An Open Letter To My Wonkette Friends Who Are Busy Not Commenting

Okay, I saw the thing about Marcotte and Imma let you finish, but before I do, I’m gonna tell you a story that I told you before but what you did not seem to listen. If you did not see that, it’s about Marcotte using her angry voice about Democrats not doing shit and about other people using their angry voice to tell Marcotte how wrong she is to get angry about Democrats not doing shit.

In the 90s during my wild, Riot Grrl days when I was pro peace, pro titties, anti fascist and committed to a positive revolution of love and generosity (so, like today, but prettier & under 25), I was part of the Lesbian Avengers. We marched. We ate fire. We paired up, fucked each other for a week, then broke up & fucked someone else in the group. It was a whole thing.

Well, at the time there was that first out lesbian in the Oregon state legislature Gail Shibley (I still have her campaign button “Girlfriends for Gail!” on a dresser about 10 feet from me as I type) making waves. (The first out bisexual legislator, an obscure 1990s local politician named “Kate Brown” came out just after Gail, but this story is not about her.)

But things were not all puppies & kittens & oral sex & queer women writing your laws for you. There were also asshats, and they were, frankly, greater in number at the time. The hub of all asshat anti puppies/kittens/oral sex activity was the Oregon Citizens Alliance, but there were others, too. Some of them even in the legislature.

Well, artificial insemination hadn’t been invented that long before and the laws around it were still … interesting (as, frankly, they probably are today). One law that was important at the time said that any child of a legal wife was also the legal responsibility of the husband unless & until evidence came to light that it was not his child. Because of this legal “rebuttable presumption” dads might sometimes have to pay child support for a kid that wasn’t theirs after a divorce, but the law was clear that the interest of the child who had no choice to be born was more important than the interest of a man who at least had the choice of whom he wanted to trust in legal marriage.

But what about test tube babies? It’s obvious that at least sometimes artificial insemination would be used to get around male infertility, so what would it mean if a court found that there was no genetic relationship between a birthmother’s husband and her child? Would that really mean that a guy who supported artificial insemination shouldn’t pay to support the child he nontraditionally helped to create?

The solution in Oregon law was neither to abandon the rebuttable presumption standard which still had its uses nor to require support for all child conceived through ART. Instead the law required that a doctor providing services to a married woman seeking ART help in conceiving a child had to solicit and receive written consent from both the patient and the legal husband. In this way the courts could later feel comfortable imposing child support obligations on future divorcee dads.

But OCA fan, state legislator, and full time asswanker Kevin Mannix ignored the history and context of Won’t Somebody Think of The Children, and instead framed the issue this way:

Married women have to get permission from their husbands before receiving ART services, but single women (read: lesbians) don’t have to ask anybody (read: any man).*

So in keeping with the Republican philosophy of freedom for all, he proposed a law that would require a single woman seeking ART to petition the state for permission before services could begin.

Gail Shibley was having none of it. She went around to everyone she could & tried to kill this stupid bill but the men dominating the Oregon legs were having none of it. Mannix’s bill was going to get its committee hearing and serious consideration and might even become law.

Now Shibley was a privileged lawyer working inside the system. She trusted the Oregon lege to do the right thing, yet there was this obviously badstupid bill that was just embarrassingly sexist as fuck, and no one was listening to her. They were yelling “SHIBLEY IS BIASSS” throughout the statehouse because as a lesbian how could she objectively consider the reasonableness of the state telling women they have no sexual freedom? And not just Republicans, but Democrats, too. She was a total insider, except for that “woman who prefers her oral sex sans penis” thing, and yet she suddenly found herself with no credibility to engage her fellow legislators when she needed it most. As Shibley put it at the time,

They thought I was the far left fringe*

Well, the Lesbian Avengers were ready to do something about that. We gathered in secret at our regularly scheduled, publicly advertised Tuesday night meeting at the bookstore and put it to a vote:

Shall we show those fuckers who owns the “Far Left Fringe” title in this state?**

Answer: We shall! So we organized the fuck out of a protest & went to the statehouse screaming,

2 4 6 8 It’s all right to inseminate
1 3 5 7 FUCK YOU AND YOUR BILL, KEVIN!**

My housemate’s infant daughter was alternately in the stroller & hugging some lesbo’s breast throughout. We were allowed to march around the grounds a little (save little tyke, who was pushed or carried the whole time, the slacker) and then asked to leave, which we did.

But, AND HERE’S THE POINT:

A week or two later the story was out that the bill had been tabled in committee, would not get a hearing & would not become law. Gail Shibley herself told local reporters that no one had been listening to her before the Avengers protest, but after the protest other legislators came to her & told her that they were sorry for treating her like the lunatic fringe, that now that the Lesbian Avengers stormed the capital (legally! politely, even, so long as you weren’t a common Kevin Mannix! With no gallows or guillotine in evidence!) they knew who the lunatic fringe really was and it was not Gail, so they were now willing to listen.

Okay, ready for the big finish?
In the end what defeated Republican asshats wasn’t patient exploitation of the process and using a reasonable voice while paying attention to the context. AND it wasn’t a 7 month old sleeping through angry queer women screaming “FUCK YOU AND YOUR BILL, KEVIN!” It was, and your mind may be blown here, it was both of them together.

Screaming our lesbo chants wouldn’t have worked without someone on the inside making arguments on the inside that the legislative insiders could understand and respect. But making those reasoned arguments wasn’t going anywhere without radical outsiders demanding action.

IT TAKES BOTH, MOTHERWONKERS.

Please can we stop it with the anti Marcotte hatred and hatred for other people who commit other sins like demanding action and being tired of using “hate” as a noun?

And can we please stop it with the the hatred of people who prefer to act nicely middle class and pale and reasoned and logical and contextual and historical and all tolerant of the confident insider patience that appears to people suffering to be indifference to that suffering?

Yes, choosing one tactic over the other is fine. Yes, you can advocate for your preferred tactics over some other tactics. But in the end, my screaming at La Migra’s swat team snatching people off the street with my snatch juice stained lips is neither more nor less necessary than Chuck Schumer’s brunch with some Republican hack.

Argue passionately for what you think will make this world a better place. I certainly do. But don’t ever lose sight of the fact that in this world of very different people, your tactics aren’t the best tactics for every single advocate with different skills or a different audience, and even if they were the very bestest of best tactics you would still need someone wild and crazy like me to make your reason seem all that much more reasonable by contrast. And I will still need the insider to patiently work through the issues of centrist waffletwats.

We absolutely fucking require both Lesbian Avengers and Gail Shibleys in this world if we’re going to drag it kicking & screaming into a better place.

Please, denizens of Wonkette, please: disagree if you like, but never lose sight of the fact that we need each other, and we’re all doing the best we goddamned can.

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*may be a paraphrase, it’s been 25 years for fuck’s sake

**definitely not a paraphrase. We fucking OWNED left wing crazy in the 1990s, and I will never forget that chant. (Nor will I forget the Christmas Carol we wrote for our lesbian caroling action, “Betsy the bi gal”. That song rocked.)

52.5 Years Late

Apparently athletes who believe in justice will be no more or less welcome on this year’s US Olympic team than racist athletes. From the Fort Worth Star Telegram:

Athletes at the United States Olympic trials will be allowed to take part in racial and social justice demonstrations, including taking a knee during the national anthem.

Athletes can kneel during the anthem or hold up their fist on the podium. The latter was famously done as a Black Power salute by track-and-field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during the 1968 Olympics at Mexico City.

Wearing a hat with phrases such as “Black Lives Matter” or “Trans Lives Matter,” or words such as “equality” or “respect” will also be allowed. Furthermore, the committee is letting athletes speak about equity and equal rights for “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color individuals, or other historically underrepresented, marginalized or minoritized populations.”

They’re letting athletes have opinions, and even to say them out loud. Isn’t that sweet? I wonder what Tommie Smith & John Carlos would say?

Tommie Smith & John Carlos just medaled in the 200 meter sprint and yet they wanted more.

Yeah, probably that. Always wanting more, always wanting better. When will they learn that the US has already fulfilled its promise and its time to shut it down lest including too many people spoil our hallowed equality? Next thing you know, athletes at the winter Olympics in 2022 will be wearing hats saying, “Feed the hungry,” or “Health care for all”.

Takeover: Movement toward justice

Quite a number of years ago, I joined with some students who had taken over the administrative building of their college. I wasn’t at the takeover when it happened, but I was asked to come speak to the people who had. It was a very odd thing, from my point of view. I was new to the campus and honestly didn’t understand the specifics of the grievances that led to the takeover, but I had been invited as a guest lecturer specifically because the student body trusted me and wanted my opinions on various topics related to feminism, anti-racism, queer liberation, trans liberation, and disability. Several of those were implicated, most prominently feminism and racism, and I think it made sense to the students to have a competent facilitator for certain discussions related to them, but also to have a facilitator without baggage, without a history at the college. I had something of an educator’s patina, but no relationship to the administration or its past choices. Thus I was invited, and thus I went.

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Pervert Puns for Justice

On my last post reader lumipuma was surprised to hear I had conceived of my blog’s title as a pun, and wrote this comment:

This blog’s name is a pun? Now I’m slightly perplexed on why you’d want to pervert justice, in addition to just wanting pervert justice.

I had always assumed the verb/noun pun was apparent, but as it is not, Lumipuma deserves a serious answer to what is a serious question.

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BLM Won – Just wait til they win some MORE!

Hey, folks! It’s time to PARRRRR-TAY!

BLM and their supporters have managed a major victory in Portland. Not only did Fed presence almost entirely disappear from Portland (we saw one FPS vehicle – a clearly marked SUV – anywhere downtown last night, Thursday the 30th, and it was parked and empty about 5 blocks from the Hatfield courthouse), but we ourselves did a good job of stopping any antics. One small fire was set, but protesters acted quickly to put it out with bottled water.

Although I don’t think that small fires or launching fireworks can possibly excuse the behavior of the Feds, in the PR war being waged in the media about whom to blame for the Portland catastrophe, making that first night without Feds as peaceful as possible was an important victory. For that PR victory, I’m quite glad.

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Interview with a YOUNG HOT GAY

So, you don’t believe your friendly, neighborhood Crip Dyke that the protesters have, yes, in the past thrown fireworks and set small fires of wood or trash on concrete (where they could not spread), but that we were getting more peaceful over time, the BLM organizers were calling for more peaceful activities every day she was there, and that they’d even gone so far as to call on people to just go home after the rally and skip the courthouse protests (though they did not repeat that call last night, I can’t say why, but seemed instead to endorse staying in the park and partying over the fact that the worst of the feds were in town for only one more night)…

…and that therefore all this violence by the feds was majorly, unutterably, supremely fucking undeserved?

Well maybe you just don’t like hearing things from a woman. This is why I gots you a REAL MAN and a YOUNG HOT GAY to boot to ‘splain the same things I been telling you, only this time on camera where your Crip Dyke will not put her face.

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Still a step away from Pinkerton’s, but it’s bad.

Note: I wrote this first as a comment over on Wonkette.com. I could have written up a description of he evening from scratch. in fact, I intended to, as I like to think that I have a little skill as a writer and I don’t normally want unedited, top-of-my-head thoughts to represent me. But I think that there’s some information in how this was written. My head was spinning when I got home from the Wed July 29th protests and the story below is also a circle. Maybe it’s not my best writing (hell, the tense changes alone drive me batty rereading it) but i think it is communicative of many things, including how rattled I was, and for that reason I’m copying it over almost untouched. As for the reference in the title, it’s to Marcus Ranum’s current post on the history of bloody, violent clashes between cops/ national guards/ security acting on behalf of capitalists and workers organizing for better wages and conditions. It’s titled How to Riot, and it’s a good read.


Fuck, fuck, and triple-ultra-fuck.

Remember when i was wondering a few hours ago if the Feds, knowing that they were on their way out tomorrow, would be more laid back or if they would be extra violent?

EXTRA VIOLENT IT IS.

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Past the expiration date

Well, two bits of important news.

First, the tear gas they’ve been firing at us? Well, it turns out that a lot of it is past its expiration date.

What does that mean? We don’t know. It could be a good thing, with the most toxic chemicals breaking down into less toxic or inert chemicals. It could also be a bad thing, with toxic chemicals breaking down into even more harmful reaction products.

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Being Uncomfortable

So, as had been reported in mainstream media in a few places (here, for instance), and as I alluded to last night during comments elsewhere (“there are still stories to tell and information to pass on”) the BLM organizers have called for deemphasizing the federal courthouse protests after the BLM rallies next door at the Justice Center. At least one asked for people to simply go home, and skip any post-rally protest focussed specifically on the Mark O. Hatfield courthouse.

Honestly, the audio system is pretty deficient (as I’ve also noted before, though I will admit it was better last night – July 27th – than on most other nights) so i can’t hear anything clearly and can’t be sure I got everything, but they did clearly ask people to simply go home at the end of the main BLM rally, rather than refocus the protest on the Hatfield courthouse as the crowd typically does around 10 or 10:30pm. This request is different than simply asking people not to set off fireworks or start the small fires (on concrete, they don’t spread, but they are plenty large enough to hurt someone badly if they fell into it). They have been consistently asking people to stop setting fires and setting off fireworks, which I consider the worst behavior during these demos, every night I’ve been there. This request goes much further in simply asking people to return home.

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What do you need to know about the Portland protests?

Obviously I have Opinions™ on what needs to be said about the protests in Portland. I think they’re important and I couldn’t have come to that conclusion without thinking that certain specific things about the protests were important.

But honestly, these protests aren’t important at all unless they’re communicating something to people. Now, just photos of tear gas can inform us about the state of authoritarianism in US government, but there’s so much more to say, especially since general authoritarianism doesn’t tell us anything about the original goals of the movement: ending racism and racist violence in policing.

So of course I’ll continue to report, but I want y’all to get the information that is most meaningful to you. I genuinely care about what you want to know.

So, if you were going to the Portland protests, what would you investigate? What would you be trying to learn? What would you be looking to see?

in short, what can I tell you that you aren’t getting anyplace else?

Most requested/upvoted will get the highest priority, but I’m really going to try to get people everything on the list, if it’s in my power to do so.

Some previous suggestions from Wonkette’s comments where I’ve also been posting about the protests:

  • Demographics, esp race.
  • How much of the crowd is college students? How active are they? What about the olds?
  • Any more co-opting by III% or Boogaloo Bungholes?
  • I want to know if you’re OK, if you move been hurt by the feds and/or police
  • if there’s anything we can do to help
  • Part of me just wants to know all the little anecdotes.
  • Another part of me wants to know what kinds of plans people are making to actually change things as we go forward – that includes holding the line on Trump et al invading cities like Portland, but more specifically, the issues around injustice and police brutality and ongoing systems on racism (sure, just a small basket of things, no trouble right?)
  • I would like to know how it feels to participate in the protests, to be there?

You can suggest something totally new, or use these ideas as a take-off point, or just comment to give your +1 to one or more of them without adding your own creations.