Political Flavors


Conservatives are the OLD Punk Rock

Posted in Editorials on February 27th, 2017
by
Tags:

I balk when I see tweets about conservatives being the new punk rock just because people vehemently hate Milo Yiannopoulos for being a *fashionable* blowhard. This is because I associate punk with my rebellion against fascistic tendencies and I associate the alt right with shitty old nazis who just so happen not to carry the SES association with rednecks. But today, my “shuffle all” played 7 Seconds and I realized how much I cling to the good and put aside the bad in my memories of the punk rock I loved in my youth. As a tween and teen, I clung to bands like 7 Seconds because they had the edge and the energy I loved about punk, but they also created space for me. With feminist 101 songs like “Not Just Boys Fun” and lines like “fuck big business, church and war/that’s not what we’re fighting for” in “Definite Choice,” I had music to get me fired up for the political work and to comfort me in times when I felt like maybe I was the crazy one and I should just conform. The flip side of that realization of how fucking great 7 Seconds was, is that there was SO MUCH that was garbage.

I remember the first time I listened to Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols and thought Bodies was an incomprehensible story of abortion stigma. Is the problem that she was poor? “A case of insanity”? That she was a “no-one who killed her baby”? Was the transgression supposed in the graphic gorey descriptions? If so, then the purity ring wearing indoctrinated tweens outside clinics who carry signs bearing gorey images of god knows what are as punk rock as the Pistols. I did not find it to be progressive or transgressive, and I didn’t have the language or discourse of the problematic fav so I just had to live with my cognitive dissonance and continue to call punk progressive while knowing it could be weirdly conservative. Bodies is downright milquetoast compared to what I heard as I got into hardcore and oi!

I remember smiling while my at-the-time boyfriend and his bestie listened to “Politically Incorrect” by Combat 84 not quite ironically enough to justify their smirks at “Equal opportunity?! What about my fucking opportunities?!” (also lol, this line basically sums up the entire argument of conservative transgression). Yes, for every kid with a SHARP patch, there was a kid with an 88 patch (or the little patch with a no symbol over the SHARP logo because I guess graphic design for nazis died in the 40s); for every Kathleen Hanna there was a Fat Mike; for every “Jesus was a Communist,” there’s a really bizarrely high number of white dudes trying to convince you that Screwdriver is just really great punk music if you can put aside the white power shit. As a kid I had a lot of trouble navigating whether or not some kid I was meeting was gonna say some outrageously dehumanizing shit about Jews without noticing (or maybe intentionally because they did notice) that I’m Jewish.

At that time, I had to dig to find Team Dresch or Bitch and Animal (ok, does anti-folk count as punk? I don’t know, don’t @ me) to express that queer anger I had inside me, an anger that was definitely not acceptable to a lot of the traditional-gender-role-loving hardcore scene. Punk rock and queercore is now a huge part, if not the dominating genre, of punk. Thanks in part to band like MEN and Gravy Train!!!, we have bands like PWR BTTM being featured in the New York Times. The new punk rock is a glittering queermo paradise, not some fucking punch bait dude with a frog pin talking about how he’s *technically* not a member of the KKK.

What Do I Say When I Call My Representative? January 23, 2017 edition

Posted in Editorials on January 23rd, 2017
by
Tags:

In the past two days, two people have asked me, “But Elizabeth, after I call my Congressperson, what do I say?

I’m glad more people are interested in contacting their representatives and this seems like such a responsibility. I don’t really want to tell people what to say – it seems so personal to me. But since people have been asking me, here’s a few suggestions. Notice, this post is dated, in case I write more posts like these in the future.

If you haven’t yet, read the Indivisible guide. I know it’s 26 pages. But. Read it.

Ok, onto calling your representative:

First, know who you are calling. If you live in one of the 50 states, you have one Congressional Representative and two Senators in Washington DC. You also have one state assembly member and one state senator representing you to your state government. [Unless you live in Nebraska, then you just have one legislator]. You have a governor. There’s probably also people who represent you at the local level. In New York City, there’s my city councilman and the Mayor. When I lived on Long Island, I had village trustees, a village mayor, a town councilman, a town supervisor, a county legislator and a county executive. Local government varies wildly but most have websites where you can find out who represents you – and since many localities in the United States have local elections in odd years – the people who will be knocking on your door this summer and fall are the ones who will represent you the closest to where you live.

Second, pick a specific issue that the person you are calling has direct influence over. Learn about the issue and find out who votes on what before you call. For example, your Senator can’t help you with a pothole (thus why you should learn the nitty gritty of your local government). And your congressperson doesn’t vote on Supreme Court nominees (only Senators do).

When you call, make it short and sweet:

Hello, my name is __________, and I live in (town) (zip code). I’m calling to ask (the Congressman/Senator/Assemblywoman/Councilman) to vote (Yes/No) on __________. Thank you

But, you may ask, what goes in that last blank? I hesitate so much to do this because I really think people should decide for themselves, but here’s my personal suggestions, and links which support my position. Pick one or two of these at a time. You can always call back the next day with more requests.

Call your Senators and tell them:
Vote No on Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State
What Rex Tillerson’s Exxon Mobil track record tells us
What Tillerson Could Mean for US. Foreign Policy and Women’s Empowerment Programs
A bunch of military veterans have taken over Sen. McCain’s office to protest Rex Tillerson

Vote No on Jeff Sessions for Attorney General
Read the letter Coretta Scott King wrote opposing Sessions’s 1986 federal nomination
My previous post on this

Vote No on Betsy Devos for Secretary of Education
The Betsy DeVos Hearing Was an Insult to Democracy

Vote No on Steven Mnuchin for Secretary of the Treasury
Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Nominee, Failed to Disclose $100 Million in Assets

Vote No on Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services
Senate Dem [Kirsten Gillibrand] asks for SEC investigation of Trump HHS pick
Tom Price can’t recall voting to allow employers to fire women for using birth control. Democrats help him remember.

Vote No on Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator
Scott Pruitt Criticizes Environmental Rules

Vote No on The REINS Act
The REINS Act: Why Congress Should Hold Its Horses
Questioning the Constitutionality of the REINS Act: Bill Seeks to Restructure Federal Rulemaking Process

Call your Congressperson and tell them:

Vote no on any budget that the National Endowment for the Arts, or efforts to fight climate change like the Paris Climate Agreement
Report: Trump Team Preparing $10.5 Trillion in Budget Cuts

Also, tell them to vote no on these bills. I found them all on congress.gov you can read the text of all of these bills online.

Vote no on HR 217 Defunding Planned Parenthood

Vote no on HR 175 Repealing The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

Vote no on HR 34 which would get rid of Gun Free School Zones

Vote no on HR 36 which would ban abortion at 20 weeks

Vote no on HR 49 which would allow oil drilling on the Alaskan coastal plain

If you live in New York State:

Call your State Assemblyperson and State Senator and tell them to vote yes on The New York Health Act.
It’s Time for New York State to Pass Universal Healthcare

If you live in Indiana:

Call your State Assemblyperson and State Senator and tell them to vote no on Senate Bill 285 which “would require law enforcement to clear protesters from roadways by “any means necessary.””
Lawmakers Delay Vote On Bill To Clear Protesters From Roads

If you live in North Dakota:

Call your State Assemblyperson and State Senator and tell them to vote no on bills that crimalize protests or “exempt a driver from liability if they unintentionally injure or kill a pedestrian obstructing traffic on a public road or highway.” I tried to find the names of these bills but the ND Legislature website appears to require being a resident of the state to track a bill. If you’re from ND, let me know. Here’s some sources:
North Dakota’s experience with pipeline protests spurs bills
Pipeline Protesters Decry North Dakota Bills That ‘Criminalize’ Protests

Finally…

Remember to be polite. You might be angry, but you are speaking to a staffer whose job it is to talk to the public all day. It’s basic human decency to be nice to them.

After you call, tell people who you called and what you said and why. Use social media or just bring it up in conversation. You will encourage others to do the same. If you find out your representative is planning to vote how you asked them to, thank them, and tell your friends that too.

Happy dialing.

What To Read To Your Kid During The Trump Administration

Posted in Book Reviews, Editorials, Personal Essays, Pregnancy And Motherhood Thinkpieces on January 20th, 2017
by
Tags:

My son is still a baby by but I try to read to him every day. He doesn’t understand the words yet but he likes looking at the pictures and hearing my voice. In some ways I’m glad I don’t have to explain Donald Trump to him yet, and my heart goes out to parents who do. When I was a kid I liked topical books like “How My Parents Learned to Eat” and “The Lorax.” My Dad gave me a copy of Jack London’s “The Scab” when I was about ten. And I plan on continuing the tradition of including political books with my own son. Here’s some kids books covering themes that may come up in the net few years:

For Very Little Ones
A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
An alphabet board book which covers the A-Z of activism from “Advocate Abolitionist Ally” to “Zapatista of course.” Some people may balk about introducing radical politics to young children. But I love this book. I will unapologetically share my Unitarian Universalist faith with my son, and he’ll be hearing a lot of these words at coffee hour after services, or while I’m playing “Democracy Now!” in the background of a quiet day at home. So why not read him this remarkable book of rhymes about activism?

For Your Budding Feminist
Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl
About a year before I had my son, I reviewed this book on Goodreads: “This book is amazing and I want to buy a copy for every child I know.” Children will enjoy learning about historical figures they’ve heard of and those they haven’t. Although it’s written for children, it does not hold back. It begins, “A is for Angela. Angela Davis was born in 1944 in Birmingham Alabama into a neighborhood known as ‘Dynamite Hill’ because a group of racist white men called the Ku Klux Klan often bombed the homes of black families who lived there.”

The authors have also written a sequel “Rad Women Worldwide.”

For The Elementary School Age Peacemaker
The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan
This is a simple story of two girls who are best friends, one white and one Arab, but who secretly think each other’s food is gross. You can probably guess what happens next. It’s a sweet story with charming pictures.

If Things Get Really Bad
The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss wrote this during the Cold War, and it’s an unflinching look at the prospect of nuclear war through the eyes of a child. I read it when I was about 11 in 1994. By that time, both the Berlin Wall and the USSR were things of the past. For children who lived through times where the prospect of mutually assured destruction was very real, this book was much more relatable. It’s also a good tool to teach kids about allegory and how literature can simplify real world problems into stories we can talk about.

Hear No Evil – Trump isn’t really suddenly an Environmentalist

Posted in Editorials on November 23rd, 2016
by
Tags:

Have you heard the news?! Donald Trump said he might do something about climate change!

From The New York Times:

On climate change, Mr. Trump refused to repeat his promise to abandon the international climate accord reached last year in Paris, saying, “I’m looking at it very closely.” Despite the recent appointment to his transition team of a fierce critic of the Paris accords, Mr. Trump said that “I have an open mind to it” and that clean air and “crystal clear water” were vitally important.

Not so fast.

Remember that personnel is policy and Donald Trump has appointed Myron Ebell, a climate change denier to oversee the EPA transition team. If he really cared about the environment, he would have appointed someone who actually has a good record on environmental issues. I can think of several Republicans who might be up for the task: Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Christie Todd Whitman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, even Michael Bloomberg would be a good pick.

Over the weeks and months ahead, all kinds of random things are going to come out for Donald Trump’s mouth. Some of them might even sound really good. But before you breathe a sigh of relief, think about whatever he said for two seconds, and ask yourself “How does this measure up against what he has done?” This is so important because most media outlets will not fact check adequately. The original New York Times headline for this story was “Donald Trump says he has ‘An Open Mind’ on Climate Change Accord” and did not mention Ebell’s record of climate change denial, even though it’s incredibly relevant to his statement.

Image Credit: Melanie’s Crafting Spot Cliparts.co

Letter Writing Sunday – Stop Jeff Sessions

Posted in Editorials on November 20th, 2016
by
Tags:

You may have heard that the man who may become our next Attorney General was nominated to a Federal Judgeship before but was rejected because of his racist remarks. From Fortune:

During that hearing, Sessions was criticized for joking in the presence of a Civil Rights Division attorney that the Ku Klux Klan was “OK” until he learned they smoked marijuana. He was also said to have called a black assistant U.S. attorney “boy” and the NAACP “un-American” and “communist-inspired.”

This happened in 1986, when I was a toddler. When I heard that Jeff Sessions may become AG, I cringed because I remembered something much more recent. In 2009 when President Obama appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, the questions Jeff Sessions asked her during her confirmation hearings were racist, absurd and illogical. He was obsessed with his own misinterpretation of her famous “wise Latina” quotation:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,””

And he battered her about it for a long time. Here’s just a sample of the back and forth:

SOTOMAYOR: I think if my speech is heard outside of the minute and a half that YouTube presents and its full context examined, that it is very clear that I was talking about the policy ramifications of precedent and never talking about appellate judges or courts making the policy that Congress makes.

SESSIONS: Judge, I would just say, I don’t think it’s that clear. I looked at that on tape several times, and I think a person could reasonably believe it meant more than that. But yesterday you spoke about your approach to rendering opinions and said, quote, “I seek to strengthen both the rule of law and faith in the impartiality of the justice system,” and I would agree. But you have previously said this: “I am willing to accept that we who judge must not deny differences resulting from experiences and heritage, but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.” So first, I’d like to know, do you think there’s any circumstance in which a judge should allow their prejudices to impact their decision-making?

SOTOMAYOR: Never their prejudices. I was talking about the very important goal of the justice system is to ensure that the personal biases and prejudices of a judge do not influence the outcome of a case. What I was talking about was the obligation of judges to examine what they’re feeling as they’re adjudicating a case and to ensure that that’s not influencing the outcome. Life experiences have to influence you. We’re not robots to listen to evidence and don’t have feelings. We have to recognize those feelings and put them aside. That’s what my speech was saying…

SESSIONS: Well, Judge …

SOTOMAYOR: … because that’s our job.

SESSIONS: But the statement was, “I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage, but continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.” That’s exactly opposite of what you’re saying, is it not?

SOTOMAYOR: I don’t believe so, Senator, because all I was saying is, because we have feelings and different experiences, we can be led to believe that our experiences are appropriate. We have to be open- minded to accept that they may not be, and that we have to judge always that we’re not letting those things determine the outcome. But there are situations in which some experiences are important in the process of judging, because the law asks us to use those experiences.

SESSIONS: Well, I understand that, but let me just follow up that you say in your statement that you want to do what you can to increase the faith and the impartiality of our system, but isn’t it true this statement suggests that you accept that there may be sympathies, prejudices and opinions that legitimately can influence a judge’s decision? And how can that further faith in the impartiality of the system?

SOTOMAYOR: I think the system is strengthened when judges don’t assume they’re impartial, but when judges test themselves to identify when their emotions are driving a result, or their experience are driving a result and the law is not.

SESSIONS: I agree with that.

But he didn’t really because it went on for another eight pages. [You can read the whole thing here. Start on page 12.] What Senator Sessions was getting at is that Latina women have a race and a gender, but white men do not. That (straight) white (christian) men are the default and do not have a sexuality or a religion that can influence their worldview – but everyone else does.

So what I would like to see from my Senator, Chuck Schumer, the new Senate Minority Leader and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is that he and other Democrats take each of his outrageously racist statements and make him spend an hour or more defending them. If he could question Justice Sotomayor for simply stating that people of different genders and ethnicities have different viewpoints, let’s see what we can do with “The KKK was ok until I heard they get stoned” and “The NAACP is un-American.*” Seriously. Beat the dead horse until it putrefies. Make him sit there for eleven fucking hours like we spent on Benghazi.

And then don’t vote for him.

Here’s the letter I’m sending to Senator Schumer. You should contact your representatives too, especially if you have a senator on the Judiciary Committee.

Dear Senator Schumer,

I am writing to ask you to oppose the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General of the United States. His racist remarks make him unfit for office.

I would also appreciate it if you pressed him to explain what he meant by those remarks during the confirmation hearings.

Thank you,

*The state of Alabama actually banned the NAACP in 1956. Perhaps Senator Sessions would like to defend that action?

Dear America, Stop Gaslighting Me

Posted in Editorials, Personal Essays on November 12th, 2016
by
Tags:

Dear America,

Well here we are at the end of the second election during my 33 years and the fourth in our 240 years where one person (ooh I get to say “person” now and not “man”) has won the popular vote for the presidency but lost the electoral college. God, our system is arcane and incomprehensible.

I’m sad and I’m angry and I will probably be OK. Probably. As long as we get one thing straight. Stop gaslighting me. Stop telling me Donald Trump didn’t say the things that he said, that I didn’t hear him with my own ears, or worse that he didn’t mean them. Despite being a mixed ethnicity liberal woman in New York City I have a very simple approach to interpersonal relations: listen to what people say. “Listen, don’t just wait to talk” is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. And I try to live by it every day.

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” -Maya Angelou

So believe me when I say I was listening to Donald Trump. And I heard him. Loud and clear.

Hell, now that he’s issuing policy papers I don’t even have to suffer his terrible oratory. I can read what he has to say and we can look at it together America. Right there in plain English.

If you have managed to convince yourself that his whole campaign was some big fucking joke, that he didn’t really mean it, that he would never actually, could never do those things – STOP. You can’t know that. Telling yourself you somehow have an alternate way of knowing how another person will act aside from their previous words and actions may comfort you, but in the end you are hurting yourself by believing in a delusion that will not come true.

“You think you know someone. But mostly you just know what you want to know.” -Joe Hill

And you are HURTING ME. Every time someone tells me “it’s going to be ok.” “Everything is going to be fine.” “The Republicans will stop him.” You are causing me pain. You are telling me that I did not see the things I saw or hear the things I heard. You are telling Mexicans that he didn’t call them rapists. You are telling Muslims that he didn’t say he would ban them from entering the United States. You are telling women he didn’t brag about grabbing by them by the pussy. You are telling girls that he didn’t walk into their dressing rooms unannounced to leer at their naked bodies.

I really don’t like 1984 analogies because I think they are trite and I thought we were more headed towards Huxley’s Brave New World, but when you say Trump didn’t say those things you are holding up four fingers and telling me there are five. When you tell me he didn’t mean the things you said you are Gul Madred showing Captain Picard four lights and torturing him until he says he there are five. When you tell me “everything is going to be ok” you are Petruchio insisting Katarina say that the sun is really the moon. Please stop doing this. You are hurting me. You are making me doubt my sanity and it’s not fun. And you are hurting other people – who don’t have the resources to escape what this administration will unleash – much worse.

And finally, a word about the people who voted for Donald Trump. Jay Smooth said we should focus on “that racist thing you said/did” rather than “you are a racist.” I can’t know what’s in the hearts of 60 million Americans. I know what the Trump supporters I know personally have said (lots of racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic comments, climate change denialism…) and I know what the person they voted for said. So I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that voting for Donald Trump is a racist act. And it doesn’t matter what’s in their hearts.

If you voted for a racist sexual predator because he said he would repeal NAFTA, YOU STILL VOTED FOR A RACIST SEXUAL PREDATOR.

If you voted for an Islamophobic fascist because you wanted a tax cut, YOU STILL VOTED FOR AN ISLAMOPHOBIC FASCIST.

And just to pre-empt the comments: I voted for Hillary Clinton because I wanted to repeal the Hyde Amendement, raise the minimum wage, get paid maternity leave, slow climate change, and rebuild our infrastructure. BUT I STILL VOTED FOR SOMEONE WHO HELPED START THE IRAQ WAR, RACE BAITED ABOUT SUPER PREDATORS AND RAN A SHITTY RACIST CAMPAIGN AGAINST BARACK OBAMA IN 2008. I own my shit, and I expect Trump voters to do the same. Fair is fair.

So please America. I’m not stupid. I know what I saw. I know what I heard. Stop telling me to doubt my own memories and perceptions to ease your own conscience about what you did, or soothe your anxieties that we have elected a president who is a fascist. No one knows what will happen next. But I certainly know what happened in this campaign over the past two years, I will not deny it and you cannot take my knowledge away from me.

Happy Holidays!

Elizabeth

Feminist Coffee Hour Episode 14: Clinton vs Trump

Posted in Podcast Episodes on November 3rd, 2016
by
Tags:

Episode Fourteen Clinton vs Trump

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

Listen to episode in browser/Right click to download file

We weigh in on the general election.

We had some audio distortion on this episode. It comes and goes, our apologies.

Discussed in this episode:

Listen to our previous episode Clinton vs Sanders if you haven’t already.

Ten children are dead after taking homeopathic teething remedy
.

The C-Word, But For Men

***

Our theme song is composed by Bridget Ellsworth, check out her sound cloud page!

We’ve joined the Apple affiliate program. If you’re going to sign up for Apple Music, please do so by using this link.

Why I Bowled For Abortion Access While I Was (Trying To Get) Pregnant

Posted in Editorials, Personal Essays, Pregnancy And Motherhood Thinkpieces on September 28th, 2016
by
Tags:

Note: This piece has been corrected. See below.

I’ve taken part in the New York Abortion Access Fund Bowl-a-thon for four years. In 2015 I bowled while I was trying to get pregnant. And this year I was in the middle of my second trimester. I even wore a shirt like this one to the event.

In 2015, no one knew I was trying to get pregnant, but this year many of my friends and family knew that I was pregnant while I made facebook and blog posts, and tweeted asking for money to pay for other women’s abortions. When I had just started to show, I organized a comedy show at my (Unitarian Universalist) church to raise money for the cause. This is probably something few others can say they’ve done!

I dreaded someone calling me out for a perceived hypocrisy or heartlessness. I see my fundraising activities as wholly compatible with my desire to be a mother and my compassion for other people. Reproductive justice means that everyone should be free to make the decision to parent or not. And my decision to become a mother does not mean that others must or should make the same choice. My freedom is bound to everyone else’s, and so raising money for abortion funds fits with that belief.

Being pregnant for this year’s NYAAF event was especially hard because their email list was somehow leaked or hacked [SEE UPDATE BELOW] to antichoice extremists who took the opportunity to harass those fundraising. I was sent disturbing bloody fetus pictures (which FYI are often photoshopped or pictures of miscarriages, not abortions) and a picture of a sonogram with a though bubble saying “I hope I can grow up and go bowling one day mommy.” Was I upset because I suddenly realized abortion was wrong? Not in the least. As I progressed into my second trimester, this kind of rhetoric did not reassure me that people were looking out for the “life” within me. Rather, when I heard people going on about late term abortions, what I heard was “If something goes wrong with your pregnancy at this point, you deserve to die.

That is exactly the mindset of Catholic hospitals which turn away women with life threatening complications from miscarriages. Antichoice extremism hurts women, and in cases like Savita Halappanavar‘s, it kills them. In fact, we know that defunding Planned Parenthood clinics in the United States has led to an increase in maternal mortality.

I did many things to give my baby the safest and healthiest pregnancy I possibly could. And raising money for abortion funds was something I did to both protect my own life, and to create a world where everyone is free to make the best decisions for themselves and their own families.

UPDATE: See the following message from Heather K. Sager, Volunteer Coordinator – New York Abortion Access Fund

In the piece you mention that our email list was “somehow leaked or hacked.” I want to take this opportunity to clarify that in fact, it was not NYAAF’s email list, but rather the entire fundraising website for NNAF that was hacked. This was the work of a malicious attack on the larger web server, which ultimately meant that email addresses were accessed, rather than internally or purposefully leaked.

I know that immediately after the attack we were able to share information on the security steps NNAF took in order to ensure that this is prevented and that everyone’s security is protected going forward. This included immediately hiring a security specialist, providing Q&A sessions on cyber security for those whose accounts were affected, and ensuring that additional resources were and continue to be available. I am more than happy to discuss these with you should you have any questions on this.

On behalf of NYAAF, we would also greatly appreciate it if you could correct the language in the article, so that it does not imply that anyone at NYAAF or NNAF was complicit in the attacks. The piece is really great, but I do want to be clear that no one in either organization had a part in the server being hacked.

Feminist Coffee Hour Episode 13: Jex Blackmore and Satanic Feminism

Posted in Podcast Episodes on September 2nd, 2016
by
Tags:

Episode Thirteen: Jex Blackmore and Satanic Feminism

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

Listen to episode in browser/Right click to download file

We interview Jex Blackmore, National spokesperson for The Satanic Temple and Director of The Satanic Temple of Detroit.

Discussed in this episode:

The Satanic Temple’s Fight to Protect Your Abortion Rights (Broadly)

Satanic Temple seeks to start after-school programs in nine US districts

We had some audio distortion on this episode. Our apologies!

***

Our theme song is composed by Bridget Ellsworth, check out her sound cloud page!

We’ve joined the Apple affiliate program. If you’re going to sign up for Apple Music, please do so by using this link.

About those “jokes” comparing Hillary Clinton to Dolores Umbridge or Winn Adami…or Tracy Flick

Posted in Editorials on June 14th, 2016
by
Tags:

People I know and respect along with a ton of people I don’t know have latched on to the meme that Hillary Clinton is Dolores Umbridge, the sickeningly sweet teacher at Hogwarts who tortures Harry, is useless as a Defense Against The Dark Arts Teacher (though weren’t they all) and has a generally fascistic worldview.

I mean, I guess? Clinton voted for the USA Patriot Act and she views Edward Snowden as a criminal more than a whistleblower. That’s kinda fascist. But she’s also solidly against torture, said that we should screen and accept Syrian refugees and is making one of the themes of her campaign “Love Trumps Hate.” So, maybe?

What bothers me the most about this comparison though is how things end for Umbridge. Did you forget that part? I’m almost positive most people have, especially when making this comparison. She’s raped by centaurs. And it’s supposed to be funny. When she comes back to Hogwarts, she’s in shock, and our heroes know what happened. Ron makes clopping hoof noises to scare her (trigger her?) and Hermione and Ginny crack up. Granted, they’re teenagers, and they have bad judgement. But no one in authority tells them “Hey buzz off, that’s not funny.”

Similarly, though even more geeky and less widespread I see Trekkies making “Hillary Clinton is Winn Adami” jokes. On Deep Space Nine, Winn Adami, played by the amazingly badass Louise Fletcher, was one of the best villans in the history of Star Trek. She’s a religious cleric with both fascistic and theocratic tendencies (although on her home planet of Bajor it’s pretty accepted that the religious leadership shares power with the elected government). She’s a master at manipulating people’s fears to get what she wants no matter the consequences. Like Umbridge, she’s uses sickeningly sweet faux coquettishness to mask her true intentions. Unlike Umbridge, as the writers reveal the complexity of her character, we are meant to empathize with her as a person while still despising her actions. Her crisis of faith is relatable to so many people who have searched for truth.

Is Hillary Clinton like Winn Adami? They’re both blonde and religious and ambitious. I suppose you could draw it out further by bringing up Clinton’s connections to The Family. But that’s still a bit of a stretch.

And yet, like Umbridge, in the end Winn Adami is also raped. Deep Space Nine draws out a more complex story than Order of the Phoenix. Winn is seduced and deceived by her greatest enemy and she is sexually, emotionally and spiritually exploited. The storyline is fascinating one, with an unsettling trainwreck quality that still viscerally disturbs me.

I know that most people making the “Hillary is Umbridge” or “Hillary is Winn” jokes don’t really mean that they think Hillary Clinton should be raped by centaurs or a sociopath in disguise as punishment for her more imperialistic tendencies. I’m not immune to this myself. I love Tom Perrotta novels and when I saw people comparing Hillary Clinton to Tracy Flick I saw it as a backhanded compliment. Tracy Flick kicks ass. She’s super smart and accomplished and wins in the end.

Then I remembered that most of the plot of “Election” is driven by the fact that Tracy is seduced (statutorily raped) by her Math teacher, Dave. Tracy is smarter than most of her peers but she is far behind them in terms of social skills. She has no real friends. This makes her an exceptionally easy target to be groomed and taken advantage of by a much older authority figure. Dave’s actions set off a chain of events which Tracy’s teacher Jim blames her for on some level. In a moment of frustration Jim threatens to ruin Tracy’s reputation by telling the whole student body what happened to her. Tracy takes this in stride because she has a very thick skin, but it’s hard to watch her be manipulated and then blamed and threatened for it.

So perhaps this isn’t the best comparison either.

This is one of those things that once seen, cannot be unseen. So keep that in mind. If you keep making those clever memes, I’m going to keep rolling my eyes and thinking “Ugh. Raped by Centaurs. Really?”