For Your Enjoyment: Too Drunk to F*ck

So, like just about everyone, I’ve had my fantasies of musical competence, even of musical creativity. Sometimes I’ve even fantasized about being so good people might drop a looney or two in a bucket set up by the front door of a café where I’m playing. In my absolute wildest dreams, I’ve even managed to convince a few gullible people who can actually play real music to make me a part of their band, and then have people show up to drop a looney in the bucket to see my band play.

But unlike most of the people that I know, I don’t have fantasies of playing rock and roll. Unlike a significant minority of people I know, I also don’t fantasize about playing orchestra or symphonic music. No, I (futilely) aspire to something much different.

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Modeling Gender & Sex Without a False Middle

There have been many attempts to create a model that simplifies gender, sex, and sexuality enough to easily communicate important concepts without either simplifying it so much that the concepts are lost altogether. Now that we know something about social models, let’s look at a model I shared some time back on Pharyngula’s (now obsolete) Thunderdome.

The model came up in response to the suggestion of the Genderbread Person as a teaching model. As I noted then in other words, the metaphor is not the concept, so all models will fail to communicate some aspects important to a concept. The question is whether there is a better metaphor available. As a teacher or someone attempting to articulate a concept, the responsibility is still on you to know the limits of the metaphor and be able to address questions, ambiguities, and extensions. If you aren’t aware of a metaphor’s limits and able to address them longhand, using any model is risky. If you are, any model is adequate, but the models that minimize those longhand conversations are better than ones that only somewhat reduce them.

It’s with this in mind that (many years ago) I abandoned the Genderbread Person and adopted a different model, one that permits a shorthand visual model to combat multiple myths at the same time.

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Thou Shalt Not Remember Rape #1: Japan to Korea

I originally titled this post, “Japan to Korea: Thou Shalt Not Remember Rape”. I quickly realized, however, that the command not to remember rape is so common that over the course of this blog, I’m likely to have quite a few more posts referencing the command than referencing Japan’s government talking to Korea’s government. Moreover, writing the headline as if the important bit were the identities “Japan” and “Korea” only feeds into Japan’s odious framing that governments’ speaking to each other is much more valuable than the ability of humans to remember our own experiences generally and our rapes specifically. Newspaper-headline conventions be damned, then.

This post comes about courtesy of a wonderful website, Hyperallergic, to which our own Caine, writing the wonderful blog Affinity, just introduced me.

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The Metaphor is not the Concept

Over the course of this blog, we’ll be talking quite a bit about social theories and theory making. These theories have some similarities to scientific theories, but also some differences, so it’s worth stepping back for a moment and contemplating them. In particular, I think it’s productive to reinforce the idea that the theory is not the concept.

What is a theory? In these circles, in these uses, a theory is similar to scientific theory. It is a model used to discuss a concept or body of facts. Unlike scientific theories, social and critical theories reach their best when they explain a large body of observations and are contradicted by no repeatable, empirical observations, but they remain “theories” when they have not yet reached this pinnacle. Science has a separate category, hypotheses, for unconfirmed but educated speculations whose merits are debated in an academic community. Social critics? Not so much.

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Pretty Pervert: Give Headers

Would you like to pretty up Pervert Justice? I’ve neither the skills nor the time to learn the skills needed to come up with a pretty graphic header. Anyone that does have those skills and would enjoy spending the time creating such a header will get a permanent endorsement in the sidebar here at Pervert Justice, but unfortunately no immediate funds. The FtB theme recommends a header size of 728 × 120 pixels. Headers that use only the blog title as well as headers that use the blog title + “Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist Fucktoy of Death & Her Handmaiden” will be considered.

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Hello world!

Pervert Justice is a blog devoted to increasing justice in our world through increasing understanding and self-awareness. Each of us has significant capacity to increase justice, but without recognition of these capacities we will neither make the most of our opportunities nor fully, accurately value ourselves.

Over time, Pervert Justice will address a number of themes repeatedly, while touching on uncountable others. In order to ensure that I achieve what I aim to achieve, I’d like to set out some goals publicly.

  1. Using the opportunities provided by current events and by hot topics on FtB, I will explore the purposes of oppression and oppressive behaviors. We do a good job on FtB of identifying oppression and its effects. We don’t spend much time on the purposes that motivate oppressive statements and behaviors. I think our efforts to combat oppression can benefit from a better understanding of those purposes.
  2. When disagreements occur within feminism and among feminists, as a conflict-solving measure I will explain the roots of different feminist perspectives. In particular, I wish to explore the meta-ethics of feminism. For those not in the know, our ethics are our rules about what is good and what is bad. Our meta-ethics are our processes for deciding whether something is good or something is bad. Meta-ethics also includes some other points: how we categorize different ethical systems, the process of studying others’ ethics or our own, and more. In this context though, studying what values and assumptions are used by different feminisms in the process of understanding something as good or bad can help us see the strengths and weaknesses of different feminisms. Hopefully this will also permit us the insight necessary to solve the conflicts prompt our meta-ethical musings.
  3. Perhaps almost a 2.1 rather than a separate point 3, I believe that the meta-ethics of different feminisms constitute a much better basis for categorizing them than the historical eras of their birth/prominence. As such, I hold a different view of the so-called “Wave-Theory of Feminisms” than others. Over time, I’d like to construct a related set of posts that can serve as an explanation of the meta-ethics of various waves. With sufficient explanation of various systems of ethics, hopefully it will become apparent to readers even before conflict emerges that on some topic feminist opinion is likely to diverge. At that point, readers will be ready to make strong contributions to any ethical conversations which take place within feminism and also to make strong contributions back to this blog and to the FtB community about the ethical systems of liberation movements I have not studied.
  4. This can lead to a study of individual meta-ethics: not merely whether each of us should adopt some ethical position, but why each of us should do so. With experience in these conversations, perhaps we can convince each other to value things that we value that others do not (yet) and, on the other side, when coming to understand the value of something previously undervalued, perhaps we will be better at identifying how a value can change one’s ethics without leading to a fear that one is somehow losing one’s ethical balance.
  5. In a community consciously aware that different ethical systems and values are being used, we can engage the topic of Intersectionality. Intersectionality as originally proposed by Kimberlee Crenshaw is a different idea that employs the same metaphor as Intersectionality as commonly understood today. I’d like to examine the origins of Intersectionality as well as its current usages. From people that significantly predate Crenshaw (Maxine Hong Kingston, for instance) to contemporary teachers and activists we have seen many articulations of these ideas, but the more popular current usages are more popular in part because they better fit the metaphor, thus are better communicated by the metaphor, thus are spread more easily. This does not mean, however, that they are better or more important ideas. Unfortunately, the use of the same term means that too many believe that they understand the importance and significance of Crenshaw’s ideas when they may not.
  6. This leads to the question of whether to increase focus on changing (hopefully by multiplying) the understandings of Intersectionality or whether to repackage some of those old ideas into a new metaphor, hopefully one that can better communicate the depth of insight of Crenshaw and her forebears. For many years I’ve taken the route of adopting a new metaphor, the metaphor/model of Confluence. I would like this blog to become a source of information about Confluence Theory and a place to discuss it.
  7. Transfeminism is actively employed all over the world these days, but I’d like this blog to become a resource not merely for transfeminist ethics (i.e. is this-or-that current event a BadThing™ from a transfeminist point of view), but for transfeminist meta-ethics. What does the trans* perspective tell us about ethical systems themselves? How should we advocate for ethical systems to change, given the wisdom and knowledge gained from trans* experiences and trans* histories? Mary Daly gave us Gyn/Ecology not merely to hand down from on high a new list of feminist ethical positions, but to encourage each of us to think about women, to think as women where possible, when deciding how to live our ethics, live our lives. As often as possible, I wish to encourage a parallel quest through the meta-ethics of transfeminism.
  8. While secondary to the quest above, I would also like this blog to become a space where we document a history of transfeminism. I wish people to come here to record what they know of their own and/or others transfeminist efforts. Part of being an invisibilized population is doing invisible work. This blog should make that work visible.
  9. Finally, I would like this blog to be a place where people come to appreciate their own value. I have made a name for myself elsewhere through mercilessly shredding bad ideas, bad statements, bad arguments. While that will certainly continue here, I want the work of this blog to create self-awareness and self-appreciation. At its best, I hope the blog will increase self-love.

Recording these goals gives me a record against which to compare my blogging practices, a record which will hopefully help me remain productive and remain consistent with my values. It also gives any readers better tools to hold me accountable: if I am undermining any of the above goals, please let me know. I only become better through being made aware of my mistakes.

Recording these goals also provides something else: a mark against which to note my growth. Should I be lucky enough to continue blogging for years, it is inevitable that I’ll see some change in these goals. Though I will never wish to undermine them, some of these have the possibility of being sufficiently completed that they will no longer function as priorities. When that happens, I hope to set new goals, new priorities. If I’m very, very lucky, I’ll have a readership that will educate me enough that their perspectives will help determine those goals.

Thank you for reading. I hope always to be worth your time.