Mixed Feelings about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

I won’t lie.  I was called up for a Draft physical in early 1968 at the height of the Vietnam war, an absolutely worthless conflict that resulted in the deaths of some 58,000 American service people and some several million Vietnamese.

I knew I would not go.  Fighting a war that some rich old men wanted me to fight against people who were totally incapable of harming the US seemed absurd.  Besides to paraphrase Mohammad Ali (still Cassius Clay) “No Vietnamese ever called me a sissy or queer.”  Simply put my oppressors, my enemies were right here in the USA.

I did all the stuff guys did to fail the physical.  I stayed up a couple of days, didn’t wash.  It didn’t matter they took one look at me and sent me over to hang out with the rest of the “girls”.  Now I thought I passed pretty good as a guy at that point.  I may have been one of the few to think that but that is often the case with us prior to our coming out.

Written on the body.

They sent me over to wait with sisters in full drag and obviously feminine gay men because they knew me better than I did.  They didn’t make us strip down and they let us pee in the bottle behind a screen.

I aced the aptitude test just to piss them off.

At the end of the physical they sent me to wait with the others who were too queer to murder for their country.

I was bothered because they hadn’t asked about my arrest record so I went to ask one of the officers and he looked at me and said, “We wouldn’t have you in the service if the Vietcong were having dinner every night in Chinatown.”

I aided draft resisters, I encouraged guys to desert.  Our cadre in the Haight and Berkeley  had a half dozen different deserters as members over the course the war.

After I came out I was a woman who said yes to a man who said no.  He deserted from the Marines after having served his time in Vietnam.  He was my lover for two years prior to my surgery and for a year after.

When he was arrested by the FBI I found lawyers and spent my surgery fund to get him transferred from the brig to a hospital in Oakland where I broke him out.

To be gay or lesbian or trans at the time meant that if you were out and political you were probably progressive and anti-war to boot even though many of the founders of the early gay liberation movement in San Francisco and Los Angeles had served in WW II.  Vietnam was different, we were different.

Now I know many people who come out as trans in middle age were so deeply stealth, so hidden behind a mask of masculinity as to have both volunteered as part of an effort to become real men and to have been able to pass and serve.  The irony being that the screening asked if you slept with men and so many who come out later in life were heterosexual in their assigned at birth sex.  As a result technically they were not gay.

As I said I have mixed feelings.  Tonight we watched Sergei Eisenstein’s film “The Battleship Potemkin“, a silent film. The Translation of one of the narrative cards says “Revolution Means War.  This– This is the one Lawful, Reasonable, and Just, Truly Great War of all the Wars that History has Known…

Mario Savio put it a different way in 1964 during the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley when he said:

There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus — and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re free the machine will be prevented from working at all!!

Herein lies the contradiction…  In truth I believe the only just war to be revolution and not wars that extend spheres of influence and control or result in imperialistically exploiting and oppressing the people of other lands…  Yet my dedication to equality and my belief in the freedom of others, their rights as human beings require me to support their right to enter into the military and serve even when I find that very military to be odious.

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The Origins of Memorial Day

We ordered a pizza for pick up from a local Papa John’s because I spent the afternoon napping and blew off my plans to cook.

As we were coming home we heard Mark Thompson of America Left on our XM.  He reminded us of the origins of Memorial Day, which was still often called “Decoration Day” when I was a child.

From Wikipedia:

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 31 in 2010). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service.[1] First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I to honor dead Americans from all wars.

In Charleston, South Carolina in 1865 Freedmen (freed slaves) celebrated at the Washington Race Course (today the location of Hampton Park). The site had been used as a temporary Confederate prison camp for captured Union soldiers in 1865, as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who died there. Immediately after the cessation of hostilities, Freedmen exhumed the bodies from the mass grave and reinterred them properly with individual graves. They built a fence around the graveyard with an entry arch and declared it a Union graveyard. On May 1, 1865, a crowd of up to ten thousand, mainly black residents, including 2800 children, proceeded to the location for events that included sermons, singing, and a picnic on the grounds, thereby creating the first Decoration Day.[2]

Our not knowing this is part of the erasure of the poor and people of color from history.

In the South I have heard people actually refer to the Civil War as “The War of Northern Aggression”.  You have some racist scum like the current governor of Virginia acting like slavery deniers who call the slave trade “triangular trade” thereby sanitizing the African Diaspora that resulted in the death and enslavement of millions of black people.

I suggest people read “The People’s History of the United States:  From 1492 until Present” by the late Howard Zinn

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Great Post at Dented Blue Mercedes

Hope Resides in the Genderqueer and Transgressive”

As time goes on, something happens to a transitioned transsexual. It has a lot to do with why the transsexed side of the trans continuum tends not to have many long-term advocates.

I first came to realize it over a discussion with someone long transitioned who was still involved with the LGBT community, but it was largely forgotten that she’d had a trans history. Although the cerebral knowledge and empathy for trans issues were there, the memory had faded to the point where it was hard for her to recall the experiences personally, where it seemed to her as though everything had happened to someone else.

Continue reading at: http://dentedbluemercedes.wordpress.com/2010/05/30/hope-resides-in-the-genderqueer-and-transgressive/

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Memorial Day

On Memorial Day we honor those working class people, those brown people and yes those queer people too that we sent off to murder and die in order to protect the interests of the rich.

We wave flags made in China and Indonesia where the people who make them live even more miserable lives than working class American.

We watch war porn and tell ourselves it is history when what it does is stir those who lust for the excitement of violence and the glory of war.  Even that which shows the reality or often time hyper reality makes war something fascinating to watch.

Less fascinating is the aftermath.  From when I was a child and the old men were WW I vets, bitter about how the government went back on promises of a bonus that would have helped them during the Great Depression.  Seeing the broken men, lungs scarred by mustard gas or missing limbs.  The World War II vets who drank too much because of the horror they saw.  The Vietnam vets, homeless in the streets and dismissed as too weak for their drug and alcohol abuse.

What of our promises to these people?

But far more important why do we ignore the millions upon millions upon millions of civilians killed by all these universal soldiers?

It took Cindy Sheehan who lost her son to George W. Bush’s war lust to finally ask the most important question of all…

What noble cause? What noble cause justifies all this carnage and murder?  What noble cause justifies the impoverishment of the poor of all nations to frivolously spend the  so much on weapons that create such misery?

There is no noble cause.  Only the rape and plunder of others, the murder and theft of resources.

The poor lose in every war.  The rich and powerful are always enriched and only rarely join the fray to fight perchance to die.

In the Civil War, deserters from both the Armies of the North and of the South were united under a common slogan, “Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight.”

For those of us who work in retail the reality of Memorial Day is all too ironic…  Memorial Day is a sale’s opportunity wrapped in red, white and blue.  We put in 10-12 hour days last week working to nearly dropping to enrich the corporations that exploit our labor.

For most of us there is no paid holiday.  Some of us are fortunate enough to have a forced unpaid day off.  A day to collapse in fatigue before a return to work on Tuesday.

I won’t attack those who look upon Memorial Day as providing one of those rare opportunities to put three days together during which they can rest and recreate, spend time with friends and family.  The corporations that control our lives demand so much from us in exchange for so little have made this personal time so scarce that I admire those who choose not to spend it perpetuating the lie of “honor and sacrifice”.

The best answer, the one that every person of every nation should give when their governments, their rich and powerful call upon them to murder and die for some questionable “noble cause” is the one we chanted during the Vietnam War, “Hell no, We won’t Go!”

War will only end when we refuse to be the universal soldiers.

The real struggle for freedom is not fought in some distant land, killing people who are powerless to harm us.  The real struggle for freedom starts at home and should be against those who exploit us, deny us the basic human rights and equality we should be endowed with as our very birth right.

The battle for hearts and minds is not one of guns and violence but rather of words and ideas.

Country Joe and the Fish Fixin’ to Die Rag

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Steve Earle sings Bob Dylan’s “Master’s of War”

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War… Edwin Starr 1970

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Why I Support Debbie Wasserman Schultz Rather Than Donna Milo

First of all I don’t care one way or another about Donna Milo’s being transsexual and having had the same sort of operation I had.

It is not like being transsexual and having had SRS all of a sudden makes sisters out of people with diametrically opposing political views.  The idea that it does is at the core of the identity politics of transgender.  It is of the same bizarre nature as one floated around way back when by the Janice Raymond/Mary Daly set, that said Phyllis Schlafly and Anita Bryant were the sisters of feminist women based on their having been assigned female at birth.  while WBTs could never be considered true sisters based on our not being assigned female at birth.

I occasionally see bumper stickers that say, “I Wasn’t Born in Texas, but I Got Here as Soon as I Could”.  I wasn’t born female but the second I came out as transsexual I also came out as feminist.  I didn’t suddenly embrace some sort of feminine mystique.  My politics didn’t change.  I was SDS?Weather when I came out and stayed SDS/Weather plus feminist.

These are seen as left wing progressive causes.  I am a left wing progressive.  I think BP should clean up its oil gusher and all the damage it has caused.  I do not believe in privatizing profit and socializing the clean up of the damage done by corporations. I think Republicans are anti-Americans who do not support core tenets of Constitution.  Particularly those involving equality and the wall of separation between church and state.

I see them as representing the big corporations and the rich elites rather than the common people and those who work for a living instead of exploiting others.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a progressive Democrat.  One who supports the same sort of politics I do.

Donna Milo is a radically right wing conservative, another Sarah Palin, whose views are diametrically opposed to mine on just about every thing.

Why should an LGBT/T person support her?  Because she had a sex change operation?

Oh Please…  Like that carries any weight with me…

Politics trump identity every single freaking time as far as I am concerned.

More Friday Night Fun

In 1974 I was able to say, “I’m with the band…”

Friday Night Fun and Culture

Thought I’d kick off the weekend with a little bit of good old Grateful Dead

Bryan Fischer head of the American Family Association is a Lying Sack of Shit

Once again these ultra right wing neo-Nazis that use “Family” in their title are showing that their usage of “Family” or “Family Values” is nothing more than a code word for lies and bigotry.

This scum sucking Nazi is repeating the big lie that only knuckle dragging morons who got their non-educations through home-schooling by equally stupid people or in the Christian Madrasas that function as indoctrination camps for churning out Nazis and KKKers that support the KKKonservative movement in the US.

Hitler was in fact, straight.  Hitler and the Nazis were Christian.  Antisemitism was and is endemic to many forms of Christianity.  The Nazis had a good relationship with the Catholic Church.  The Nazi army was not filled with gay men.

The one grain of truth in Bryan Fischer’s Big Lie is that the Brown Shirts otherwise known as the SA

From Wikipedia:

After Hitler took power in 1933, the SA became increasingly eager for power and saw themselves as the replacement for the German army, then limited by law to no more than 100,000 men. This angered the regular army (Reichswehr), who already resented the Nazis. It also led to tension with other leaders within the party, who saw Röhm’s increasingly powerful SA as a threat to their own personal ambitions. Originally an adjunct to the SA, the Schutzstaffel (SS) was placed under the direct control of Heinrich Himmler in part to restrict the power of the SA and their leaders.

Although some of these conflicts were based on personal rivalries, there were also key socioeconomic conflicts between the SS and SA. SS members generally came from the middle class, while the SA had its base among the unemployed and working class. Politically speaking, the SA were more radical than the SS, with its leaders arguing the Nazi revolution had not ended when Hitler achieved power, but rather needed to implement socialism in Germany. Despite its sympathy for its own brand of socialism, the SA would often pick street fights with Communists and Social Democrats.

In 1933, General Werner von Blomberg, Hitler’s minister of war, and Walther von Reichenau, chief liaison officer between the German Army and the Nazi Party, became increasingly concerned about the growing power of the SA. Ernst Roehm had been given a seat on the National Defence Council and began to demand more say over military matters. On 2nd October 1933, Roehm sent a letter to Reichenau that said: “I regard the Reichswehr now only as a training school for the German people. The conduct of war, and therefore of mobilization as well, in the future is the task of the SA.

Werner von Blomberg and Walther von Reichenau began to conspire with Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler against Roehm and the SA. Himmler asked Reinhard Heydrich to assemble a dossier on Roehm. Heydrich, who also feared him, manufactured evidence that suggested that Roehm had been paid 12 million marks by the French to overthrow Hitler.

Hitler liked Ernst Roehm and initially refused to believe the dossier provided by Heydrich. Roehm had been one of his first supporters and, without his ability to obtain army funds in the early days of the movement, it is unlikely that the Nazis would have ever become established. The SA under Roehm’s leadership had also played a vital role in destroying the opposition during the elections of 1932 and 1933.

However, Adolf Hitler had his own reasons for wanting Roehm removed. Powerful supporters of Hitler had been complaining about Roehm for some time. Generals were afraid that the SA, a force of over 3 million men, would absorb the much smaller German Army into its ranks and Roehm would become its overall leader.

Industrialists, who had provided the funds for the Nazi victory, were unhappy with Roehm’s socialistic views on the economy and his claims that the real revolution had still to take place. Many people in the party also disapproved of the fact that Roehm and many other leaders of the SA were homosexuals.

Adolf Hitler was also aware that Roehm and the SA had the power to remove him as leader. Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler played on this fear by constantly feeding him with new information on Roehm’s proposed coup. Their masterstroke was to claim that Gregor Strasser, whom Hitler hated, was part of the planned conspiracy against him. With this news Hitler ordered all the SA leaders to attend a meeting in the Hanselbauer Hotel in Wiesse.

On 29th June, 1934. Hitler, accompanied by the Schutz Staffeinel (SS), arrived at Wiesse, where he personally arrested Ernst Roehm. During the next 24 hours 200 other senior SA officers were arrested on the way to Wiesse. Many were shot as soon as they were captured but Hitler decided to pardon Roehm because of his past services to the movement. However, after much pressure from Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler, Hitler agreed that Roehm should die. At first Hitler insisted that Roehm should be allowed to commit suicide but, when he refused, he was killed by two SS men.

See also Night of the Long Knives

The Night of the Long Knives (German: About this sound Nacht der langen Messer (help·info)) or “Operation Hummingbird“, or, more commonly used in Germany “Röhm-Putsch” was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political executions. Most of those killed were members of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the paramilitary Brownshirts.

Hitler moved against the SA and its leader, Ernst Röhm, because he saw the independence of the SA and the penchant of its members for street violence as a direct threat to his power. He also wanted to conciliate leaders of the Reichswehr, the official German military who both feared and despised the SA—in particular Röhm’s ambition to absorb the Reichswehr into the SA under his own leadership. Finally, Hitler used the purge to attack or eliminate critics of his regime, especially those loyal to Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen, and to settle scores with old enemies.

At least 85 people died during the purge, although the final death toll may have been into the hundreds,[2][3] and more than a thousand perceived opponents were arrested.[2] Most of the killings were carried out by the Schutzstaffel (SS) and the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei), the regime’s secret police. The purge strengthened and consolidated the support of the Reichswehr for Hitler. It also provided a legal grounding for the Nazi regime, as the German courts and cabinet quickly swept aside centuries of legal prohibition against extra-judicial killings to demonstrate their loyalty to the regime.

Before its execution, its planners sometimes referred to it as “Hummingbird” (German: Kolibri), as that was the codeword used to set the execution squads in motion on the day of the purge.[4] The codename for the operation appears to have been chosen arbitrarily. The phrase “Night of the Long Knives” in the German language predates the massacre itself, and it also refers generally to acts of vengeance. To this day, Germans still use the term “Röhm-Putsch” (“Röhm coup d’état”) to describe the event, as that was the term the Nazi regime used at the time, despite its overall false implication that the murders were necessary to forestall a coup. To emphasize this, German authors often use quotation marks or write about the so-called Röhm-Putsch.[5]

Moreover gays and lesbians were targeted for murder as well as purging from German society.

So when one of the hateful bigots like Bryan Fischer pulls a lie like this out of his ass the really important questions should be:  Why is he such a self loathing gay man?  Does he sleep with George Rekers?

Sacrificing Women to the Budget Gods

From Alternet

Laura Flanders

As states scramble to stay afloat — how are they balancing their budgets? On the backs of working women of course. The new big trend is to cut subsidies for child care. And with child care — poof – a critical lifeline to working moms is disappearing. The same states that cut welfare entitlements in the 90s, forcing moms out to work, are now cutting the subsidized child care that was promised in return for workfare.

Continue reading at:  http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/05/26/the-f-word-sacrificing-women-to-the-budget-gods/

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Obama admin. backs Vatican’s claim of immunity to sexual abuse lawsuits

From Raw Story

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 — 5:55 pm

The Obama administration in a brief to the Supreme Court has backed the Vatican’s claim of immunity from lawsuits arising from cases of sexual abuse by priests in the United States.

The Supreme Court is considering an appeal by the Vatican of an appellate court ruling that lifted its immunity in the case of an alleged pedophile priest from Oregon.

In a filing on Friday, the solicitor general’s office argued that the Ninth Circuit court of appeals erred in allowing the lawsuit brought by a man who claims he was sexually abused in the 1960s by the Oregon priest.

The unnamed plaintiff, who cited the Holy See and several other parties as defendants, argued the Vatican should be held responsible for transferring the priest to Oregon and letting him serve there despite previous accusations he had abused children in Chicago and in Ireland.

Continue reading at: http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0525/obama-backs-catholic-church-immunity-claim-sexual-abuse-lawsuits/

What All The Gender Shit Is Really About?

Selling Beer or selling dickwaddery?  You make the call.

I really shouldn’t watch commercial television.  As I have said gender is a social construct in the service of misogyny.

Miller Lite Ads Invoke the Straight Man’s Fear of Being Perceived as Sissy

MillerCoors a beer company marketing its Miller Lite brand has created two commercials that embraces sexist and transphobic ideas. One commercial features a man asking the bartender for a light beer. She asks him if he cares how it tastes and since he how it tastes and since he doesn’t she tells him that when he starts caring he should “take off his skirt” and get a Miller Lite. The man looks obviously humiliated and the commercial then says “man up” He then goes to his friends saying “check it out, I lost the skirt and got a Miller Lite.”

Continue reading at: http://queersunited.blogspot.com/2010/05/miller-lite-ad-invokes-straight-mans.html

This so sucks…  How uncool.. How fucking straight is this?

George Rekers would be so proud..

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The Real Difference Between WBTs and Transgender Folks

No matter how adamantly I support a trans-inclusive ENDA it is really something I do because I care about the rights of others.

No matter how much I support hate crimes laws that offer protections based on gender identity and gender expression I am not doing so for myself but for people I think of as “them”.

Sex change operations, Cybelle’s Knife separates me from transgender people.  Most of their concerns are not mine.

Sometimes I find myself supporting things that contradict my politics.  Like the repeal of DADT.  My gut instincts are to oppose war as usually being in the interests of the rich at the cost of the lives of the poor, who are turned into murderers.  Rich men speak of the glories of wars they never fight.  The poor serve as cannon fodder to die or be maimed to serve the interests of the wealthy.

During the era of the draft being queer was a pass to escape being pressed into service, a way of avoiding kill or be killed.

I hear so many activists talk about a community that I am supposedly a part of.  Except it is more on-line than in my 3D life.  It is true that my life partner is another WBT, it is equally true that we have a mere hand full of other WBTs as friends.  Mostly long term friends of mine.

Once beyond transition, transworld is excruciatingly boring.  Now it is filled with people endlessly blithering on about their imaginary intersex conditions.  Or the surgeries they are facing.

Mostly I’d rather talk about work or what I do when not at work.

The oil spill disaster or the insanity of the Tea Baggers.

Even young people in the transition process are extremely boring.  They know it all.  Yet they haven’t even had their surgery yet and the real transition is life itself.

Getting old having a lifetime of experiences to draw upon when looking at a situation.

Sometimes late transitioners are the worst because they have so much baggage to let go of, such a heavy set of defenses to put down.

Often times it is much easier to relate to those who have not only made it through the process but are far enough beyond so it has become a historical fact rather than a current event.

Some time it seems like transgender folks, those who define as non-ops are stuck in the middle where all those aforementioned concerns are a real element of their lives and not something one supports because supporting those things are the right thing to do.

This Blog Does Not Support Donna Milo

I support any Democratic candidate running against Donna Milo. Just because some one is transsexual or transgender does not make them “family” and certainly does not make them worthy of my support.

There are way too many bigoted, racist and right wing nut people with transsexualism or transgenderism out there for that to be a reason for my supporting them.

It is like how Republi-Nazis think feminist women should support Sarah Palin because she is a woman when her stupidity and politics are anathema to feminist women.

Now it emerges that Donna Milo does not support marriage equality.

From the Advocate:

Trans Candidate Doesn’t Support Gay Marriage
By Neal Broverman

Donna Milo may be transgender but that doesn’t mean the Republican congressional candidate from Florida supports same-sex marriage or is a big fan of adoption by gay parents.

Speaking Friday on Michelangelo Signorile’s radio show, Milo expounded on her far-right views. “I view marriage as a religious sacrament,” she said. “I believe that marriage… is between a man and a woman.”

Continue reading at: http://advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/05/21/Transgender_Candidate_Doesnt_Support_Gay_Marriage/

Why should I ever support any Republican?  I have never met one that had the best interested of the working class in mind or that ever did a damned thing that wasn’t pandering to the corporations.

Somebody To Love

The latest wisdom on the webs eternal trans gossip line is that the real obscenity of the persecution of the couple in Malawi that dared to love is that they are not gay but heterosexual based on the identity of one of the people involved or perhaps based on the identities of both.

No the real obscenity is that two adult people in a bigoted hell hole of a place where total ignorance of such ideas is maintained by religious dogma and illiteracy are being persecuted for having the luck to find each other.

Rather than debating the intricate nature of the social construct called gender theory and how it might be used as a defense for these poor people perhaps we should be pushing the UN’s Bill of Universal Human Rights.

One basic fundamental right is the right of adult people to love.

The freedom to love.

Emma Goldman said, “Free love? as if love is anything but free. Man has bought brains, but all the millions in the world have failed to buy love.”

The worst dictators in the world claim the right to decide who may or may not love one another.

In the 1960s we proclaimed the power of love and freedom to love.

In the face of free love, given freely the religious dogmatists preach abstinence.

No gods, No Masters

Florida Democratic Rep. Grayson introduces ‘War Is Making You Poor Act’ to highlight cost of ongoing wars.

From Raw Story

Today, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation called the “War Is Making You Poor Act,” which aims to call attention to a) how much money is being spent to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and b) how budget gimmicks are used to pay for them. Grayson’s legislation would slash the $159 billion request for supplemental war funding and use that money to deliver a tax break for all Americans. Grayson demands the Pentagon use its currently existing $549 billion defense budget to fight the wars. Speaking on the House floor today, Grayson underscored that the point of his legislation is to highlight the costs of the wars:

Continue Reading at: http://thinkprogress.org/2010/05/21/grayson-wars-taxes-americans/

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Friday Night Fun and Culture

Imogen Heap

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Expect Resistance: An Epigram

The perfect ones.  The beautiful ones.  The right ones, the noble ones.  The ones who never break down crying in restaurants, who never do anything in secret they would be ashamed of.  The normal ones.  The healthy ones.  The ones who always plan ahead. The content ones.  The happy ones. The ones who work hard and reap the benefits, who brush and floss after every single meal.  The well- adjusted ones.  The popular ones.  The ones who never Disappoint, the little boys who do grow up to be president.  The lucky ones.  The ones with perfect skin and perfect teeth and perfect figures.  The ones who want what they have and have what they want.

They don’t Exist…

The ones posing as them are even more fucked up than you…

Expect Resistance pages 212-213