An Injury to One Is an Injury to All

Republished with Ron Jacobs permission

[“An injury to one is an injury to all” was a slogan of the anarchist labor union the IWW, commonly referred to as the Wobblies.]

Dissident Voice – USA
http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/09/an-injury-to-one-is-an-injury-to-all/

An Interview With Sherry Wolf

by Ron Jacobs / September 29th, 2009

On October 11th, 2009, a march billed as the National March for Equality will take place in Washington, DC. The organizers of the march are organizing under a single demand: “Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.” Their website states their philosophy in an equally succinct manner: “As members of every race, class, faith, and community, we see the struggle for LGBT equality as part of a larger movement for peace and social justice.” One of the speakers at the march will be author and organizer Sherry
Wolf. As I wrote in a review of her recently released book Sexuality and Socialism: “No other work that comes to my mind explains the history of sexuality and sexual repression in the United States as comprehensively and compellingly.” Wolf is currently touring the United States talking about her book and organizing for the October 11th march. I was able to get in touch with her while she was in Boston and we had the following email exchange.

Ron Jacobs: Hi Sherry. To begin, can you tell the readers about the March for Equality? What is the impetus behind it? Who put out the original call?

Sherry Wolf: David Mixner, who worked as an Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LBGT) liaison in the Clinton administration and Cleve Jones, Harvey Milk’s collaborator and who launched the Names Project AIDS Quilt, put out the call for this march back in June. It was met with horror and opposition from many of the more established, corporate financed national LGBT groups. However, with momentum building at the grassroots, organizations such as Human Rights Campaign and NGLTF thankfully came on board, though they do not run the organizing efforts nor are they shaping the program. This march will not be brought to you by Miller Beer or Citibank!

The (mostly) younger activists at the forefront of mobilizing this march online and on campuses and in communities are sick of the gradualist approach that has dominated our movement for years. The single demand for full equality for all LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law really strikes a chord with activists such as myself and this new generation who find the incrementalist—state-by-state, issue-by-issue—strategy of the LGBT establishment to be a failed one.

RJ: I know that in your book Sexuality and Socialism you talk about the corporatization of the Gay Pride movement and its concurrent moving away from an identification with other disenfranchised and oppressed groups in the US. What would you say is the political identity this march hopes to put forth to the people of the United States?

SW: In a sense, the initiative for this march only underscores the ramifications of my arguments in Sexuality and Socialism. No more crumbs. Enough going hat in hand to Congress and waiting for some tweak in the laws. We want it all!

I got involved in helping to organize this march because I simply find it unendurable that gay politicians like Barney Frank are among the first to argue that demanding equality for LGBT people is the third rail of American politics. This march is about seeking, essentially, to be added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and have all of our rights respected once and for all.

We will have the NAACP’s Julian Bond, UNITE Here’s John Wilhelm, young, multiracial new activists like Aiyi’nah Ford, transgender militants and myself, an unabashed socialist, speaking at this march. Though Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper will be playing and speaking, this is not a Hollywood choreographed affair—it has a shoestring budget and will give expression to this new combative mood and anti-corporate sentiment

RJ: To me, the transformation of much of the Left of the 1960s and ’70s from universal movements into a collection of smaller groups fighting their own particular oppression and for their own piece of the American pie is a big part of why the US Left is where it’s at now — where Democrats are considered socialists. Is this phenomenon (which I consider to ultimately be the result of identity politics gone wild) present in the movement for equality? How should leftists counteract this when it appears?

SW: [The first part of your question is answered above, I believe]

I travel a great deal and speak to small and large audiences from Bellingham, WA to Gainesville, FL and I think that those old school ideas are on the wane—in particular among working-class people and those not attending elite universities. The language of Identity politics persists, in a sense, because a new culture and outlook are still embryonic. But when striking Teamsters (Latino and white, all straight) attended an event in Chicago two weeks ago where Cleve Jones spoke to 250+ people about going to the march, everyone was
electrified. The workers gave solidarity to our struggle and the LGBT activists are lending solidarity to their pickets. The May Day protests in many cities this year had LGBT activists carrying rainbow flags—the contingent in Los Angeles where I was that day was very well received by immigrant families.

It’s becoming clearer to more people that the old labor slogan is true: An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

RJ: As you know, I live in North Carolina. Outside of Asheville and a few of the larger cities, there exists a quite obvious homophobia. One sees it on church message boards and bumperstickers and one hears it on the radio and so-called Christian television. This intolerance is quite obvious and, as Beth Sherouse wrote quite articulately in an article that appeared in Counterpunch on August 31, 2009, the fact of this obvious hatred and fear is one reason why LBGT equality must be recognized on a national scale. In her article, she reminds the readers of the federal role in helping end desegregation. Yet, there is another side to that story. The federal government also allowed and encouraged not only segregation, but also fought attempts to roll it back for a long time. I guess my question is — while it is important that federal legislation forbidding discrimination against persons
based on their sexuality be passed, how does the equality movement see any such legislation being enforced?

SW: Beth is right and after reading her piece I made it a priority to add more Southern stops on my current speaking tour. If you look at polls one year after the Virginia v. Loving case ended laws preventing Blacks and whites from marrying in 1967, only 20 percent of whites in the U.S. supported biracial marriages. We obviously can’t wait for bigots to come around before passing equal protections for LGBT people. However, it was the ongoing organizing, teach-ins, marches, rallies and even just the posture of Blacks in this country that altered the political climate.

Today, around 80 percent of all Americans—and more than 95 percent of young people—approve of interracial marriages, according to Gallup. A climate of intolerance to anti-gay and anti-trans bigotry can be advanced by students and workers—regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. All progressives must bring these issues into organizing efforts beyond the LGBT movement—inject them into union contracts, workplace organizing, budget fightbacks, campus mobilizations and immigrant defense campaigns. After all, most LGBT people ARE workers, immigrants, Black, Brown and all these other identities as well. In other words, lesbians have to pay the rent too.

RJ: In your book you insist on the need for the LBGT rights movement to link up with other oppressed groups in the US and fight for all of these groups’ freedom. I was wondering if in your organizing work for the October 11-12 March on Washington, do you see any attempts by other organizers to expand the call to all oppressed groups? Or is there a tendency to limit the organizing to LBGT people? If so, can you explain why you think this is so?

SW: We made a conscious decision not to create a laundry list of demands, but to have one single demand for equality in all matters covered by civil law in all 50 states. The veteran activists involved, myself included, want to strike while the iron’s hot. There is a spirit of struggle among young LGBT people who came of age thinking AIDS isn’t the mass killer that it is and who are waking up after Prop 8 to the fact that our rights are completely dispensable, where they even exist. We can still be legally fired, or not hired, in most states for our sexual orientation and/or gender identities.

Arizona’s governor, for example, just ditched domestic partner benefits. Ohio’s Representative, Lynn R. Wachtmann, some neanderthal from the 75th District wrote to LGBT activists, “If sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are added as protected classes, all those who do not identify themselves in accordance with this lifestyle choice will be discriminated against.” I have never been a single-issue activist in my life — I’m a socialist after all — but at some point we must unequivocally demand an end to this crap once and
for all.

I’m 44, I came of age AFTER Stonewall and before Generation Twitter, I’m from the generation nobody ever bothered to name. I’ve participated in, and in some cases helped lead or initiate divestment campaigns, antiwar, anti-police brutality, pro-abortion, pro-single-payer health care, anti-budget cuts, pro-labor fights, etc. for 26 years. There’s finally a broad fight for LGBT equality and I’d be insane not to leap in with full-force and try to help make it a success.

My greatest hope out of this march is not simply that we win our demand, but that in a poetic reversal of history other struggles take a page from our initiative and mobilize to make demands of the Obama administration. The Stonewall generation had fought for Black civil rights, women’s liberation, against the Vietnam War and, for many, alongside Cesar Chavez for farm laborers for many years before they ever mobilized for their own rights. This time around, it may be possible that through a quirk of history the LGBT struggle could lead
the way for others to ratchet up a fight for genuine universal health care, jobs and an end to the wars and occupations abroad.

RJ: I love it — “the generation nobody bothered to name.” Anyhow, any insights on how the organizing is going? How can people get on board and organize in their community?

SW: The Web site for the march www.nationalequalitymarch.com has a dizzying array of downloadable materials. Go to the site, get the facts, post flyers, send out tweets, post it to Facebook, and by all means everyone should get themselves to the march if they can. Obama has shown that without mass pressure he won’t deliver what we need and want. This march punctuates a turning point of sorts for the LGBT struggle—people who miss out on this protest for civil rights will kick themselves afterwards. Don’t kick yourselves, just come.

RJ: Thanks, Sherry.


Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. His most recent novel Short Order Frame Up is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at:  rjacobs3625@charter.net.
Sherry Wolf is the author of– Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics, and Theory of LGBT Liberation

© 2009 Dissident Voice and respective authors

Pope Says Priests are Chickenhawks not Pedophiles

In what has to be considered one of the most perversely pathetic excuses ever for priests behaving badly, the red Prada pump wearing former Hitler Youth, CEO of the misogynistic pandering to the powerful Catholic Church, made the astounding claim that it is improper to call the priests who have sex with underage boys perverts and pedophiles.

In an exercise in post modern word games where words mean what I say they mean and if you accept my definitions then it follows that these priests are chickenhawks and not peodophiles….

Oh well..

You can read the whole story here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/28/sex-abuse-religion-vatican

Sex abuse rife in other religions, says Vatican

The Vatican has lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was “busy cleaning its own house” and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger.

In a defiant and provocative statement, issued following a meeting of the UN human rights council in Geneva, the Holy See said the majority of Catholic clergy who committed such acts were not paedophiles but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males.

The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that “available research” showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.

He also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common.

He added that sexual abuse was far more likely to be committed by family members, babysitters, friends, relatives or neighbours, and male children were quite often guilty of sexual molestation of other children.

The statement said that rather than paedophilia, it would “be more correct” to speak of ephebophilia, a homosexual attraction to adolescent males.

“Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17.”

The statement concluded: “As the Catholic church has been busy cleaning its own house, it would be good if other institutions and authorities, where the major part of abuses are reported, could do the same and inform the media about it.”

The Holy See launched its counter–attack after an international representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, Keith Porteous Wood, accused it of covering up child abuse and being in breach of several articles under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Porteous Wood said the Holy See had not contradicted any of his accusations. “The many thousands of victims of abuse deserve the international community to hold the Vatican to account, something it has been unwilling to do, so far. Both states and children’s organisations must unite to pressurise the Vatican to open its files, change its procedures worldwide, and report suspected abusers to civil authorities.”

Representatives from other religions were dismayed by the Holy See’s attempts to distance itself from controversy by pointing the finger at other faiths.

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, head of the New York Board of Rabbis, said: “Comparative tragedy is a dangerous path on which to travel. All of us need to look within our own communities. Child abuse is sinful and shameful and we must expel them immediately from our midst.”

A spokesman for the US Episcopal Church said measures for the prevention of sexual misconduct and the safeguarding of children had been in place for years.

Of all the world religions, Roman Catholicism has been hardest hit by sex abuse scandals. In the US, churches have paid more than $2bn (£1.25bn) in compensation to victims. In Ireland, reports into clerical sexual abuse have rocked both the Catholic hierarchy and the state.

The Ryan Report, published last May, revealed that beatings and humiliation by nuns and priests were common at institutions that held up to 30,000 children. A nine-year investigation found that Catholic priests and nuns for decades terrorised thousands of boys and girls, while government inspectors failed to stop the abuse.

Bad Health Care Bill Penalizes Women: More Amendments Limiting Reproductive Health Care and Excessive Premium Rates for Older Women

NOW Call to Action on Health Care Reform

http://www.now.org/lists/now-action-list/msg00401.html

Tell your senators — health care reform can’t restrict women’s rights!
take action

After taking action, please support our work!

Action Needed:

Consideration of Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-Mont.) proposed legislation to reform our broken health care system continues this week. Please send a message to your senators today urging them to oppose all restrictive amendments that would limit women’s access to reproductive health care and to withdraw discriminatory provisions that would charge women (and men), aged 40 to 64, five times (!) the average premium amount charged to younger persons. Also, stress the need for the legislation to offer a strong public health insurance plan; Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) is set to soon offer an amendment that would establish a public health insurance plan.

Take action now!

Background:

The Senate Finance Committee is considering amendments this week to a bill that is the health insurance industry’s dream legislation. NOW opposes this bill, primarily because it does not offer a public health insurance option and because there are many onerous and costly provisions. More than 500 amendments have been offered, including a number that would further restrict access to reproductive health services. Other parts of the bill would require unaffordable insurance plans, mandate coverage with penalties for persons without insurance, write age discrimination into law, require taxpayers to pay billions in subsidies to private health insurers and fail to include a public health insurance option — something a majority of the public has said they want.

The amendments offered by opponents of women’s reproductive health care include: restoration of abstinence-only education, adopting a conscience clause, no pre-emption of state laws regarding abortion, no federal funds for abortion and others. Abortion services is the one of the most common medical procedures provided in the U.S., yet these amendments attempt to further stigmatize and marginalize this component of basic women’s health care. There may well be an effort to prohibit coverage of abortion services in all private health insurance plans.

Protect women’s reproductive health care — take action now!

Chairman Baucus and the insurance companies want persons aged 40 to 64 to pay an exorbitant amount for coverage — arguing that it is this age group that needs more care and should pay more. Middle-age women might see themselves paying four or five times the amount a younger person is paying for coverage. The reason that insurers would like this enormous hike in premium amount is that they say they must recoup income to pay for their losses due to new prohibitions against dropping people for pre-existing conditions and for stopping higher charges for women because of maternity care. This 5:1 (other plans have 2:1) charge will result in unaffordable premiums for millions of boomers and billions of dollars that will have to be covered by taxpayers in the form of subsidies.

Add this gigantic subsidy to insurers along with the hundreds of billions in income from the 50 million formerly-uninsured new customers now mandated to buy private insurance and you’re talking real money. It’s clear that the insurance industry is calling the shots.

Send a message to your senators to oppose any further restrictions on women’s reproductive health care, to withdraw a provision that would impose dramatically higher premium costs for middle-age women and men and to support a public health insurance plan.

take action and then donate
Posted in Feminist, Health Care. Comments Off

Hanging citizen journalists out to dry: shield-law amendment excludes unpaid bloggers

Reposted from Pam’s House Blend with permission

Original post may be seen at
http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/13237/hanging-citizen-journalists-out-to-dry-shieldlaw-amendment-excludes-unpaid-bloggers

And Pandagon

http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/hanging_citizen_journalists_out_to_dry_shield_law_amendment_excludes_unpaid/

Hanging citizen journalists out to dry: shield-law amendment excludes unpaid bloggers

by: Pam Spaulding

Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 08:00:00 AM EDT

This may seem like a little inside baseball, but bear with me, because it will directly affect some of your favorite blogs.Here at the Blend we have inboxes overflowing with emails asking us to cover this story or that event — from advocacy organizations, tips from readers, PR firms, and the news media. It’s pretty clear that the equality rights movement is highly dependent on blogs and citizen journalism to analyze, report and advocate in the unique way that we do.

Many of these LGBT-based blogs are done as a labor of love because there’s certainly not enough money out there to quit our day jobs. Bloggers like myself, who subsidize the site with an unrelated day job are about to get a big F-You from Chuck Schumer if the roof isn’t raised. Ad revenue is irrelevant here, btw; you have to be employed by an entity to be covered.

A recent amendment to the federal shield bill being considered in the Senate will exclude non-“salaried” journalists and bloggers from the proposed law’s protections.

The law, called the Free Flow of Information Act, is intended to prevent journalists from being forced to divulge confidential sources, except in cases such as witnessing crimes or acts of terrorism.

Well, read the fine print to see how citizen journalists are left legally hanging out to dry. Schumer’s amendment draws a distinct line between bloggers and “real journalists” that:

limits the definition of a journalist to one who “obtains the information sought while working as a salaried employee of, or independent contractor for, an entity-

a. that disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other means; and

b. that-
1. publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical;
2. operates a radio or television broadcast station, network, cable system, or satellite carrier, or a channel or programming service for any such station, network, system, or carrier;
3. operates a programming service; or
4. operates a news agency or wire service.”

So there’s no doubt that independent bloggers are the target here. At once we’re considered irrelevant and so dangerous they have to legislatively set up a slippery slope that can land us in the clink or left penniless just for trying to participate in citizen journalism. Wow.  The real issue here, however, is less the shield law than placing a definition of what is a journalist on the books. That will alllow pols, news outlets, state governments, etc. to deny citizen journalists press access because they are not “journalists” as defined by federal law.

It’s a huge slippery slope and a loss for independent reporting by bloggers if this definition clears.

Marcy Wheeler of Firedoglake confirms that we’re screwed:

To to be a journalist in Chuck Schumer’s eyes, you have to both have a boss (at this point, you generous readers and Jane would count as my boss, but Jane doesn’t have a boss, for example) and that boss’ company must disseminate news on some other medium, in addition to the Toobz. Even free-lance writers or people like IF Stone (in the period when he ran his own newsletter) would be excluded from this definition of journalist.

Now, I’m on the record as a skeptic that this new law is going to work out the way the media thinks. I fear that the national security exemption will mean the law will protect people like Judy Miller mobilizing smears or the Rent-a-Generals spreading propaganda, but not protect Dana Priest or James Risen and their sources.

Still, this move pisses me off because it’s a transparent bid to grant a powerful industry special privileges.

This is about ensuring that there is a wall between real journalists and the perceived unwashed masses of ignorant, unqualified bloggers who are mucking up the system. This is a serious issue, because I believe that reliable citizen journalists do have the respect of traditional media in some circles, but this legislative bid to create a firm wall is declaring war on us.

Nieman Journalism Lab’s Zachary M. Seward, who previously noted the House’s different definition of journalist, also expressed concern. “The shield law obviously needs a definition that limits its scope, but the professional definition, which now seems inevitable, would exclude student journalists as well as bloggers with a day job,” he wrote.

Pam Spaulding :: Hanging citizen journalists out to dry: shield-law amendment excludes unpaid bloggers

It’s ironic that this development surfaces right after I discussed the fairly accurate perception that blogging/advocacy journalism sits in a position that is ill-defined. (Huffington Post, “A Tech-Powered Gay Rights Movement“):

It’s a headless monster in many ways — digital activists in this world are frequently not Big Gay insiders. They are often part-time activists — people who feel strongly about issues and use the Internet daily. They never intended to lead or even follow movement leaders; they are just handy with the Internet tools of the trade, and have something to say about equality that resonates with readers.

Feeling the same financial pain the traditional print publications are experiencing with the economic downturn and drop in ad revenue, there is no pleasure in seeing LGBT publications shutter. Bloggers and activists are highly dependent on the strength of news media with an LGBT focus that has a budget to send reporters to do stories the online activists simply don’t have the funds to do. It’s a symbiotic relationship as well — many LGBT reporters want their stories linked on high-traffic or influential gay blogs because it expands their reader reach, and builds support to continue doing the work critical for both journalism and the equality movement overall.

Honestly, I have problems with this shield law for other reasons — why is the federal government getting into the business of regulating journalism to begin with? Surely there are constitutional issues at play here. But that’s a different topic worthy of debate…So simultaneously as traditional news media is under financial fire, citizen journalists are about to take a hit of epic proportions with the aid of a Democratic Congress. Imagine that. Thanks, Chuck. You can give him a ring at (202) 224-3027.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

In A Word: The True History of “Misogyny”

From Onthe Issues Magazine

http://www.ontheissuesmagazine.com/cafe2/article/63

by Christine E. Hutchins


There is very little new under the sun. Misogyny in art, literature and other records dates as far back in Western culture as documentation itself.

Misogyny comes from Greekmisogunia from misos (‘hatred’) and gyn? (‘woman’), explains Answers.com

But misogyny as a practice — the enforcement and celebration of the subordination of women — flourished unnamed in English until the seventeenth century.

Only when men and women began to write against rather than with culturally entrenched misogynist practices did misogyny get a name in England and Ireland. “Misogyny” as a concept requires people who are prepared to name it for what it is: hatred of women, an unnatural and unjust subordination of one part of the population by another.

In the early seventeenth-century men and women began writing poems, pamphlets, and plays against people who mistreat and malign women.

The tract that precipitated the introduction of “misogyny” to the language was Joseph Swetnam’s 1615 attack on women, colorfully titled The Arraignment of Lewde, idle, froward, and unconstant women: Or, the vanitie of them, choose you whether.

Swetnam minces no words in his tirade against women. Chapter 1, “Moses describeth a woman thus: ‘At the first beginning,’ saith he, ‘a woman was made to be a helper unto man.’  And so they are indeed, for she helpeth to spend and consume that which man painfully getteth.  He also saith that they were made of the rib of a man, and that their froward [difficult] nature showeth; for a rib is a crooked thing good for nothing else, and women are crooked by nature, for small occasion will cause them to be angry.”

Swetnam forges on with book-length alliterating abuse and jest, all at the expense of women. “[S]he was no sooner made but straightaway her mind was set upon mischief.”

The Oxford English dictionary cites 1656 as the first use of “misogyny” in English, an error then repeated by William Safire in his New York Times column. In fact, the first use in English was during the Swetnam controversy four decades earlier when opponents nicknamed Swetnam and his followers “Misogynos.”

Writers’ responses to Swetnam were swift, fierce and landmark. Previously in European letters, women had written the occasional defense. Christine de Pizan’s fifteenth-century French Book of the City of Ladies championed women in opposition to Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun’s reduction of women in The Romance of the Rose to voiceless roses and disembodied “notches” through which men aim their “spears.”

Following Swetnam’s attack, men and women writers undertook the first concerted and collective attack on misogyny in European letters, as Katherine Usher Henderson and Barbara F. McManus point out in their edited selection of seventeenth-century English defenses of women, Half Humankind: Contexts and Texts of the Controversy over Women in England 1540-1640.

In 1617 Rachel Speght published Mouzell for Melastomus [A Muzzle for the Evil-mouthed] Cynicall Baiter of, and Foul-Mouthed Barker against Evah’s Sex. Speght’s defense gave rise in swift succession to other defenses of women and attacks on detractors. Esther Sowernam’s Esther hath Hanged Haman and Constantia Munda’s The Worming of a Mad Dog followed in 1617.

Then around 1618, Queen Anne’s players produced an anonymous play, Swetnam the Woman-Hater, at the Red Bull Theater, later printed for reading and home-acting by non-theater-going audiences.

The play comically highlights Swetnam’s swishy antics as a fencing-instructor who falls in love with and pens flowery sonnets to a man who has dressed in drag as a woman and in no way returns his affections. In the end, Swetnam’s would-be Amazonian lover roundly rejects him, leaving Swetnam in the unfriendly hands of a rampaging court of women who declare him, “Guiltie, guiltie, guiltie.  Guiltie of Woman-slander, and defamation.”

Misogyny acquires a name only insofar as it receives more than the occasional push-back. Without the active awareness and engagement of men and women who both recognize and criticize the subordination of women, misogyny appears in English language literature and arts as proverbial truth, cultural inheritance and natural fact.

These seventeenth-century books, with their first usage of “misogyny” as a word in English, enabled English speakers to move from widespread unselfconsciously misogynist assumptions to Mary Wollstonecraft’s selfconsciously feminist declaration in her 1792 A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. She writes that “argument to justify the depriving of men (or women) of their natural rights, is one of the absurd sophisms [twisted and illogical unreason] which daily insult common sense.”

By returning to Greek for the word “misogyny,” the anti-Swetnam writers found a linguistic symbol that enabled them to name, and thus challenge, the subordination of women for what it is — a social arrangement that is not based on any natural fact – and hence, changeable.

Posted in Culture, Feminist, History, Uncategorized. Comments Off

Death of the West: Our Sexual Identity Crisis

[Note:  This is reposted for discussion and not necessarily because I agree with the author’s conclusions.  I tend to think we give all too much credit to “identity” without requiring at least an equal commitment to action at least reinforcing that “identity”.  We are currently in a state of flux as we are coming out of a thirty year backlash against progressive thinking and an era ruled by virtual church state fascism.  I believe much of current “gender theory” is craven appeasement of conservative thought and all too much weight has been given to the ideas of nurture over nature.]

By Selwyn Duke
Reposted with permission
Original article may be found at:

http://selwynduke.typepad.com/selwyndukecom/2009/09/death-of-the-west-our-sexual-identity-crisis.html

Perhaps you’ve heard the tragic story of David Reimer.  Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1966, David was the victim of a botched circumcision that left his penis charred beyond surgical repair.  His parents Ron and Janet, no doubt beside themselves, were confused about the best way to proceed.  Then, one day, they saw a man named Dr. John Money on television.

Money was talking about his theory of “gender neutrality,” which states that “gender identity” is learned rather than innate.  The idea was that the sexes were the same except for the superficial physical differences; this implies that if a child were altered so as to superficially resemble the opposite sex and was raised as one of its members, he would be happy with that sexual identity.  Hearing this, the Reimers hoped they had found their salvation.

They took their boy to Money, who told them that their son’s penis could not be restored and that he stood a much better chance of living a happy life if “sex-reassignment surgery” (in reality, reassigning sex is about as possible as reassigning species) were performed and he was raised as a girl.  The Reimers agreed, and the surgery was performed when the boy, who would be named “Brenda,” was 22 months old.

In reality, the kindest way to describe Money’s theory is fanciful.  His idea of “gender neutrality” was still in vogue when I was a youth, and “vogue,” in the most frivolous sense, is the correct term.  It was always more style than science; it was something that I, even as a teen, knew was bunk.  Yet who would listen to people such as me?  We were old-fashioned, behind the times.  And it didn’t matter that Money was Alfred Kinsey redux and believed pedophilia was lovely if it was for “love.” It didn’t matter that David and his twin brother, Brian, said that Money sexually abused them during photo shoots.  He was a “doctor,” a Ph.D. on the cutting edge of a brave new world.

Only, David (“Brenda” at the time) wanted nothing to do with that world.  Although he was never told he was a boy, had been surgically altered, was dressed and raised as a girl and was regularly seeing Money for therapy, he resisted his “gender assignment” from the outset.  He acted like a boy, played with boys’ toys and objected to seeing Money from the age of seven.  It wasn’t going well — and it wouldn’t end well.

At the age of 14, in a rare commendable act of teen rebellion, David threatened suicide if he were forced to continue with Money’s prescriptions.  This prompted his parents to finally tell him the truth about his condition.  With his eyes opened, he then replaced his estrogen treatments with male hormone therapy, took the name “David,” started living as a boy, underwent reconstructive genital surgery and later married a woman who already had children.  Yet the damage had been done.  His tormented life which began in such a tragic way came to a tragic end: he did commit suicide, at the age of 38.

Dr. Money, too, is now dead.  Yet he died with his ideological boots on; not only did he fail to repent, he fraudulently portrayed David’s case — the one for which he was most famous — as a success for years after its failure was obvious.  This, and his refusal to ever own up to the failure, only increased the chances that other children would be thus scarred.

As a testimonial to how quickly fashions pass away, Money’s theory has joined him in the grave.  The stake through its heart came in the 1990s, with brain research and an improved understanding of intrauterine development proving conclusively that the sexes are different even within the womb and the skull.  These new findings expressing old wisdom were related as revelation, reflecting the idea that nothing is truly valid until vindicated by “science.”  So there was no collective mea culpa from the psychological establishment for clouding reality and misleading generations of naïve parents.  They just continued without missing a beat, as if it were a matter no more significant than recommending the wrong size shoes for the kids.  Worse still, they have now moved on to their next mistake.

We have heard about the curious case of Caster Semenya, the 18-year-old South African runner who has been competing as a woman.  Semenya has become the focus of suspicion (I’ll use masculine pronouns, as I’m convinced this individual is a boy who experienced abnormal intrauterine development) because of his masculine physique, deep voice, development of facial hair, male mannerisms and the fact that he has been winning races by wide margins.  As a result, a battery of medical exams to determine his true sex has been conducted, although the results have not been officially released.  Yet the real story here is not what investigation may tell us about Semenya.  It is what our reaction to Semenya tells us about ourselves.

This is reflected in comments found throughout the Internet.  For instance, consider “JimBob” posting under this Daily Mail piece, who said,

“Why is everyone talking about genetics? What about Caster’s own mind – if she believes within herself that she’s female, then she is.”

Echoing this sentiment here, “Green Is Good” wrote,

“SHE identifies HERself as a female. Done.”

Then, back to the Mail, “Livio” opined,

“This is a clear case of gender identity discrimination. What if she is a man who identifies himself as a woman?”

That’s interesting.  What if you’re a lunkhead who identifies himself as intelligent?

Yet it isn’t sufficient to just dismiss this with sarcasm, as this isn’t the rambling of only a few twisted minds.

What these posters are expressing is the handiwork of today’s Dr. Moneys, “transgender” theory.  This is the idea that your “gender” can be whatever you want it to be — male, female, both male and female or neither, etc. — that it isn’t limited by biology.  If you have a problem with this, bravo, but then you should have a problem with the word “gender” itself.  Why?  Because its current usage (it used to apply only to words) was originated by people such as Money for the purposes of facilitating the relation of their theories.  Understand that while many people use “gender” as a synonym for “sex,” that is not its social sciences definition, which dictates that it refers to social rather than biological differences.  Yet people love to use this and other elements of the lexicon of the left.  It’s a fascinating phenomenon.  If you replace a simple, one-syllable word such as “poor” or “sex” with impressive sounding terms such as “underprivileged” or “gender” for ideological reasons, people, oblivious to the underlying agenda and wishing to sound sophisticated, will glom onto them.  You see, simpletons, who are relatively rare, prefer simple words.  And the only other group that does is rarer still: true intellectuals.  But I digress.

So, returning to Semenya, many people express the shocking idea that his actual sex should have no bearing on whether he should be allowed to compete with women.  It’s that modern phenomenon — image is everything, reality is negotiable.

This notion has so taken hold that we’ve recently heard of two stories out of Britain wherein young boys, ages 12 and 9, showed up in school earlier this month as “girls,” sporting girls’ clothing and ponytails and bearing feminine names.  And the schools are kowtowing to them, telling other pupils that they’ll be punished if they don’t handle the “sex change” “sensitively.”  Yet sensitivity is not for the other children, who are upset and confused.  In just the way that David Reimer’s body was mutilated in deference to yesterday’s latest theory, their minds must be mutilated in deference to today’s.

Now, even if someone subscribes to “transgender” theory, it is striking that he would allow a child who is too young to decide to have sex decide what sex he should be.  How did we get to this point?

These parents, like Ron and Janet Reimer before them, are listening to the respected social scientists of their day.  These “experts” tell them that there is something called “gender dysphoria,” which is the persistent feeling that one is a member of one sex trapped in the body of the other.  It’s enough to convince many parents, such as those of German Tim Petras, who received female hormone “treatments” at age 12 and now goes by the name of Kim.  Yet on what basis is this diagnosis really made?

Feelings.

It is truly reflective of this age, where relativism has obviated reason.  That is to say, if there are no absolutes, no Truth to use as a yardstick for judging among feelings, the feelings themselves become the ultimate arbiter.  Then, of course, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a Fig Newton if it feels like one.

But one of the problems with emotion is that it is by its very nature irrational.  And if anyone would defend an emotion-based diagnosis such as “gender dysphoria,” note that it’s brought to us by the same psycho-babblers who have given us something dubbed “body dysmorphia.”  This is this persistent feeling that a certain body part, such as an arm or leg (or multiple body parts), doesn’t belong on one’s body.  And if you think it isn’t taken seriously, know that doctors have amputated healthy limbs on this basis.

Be shocked — that is, unless you accept “gender dysphoria” as legitimate.  Then you’d better be introspective.  For what is the difference?  Why would you accept the emotion-based diagnosis of gender dysphoria but not the emotion-based one of body dysmorphia?  Why are the feelings of those who suffer from the latter invalid but the feelings of those who suffer from the former a credible arbiter?  Both groups have persistent feelings that their bodies aren’t as they should be.  Both groups cannot bear to live in their bodies as they are.  Both groups want to have their bodies altered.  And both groups have found “experts” willing to put them under the knife.  Sure, it strikes us as the most horrid malpractice when a doctor amputates healthy body parts, such as a pair of legs.  But, then, should we view it any less dimly simply because those healthy body parts are between the legs?

Lamentably, today the answer is often yes, and this speaks volumes about our society.  That is, we’ve all heard that old stereotype of a lunatic, the guy in an asylum who thinks he is Napoleon.  Now the asylums have largely been emptied, and I think I know why: we’ve turned the outside world into an asylum.  What was once only acceptable to a small group within the scariest of walls — detachment from reality — has now been mainstreamed.  You can be a man who thinks he is a woman, yet no straitjacket is slapped on you.  It is slapped on the mouths of those who dare say self-image isn’t reality.

And that is the point: there is something called reality.  When feelings tell one he is, or should be, something he is not or shouldn’t be — a girl, a legless man or Napoleon — the sane conclusion is that you’re confronted with a psychological problem, not a physical one.  It may be intractable, and it is certainly easier to mutilate the body than cure the mind.  But you cannot mutilate reality, only obscure it.  If a man loses his genitalia in an accident, does he cease to be male?  Or, if “gender” is a continuum as today’s Moneys say, is he less male?  Did David Reimer cease to be a boy because he was mutilated and given estrogen against his will?  Of course, the “experts” would say the answer is no, since he never saw himself as a girl.  Again, though, feelings cannot be the arbiters of reality.  After all, I may have hypertrichosis like Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy, undergo operations to create a snout, paws and a tail, howl under the moonlight and change my name to Spot.  Yet am I sane if I call myself a different species?

So what are we to conclude about “gender” science?  Decades ago its “experts” said society could turn your boy into a girl if it felt like it; now they say he can turn himself into a girl if he feels like it.  Is it just a coincidence that Dr. Money’s “gender neutrality” theory accorded with his day’s feminist claim that sex roles should be discarded because the sexes are essentially the same?  Is it just a coincidence that the current “transgender” theory accords with our day’s homosexual claim that sex roles should be discarded because everyone and his values are essentially different?  It is at all possible that these theories have less to do with sound science than the spirit of the age?

We have gone from the proposition that “gender” can be whatever society says it is to the proposition that it can be whatever the individual says it is without ever stopping to wonder if the second idea is just a crank like the first.  But most won’t wonder because today we place more faith in doctors than doctrine, and today’s doctors say that eternal common sense and yesterday’s doctors’ nonsense are wrong.  Yet the most significant thing that distinguishes them from Dr. John Money is that they are still alive — and their theory is not yet dead.

© 2009 Selwyn Duke — All Rights Reserved

Demonization of groups, an example,

By Andrea B.
I have watched the various waves of demonization of various groups, over the years.

Here is one group that is not usually covered.

The demonization of Punk and the demonization of Metal was just the same as the demonization of other groups. The difference is the demonization of Heavy Metal, exposed a lot of the naked prejudice’s amongst the haters, as people like Dee Snider of Twisted Sister took the battle to the haters, which scared the crap out of them.

In this quick note, I will cover for sake of convenience, new wave of British metal, heavy metal, hard rock, Goth metal and all other genre’s of metal and rock, under the term ‘METAL’.

Recently I was watching some documentaries about Heavy Metal and reading about the attacks on hard rock and metal by the religious right, republicans and democrats in the USA. Tipper Gore trying to accuse everyone in Metal of being into BDSM, when none of the rockers had a clue what BDSM even was. That was very funny. At the time the only people into BDSM were politicians, religious campaigners against heavy metal, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists.

The Megadeath song ‘Hook in the Mouth’ lays that entire episode bare. Then again Megadeath songs hit every issue it tackles like an express train. As Megadeath has said, Peace sells, but who’s buying?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megadeath_(band)

http://www.megadeth.com/

It was obvious from watching Al Gore and Tipper Gore in the congressional hearings that their accusation was not about the people into Metal. Tipper Gore made the allegation that the song ‘under the blade’ which was about an operation a band member had on his throat, was really about BDSM, which confused the band and a lot of rockers as no one knew what she was talking about, except possibly her.

What was really funny, was watching the shock on the faces of the senators, when they realised the lead singer of Twisted Sister Dee Snider, could actually speak fluent english, with a good command of grammar and language usage. They read the cover of a book and imposed their own prejudices. They got egg on their faces for there bigotry.

Some people did take note at the time, although most political commentators did not notice as they were also blinded by prejudice.

They actually believed that young rockers would grow up to be drug addicts, perverts dropouts and useless, just like the psychiatrists, politicians and religious people, who were all campaigning against them.

Some of the rockers from back then, are still in Metal bands. A lot of young rockers from then, have grown up to be bank managers, beauticians, contractors, mothers, fathers, back bones of communities, doctors, managers, stock brokers, commodity brokers, etc. All are still have the metal.

Those who knew nothing about or rejected Metal, assumed that metal was just a noise with no direction or purpose, THEY WERE THEN AND STILL ARE VERY WRONG ABOUT METAL.

Iron Maiden, another metal band who are demonized by commentators, is a band that have constantly critisized pointless war and need less sacrifice of soldiers, yet that is never mentioned. The song ‘number of the beast’ was actually written about a nightmare of being trapped in hell, but the religious right deliberately took a different meaning so they could have an excuse to protest at metal events. Iron Maiden cover lots of social issues in their songs, particularly in the album ‘A matter of life and death’ which covers religion and war.

Megadeath have covered issues which most people wish would never be heard. Recently Dave Mustaine has become a born again Christian, which has taken the edge of Megadeath. It is interesting to note the change in covering social issues from Megadeath, due to religious conversion.

In metal songs for example by Black Sabbath and Dio, there are songs that raise the issue of disposable children and those who let themselves be led by the nose without thinking to disaster.

Ronnie James Dio released a song called ‘Rock and Roll Children’ on a seven-inch vinyl years ago. That song laid out exactly what happens to children when their parents dump them on the street for whatever reason they are inconvenient to have at home.

Most interest groups think it is only there group that is thrown out on the street, it is not. Their blinkers don’t allow them to see the wood for the forest. A lot of interest groups have the same problem of parents dumping there children onto the street, due to them being inconvenient.

The Kids that get kicked out of their homes are

Children who are goth,

Children who have different political opinions,

Children who don’t follow there parents right wing ideology,

Children who are metal heads,

Children who aren’t blindly nationalistic,

Children who are punk,

Children who question religion,

Children who are kids who are abused,

Children who are transsexual,

Children who are intersex,

Children who are mentally ill,

Children who don’t follow there parents left wing ideology,

Children who don’t fit the narrow-minded ideas of what a child should be,

They are some of the various other ways of categorizing those children who are trying to grow, for bigots who like to put everyone in a box, called ‘not like us’. That box is for dehumanizing people and discarding them as not even worth a thought.  The bigots don’t want to face the fact that these kids are just as valid as them, but the ‘Animal Farm’ mentality of being ‘more equal than others still prevails.

As long as the ‘Animal Farm’ idea of ‘some being more equal than others’ prevails, society as a whole will suffer and lose some of its potentially greatest thinkers.

I remember at one point in the 80’s that the people who liked Metal in the USA alone was in the tens of millions, let alone worldwide. That is just one demonized group.

Black Sabbath did a song, called  ‘Mob Rules’, which had a nice little line, ‘if you listen to fools, the mob rules’. That might give you an idea why not only the religious right, but also other political groupings don’t like Black Sabbath and Ronnie James Dio songs.

Def Leopard a group not normally associated with politics or social comment, wrote a song called ‘Gods of War’ which had the lines ‘We’re fighting for the gods of war, but what the hell we fighting for. We’re fighting for the gods of war, but I ain’t going to fight no more’. Might give you an idea why they are not liked in political circles.

For those of you who think that Metal is mindless, here is a little lesson.

On average, there is more political content in an album by Megadeath, Dio, InFlames, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Rammstein, Phenomena, Gary Moore and a whole host of Metal bands, than in some of the more entire mundane music genre’s that exist today in the charts.

Anyway,

This is a selection of what has been mostly played on my CD player over the last few weeks. Yes I still have a CD player and a vinyl turntable.

Nightwish: End of all Hope, Wish I had an angel, Bye bye beautiful, Amarath, Nemo,

Black Sabbath: The sign of the Southern Cross, Falling of the edge of the world, Children of the Sea, The mob rules.

Rammstein Du Hast, Moskau, Links 2 3 4, Ich will, Benzin,

Q5: Steel the light, when the mirror cracks, missing in action,

Yngwie Malmsteen: Dream on.

Blue Oyster Cult: Veteran of the psychic wars, (A song that could have been written for battles with shrinks, or any other eternal war)

Aerosmith (sometimes the Joe Perry Project): Rag doll, Walk this way, What it takes, Let the music do the talking,

Dio: The last in line, Rainbow in the dark, Rock and Roll Children (a good description of what happens to transsexual children or any child for that matter, who are thrown away by there parents, because they are hypocrites who care more about what the neighbours think, than there children)

MSG: Armed and ready,

Thin Lizzy: Cold Sweat, Holy wars,

Lynard Skynard: Freebird,

Def Lepard: Gods of War, Pour some sugar on me, Women.

Motorhead: Orgasmatron, Bomber, Eat the Rich, Overkill, Ace of Spades,  (Lemmy was brilliant in Eat the Rich)

Ozzy Osbourne: Crazy train, Mr. Crawley, Shot in the dark, Bark at the moon,

Him: Killing Loneliness, Wicked game,

AC/DC: Back in Black, Thunderstuck, Who made Who, Razors Edge,

Ted Nugent: Homebound,

Ian Gillan: New Orleans,

Therion: Birth of venus,

Skid Row: 18 and life,

W.A.S.P: The idol, Blind in Texas,

John Norum: Aphasia (of the Europe, wings of tomorrow CD), Total Control CD,

Hammerfall: Bloodbound,

Cinderella: Somebody save me, Gypsy Road, Nobodies fool,

Molly Hatchet: Boogie no more, (i have to buy another CD of flirting with disaster, as my idiot friend scratched it)

Scorpions: Alien Nation, Women, Humanity, Winds of change,

Within Temptation: Our solemn hour,

Joe Satriani: Surfing with the alien,

Helloween: A tale that wasn’t right, Heavy metal hamsters, Dr. Stein, I want out, Future world, Save us, Hell was made in Heaven, Just a little sign, I’m alive,

Lordi: Would you love a Monster man, Hard rock halleluja, Blood red sandman,

Phenomena: No retreat no surrender, Double 6 55 44, Hell on Wings, Killing for the thrill, Dance with the Devil, Chemical high, What about love,

Iron Maiden: Run to the hills, Number of the beast,

Theatres Des Vampires: La Danse Macabria, Angel of Lust, The golden sin,

Accept: Balls to the wall,

Judas Priest: Breaking the law

Metallica: Nothing else matters,

Slayer: Raining blood,

Phil Linott & Gary Moore: Out in the fields,

Inkubus Sukkubus: Church of madness, Burning times,

Hear n Aid: We’re stars,

Gary Moore: After the war,

Megadeath: Motopsycho, Peace sells,

Alice Cooper: Poison, Teenage Frankenstein, The man behind the mask,

All best played through an old Marshall 200 watt valve amp and 200 watt speaker cabinet. Then you can start to hear it properly. A battery of 500 watt amps and matching speaker cabinets is what is really recommended for an appropriate listening environment.

All of the above I now have on CD. Once I had it mostly on Vinyl. I have a rather large collection. I still occasionally put on ‘Homebound’ by Ted Nugent, which I have on the B side of a 7inch single. I disagree with his politics, but love his music. Scream Dream was definitely a milestone.

Further reading

Twisted Sister

http://www.twistedsister.com/

Dee Snider

http://www.deesnider.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy:_The_Story_of_Metal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal:_A_Headbanger%27s_Journey (a documentary I recommend, the guy met all his metal heroes by making a documentary. I wish I had thought off that one)

http://www.metalhistory.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Metal

BANG THAT HEAD THAT DOESN’T BANG

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 159 other followers