The Politics of Small Things

A mockup of the cover of Richard Dawkins' autobiography, its title and subtitle edited to read "An Appetite for Honey: The Making of White Male Sadness" and the black and white photo of Mr. Dawkins edited to show him scrutinising a small jar of honey.

There is a familiar cadence to the bursts of Twitter mobbing that have become the definitional paroxysms of cyber-politics these days. Someone in a position of privilege (often unchecked) says something mildly foolish, they are called out on it, and then the privileged individual’s response rises to the level of something genuinely concerning and worth talking about. It is as if some activists excel at chipping away at the wafer-thin façade of public personas to reveal the monsters beneath. While I sometimes find the methods dubious, it is often as not a public service for such unmasking to take place. We should be made aware of the latent prejudices or hidden failings of many in our commentariat and we’re the better for it. So what did we learn from the now hilariously infamous Honeygate, the latest Richard Dawkins micro-scandal to rock social media and set virtual tongues awag? Someone close to me described the reaction to the initial Dawkins honey tweet as “tilting at windmills,” … [Read more...]

Enough

My approach to Cathy Brennan has long mirrored my approach to Ann Coulter; I generally refuse to dignify their deliberate attempts to cruelly incite. Rising to meet their hate, which is deliberately designed to provoke outrage, feels like a vindication of their strategy; what they desire most is attention, and giving it to them hardly feels like a victory for those on the side of the angels. However, after seeing a relatively sympathetic article about Brennan in the online magazine Bustle-- which apparently misgenders a trans woman and which some of my friends have fairly derided as a “puff piece”-- I felt there are some matters which merit clarification. During the interview she clearly set aside the instruments of her usual rhetoric and put on her most reasonable mien. Unsurprisingly, nothing she says justifies her behaviour, and much of what she does say is premised on assumptions that have no basis in our shared reality as women. It is that latter point that Brennan struggles … [Read more...]

Trendy as a Tote Bag: Part II

SRLP GALA_0

Times are very hard, to be sure, and as I am now working in the fundraising department of a radical transgender rights oriented organisation I'm seeing yet another dimension to the endless Great Recession unfolding before me. Simultaneously, what I am constantly astonished by is how people in the most economically disadvantaged communities always manage to find a penny here and a penny there to help their sisters, brothers, and siblings in need. We're out there looking out for each other and that never fails to give me hope. It sounds a tad bit cheesy, yes, but for all of my snarky sarcasm and the like, I've always put a lot of stock in that gift from Pandora's Box. It's a precious resource in the trans community. So, what am I waxing all poetic about and what not? Well, this time around I'd like to solicit you all to fundraise for a charity near and dear to my heart-- so much so that I'm actually working for them. The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, an organisation for low income trans … [Read more...]

State of the Corn: Frostbitten Edition

Pictured: Nuclear Winter Unicorn

Howdy, everyone! Things have been rather busy of late, class is taking off again and I'm having a grand old time. I've gotten out my bullwhip and leather hat since I'm taking a course in the archaeology of ancient women, and I am also taking a transgender studies independent research course with a good friend of mine which, as part of our grade, we will be liveblogging. More information on that will come as soon as it is available. For those of you who enjoy my writing, enjoy my latest work from The Border House: Cyberfucking While Feminist: Here I publish the first of several interviews with women and feministy people who erotically roleplay online. Their experiences have proven to be quite interesting. The first interview, published here, as well as the yet-to-be-published ones to follow are interesting tales of both empowerment and struggle with misogyny. Characters done Right: Kreia from KotOR2: This loveletter for my favourite character ever was a long time coming. Kreia, … [Read more...]

It’s Time I Said Something

Trigger Warning: Explicit discussion of rape and rape apologism follows. Often is the time that I wish I could update this space every day with thoughts on every topic under the sun, a constant celebration of what is good in the world, and tireless fusillades against what is not. For reasons of both self-care and lack of energy, I simply cannot, however. Yet my silence on one issue is glaring and it is time I said something, regardless of how exhausted I may be feeling right now and how ever much I may just be feeling a burning drive to forget the world exists for a while. This is not a post about Julian Assange. It is a post that was inspired by Sady Doyle’s bone-shaking message of defiance on her blog yesterday pertaining to her ongoing quest to wrest apologies from two rich white cis men in the media who see fit to tweet personal information about potential rape victims, Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore. This relates to the Assange case, yes, but the reason this case has … [Read more...]

Lost in Trans-Lation II: This Time It’s Personal…er

So begins Episode II of the Lost in Trans-Lation saga. I realise this is, in many ways, a terrible title whose badness is compounded by the fact that it's yet another bad 'trans' pun (and don't worry, there's more where that come from) but it's grown on me and I'm going to keep it around for its humour value. I'm in a new Women and Gender Studies class with the same professor giving the same weekly journal writing assignments, and so I felt that like any badly named movie it needed a sequel. The sequel no one was waiting for. (Rejected titles include Lost in Trans-Lation II: The Two Ivory Towers; Lost in Trans-Lation II: Revenge of the Poststructuralists; Lost in Trans-Lation II: Return of Marilyn Frye. Lost in Trans-Lation II: The Identitarian Menace. Look, do you know how hard it is to make jokes out of words like 'ethnomethodology'? Give me a break!) Onto more serious things. In this space I clearly devote an extensive amount of energy to trans issues. In the near future I will … [Read more...]

Their Eyes Were Watching Goddess

Me and The Three

“Three years after graduation, in an apple orchard in Sonoma, a friend of mine (who comes from an Italian working class family) says to me “Cherrie, no wonder you felt like such a nut in school. Most of the people there were white and rich.” It was true. All along I had felt the difference, but not until I had put the words “class” and “colour” to the experience, did my feelings make any sense. For years, I had berated myself for not being as “free” as my classmates. I completely bought that they simply had more guts than I did- to rebel against their parents and run around the country hitchhiking, reading books, and studying “art.” They had enough privilege to be atheists, for chrissake.” ~Cherrie Moraga, from ‘La Guera’ I have often said that transition changes far more than you expect. In my own life I certainly expected to change gender presentation in a very noticeable way, yes, but I never expected my politics to change, my relationship with my mother to change, and my career … [Read more...]

A Hex on Both Your Houses

Witchy Me

I generally do not waste too much time expounding on general American political issues because they’re done to death just about everywhere else. For all of your Red vs. Blue, lib vs. con cockfighting there are quite literally hundreds of sites for your fancies. What I try to do here is to shed light on viewpoints that are not likely to, say, be repeated on HuffPo ad nauseam. Nevertheless occasionally something comes along, down that corroded mainstream pipeline that I find is being analysed in a way that elides its most interesting elements. Ladies and gentlemen: Christine O’Donnell had sex with a witch. Liberals wish for you to know this and meditate on this. Ms. O’Donnell and I likely agree on nothing save for, perhaps, the colour of the sky and Goddess knows I hope she’s trounced in the November election, for all the good it will do. But in watching the ascent of the Tea Party’s women I’m noticing a familiar pattern emerging here and one I am not especially fond of. When it … [Read more...]

Lost In Trans-lation: The Final Chapter/Reckoning/Cliche something-or-other

I'll not preface this essay with very much, only to say that it is a swan song for the last month and an interesting opportunity that I seized to neatly tie up and summarise my academic and- dare I say- personal journey over the course of the class. My final grade in the course was an A and so was my grade for this essay. The question I'm answering here is, basically, what did I learn over the course of the last month and how did the readings challenge (or not challenge) me and the views I held when I walked in. My response is as follows: I walked into the class having done a good half of the assigned reading and with a fair amount of foreground knowledge of both emancipatory politics in general and feminism specifically- both its virtues and its foibles- as well as already being familiar with concepts like intersectionality, epistemological or materials hierarchies, disability studies, pivoting the centre, and many others to boot. Yet I also knew I was going to learn … [Read more...]

At the Crossroads and Other Mixed Metaphors: Intersectionality

This essay, as I mentioned yesterday, got an A (which is the highest grade my professor will bestow as he doesn't believe in A+s for one reason or another). The 'question' I had to answer was really more of an essay unto itself but here it is: This essay has three parts, which should be integrated into a single essay, and not answered separately. Explain the concept of intersectionality. You should discuss at least race, class, gender, and sexuality, but you may also discuss other aspects of social inequality we’ve talked about in class. This section should focus on Crenshaw and the Combahee River Collective, but you may use other texts as well.  Do not just quote a definition here, explain the concept in your own words and in detail. Discuss one or two particular historical events, periods, or issues in the context of an intersectional analysis of multiple axes of oppression. Use at least two readings not including Crenshaw. How does … [Read more...]

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