Friday Night Fun and Culture: Susan Tedeschi

One of my Facebook friends is all excited about the forth coming Super Bowl half-time appearance of someone named Katy Perry…  I’m not…  I’ll be snack breaking.

I’m not much into Pap Music.


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The Killing of America’s Creative Class

One of the worst things that ever happened to the creative class was when a few started to make mega millions and that became the definition of success.

Some of the greatest guitar players ever, make that musicians ever lived hand to mouth gigging in honky tonks and mean blues clubs.  Just because your parents plonked down a few K at the local Guitar Center no more means you will be one of the next generations Rolling Stones than your making the Jay-Vee third string football team in high school means you will someday play in the Super Bowl.

That said there are a lot of creative folks out there with day jobs and gigs in local clubs, art that sells in the art versions of flea markets/swap meets.

On an up note lots of folks with degrees in engineering and law are in the same boat.  Too many people in the field for there to be enough work for all.

At the same time it seems like there are more musicians in Texas and more music venues than in New York and California combined.

BTW:  Recording contracts and publishing contracts with corporations tend to be corporate licenses to steal from artists.  It can be a DIY world for those brave enough to try.

From Alternet:

A review of Scott Timberg’s fascinating new book, ‘Culture Crash.’

By Amien Essif
January 21, 2015

Some of my friends became artists, writers, and musicians to rebel against their practical parents. I went into a creative field with encouragement from my folks. It’s not too rare for Millennials to have their bohemian dreams blessed by their parents, because, as progeny of the Boomers, we were mentored by aging rebels who idolized rogue poets, iconoclast cartoonists, and scrappy musicians.

The problem, warns Scott Timberg in his new book Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class, is that if parents are basing their advice on how the economy used to support creativity – record deals for musicians, book contracts for writers, staff positions for journalists – then they might be surprised when their YouTube-famous daughter still needs help paying off her student loans. A mix of economic, cultural, and technological changes emanating from a neoliberal agenda, writes Timberg, “have undermined the way that culture has been produced for the past two centuries, crippling the economic prospects of not only artists but also the many people who supported and spread their work, and nothing yet has taken its place.”

Tech vs. the Creative Class

Timberg isn’t the first to notice. The supposed economic recovery that followed the recession of 2008 did nothing to repair the damage that had been done to the middle class. Only a wealthy few bounced back, and bounced higher than ever before, many of them the elites of Silicon Valley who found a way to harvest much of the wealth generated by new technologies. InCulture Crash, however, Timberg has framed the struggle of the working artist to make a living on his talents.

Besides the overall stagnation of the economy, Timberg shows how information technology has destabilized the creative class and deprofessionalized their labor, leading to an oligopoly of the mega corporations Apple, Google, and Facebook, where success is measured (and often paid) in webpage hits.

What Timberg glances over is that if this new system is an oligopoly of tech companies, then what it replaced – or is still in the process of replacing – was a feudal system of newspapers, publishing houses, record labels, operas, and art galleries. The book is full of enough discouraging data and painful portraits of artists, though, to make this point moot. Things are definitely getting worse.

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Stephen Fry on God | The Meaning Of Life

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Now the Transgender Borg Want to Censor The Vagina Monologues Because they Exclude Women Who Don’t Have Vaginas.

 ¡Ya basta! Enough already!

I’ve fucking well had it.

Women are adult females. I respect the womanhood of non-op transwomen who live as women 24/7 based not on their “identity” but rather on the basis of social politeness, which means you do not question the femaleness of a person presenting as female, nor do you question the maleness of someone presenting as male.

But I have to admit I am somewhat of a physical essentialist.  I didn’t have “Gender Conformation Surgery.”  I had a Sex Change Operation aka Sex Reassignment Surgery.  Like we said back when nearly 50 years ago, the surgery makes it real.

For most of us back when it also cut the ties that bound us to what has become known as the Transgender Community.

A few days ago a friend of ours called us and told us her son had come out as transgender and was becoming a woman.  Of course she used the wrong pronouns.  But when she told us how her child was going about this we were horrified because she had gotten DD breast implants after only 3 months on hormones and never living as a woman.

I don’t remember stuff like this happening back before all this gender identity thing. Dr Benjamin told me I was as perfect a candidate for SRS as anyone he had seen but that I still had to live as a woman for at least a year.

The process was one of physical change of becoming female or male as the case maybe.

After SRS I grew and became more and more feminist.  I saw my oppression in terms of sexism and misogyny.

“Oh, hard is the fortune of all womankind,
She’s always controlled and always confined
Controlled by her parents until she’s a wife
A slave to her husband the rest of her life”

Joan Baez “A Wagoner Lad”

To me Gender, the social roles and their constraints that defined proper masculine men and feminine women were always part of the problem and not part of the solution. My heroes were women who didn’t conform to the proper roles dictated by gender.

One way to step off the road described in that folk song was to never marry and not have children.  Another was to ignore the dictates of gender because having a cunt between my legs made me a woman, not wearing high heels, high fashion, perfectly manicured nails and make-up. I could be a woman tech tracking down a problem with a data probe or o-scope and I was just as much a woman as the perfect ten fashion model.

I support Trans-Rights because I support Equality for all people along with the right to live in dignity.

I cannot in good conscience support the erasure of women as adult human females.  I cannot in good conscience join people who say that having a vagina between one’s legs and going through life with that vagina isn’t a major part of womanhood.  Particularly when so many in the  Transgender Borg World have cut themselves off from the life experiences of non-trans women and men by their sneering contempt towards “cis-gender” folks.

After SRS I took my place in the world of women, a world where having a vagina between one’s legs makes a real difference in one’s life experiences. I’ve had a vagina between my legs for nearly two thirds of my life.  I’ve forgotten what it was like before or even what it was like going through the process.

I’ve been an adult female most of my life and I am offended by the banning of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues based on their some how not being inclusive of transwomen.

As far as I am concerned the Transgender Borg are so off base on this as to show their absolute cluelessness about what it means to actually be a woman.

Furthermore Eve Ensler has in the past staged readings of the Vagina Monologues with transwomen who have read their own vagina monologues.

I’m just going to put up the links to post regarding this latest TransWorld Controversy.

Reason: Women’s College Cancels ‘Vagina Monologues’ Because It Excludes Women Without Vaginas

Advocate: Vagina Monologues Playwright Responds After Show Canceled for Not Being Trans-Inclusive

Huffington Post: Kids Do the Darndest Things! The Vagina Monologues in the Context of Historical Ignorance

Time: Eve Ensler: I Never Defined a Woman as a Person With a Vagina

Huffington Post: Community Civility and a Response to the Controversy Over The Vagina Monologues at Mount Holyoke

New report on anti-Semitism finds France is most dangerous country for Jews

From The Jerusalem Post:

Study presented to the government shows anti-Semitic incidents rose by 400 percent during Operation Protective Edge.


France is the “most dangerous country for Jews today,” the Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Ministry asserted Sunday, as Minister Naftali Bennett presented the cabinet with a report on anti-Semitic trends over the past year.

According to the report, which was compiled in collaboration with The Coordination Forum for Countering anti-Semitism and presented ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Tuesday, Muslim extremists are the “main instigators of global anti-Semitism.”

“We continue to see deterioration around the world. The old anti-Semitism, spouting the familiar stereotype of a global Jewish conspiracy, is being increasingly coupled with the campaign to delegitimize Israel,“ Bennett said in a statement.

“It is radical Islam which is acting as the bridge for these two racist beliefs. They’ll use any perverted excuse to further their goal, which is the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people,” he said.

The extreme Left, the report asserted, sometimes makes common cause with Islamic extremists.

In the surge in anti-Semitism during Israel’s Gaza incursion last summer, when incidents rose by 400 percent, the primary perpetrators were Muslims, the report stated. The use of Israel’s actions as a catalyst and excuse for violence reveals a blurring of the boundaries between anti-Zionism and classical anti-Semitism, reinforcing “the importance of Israel as the spearhead of the Jewish people in the fight against anti-Semitism,” the report asserted.

Delegitimization of Israel served as a “major threat” against Jewish communities abroad, and while the increasing influence of the far Right of Europe was cited as a threat, the report reiterated its conclusion that the most violent cases were attributable to Arabs or Muslims.

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FGM suspects appear in court in UK’s first genital mutilation trial

From The Guardian UK:

Court told that Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena carried out procedure at a London hospital with encouragement from Hasan Mohamed

Monday 19 January 2015

A hospital doctor carried out female genital mutilation on a young mother after the birth of her first child in a London hospital, a court has heard .

Mounting the first prosecution against someone for carrying out FGM in England and Wales, the Crown alleged that Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, a junior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Whittington hospital, had mutilated a 24-year-old mother by the manner in which he had sewn her up after childbirth.

The woman had undergone type 3 FGM – in which part of the labia are sewn together – as a child in Africa, and during labour the doctor had made two cuts to her vaginal opening to ensure the safe delivery of her baby. When Dharmasena sewed her up, a midwife warned him that what he had done was illegal. He asked a consultant for advice, and the more senior doctor said it would be “painful and humiliating” to remove the stitch he had made, and it remained in place, the court heard.

“It is the stitching back together by Dr Dharmasena which the prosecution says is an offence under the act,” Kate Bex, prosecuting, told Southwark crown court.

Dharmasena, 32, is charged alongside another man, Hasan Mohamed, 41, who is accused of aiding and abetting the doctor. Both men deny the charges.

The doctor, who qualified in 2005, and began specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology in 2008, had been at the Whittington for a month when the events took place in 2012.

Under the 2003 Female Genital Mutilation Act, a doctor does not commit an offence if his actions involve a surgical operation on a woman in any stage of labour, or immediately after birth, for purposes connected with the labour or birth.

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More homeless camps are appearing beyond downtown L.A.’s skid row

From The LA Times:

Evicted four months ago from their Highland Park apartment, Louis Morales and his 18-year-old stepson, Arthur Valenzuela, live half-hidden by brush along the nearby Arroyo Seco riverbed.

Morales, 49, keeps a framed bible verse and a stuffed monkey in his tent. Water hauled by bike from a park heats up on the camp stove.

Next door, their friend Johnny Salazar fixes bikes and shattered computer screens on the cheap for people who live in the neighborhood. A brother and sister Morales has known for years live up the river, and three couples stay down by the bridge.

“Everybody here is from Highland Park,” Valenzuela said. “We don’t allow other people.”

Over the last two years, street encampments have jumped their historic boundaries in downtown Los Angeles, lining freeways and filling underpasses from Echo Park to South Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a city-county agency, received 767 calls about street encampments in 2014, up 60% from the 479 in 2013.

Some residents believe the city is exporting its downtown homeless problem to their neighborhoods. But social service agencies and volunteers say it isn’t that simple. They say that although downtown development and skid row cleanups are squeezing out some homeless people, many camps are filled with locals.

Soaring rents, closed shelters and funding cutbacks are pushing residents from neighborhoods such as Highland Park and Boyle Heights into the streets, where they cling to familiar turf.

“Homeless people, especially the mentally ill, they don’t like new,” said Senior Lead Officer Gina Chovan of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Northeast Division. “They want to stay where they know all the nooks and crannies.”

Bound by court decisions, the city has largely quit breaking up homeless groups and confiscating their trash and belongings, leaving the camps to grow and multiply.

Whether homeless people are more numerous or simply more visible could be answered by the biennial tally taking place this week.

As many as 6,000 volunteers will go out Tuesday through Thursday searching for homeless people living in alleys, riverbeds, cars and RVs. For the first time, homeless people will be asked about their gender identity, domestic violence and prison histories, and years of military service — information that could better track where they came from and why.

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