Sunday, October 19, 2008

And Religion Taketh

Study Finds Serious Mental Illness Often Dismissed by Local Church:
In a recent Baylor study of 293 Christians who approached their local church for assistance in response to a personal or family member's diagnosed mental illness, Baylor researchers found that more than 32 percent of these church members were told by their church pastor that they or their loved one did not really have a mental illness. The study found these church members were told the cause of their problem was solely spiritual in nature, such as a personal sin, lack of faith or demonic involvement. Baylor researchers also found that women were more likely than men to have their mental disorders dismissed by the church.

In a subsequent survey, Baylor researchers found the dismissal or denial of the existence of mental illness happened more in conservative churches, rather than more liberal ones.

All of the participants in both studies were previously diagnosed by a licensed mental health provider as having a serious mental illness, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, prior to approaching their local church for assistance.

"The results are troubling because it suggests individuals in the local church are either denying or dismissing a somewhat high percentage of mental health diagnosis," said Dr. Matthew Stanford, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor, who led the study. "Those whose mental illness is dismissed by clergy are not only being told they don't have a mental illness, they are also being told they need to stop taking their medication. That can be a very dangerous thing."
Let's recap, because I know I had difficulty believing this...

* Nearly 1/3 of those talking to their clergy have their diagnosed mental illness dismissed with a wave of the hand. No, that's not quite true... They are first told the medical diagnosis is wrong, then judged for "a personal sin, lack of faith or demonic involvement", and lastly told to say "Hail Mary" so many times, attend religious services more often, submit to the cat-o-nine tails, or otherwise participate in some ritual.

Anyone else feel like comparing today's clergy to B-movie witch doctors?

* The researchers found that women were more likely than men to have their mental disorders dismissed by the church. The sad thing here is that this does not surprise me at all. In fact, I bet the actual numbers/percents would make me mentally ill possessed by demons, with all the physical symptoms, like vomiting.

But perhaps the real kicker here is that those study participants who had their mental illness dismissed were also those in the study who attended church more than once a week, and described their church as "conservative or charismatic." Maybe those "charismatic clergy" just don't think there's enough room in their church for more than one crazy.

The good news here is that the Baylor study found those who had their mental illness dismissed or denied were less likely to attend church. (But many also stated that their faith in God was weakened; that's the problem with organized religion, people throw the deity out with the bath bad waters. However, at least they got away from the real craziness and now, perhaps, can find spirituality.)

A 32% dismissal/denial of mental illness would explain at least part of the problem of people in the pews. But as I've often seen the born-agains and other bible-thumpers prey on the weak, including the mentally ill, as part of their membership drive practices (i.e. convert quotas), I think we would have to call this prey-convert-dismissial-leaving as a serious turn-over problem management should address. Add it to the list of other serious moral issues churches have.

The study was done, in part, because research consistently showed that it is clergy ~ not psychologists or other mental health experts ~ who are sought most often in times of psychological distress. I guess because those with faith assume they can have faith in their clergy; I hope they (again) see the error of their ways.

The moral of the story: Stay on your meds, but get off the organized religion.

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Religion Giveth, To Believers. Sorta.

National study finds religiosity curbs teen marijuana use by half.
"Some may think this is an obvious finding, but research and expert opinion on this issue have not been consistent," said BYU sociology professor Stephen Bahr and an author on the study. "After we accounted for family and peer characteristics, and regardless of denomination, there was an independent effect that those who were religious were less likely to do drugs, even when their friends were users."

The study, co-authored by BYU sociologist John Hoffmann, also found individual religiosity buffered peer pressure for cigarette smoking and heavy drinking.

The term religiosity as used in the study has to do with people's participation in a religion and not the particular denomination. Hoffmann said the protective effect of church and spirituality supplements the influence of parents.

“Parents shouldn’t force it, but they can encourage spirituality and religion in their families, which in itself becomes a positive influence in their children’s lives,” Hoffmann said.
Researchers also found that religiosity doesn't have the same effect on use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin. If marijuana and drinking are seen as 'grey areas', the 'black' areas of more hardcore drugs are, interestingly enough, little impacted by one's personal connection to their deity.

The study also exposed the fact that religiosity within the community as a whole does not play as big a role as thought by many.
"Previously, it was thought that if someone grew up in a religious community and went to church, then the community’s religious strength would make a difference,” Bahr said. “We basically found that this was not the case. Individual religiosity is what makes the difference."
The bottom line here seems to be that if & when a person believes in & practices a religion, that faith is extended into a confidence which combats peer pressure; however, just how to instill such faith (as opposed to indoctrination) is unclear.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

I Smoke-Out Genia

I've known Genia of SistersTalk for years now. We've been out of touch for awhile, but thanks to the magic of Twitter, we recently reconnected...

She Twittered:
Just heard the "smoke free wisconsin" radio ad. Yey! I'm a total supporter.
So I said:
@sisterstalk Seriously? Why you hatin' on legal drug users who have less support ~ ZERO support ~ when compared to illegal drug users?
To which she replied:
@GraciePassette I support a SMOKE FREE Wisconsin because smokers are so f*ckin rude. At least pot smokers go to their car to puff, puff.

@GraciePassette And . . . pot smokers don't throw their paraphernalia out the window, causing even more cleanup for taxpayers to pay for.

@GraciePassette AND . . . pot smokers don't blow their smoke in my face at the bar, claimin' it's their RIGHT to do so cuz it's a bar. Ugh!
As a person who thinks this smokers-as-lepers treatment tramples rights and doesn't help those addicted to tobacco at all, I naturally had to have her come on the show ~ we could have a real discussion past 140 characters. *wink*

While we promise to have a challenging discourse on the issue of smoking, our conversation may take a turn into other areas... Not only because we are two girls who hail from Wisconsin (she's apparently still there), but because Genia is a fascinating, intelligent, & passionate woman and I have no idea what else may be on her mind by the time the October 1st show rolls around.

Chime in with your thoughts on smoking, smokers' rights, health issues, smoking addiction assistance, and "smoke free" or similar "fresh air" projects & legislation.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's Convention Time, So...

Abortion is in the air, or it should be.

The right to have, the very right to make the choice, is a very important issue. It's tied to more than (perceived promiscuous) human sexuality; it's a matter of health, an education issue, and a freakin' human rights issue.

As DeeDee wrote, "The right to choose [is] about more than abortion; not having the right to choose undermines all our choices and our right to live autonomous lives."

Read it and see why; I'm going to take another argument.

When the religious wrong say they want to legislate their beliefs in the name of religious freedom, they are doing the opposite; they enforce their faith on others.

What's more, we don't make our laws based on spiritual practices, especially those which are speculative.

While it should be enough to say that that a fetus isn't an individual being with rights simply because it isn't an individual being, only kept alive by the host (pregnant woman), it apparently isn't. While it should be enough to argue that they cannot prove any claims to "soul" or other "godly" part or intervention, it isn't. The religious oppressors want to us to follow be forced to believe as they do ~ and like intelligent design, we are supposed to buy it not only just on their word but against all scientific proof and reason. They think that their 'word' is 'law' and so it should be my word and The Law. But we don't legislate that way. At least we aren't supposed to.

An example of how we don't fall for such silliness is illustrated in the eating of pigs. The eating of pig meat is (in some religions) a sin; but there is no law making it illegal for me to eat it. Many are wise enough to not legislate the eating of pig, but rather relax in the belief that my punishment awaits me in the afterlife. That's real faith, waiting for that day when the supreme being of that faith will handle things.

The message to not eat pig meat, along with your pro-life message, is out there; I've heard them loud and clear ~ but I just don't buy 'em. So let me make my own choice; I'll be the one to live (or "spend eternity") with the consequences. Leave the law out of it.

"But, Gracie," you whine, "A pig isn't a baby!"

Damn right it isn't.

Eating a pig, even including cooking it, doesn't force a person to serve the same time as pregnancy, let alone the time and dangers of childbearing & child rearing. Yes, I said "dangers." Science, if you care to believe in facts, proves that the eating of pig-flesh has little-to-no physical dangers, especially when compared to pregnancy & childbirth.

And the real point here is that you can't legally stop me from eating pork because the only problem with it is that your 'good book' says there is a problem ~ and that's not enough to warrant any legislation.

If you're thinking this all supports your theory that pregnancy, the fetus, i.e. 'the baby', must be protected, I'm going to accuse of the same supersedence DeeDee did. What makes you presume that the unborn have greater rights than those already here? It's that sort of stupid thinking that got us Israel & into the mess in the Middle East.

Whatever happened to "one in the hand is worth two in the bush"? Don't the living matter? We're here. Now. But you'd rather focus on the fetus & what it might do. We don't legislate & prosecute "mights".

I'm here. I have rights. Or at least I'm supposed to.

Already you deny my freedom, dismiss my need for health care, reject my financial equality & limit means to support myself, and in doing so, remove my autonomy. (You might want to think about those issues and wonder just how much they impact my decision not to have a child.) And now I'm supposed to turn my body over as a host for something or someone you believe in?

And that reminds me, along with your belief in 'the baby', where's your concern for it once it arrives? Where's its health care? Where's its stable home, future financial independence &/or equality? What of its freedom & equality?

I guess in that (lack of) respect, the unborn & I have the same value.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jeremy Edwards Joins The Cult

This week's Cult of Gracie Radio has the wildly talented (and mildly mad) Jeremy Edwards to discuss not only his own written erotic works, but the Ultimate Burlesque anthology.

The Ultimate Burlesque anthology, edited by Alyson Fixter & Emily Dubberley, is the teaserotic September release (published by Xcite Books) that is part of Burlesque Against Breast Cancer. Proceeds from the book will help raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

To tempt you into purchasing, Jeremy will be reading an excerpt from Laura The Laugher, his contribution to the book, live on the air!

While the stories in the anthology do more than tease, the part Jeremy will be reading will be teasing, tempting, and fun, but not explicit ~ just like burlesque. *wink*

We hope this helps you support a great book ~ and for a great cause.

So tune in to Cult of Gracie on XXBN, Wednesday night, August 27, at 9 PM (Central) for an hour long show.

As always, you can join the fun by calling in at 1.646.200.3136.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Birth Control Is NOT Abortion, Assholes

Too lazy to type up more than this ~ and it will be cross-posted "everywhere" ~ but I just signed the emergency message to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, whose department is considering this stuoopid rule change and here's the quick cut & paste letter to forward:
Subject: Contraception is abortion?

Hi,

I had to share something with you. Can you imagine living in a place where birth control is considered an "abortion" and health insurers won't cover it? Where even rape victims are denied emergency contraception?

It seems unbelievable, but the Bush Administration is quietly trying to redefine "abortion" to include birth control. The Houston Chronicle says this could wipe out dozens of state laws that protect women's reproductive freedom and protect rape victims. And this proposed "rule change" doesn't need congressional approval.

I just signed a message to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, whose department is considering this rule change, telling him: "Contraception is NOT abortion." Can you add your voice to this cause? Click here to sign the message: http://pol.moveon.org/contraception/?r_by=-9950595-JRzmsAx&rc=paste

Thanks!
Sign it, or suffer the horrors.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-08-11 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 12 Aug 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cult Of Gracie Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders

Wednesday, August 6th, on Cult of Gracie Radio at 9/10 PM Central/Eastern, I'm interviewing Mark Pickering, author of Story of the Sand, a novel which illustrates the world of post-traumatic stress disorder and other often-overlooked struggles veterans face upon their return home.

To prepare for his novel, Pickering conducted in-depth interviews with real-life American war veterans from WWII, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and newly-returned soldiers from the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq; so while Story of the Sand is a novel, we'll also be using this time to discuss what happens to veterans when they return as well as the issues, concerns, & policies surrounding their return. On-air callers are welcome at 1.646.200.3136.

One reviewer, Terri at A Soldier's Mind, wrote:
I almost get the feeling that this novel is an attempt to shout to the world all that Pickering finds wrong with the military and the government, while not addressing the things the military IS doing to address the problems of PTSD and TBI and the substance abuse and homelessness that unfortunately sometimes goes hand in hand with these disorders. The novel doesn’t go into the fact that often those who suffer from these disorders, often don’t see themselves as having a problem and the fact that they often refuse seek treatment for these problems, even when those treatments are readily available to them.

While I agree that the military and the American society needs to do whatever is necessary to ensure that treatment is available for our returning veterans, we also have to acknowledge the fact that the military has stepped up their care for veterans returning and more and more is being done every day, to ensure that our Soldiers and Veterans receive the appropriate care for their problems. New methods of treatment are being explored and those that are proving to be successful are being incorporated into the treatment plans of the Soldiers seeking help.

Story of the Sand, might be an entertaining book to some, however, it covers a subject that I take seriously and I believe that the way it was written does more to cause harm to our Troops suffering from PTSD and other mental disorders related to their time in combat, by possibly causing people to look upon our returning Troops as people who have the extent of problems of the character in this story. I feel this story just detracts from the issue at hand, and will do more harm to our returning Troops, than it will to help them.

I'm going to save my comments on this for the show; but now you know at least some of what's going to be discussed. *wink*

You can listen to the show live, online here; and if you miss the show, the same link is where you can listen to the archived show &/or download a podcast.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good SPARKs

Just found this info on what SPARK (formerly Georgians for Choice) has been doing in response to Operative Save America being in their town over at Amber Rhea's:

Wednesday July 16th: Our Bodies, Our Lives!

  • 9 am protest at Woodruff Park 84 Peachtree St. Bring your signs.
  • 6-7:30 pm SisterSong panel: Women of Color and Abortion. Aderhold Learning Center at Georgia State University (60 Luckie St).

Thursday July 17th: RJ is Sexy! Positive Sexuality Matters!

  • 9 am sex positive protest at Woodruff Park 84 Peachtree St. Bring your signs and we’ll have some cardboard poetry.
  • 6-9 pm Movie Night at Georgia State University. Library South 8th Floor Colloquium Room (100 Decatur St).

Friday July 18th: Act Up for Reproductive Justice!

  • 9 am Last day for banner drops and sign shaking before we bid farewell to OSA. Woodruff Park 84 Peachtree St.
  • 5-7 pm Protest at Colony Square (1197 Peachtree St) 404-879-2250.

Saturday July 19th: Goodbye OSA! Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out!

  • 9 am Carpool from SPARK at 743 Virginia Ave or meet at Denny’s at 5534 Jimmy Carter Blvd. Bring your signs as we say goodbye to OSA.
  • After the farewell we’ll have a community celebration picnic at Best Friend Park at 6224 Jimmy Carter Blvd near their hotel. Yum.

Contact: Paris: 404-917-7694, Amanda: 770-375-5920, SPARK: 404-532-0022, www.SPARKRJ.org

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cult of Gracie Radio with Dr. Michael Goodyear

Tomorrow, June 11 (at 9 p.m. central), Cult of Gracie Radio has Dr. Michael Goodyear, MD, PhD, as the guest.

An Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Canada's Dalhousie University, his main focus there is in responsible human research governance, particularly the ethical aspects of research. His active interest in issues of women's health have lead him to a longstanding involvement in women's health and studies (including family planning, social justice and ethics), and the problems associated with those on the margins of society.

No wonder then that he would become interested in the issues & myths surrounding sex work.

Well-versed in the research, as well as the ethics and methodology of research, Michael's put his skills and knowledge to use in identifying social determinants of marginalization and speaking out both for decriminalization and against the myths of sex work.

An avid supporter of sex workers' rights, Michael moves past academia, actively seeking out & speaking out.

He speaks directly to the matter of why decriminalizing sex work, especially that at the street level, is a feminist issue:
Public health measures must be built on evidence based best practice. Only by moving sex work outside of the criminal justice system, focussing on public health and social care, can we achieve this and help to break the cycle of violence. Criminalisation of sex work that limits access to care contravenes UN guidelines on human rights.

Remedies for social issues surrounding prostitution lie not in legislative measures but in social determinants such as wage disparity and access to welfare that limit women’s choices. Labour politicians frequently state that the moral fibre of a society must be judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable members, yet their policy discriminates against the most disadvantaged.
Michael Goodyear speaks on the inaccuracies of sexually transmitted infections in sex work (found via Dr Petra Boynton):
Unfortunately the discourse in public health, and in particular that concerning services to individuals involved in commercial sex, are more likely to be informed by opinion than by evidence. In addition repeated exposure to messages reinforces and polarizes previously held prejudices.
And he speaks sanely regarding an issue that drives me insane ~ the perpetuation of myths:
It is unfortunate that the Gazette insists on repeating tired myths about sex work, without checking its facts. This is a very unbalanced article. The German World Cup story has now made its way into the archives of urban myths. Even anti-trafficking organisations such as Prevent Human Trafficking are expressing concern about the constant reporting of untruths. "It seems that this estimate originated with unsubstantiated statements made by a few antitrafficking groups which, though they have no basis in reality, have somehow gained legitimacy through repetition".
This includes challenging Melissa Farley & her "findings" on several occasions:
Melissa Farley is one of those people who are convinced there is a connection between sex work and trafficking, but mainstream researchers do not.
For more information, see his Marginalization of Women and Sex Work page.

With all of this, I'm surprised that I had not discovered Michael earlier. (We "met" at my post at Sex In The Public Square). But then, as Michael himself has noted, the myths are passed along far more enthusiastically than the truths.

Click here to listen to the show live, and call in with comments and questions at 1 (646) 200-3136.

UPDATE:

There were some issues with BlogTalkRadio's server/site, and so the show will be downloaded, edited and uploaded to adjust for that. (Hopefully it is all recorded.) Meanwhile, please be patient with the "dead air" gaps ~ the show did go on (even longer than scheduled).

And look for the return of Dr. Goodyear on a future show. (Please fee free to listen to future Cult of Gracie shows , and past shows , as well! lol) Many thanks to him for sharing his information and his patience during a glitchy show.

Also, Elizabeth at Sex In The Public Square has posted her thoughts (&wonderful questions) on the show.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cult of Gracie Radio Show Line-Up

The current line-up of show guests for Cult of Gracie on XXBN:

June 11 Dr. Michael Goodyear, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Canada's Dalhousie University, whose main activities are in responsible human research governance, particularly ethical aspects of research. He is interested in issues of women's health ~ and is an avid supporter of sex workers' rights.
About Michael: Michael has a longstanding involvement in women's health and studies (including family planning, social justice and ethics), and the problems associated with those on the margins of society. Well-versed in the research, as well as the ethics and methodology of research, Michael's been very active in identifying social determinants of marginalization and speaking out both for decriminalization and against the myths of sex work. For more information, see his Marginalisation of Women and Sex Work page.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

June 18 Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc, award winning author of Horror Sinisteria, with titles published at Ephemera Bound*.
About Andrea: Called “One of the most unique and twisted authors of our generation,” Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc is a best selling, three-time award winning author of Horror Sinisteria. From ghosts to the paranormal, from the Occult to pirates, Andrea can write it, write it well and keep her fans and critics begging for more. A force of nature, Andrea has blazed a path through a genre most often dominated by men. She is routinely sought out for appearances at everything from private functions to public venues to conventions, where she appears as a celebrity guest.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

June 25 Jack Hafferkamp, of Libido magazine and Libido films.
About Jack: From 1988 to 2000 Jack Hafferkamp published/edited Libido: The Journal of Sex and Sensibility with Marianna Beck. Since then he has operated Libido Films, which specializes in gender-equal explicit erotica. Libido films have been honored at the annual Erotic Awards in London and featured at New York's Cinekink festival. Jack holds a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality, specializing in Erotology, which is the material culture of sex.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

July 2 J. Eric Miller, author of Decomposition * (Epilogue by Susannah Breslin) & Animal Rights & Pornography.
About Jason: Mild mannered English prof by day; author of shocking, dark, subversive fiction by night. Jason's works, as their titles imply, explore taboos.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

July 9 Dr. Gloria Brame, a licensed clinical sexologist and leading international authority on BDSM and fetish sex.
About Gloria: Dr. Gloria G. Brame is a licensed clinical sexologist and a long-time kinky person. You can find out more about Gloria at Sex-Kitten.net: Gloria Brame Discusses Sexual Freedom in America, BDSM in Film, as well as the review of her book. More information on Gloria is available at her website, GloriaBrame.com, and her blog, Inside the mind of Gloria Brame.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

July 16 Jennifer Epstein, author of The Painter from Shanghai, a novel based on the life of Chinese prostitute-turned-post-Impressionist Pan Yuliang, who stunned China and much of the West in the 20's and 30's by defiantly painting herself in the nude, even though it went against pretty much every Confucian ethic of the time.
About Jennifer: A Brooklyn-based writer, whose nonfiction and fiction work has appeared in numerous publications, spent ten years writing this, her first book. The work explores such issues as body as art, body as profit, Shanghai in the 20's and 30's, the true nature of sexual love.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

July 23 Tom Paine & C. the husband and wife of Polyamorously Perverse fame, who continue to amaze & educate as Tom discusses the private & intimate details of their road of exploration & discovery ~ one which often exposes the unforeseen with brutal, if poetic, honesty.
About Tom & C.: Tom Paine and his wife, who goes by the initial C., confronted the problem of a sex life that had gone flat by re-inventing themselves with an open relationship. They have explored swinging, polyamory and simply working on keeping themselves attractive to the other, with the result of a reborn sensuality that other couples would envy. Currently they play with a single woman they call the Strawberry Slut, but both have the option to see other people should the situation arise. Tom writes a blog called Polyamorously Perverse, and is currently exploring options for turning the blog's story into a book.
Miss the show? Listen to the archived show (or download it for later listening) here.

Confirmed guests, with dates not yet scheduled:

Amber Rhea, co-founder of the Georgia Podcast Network, a portal site for Georgia-based podcasts, and the founder of Sex 2.0, an "unconference" focused on the intersection of social media, feminism, and sexuality.

Still working to reschedule with Dr. Susan Block, sex educator, cable TV host and author, regarding what we can learn from bonobos.

Another session with
Dr. Jane Vargas, a PhD in human sexuality & expert in tease and fetish, talks cross dressing.

*Disclosure Note: Gracie Passette is an editor with Ephemera Bound.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Republicans Suffer From Dementia & Can't Understand Satire

First republicans were actually using comedian Steven Colbert's satirical works to push their agendas, and now ABC reports that the Minnesota Republican Party's released a letter, signed by a whopping six GOP women, attacking comedian Al Franken who is running for United States Senate in Minnesota.

Eight years ago, Franken penned a column for Playboy called "Porn-O-Rama!" in which the former Saturday Night Live comedian wrote about visiting a made-up sex institute where he takes part in sexual acts with humans and machines.

"While you may attempt to defend your writing as satire, we hardly find anything defensible about your finding humor in your desire to have sex with women or robots that look like women simply to give yourself a good time," the Minnesota GOP women wrote in the letter. "This column is at its worst, an extreme example of the kind of disrespect for the role of women in society that all of us have fought our entire lives. At best, it is the disrespectful writings of a nearly 50-year-old man who seems to think that women's bodies are the domain of a man who just wants to have a good time."

"Denounce this article and apologize immediately," read the letter.

Sheesh. And they say feminists have no sense of humor...

Perhaps too many republicans suffer from frontotemporal dementia and therefore cannot process sarcasm. (It's funny because it's true.)

Meanwhile, for those suffering from a poor sense of humor, an dementia-induced inability to recognize sarcasm, or a fundamental ignorance of humor ~ including satire ~ and its historical use as social protest, the Franken camp's response (via ABC) should help clarify things a bit:

The Franken campaign said the Playboy column was written as a satire.

"Al had a long career as a satirist," said Jess McIntosh of the Franken campaign. "But he understands the difference between what you say as a satirist and what you do as a senator. And as a senator, Norm Coleman has disrespected the people of Minnesota by putting the Exxons and Halliburtons ahead of working families. And there's nothing funny about that."

You don't have to be an Al Franken fan (though I am) to love the "he understands the difference between what you say as a satirist and what you do as a senator".

Maybe a little remedial reading, via the links here, would help those six GOP ladies... Or lobotomies. Hey, Dr. Katherine P. Rankin, do they do parahippocampal gyrus lobotomies for the sarcasm impaired?

Related: In the New York Times article on sarcasm, Dr. Rankin is quoted as saying, "I bet Jon Stewart has a huge right frontal lobe; that’s where the sense of humor is detected on M.R.I."

And now you know how to spot all the smart funny people (who are happy to see you). Bet there are few bulging lobes in today's republican party.

Then again, they are rarely happy to see me.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

High-Five Fridays #18

High-Five Fridays is on an official hiatus; but you can still participate.

#1 The 47th edition of Carnival Against Sexual Violence: read, support, submit & host.

#2 A general high-five to Lina (aka Caroline) at Uncool for doing & being the cool.

#3 Shan-ul-Hai examines the claims that conservatives are happier than liberals:
...would you be happier if you became more conservative?

Based on the data, I don’t think so. It seems like the causality follows an indirect trend; certain variables lead to both conservatism and happiness, and neither the political viewpoint nor the happiness can predict one another. Optimism and pride seem to cause life satisfaction and conservatism; higher education and pessimism, meanwhile, seem to cause dissatisfaction and liberalism.

Personally, I think it’s better to have more people who are unsatisfied with the status quo… this will lead to change and, eventually, improvement.
#4 Between Us Girls discusses The Trouble With Sex in America ~ and while I & others remain guarded about Gardasil, the rest is lovely:
Sex is alive and well in America. You never have far to look far to find it. Our society is saturated with it. Movies, magazines, billboards, t.v. shows, advertising, even Disney pop stars reek of it. And yet, in spite of the proliferation of sexual imagery and activity, America still attempts to maintain antiquated, puritanical sexual ideals.

Unfortunately, as so often happens, our behavior doesn't quite manage to live up to the ideals we espouse. And so, while our children's innocence is stolen from them earlier and earlier, our teens make promises that they can never be expected to keep while being fed a steady diet of sexual imagery and innuendo and our adults gorge themselves on every variation of the act they can imagine, we all busy ourselves trying to maintain the facade of purity.

We talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. We send mixed messages to our young people, perpetuate the idea of sex as some sort of guilty pleasure and let our own confused and twisted ideas about sex influence important government policies that end up being misguided, unethical and downright harmful.

#5 In Born or Learned? Sexuality, Science, and Party Lines, Greta Christina ponders the politics behind and fear of researching queer:
Unless you're going to go with the hard-core deconstructionist argument that there is no reality and all of our perceptions and experiences are 100% socially constructed, then you have to accept that the question, "Is sexual orientation genetically determined, learned, or a combination of both -- and if a combination, how much of each, and how do they work together?"... well, it's a question with an answer. It's not a matter of opinion. And it's exactly the kind of question that science is designed to answer: a question of cause and effect in the physical world.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Reveal The Goddess In Me? Sure, But Let Me Reveal The Bull-Shit In You

I was watching TV, being a lazy lump. And then, something (he claims) innocuous happens, and I get all foamy-at-the-mouth (my phrasing, not his). I am more than awake, I am incensed.

First a commercial for the Venus, the pink razor for women, followed by an ad for one of the smoking cessation patches... Like a rolled-up newspaper hitting me upside my head, the insanity strikes me.

Why the hell are they peddling pink girly-girl razors at me, as if the curves of my legs and pits are somehow more confusing, complicated and, perhaps even more disgusting just for being female, than those contours of a man's face? I've seen plenty of men walking 'round with white tp dotted faces, red circles of blood holding them fast, to know that whipping a razor around ~ any razor, no matter the color ~ can cut skin. It's not made for women so much as marketed to them... Because we're silly girls who love to shop for pretty pink things.

:snort:

But then there's the smoking cessation commercial right afterwards. A patch, to be precise. A product that boasts of its 80% fail rate ~ and fails to disclose that the fail rate is even higher for women. But then, the patch doesn't come in pretty pink, or have unicorns on it, or anything which would indicate it's supposed to appeal to me. So maybe I'm not supposed to really pay attention to this ad.

Corporate America and the society which supports it has decided it is more important for me to have smooth "sexy" legs than it is for me to stop smoking.

Arg!

My head spins and I see red and at some point I'm aware that I'm ranting at the speed of light. So I slow down and say, "Why on earth do they push pink razors when they should be focused on products which really serve the needs of women, like smoking cessation? Oh yeah, 'cuz the 'right to control our bodies' has more to do with our come-hither appearance than our health."

His response to all of this?

Nothing.

When prompted (commanded) to comment, all he can say is that there's money ~ more money ~ to be made in pink girly razors because making plastic pink is a nominal investment in change as opposed to medical research. It's just marketing, not really a new product, so there's more profit to be made. Implication: I must be thick-headed not to see that.

I see it; I get it.

I love him; but he just doesn't get it.

Even going from white goo to pink goo (and pink goo that moisturizes so that "ladies" won't need "masculine" shave creme in cans) requires Gillette aka PG, monstrous corporation that it is, lots of dollars in R&D. (And don't forget the focus groups!) Why is it more important to create a need for such silly products when they (literally meaning P&G, by the way) could create something valuable for women?

Oh, right, I already said why.

The 'right to control our bodies' has more to do with the come-hither appearance of our bodies than with the health of our bodies.

As if this weren't sickening enough, check out P&G's new B&S:
“Now we’ve given women the permission to reveal her own goddess,” said Gro Frivoll, who has worked on the Venus account at BBDO for eight years. “Every woman can be the goddess of something, because this allows you to be your most feminine self.”
Oh yes, please let me be the goddess of cancer!

Oh, and just in case you think I'm being to rough on poor little P&G...
When Gillette pitches razors to men, it tends to emphasize technological innovations. But on the women’s side, “we focus more on the emotional end benefits,” Ms. Frivoll said. “Men want to know, What am I paying more for? If a man were paying $25 for lipstick, it would have to have more than the Chanel name on it.”
Ironically, the razors apparently have "35 patents pending or granted that cover the product’s technologies, designs and manufacturing processes" (heaven help us!), yet, by their own admission, the company's pushing the pink & fuzzy.

As if that amount of dedication & funding to hair removal weren't obscene enough, how about the ad campaign price tag, kids?
starting the biggest campaign on the women’s side of its business since the original three-blade Venus was introduced in 2001.

Procter would not disclose the amount it is spending on the campaign.

Yeah, they're just turning white goo pink... that's cheap enough.

But can they withstand my stomach turning too?

I just have one question for you, Procter & Gamble: How do you like the goddess in me now?

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