Steubenville, consent, alcohol, and me: my stories of sexual non-quest

This post is going to contain some stories about my personal life – specifically, my sex life. If you’d rather not know that kind of information about me, this is probably where you want to stop reading. Also trigger warning for discussion of rape (but I swear there’s nothing explicit).

I generally don’t blog about rape. My specific opinion on the topic (spoilers: I’m opposed to it) is barely marginally helpful, as I am just as likely to set foot in the wrong place as I am to say something profound, and there are people who are much more directly affected by the discussion than I am. My preference is to read the opinions of others who have more pragmatic experience with the topic, either as someone who has been raped, someone who works with rape victims, or someone for whom fear of rape is part of their daily life and decision making. Listening to those voices has been immeasurably helpful to my own understanding of the topic and the sociology underpinning it.

One of the biggest shifts in my thinking – more crystalization than a real ‘shift’ – is about the topic of consent and how it relates to alcohol. I managed to figure out on my own that you shouldn’t do anything drunk with someone that you wouldn’t do sober, and that you should extend that to a potential partner – if ze wouldn’t fuck you unless ze was wasted, it’s not okay. I don’t know that I considered that ‘rape’ before I began reading feminist writings (I probably would have just thought it was a shitty thing to do to someone), but I have no problem identifying it as such now.

I have avoided talking about the rape of Jane Doe in Steubenville, Ohio because, again, I don’t think I have anything useful to add to the topic. I’m glad the judge didn’t buy the argument that a girl who was so drunk that she had to be physically carried out of a room was still sober enough to consent to sex. I think that anyone who thinks that the blame starts and ends with the two boys who raped her is severely deluded, as are those who wish to completely exonerate them. Hopefully this case will be high-profile enough to spark a discussion about the messages we send boys about masculinity and about sex and about women and about consent. [Read more...]

I endorse Joyce Murray for #LPCLdr

I wasn’t a partisan before I met Joyce Murray.

In my relatively short voting career, I have voted Liberal, NDP, and even Green once when I knew the riding I lived in was a virtual lock for one of the candidates. I’ve always considered myself fairly party-independent – they all (except the Conservatives) have their merits, but no one party’s platform really ‘spoke to me’. I grew up in the Chretien era, but didn’t really become aware of politics until the Martin era.

Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know that I am a staunch, dyed-in-the-wool, consistent opponent of the current federal government. At times I wish I was fluent in more languages so I could find new ways to curse at them for all the downright disgusting, hypocritical, insensitive, and profoundly damaging policies they’ve enacted, and the stances they’ve taken trying to defend those policies. It is only a climate of indifference and ignorance by people spoiled during the Chretien era (and the spiteful resentment of a western province) that could have brought such a government to power. [Read more...]

Impersonations

Brian

A short headsup: it’s been brought to my attention that a person out there is pretending to be me. They’re pointing at this site and claiming that they are Brian Lynchehaun, and including the above photo in their email correspondence.

Putting aside the (clearly insane) notion that being this particular Brian Lynchehaun improves your odds with the women (I have not yet been informed that they are hitting on men), should you receive an email from someone purporting to be me, I’d encourage you to click on the twitter link that follows all of my posts in order to verify that The Real Brian Lynchehauntm.

Alternatively, I can easily be found on Facebook and G+.

And now back to your regularly scheduled posts…

A link to Brian on Twitter!

Movie Friday: Where I Get it From

A year and a half ago, I got an e-mail out of the blue from my father, telling me that he had started learning the saxophone. Dad’s in a gradual state of growing retirement, meaning that he still works but on a purely opt-in basis. He does a number of things to fill his time, including a promising side-career as a photographer. Back in his youth, Dad played guitar in church choirs around the Caribbean – to hear him tell it, he was moderately famous. Since then he’s been singing in choirs and stuff, but the decision to acquire an entirely new musical instrument at the age of 60 was, I will confess, surprising.

Last Sunday, Dad did this:

A shocked reaction

I am crazy impressed with Dad here. I’ve heard him play a handful of times, and I knew he was pretty good, but I had no idea he was bringing game this hard. If you good folks would be so kind as to click through to the video, ‘like’ it, and leave complimentary comments, I know it would make his day.

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I was a Nice Guy™

There was a piece in The Atlantic that caught my eye yesterday about the phenomenon of Nice Guys™ – men who attribute their lack of appeal to the opposite sex to a cognitive flaw in women that makes them claim that they want a nice, respectful partner, but then go on to date jerks who treat them like shit. More broadly, this is part of the “nice guys finish last” complex of memes that defines attractive masculinity in terms of emotional indifference and machismo, against which sensitive and caring men cannot hope to prevail.

There has been, over the years, a concerted backlash against this idea, as described in the article:

The notion that self-proclaimed “nice guys” might not be as nice as they think they are isn’t new. The Nice Guy™, as the figure is oftenreferred to, has been an object of sustained feminist critique over the past decade: for his less-than-flattering depiction of the women he claims to treat so well, for his passive-aggressive approach to picking up women, and for his underlying assumption that sex is an exchange—that if you’re a “good guy,” the women you’re good to should fall in love with and have sex with you…if not out of desire, then out of pity or obligation.

The author of the article then goes on to express a modicum of sympathy for men who buy into the “Nice Guy” mythplex, because there is real pain and frustration going on, and the popular critique does nothing to address it. If you’re not familiar with the Nice Guy™ phenomenon, or the feminist critiques thereof, I suggest you read the article before continuing (and definitely before commenting). I have to confess that when I first came upon the phenomenon thus named, and the way it was described by feminists (mostly women), I was strongly off-put. But there’s a reason for that…

I used to be a Nice Guy™ [Read more...]

Another #IdleNoMore note to fellow settlers

I often feel the need to point out that when I criticize a group to which I belong, I am not exempting myself from that group. So when I talk about male privilege, that is emphatically not a short-hand for “the male privilege that you all have but I don’t because I’m that feministy”. I am the target audience for this blog, meaning that when I reprimanded my fellow settlers in this morning’s post about hijacking the #IdleNoMore movement, I was talking about my own behaviour as well.

I am, as I have admitted before, woefully ignorant about much of the history that underpins the movement, and have only very recently begun to pay attention. This blog actually serves as a living record of that, because I didn’t really start engaging on these issues before I started writing about them here. As a result, I am acutely aware of the fact that I have been, at least up until now (and in many ways probably am still) playing for the wrong team in the fight for justice.

I used to deride Twitter when I first heard about it. After all, the idea seemed profoundly silly and frivolous to me. It wasn’t until the protests in Iran in 2009 that I started to see its value. And while I had an account in August of 2010, I didn’t really start using it in earnest until the start of the Egypt protests in early 2011. Since then, I have found it an invaluable resource for political analysis, a diversity of analysis, and connection to independent media. And yes, while there is a lot of frivolity on Twitter, it is trivially possible to have a substantive and informative Twitter feed. If you’re not on Twitter, but you’re interested in learning more about what’s happening, now is an excellent time to get an account.

This is a long, roundabout way of me saying that a lot of what I know about #IdleNoMore, and about Indigenous issues generally, I learned by listening to people on Twitter, and reading the things that they thought were important to share. I’ve compiled a list of accounts that I think are particularly helpful, and provide a useful variety of perspectives, experiences, and opinions. If you’re on Twitter, check out this list. It’s not necessarily people who talk specifically about #IdleNoMore, but they do provide me with voices that I would otherwise not hear in my day-to-day life.

I would like also to make special mention of an account called âpihtawikosisân (please don’t ask me to pronounce it), who I have found to be a consistently brilliant and fearless advocacy voice, and who is a recent follow for me. She also blogs here and has a familiarity with the relevant history that I find to be incredibly helpful.

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Movie Friday: Hari Kondabolu

I got sick this week, and was thus robbed of the motivation to write something. I’ve got a bunch of ideas clogging up the ol’ brain-bin, which SUCKS because I also have a lot of stuff to get done this month. Here’s where you can catch me over the next week:

Thursday, January 10th

Playing a solo gig at the Sunset Grill (Yew @ York st. in Kitsilano)

Friday, January 11th

My first gig of 2013 with Even Handed Odds at the Coppertank (Broadway @ Balaclava in Kitsilano). We’re celebrating our anniversary as their house band, and our first time playing together since mid-December.

Saturday, January 12th

I’ll be in Kamloops, BC, giving a talk about the HPV Vaccine and confronting some of the info and misinfo that’s out there. It’s pitched for a general audience, and will reference the scientific literature without diving into it too heavily.

There is a FB event page here, and an event webpage here.

Sunday, January 13th

I’ll be in Kelowna, BC, giving an extended version of my talk looking at racism in the zombie apocalypse. I felt really rushed trying to cram all that information into 30 minutes, so this longer format (I have two hours, I am planning on talking for the heavy side of 45 minutes, with a Q&A afterward) will be a lot more comfortable for me.

There is a FB event page here, but it doesn’t say that the event will be at the Kelowna Pride Centre on Water st..

And now for the movie! [Read more...]

Merry Whatever

Hey folks, just want to let you know that I am currently celebrating Christmas in Toronto with my family, which means that my traditional blogging vacation is on. I will have new stories for you in the new year, including an account of my experience at an #IdleNoMore rally, a first-ever (for the blog) book review, an audio book review, in addition to the usual thoughts and news stories you’re used to.

Whatever you’re doing over the next few days, I hope you are able to find some joy and laughter in it. You’ll have me back to join you in the new year!

As a gift, here is a video of an otter that I shot myself at the Vancouver Aquarium:

Here’s another one:

And here’s a picture of what I looked like when I saw the otters for the first time:

A picture of me with a wide-ass grin, excited to see otters for the first time ever!

OTTERS!

Merry whatever, everyone!

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God, Jesus, Dad, and Me (part II)

I was asked to contribute my ‘deconversion’ story to a book project about black non-belief. Since it’s (in my opinion) a pretty solid piece of writing, I thought I’d add it here. You can compare it to a previous occasion when I wrote this story, albeit in less detail. Read part I here.

I had been enamoured of Greek mythology as a kid. Dad used to read an adapted version of The Iliad called “Black Ships Before Troy” (a book that I am pleasantly surprised to learn that has survived several moves and sits on my bookshelf as I write this). I devoured the stories of Theseus and the Minotaur, Apollo, god of the sun, and his fiery chariot, the several trials of Hercules, and the punishment of the titan Prometheus, cursed to eternal suffering for having the temerity to bring the fire of the gods to lowly humans. I read mythology from the West Indies as well – Anansi the trickster, and Tiger, king of the jungle. I read mythology from various First Nations within Canada; I read African creation mythology.

And so, when I opened my Bible and read the stories of Cain and Abel, the Exodus from Egypt, the punishment of Onan for failing to impregnate his dead brother’s wife, the flight of Lot from the damned city of Sodom, I found myself disturbingly confronted by the familiar syntax of myth. These were no lessons handed down from an almighty god; they were the oral histories of a group of nomadic tribesmen. It was myth mixed in with parable mixed in with law mixed in with fable. The similarities forbade me from seeing it as holy writ. [Read more...]

God, Jesus, Dad, and Me

I was asked to contribute my ‘deconversion’ story to a book project about black non-belief. Since it’s (in my opinion) a pretty solid piece of writing, I thought I’d add it here. You can compare it to a previous occasion when I wrote this story, albeit in less detail.

I can’t tell the story of my ‘deconversion’ – my escape from faith – without telling the story of my father. Dad was born the youngest of seven in Guyana, a country geographically located in South America, politically located in the Caribbean, and geopolitically located in the third world. A British colony, Guyana was home to a simmering political dissatisfaction (which would be resolved during Dad’s adolescence with independence), ever-present racism, and serious poverty.

Dad, taking one of the few opportunities available to a bright young man, entered the Catholic priesthood. He was educated at the seminary, growing up with other priests in training. Dad also grew during this time as a musician and photographer. His missionary work took him all over the Caribbean, and eventually to Toronto, Canada as part of a foreign mission organized out of Scarborough.

Facing his own doubts, particularly around the church’s teachings on birth control (he would tell me, many years after I was born, that he felt as though he was contributing to the suffering of people he was supposed to help), Dad left the priesthood in the late ‘70s. It was also around that time that he met my mother, although he has repeatedly assured me that those two developments were not related in any way. [Read more...]