Carnival of Curiosity: I Have More Than One Pseudonym

No, I don’t have one as famous as Chuck Tingle or anything, but I have used multiple ‘nyms in multiple ways for the past 25 years, including 2 that have published erotica and porn, as well as friendship stories that made humorous use of erotica’s and porn’s tropes without ever having the characters engage with each other sexually.

I did it for many different reasons, but one of the most important was that it raised funds for activist work I was doing at the time. In one of my more notable successes, I auctioned off a single, autographed story (on paper, like I was a common Gutenberg, can you believe it?) for over $900 to fund an important conference trip.

So when it became time to make a major push to retire the debt with which Richard Carrier’s lawsuit saddled FreethoughtBlogs, I thought to myself, “Self,” I thought, “what was the most successful thing you’ve ever done when you needed to raise money for a good cause?” And, obviously, I thought of porn.

So I have decided to once again auction off my skills of an artist. In this case, however, I’m offering you more control over my keyboard and less paper and autographs. For this fundraiser, there will be an auction and also a separate, flat-rate bonus round.

For the first, the winning bid will entirely and solely commission me, Crip Dyke, to write a story, humorous or serious, in which main characters the winner outlines engage in friendship, romance and/or hot steamy sex, as specified by the winner alone.

My custom stories have been used in the past as birthday, anniversary, or other gifts for friends, partners & spouses. They have been used to open up dialog about including new kinds of sex in a relationship when bringing up the possibility directly seemed scary, or to share a fantasy that someone felt as though they could not adequately describe. Other times a custom story can be used simply to tell a person how much you care about and appreciate them. One was even used to embed a confession and apology – a strategy that appeared to work in restoring that relationship’s balance. (Though please, don’t mistreat anyone just for the opportunity to get more from one of my stories!)

If you are the winner, you can expect the final story to fall between 2000 and 6000 words and to be actually edited, unlike the work I typically post to my blog. For best results, I will expect you to be actively involved in imagining what type of story would make you most happy and to e-mail back and forth several times to make sure the final product does not violate any important ideas you hold about who the characters should be and how they should experience their shared world. Because both communication and art take time, allow 30 days from first e-mail contact about the story to delivery of the final product. While I expect to take significantly less than this, total time required will depend in part on the prompt return of e-mails asking for your custom parameters.

You may use this story as you like, so long as you do not sell it for publication, include it in your own for-sale publication, put the text up on a paywalled website, or put any part of it on merchandise for sale. This is slightly broader than unlimited non-commercial use as you should feel free to include choice quotes on your business website or in other free but commercially related venues, perhaps even in your personal bio, so long as the quotes themselves are not behind a paywall. At your whim the story can be published on this blog or delivered privately to you for your exclusive use.

As a (former) erotic/pornograhic professional short story writer who has taught workshops on short story writing generally and sex story writing specifically, my excellent work does not come free, or even cheap. I expect to spend more than 8 hours on this project, and at the US$15 minimum living wage that I support, that would mean that the absolute minimum value of this project is US$120. If there is no bid matching or exceeding $120, there will, sadly, be no custom short story delivered to a single person this month – though if the monthly fundraisers continue, there will be future opportunities to win this rare and coveted Crip Dyke custom work.

The winner of this auction will be determined according to rules developed by my FtB friend and generous mailer of curiously light cardboard boxes, Marcus Ranum: You may bid in the comments below or via e-mail (sent to CripDyke on Gmail) for more privacy. All bids will be assumed to be denominated in US dollars. The highest bid will take the prize for the price of $1 more than the second highest bid, or $121 if there are no other qualifying bids. So feel free to bid what you’re willing to pay without worrying that you are overbidding.

But wait, that’s not all! 

If the second-highest bid is over US $200, I will write a custom story for that bidder as well, for exactly the amount of the bid.

But wait, that’s still not all!

Of course, as worthy of support as both the arts and FtB might happen to be, not everyone has $200 or even $121 to spend on the effort. This is why I am also offering a community story. For this effort, every single person who donates $10 and/or sends me a really good sob story about why their under $10 donation should be sufficient (“really good” judged by my whim, of course) will get to contribute one single detail of character, setting or plot to a community creative effort where all the details provided are woven into a single NSFW story, probably intended to be humorous, though I’m reserving artistic freedom here, to be published right here on this blog. Donations in excess of $10 to this effort entitle the donor to specify one detail per $10 given (rounding up or down at my whim, but larger donations are more likely to be rounded up).

Let me be clear here: I fully expect people to try to use this fundraiser to suggest details that appear hard to incorporate into any short story, or even details that appear to contradict other suggested details should they appear in the comments. There will be no detail, silly, nonsensical or contradictory enough to be omitted. My mind is up for this challenge you trolls, so bring it if you got it.

If this effort fails to raise $120, donations will be kept and suggested details will be held over to the next fundraiser, with a community story being written as soon as donations exceed the $120 minimum. If the community story raises $500 or more for the effort, I will also record a dramatic reading of our collective’s story and upload the audio here for unlimited non-commercial use.

All donations for the auction or the community-created story are expected to be verified by screenshot or other reasonably suitable method. There will be no FBI investigations here, but as this work is undertaken on behalf of FtB I have a duty to the network to make a minimal effort to verify that people are donating what they have pledged.

Good luck and good bidding!

Gender Neutrality is Wrong … Sometimes

Okay, so this is a quick note for those folks who aren’t completely turned off by pedantry and appreciate thinking more deeply about gender. If you ain’t both, this probably isn’t for you.

When “gender neutral” was first used in the context of trans* advocacy, access to bathrooms was probably a driving motivator of the language. In this sense, “gender neutral” is reasonable: the bathrooms themselves might easily have little to nothing to do with gender, including (importantly) things that humans tend to project gender on to even when they are not in any way associated with any particular human. So “Gender neutral” began largely communicating the idea of having no gendered connotations whatsoever – the sense we’ll use for the rest of this brief note. Bathrooms in the home are generally gender neutral in this sense, though we could certainly make a bathroom communicate femininity or masculinity by decorating it in particular ways. Still, when one tenant moved out, presumably those gender signifiers would also go: so, at least intellectually, we can separate the gender neutral bathroom from the gendered decor.

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The libs who cried wolf: a cautionary tail

Unreasonable libs: “Wolf!”

Reasonable centrist: “Yeah, you’re right. He’s definitely a wolf. But he hasn’t even been inaugurated yet. Give it time”

“Wolf!”

“Yeah, you’re right. He’s definitely a wolf, but he ran on being an outsider and disclosing code-word intelligence to the Russians and hiring a literal, actual foreign agent as National Security Advisor, well, that’s pretty outsider-stuff. No insider would do that. But it’s still the first 100 days, give him a chance to become presidential.”

“Wolf!”

“Yeah, you’re right. He’s definitely a wolf. And it is bad for the country and bad for democracy when he calls innocent people traitors, labels the press “enemies of the people” and makes himself synonymous with the country and, by extension, his personal interests synonymous with the country’s interests. But he told us he’s not the usual politician, so he’s just being true to his nature. No need to get worked up.”

“Wolf!”

“Yeah, you’re right. He’s definitely a wolf. He’s racked up a history of dishonesty unparalleled in US political history. But with that canine brain I don’t think he even actually understands that he’s lying. He just says he’s grandma to get a better chance to eat you, or because his wolf-nature doesn’t understand normal human communication and social reality. We can’t hold that against him, can we? It’s not like he’s maliciously lying.”

“Wolf!”

“Yeah, you’re right. He’s definitely a wolf. He’s definitely abused his office and committed offenses that are surely comparable to those that sparked Nixon’s impeachment, but I got to tell you, you never learned the lesson of that story, ‘The boy who cried wolf’ did you? We would have been able to remove him from office if you hadn’t gone and sacrificed your credibility crying ‘Wolf!’ repeatedly for three years.”

 

 

For Freud’s Sake: Anti-racists are the real racists…again?

A couple weeks ago an NPR bigwig wrote an editorial about how it was wrong to call racism “racism” or racists “racists” because that was a moral judgement, not a factual one.

That. Position. Is. Freuding. Bankrupt.

Treating racism as a matter of moral opinion leads us directly to this place:

[Text Excerpt, emphasis mine:] “If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district … perhaps progress could be made”

Ten days ago, Wonkette’s Dok Zoom did a story on how NPR’s  Keith Woods, VP for newsroom training and diversity, argued against the decision NPR’s newsroom had previously made to label racist shit as actually racist. The conclusion that Dok Zoom came to was this:

that’s a big part of the problem with Woods’s argument: When it’s reduced to a headline, it sure as hell sounds like “let’s not stir up controversy with the mean word racism.”

But I don’t think that’s even the biggest problem with Woods’s argument. No, I think the biggest problem is that when whether or not something is racist or someone is engaging in racism is a moral opinion rather than a factual question, then there is no possible basis on which the media (or anyone, really) can challenge the message “anti-racists are the real racists”. It is the effect of long-standing refusals of news departments to treat racism as a fact that has gotten us to the point where even in 2019 Trump thinks that accusing Elijah Cummings of racism is a good media strategy … and might even be right.

Since we’ve been hearing this asinine argument for more than 50 years now, it seems imperative that the US media pulls its head out of its collective burro and gets busy developing the skills necessary to actually investigate racism as a factual matter, something that either does or does not exist, not a matter of opinion.

 

Oh, and by the way: Tucker Carlson, when Jon Stewart said you were hurting the US? This is what he was talking about.

 

 

 

 

Ed Brayton & I Created Overlapping Posts: “The real racists”, then and now.

I hadn’t read Ed Brayton yesterday when I created my discussion of the Trumpian defense of cissexism. However, as it turns out, he also posted something addressing the same phenomenon. He chose to emphasize the history of the argument, rather than how it comes about and what it says about popular understandings of practical ethics, meta ethics, and oppression. Nonetheless, it’s very relevant:

We hear a lot of racists claim that they aren’t racist, the real racists are the ones who accuse them of racism. One might thing this is a new argument, but George Wallace, who might as well have worn a white sheet and hood to the governor’s office in Alabama every day, made this exact same argument, word for word, in 1968.

[See Brayton’s post for a video of Wallace’s argument in Wallace’s own words.]

While the trans-hostile version of this isn’t that trans* people are the real anti-trans*ists, it’s quite close. The essence of the trans-hostile claim is that trans* people are killing gender liberation, and that anti-trans feminism is the only method of achieving gender liberation. Thus anti-trans feminists are the real pro-trans feminists, and pro-trans* activists (feminist or not) are actually anti-woman and anti-feminist.

But “the people who identify racism and racists are the real racists” argument has strong components of “Black people aren’t necessarily anti-Black, but they’re anti-white and their activism is also wrong in ways which make racial liberation impossible, while the the KKK and the CCCs and more generally the white anti-Black public figures who are commonly called racists have the only real solutions to racism. Thus George Wallace is the true hero of the anti-racism movement and the people who are given credit for fighting racism are actually retrenching it.”

Understood this way, the TERF statements and these statements made by George Wallace and his defenders in the 1960s are near-exact analogs. I’d like to think that we’d learned our lessons from past struggles, but not only have we not learned to recognize these cissexist arguments in the TERF context, too many of us still buy into the original racist form of the argument a hundred years after it was first made and more than 50 years after it was first widely criticized in mainstream media.


As an addition, I thought I would point out that George Wallace of the 1960s deserves all the scorn he gets, but not everyone remembers that after an attempted assassination that resulted in an irremediable spinal injury, Wallace became quite a different person. (It’s not clear how much of that would never have happened without the assassination attempt, but since it’s frequently mentioned by others I figure it’s worthy of mention here for context that is at least possibly explanatory.) While I don’t think he ever became anti-racist in the sense we would want to see from someone today, he did turn his back on his statement, “Segregation now. Segregation tomorrow. Segregation forever.” As wikipedia reports:

In the late 1970s, Wallace announced that he was a born-again Christian and apologized to black civil rights leaders for his past actions as a segregationist. He said that while he had once sought power and glory, he realized he needed to seek love and forgiveness. In 1979, Wallace said of his stand in the schoolhouse door: “I was wrong. Those days are over, and they ought to be over.” He publicly asked for forgiveness from black people.

During Wallace’s final term as governor (1983–1987) he made a record number of black appointments to state positions, including, for the first time, two black people as members in the same cabinet. [footnote numbering removed by me – cd]

I like noting this part of Wallace’s story where it’s possible to do without minimizing the harms of racism, because it illustrates a capacity for human growth and betterment that is fundamental to the choices we make to educate others about oppression. People really can and do get over prior prejudices. They can and do change policy stances. They can and do identify and fix faults in themselves. While some people may, empirically, be beyond hope, we can’t know which people those are until they have died. As long as folks are alive, and as long as you can do so while still caring for yourself, efforts to educate even the George Wallaces among us just might be worth it.

 

“It’s Always Men”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was beat up by a baseball team yesterday, rhetorically. The team’s management wanted to show some right-wing propaganda and show some they did. Displaying a video prepared by others that included shifting images illustrating a Reagan speech, the team’s stadium screen showed pictures of AOC, Kim Jong-Un, and Fidel Castro while the Gipper’s voice said, “Enemies of freedom”. It would, of course, be bad enough if the three faces were all elected officials who belonged to the Democratic Party, but grouping AOC with Kim and Castro was particularly bad.

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