Behind the Iron Curtain part 24 – LGBTQ rights

These are my recollections of a life behind the iron curtain. I do not aim to give perfect and objective evaluation of anything, but to share my personal experiences and memories. It will explain why I just cannot get misty eyed over some ideas on the political left and why I loathe many ideas on the right.


I do not actually remember how much I was informed about these issues as a child before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain, but what I do remember is that my first encounter was not with an actual (known) homosexual person, but with a homophobic slur. The sad reality is, that Czechs were and to great extent still are very homophobic, or at least “I am not a homophobe, but…”, which is a distinction without difference.

However from legal standpoint Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was actually relatively progressive, or at least not less progressive than many western countries. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1962, 5 years before the United Kingdom. And gender reassignment therapy and surgery, although with more than a few bureaucratic hurdles to jump through, were (and are) available and paid for from state health insurance.

Nevertheless, despite gay rights being on the left side of the political spectrum in current USA and most of western world, it was not so behind the Iron Curtain. As avid reader and a very curious child, I have read behind my parents’ back magazines for adults (as opposed to magazines for children), which even in the puritanical culture did contain some information about sex and sexuality. And on one such occasion I came across an article that mentioned a peculiar fact – whilst homosexual acts between consenting adults were decriminalized in ČSSR, this was not the case everywhere in the Eastern Bloc. In USSR, male homosexuality was still illegal and punishable by imprisonment. The rationale mentioned in the article was homophobic, patriarchal and misogynistic all at once, and I remember recognizing it as such even at the time, although of course I did not know those fancy words back then: “A woman’s weakness can be forgiven, but a soldier must control his urges.”

After the fall of the iron curtain this discrepancy between the two countries sadly progressed. Whilst Czech Republic slowly but steadily progresses towards more and more legal rights for LGBTQ people along with public opinion progressing as well, in Russian Federation the trend actually reversed after a brief period of attempted progress.

So to me this, together with before mentioned environmentalism, is another one of the issues that actually is not left or right and it is just a coincidence that it is considered so in current political climate in the west. But lets not forget that political left can be just as adept at finding rationalizations for the homophobia of their power base as political right currently is. Hate of the other can, unfortunately, be quite the unifying issue in all kinds of political context.

This is why I wish for a Succesful war on Christmass

A teacher has told kids that Santa ain’t real and she got fired. And one of the parents bemoans on Facebook:

“Many of us parents have been doing damage control since the kids get home from school,” parent Lisa Simek posted to Facebook on Thursday.

I disrespectfully disagree with this nonsense and consider the parent to be a whiny fuckwit. The damage is not being done by the teacher, but by the parent. Anyway, lying to children about the existence of Santa gives you a guarantee that one day, one place, they will find out that  you have lied to them. What has happened here is that it merely was perhaps a year early.

There are many, many things that I hate about this vapid holiday as it is currently celebrated – the incessant playing of absolutely awful music everywhere, the fact that for two months I cannot order anything over the internet without the delivery being delayed, the overcrowding,  the religious garbage that is associated with it – but what I perhaps hate the most is how the holiday makes a virtue out of lying to children.

Some of my friends do this and I do not go out of my way to debunk Santa (or Jesus child, which is more traditional here) to their children, but I still disagree with them on this issue. I do not think it adds anything valuable to childhood being lied to. I know from personal experience that children can enjoy Christmas trees and presents immensely even when they do not believe in magic and/or religious mumbo-jumbo.

I really wish this nonsense went away. Nobody should be fired for telling children truth. Believing in known and obvious lies should never be encouraged and promulgated, ever.

Slavic Saturday

Slavic people are today mostly seen as “white” to the point that a Polish game developer was in USA criticised for making the computer game Witcher 3 without any people of color that could be recognized as such in modern world. Similarly a few years later a Czech developer was criticised for the same thing in a game Kingdom Come: Deliverance, deliberately set in medieval Bohemia and made as historically accurate as possible.

Whilst I understand all the arguments for the importance of diversity in representation, I think all these critiques were misguided, because they were targeted at the wrong target – they criticised products of one culture from the perspective of another culture with entirely different roots.

Slavs are indeed white when you look at the color of their skin, and by Gob do we have an awful lot of white supremacists and neo-nazis today. However a white nationalist or even a neo-nazi Slav makes about as much sense as white nationalist or neo-nazi (or Trump loving) Jew.  After all, Jews have white skin too. And after all, how many Jew-hating Arabs and Arab-hating Jews know that both Jews and Arabs are in fact semitic tribes? I would venture a guess that many do not, or they do but don’t care. People are perfectly capable of being misguided, misinformed, bigoted and downright willfully ignorant and hold contradictory ideas in one head, so there is that.

Historically Slavs migrated in the Europe from east and north, displacing come celtic and germanic populations. As a result they lived mostly in the woodlands and mountains of north, central and East Europe and they were comparatively poor. They had no written language that we know of, so very little is in fact known about their culture or religion. Some knowledge can be derived from linguistics, some from written reports by neighbouring nations, some from archeology, but Slavs established themselves in Europe during the dark ages and knowledge is therefore scarce.

However it is sometimes alleged that their own name for themselves – Slovan (originating from the word sloviť=to speak) might have been the origin of the word sclavus (Lat), and later on Sklave (Ger) and  slave (En) . Because these poor people were popular sources of cheap slave labor for neighbouring Germanic and Italic tribes through the early history of Europe way over to the Ottoman Empire in Middle East later on.

And even apart from slavery, a lot of the time right from Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages until very recently most Slavic nations were second-class citizens in countries led by people of other nationalities. Only Russians have managed to be oppressors and not oppressed in this period, and ironically they mostly oppressed and sometimes even tried to exterminate other Slavs. Both Czechs and Poles did not have any independency right until the end of WW1, after which they had few short decades to get the taste of self-determination before being swept into the bloody cauldron of WW2.

Under the Third Reich the Slavs were seen as barely people. They were not targeted for outright extermination like Jews and Roma, but the intent was to put them back into their proper place – slavery (that is why I think that a neo-nazi Slav is an ignoramus and a completely daft person – if nazis got their way, he would think scrubbing floors with his own toothbrush is a posh job).

After the WW2 all slavic nations ended up being wrapped behind the Iron Curtain under the not-so subtle hegemony of USSR. This time at least it was not overtly attempted to obliterate local cultures and languages (not here anyway). But whilst the Russian rule did try and manage to instill some sense of Pan-Slavic belonging, they also managed to instill some anti russian sentiments along the way (in Poland on top of the hundreds of years long grudge Poles held against Russians from the time of the Russian Empire). And the sense of always being second class, not being allowed anything truly ours, pervaded.

In this sense, sprouting of some nationalism after the fall of the Iron Curtain was perhaps inevitable, what with the nations trying to finally re-assert themselves for good. I do think white nationalists are going about the business the wrong way, proclaiming your superiority over others is not the right thing to do and it is also demonstrably false. But I also think that Polish game developers who make a PC game packed with people who bear the typical facial features of contemporary Poles, with architecture and ornaments of medieval Slavic kingdoms and based on Slavic mythology, or Czech game developers making a game set in a very distinct and specific area of medieval Kingdom of Bohemia with focus on historical accuracy are doing nothing wrong and are indeed going about it the right way. And even though these works of art have managed to succeed on an international stage, their creators were in no way obliged to fall in step with USA culture and reflect USA racial make-up.

Those who criticised these two games for a lack of representation of POC have failed to realize that they were essentially trying to bully others into giving their own culture away and let the USA to appropriate said culture the way USA likes it. In fact, they should take these games as an opportunity to learn that “white people” are not a monolith and that outside of USA there is a lot more that defines your ancestry and your culture than the color of your skin. This way said critics were – probably unwittingly – perpetuating the USA collonialism ad absurdum, by requiring everyone everywhere to reflect contemporary social ills of USA.

We do not need nor want to do that, thank you very much. We have our own social ills to deal with.

Maybe he should have grabbed her by the pussy instead?

By now you have probably heard of The Incident. Depending on whether you’re a decent human being or a Republican, the actual incident is that the White House tried to forcefully remove the mic of a journalist because they didn’t like what he said and then banned him from the White House, or the real incident is Jim Acosta “laying his hands” on a young intern (who is, by pure coincidence female, white, young and pretty).

Sarah Sanders has tweeted about it several times, stressing the “disrespect” towards the “young woman” and “young women” working in the administration, mimicking feminist language and concerns for the treatment of (young) (professional) women at the hands of older men.

She also shared a clip showing him making a “chopping motion” towards her arm. Only that the video came straight from Infowars (and we all know how much those people care about women) and has a few curious differences to the original:

The intern’s reach for the mic is slowed down, and the “chop” motion is accelerated. Here’s an annotated side by side comparison:

Further analysis: video is absolutely doctored. You can see the edit when the clips are side by side and slowed down to quarter speed. See for yourself:

 The dishonesty of the Trump Administration knows no limits, as shown again, but let me make one thing clear: Even if Acosta had made a “chopping motion” he wouldn’t be the one who’s wrong here. He was talking, she tried to physically remove the mic, very eager to please her betters. She was the one making aggressive moves towards him. And also: fuck you, white women who sell out on basically everybody to lick spittle and get the rewards of being the chill girls of the Trump Administration. You work hard to remove women’s* right to their own bodies. You work double time to disenfranchise black women. You work extra time to rip babies out of their mothers’ arms and lock them in cages. And you all work for a man who is proud of sexually assaulting women. You don’t get to talk about respectful treatment of women.
*and others capable of gestation.

Islamophobia is a made up word !!!!!!!!!!!!!

clipart of woman with a hijab

Source: I-stock

As most of you know, I started a new job a few weeks ago. New school, totally new area, totally new colleagues (who generally rock). One of those, a woman about my age who also freshly started on the job, is a Muslim woman who wears a hijab. This particular woman is ethnic German and converted to Islam via her first husband. She studied English and German and after finishing the second part of the training (we instantly bonded over how horrible that was) went looking for a job.

While I am no fan of hijabs, I am much less a fan of policing women’s bodies. Since her Christian German family would probably be very happy if she ditched her headscarf and she was divorced and a single mum before meeting her second husband, we can be very sure that nobody is forcing her in any way to wear her headscarf so it’s none of my personal business. On a professional basis I’m actually quite happy about teachers like her. She is the best role model our Muslim girls can have, showing them that they can be independent women who go to college and have careers outside of the home and Muslims at the same time. And she’s good for our Muslim boys because she can “teach those little Pashas to respect a woman in a hijab” (her words, not mine). She’s also good for our German kids and their parents, for pretty much the same reasons.

For those of you not intimately acquainted with the German school system: almost all schools are public schools, only very few are private. Almost all hiring of teachers happens on a state level via the ministry of education. Now, with women wearing a hijab, there’s apparently an extra rule: the ministry has to treat them like everybody else, but individual schools can reject them, so when she was looking for a job she was twice rejected by different schools, with some of the most outrageous comments.

At one school she got told that they were an open and tolerant school with many kids from many different backgrounds and with many different religions, and she would disturb the peace. At the other school they told her that “somebody like her couldn’t teach German”, so apparently she changed her ethnicity and origin and complete culture along with her religion.

Those remarks and attacks were made in the name of liberalism, in the name of tolerance. Those attacks on Muslim women (I don’t know, can Muslim men teach German even if they pray five times a day?) come from the middle of society. Their headscarves get seen as a sign of Islamism, the whole discourse is such that a woman with a headscarf is automatically seen as suspect, as having an agenda, a meaning that is imposed on her by actual Islamists and Islamophobes alike. It’s in that same vein that the German women’s organisation Terre des Femmes is asking for a ban on headscarves for girls.*

That they’re only getting support from right wing organisations should tell them something, but I guess it won’t. The further stigmatisation of hijabis isn’t going to do anything for their integration into society, yet should they complain they get told that Islamophobia doesn’t exist anyway and that they’re just hiding behind the word to avoid “legitimate criticism”, in this case the further policing of women’s and girls’ bodies.

*The organisation has been criticised in the past for racist tendencies and sex worker exclusive positions, in short, your run off the mill White Feminist organisation. Their Swiss sister organisation split from them over those issues.

League Of The South Goes Russian.

Michael Hill speaks with a WWLTV reporter at Confederate monuments rally (Image from WWLTV May 17, 2017 broadcast). Source.

Unsurprisingly, League of the South is attempting to mate with Russia, home of, and saviour of white people. There’s a whole lot to the article, just a bit here.

Amid the controversy over President Trump’s recent summit with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, the neo-Confederate League of the South announced this week that it will soon be introducing a Russian language section to its website.“To our Russian friends,” a missive on the League’s website, is signed by Michael Hill, the group’s president. An excerpt:

We understand that the Russian people and Southerners are natural allies in blood, culture, and religion. As fellow Whites of northern European extraction, we come from the same general gene pool. As inheritors of the European cultural tradition, we share similar values, customs, and ways of life. And as Christians, we worship the same Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and our common faith binds us as brothers and sisters.

We Southerners believe in societies based on real, organic factors such as shared blood, culture, and religion, and all that stems naturally from these salient factors in the human experience. As fellow White Christians who are grounded in the sublime traditions of our common European cultural heritage, we believe that the Russian people and the Southern people are natural allies against the destructive and impersonal impulses of globalism.

Religion is organic? Huh. As for these “sublime traditions”, c’mon, let’s hear about some of them. Any of them. Provide some details on all this sublimeness. Interestingly enough, the first definition of ¹Sublime is: to cause to pass directly from the solid to the vapor state and condense back to solid form. If one uses that particular definition, yeah, I can buy the sublime tradition nonsense.

Mr. Hill teaches that the defeat of Nazi Germany was “an unmitigated disaster for Western Christian civilization.” I don’t know who taught Mr. Hill about World War II, but they should be smacked.

Alt-Right leaders and white nationalists adore Russia’s Vladimir Putin, much as American Religious Right leaders do. As Casey Michel noted in a RWW report last year, Richard Spencer has called Russia the “most powerful white power in the world.” Matthew Heimbach, leader of the now-disbanded white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, called Putin “the leader of the free world.” Former KKK leader David Duke, who was a speaker at this year’s League of the South conference, has said he believes Russia holds the “key to white survival.”

Putin has supported right-wing nationalist movements across Europe. In 2015, Jared Taylor, the American proponent of “race realism,”  took part in a conference in St. Petersburg that gathered activists from Europe’s far right. There Taylor declared the United States “the greatest enemy of tradition everywhere.” Also in attendance was former KKK lawyer Sam Dickson, who praised Putin’s efforts to preserve “[the white] race and civilization.”

I can’t figure out why all these wannabe nazis don’t just run off to Russia. They’d be happy, and we’d all be better off without them.

RWW has the full story.

I’d Prefer Abe Simpson…

The 72 year old Tiny Tyrant finally went there: “Get offa my lawn!” Just for the record, if there were desperate, frightened people standing on my lawn, I would do whatever I could to help them.

Source. You can see other choice responses at RawStory.

The Chains of Intolerance.

Andrew Ellis Johnson, “The ICEman Cometh” (2018, detail), ink, charcoal, wax, graphite.

Andrew Ellis Johnson, “The ICEman Cometh” (2018, detail), ink, charcoal, wax, graphite.

Art and artists most definitely have a place in answering wrongs, great or small, and everything in between. Andrew Ellis Johnson has a searing piece up at Hyperallergic. It’s well worth seeing and reading.

This Black Cloud Called Trump.

Brenda Goodman, “Impending” (2018), oil on wood, 80 x 72 in (courtesy of the artist). © Brenda Goodman.

Brenda Goodman, “Impending” (2018), oil on wood, 80 x 72 in (courtesy of the artist). © Brenda Goodman.

Fifteen months ago, Trump was just beginning to embrace his new position of power but now he’s well into the dismantling of our democracy. My emotions are whipped around all day long. Mothers are torn away from their babies at the border. Families living good, productive lives here are sent back to “where they came from” — a place some of them hardly know. The reversal of all that Obama put in place to protect our environment. The destruction of an educational system that was once the best in the world. The attack on our press, which is treated like an enemy. Taking away our rights as he edges closer and closer to a dictatorship. And the lies. The constant lies. So that we can hardly find truth anymore. So many gut-wrenching changes.

I have nothing to add here. You can read more at Hyperallergic.

Demonization and Ridicule and Mockery, Oh My!

Detail of Satan from Hans Memling's Triptych of Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation (c. 1485).

Detail of Satan from Hans Memling’s Triptych of Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation (c. 1485). Source.

This little snippet from Paul “Advanced Luciferian Beings” McGuire caught my eye in his latest screeth, in which he takes issue with people mocking his lunatic nonsense. It’s exactly like what Hitler did to Jewish people, donchaknow? He ends with this:

“Demonization and ridicule and mockery is an essential component in a mind-control brainwashing process that gives you the cultural license to destroy, kill your enemies simply because they may believe in the Constitution and the biblical God,” McGuire warned. “So you are looking for a moral license to kill them and you are looking for an immoral narrative that gives you the fake legality to destroy them and massacre them.”

That’s rather the plan of the religious reich, is it not? You want to force everyone else, regardless of belief, to adhere to your lunatic beliefs and ideals. You want to strip women of their autonomy, make sure only white, male, lunatic christian assholes run everything, and force every single person to conform to christian straightness. You want your hate and fear to rule. The rest of us want acceptance and inclusion, and are not afraid to treat all people as people, with full human rights. We want all people to be taken care of, able to provide a roof and food; a good education for all, and we don’t find diversity all terrifyingly scary. And I have absolutely no interest in tearing children from their parents arms, or stripping them of icons which are meaningful to them. But you’re in favour of all that. When I saw this photo, the first thought was “concentration camps. Now we’re doing concentration camps.” I have zero interest in putting anyone in a camp, let alone killing them. I’d be happy if you’d all just shut the fuck up, and get on with your lives. You and the rest of the religious reich would institute the Inquisition in a heartbeat if you could. Being blinded and driven by hatred and fear is no way to live, Mr. McGuire, and yes, I will keep mocking and ridiculing you, because that is exactly what you have earned. I think I’ll stick to my side, thanks.

The whole screeth is at RWW.

Oooer, A Psy-Op Blender! Wait…

Wow, Coach Dave is on one hell of a trip. His latest lunatic screeth is quite long, and so full of batshit, it’s hard to know where to begin. What’s all the fuss? The latest royal wedding – it’s a major psy-op to enforce the worst of the worst: the blending of white people with :gasp: people of colour!

Daubenmire, who has declared that he is “proud to be white” because “white, heterosexual, Christian” men represent America’s only hope for survival, has fretted about the threat of white genocide, and has fumed that interracial marriage weakened this nation “because multiculturalism is spiritual AIDS [that] has brought an infection into what was once a great Christian American culture,” said that the marriage of Prince Harry to a woman of “mixed blood” is an attempt to corrupt the pure bloodline of House of Windsor.

Yes, Coach Dave is a fully paid up member of the White Patriarchal Assholes™. He’s also astonishingly dense, as we shall see.

“Let me just lay it out there, because most people won’t say it because they don’t want to sound racist,” Daubenmire said while wearing a literal tinfoil hat. “Prince Harry’s wife is half-black. Now, wait a minute. That ain’t that royal bloodline lineage there, is it fellas? Isn’t there a little bit of mixed blood coming in there?”

Pretty much everyone on the planet has a someone in the woodpile who comes as a bit of a surprise. Now royalty everywhere does have a perturbing history of inbreeding in an attempt to keep things within the right class, but I’d happily bet there are some right interestin’ people in those bloodlines. Royalty has also spent a lot of time breeding like out of control bunnies, and there was seldom much concern about all those babes born on the wrong side of the blanket, and there were a fucktonne of them, too. History, Coach Dave. Try learning some.

“Did you see who performed the service?” he said. “Was it the Bishop of Canterbury or some official WASPy guy? Was it? Did I miss something? Or did we see the ultimate—umm, how do I say this?—a blending of the races; one new world order, one-world government, the blending of the [races] in the House of Windsor coming together for the first time.”

Bishop Curry is the ultimate blending of the races? How on earth do you figure that one, Dave? It’s not as if Bishop Curry was getting married to Harry. You might be unaware, Dave, but there have been people of colour in England for a very long time. A really long time. There have even been people of colour at the royal court, going waaaaaaaaaay back. I did hear that Bishop Curry preached about love, and I rather expect that’s what got under your skin. As for the whole new world order blahblahblah blending of races in the House of Windsor, uhhhh, it was one wedding. I don’t think it even qualified as a herald to all that nonsense.

Daubenmire insisted that since Prince Harry is sixth from the throne and very unlikely to ever become King of England, he was allowed to marry Meghan Markle in order to send a message endorsing mixed race relationships.

Oh, all that idiocy has been downgraded to an endorsement now. Gotcha. Who the hell knows who is going to end up on the throne? I can’t be arsed to care. As it stands, Elizabeth might live to be two hundred years old, given her death grip on that throne. People aren’t influenced by this kind of thing as much as you seem to think, Dave. For most people, it’s a matter of falling in love, and skin colour doesn’t enter into it.

“I’m going to tell you something, if there was any chance that Harry was ever going to be King of England, do you think they really would have let him just choose any woman he wanted?” Daubenmire said. “Of course not. So what’s the message that is being sent to us? … Is it a psy op that now, all of a sudden, sixth to the throne, he ain’t never going to be king, now it’s okay for the crown to be diverse?”

Yes, I expect Harry would have been allowed to marry who he wanted to marry. Even royalty has to make concessions to the current reality. If there was an obstacle, Harry could always choose to abdicate, it’s been done before. No, it is not a “psy-op”. Harry is not “all of a sudden” sixth in line. As for the crown being diverse, yeah, it’s just fine. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be.

RWW has the full story and video.