Thursday, January 31, 2008
- We believe that women are oppressed worldwide by patriarchy, the “rule of the fathers;”
- We seek to abolish patriarchy;
- We understand patriarchy to be a system of structures and institutions created by men in order to sustain and recreate male power and female subordination. The structures of patriarchy include, but are not limited to, the law, medicine, religion and the traditional family;
- Women’s oppression is rooted in both the structures of our society and in capitalism and white supremacy. Patriarchy includes not only male rule but also heterosexual imperialism and sexism (Charlotte Bunch);
- In order to abolish patriarchy, we must challenge its root components and causes which we locate in oppression of females by males;
- We believe that the uprooting of sexism simultaneously inaugurates the uprooting of racism, class hatred, homophobia, lesbophobia, transphobia, ageism, ableism, competition, hierarchy, ecological disaster, and economic exploitation of all kinds;
- The revolutions, so-called, which the world has known to date, have been coups-d’etat between men which have pruned certain branches but have left the root embedded for the sake of preserving male privilege over all women (Robin Morgan);
- We are a journey of women becoming. We do not seek reconciliation with the fathers; rather, we affirm our original birth, our original source, movement, surge of living. We Re-member our Selves (Mary Daly);
- We are woman-identified and woman-centered. We put women first, not only in our politics but in our personal lives;
- The expression of our politics is concrete: we oppose pornography, prostitution, the institution of marriage and the traditional family, sadomasochism, compulsory heterosexuality, gender coercion, and dominance hierarchies of all kinds; we endorse, support and work to envision and create peaceful, respectful, noncoercive, relationships, structures and institutions which affirm the importance of all human beings, all creatures, and the earth;
- We affirm lesbianism and lesbian separatism as revolutionary paths for all women who choose them.
- We understand gender as a structure and system of subordination, and as such, we seek its eradication.
- We pursue and celebrate sisterhood.
I especially like this article on the women who organized after the storm. As is so often the case, it is women who do the organizing. It was women who, decades ago, formed historical societies to preserve the French Quarter which was, at that time, an urban core marked by blight and crime. The men were going to tear it all down; women organized to save it.
I also like this article on Katrina and carnival. I appreciated the explanation of how carnival functions not only as an expression of cultural identity and celebration but also as an important forum for satire, which has been a preferred vehicle for discourse here for hundreds of years. This piece is also a great example of how articles written by locals stand out for their use of humor. Since Katrina, I had been trying to figure out why, so often, articles written by earnest outsiders fall flat. I think I've finally found an explanation: outsiders often write articles that don't include humor and any article that doesn't make the reader laugh can't, by definition, be an authentic representation of what happens here. It just can't.
Between the glum faces and the not wanting him to touch her and the lack of eye contact and everything else, you’d think these men would take the hint. Perhaps the man complaining of the saggy breasts he had hired for half an hour was no oil painting himself? Perhaps the women were repulsed by the men and what they were expected to do with them? Perhaps, just perhaps, the women would rather be anywhere else on the planet than giving this sorry human being a ‘massage’. And heaven forbid that these ‘working ladies’ should have real bodies owned by real women, and not live up to some male-media-produced fantasy of eternally pert breasts and no “signs of recent childbirth”. Don’t these women realise that their bodies belong to the men who pay for them, and they expect to get what they pay for? I really hope the man who wrote the review about the sagging boobs and stretch marks is happy with his own body, and feels very lucky that every square inch of it belongs to him and no-one else. That is his privilege as a man in a patriarchal world, to own his own body, and that of a woman (or lots of women) too if he chooses. We must change that. We must create a world in which every woman owns her own body and no-one else has a claim on it.
Well said! The entitlement of these men is just amazing. They've paid their fee, and for that they want access to a pert, perfect pornalicious body as well as the sort of lustful wild abandon and mega-moaning and begging for more that they've seen in their precious porno flicks.
"Real sexual relationships are not hard to find. There are plenty of adults of both sexes who are willing to have sex if someone treats them well, and asks. But there lies the problem. Some people do not want an equal, sharing relationship. They do not want to be nice. They do not want to ask. They like the power involved in buying a human being who can be made to do almost anything."
--Joe Parker of the Lola Greene Baldwin Foundation, in "Not For Sale"
While thousands of Mississippians who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina remain in FEMA trailers, the federal government on Friday approved a state plan to spend $600 million in grants earmarked for housing on a major expansion of the state-owned port — a project that could eventually include casino and resort facilities....
“It’s just insanity, true insanity,” Sister Martha Milner, a Catholic nun and longtime housing advocate, said...
The money in question is part of $5.5 billion in HUD Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) that Congress authorized for Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005. Administered by the Mississippi Development Authority, about $3.4 billion was allocated to replace and repair some of the nearly 170,000 owner-occupied homes destroyed or damaged by the storm. Another $600 million was set aside for programs to replace public housing, help small landlords fix their units and foster construction of new low- and moderate-income housing....
In its “Mississippi CDBG Recovery Fund Report Card,” the Steps Coalition reported that as of mid-January more than 13,000 Mississippi families — or a total of 35,129 people — remained in FEMA housing, nearly 90 percent of them in small travel trailers and most of them ineligible for the CDBG-funded grants....
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Thursday, January 24, 2008
I think it’s wrong for the government to discriminate against people because of that person’s sexual orientation.Well, yeah, I'm for marriage for whoever wants it, of course, but I have to point out, President Gore, that marriage hasn't kept my straight ass husband so loyal. Not that I'm bitter or anything - just sayin'
I think that gay men and women ought to have the same rights as heterosexual men and women, to make contracts, to have hospital visiting rights, to join together in marriage, and I don’t understand why it is considered by some people to be a threat to heterosexual marriage to allow it by gays and lesbians.
Shouldn’t we be promoting that kind of faithfulness and loyalty to one’s partner regardless of sexual orientation? Because if you don’t do that then to that extent you are promoting promiscuity and you are promoting all the problems that can result from promiscuity.
And the loyalty and love that two people feel for one another when they fall in love ought to be celebrated and encouraged, and shouldn’t be prevented by any form of discrimination in the law.
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First their god meant to f**k up New Orleans via Hurricane Katrina, yet their god somehow managed to instead destroy the areas where ordinary folks live and leave the French Quarter scene intact. Now their god meant to kill a gay guy but accidentally picked on a guy who just pretends to be gay in movies. Either it's time for these nuts admit that they do not, in fact, know the divine's preferences and plan or else they should just admit that their god is an idiot.
I support Barack Obama because he doesn't seek to perfect the politics of Swiftboating -- he seeks to end it. This is personal for me, and for a whole lot of Americans who lived through the 2004 election.Then he comments on this stuff:
In the New York Times the Republican narrative was first introduced:read more digg story
"Another Bush adviser said of Mr. Kerry, 'He looks French.'
In the same article, anonymous Republicans described John Edwards as the 'Breck Girl.'"
God, it's embarrassing that candidates for president have to even hear such foolishness. A guy looks French or he looks like a girl - those are the Repukes' best plays, eh? What a country!
The Jefferson Parish Council today voted to block hotels in the parish from renting out rooms by the hour. I know they're trying to cut down on hourly rentals to johns and drug users, but I don't know - I still feel some nostalgia for those places from when I was a teenager (well, it was better than parking at the lakefront and plus those places weren't quite as sleazy back then as they are now - or maybe I've just gotten old). Hat tip to Gentilly Girl, who points out that this will likely just send the criminal activity across the parish line.
Heavens, I love this po-boy and Barq's photo from YatPundit.
This story from Heart - "The Padlocked Vagina - Rape as Torture in the Congo" - is beyond words, so I won't say anything other than that it's graphic and you should still see it. Be sure to follow the link to the letter to Ken Burns about his failure to include women's realities in his "The War: An Intimate History." An intimate his-story...
On second thought, maybe I will say something else, the same thing I end up saying practically every day: "Why do men hate us so much?"
"A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it is done, no matter how strong the weapons, or how brave the warriors."
(Ines' Hernandez-Avila. "In Praise of Insubordination," Transforming a Rape Culture.)
Finally, check out these two articles from ladoctorita at her blog "unconventional beauty."
Part I: "Hear no Evil" about no one listening to women's concerns about other women or about men threatening them.
Part II: "Nobody Listens to Women" about Julie Jensen, whose 1998 death was initiailly ruled a suicide but whose husband is now on trial for murdering her - which makes sense since she left a note with her neighbor twelve days before she died basically saying, "If I should die, he probably killed me."
I'll end with a video that seems apropos and that's probably it until after Austin. Guess I'd better get packing (everything at the last possible minute as usual).
Jackson Katz in "Tough Guise: Violence, Media, and the Crisis in Masculinity:"
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
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Body Found Off Venice May be Last Ala. Victim
Father allegedly tossed 4 children from Mobile bridge
Plaquemines Parish authorities are working with Alabama officials to learn whether the body of a baby found near South Pass on Sunday morning is that of the last of four children who were allegedly tossed from a coastal Alabama bridge by their father two weeks ago.
Alabama officials said Lam Luong, 37, confessed to throwing his four children, aged a few months to 3 years, from the Dauphin Island Bridge, setting off a search that began Jan. 8. Luong, 37, later recanted, claiming two Asian women took the children and never returned them.
Three of the children have been found dead, but the fourth, Hannah Luong, 2, was still missing. On Sunday, people on the shrimp boat Crystal Lynn reported seeing a body floating in the Gulf of Mexico shortly before 10 a.m. about seven miles east of South Pass, the Coast Guard said. The crew of the Crystal Lynn lost sight of the body, and the Coast Guard was unable to find it until the crew of the shrimp boat Beau Rivage spotted it about 2:20 p.m. The Beau Rivage kept the body in view until a Coast Guard boat could recover it at 3:08 p.m.
The body was taken to the Coast Guard station at Venice and turned over to the Plaquemines Parish Coroner's Office and the Sheriff's Office, said Petty Officer Marcus Carlucci and Chief Petty Officer Kevin Erwin. Carlucci said the body was that of a small girl, but would not speculate on whether it was the missing child.
But Col. Charles Guey of the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office said detectives are working under the assumption that the body is one of those thrown off the bridge. "We're pretty certain this will be the child," Guey said. He said the body appeared to be female.
"We're working very closely with Mobile authorities," Guey said. He said the description and clothing of the body found Sunday were "pretty close" to those of the missing girl.
read more | digg story
I love this woman too - "Until" by Ayisha Knight, Def Poetry Jam:
"Why Many of us Feel Betrayed by Bill Clinton."
Not to mention that there's that little matter of the 22nd amendment. As a feminist, I had wanted to give Hillary Clinton credit and NOT assume that eight years for her would necessarily mean eight more years for him, but they are making it clear that this is VERY much a matter of eight more years for him.
But, of course, Andrea Dworkin said it best.
"Are you Listening Hillary? President Rape is Who he Is:"
...President Rape is who he is. Proud President Rape. Everyone turned from Juanita Broddrick. Everyone looked away. Every asshole blinked. It's pretty fucking brilliant to use force after the fuck, as he did with most of the others I know about, intimidate them, have them threatened, destroy their reputations, say they're lying or stalkers or a little mentally unhinged, having delusions of grandeur as if being fucked or mauled or harassed by him was something one dreamed of.... Always easier to blame the woman. Are you listening, Hillary? So much easier to be angry with them rather than with him. Have I got your attention, Hillary? You decide these women, every last one of them, are pieces of shit and he's the shinola. More than anyone you know how cold and premeditating the bastard is. When did your heart die? ... I'd be sick to think I had become as corrupt as you. How many women have you helped him hurt by protecting him and knocking out the opposition? Two political parties, one neo-fascist and the other neo-rapist. Or is it proto-rapist? You and I were girls together and now it's this: I'm nouvelle raped and you defend a rapist through which you defend rape through which you think the women, not the rapist, are the problem. Maybe women are just fucking stupid, you and me babe. I'm glad you're not president or on the Supreme Court. You are a running dog collaborator. You take the side of the rapist, not the raped....
I'm really tired of women who don't care. ... Hillary's best friend, the new feminism, no one's a victim here, it's so embarrassing when a woman's raped, it's so declasse, it's annoying, the wrong time of the day, the wrong day of the week, not during office hours, the woman can barely keep herself together, she might collapse emotionally, which would be messy, or make emotional demands, which would be unpleasant, or you might have to think that it could have happened to you if it happened to her but it didn't happen to you so it doesn't have to be your problem, you don't need to get near the mess of it, the disaster of it, the desperation of it. Just cut her loose and let her die.
Feminists pretend we're on top of all this, as if we've done something about it. We roll the ball up the hill and a fucking rapist pushes it back down and we roll it up again and another rapist slams it down. But never admit not being in control, all polished and shiny, just keep smiling in public, the women on top of everything, and when will a woman be president of the United States? Oh, soon, don't worry. And what difference will it make? Oh, don't worry. We'll get it because we have to have it, even if it's a cookie-cutter Hillary married to ex-president Rape....
So, I wanted to switch from NOLA blogging to feminism blogging these last few days before the conference.
Here it is, my nomination for the ultimate, best ever, kickass feminist poetry slam:
I showed this to myNigel last night and he didn't think it was the coolest thing ever.
That's okay. I am ready, ready, as Eve Ensler might say, "I am Leaving my Father's House:"
Finally, a quick "Ten Great Comments of Dr. King:"
Monday, January 21, 2008
It looks like I'll be moving my blog over from myspace to here.
Yes, it's carnival tiiiiime:
And just in time, there's a new album by the "Blind Boys of Alabama" coming out on January 28, one recorded in New Orleans and featuring New Orleans musicians. Check out the video:
Cruising down St. Charles Avenue, we passed streetcar stops packed with ready revelers. You could feel it in the air, a strange brew of humidity and history.
In the Garden District, we passed a middle-aged couple decked out in Ohio State colors. They were walking the long walk. "Let's offer them a ride," I told my friend. It seemed like the right thing to do. So we pulled over.
They got in the back seat. Before making introductions, I admonished them: "Are y'all crazy?" I said. "Haven't you heard about crime in New Orleans? How could you just jump in the back seat of a stranger's car?"
They had no answer at hand. They hadn't thought through all the things that could go wrong. Truth is, they just wanted a ride. It seemed like the right thing to do.
They were Amy and Allen Glass from Columbus. First timers to New Orleans unless you count Allen's three hours here many, many years ago and by all accounts, it was a very long three hours.
I asked how their visit was going this time around. It was going very well, Amy said. "What we have noticed," she said, "is that everyone here seems to be so in love with this town."
I reckon so, I told her. We've all had ample time, opportunity and reason to move on, I said. If you're still here, well, yeah . . . it must be love. Crazy love....
But first: I heard drumbeats down Poydras. Then horns, a glorious echo from the heavens. There, to greet my arrival downtown for this hallowed occasion, was the St. Aug Marching 100. God's own band, the way I see it. I don't know whose idea it was to have these guys march down the street before the game, but it was a good one.
It began to rain. A good rain. Louisiana rain. The tower of the Hibernia Bank building was lit in purple and gold. Through the mist, it was perhaps the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
The band played on. The crowds swelled behind the Marching 100. A motorcycle cop played his siren in rhythm with the band, and I wondered how he did that. There was so much noise, so much commotion. I fell in with the second line. It seemed like the right thing to do.
We marched to the Dome, a legion of strangers in the night. The group disbanded. Most headed for the Dome. I turned to head back down Poydras, toward my perch on Tiger Mountain. A guy said to me -- yelled to me, really -- "ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?"
Football, I thought? Who gives a dang about football? Let's do life.
I saw Sean Payton dancing with a police officer on the neutral ground and . . .
OK, that didn't really happen, but you got the sense that it could, that you just might see or hear anything on this night. It was like Mardi Gras, except it was just us. Just us, and a few thousand friends from Ohio.
I started thanking people dressed in red, doing my Love Potion No. 9 routine, thanking strangers for being here, for coming here, and it is a very annoying habit I have. Many folks shook my hand and said "You bet!" and "Thanks for having us!" and many averted their eyes.
My favorite, however, is this story about a New Jersey man who read about the murders in New Orleans and came here to start a peace project as well as to memorialize and humanize the dead. Until I read this, I hadn't thought about my stepbrother in many years. I didn't know him particularly well, as my mother married his father when I was seventeen, and he lived with his mother. One night back in 1989, when he was seventeen, he was in a car with some friends underneath the Earheart Expressway. As a gunman aimed at my stepbrother's face, he put his hand up and was shot three times - once each in his hand, his wrist, and his neck. At dawn, a truck driver reported the scene to police. As our recent New Jersey transplant understands, over time only a handful of people remember each murder victim. Their stories soon fade from public memory - if they were ever even there, as most of the murdered children of New Orleans, like my stepbrother, merit only a brief paragraph in the Metro section of the Times Picayune. It's nice that someone is keeping their stories, their very individuality, alive - here in a city where murders are the most mundane of statistics. Rest in peace, R.B.
Krewe de Vieux rolled last night. I managed to miss it yet again, in bed with the flu this time. This year's theme was "The Magical Misery Tour." Call them raunchy or brilliant, love it or hate it, this is carnival, organic, home-grown. Someday soon when I finally get around to emailing Barbara Ehrenreich (whose blog I stumbled across last night and who dissed us a while back by refusing to include New Orleans' Mardi Gras in her recent book on partying in the streets because, the heretofore-brilliant-but-on-this-subject-ignorant Ehrenreich said, Mardi Gras is too commercialized to count as an organic street party), I'm going to send her the preceeding link. I'm going to tell her about the Cajun Mardi Gras (and here - le Courir de Mardi Gras a Cheval, riding on horseback and dancing, begging, and clowning for the chicken and other ingredients to make a communal gumbo feast; how commercial is THAT?) and New Orleans' Mardi Gras Indians and about second lining. Really, it's shocking that an academic of her caliber would demonstrate such ignorance. There is no corporate sponsorship of any sort for Mardi Gras, and the fact that lots of tourists come here to watch our home-grown holiday doesn't MAKE it commercial. It's still a party we throw for OURSELVES, young and old. It's still "dancing in the streets," Ms. Ehrenreich, and it's very much about "collective joy" (these terms come from her book title, which I'm not going to mention).
The New Orleans News Ladder has a great dedication (check down the left side, in purple).
Also check out great political satire at The New Orleans Levees (We Don't Hold Anything Back).
The Huffington Post suddenly joins the "earth is round" society and dares to ask, ""Did Oil Canals Worsen Katrina's Effects?"
Unfortunately, I won't be in town next weekend for the usual family gathering for the ALLA parade on the West Bank. I am very excited to be attending the "Stop Porn Culture" conference in Austin, Texas, although I'm amazed how after months of NOT having a life, suddenly three things I wanted to do all came up the same weekend (the third being a house party to watch the results come in from the South Carolina Democratic primary). Sigh.
Finally, in honor of the Martin Luther King holiday, some youtube gems.
King's last public speech (been to the mountaintop):
King on war (so relevant today, American is NOT the policeman of the world, he said):
King on the drum major instinct (if you want to be a drum major - meaning the star of the show - be a drum major for justice, for peace, for righteousness):
This sermon - about being a drum major for peace - was the last sermon Dr. King gave before his death. In it, he talked about what he hoped could be said about him at his funeral when the time came. Re-rediscovering it tonight, I was thinking about how some family and friends have been emailing about what our "bucket lists" would include (prompted by the new movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) and I realized that my bucket list needs to include having lived a lifetime of commitment and activism, or, as Dr. King said:
Every now and then I guess we all think realistically
(Yes, sir) about that day when we will be victimized
with what is life's final common denominator—that
something that we call death. We all think about it.
And every now and then I think about my own death and
I think about my own funeral. And I don't think of it
in a morbid sense. And every now and then I ask
myself, "What is it that I would want said?" And I
leave the word to you this morning.
If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I
don't want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to
deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long.
(Yes) And every now and then I wonder what I want them
to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel
Peace Prize—that isn't important. Tell them not to
mention that I have three or four hundred other
awards—that's not important. Tell them not to mention
where I went to school. (Yes)
I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin
Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving
I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin
Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.
I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on
the war question. (Amen)
I want you to be able to say that day that I did try
to feed the hungry. (Yes)
And I want you to be able to say that day that I did
try in my life to clothe those who were naked. (Yes)
I want you to say on that day that I did try in my
life to visit those who were in prison. (Lord)
I want you to say that I tried to love and serve
Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say
that I was a drum major for justice. (Amen) Say that I
was a drum major for peace. (Yes) I was a drum major
for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things
will not matter. (Yes) I won't have any money to leave
behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of
life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a
committed life behind. (Amen) And that's all I want to
If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody he's traveling wrong,
Then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,
If I can spread the message as the master taught,
Then my living will not be in vain.
Rest in peace, MLK (with a footnote to the Clintons: I'm just wondering, um, how many dark nights DID Lydon Johnson spend in a jail cell to get civil rights legislation passed??? P.S. Dear President Rape, please shut up, shut up, shut up.)