Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August update



Above, left: State Representative Leola C. Robinson-Simpson (District 25 - Greenville County) speaking at our local 50th anniversary celebration of the Civil Rights March, in Greenville's Cleveland Park on Saturday.

Above, right: Traci Fant, event organizer and local activist extraordinaire.

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Back from Texas! (Did yall miss me?) You can see my purty family-photos HERE. My grandchildren (below) are both huge. And my grand-cat Napoleon is almost 9 years old! (as always, you can click all photos to enlarge)



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And hey, I got old cars! (waves to the car-photo lurkers) You knew I would. (below)



I barely managed to get the first photo, as we went zooming by at breakneck pace. (Texans all drive like maniacs, including my beloved daughter.) I have no idea of the make, model or year of first one (it was for sale) or even the exact location--except that I snapped the photo somewhere between Fredericksburg and Kerrville. I am thinking: 60-61 Buick? It has fins!

The second photo, a Monte Carlo (75 or 76?), was taken in back of the Mellow Mushroom after the rally on Saturday.

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Lots going on, as our awful Governor Nikki Haley (spits for emphasis) announced her re-election campaign right here in Greenville yesterday. When in trouble (as Haley certainly is), conservative state politicians ALWAYS run up here to hide amongst the GOP faithful. (As I have said many, many times, this IS the most conservative county in the USA, according to Rick Santorum's former campaign manager, who should know.) Haley's decision to announce here signals that she is in trouble in her own backyard, which is Columbia. (She avoids the coast at all costs.)

At yesterday's event, Texas Stoner Governor Rick Perry was on hand for comedy relief and her other good buddy, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (I mentioned here how chummy they are) was also present, for back-up.

She needed it.

Our own Double A, one of my two dynamite radio co-hosts, attended the demonstration against Haley, and reported on the foofaraw. Other than a few small, brave news outlets, the counter-demonstration was mostly ignored by local media.

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HEAT and TRANS update, all in one

Recently, whilst sitting and baking in the ungodly heat, I have read/seen a good number of young trans men ecstatically bragging that they are post-op (known as "top surgery" i.e. mastectomies) and now, ohhh happy day, they can jump in the pool topless and sit around the house topless and at long last, go without a shirt! As if it is somehow intrinsically impossible to do these things unless one is male. These statements are utterly infuriating, and incidentally, feed the (unpopular and oppressive) radfem perspective that gender IS entirely a social construct (and therefore, they believe, surgical/hormonal transition should be unnecessary, and society itself should change or "transition" instead). Because going shirtless is not an intrinsically male or female activity, but IS entirely socially constructed, as we all learned as children, leafing through National Geographic and seeing photos of topless women in the Amazon or wherever.

The fact that these young trans men do not question their cultural environment, and make a big point of bragging about their newly-acquired social superiority (i.e. they are FINALLY FREE of having to do what those NARROW, CONSTRICTED, REPRESSED, GROSS WOMEN ARE FORCED TO DO: keep their shirts on), is very reactionary, offensive and sexist.

Wanting to shed one's shirt does not make you a man, it makes you conscious of the goddamn heat. Living in the broiler that is summer in South Carolina, I want to take my shirt off every single day. Every. Single. Day. And I am not a man and have never wanted to be one. As regular readers know, this is one of my big FEMINIST ISSUES--that men have this right and women do not, all because the almighty sacred titties are arousing to men and obscenity laws were written by men. (NOTE: This is rightly called PATRIARCHY, since the laws were written by MEN, using men's desires as a guide to what is regarded as obscene; women's desires have not been a factor.) I see no reason why WOMEN should not enjoy these so-called "male" privileges too. Instead, as in THIS VIDEO, it is simply understood that men have this seemingly-God-given right and women do not, period. Consequently, the young trans man brags that he can now, finally, at long last, hallelujah, take off his shirt.

(sigh)

And so, instead of properly fighting for everyone to have this right, it is presented as evidence of manhood (and in this context, transgender feelings), thus preserving the patriarchal status quo. This is backward, not forwards.

And further, radfems rarely (if ever) mention trans men and these kinds of sexist statements they make... its only when a high-profile individual like Chaz Bono is openly misogynist that anyone speaks up and says WHOA. I am tired of trans women taking all the heat for their choices, as trans men get off the hook, which by the way, perfectly mirrors our cultural sexism. As Julia Serano writes:

[The] media tends not to notice—or to outright ignore—trans men because they are unable to sensationalize them the way they do trans women without bringing masculinity itself into question. And in a world where modern psychology was founded upon the teaching that all young girls suffer from penis envy, most people think striving for masculinity seems like a perfectly reasonable goal. Author and sex educator Pat Califia, who is himself a trans man, addresses this in his 1997 book Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism: “It seems the world is still more titillated by ‘a man who wants to become a woman’ than it is by ‘a woman who wants to become a man.’ The first is scandalous, the latter is taken for granted.
Which brings me to the matter of Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea Manning.

I said most of my piece on the radio yesterday. As I said then, I fully support Chelsea, and I am very proud we have a woman-whistleblower (go team!), which took all kinds of nerve. Although I must admit -- as a blogger, my first thought was, how on earth do I change all the tags on my blog (LOL) to CHELSEA when they already say BRADLEY--including some headlines and photos. Indexing nightmare! I remember the same problem back when I worked in a record store and we had to figure out what to do with Walter/Wendy Carlos. I finally lettered and inked a sign myself, that said Walter/Wendy Carlos, since people would come in asking for both (no internet in those days) and often believed they were a married couple, not the same person.

Speaking of sexism, sometimes classical-music freaks would actually inform me (haughtily and knowingly) that Wendy wasn't nearly as talented as her husband Walter (!), totally unaware that Walter and Wendy were the same person. When I tried to tell them they WERE the same person, they often refused to believe me, since you know, Walter is a serious musician who would NEVER do something crazy like change his sex! I mean, this was the 70s.

In response, I would simply tell them to look it up, since as I said, there was no internet in those days. So it was difficult to prove my assertion, since Wendy was/is a pretty private person. I hung around bisexual-circles even then, and I heard about Walter-to-Wendy through general gossip. And my record-store boss also seemed to know by community-osmosis (wink-wink), so he never argued with me.

In all my time there, only one of the aforementioned snotty classical-music crowd came in to apologize to me and tell me I was right... and come to think of it, I realize now that he was probably gay.

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I am tagging this BRADLEY MANNING until I figure out a new tag. Blogger used to make it fairly easy to change a tag (you could change them all at once), but now, they make you do it one at a time. Ugh.

Does anyone know how the "big blogs" manage this type of situation?

Glad to be back, hope your week is going well too.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Internet Break One

Taking an internet break, sorely needed. Going to Texas, photos to come.

Aside: I hate flying. I have come to regard Southwest Airlines as the equivalent of Greyhound Buses in the Sky (with less leg room).

I have been reading David Buckley's biography of Elton John, wherein I learned of Elton's 70s-era bedroom-in-the-sky, complete with fur bedspreads and all the drugs you want. I guess you have to be Elton John to afford that? (see photo at left, courtesy of Celebrities in Flight blog post at Getty Images.)

Liberace wept!

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Our radio shows this past week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (sperm donor/IVF edition), Thursday, Friday.

Today at McAlister Square (broadcast location of our show), the Greenville Literacy Association's Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap Book Sale ... be there or be square!

In addition, OCCUPY THE MICROPHONE will be tabling (and reading Tarot) at the Spartanburg Music and Arts Festival in early September, so come on out.

Also wanted to let people know about the Generous Gardens project. WE APPROVE!

See you in about a week, peoples.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday linkage, with Joe Pye weed

Some random linkage, starting (of course!) with my own radio show: Thursday, Friday and today.

We were a bit off our game today, since Gregg and I had to soldier on without Double A. Next week, I am going to Texas, and they will have to soldier on without ME... so I am not complaining.

I just get nervous when we change anything.

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Just back from Atlanta, where I caught a very personal story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (unfortunately, behind a pesky paywall, or I would link it) about the former Miss Georgia, beautiful Leighton Jordan. In the AJC account, Jordan's eating disorder is presented in stark, primary colors. It was harrowing; the unending treadmill of ballet, pageants and thinness seemed less like the life of a princess (the fairy tale we all hear about) and more like being caught in a trap.

In her work as Miss Georgia, Jordan describes a personal appearance wherein she spies a 13-year-old girl, very thin and obviously "jittery" as she is confronted with a table full of food. Jordan takes the girl aside and tells her that she needs to hear her story.

It was an amazing moment of sisterhood, self-sacrifice and love.

I promise never again to be mean to the pageant-participants. Jordan has redeemed you all.

Namaste.

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At left: Joe Pye weed, from Linky Stone park. Ain't it just so purty?!?

I used this photo as the background for my new Tumblr, which you should all check out.


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Other stuff--

6th big cat dies at Texas animal sanctuary (USA Today) -- I did not know that big cats caught feline distemper, as domestic cats do. :(

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Also covered on our show today, CNN doctor-on-call Sanjay Gupta reversed himself on the weed. And yes, we are now waiting on the rest of you 'experts' who have said stupid things in the past; you too may be regarded as respectable once again! SAVE YOUR REPUTATIONS NOW! FREE THE WEED!

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[Attorney General Eric] Holder seeks to avert mandatory minimum sentences for some low-level drug offenders (Washington Post) Better late than never.

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Speaking of marijuana (doing radio has taught me the importance of a good segue!), Erin Tatum's feminist review of "We're the Millers" at Bitch Flicks accurately articulates my concerns about the movie, which I haven't yet seen (but I have been subjected to oodles of trailers):
Really, you are lying to yourself if you thought the powers that be would waste any opportunity to showcase Jennifer Aniston's legs. The ensuing montage is pure wet, slow-motion fan service. The dance ends with Rose releasing a steam valve, disorienting their captors enough to let their "family" escape. I'm torn about this scene because although it's trying almost too hard to show that strippers can be smart and intuitive, Rose’s most valuable asset is still her body and her ability to be objectified. I take issue not so much the objectification itself so much as the fact that the definitive aspect of Rose’s character seems to be “LOL WHAT 40+ and still hot?!?”. Certainly Aniston's boldness and athleticism are praiseworthy, but given the amount that the actors talk about it in interviews, you would think the strip routine was her sole appearance.
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I am greatly looking forward to Elysium, a new film containing one of my very favorite scifi plots ever: Earth evacuated by the rich as a festering shithole, while only the poor, sick and unlucky are left behind. This was a favorite theme of my beloved Philip K Dick, as in his great masterpiece Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which became the film Blade Runner. (It is also the scenario in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, a novel of obsessive importance to your humble narrator.) Elysium was directed by Neill Blomkamp, the director of DISTRICT 9.

Unfortunately, Elysium is getting rather mixed reviews, even though it easily won the weekend box office. I still intend to see it, so stay tuned.

The Conjuring got on my nerves, because I really wanted to like it.

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And for you musically oriented folks: I finally "cleaned up" my infamous three-year-old instrumentals post... I profusely apologize to the people who Googled "instrumentals" (which are notoriously VERY HARD to find, since there are no lyrics to look up) and came upon my post with so many songs missing. I blame YouTube! (Again, time to plug the invaluable YouTomb, a fascinating website that chronicles the whys and wherefores of various videos getting the plug pulled.)

I especially got a chock full of searches after MAD MEN used "Love is Blue" over their closing credits in one of this past year's shows.

And so, here it is.

Love is blue (L'amour est bleu) - Paul Mauriat (1968)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tuesday Tunes

I assure you, I have no idea why, but I've been thinking "they've gone about as fur as they can go" all day long.

Cursed by Rodgers and Hammerstein earworms!

Kansas City - from the musical OKLAHOMA



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A great song about impending motherhood, by adoption.

I Had Something - Lucy Kaplansky



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Great mid-70s art-rock tune, with lyrics by Kurt Vonnegut!

Nice, nice, very nice - Ambrosia



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I never truly appreciated this song until I no longer identified as a Christian. And now, I just love it. Thanks to the indispensable WPCI!

Where to now, St Peter? - Elton John