Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So what are you doing next Friday?

I'll be watching the Watchmen. How about you?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What would you do?

In a post over at Gender Critics a user by the name Bj0rnborg mentioned the following scenario:

A man in the tram is silently crying. No one knows why.
The close by women can't decide if they should contact him and somehow comfort him (female genderroll: taking care of everyones emotional wellbeing).

The other men in the bus are looking away. Why? Sure, it's a display of weakness, and a reminder of every man's own inner fight. But the most important reason? Out of respect. Out of respect of whatever trouble that particular man had, for another man to engage into that situation would only increase that mans shame/self contempt/self awareness. So we respectfully keep away, just as we keep our own emotional baggage to ourselves so not to burden any other man. Every man has more than enough of his own.

Now the main point of Fred's post was to shed light on how people, namely men, react to seeing other men with problems and whether or not they would offer assistance. Well me being me I went on a bit of a tangent and brought up the issue of how my level of familiarity with the man in question would affect my offering of assistance. I had said that if was not that familiar with the crying man in question I would not offer assistance. In response to that Fred asked me two questions in return:

How would you approach offering a guy help that you did know? Is that different from how you would approach offering help to woman you know?

Despite their being only two questions I think this requires three answers.

1. A man that I do not know: Simply put I would not offer to help a man that I did not know. Now for the most part we are conditioned to believe that "a real man doesn't ask for help", "a real man doesn't need help", and even "to offer help to a man is to insult that man". None of those reasons have anything to do with why I would not help him. Like I said above I would not offer assistance because I do not know him. First I do not know his situation. And second I do not know how he may react to my offer. Perhaps with hostility because he thinks I think he is weak. Too many variables to risk to offer aid.

2. A woman that I do no know: Just like the man I do not know I would not offer aid to a woman I do not know either. Now I know this flies in the face of everything we are taught. "Always help a woman." "Damsel in distress." Stuff like that. But just like the man I don't know I don't know her situation. Nor do I know how she would react. She may think I'm trying to attack her. Other passengers may think I'm the one that harmed her and she needs help and in their attempt to help her I end up getting tossed in jail. Frankly speaking I think offering assistance to a woman I don't know is more risky that offering assistance to a man I don't know.

As you can see unfamiliarity with the person in question leaves too much room for an offer of assistance to become a problem. However once that wall of unfamiliarity is torn down things change quite a bit.

3. For either a man or a woman that I know I would certainly offer assistance with but a few exceptions. One, I know that the person in question would not want me to speak to them under such a situation. Two, I already know the situation and know that the instance in crying in question is just a coping mechanism. Well that's all I can think of (it is 3:44 am mind you) but I'm sure there are more. Barring any of those circumstances my desire to help my friend/acquaintance would over ride my fears of having him think I think he's weak or my fears of her thinking I'm only offering assistance because "women need men to help them".

So what about you reader? What would you do if you saw a man/woman that you do/do not know crying and what would influence your answers?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Anyone know who this issue belongs to?

I'm gonna go straight to the point.

Why in the hell do people go through so much trouble trying to tell whether or not an issue belongs to a certain branch of activism as if the proper label on the issue determines its importance?

When Sean Bell was murdered by a group of cops as he and friends were coming out of a night club (the day before his wedding mind you) there were people in the feminist blogshpere who were trying to decide of his murder was a feminist issue.

Does it really fucking matter which branch of activism an event belongs to? If it "belonged" to the anti-racists would things change? If it "belonged" to the MRAs would the murder mean less? If it "belonged" to feminist does that suddenly mean that his murder was a serious issue? To the devil with that.

This man was killed a little over two years ago and people are still arguing over whether or not his murder is a feminist issue.

One of the arguing points mentioned by those who say it is is the fact that he left behind a widow. Are those people trying to say that the only reason his murder is worthy of the feminist label is because a woman was affect? (I suppose if his wife to be was killed and Sean and the child were left behind it would automatically be a feminist issue.) I guess it only warrants the "feminist issue" label if a woman was affected no matter how far you have to dig for the connection.

To all you people arguing over whether or not his murder (or any event for that matter) is a feminist issue, who gives a shit? A man was murdered for racist reasons. He left behind a widow and child. The widow and child need support and the racism needs to be dealt with. It is an issue plain and simple.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

This sounds an awful lot like, "He was asking for it."

Shoutout to Glenn Sacks on this one.

What we have here is a 41 year old music school teacher up on charges ranging from "16 offenses including sexual abuse of a minor, third- and fourth-degree sex offenses and showing obscene matter to a minor" for her alleged sexual relationship with an under aged male student. It seems to be the thing these days for female teachers to have sexual relationships with under aged (mostly) male students. But I have to say that this is the first time I've seen a defense like this.

The defense has filed a motion to dimissed on the following grounds:

...the victim, now 17 years old, is mature based on a number of factors including the fact that he has a 21-year-old girlfriend who he has had an ongoing sexual relationship with for more than two years.

So because he has an older girlfriend now means it was okay to statutorily rape him when he was still a minor.

...the victim, before he dropped out of school, publicly admitted to being voluntarily sexually active and using illegal drugs since he was 12 years old.

No comment on the "maturity" of dropping out of school but it would seem that his past illegal drug use meant it was okay to have sex with him before he was legally able to consent.

and finally...

...the victim has admitted to being a pornography addict.

An addiction to pornography is a greenlight to have sex with an under aged child.

Okay now I'm sure that anyone reading this has read of cases in which a man has been brought on charges for raping an under aged girl and he offered "explanations" along those same lines ("She's mature for her age", "She said she likes it rough.", "She seduced me!"). Those lines don't excuse their behavior and I sure as hell hope this woman does not get off with the line of BS she is calling a defense.

Male rape victims have been a marginalized group for a long time and its got to stop. No more of this "He was asking for it.", "He should be glad he was able to score a teacher.", "He's the male so he must have raped her.", or "He's the male so it must be his fault."

I know its hard for a lot of people to understand but first of all despite what the media and society says all males are not horn toads that think about sex all the time. And two even if that were so there are laws in place that (are at least) supposed to protect those who are not able to give consent.

And on a bit of a side note. Supposedly girls mature emotionally faster than boys do. If that is the case why is it assumed that under aged girls who have sex are victims but under aged boys who have sex are not victims? I suppose people that think that way believe that boys are behind girls in every standard of maturity except for sex.

Oh come on people...

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Apparently cartoonist Sean Delonas thought this was a good idea. Something to laugh at. Something that would received as "insightful and thought provoking". First off this was not a good idea in fact it was a very bad idea. Second if you see someone laughing at this I highly recommend you reevaluate your opinion of that person. Third this does provoke quite a bit of thought but believe me when I say that the thoughts that are provoked are not of Sean being insightful.

Not to say that it would be okay outside of February but he could have at least waited until Black History Month had passed.

I've read some asking if Rev. Al Sharpton is on point with complaining about this. Hell the fuck yeah he is on point for complaining about this. The man has his moments but its insulting to even think it is even necessary to ask if he has any business complaining about it.

Post racism world my ass...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Perhaps his soul can finally rest in peace...

Like many men Tim Cole was a man that was put away in prison for a crime he did not commit. Like a lot of those men Tim's name is on its way to being cleared. But unlike many of those men Tim himself will be there when the official decision comes down.

In 1985 Tim Cole was convicted of raping a Texas Tech student and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He would have been due for release in the next year or so but Tim will never see the light of day again. Tim died while in prison in 1999. It did not have to end this way. The asthma difficulties that took his life may have still done so but at least he would have been in the outside world, where innocent men should be.

There is a man by the name of Jerry Wayne Johnson who since 1995 has been claiming responsibility for the brutal crime committed against Michele Mallin. Yes go ahead note the difference. Johnson started claiming responsibility in 1995. Cole died in 1999. During that four year span Jonhson tried on at least three separate occasions to confess to the attack:
Then, in 1995, Johnson wrote a letter to the district court in Lubbock in which he confessed to raping Mallin. He got no reply. So he wrote another letter asking for an attorney so that he could legally confess. Again, he was ignored.

Johnson eventually wrote to the former Lubbock district attorney who prosecuted the case, Jim Bob Darnell, and asked for his help. There was only silence in reply. By 2007,...(It is worth mentioning that he intentionally waited until the statute of limitations passed on the rape before stepping forward).(Shoutout to Save the Poor Brown Children)
Why were Johnson's attempts at a confession ignored for four years? Where the hell was the court system that was so ready to lock Cole away when the real culprit stepped forward? And for those of you wondering "Well if he had not waited for the statute of limitaions he might of saved Tim's life!" I ask, "Four YEARS was not enough time to hear out Jerry's confession and get Tim out of prison so that if the asthma was gonna take him in 1999 he would have at least died a free man?"

To have something like this come to light during Black History month should put an exclamation point on the fact that not only did racism not magically dissappear after the initinal efforts of the Black Civil Rights movement or when Obama won his bid for the White House.

(Currently Cole's family and Michele Mallin with help from the Innocence Project of Texas are working to have Cole's name cleared. Let's hope that at least one of the who knows how many man that are wrongly in prison can have his name cleared even though he won't be there to thank those that helped him.)

Edit: Ouyang Dan points out that Renee has a post up on this stating that his name was cleared. I was a little slow on the pick up because the article link I got from the comment section of one of Glenn Sacks' posts last week said that Timothy's family was going to court to try to clear his name.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

For an organization with "Ethical" as part of its name...

the people that come up with P.E.T.A's marketing/protest efforts seem to have a short of supply of ethics.

First they go and use borderline nude pictures of women in its ads (don't believe me eh? Then go check ask (i.e. search) Renee, Cara, and Melissa about it).

Well I guess they decided that such a campaign was offensive or something so they came up with a better way to generate awareness.

So check out the attire they chose. I'm pretty sure there's not much ethical about invoking one of the most racist images imaginable.

Yes you saw that correctly. Members protested in front of the Westminster Dog Show last night where white robes and white hoods that are pointed at the top. Perhaps this marketing group just magically forgot about the last 250 some odd years or they just don't give a fuck anymore. Does this mean that the members that did this can be considered extremists now? Well the majority of the blogshpere has already cut this open and excised the racism at work here but I just had to say something.

I wanted to say WFT and epic fail at the same time but couldn't quite figure out how. But that's okay cuz Dramatic Chipmunk and Bob Barker have it under control:

(And this is not the last time you will see this.)


Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work

This "news report" manages to sum up the frustration that people who do not understand technology and the people who are obsessed with buying the latest gadget just to find out its obsolete by the time they get it home and plug it in.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I see your 25 Random Things...

1. Yes my first name is Daniel.

2. My current hairstyle of choice is the afro (and yes I have the pick with the black power fist).

3. For reading material I lean towards mystery, fantasy, and a small bit of horror.

4. Don't bother asking me what my favorite movie is. I like a lot of them but there's no way I can pick one and say its my fave.

5. Did I mention I was indecisive?

6. A part of the list in my ideal human rights conversation would be Glenn, Sally, Lisa, Ren, Fred, etc...not sure who else but there would be more people in this conversation.

7. I have no problem with people who do not know any better on a subject but are at least civil. Its those bastards that do not know any better on a subject but still insist on acting like they are the know all authority on it that bother me...

8. If it were possible I would be the one jedi in existence that would actually have a higher body count with telekinesis than with a lightsaber. Sure impaling people and removing various body parts is fun but being able to force grip someone and toss them off into the distance just does it for me even better.

9. After spending 8-9 hours a day answering phones would YOU feel like talking on the phone once you get off work? That is why I'm horrible about answering phone calls.

10. The holy grail of my video game collection would be a functioning Turbo Grafix 16 WITH the CD system. That will be a glorious day. Angels will sing, champagne will fall from the heavens, velet curtains will part.

11. I'm the world's laziest cook. Don't get me wrong when I get in the kitchen I throw the fuck down problem is I don't feel like getting in the kitchen too often.

12. I recently bought the entire "Angel" tv series boxset on ebay for $65.

13. Am I the only person that loves peanut butter so much that I didn't stop eating it during this salmonella scare?

14. I firmly believe that the person that coined the phrase, "The customer is always right." never worked in retail and should have violence committed against them.

15. In order to put on headphones I have to part my hair. And I haven't worn a hat in years.

16. For the most part I don't bother with labels. People spend too much time arguing over the labels themselves and not focusing on the actions of the people in question. A damn waste if you ask me.

17. Dark Chocolate is probably the greatest sweet ever invented.

18. When I sleep at night I have to have some sort of sound (usually music) going on.

19. I occasionally take Fuck It Days.

20. I wanted to try an MMO but WoW just did not look interesting so I went for Lord of the Rings Online instead. And I'm glad I did.

21. Unfortunately now I'm playing an MMO again I have basically no time for console gaming.

22. Just caugh up on Bleach yesterday. 205 episodes. Need to get around to catching up on One Piece.

23. If I could have one mutant ability it would most certainly be control over magnetism because Magneto owns. Yeah most people would go for telepathy because it would be so easy to win a fight but that just doesn't interest me. (Mind you telepathy is about the only way you could stop a person with Magneto's powers.)

24. For me the ideal pizze has mushrooms, spinach, garlic, and pepperoni.

25. My taste in music? Basically anything but country (but there are a few country music exceptions to that).

...and I'll raise you a 26!!! Haha!!!!

26. You must watch this:

"Guilty until proven inno"....hold up its "Innocent until proven guilty". Right?

You know people like to brush off false rape allegations as if they are some one-in-a-godzillion occurrence that's less likely than getting struck by lighting 67 times (kudos to whoever knows where that number of lighting strikes is from). That may be the case but damn if those things don't wreck havoc on the lives of the poor souls that fall victim to them.

I was reading this today (shout out to Glenn Sacks) and I have to say that this guy has every right to be mad, upset, or whatever he's feeling.

The false accuser in this story said that her "rapist" raped her several times and was blackmailing with homemade DVDs and even threatening to kill her. Like any police force should an investigation was carried out. Well apparently:
perhaps knowing her account contained, as police put it, a 'number of inconsistencies', she withdrew the allegation. The police officer recorded the incident as 'no crime'.

But if there was 'no crime' can someone please explain to me why, 'the matter remains recorded as rape'.? So he was accused, arrested, and let go but the records will reflect rape? Yeah that's fair. And to make it even better it seems that despite the fact that the allegation was withdrawn and police let him go the incident is being kept in the Police National Computer where an officer added the following to the record, 'There is insufficient additional verifiable information to determine that no notifiable offence has been committed.' Translation: "He might not have raped her but more than likely he's does something wrong so we'll just use this false allegation as an excuse to keep him in our records."

Now this record isn't just some reference that is locked away and only the police have acces to it mind you. This record is referenced as a part of background criminal checks and for US Visa applications. And how long does this hammer hang overhead: TEN YEARS! That's right for ten gentlemen you get to be treated like a criminal for ten years because some vindictive woman took out her frustrations against you all because you might have done it. Apparently its best to assume that you did instead of finding out if you did.

Now you'll notice that I didn't use his name. That's because thankfully a falsely accused man's name is actually being protected instead of being tossed to the media like steak to pack of hungry wolves. But I'm sure your sigh of relief will fade when you see this:
The boyfriend cannot be identified to protect his accuser's anonymity, but wants to make his case public. (emphasis mine)

Yeah protecting his identity has absolutely nothing to do with protecting him until at least a damn conviction or giving him the benefit of the doubt. Oh hell no the only reason his identity is getting protection is because said protection is necessary in order to protect her identity.

So there you have it folks. I'm sure despite the fact that the damage is as plain as day someone out there really believes that falsely accused men don't suffer any damage and I'll bet there are even a few jerks that think being falsely accused teaches him some sort of lesson. And let's not forget the ones that "know" he probably did something wrong even if it wasn't that specific rape therefore he deserves to get drug through the mud.

(P.S.) - Did you notice that there is nothing about an investigation into if her claim was false or any charges brought against her?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Any tool is a good one if you know how to use it

In the wee hours of the morning Renee put a post about a film that covers the Montreal Massacre that occurred on Dec. 6, 1989. The film does not cover the perspective of the 14 women who were killed but instead it comes from the angle of a group of men were forced out of a classroom by the gunman, allowing him to "fight feminism" by shooting all nine of the women in the classroom, killing six. After the initial attack he proceeded to go through other areas of the school killing eight more women in the process. In the end he turned the gun on himself.

And it would seem that Renee (and many of her regulars) are not happy about this. Now at first I thought they were mad because they thought the intent of the movie was to outright say that the perspective of the women that died really wasn't important in comparison to the "real victims" or some shit like that. But after talking to some of the folks over there with mixed reaction (ranging from actual conversation to being told to write in my own blog to an invitation to "fuck off", need as Cara exactly how one does that). Well I already intended to write something over here about it but I don't think it would have been right to just go off on them without at least talking to them. And despite some of them being more concerned with zingers than anything else I'm glad I did.

The comments got me thinking, "Okay I don't fully understand their anger. Why would they be upset over a relatively small bit of coverage about the male survivors?" I know they (well at least Renee anyway) would not be mad over something like survivors getting their perspective told. So I reread the post and notice this:
I am in no way denying that the men who witnessed this event were traumatized however, the first time that this story is told on the big screen should not be from the male perspective.

Could the source of the anger here be the format of the telling of their perspective and the exposure associated with that format? "Oh heavens no that can't be it" I tell myself. "Who cares about the format? This is apparently the first time their perspective has been covered so its not like this one telling is going to override the 20 odd years of remembrance for those 14 women right?" Then it hits me.

Media is used to distribute information and movie/tv is one of the most widespread. Not only is it widespread but its also highly influential.

So you have a movie about an event from the perspective of the male survivors and not that of the 14 women that were killed. For many people (myself included) will be learning about this for the first time from this movie. At this point I will invoke one of my favorite tools, The Test.

The Test is a tool I use to get an understanding of someone else's feelings, perspective, etc... Today's incarnation of The Test will be:

"Danny how would you feel if the first widespread telling of an tragedy in which only men were killed was presented from the perspective of women survivors?"

Thinking about it like this I would have to say that honestly my reaction would probably be something akin to Renee's. Mind you I wouldn't call it a piece of shit from the get go but I would be left wondering why the first widespread telling of a tragedy in which only men were killed was told from the woman's perspective.

Yes I'm sure there are people out there (and possibly reading this) that are calling me ever name in the book and making up a few new ones. Big Fucking Deal. I'm working my way through this at my pace and no amount childish name calling is gonna change that.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

If it should be her choice then why must it be his responsibility?

As anyone that's been reading this blog for the can tell, I don't exactly come with hard hitting subjects that set the blogshpere ablaze with insightful commentary and words that are the most profound of the profound. I kind of just go with the flow that I feel. Well today I feel like something should be addressed when it comes to parenting. Unfortunately I think I'm about to paint a bulleye on my back. Oh and before you take the time think of a wiseass comment about how basic this is just suck it up or move the hell on.

When it comes to parenting one of the most often heard phrases is, "Her body, her choice". I agree with a point I think.

Now before you start loading up the personal attacks let me clarify. On the topic of abortion I suppose I'm pro-choice. If a woman gets pregnant it should be up to her to decide to bring said child into the world. It's her "choice" as it were. That's fine, well, and good. Now I have a question. Why is it that in most parenting conversations people talk about its her choice and his responsibility?

On one most people that tell a man to step up and take responsibility and be a father will fire back with something to the effect of "he should have kept it in his pants", "he choose to have sex now he has to live with the consequences", or something like that. But on the other those same people don't tell her "she should have kept it out of her pants", "she choose to have sex now she has to live with the consequences, or something like that (in fact people who do say such things to the mother are accused of trying to take control of her body, funny that they don't notice they are doing the same thing to the father...)

People advocate that from the moment of conception the mom she should have control (barring complications and risks beyond her control) over whether that child lives or dies. The support for that position usually comes in the form of commenting that since she is the one carrying the child in her body it should be her choice. Why are men given that same choice when it comes to being a father?

What type of father a man becomes or even if he becomes a father is not up to him as much as people like to think. Men that want to be a part of their child's life getting pushed away while simultaneously getting drug through court for child support. Women abandoning babies (and not always in safe places like hospitals and firehouses) without telling the father about them. Even the occasional story of mothers whisking the child away from dad and not even informing him when the child dies.

I know all this sound incoherent but what I'm getting at is if a woman gets pregnant and wants to abort lots of people will stand by her but if the father of that child doesn't want to be a father those same people will scorn him. Why is that? Why is one allowed to choose and the other is held at the mercy of that choice?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Mind, Body, Conscience, and Dance Part 2

Back in part one I was discussing the variables involved in one's choice of music. Here in part two I want to look at some of the various states and the choices they lead to (at least for me anyway).

You're in the mood to dance. However you don't want to spend a lot of energy
Jam & Spoon - Stella
You'll notice that in this particular song, classified as vocal trance, there are almost no lyrics (simply a woman occasionally saying "Hold me. Love me."). Despite this being a club track I can imagine dancing in a close embrace with someone and dancing as if we were the only people on the floor. Just you, your partner, and the beat. I would say that you can't have lyrics in a song like this for they would ruin the moment. Try to picture 50 Cent rapping to the beat of this song. It hurts my head to think about such an image.

You're laying on the beach watching the clouds and trying to relax. Remote - Postcard. No energy. No activity. No dancing. To me such a song is for times when you want to forget about your responsibilities and have some, "Me time". Just like the song I mentioned before this one lyrics would get in the way. This track is meant to be all about you. Hell think of your own lyrics if you want. Take you to that "Me, Myself, and I" place.

Prom. Wedding. Family Reunion. If you've been to one of these events at sometime in your life there is a very high chance that either The Cha Cha Slide or The Electric Slide was played...more than once. The line dance. Songs like this are for social events and you want to get everyone on the floor but in a manner that doesn't result in a crowded mess. You don't have to worry about performing the wrong dance to these songs since there is only one way to dance to them (yes you can do variations but please leave the freestyling to the pros) and many of them actually have directions in the lyrics (or directions for lyrics).

When you have a song like this where the steps are given to you or there is a specific dance associated with it you almost have no reason to not do it. Unlike the two before it the lyrics are very important to tracks like this. The need for lyrics for the Cha Cha Slide is pretty obvious because without them you would not know the directions for the dance. Even for the Electric Slide the words set the rhythm for the movements, keeping people in alignment (Although I've seen plenty of Electric Slides end in failure).

We've all had moments in our life when we were in a very dark place. It seemed like you had fallen as low as you could possibly fall and hope was on short supply. VNV Nation - Left Behind. On a track like this the lyrics themselves may not be very important but the point they convey is. Not to be a sadsack but music like this usually touches on sad depressing subjects often in the form of a story (perhaps even a story that relates to whatever has you down at the moment). Yes you could watch the music video of a song and possibly get the story without hearing it but bear in mind that even though its commonplace these days to have them in the same device its almost always been easier to distribute audio than visual.

One last example (because I don't want to go overboard with too many examples).

You've had a sucky day at work. Maybe you failed a major exam that you really did study all night for. Perhaps you got a BS ticket from cop. Whatever the reason You are are pissed off and by the time you get home you want to commit violence. To hell with patience, fuck calm, and tranquility be damned. You just want to lash out and not care about the consequences. Korn - Somebody Someone. The lyrics in music like this are often loud, chaotic, and violent. When in a bad mood quoting such lyrics can help in venting built up anger but that doesn't mean the rhythm and instrument sounds that go along with them don't help.

Now I could go on and on with more examples but I think I've made my point (but if not don't be scared to say something). Now one thing to bear in mind is that the songs I listed above and meaningfulness I associated with them are my own interpretations. Someone else can listen to this same set of tracks and get something totally different from them. And that's not even counting the people who don't like some or all of the tracks listed here.

So to answer the question of how important lyrics are to a song the best I can say is, "It depends." On what you ask? It depends on the person you ask, their state of mind, their state of mind they want to achieve, their desire (or lack of) to dance, what activity (if any) they are engaging in....

Now that this side quest is finished its time to wait and see what Fred has in store for us next.