This message is for white people.

policearrestingpeacefulblackprotestorImage via The Love Life Of An Asian Guy.

I am ashamed to admit that in the wake of the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, Alva Braziel and the police shootings in Dallas I have felt so overwhelmed, angry, sad, helpless and unable to concentrate long enough to write coherently about them or the larger context surrounding them. I say “ashamed,” because I am aware that my reaction is a speck of dust compared to the universe of pain, rage, injustice and fear in which black people are forced to dwell in this country 24/7/365. No matter how much I may be reeling, I can always check out, post goofy shit for sale on the Internet, cry into my cocktail and generally go along on my merry way. There is no fucking escape for them.

I felt some measure of relief when I read this post by my friend Dana Hunter. It’s a compilation of practical actions that all of us can take to help turn this sorry state of affairs around—and turn it around we must. I don’t know about you, but it helps me to process grief by doing something specific that is asked of me by those more directly affected, even the smallest action, even if I am pessimistic about it making any difference at all. The fact is, it’s worth doing not only because it makes me feel productive and useful, but because all great movements for change require countless small actions by countless people, most of them unseen and unsung. These things add up. Mere drops in the ocean form the great wave.

With Dana’s kind permission, I am sharing her post here in its entirety.

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Buy my $#!+, people.

My little blog adventures (blogventures?) continue to enrich and sustain me in so many ways. However, not one of those ways is “financially.”

Until joining this network, I’ve never blogged in a space that generates revenue by serving up ads. Frankly, the way this whole ad dealio works leads to some comically absurd results. The algorithms that generate ads for a site are based in large part on its content, but apparently the ghosts in the machine are not sophisticated enough to detect satire, mockery, snark or general derision. So for example at Pharyngula (and PZ is nothing if not a fire-breathing atheist and first-rate mocker of religious ridiculousness), we are all regularly treated to ads imploring us to sign up for Christian Mingle, attend Mormon colleges and join the fucking Jehovah’s Witnesses. NOBODY’S CLICKING ON THAT SHIT. I don’t see it because I’m logged in, but I can only imagine what the ad feed looks like here: Crisis Pregnancy Centers, squirrel feeders, Jerry Coyne lecture tours and worst of all, the Democratic National Committee. Christ.

The work I do here—and yes, it is work—is not without its costs, timewise and otherwise. I was recently inspired, thanks to a colleague and a commenter here, to propose a WIN-WIN: I make it easy for you to buy cool stuff, and then you buy it. I get a (small) cut, and you get cool stuff.

All proceeds to fund subverting the status quo, smashing the patriarchy, dismantling white supremacy, waging war on warmongers, obliterating the oligarchy, sustaining struggling friends, monitoring the squirrel menace, mocking conservatives and/or cat food.

BUY MY SHIT.

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Look, I’ve organized it into collections for you.

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conservative tears

Soothe your rabid rage at right-wing blowhards and repel conservatives from your general vicinity!

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#deathtosquirrels

Do your part to shake the people from their stupor and break the hypnotic spell of the enemy rodents BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! #squirrelpocalypse

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medicare for all

Help drag the USA up to the standards of 20th century civilization by demanding single payer health care NOW!

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perry street palace™

For my Many Tens of Loyal Readers™ at Perry Street Palace™, now’s your chance to join the Official Palace Army™! Demonstrate devotion to Your Humble Monarch™ while shamelessly shilling for Iris’s other blog! Proudly announce to all the world your support for the senseless overuse of Trademark Symbols™!

pspsamples __________

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iris iris

Research shows that people tend to behave more ethically when cued that they’re being watched: adorning yourself and your home with this eye-catching (<-hahaha) collection instantly improves the behavior of everyone around you! IRIS SEES YOU. #creepychic

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But okay, so maybe you don’t want any more actual stuff. I totally get that. (Big shoutout to mah NYC peeps! MY KINGDOM FOR A WALK-IN CLOSET.) In that case you could just, you know, pay me actual money. YES. If you appreciate what I do here, maybe put some money where your infotainment is and PAY ME. :D

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Naturally, all of this goes only IF you have a few bucks to spare. Many people do not, and in any event no one should feel obligated to contribute to my cat food fund. Particularly when they’re thisclose to eating cat food themselves.

AGAIN: All proceeds to fund subverting the status quo, smashing the patriarchy, dismantling white supremacy, waging war on warmongers, obliterating the oligarchy, sustaining struggling friends, monitoring the squirrel menace, mocking conservatives and/or cat food.

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Isn’t this fun? This is fun.

Have a nice day.

Recent reads + quotes.

NOTE: This is a semi-regular feature on my perrystreetpalace blog readers here might enjoy: a roundup of links, vids and memes I’ve recently come across, organized (more or less) by topic, with occasional brief commentary thereon. Important disclaimer: linking or quoting here does not imply 100% agreement with, or endorsement of, any content, organization, source or individual.

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RACE.

Racist hate crimes increase five-fold in week after Brexit vote. Payton, M., The Independent (Jul. 2016). [Gosh, who ever could have seen this coming? This is what happens when conservatives and their lies are legitimized—by, say, corporate media or the “election” of George W. Bush—instead of mocked and driven into the dust and shadows. –Ed.]

Shameful Camps. Caine, Freethought Blogs | Affinity (Jul. 2016).

It’s not surprising that white attitudes towards indigenous people remains so negative when this whitewashing is taking place in the heart of Indian country. It’s sad and burdensome to see that lying about Custer is still so very important to some people. “History comes to life”. Yes, a very whitewashed, colonial version, which celebrates the largest mass murder in U.S. history, the Massacre at Wounded Knee.

[It’s bad enough that incredibly significant events are routinely either whitewashed or completely blacked out in public school history classes and by corporate media. But this goes further than propaganda, into dehumanization and genocide…as entertainment. –Ed.]

The Amazing Atheist’s Racism. Hughes, M., Patheos | barrierbreaker (Jun. 2016). [&%#*@! –Ed.]

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JOY.

How to stay happy when the sky is falling in. Burkeman, O., The Guardian (Jul. 2016).

[Derrick Jensen, a writer and co-founder of the radical environmental movement Deep Green Resistance] has written that people sometimes ask him why he doesn’t just kill himself, if things are as bad as he says. “The answer is that life is really, really good. I am a complex enough being that I can hold in my heart the understanding that we are really, really fucked, and at the same time that life is really, really good. I am full of rage, sorrow, joy, love, hate, despair, happiness, dissatisfaction, and a thousand other feelings. We are really fucked. Life is still really good.”

HARASSMENT + ABUSE.

Man sends woman an unsolicited d*ck pic, woman responds brilliantly. Man regrets it. Felton, J., SMS (Jun. 2016).

In Orlando, as Usual, Domestic Violence Was Ignored Red Flag. Chemaly, S., Rolling Stone (Jun. 2016).

Intimate partner violence and the toxic masculinity that fuels it are the canaries in the coal mine for understanding public terror, and yet this connection continues largely to be ignored, to everyone’s endangerment. It is essential to understand religious extremism (of all stripes), racism, homophobia, mental illness and gun use, but all of these factors are on ugly quotidian display in one place before all others: at home.

Rape fantasy letter haunts Scotts Valley High School girls. Baxter, S., Santa Cruz Sentinel (Jun. 2016).

“All of us (named in the letter) felt extremely uncomfortable that he was given no true consequence. Along with that, the school didn’t even follow policy. The school was not interested in our well-being but more in his, and in this they believed that pushing this under the rug will make us forget everything. We were asked not to tell anyone, including the people on the lists (named in the letter) who have a right to know.”

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[For some of us, they were going to hit us too. -Ed.]

TERRORISM, WAR.

As Medina reveals: ISIS is not hijacking Islam, it is actively at war with Islam. Ali, A., Amro Ali (Jul. 2016).

If a self-proclaimed Catholic group bombed the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica and constantly killed scores of innocent Catholics, then we would deem such an entity, in various degrees, as an anti-Catholic terrorist group. Likewise, ISIS is not a radical Islamist movement as much as it is an active anti-Muslim, terror movement.

How many more sickening anti-Muslim, if not anti-human, acts does it take for a diabolical group to be dissociated from a religious body in the eyes of the world?

CONSERVATIVES.

The Authoritarian Personality Revisited: Reading Adorno in the Age of Trump. Gordon, P., Greanville Post (Jun. 2016). [A long but excellent read. –Ed.]

‘Kill the gays’ pastor has a pulpit-stomping meltdown after he’s booted from online fundraising. Markus, B.P., Raw Story (with video) (Jun. 2016). [CONTENT NOTE: extreme hostility to LGBTQ individuals and communities. See also. –Ed.]

Lie Witness News – Hillary Clinton Email Edition. Kimmel, J., Jimmy Kimmel Live via youtube.com (Jul. 2016).

 [Behold the US voter. –Ed.]

ABORTION, RULE OF LAW.

What Monday’s Supreme Court Decision Means in the Fight for Abortion Rights. Pieklo, J.M., Rewire (Jun. 2016). (“Monday’s decision striking two provisions of Texas’ HB 2 doesn’t just threaten similar laws nationwide; it could be the basis for finally stemming the onslaught of anti-science abortion restrictions in the states.”) [Here is the decision (pdf). Read Thomas’s dissent for a special treat: a case study in characteristic conservative reality-denial. –Ed.]

How Did I Get an Abortion in Texas? I Didn’t. Peterson, V., The New York Times (Jun. 2016). (“I had never been involved in activism before. I didn’t know about these types of laws, or really have an opinion on abortion before I needed one myself.”) [JFC. smh. –Ed.]

MEDIA.

Donbass Truth – Drunk Russian Propaganda edition. Chopov, A., youtube.com (Jul. 2016).

“[W]e spent countless research hours to make this video to see if anything you hear in Western media about ‘failing Russia’ or ‘rising Ukraine’ is grounded in actual facts – for this we used statistics from the UN, CIA, IMF and other world famous organizations. Take a look – this might just cause to learn to think for yourself!”)

[Highly doubtful—see above links re: conservatives. CONTENT NOTE: violent and disturbing images, including dead children. –Ed.]

 

The Ralph Nader Myth. gjohnsit, Daily Kos (Dec. 2013).

So why did Gore lose to Bush? Democrats…Nader only drew 24,000 Democrats to his cause, yet 308,000 Democrats voted for Bush.
Nader wasn’t the real betrayal of Democrats. Democrats were. Nearly a third of million of them.

Even more important, consider the math: since Bush was the main challenger, a Democrat voting for Bush hurts twice as much as a Democrat voting for Nader.

This is a fact. The reality-based community must learn to deal with it.

[Oh must they? Hahaha. Citation needed. An old post well worth re-reading. –Ed.]

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FEMINISM.

Teens, Marines, and Men. angietheantitheist, Misandry Angie (Jun. 2016).

I have to say men aren’t looking too good as a group right now. They claim to be strong protectors yet fold at the idea of a strong, armed woman. They throw utter tantrums about not getting to gawk at teen girls on stage, not realizing they are the reason the swimsuit competition was dropped. Beauty pageants are a controversial thing, but they award the largest college scholarships to girls. Did your scholarship application involve adults staring at and appraising your nearly naked underage body? Probably not.

SCIENCE, FOOD.

Probiotics Are Useless, GMOs Are Fine, and Gluten Is Necessary. Rogers, K., Motherboard (May 2016).

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Finally, for my poor neglected Quote Collection:

Everything is going to be unimaginably worse and is never going to get any better. –Kurt Vonnegut

We’re terrible animals. I think that the Earth’s immune system is trying to get rid of us, as well it should. –Kurt Vonnegut

The only difference between Bush and Hitler is that Hitler was elected. –Kurt Vonnegut

I don’t know about you, but I practice a disorganized religion. I belong to an unholy disorder. We call ourselves “Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment.” –Kurt Vonnegut

However sugarcoated and ambiguous, every form of authoritarianism must start with a belief in some group’s greater right to power, whether that right is justified by sex, race, class, religion or all four. However far it may expand, the progression inevitably rests on unequal power and airtight roles within the family. –Gloria Steinem

As the little boy said when asked if he wanted to be a lawyer like his mother, “Oh no, that’s women’s work.” Logic has nothing to do with oppression. –Gloria Steinem

It doesn’t surprise me to learn that there is bias and sexism everywhere, just like there are problems of racism and homophobia stemming from the whole notion that we’re arranged in a hierarchy, that we’re ranked rather than linked. –Gloria Steinem

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My friend Tony.

Some of you may know Tony as a frequent and frequently excellent commenter at various sites on FtB. He now blogs ferociously at The Orbit. As a gay black atheist living in Florida, Tony is subject to multiple intersectional marginalizations that many of us will never experience, and of course the crap economy only amplifies these effects. He has been struggling off and on with joblessness (although there is a bright spot of hope on that front in the not-too-distant future), and is a few hundred dollars short on his rent this month. If I can help it, I would not like to see “homeless” added to his burdens.

I know that times are tough for many of us, and no one should feel obligated to give what they do not have. But if you can spare just a few dollars, they really do add up. Despite the ugliness that plagues our movement on a regular basis, there is also goodness and strength in this community. I think it’s important to put our social justice talk into action when it really counts, such as when one of our own finds himself in need.

Please donate whatever you can to Tony via PayPal here.

And Tony has another problem you can help with: he likes squirrels. I KNOW RIGHT. I have been trying desperately to enlighten him on this urgent matter before the coming Squirrelpocalypse, but he remains under the spell of the enemy rodent menace and has so far proven resistant to my pleas.

So when you donate via PayPal, there is a space below the amount that says “Write a note (Optional).”

Make it good:D

#deathtosquirrels

Freethought Blogs: Ethics Committee Statement on Richard Carrier.

The Freethought Blogs Ethics Committee has released an official statement on the departure of Richard Carrier from our network.

Freethought Blogs unequivocally condemns any behavior that threatens the safety of atheist community members, including particularly marginalized groups. Freethought Blogs also recognizes the role of sexual harassment as one of numerous barriers for women that limits access to and participation within atheist conferences and spaces.

When the recent allegations against Richard Carrier were made public, Freethought Blogs initiated a process to investigate these claims and formalize its policy concerning the conduct of its members. The FtB Ethics Committee received several reports of Carrier’s behavior and was in the process of reviewing them when Carrier chose to leave the network. A thorough review of the allegations against Carrier cannot be completed by Freethought Blogs without his cooperation.

As part of our commitment to equitable access to freethinking spaces for all, Freethought Blogs members who violate our commitment to social justice by creating or maintaining barriers to participation will be removed from the network as a matter of policy. All reports submitted to us in furtherance of this policy will be kept in the strictest of confidence, unless the accusation was made publicly or in the event we have express permission to reproduce the complaint.

-The FtB Ethics Committee

I approve this message.

Greenmarket Day.

With the exception of Gay Pride, summer weekends in the West Village are very quiet. Especially the mornings. I took a stroll to the Saturday Greenmarket at Abingdon Square to acquire some provisions for the week, and along the way I took a bunch of pictures with my iPhone like a goddamn tourist. I was thinking you might enjoy them.

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For some reason my coffee tastes especially good this morning.

It’s so hard sometimes to find that perfect objet d’art. You know: a little accent piece that delivers just the right pop of color, sophistication and whimsy. People who know me will tell you I am a huge thrift shop junkie, but that can be a hit-or-miss endeavor: on some days, I’d swear a marauding swarm of squirrels (with exquisite taste) devours every awesome object from all the downtown thrifts right before I get there. Fuckers.

And so, forlorn and thwarted by cruel fate, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

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Fucking hell, people.

[CONTENT NOTE: Orlando mass shooting and related issues; rape; mental health. No violent images or graphic descriptions.]

I was quite literally rendered speechless upon learning of the tragedy in Orlando Sunday morning. I cannot say I was surprised, though; mass public shootings in the US have been increasing, and it’s no secret that conservatives have been cranking up the hate against the LGBTQ community (just as they have against women, immigrants, religious minorities, the poor, the disabled, etc., and of course none of this is a coincidence). But I did (and do) feel traumatized—as in anxious, dissociating, difficulty concentrating, overwhelming sadness and anger, waking through the night with my heart pounding, super fun stuff like that. For an artist and writer who uses art and writing to process life and the world around her, such a state is nothing short of devastating. (<-See? Dissociating. I just referred to myself in the third person for no fucking reason FFS.)

I don’t write a lot about my personal life online, for many reasons I won’t go into here. But in this case some of that is relevant, and I think perhaps worth sharing.

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