No Problem Tuesdays, 26th April 2016

Image of a cartoon devil winking out a star and making the OK sign, with text "no problem tuesdays."
          This image is an homage to chickensnack comix‘s famous dog, redrawn by me to fit the theme.

In honor of an esteemed tumblr meme, I like to keep Tuesdays positive. Today I had some thoughts and observations that felt deep, but they are related to problems. So, have a video of amusing outtakes from a David Attenborough BBC nature show, plus a description of the video that is worthy of reading, whether you hit play or not:

Tumblr user sententiola added a transcript for accessibility purposes, and it was brilliant:

[Video of venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough standing amid vegetation. On a near-horizontal branch above his head is a brown and yellow greater bird of paradise, about the size of a crow, with big floaty yellow plumage puffing out along its back.]

Bird: Pwuk. Pwuk.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: This, surely –
Bird (hopping along the branch): WUKWUKWUkwukwukwukoooh. Oooh. Oooh.

[Cut. Same shot.]

Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: This, surely, is one –
Bird: Kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: This, surely –

[Cut. Same shot but the bird is on the other side now and venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough has his hand on the branch.]

Bird (hopping up and down on venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough’s fingers): Eh-eh. Eh-eh. Eh-urrrr. Eh-urrrr.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: Close up –
Bird (hopping away from him): Tiktiktiktik. Tiktiktiktik.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – the plumes –
Bird (hopping around): Huek.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – are truly –
Bird: Huek.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – exquisite.
Bird: Huek. Eh-eh.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: The gauzy –
Bird (hopping and spinning on the spot): HukWUKWUKWukwukoooh. Oooh.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough:

[Cut. Same shot but the bird is back on the original side of the branch.]

Bird: Aark.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: Of course, by the eighteenth century –
Bird: Ehhh.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – naturalists realized that birds of paradise –
Bird (hops across to the other side of the branch)
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – did have –
Bird (hopping back again): Krrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – legs. Even so –
Bird: WUKWUKWUKWukwukwukooh.

[Cut. Same shot.]
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough (apparently trying to tickle the bird’s tummy): – by about the eighteenth century –
Bird (hops away and spins round)
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – and so –
Bird: AAAAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK aaak.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough (wearily): … Very well.

[Cut. Same shot.]

Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – but Karl Linnaeus, the great –
Bird (vibrating rapidly on the spot and then flapping its wings): PWAAAAAAAK.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – classifier of the natural world –
Bird: AAAAAUUUH AAAUUUH AAAUUUH AAAUUUH AAAUUUH AAAUUUH AAAUUUH AAUUH.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – when he came to allocate a scientific name –
Bird:
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – to this bird –
Bird:
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – called it –
Bird: Wooo-ooo.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – wooo-ooo –
Bird (surveys the surroundings with a dignified turn of the head)
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: ‘paradisia apoda’: the bird of paradise –
Bird: Hoooo.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – without legs.
Bird: Eh-eh.

[Close-up of the bird.]

Bird: WUKWUKWUKWUkwukwukwukwukoooh. Ooh.
Bird: Ooh.

[Fade to black.]

Good job, sir. We salute you. And thanks to the Beeb for the video.

No Problem Tuesdays, 19th April 2016

Image of a cartoon devil winking out a star and making the OK sign, with text "no problem tuesdays."
          This image is an homage to chickensnack comix‘s famous dog, redrawn by me to fit the theme.

In honor of an esteemed tumblr meme, I like to keep Tuesdays positive. Once again, I’m at a loss for doing anything original, so here is an image set of Berenice the Cat and Lucy the Dog, photographs owned by Diana Hafemann. Said the caption on tumblr, “They are the best of best friends and they are always together.” Also, with those names, it’s safe to assume their owner is a gothtacular nerd. That’s a good thing.

snuggly cat and dog friends

Lucy and Berenice ©Diana Hafemann


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The Bigots Behind the Curtain

I wrote this in frustration on my social justice tumblr, in regards to the spate of transphobic “bathroom laws”:

has no one reported on why these transphobic laws are all coming at the same time?  it’s obvious there’s an organized effort behind it, either in the inner circle of the repugnican party, or in some kind of think tank that all the dominionist theocrats are taking their marching orders from.  this is important information, this is an obvious question to ask.  i can’t be the only person thinking of this.

BAM!  Thank you CBS!  (And thanks to commenter kestrel over at New Frontier.)  It’s “Liberty Counsel,” who are listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.   So if you feel overwhelmed by the outpouring of transphobic hatred coming from over a dozen states at the same time, if it feels like the all this hate and horror is growing naturally out of who we are as a culture, remember:

This was specifically planned, organized, and executed by one group of motherfuckers.  It couldn’t have happened without the transphobia of our culture, but it isn’t a spontaneous natural occurrence.  It’s an active campaign by the cisheterofascist lawyer equivalent of the KKK.  Spread the word.  This, by the way, is the head bastard of the team.  You can find a picture of his horrible ass comforting tearful bigot Kim Davis on the CBS article.

fucking mathew staver

      Mathew Staver is a shit-eating bigot.

EDIT to add, Affinity had the news up before I did. Check that thread out for discussion on the topic.

I’m Still Around

I was pretty productive at first and tapered off a lot in the last few weeks, but I’m not the type to disappear on a thing.  I’m not even declaring a hiatus, just slower output for the moment.  I have some other business to attend to lately.  I’ll be back like Arnold – over the hill, unasked for, and universally panned.

It’s Down With Cis Day!

i log into the tumblr
i oppress the cis
officialcisally

It’s International Down With Cis Day, suggested by tumblr user queernightmare to commemorate the birth of a meme.  On this day last year, a creepy transphobe with the handle “foreverhonest” posted a patently false story of being assaulted by trans people.  Behold the majesty:

Here’s a thing that happened to one of my friends. I was there.

Basically, we were walking down the sidewalk, talking about something meaningless. I think it had to do with a movie. Then this bus screeches up, stops next to us, and a bunch of people with “Down with Cis” shirts climbed out and started beating him up. I was punched and kicked a bit too, but I managed to avoid brutalization by going for their faces. After figuring out what’s happening, I started attacking them back, getting them off of him. He was quite injured but I called 911 and he made a full recovery at the hospital. I was fine, with only a cut on my arm that they patched up.

It had to be a joke, right?  If so, it went over the heads of people looking for reasons to hate trans folks.  Tumblr user chandra-nalaar compiled “some highlights from all the people who believed the ‘down with cis’ post.”  Follow that link at your own peril.  Well, clearly FH didn’t expect anyone to believe that, right?  Their post history (not linking to it) shows they are in fact an open transphobe, so what did they mean to achieve if it was a joke?  The clear aim is to spread transphobia.  Perhaps the laughably obvious lies from someone going by “foreverhonest” were meant to establish plausible deniability.

It doesn’t matter because it quickly became a meme.  Before that cisgender man, no one had ever uttered the grammatically bizarre phrase “Down With Cis.”  Now, it has been reclaimed by trans people and their allies, adding to the legend.  Some write improbable stories of their own patterned after his, others use the phrase and variations as a cheeky rallying cry of the oppressed or just to indulge in cathartic silliness. (warning for flashing animated gif on last link)

Lida Frank art of three puppies with cute accessories over a rainbow heart, text added reads

Why all the hubbub, bub?  You may find yourself wondering, might not even be familiar with the terms in play.  Let me see if I can break it down to the basics:

    • Some people are transgender.  Possibly oversimplifying, this means the gender they were labelled with at birth doesn’t feel right for them.
    • Acknowledging this means we need a word for the non-transgender people, preferably avoiding words like “normal” which might make members of minority genders feel further ostracized. Science provides us with the prefix cis-, which is used in biology and other fields as the opposite of trans-. Thus, most people reading this are cisgender.
    • Transgender people suffer from a truly appalling amount of discrimination and poor treatment, perhaps the bitterest from people who are progressive on other issues and should know better. The term for anti-transgender prejudice and systemic abuse is transphobia.
    • Some cisgender people believe it is possible for transgender people to oppress them back. They call that cisphobia.
    • Cisphobia is not real. A transgender person could literally say “I hate all cisgender people” and it would not constitute oppression. Why? Because a small minority of humans reviled by a huge amount of ignorant humans cannot in any meaningful way “oppress the oppressors.” Their scorn lacks the weight of an entire culture backing it, so it can’t cause harm in the same way.
    • Just like christian fundamentalists in the US who think any laws short of xtian theocracy are somehow oppressing them, transphobes (often those same xtians) can become really committed to the idea they are threatened by violent trans oppressors.
    • Hence the fictional gang of violent transgender people, inflicting violence on those they magically sensed were cisgender, at the start of this perverse tale.
    • Every transgender person alive today has experienced a lifetime of transphobia and can experience incidents of it almost every day. Even those few who “pass” as cisgender completely can still have terrible feelings dredged up by the cisnormativity that completely saturates most cultures around the world.
    • In this toxic transphobic world, cursing out your oppressor, just disrespecting the hell out of them in your own spaces, can be a needful emotional release for transgender people.
    • Down With Cis – a phrase coined by a transphobe and put into the mouths of an imaginary violent transgender mob – is a delightfully short and punchy slogan for achieving that catharsis. Unlike the earlier “die cis scum,” DWC isn’t even violent. It went from being a tool of transphobic oppression to a meme for transgender empowerment.

And so, without giving any thanks to the creep that unintentionally started all of this, let us celebrate International Down With Cis Day.  If you’re transgender, nonbinary, genderfluid, whatever, grab a t-shirt and get on the bus.  If you’re cisgender and leave a rainbow cake on your stoop at midnight while singing hosannas to Laverne Cox, the bus will pass you by.  The rest of you?  Down with cis!

 

Guest Post: I am the Stranger

Guest post by The Beast from Seattle

The life of an Atheist (from Visconti's adaptation)

The life of an Atheist (from Visconti’s the Stranger)

I have what you might say is a ‘strained relationship’ with my mother, for reasons not worth getting into here.  But we do spend some time together and as she is a big reader, I often loan her books I’ve already finished, despite our wildly opposed tastes.  One summer I gave her a stack including The Road, a couple books of poetry by Rimbaud (it had that ‘weird style’ where the words ‘don’t make sense’ apparently), and The Stranger by Albert Camus.  It wasn’t meant to be a pile o’ bleak, just what I’d been reading at the time.  A week or so later we were in the car, where she’d normally go on about her troubles at work and coworkers that she doesn’t like.  This particular sunny afternoon, she paused for a long moment and told me this…

“If you’re ever on trial for something, even if you didn’t do it, make sure you pretend to be upset.”

I thought it was the most bizarre thing I’d ever heard, and it took me a few days to realize– she thought I was l’étranger.

In the first pages of the novel the apathetic main character doesn’t cry at his mother’s funeral, which serves as evidence of his heartless nature in his future murder trial.  Regardless of what that implies about my relationship with my mother (Maman est thankfully not morte), it said a lot about her opinion of me.  Note that she said ‘pretend to be upset,’ because nothing could upset me as the stoic, humorless bastard I am.  Years before I settled on being an atheist, and identified as an agnostic (on Facebook alone probably, as I can’t imagine wanting to have that conversation with her), she told me she was fine with it as long as I ‘believed in something.’

We believe in nothing, Lebowski!

We believe in nothing, Lebowski!

Being an atheist would be troubling, as though I was smoking and she’d tolerate it for now, ‘as long as I was healthy.’  Why?  Because it was disturbing to think that I might really believe in nothing.  To her, Christianity is a pleasant, happy thing where you’ll meet dead relatives in heaven and live in familial harmony forever.  Being an atheist is denying that, not only for yourself, but denying that it even exists.  It’s the reason people say ‘Aww,’ and wrinkle their foreheads when you mention your non-beliefs.  (Or is that just me?)  Being an atheist is being a hater of everything, believer of nothing.

and I mean it

We never had that conversation again after my views changed, but she’s seen me cry at a funeral, laugh, grumble about my own job.  Yet I am still l’etranger in her eyes.  Maybe it was just my taste in books– bleak poetry, nihilistic philosophy and babies on spits.  At least she didn’t focus on the last part.  Well, I’m off to go stare at the sea, stare at the sand, and not kill anyone of any ethnicity.

The Cure performs a song inspired by L’Étranger

drawing of the Beast from Seattle, a blue devilThe Beast from Seattle was born in the ’80s, is a big queer goth weirdo, and the kind of person who’ll break his keyboard trying to get every last cat hair out of it.  He wrote a term paper defending lurkerdom and normally never comments anywhere, but Great American Satan will keep squeezing posts out of him until his natural tendencies win the day.

Spring Fashion Confession, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love FtB

All I hear about joining FtB is that I’ve given up my freewill to a Grade A
Poopyhead: PZ Myers. You know what? It’s true. And now I must confess why:
Really, I just like poop on my head. To wear waste as a hat? Simply divine.
I’m kidding though. Of course I’m not wearing fecal fedorae. My fetish is
Larry King costumes. The real reason is because I hate freedom.

FtB’s critics have long seen the truth of this place, but somehow don’t get it.
Of course we’re about Freedom from Thought, but they think that’s a bad thing.
Oh well. Some people just have to waste their time flailing through the world.
Living in a constant turmoil of indecision, when all they need is strong leaders.
Saying and doing only what my thought leader says: This is true happiness.

Half a Day

It’s Tuesday. (Took a while to get this post finished, settled for half a day because I wanted to spare myself more difficulty.)

I wake up at six in the morning with four hours of sleep. Why do I do these things? Getting by on that little sleep hasn’t worked out for me since my early twenties. I’m not even a drinker. Anyway, I’m sleeping on the floor because the last cheapy fold-up beds we had fell apart a few years ago. Not built for un-skinny tall dudes and I don’t have money for something better than a cruddy stopgap. Even though I sleep on the floor, I’m not someone who typically feels back pain. But I did something recently and today is horrible. Mostly just when getting up or down, so better than chronic conditions…
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A Resurrection Story

This story was partially written by one of my least sucky groups of players ever, in a D&D game. I changed the characters substantially to work better for an audience unfamiliar with that situation, so nothing should be too confusing here. It is a short story about a resurrection, to fit the day in an irreligious way.

The Virile had a rough morning. This sort of thing wasn’t supposed to happen in the city. You go to a magic demonstration and yawn while the party’s arcanist rubs their chin. You don’t go to see your priest’s head explode. There would be a reckoning over this slight because The Virile had a reputation to maintain – the manliest band of heroes in town – but for now the agenda was resurrection.
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