Archive for May, 2009

Against a law to “protect” disabled people

I sent a letter tonight to a Democratic Congresswoman from Massachusetts who just proposed a law to “protect” disabled people from being represented in pornography, with the same law that forbids child pornography. Wheelchair Dancer says it very well:

Absolutely, anyone, disabled or non, should be protected from abuse. But laws that prevent people from being able to give consent are also no good. People over the age of 60 have sex, act in and consume porn. People with disabilities have sex, act in and consume porn. Not to allow people this kind of autonomy is to deny them their humanity.

And here’s my letter, short and sweet.

Hello Representative Reinstein,
I am not a huge fan of porn, or of the porn industry, or of weird fetishists. I am a 40 year old woman and a mother and a feminist, who has used a wheelchair on and off for the last 20 years. I’ll do as I please with my body and images of it. I don’t need a law to “protect” me, by forbidding me to enter into consensual agreements.
Please talk to a wider range of people with disabilities, before trying to make laws to “protect” them.
I see your good intention here, but the effect is condescending and paternalistic. And that is destructive. I fight as an activist for disability rights — including our right to be seen as fully sexual beings.
The edges of sexual freedom include many problematic situations that are exploitative.
But the solution is not to make laws that treat us as children.
I know I will likely get a form letter back. But I hope you really read this letter.

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Help Gwendomama recover from domestic violence

This last month I’ve watched, from a distance, a little bit of what happens when women face domestic violence. Julie from Tangobaby has been blogging about her friendship with K. and her family, a friendship which started back in April. As an individual blogger talking to one other woman she met on the street, she has made a huge difference in K.’s life. WE ARE THE MEDIA, people.
Meanwhile, my friend from WoolfCamp, Gwendomama, was also attacked by her (then) partner. He was arrested and then took all the money which he said he’d used to paid rent and utilities and used it to pay his bail. Her commitment to truth is stunning and beautiful.

But for now, I cannot allow him to take away or hurt this one thing I have left.
Our children are ours. They will always be ours.
But this blog, these words?
They are mine.
This poetic license to be cryptic and have a quirky sense of humor?
All mine.
This is my blog. This is where I can tell my truth, where I can record the awesomeness that is my children, and even record my parenting triumphs and fails.
This is where I have been able to share the ‘unspeakable’; the coping with parenting loss…this blog has been what even helped to keep me sane those years of cyclical arguing.
Sometimes people even pay me astonishingly low amounts of money to write things.
I write only the truth (which, perhaps upon reflection, is why the amounts are so astonishingly low).

I’m going to repeat what Squid said:

Gwendomama is one of my favorite people and bloggers. She is a loud-mouthed, small-business-owning, straight-shooting, food-loving, empathetic woman and dedicated mom. She is a wonderful friend to folks both inside and outside of the computer, to parents who advocate for special needs kids, and especially to parents who — like her — have faced the unimaginable in losing a child.
The unimaginable happened to her again. Last month, she became a victim, and to literally add insult to injury, she has found herself in a financial hole. Please, please help us help our hardworking friend gather funds for her and her children’s immediate needs: food, rent, utility bills.
We are bloggers. Our superpower is connectivity, and when we use that power for good, we can save and change the world. Please forward, blog, connect, and — especially — donate. The campaign will end next Friday, 5/22. No amount is too small, and the sky’s the limit. Thank you.

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Books on Piracy

Last night I read most of Dangerous Waters – it has an interesting setup, a dude sailing his ship who gets boarded by pirates in the South China Sea on his way to Singapore. He lives through this ocean mugging, and then writes a book about shipping and piracy, hitching a ride on a VLCC – I have forgotten what it stands for, but a freaking huge oil tanker. Freaking Huge Oil Tankers (or VLCCs, or FHOTs) have crews of about 17 guys and they don’t have enough people to mount effective night watches against pirates who speed-canoe up, “swarm” up the sides with bamboo poles, and attack with giant knives sharpened out of bits of old cars.

Sounds like a good book? Well up to a point, but the dude is so super racist and incoherent that I lost patience. No story is developed – it’s like reading a mishmash of magazine articles and bits of wikipedia thrown together with SENSATIONALIST STORY, then some hanging out while the author dude drools all over the sexy, lone germanic or british man in charge captain enjoying his total captain fetish (that part was amusing) and having neurotic fantasies about being raided by pirates. The whole thing would have made a fine pirate romance novel if he would have stopped trying to write it as non-fiction. In his mind, brown, barefoot men jabbering, or babbling, or prattling, in their own brown language, may be pirates or mayn’t be, but what they do is swarm up your ship like sperm looking to plonk themselves into a giant oiltanker of an egg, crack you over the head with a machete and torture you till you open the safe. Okay. His main point seems to be that there aren’t enough guards on the ships. So then he goes (mixed in and mashed up with his other Adventures in the Captain’s Mess) and drools over some soldiers of fortune and how tough they are and how scary it is when they shoot people and the bodies wash ashore and no one cares. Our author loves a badass with an AK-47 who shoots some dudes in canoes.

Homosocial bonding should bring us some prime sexism. An unpleasant book! It does not disappoint on this front. “To those who cross the seas, the ship is more than a mere universe, it becomes part of the essential core of our being, and we imbue our vessel with our own unique spiritual traits that we pray are strong enough to carry us through the worst conditions. It is why men have always called a ship “she”.

Oh is it why! Who is this we!

Grrrrrr!!!

What drivel! You really start wanting to be with the pirates, i swear!

The other book on Piracy is on Zond-7′s ipod. I will read it tomorrow – it is called The Outlaw Sea. The first chapter was FANTASTIC – serious, scholarly, sourced, actually has some arguments to develop and stories to tell along with them.

The point to take from both books is that piracy and hijacking have been on the rise since the early 90s. In the hot spots, people are horribly poor and have turned bandit. At worst, they join up with organized crime and smugging and human trafficing.

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