Friday Night Fun and Culture: Summer of Love Edition

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Definitional Nonsense

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The Real Story of the Female Hunter of Delaware County

From The Advocate

Lucy Ann Lobdell quickly gained a reputation as a marksman during the 19th century. But after leaving home, Lobdell proved something different altogether — a transgender man.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
August 02 2012

Born in 1829 to a working-class family in upstate New York, Lucy Ann Lobdell quickly gained a reputation as a marksman, earning the nickname “The Female Hunter of Delaware County.” But after leaving home, Lobdell proved something different altogether: a transgender man. Now Lobdell’s distant relative, professor Bambi L. Lobdell, has written a fascinating account of Joseph Lobdell — who she calls Lucy-Joe — and what happened after he moved to the frontier, married a woman, and bucked 19th-century social restrictions and gender expectations. It’s a fascinating story of forced marriage, arrest, and incarceration in an insane asylum. Although 20th-century scholars have labeled Lobdell a lesbian, the author, while incorporating queer theory and Lobdell’s own writings, makes a fascinating argument in A Strange Sort of Being: The Transgender Life of Lucy Ann/Joseph Israel Lobdell, 1829-1912 that there never was a “female hunter” but really a transgender man who would eventually be locked away from society and his beloved for insisting on being a man.

The Advocate: I can’t help but notice you share a last name with your subject. What’s your relationship?
Bambi L. Lobdell: I am a distant relative — second cousin four times removed.

You write that Joseph Lobdell’s descendants sort of downplayed his story, reducing him to the “female hunter” at best, or erasing him altogether. Can you tell me more about that and how you heard his story?
For decades, Lucy-Joe was a skeleton in the Lobdell family closet, a bit of an embarrassment, mostly for the charge of insanity, which carries a heavy social stigma even now. When my family first came across information on Lucy, there wasn’t much to go by. Lucy’s autobiography, The Narrative of the Female Hunter of Delaware and Sullivan County, published in 1855, gives no indication of male identification or desire for women. The autobiography presents an intelligent and strongly worded feminist manifesto for equal pay and opportunities for women and a personal refusal to live an oppressed life in the domestic sphere; she also presents her bold plan to seize freedoms and opportunities that women did not have legal rights to at the time by going out into the world in men’s clothes. The few newspaper articles available were modern retellings of older newspaper articles that often only featured Lucy as a woman who refused to stay in the place society set for her. When this lack of information was combined with a general cissexist ignorance of transgender identity that is still common, the first stories out of my family were not complete.

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XX vs. XY

From Huffington Post:


“When did you know for sure?”

Everyone we meet wants to know the answer to that question when they hear we have a transgender child, some because they want to calm unspoken fears about the possibility that their own tomboy daughter or feminine son might be gender-variant, perhaps, but most because they are genuinely interested in a subject that is still a mystery for so many.

I remember Sam always gravitating toward traditional male activities, male friends, and male play, from Matchbox cars and toy CAT bulldozers to baseball jerseys and Bob the Builder reruns. Sam was all boy. When he was 3, a well-meaning preschool teacher sent a photo home with him. The woman was just as pleased to share what fun our child was having at school as Sam was to be hand-delivering a picture that was sure to make the refrigerator wall-of-fame. As I studied the photo of three young children playing house, a sick feeling began to grow in my stomach. In front of me were two girls engaged in traditional-gender-role play, happily assuming the coveted parts of mother and child, and then there was Sam, complete with a fake beard, sportcoat, top hat, and a grin from ear to ear.

When I asked Sam what role he was playing, his tone, more than the answer, caught me off guard. With a confident, don’t-you-get-it-Mom inflection in his voice, Sam proclaimed, “I’m the dad!” An even more incredulous tenor ensued when I asked why he was playing that part. “Because that is who I am!” he explained with frustration. I was hoping the answer would have been, “Because they made me be the dad,” for I would have much rather dealt with a daughter not standing up to her classmates than a child who was starting to tell us, in the only way a child of that age knew how, that there was a disconnect between mind and body.

The early years were filled with more of these types of anecdotes than I care to remember, each one providing varying degrees of uneasiness for my husband and me. But it was the revelation Sam came home with in third grade that provided us with that proverbial “aha!” moment. In third grade students at our local public elementary school get their first lesson on the subject of chromosomes — nothing too complex, mind you, just the basic information. As it turned out, that day proved to be a monumental one for Sam, who jumped off the bus in the afternoon eager to share something important.

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Disney Princesses Circa 2012: I’m Too Sexy For My Gown?

From Peggy Orenstein:

Peggy Orenstein
August 2nd, 2012

So, while we’re on the topic of how the Disney Princesses–the brand that parents go to to stave off premature sexualization of their innocent girls–are changing, let’s take a look at Belle. Recall that the message of “Beauty and the Beast” is that true beauty comes from within (though you could also argue it teaches that if you hang out with an abusive guy long enough he turns into a prince…). Now let’s look at how Belle has changed since her debut in 1991.

Here she is in the movie, just a girl and her book, singing, as one does:

Here she is, also in the movie, in her iconic yellow gown, the one that has made countless preschool girls rip the necks of their t-shirts because “princesses don’t show their shoulders” (people tell me that all the time):

Now here is the BRAND NEW BELLE circa 2012 from the Disney store site, pictured on a girl’s nightie:

Whoa. Hotsy-totsy. Like  I want my 4-year-old wearing pajamas with THAT expression on them.

For illustrations and complete article go to:

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Pussy Riot are a reminder that revolution always begins in culture

From The Guardian UK:

Vladimir Putin is right to be frightened by Pussy Riot. They are essentially a concept and you can’t stop a concept, Wednesday 1 August 2012

Some people have their eyes on the prize. A prize beyond medals. That prize is freedom, freedom of expression, freedom to protest. I am talking about Pussy Riot, who are drawing the eyes of the world to what is happening in Russia. Pussy Riot – crazy punks, yeah? No, they are not crazy, daft or naive. They are being tried for blasphemy in what is still, nominally, a secular state. They are highlighting what happens to any opposition to president Vladimir Putin and, indeed, they do look fabulous. If you want to see protest as art or the art of protest, look at these women and their supporters.

Described as punk inheritors of the Riot Grrrl mantle, they are so much more. They are now on trial in Moscow for a crime that took 51 seconds to commit. Please watch it on YouTube. They mimed an anti-Putin song in the main Orthodox cathedral wearing their trademark balaclavas and clashing colours. For this “hooliganism ” and “religious hatred”, the three women have already served five months in jail. They now face a possible seven-year sentence, in a country where fewer than 1% of cases that go to trial end in a not guilty verdict.

Pussy Riot function symbolically as the head of a protest movement in Russia that is being shut down. Bloggers have been arrested, and people are scared to express any anti-Putin sentiment. Only state-sanctioned demonstrations are allowed. The slide into dictatorship is apparent and, significantly, one of the biggest benefactors has been the church, which has performed a massive “land grab”. Pussy Riot exist to draw attention to precisely what is so disturbing, a totalitarian nation where the church and state are become one. Some have warned that Russia is becoming a new entity, a Christian fundamentalist state. Members of the Orthodox church have said the separation of the secular and the spiritual is “a western idea”. This what Pussy Riot are up against.

The women have been called Satanists by state prosecutors and various priests, though their supporters paint them as sweet young mothers. Doubtless they are, but they are also cleverly using long-established forms of anonymous anarchic protest. The balaclavas mean anyone can be Pussy Riot. The Guerilla Girls in the Art World did this. An anarchist “strike” once involved all of us writing with the byline Karen Eliot. Occupy does it. The dull and respectable left too often ignores the genius of these forms of dissent.

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See Also:

Pussy Riot members ‘deprived of sleep and food’ during trial

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Amway faces boycott over donation to anti-gay group

From Raw Story

By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, August 2, 2012

LGBT rights activist Fred Karger announced Thursday a global boycott targeting the direct-sales giant Amway over its founder’s contribution to an anti-gay group.

Tax records obtained by Karger show that Amway president and owner Doug DeVos donated $500,000 to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) Education Fund through his Douglas & Maria DeVos Foundation.

“I have been closely tracking NOM for over four years,” Karger said. “NOM always tries to hide the names of its donors and often breaks state election reporting laws in the process. NOM is currently under active investigations for election law violations in Maine and California”

“I imagine NOM leaders Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown thought that no one would uncover the huge Amway contribution which appears to be the largest family donation to NOM in its history. Only the Catholic Church’s political arm the Knights of Columbus has given more to the ‘Hate Group’ NOM.”

NOM was formed in 2007 to pass Proposition 8 in California, a constitutional amendment to prohibit same sex marriage. The organization has fought against proposals in numerous states to legalize same sex marriage and allow same sex couples to adopt children. NOM came under fire earlier this year when strategy documents released as part of an investigation detailed the organization’s plan to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks.”

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NOM’s Infamous “Race-Baiting” Strategy At Work: Rev. Bill Owens Calls The President “Judas”

From Instinct Magazine:

by Instinct Staff
Wednesday, 01 August 2012

NOM denied using a race-baiting strategy after internal documents leaked in March revealing the hate group’s plans to pit African American and Hispanic communities against the gays. NOM can deny the tactic all it wants, but never has its strategy bee more clear than during a Tuesday press conference from the hate group’s “religious liaison,” Rev. Bill Owens.

So, what vile, NOM-approved things about the LGBT community and President Obama spilled from the Reverend’s mouth yesterday?

“The time has come for a broad-based assault against the powers that be that want to change our culture to one of men marrying men and women marrying women. […] For the president to bow to the money as Judas did for Jesus Christ is a disgrace and we are ashamed […] Another very important point I think that needs to be made is if you watch the men who have been caught having sex with little boys, you will note that all of them will say that “I was molested as a child — a man molested me in my home,” wherever. They will say they were molested. And for the president to condone this type of thing knowing the full facts is just irresponsible.”

Ah, the old “calling all gays pedophiles trick.” Way to keep the blatant bigotry out of the conversation and limit the debate to marriage rights only, NOM.

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Abram Powell: “I Stand With President Obama” – Join People with Disabilities for Obama

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Anti-Obama Animus on the Left Reaches Hysterical Proportions

I went down this road in 1968.  I don’t think I’ll do that one again.

From Truth Dig:

By Bill Boyarsky
Aug 2, 2012

While going through my weekly ration of hate comments, including a veiled death threat, from my ultra-left readers, I wondered what they expect if their actions—or inaction—result in the defeat of President Barack Obama.

How will they feel on election night and the arrival of four years of Mitt Romney and maybe four years after that?

Perhaps in a few years or months, they’ll think of their attitude toward Obama when Republican repeal of the Affordable Care Act denies them health care because of a pre-existing condition or leaves their kid without insurance. Maybe they’ll regret as they watch the Republicans begin to dismantle civil rights laws, a move presaged by the party’s surprisingly successful efforts to disqualify African-American and Latino voters. Hopefully, they’ll feel remorse as Romney and a Republican controlled Congress finally get a chance to eliminate the safety net for the poor.

Many, but not all, comments on my column reflect an anti-Obama animus that at times reaches hysterical proportions, expressing anger worthy of Fox News. Not since the Vietnam War and “Hey, Hey LBJ. How many kids did you kill today?” have I seen anything like this. In fact, I thought of those days when I read an Open Salon blogger who wrote: “Obama-bin-laden is the most hideous of the worlds terrorists. He is not the ‘leader’ of the free world, he’s a murderous, criminally insane, war monger.” Or as another blogger, fantasizing an Obama monologue, wrote: “It took guts for me to take out Osama Bin Laden. You have no idea the hell I went through sitting in an overstuffed leather chair 7,000 miles away as the operation went down. And by God if I’m going to get credit for that then I’m taking credit for taking out those useless civilians too!” One wonders whether these bloggers are equally critical of Mitt Romney, who has for years threatened to go to war with Iran.

Peter Dreier and Donald Cohen analyzed the situation this way in The Huffington Post: “Obama’s conservative opponents lambast him as a radical, a socialist, and a purveyor of class warfare. His left-wing critics think he’s in bed with Wall Street, too cautious and timid to challenge the corporate establishment and the richest 1 percent.”

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The Betrayal of the American Dream — A Once Vibrant Middle Class Is Now on the Brink

From Alternet:

Donald Barlett and James Steele explain in their new book how American middle class has been impoverished and its prospects thwarted in favor of a new ruling elite.

By Amy Goodman, Don Bartlett, James Steele
August 1, 2012

AMY GOODMAN: Democrats and Republican lawmakers are in a deadlock over whether to extend the politically decisive Bush-era tax cuts. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is planning to vote this week to extend all the cuts, but Obama says those Americans making above $250,000 a year should return to the tax levels they paid before Bush took office. Pointing to the Senate’s passage of the White House-backed proposal, Obama called on House Republicans to support the bill in his weekly address on Saturday.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This week, the Senate passed a plan that I proposed a few weeks ago to protect middle-class Americans and virtually every small business owner from getting hit with a big tax hike next year—a tax hike of $2,200 for the typical family. Now it comes down to this. If 218 members of the House vote the right way, 98 percent of American families and 97 percent of small business owners will have the certainty of knowing that their income taxes will not go up next year. That certainly means something to a middle-class family who has already stretched the budget as far as it can go.

AMY GOODMAN: In an interview on Fox News, Republican House Speaker John Boehner countered that Obama’s tax plan would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs.

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: President’s plan would cost about 700,000 new jobs that wouldn’t be created or could be lost by taxing small businesses. The House will not do that. The House will extend all of the existing tax rates. We’ve got 8 percent unemployment; we’ve got 41 months of it. This is not to be time—the time to be raising taxes on American small businesses.

AMY GOODMAN: As Republicans and Democrats continue disputing who should bare the brunt of the tax burden, our next guests argue America’s middle class has been decimated over the years due to policies governing not only taxes but also bank regulations, trade deficits and pension funds. Their new book chronicles how the American middle class has been systematically impoverished and its prospects thwarted in favor of a new ruling elite.

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“August 1, 2012, a Day that Will Live in Infamy”

From RH Reality Check:

by Robin Marty, Senior Political Reporter, RH Reality Check
August 1, 2012

My fellow Americans, it is time for us to unite against the greatest threat on our soil since the September 11th terrorist attack.

Yes, birth control is now available without a copay.

If you don’t find that to be both utterly alarming and a threat to the very fabric of our nation, well, you haven’t been listening to Pennsylvania Representative Mike Kelly or his Republican compatriots.

Via Huffington Post:

“I know in your mind, you can think of the times America was attacked,” he said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. “One is Dec. 7, that’s Pearl Harbor Day. The other is Sept. 11, and that’s the day the terrorists attacked. I want you to remember Aug. 1, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates.”

Wednesday marked the first day private insurers must include birth control coverage without charging a co-pay in their plans, per requirements in the Affordable Care Act. The change will affect most women on private health plans, with some exceptions. More than a dozen Republican members of the House of Representatives, mostly freshmen, held a press conference to blast the law for what they said were violations of religious freedom.

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James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change

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Drought worsens in midwest and threatens next year’s corn crop

From The Guardian UK:

Obama administration under growing pressure to end support for corn ethanol as gas and food prices continue to rise

, US environment correspondent, Thursday 2 August 2012

The worst drought in 50 years has intensified across the US midwest, not only condemning this year’s corn crop but threatening the prospects for next year’s too, new figures showed on Thursday.

The political fallout intensified as well, with growing pressure for the Obama administration to end its support for corn ethanol.

Critics say diverting food to fuel for corn ethanol production risks a global food crisis, tightening supplies and driving up prices. Nearly a third of Congress members signed on to a letter calling on the Environmental Protection Administration to scale down its support for corn ethanol.

The latest drought map, released on Thursday by the National Drought Mitigation Center, showed the drought intensifying across the grain belt in the midwestern and plains states.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s getting worse, but it is, even with some rain in the region,” Brian Fuchs, a climatologist and drought monitor author at the National Drought Mitigation Center, which is based at the University of Nebraska, said in the release. “Drought continues to intensify through the midwest and plains states.”

Good rains in eastern Tennessee, northern Colorado, west Texas, and West Virginia helped contain the overall footprint of the drought, which shrank slightly to 52.65% of the country, down from 53.44% the week before. But the drought tightened its hold on Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, pushing up the area in exceptional drought to 38.12%.

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The Threat–Again–of Left-Wing Latin American Democracy

From Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting:

by Peter Hart

You can count on U.S. corporate media to express alarm about the threat posed by left-wing governments in Latin America. Sometimes it’s military hype (think Soviet MiGs in Nicaragua), but more typically it takes the form of a generalized concern about certain governments’ commitment to democratic ideals.

But how do you sound the alarm about left-wing threats to democracy when actual elected left-wing leaders are being removed in anti-democratic coups? That’s no easy feat, but some reporters are up to the challenge.

In the Washington Post on July 22 (under the headline “Latin America’s New Authoritarians”), reporter Juan Forero explains that today’s quasi-dictators are clever enough to rule in what are nominally democracies:

More than two decades after Latin America’s last right-wing dictatorships dissolved, a new kind of authoritarian leader is rising in several countries: democratically elected presidents who are ruling in increasingly undemocratic ways.

Unlike the iron-fisted juntas of a generation ago, these leaders do not assassinate opposition figures or declare martial law.

But in a handful of countries, charismatic populists are posing the most serious challenge to democratic institutions in Latin America since the 1980s, when rebel wars and dictators were the norm.

Of course, another way of looking at this history might lead one to conclude that the United States posed the greatest threat to democracy in Latin America in the 1980s, either by fueling proxy wars or backing repressive dictatorships that were our political allies.

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