Google demonstrates how to use your platform and reach judiciously and subversively

Google is ubiquitous. Everyone everywhere uses Google at some point. And right now, at least in the US and probably Canada, the Google Doodle — the logo Google uses on its main search page and on the top left of every search result page — is sticking it to Russia over the anti-gay human rights violations happening there presently.

Google Doodle, Feb 6, 2014.

Google Doodle, Feb 6, 2014.

A rainbow of silhouetted athletes form the logo, and beneath the search box, this quote:

“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” –Olympic Charter

This is not just subversive, it’s downright defiant. The message is clear: the discrimination that Putin and his government have entrenched in his country, the discrimination that anti-gay right-wingers are cheering in America, is a betrayal of everything the Olympics was intended to stand for. Humanity’s colors are at its most vibrant when it is not suppressed by bigotry and intolerance of difference, especially over something so fundamentally human as who you happen to love.

Google has not always entirely lived up to its mission statement of “Don’t Be Evil”. But on this issue, at least, the pendulum is obviously swinging far in the morally righteous direction. Thanks, Google, for siding with the angels this time.

A Dynasty Falls

And good riddance.

Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty reality television show, recently did an interview in GQ — yes, Gentlemen’s Quarterly — wherein he described how his evangelical Christian beliefs come into conflict with the idea that some people might be gay in an absolutely offensive display of what many Christians really do believe. His TV show on A&E about his family of conservative rednecks — who became rich after he built an empire on the Duck Commander duck lures — now faces the terrible wrath of public opinion.

When my sister heard the news that he’d given his interview in GQ, and that GLAAD had publicly denounced his words, she posted a link on her Facebook wall. One of her friends — an ex co-worker apparently — swanned in to drop this steaming pile of opinion on her wall about how terrible it was… that anyone was asking A&E to reconsider hosting this douchenozzle’s opinion.
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The line between “acting like an asshole” and “being an asshole”

It turns out Elan Gale was making the whole thing up.

To catch you up: Elan Gale posted on his Twitter account that someone was being rude on an airplane, and proceeded to detail with screenshots how he harassed her (of course it was a her, wearing mom jeans) in retribution for “not being nice” on Thanksgiving. He gained 70-ish thousand followers over the affair, and sparked a firestorm of dudebros defending their inalienable right to tell rude moms to eat a dick, everyplace the story was covered. He’s been hailed as a hero, completely took in Buzzfeed and thus went viral as all hell, and those few of us who decried the assholish behaviour (myself and way more especially, Ophelia) are presently enjoying the lovely booby-prize of having skepticaler-than-thou skeptics tell us that we were insufficiently skeptical of the whole affair.
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The Outrage Brigade

DJ Grothe, not content with his reputation and desperately lacking a communications director through which he can vet his random personal thoughts (any takers on that job?), posted to Facebook a terribly transphobic thought. Or, at least, so we Outrage Brigaders interpreted it!

No hyperbole: I just saw the worst-passing transsexual I’ve ever seen in the lounge here. It was so disruptive that I am forced to believe it was an intentional way to protest against rigid gender binaries. Or so I’d like to think.

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Maddow to GOP: Anti-gay bigotry is not a winning strategy

Aww. Rachel, you’re spoiling it for us. They keep using a failing strategy, and they keep losing as a result. Don’t tip them off!!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Going to visit Pride today. I expect I’ll be tabling this afternoon for Minnesota Atheists, though I’m not yet a dues-paying member. Come out and say hello!

Trans woman refused at bridal shop in Saskatoon

I’m several days behind on most of my news and blog feeds at the moment, but this post at TransGriot caught my eye.

Rohit Singh, a young trans woman, was browsing wedding dresses at a bridal shop in Saskatoon for her upcoming nuptials. When she asked to try one on, she was refused, being told, “I’m sorry, we don’t allow men to wear dresses here.”
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Giving my very lifeblood for skepticism at #SkepTech

Oh man, SkepTech was a blast this weekend. Maybe a bit TOO jam-packed with epicness, though; such that I ended up missing several panels just getting food or, say, giving blood.

Yesterday I gave blood for the first time ever. It’s something I’ve always meant to do, but every time there was a blood drive right there in my face to remind me, I had been sick recently, or had just gotten a tattoo retouch done, so I couldn’t. But this time, at SkepTech, I had the opportunity I’d been waiting for, so I took it.

But it was also called to my attention that there were many at the convention who could not, nor could ever, under the current regulations.

(Potential trigger warnings for pictures of my blood)
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Rick Scarborough: “Calling Sodomites ‘gay’ is an abuse of the language”

Sodomy is a pejorative term for the act of putting your penis into someone’s anus. It was so named by religious Christians after the Bible story of the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. You’ll remember this is the town where Lot protected some visiting (male) angels from a roaming (male) rape gang by offering them his daughters instead — an act that God deemed to be morally pure enough to spare Lot and his family from the coming destruction, back when God’s aim was better and he was actually capable of punishing gays directly instead of via natural disasters to unrelated areas of the world.

Sodomy was, until very recently, illegal throughout most of the United States — though, it was often defined very broadly, so as to also cover any other acts deemed “icky” by the people in power, which might include oral sex or sex with someone outside of marriage. The last laws were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2003. In a testament to how fundamentally backward religion forces humanity to act with regard to sexuality, regardless of whether the people in question acted with informed consent, the very act of putting dick in ass was illegal.

However, because the construct was almost entirely built as an assault on homosexuality, it was mostly only enforced when both practitioners were male.

Here in 2013, ten years after sodomy laws were struck down in toto, Pastor Rick Scarborough laments the “abuse of language” that is calling homosexuals anything other than People Who Put Dick In Ass.

Never mind that there are so many other sex acts that gay men could engage in, and that men aren’t the only ones capable of being gay. Never mind that use of the word “gay” is the end result of the retaking of a slur against homosexuals. Never mind that the word “sodomy” was either very tightly defined or so loosely defined as to be completely useless.


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Write your local MP: No more Canadian aid for Uganda while they’re murdering gays

Update: Please read Melanie Nathan’s caution on what should and shouldn’t be done to fight this initiative — she strongly urges that countries not withdraw aid because of this bill, because the LGBTI community will be scapegoated and targeted as a result.

I leave the rest of this post intact because I am concerned that they are already in trouble — every activist in Uganda risks being arrested as it stands, with or without economic sanctions from countries opposed to Uganda’s declared murderous intentions. Her advice is excellent for outsiders like us looking in, though.

Uganda’s apparently delivered an early “Christmas gift” — their words, not mine– to all the homophobic Christians in their theocratic regime. Thanks to GOP members, Catholic pastors, and other outside interference by various and sundry religious bigots, Uganda’s finally built enough momentum and passed the two-year-old proposed bill that will require the death penalty for the high crime of “aggravated homosexuality”. Update: Apparently Kadaga declaring that it will become law doesn’t make it set in stone. There’s a chance this won’t be passed despite her sabre-rattling.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said the anti-gay bill will become law by December since most Ugandans ‘are demanding it’.

Referring to the law as a ‘Christmas gift’ to the population, she spoke of ‘the serious threat’ posed by homosexuals.

The law will broaden the criminalization of same-sex relationships by dividing homosexuality into two categories; aggravated homosexuality and the offense of homosexuality.

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Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate: The Book (The Trailer)

Not sure if I’ll be able to write a post I’ve got brewing in my head immediately, with all the various things that need doing this weekend, so I’ll put this up for now. Actually, I have two posts in mind, but both of them will take some doing to set to e-paper.

I’m sure this is a book you’ll all rush out to buy immediately. Doug Giles has apparently written a book on how to raise boys who are Manly Men cut from the Manly Mold without any of that pussification that comes from caring about other human beings’ autonomy or self-direction. But what I like best about this video is Giles’ amazing oral skills.

This guy is just grand. “A rouged and giddy American Idol hopeful”? “Feministas” (paging Paula Kirby, someone’s an inch away from biting your style!)? “Leading this country back to God and greatness”? And all the gratuitous Clint Eastwood and Sean Penn movie clips of yesteryear are icing.

But wait, you can download a Kindle? Interesting! Maybe it’s a 3D printer file so you can home-fabricate your own Kindle? Or maybe the guy doesn’t have the first sweet clue about technology, public speaking, or really anything but raising kids exactly the same way that our modern society has always raised kids — with rigid gender roles and a disdain for difference.