entire territory south of the line that runs from the north-west corner of Missouri to the Pacific Ocean. What the slaveholders, therefore, call the South, embraces more than three-quarters of the territory hitherto comprised by the Union. A large part of the territory thus claimed is still in the possession of the Union and would first have to be conquered from it. None of the so-called border states, however, not even those in the possession of the Confederacy, were ever actual slave states. Rather, they constitute the area of the United States in which the system of slavery and the system of free labour exist side by side and contend for mastery, the actual field of battle between South and North, between slavery and freedom. The war of the Southern Confederacy is, therefore, not a war of defence, but a war of conquest, a war of conquest for the spread and perpetuation of slavery.


There's so much here that makes so much sense and that I wasn't taught in school!

  • Even though it's always called "the war of Northern aggression", in fact the South was the literal aggressor in terms of opening fire and of angling for the armed conflict for a long time first.


  • Many of the states now considered to belong to "the South" were so-called border states not given to slavery as a way of life and didn't secede, but were held by the North at the start of war. Basically, the center of evil Confederacy was confined to what we now call the Deep South. Tennessee and Missouri were overwhelmingly Unionist but the rich and powerful intrigued to help the Confederate army invade and conquer. In Kentucky, the governor and ruling class failed repeatedly to get the people to agree to secede in referendum. It declared itself neutral, a declaration the Confederacy formally recognized until it had finished conquering Tennessee, at which point it announced its intention to take Kentucky next. The legislature declared for the Union, captured the governor, and called the people to arms. The secessionists marched on the capitol.


  • The reason Texas is so big: slavery! It should have been admitted to the Union as 5 states by size, but the powerful slaveholders were an even smaller than usual minority, there being a lot of German whites as well, and even joining as just two states would have made one a free state.


I highly recommend reading this for any and all Americans or history buffs.

It is especially striking in light of the recent appalling events in Virginia, with their reprehensible slime-ball governor declaring a Confederate history month.

Virginia now forms the great cantonment where the main army of secession and the main army of the Union confront each other. In the north-west highlands of Virginia the number of slaves is 15,000, whilst the twenty times as large free population consists mostly of free farmers. The eastern lowlands of Virginia, on the other hand, count well-nigh half a million slaves. Raising Negroes and the sale of the Negroes to the Southern states form the principal source of income of these lowlands. As soon as the ringleaders of the lowlands had carried through the secession ordinance by intrigues in the state legislature at Richmond and had in all haste opened the gates of Virginia to the Southern army, north-west Virginia seceded from the secession, formed a new state, and under the banner of the Union now defends its territory arms in hand against the Southern invaders.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (yes)
You may have noticed that "They're not gay, they just love each other" is one of the most enraging political pet peeves that ever enraged me. [personal profile] torachan linked to this post where [livejournal.com profile] izzardwizzard posted scans of a new OUT interview where Ewan had this cheer-worthy sentiment about it in the context of I Love You Phillip Morris:

"I'm very keen that it's a gay movie," McGregor insists. "There was quite a lot of talk at Sundance that 'Well, it's not a gay movie. It's a film about guys who happen to be gay.' And I was thinking, it's nothing but a gay movie. It's about a gay couple, about a man's sexuality, and he comes out. It's not the point of the film, but let's not pretend it's not a gay film."

cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (workout)
Did I ever tell you guys about the time we watched Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet1 in my 9th grade English class, and in the scene where they have sex, our student teacher2 came and held a piece of yellow poster board in front of the screen until they stopped?

I went to a large public high school in the most liberal city (which isn't saying much) in the grand old Pancreas of Dixie, Alabama. We were also taught Sex Respect instead of sex education in school, where activities such as making up rhyming slogans to discourage teen pregnancy replaced activities such as learning what contraception is or how impregnation occurs.


1. Romeo+Juliet had come out the year before so 100% of the class had already seen it. This was the Reign of La DiCaprio in my high school. Even Prince William couldn't compete. The next year, there was a group of girls belonging to my social clique who made sure that every time we performed impromptu skits in Spanish III - which we did once per week - at least one group's skit contained a reference to DiCaprio. The most popular skit, which they performed again at the end of the year party to great applause, was the one where Hilary Clinton (played by the other lesbian in the class, though I didn't know it at the time) pushed her husband (played by an extremely freckly ginger Republican named Riley) off the Titanic in order to claim Leo (I don't remember who played him) for herself.

2. I remember her quite clearly because she wore false nails, which had a new fanciful color each week. The first week she was with us they were pewter, a dark metallic silver color which I had never seen on anyone's nails before and instantly resolved to find for myself.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (whatever)
Last night's lecture (course for classroom assistants), the second from a Special Education teacher, was mostly about the national guidelines for building local and school-level curricula/course of study.

The teacher talked about leveling and how it was abolished entirely in Finland in the mid-1980s, all the way from elementary school up to high school (where the Finnish system splits into entirely voluntary technical schools and academic high schools). Even reading and maths are integrated for the whole class and Finland also has no what she called "elite" (or inherently leveled) schools. There isn't money to truly provide special needs children with THEIR education all the way throughout the country, which has many rural areas dotted with tiny rural schools with as few as 2-3 teachers and 15-50 students. Imagine, then, how little provision is possible for children of above-average intelligence. The lecturer admitted to me that these children are frequently not provided for; the ideal is that the teachers are meant to look at each individual pupil's level and provide them with more to do (or less to do, and more help), but the only REQUIREMENT is that the basic curriculum be taught in a certain way to everyone (except for special-needs students for whom a formal process provides exceptions).

God, I mean, just imagine how boring (I suspect, though, given that Finland has some of the best education in the world going by tests and so on, that it's actually still less boring than my childhood was). I was bored, and many many people are bored even in advanced classes (even primary school classmates who IQ-tested into the special weekly "Gifted and Talented" additions, as they were called in Alabama, but then didn't make the performance-based cuts to the top advanced levels of English, History, and math in middle school at grade 6).

There is no question that a child of above-average intelligence is in less need of help than a child with learning difficulty. Of course, the resources of society should be aimed at the latter, because the former is just bored, and the odds are, has the intellectual resources to find something else to do, and keep themselves occupied. But that's not to say that the deeply-ingrained habit of utter boredom and superiority imprinted on these children by inadequate primary school doesn't harm them! I actually didn't realize until the last several years how much it harmed me, but I am starting to think now that it was a lot worse for me than I suspected.

I am so accustomed to boredom, so used to it from the first day I transferred from a private Montessori school in New York to the Alabama public schools at age 6, that it didn't even occur to me until last night's lecture that the AIM of schooling is actually not only to "challenge" every pupil (a platitude I've often heard and which, let's face it, is problematic and in many cases not actually meant) - but to keep them occupied. The infinite variety of ways to occupy yourself "After you finish your work" was so familiar to me that I sat dazed and confused for several minutes while the lecturer talked about the ways classroom teachers can and do try to provide extra material and assignments for the above-average so they don't just sit twiddling their thumbs! "Isn't thumb-twiddling an essential, indeed, the MAIN point of school?", I thought at first.

I estimate that from age six when I started reading my own novels in class (first with Babysitter's Little Sister, quickly on to Babysitter's Club and Nancy Drew and thence to YA and adult fantasy from my parents' library), I was never without several personal books brought to read per day in my extra time, and I typically finished at least one per day all the way up through 7th grade, which was the first time I encountered classes I couldn't get through even if I kept reading the entire time the teacher was talking. I still remember the staggering force of my epiphany, in 7th grade "social studies" (really world history) that not only could I be engaged if I listened to the teacher only instead of reading while listening with one ear, what she was saying was actually complex enough to require more than one ear's attention to understand! Through high school, I was still able to finish a novel in a day to a week reading only in the time after I finished my work; but in primary school, I probably spent a good 50%-70% of my school hours reading.

And, hey, I have just fully realized the magnitude of that. Because... that is wrong. That is FUCKED-UP. And that should be obvious - should have been obvious to a long string of teachers who kind of weren't doing their jobs, not that it was really their fault with the utterly inadequate resources given to public education in Alabama.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (she's so refined)
On vacay my cousin Amanda took us to a favorite gift shop, the Kansas City Area ten thousand villages, a non-profit volunteer-staffed store selling fair trade objets d'art from third world countries. A lot of it was much like what you'd find at the Riverkids Shop (they even had the same recycled Vietnamese fishfood bags, of which I already own one), but the store's bigger - a wall of scarves and bags, two color-grouped walls of jewelry, and a big showroom full of everything from musical instruments and umbrellas of recycled aluminum cans to big carved wood and steel drum sculptures. I'd quite like to have one nearby.

The staff was of middle-aged church fete ladies in stiff halos of hair straight out of one of those space-helmet salons, dowdy matchy-match pantsuits and fair trade accessories, as if the Women's Group of an aging Unitarian Universalist congregation were meeting behind the counter (not unlikely, in fact). The whole time we were shopping, the gentle hum of their debate over sparkly third-world Christmas ornaments for display burbled along behind us.

One lady in particular, however, kept breaking in with the others to ask them, "Is this ethnic?" "So do you think this one is ethnic?" "Is it ethnic, do you think?"

I'm not sure precisely what it was that gave me such a strong feeling of revulsion - some variant of Nice White Lady syndrome perhaps? - aside from the build-up of lip-biting that nearly resulted in my telling her, "EVERYTHING IS ETHNIC IN YOUR EXOTICISING, 'ETHNIC' SHOP, YOU PRETENTIOUS YUPPIE." Because, I mean, I'm glad the Nice White Ladies are volunteering there and would happily shop the fuck out of that store. But still. Can't they have a consciousness-raising or something?
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (;))
Journal-following fandom, I don't think I ever mentioned most of the things that have been fannishly going on in my life because I mostly just talk about them with Wax or with idk my bffs (hi [profile] hollsh, hi [personal profile] perhael!) (who are incredibly patient with my babble about fandoms they frequently have no interest in, haha ♥).

So the end result of this is that I never told anyone - um, except Wax - about this whole idea I've been toying with writing for two weeks. (In fact I've barely even mentioned the way I've been consuming [personal profile] waxjism's [livejournal.com profile] ontd_ai secondhand and reading (first-hand) Idol RPS since July.) (Although actually, my compulsions dictate that I can't work on it yet anyway, because I started writing an installment of Just Like Verse for [personal profile] aeslis and I have to finish that before I can write anything else.)

This idea actually has political/meta roots. It started with this bookmark of [personal profile] bookshop's.

toujourselle: American Idol: Ryan Seacrest (& Adam/Ryan): My Heart to Your Beat
okay, this fic is great - thoughtful, nuanced, fantastic and rec-worthy. i'm of 3 minds about it, though, and mind 1 is like, ok, but i'm starting to sense a trend in the Adam slashfics I've been reading, where Adam is this sparkly unicorn that donates blowjobs freely to men dealing with their own repression; which is kind of problematic, ok, because Adam is not just a Magical Mouth for other people. So there is that. But then Mind 2 is like, BUT RYAN <3333 bc it's obvious that the writer recognizes what's problematic about Ryan Seacrest himself. And Adam seems like the kind of amazing person who would actually take time to help somebody through sexual issues, and it's not like there's anything shameful in getting it on with RS! So there is that. And then mind 3 is like, HA! THIS FIC IS TOTALLY RYAN/SIMON ANYWAY \o/ but then mind 1 is like: but doesn't that ultimately exploit Adam? >:( and so I want to acknowledge that. Overall, though, this is a great fic, esp. for this fandom.


I didn't bookmark the story myself because for me, the strength of distaste for the treatment of Adam overpowered the other factors. (Also, the Ryan/Simon is only implied even though it's all thematically there - totally unspoken, let alone consummated - and that part is quite well done and poignantly impactful, but the Adam Issues totally derailed it, for me.)

Unlike [personal profile] bookshop, I don't read Adam fic extensively because of that very same distaste. So this was my first introduction to that trope. The setup in this story is angst about coming out, with the producers during the run of AI pressuring Adam and forcing him to not be out explicitly, and Ryan, who is so closeted that the producers don't even know about it, angsting vicariously, but mostly being too chicken to stand up for Adam. However, Adam gives him a healing no-strings blowjob and Ryan continues to admire his out & proudness, and at the end, decides to come out (if I remember right?) and calls Simon, the emotional and thematic focus of the whole thing although he has no real bearing on the plot.

Then I read another story, one that was much more explicitly Cookleta than the above was Ryan/Simon. Here is my bookmark for it.

goseaward: FIC POST: kissing like you're coming true, American Idol RPS, Adam Lambert/David Archuleta
In which Archie comes to Adam Lambert for gay sex lessons, which is actually as a thought AWESOME (or you know, in terms of what it hilariously says about Archie) and full of wonderful dialogue - which is why I bookmark this, for the Archie dialogue in a novel (hilarious) situation. Although, yeah, there's a slight caveat in that Adam as a strange Gay Sex Oracle who seems to be all... selfless with no particular emotional needs of his own is... a bit strangely out of place in a story that devotes a fair amount of actual characterization to him and is obviously trying to be sensitive and positive. Problematic, at best, for Adam to be reduced to a sort of zen master gateway to the world of gay sex, which just makes all the positive parts of characterization (wise! gentle! sweet! gay best friend humor!) more problematic.


Magical Mouth is actually a really great name for this characterization of Adam (kudos to [personal profile] bookshop I presume?), because the strange Wise Sex Advice stuff is problematically reminiscent of Magical Negroes. Like Magical Negroes, Adam is devoid of his own agency or character development, reduced to a deus ex machina - and perhaps more importantly, devoid of his own emotional engagement. The fact that for Magical Mouth Adam sex seems to be some kind of exercise (at which he is a master of course), like yoga or perhaps more appropriately a tarot reading or something traditionally draped in mysticism in its media portrayals, is disturbing because it is dehumanizing. It separates him from the less queer characters in a way that, again, problematically seems to link his very Queerness (more on this next paragraph) and thus his sex-positiveness with a lack of emotional needs. This recalls the typical homophobic stereotype that gay people don't have relationships or don't have "real", "serious" life partnerships - in short, that being gay is about sex and not about love.

By "Queer", here, I don't mean just non-straight. There is a lot more than just gayness to Adam's identity, particularly the completely unapologetic, wild, sex-positive rock'n'roll vibe, and the equally unapologetic rejection of normalcy - in the sense of cultural norms. He's not just gay, he's out and sparkly, unapologetically BDSM-dressing cockring-wearing whip-wielding - etc. In a sense, Adam is more out (as "Queer") than an equally out, but [hetero-]normative gay man such as Clay Aiken. All these fairly explicit sex references are strongly queered - in the case of the kink gear, it's queer without necessarily implying gay - in the sense of anti-normative. To contextualize the importance of this "queerness" in contrast to heteronormativity, think of one of the blog posts on marriage equality that pissed me off the most strongly - it called for lesbian and gay couples to basically "show straight people that we are just like them", that we also want white picket fences and to celebrate Thanksgiving and prayer with our families, to presumably demonstrate that we, too, drive SUVs and dream of 2.5 children and buy clothes at J.C. Penney (ew) and don't buy sex toys and that it is therefore that we deserve the privilege of marriage. Well, you know, NO. People who don't subscribe to normative ideas of fashion, marriage, sex, and monogamy are just as "deserving". Adam Lambert challenges norms, and he's beloved across America by everyone from children to grannies who haven't gotten into pop music since Elvis.

Ryan Seacrest and David Archuleta are both - by default, and again by their typical representation in fanon, and again by their representation in these two stories respectively - far more normative than Adam. Well, most people are, because the opportunities to dress in makeup and black leather in Ryan's or Archie's jobs are perhaps limited. (Of course, in reality we know little of their outlooks or sexual practices, so bear in mind that I'm talking about them as fictional characters in these stories and in the wider fandom.) Ryan is shown struggling with fear of public opinion in the first story and Adam as struggling more or less just with the producers; Ryan seems to envy Adam's confidence to be who he is, but from the point of view of society, people being concerned with norms is good - it shows that they are subject to the dictates of society/the greater good. Presenting Adam as above Ryan's more pedestrian concerns also has the effect of making him less sympathetic; he's an enigmatic, almost mystical character in that story, right down to the blowjob happening without warning when he appears out of nowhere, offering soothing words but no real explanation of his own motivation. (This is typical for Magical Negroes as well. They aren't presumed to require an internal motivation; the gratification of the white hero is sufficient.) In the second story, Archie's entire motivation is to gain sexpertise to be used to seduce David Cook, whom he is romantically fixated on. Adam, on the other hand, is free of emotional attachment and, as in the first story, pretty much free of internal motivation (the only ones he shares with the reader are altruism and Archie being attractive - which, no offense to Archie, is not really sufficient. There are a lot of attractive guys out there who could theoretically benefit from sex; you'll allow me to doubt that Adam sleeps with all of them).

The effect of this is to recycle but modify the typical homophobic stereotype. Adam is the stereotypical sparkly, kinky, casual-drag-wearing, Burning-Man-going gay man whose interest in sex replaces the typical human need for attachment; Ryan and Archie become the "human" gay men who understand J.C. Penney and white picket fences, who still ultimately desire heteronormative relationships with Simon and Cook respectively, and who (according to some) deserve to get married. It's not gayness which is dehumanized; but the rehabilitated gay characters are re-humanized through their separation from the Queer, club-going, promiscuous, sex-positive world of Adam. The Ryan and Archie characters are made sympathetic via Adam's Othering.

My wish is to use the formula of these Adam-Helps-Out stories and turn it on its head, allowing him to help while retaining his emotional (monogamous :O!!!) attachment to Drake and without surrendering the focus of the story to the other relationship (in this case, I plan to leave the other relationship pretty much offscreen, in fact, and handle it through the intermediary of Allison... mainly because I want to write Allison and Adam together. Because she is the cutest BBHBIC ever and, as Wax said the other day, "Imagine being this cute little 17 year old girl and your gay best friend is Adam Lambert. Seriously. *__*"). I'm still struggling with how to structure the whole thing, though. I'm toying with the idea of framing it in Drake's POV, but am not sure if that is skeevy (or indeed, counter-productive).
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (:X)
So there's a bill in Parliament about same-sex adoption right now. Don't get excited, though, it's only to allow adoption internal to registered partnerships. Registered partnership is legal (obvs by the word 'registered'), but it's illegal for partners to adopt one another's natural children right now. Well, last week a typical asshole from the right-wing "True Finns' Party" (nationalist/ anti-multilingual party) compared this to marrying dogs.


After discussing the matter with Oinonen on Thursday, Speaker of Parliament Sauli Niinistö came to the conclusion that there was no intention to cause offence.


YOU DON'T THINK ANY OFFENSE WAS INTENDED? I'M SO GLAD TO HEAR THAT, NIINISTÖ. Evidently Niinistö is fonder than previously suspected of his dogs. Or perhaps his wife? A horse. Or maybe he's been body-snatched! He's possessed by an alien who doesn't come from a culture which carries a prohibitive norm against bestiality! That's why he is able to view the comment as innocent.

Meanwhile, in the land of the Swedish Peoples' Party (originally a Swedish-speaker's special-interest group; now generally moderate, but way too conservative for us):

After a fiery debate, the Swedish People's Party voted to support full adoption rights for same-sex parents... "If we don't accept this, we cannot be called a liberal party," argued the Young Swedish. "This is political suicide. Now the Finns can call us the gay party," said their opponents.


Yeah, because that's the important issue here: whether Finns continue to use "gay" as an ethnic slur against Swedish-speaking Finns! And of course, there's nothing ironic in refusing to support someone else's human rights because you don't want to be compared to them by some random asshole in a bar fight.

Protip, non-Youthful SFP: a) Finns don't actually believe that all Swedish-speakers are literally gay; if they did, they would find it hard to explain how you continue to reproduce. b) Knowing this has not stopped them and will not stop them from calling you gay, because you are a small minority with a number of historically memorable (and visible) affluent members and a rather obvious connection with the larger and wealthier nation next door that used to count Finland as part of its empire and use it as a summer home. I know that you are not actually descended from the King of Sweden personally - unless you are, in which case, no offense meant - and that your ancestors have lived in Finland just as long as proto-Ugric speakers and since before the evolution of Old Norse, and that statistically you are not wealthier than the Finns, and that it is very hard to get service in Swedish even though it is required by law. Believe me, I feel your pain: unlike you, I don't actually understand Finnish. But suck it up. You can console yourself that your life expectancy is still longer. And if it gets too harsh, you could move to Sweden. But beware! Gay people have rights there!
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (bang)
I'm posting about #amazonfail over here as part of the Google-bombing effort successfully instigated by Smart Bitches, Trashy books (Amazon Rank: 1) to censor and exclude on the basis of adult content in literature (except for Playboy, Penthouse, dogfighting and graphic novels depicting incest orgies) 2) to make changes based on insistent applications of standards, logic and common sense).

This Is Not a Glitch

[personal profile] cleolinda's #amazonfail
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (*.*)
This blog, syndicated at [livejournal.com profile] speakyourebrane, is entirely dedicated to posting and mocking paranoid, stupid, insane, and obnoxious comments from the BBC website. It's all the snark you always want to address to those writers of Letters to the Editor and are too listless for. The most recent lols come from the entry They Know About Your Jim Davidson DVD:


A cashless society would be just another facet of Gordon Brown’s Nu-liebour totalitarian Britain.
ID cards, telephone and email monitoring, satellite vehicle tracking, CCTV on every corner, overseas travel tracked, and now EVERY monetary transaction on record.

Winston Smith, Shoeburyness, England


Tread carefully Winston. The Government can see your bookshelves and know you haven’t opened your copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Rolling Stone Interview with Joss Whedon: Revolt of a TV Genius (or: Why I Don't Have High Hopes for Dollhouse) (Download the pdf scans at the link), via @paperandglue.

Beth Ditto makes a great voluptuous non-conformist cover model for the debut of Love magazine, and looks better naked IMO than your typical Barbie, but... WHY ARE THE NIPPLES GONE? Seriously, this is the real nipplegate: people being presented in photography without them. What?!

Yesterday's Daily Show was SO RIGHT about the economic crisis and the congressional hearings. (For a mainstream news take, have yesterday's Wall St CEOs berated by lawmakers @Reuters.)

Via [livejournal.com profile] hollsh, the Literal LOLs category at Cake Wrecks, the Bad-Cake Mocking Blog. (Example: the "2008 I want sprinkles" cake.)

Michelle Obama's Vogue cover & shoot. This might be the first time in my lifetime that Vogue has been relevant to society outside the fashion/media industries - certainly the first time in my memory.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (jewish)
Large portions of the European public continue to believe that Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust. Overall, 44% of those surveyed believe it is "probably true" that Jews still talk too much about the Holocaust. A majority of respondents in Austria, Hungary and Poland believe it to be true.


In Austria and Poland they think that? Oh, you have got to be shitting me. Does "irony" even cover it?

(From ADL Survey in 7 European Countries Finds Anti-Semitic Attitudes Steady; 31% Blame Jews for Financial Crisis, via [livejournal.com profile] miriam_heddy)
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (wtf?)
Me: She's screaming again.
Chav Girl: Yeah, she's been doing it on and off all day. If the gypsies came by right about now I know what I'd sell!
Me: ... o_O

Me: I just need some of your potatoes!
Substitute: She's taking our food.
Me: I estimated the amounts for each class wrong.
Amber: Then you're an Indian giver, haha!
Me: ... o_O

Maybe it should be renamed from Daycare Dykey to Daycare Did I Honestly Just Hear That Out Loud.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (yes)
\o/

How do I feel? Not as great as on November 5th, but pretty great.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (fools)
Extracts from the Harper's Index article A retrospective of the Bush era.

Minimum number of Bush appointees who have regulated industries they used to represent as lobbyists: 98

Years before becoming energy secretary that Spencer Abraham cosponsored a bill to abolish the Department of Energy: 2

Months before September 11, 2001, that Cheney’s Energy Task Force investigated Iraq’s oil resources: 6

Number of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and North African men detained in the U.S. in the eight weeks after 9/11: 1,182

Number of them ever charged with a terrorism-related crime: 0

Number charged with an immigration violation: 762

Chances an American in 2002 believed the government should regulate comedy routines that make light of terrorism: 2 in 5

Percentage of the amendments in the Bill of Rights that are violated by the USA PATRIOT Act, according to the ACLU: 50

Minimum number of laws that Bush signing statements have exempted his administration from following: 1,069

Factor by which an Iraqi in 2006 was more likely to die than in the last year of the Saddam regime: 3.6

Factor by which the cause of death was more likely to be violence: 120

Number of all U.S. war veterans who have been denied Veterans Administration health care since 2003: 452,677

Portion of Bush's presidency he has spent at or en route to vacation spots: 1/3

Number of incidents of torture on prime-time network TV shows from 2002 to 2007: 897

Percentage change since 2000 in U.S. emigration to Canada: +79

Seconds it took a Maryland consultant in 2004 to pick a Diebold voting machine’s lock and remove its memory card: 10

Amount the Justice Department spent in 2001 installing curtains to cover two seminude statues of Justice: $8,650

Number of Republican officials who have been investigated by the Justice Department since 2001: 196

Number of Democratic officials who have been: 890

Percentage of EPA scientists who say they have experienced political interference with their work since 2002: 60

Change since 2001 in the percentage of Americans who believe humans are causing climate change: –4

Portion of the $3.3 billion in federal Hurricane Katrina relief spent by Mississippi that has benefited poor residents: 1/4

Ratio of the entire U.S. federal budget in 1957, adjusted for inflation, to the amount spent so far on the Iraq war: 1:1

Minimum number of nicknames Bush has given to associates during his presidency: 75

Number of associates with the last name Jackson he has dubbed “Action Jackson”: 2

Number of press conferences at which Bush has referred to a question as a “trick”: 14

Number of times he has declared an event or outcome not to be “acceptable”: 149
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Gay rights activists and gay people are pissed off - or would a better term be 'smacked in the face' - by Obama's choice of evangelical Christian minister Rick Warren, a leader of the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign, to speak at his inauguration. [livejournal.com profile] darkrosetiger points out that the Yes-on-8 crowd have gone beyond previous levels of hate by asking the CA Supreme Court to nullify all previously performed same-sex marriages now. Obama and other democrats are defending his need to conciliate the Christian right and even defending his choice, who is not crazy on economic issues and has worked with Obama before on AIDS.

Oh really? Fuck that.

Honestly, I don't and didn't expect great strides in gay rights in the US within his term of office, really. It's coming, but it's obviously coming a bit slowly there.

But I still remember my joy and hope on election day - the hope that was reborn in so many people's hearts, people who were too shocked to respond emotionally because they, we, had given up on the US political process. And I respect Obama. He's the real deal, more genuine, more idealistic, than any other leader to come up through the Democratic party in a long time. I was enjoying that hope, you fucktards.

So thank you, Obama. Thank you for spitting in the faces of the LGBT constituency who overwhelmingly supported you and stomping on the tiny bit of hope that we might have dared to have for ourselves. Thanks for reminding us that being second-class citizens in most of the country might be the biggest social issue on our minds right now, might be consuming our thoughts again and again, but that it's so vanishingly small to you that you can fucking well forget it in a symbolic gesture of compromise, and thanks for doing all of that before your term of office even begins.

Soooo I'll just be staying here in Finland for a bit longer then. Like... probably forever.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (bang)
The more I read about this Avatar business (concise version: original American anime-tribute children's cartoon populated with magical Asian children of a wide variety of Asian races to be made live-action! By M. Night Shyamalan! With an almost-entirely-white cast!), the more baffled, enraged, and sad I become.

I was already enraged recently by 21, a tremendous flop about recent real events and a real group of Asian college students who are still living where all the leads were recast as white. That was even more bizarre, in a way, but coming so closely on its heels, there's a mostly-white shitty Dragonball Z movie coming out soon and now this, it's just - the cherry on the sundae of rage. And confusion, too, not just rage, because... I honestly know that Hollywood has a long and shameful history of casting white people to play all the other races, but it's still hard to understand why you'd cast a white person as a black or Asian person at all, let alone when their Asianness was central to the plot (21) or the entire point of it (Avatar). It just doesn't make any sense - it seems utterly counter-intuitive. I find it hard to imagine in a personal sense how it even occurs to anyone. I find it sad that in this day and age, anyone could still believe that only white actors are marketable in a major movie (it's not as if a major movie starring black or Asian actors has never been made, either). And I find it enraging that even with this rationale, it would seem perfectly okay to Paramount execs to just take the cool trappings of the Asian world, that they think will sell, and fill them up with white people. Martial arts! Buddhist temples! Asian philosophy! But no one will notice, right? It's just fantasy. It's white by default! Obviously, magical worlds - even if taken directly from East Asian mythology - must be white, right? ARGH.

It's sort of like how I saw someone the other day say that the traditional trappings of Christmas (including St. Nicholas, Santa hats, and decorated Christmas trees) weren't Christian to her, they were just secular! Because Christian is the default in your society, you fool. Because people celebrate the holiday who were raised Christian or nominally so, who come from Christian backgrounds, even if they choose not to consider themselves Christian or practise Christianity any longer. You have the priviledge of considering various elements of Christianity to be Christian or not according to how you personally perceive them to line up with Christian ideology regardless of the fact that they are inescapably associated with Christianity because you, too, come from their background. It would be difficult and exceedingly odd for an American Jew or Muslim to consider Santa hats, Christmas trees, and all the associated patter - which frequently includes nativity scenes and pageants and exhortations that "Jesus is the reason for the season" - to be merely "secular" and open to anybody.

You'd think the fact that white is the default for a white person would inescapably carry the logical corollary that Asian is the default for an Asian person (and thus that, hey, whiteness isn't!). The fact that Christianity seems natural to someone raised in Christianity should lead them to suppose that the religion and culture of each person's background is what would seem natural to them (and thus, hey, Christianity wouldn't!). But alas, this level of logic is beyond many people - some because they've never thought about it, and more, I'm sure, because they don't care to think about it.

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