Saturday, February 20, 2010

Drop It Like It’s Hot

 Hello everyone.  Thank for another great week of conversation.  I probably shouldn’t say this but the reduction in trolls has been great and it has lead to more productive conversations.  Did I just jinx us?  At any rate, I want to thank Gemna for guest posting this week and to remind everyone that should you have something you wish to share, please send a link or your original post via e-mail.

Below, you will find links to a few posts that I found interesting this week.  There is so much great work getting done online that it seems the list gets longer each week.  I did not read the comment threads on these posts, so read those at your own risk.  Please show these awesome bloggers some love and when you are through, don’t forget to drop it like it’s hot and leave your link behind in the comment section.

From the Mimeograph To La Bloga

You Have to Eat to Live

The politics of porn and pubes: from the public to the personal

Is Your Fetus More Important Than You Are?

Will Promoting A Clair Huxtable Lessen The Negative Impact Of A Mary Lee Johnston?

“The Obese” as Walking Dead

Women on the edge

What’s The Transgender Day of Visibility?

Race to the bottom

Should we parent boys and girls differently?

Bisexuals: putting the B back in LGBT

Shocking Report Reveals Epidemic of Sexual Abuse in Juvenile Prisons

Slavery 2010

Who Helps The Helper?

Gender/Queer: Dressed To Kill, Fight To Win

‘So how do you have sex?’ and other stupid comments – coming out as queer and disabled 

Are Any Olympic Athletes Going to Win a Gold Medal and a fun Gender Test

Vancouver 2010 pretends indigenous people have institutional power over Canada

Peter C Hayward’s Homeless Adventure

suddenly show tact when discussing white people who commit possible acts of terrorism

Don’t Sleep

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Friday, February 19, 2010

It’s Friday and the Question Is…..

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I was suffering the net when I came across the following quote from Stephen Baldwin (ironic than w-i-n are the last three letters of his name, ‘cause he is all fail)

"I'm gonna be real straight with you," Baldwin told ABC's Jonathan Karl. "I am not happy about the way things are. I pray for President Obama every single day. But tell you what. Homey made this bed, now he has got to lay in it."

As in Homey the Clown from the 90’s hit show “In Living Colour”, or Homey as in “home boy” (read ghetto thug). Which every way Baldwin meant it, it was highly offensive. Reading that quote instantly made me say STFU.  Really, just stop sharing your ignorance with the world.  I will give Baldwin credit for one thing; his stupidity inspired this weeks question.  What conservative talking head would you like to permanently mute?  There are so many to choose from but if you had your pick, who would lose their soapbox forever? Also, don’t forget to share why they have earned this special honour.

Lady GaGa’s Vagina Is Not Your Business

imageSince Lady GaGa became the shiny new thing, the media has repeatedly suggested that she may be a man.  There has been a consistent attempt to get a peek at her vulva because the world just needs to know. Brian Moylen of Gawker, took the time to magnify the above image to see if he could discern a vagina.  In the end, he declared it a prosthetic vagina and suggested that she is indeed hiding a penis.

Not content with vagina scouting, he then linked to a post entitled, “Lady GaGa’s Sloppy Cellulite Ass and Thick Pussy of the day”(Note: I refuse to link).  Does such spew really need to see the light of day? The author did declare Lady GaGa’s vagina authentic; however, ze spent the rest of the post engaging in transphobia, slut shaming, and fat shaming.  Well at least Moylen is presenting differing points of view on the whole vagina debate right?

Due to her fame Lady GaGa is under a tremendous amount of scrutiny. She refuses to conform in a world that prizes automatons and this is even more unforgiveable because she dares to do so as female.  I am not going to get into the debate about whether or not Lady GaGa is cisgender because it is irrelevant.  Even if she had a 20 inch penis, it would not matter because she clearly identifies as female and no more need be said on this issue.

The whole debate on Lady GaGa’s genitalia is just an excuse to engage in transphobia.  It is an old and tired meme that bigots repeatedly engage in.  Every time that a woman becomes successful, bigots engage in transphobia in order to shame and discipline her.  This line of thought really only works if you consider trans people to be disgusting.  If a woman is tall, butch or even appears to be slightly gender ambiguous, you can bet that it will be a New York minute before commentators decide to engage in transphobia.  GaGa is a performance artist; love her or hate her but how about if just for the sake of decency (yes a rare commodity in this age) we stop speculating on what is between her legs.



The Olympic Flowers Represent Women’s Activism

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When I first saw the bouquets for the Vancouver Olympics, I must be honest and say that I thought that they were quite ugly.  To me they looked like we had just decided to gift wrap a bunch of weeds.  After spending all of this money on the Olympics, the choice of flowers simply did not make any sense.

It seems that the winning design was not selected for beauty (big surprise there).  It was selected in part due to the social message that these flowers send. The winning bid was placed by a florist shop called Just Beginnings. June Standberg the owner teaches floral design to women that are leaving prison, escaping domestic violence and recovering from addiction.  These are women that society has long since thrown away and her program allows them the chance to gain an employable skill will building their self esteem.

For more than a decade in Burnaby, the Beginnings program trained 160 women in floral design, with dozens of them sticking in the industry. Strandberg’s work earned her a YWCA Woman of Distinction award in 2003. Over the past few years, she nearly retired — but didn’t. Instead, she moved to Surrey and worked to open another shop to help more at-risk women learn the craft of floral design.

It’s not about what happened yesterday with these women, it’s about what road they’re on today, it really is. They have to be in the right space and aimed in the right direction. That’s how we help them,” says Strandberg

Each time we see a bouquet handed out, we can be sure in the knowledge that it has helped to empower a marginalized woman.  The Olympics are full of problematic images and messages; however, the bouquets teach us how much we all have the potential to make a difference in the lives of others.  No one is beyond hope, we simply have to care enough to try.

Mattera says a "feminist new black man" is "a crossover between RuPaul and Barney Frank"

Transcript

Aren’t liberals always talking about diversity, well where is it?  In reality when the liberals talk about diversity they never mean offering students a wide variety of ideas, including conservative ones.  Nope, their version of diversity is bizarre.  For instance at the university of Michigan students can take a class on Native American feminism.  There is also cyber feminism at Cornell university and maybe my all time favourite the class at Occidental college which deconstructs what it means to be a feminist new Black man.  Now if you are wondering what just exactly is a new feminist Black man, think of a crossover between RuPaul and Barney Frank.

Here is what Mattera refuses to recognize, society is filled with conservative ideas.  From birth children are taught to privilege certain bodies to their own detriment, thus allowing for our current hierarchy of bodies.  The reason that Mattera finds Native American feminism so odd is because he has learned to view his White heterosexual, cisgender able bodied male status as naturally occurring.  An aware and active First Nations woman threatens his understanding of the world and so he seeks to mock them. 

Similarly, his laughter at cyber feminism is once again an attempt to silence.  Conservatives are well aware of the power of the internet and they seek to subvert it at every turn.  Cyber feminism allows women to control a space and have conversations that otherwise they may never have had.  It encourages women to think critically and in many cases forms the basis of great activism. The internet also allows women that may have been silenced in the ivory tower to speak about their experiences, thus empowering WOC, disabled women, trans women, lesbians etc,. Is it any wonder that Mattera finds this concept threatening?  Introducing students to cyber feminism means that long after their formal education is over, they will have learned ways to continue to challenge the world around them. 

Mattera was most astounded by a course called Critical Blackness at Occidental.  The following is the course description:

Critical Race Theorists have begun to describe a “new blackness,” “critical blackness,” “post-blackness,” and “unforgivable blackness.” This emergent scholarship, which describes a feminist New Black Man, also seeks to “queer blackness” and to articulate a black sexual politics that addresses a “new racism.” By calling us to examine the possibility of a black political solidarity that escapes the problems of identity politics, this scholarship provokes We Who Are Dark to imagine more complex and free identities. This course invites all of us to engage this scholarship.

I personally find the course description fascinating.  It truly seeks to assert the idea of a monolithic Blackness as an impossibility.  Mattera finds this troubling because he wants the ability to label and therefore define for the Black community what constitutes Blackness.  In this way, when we conform to the ideal of the outsider, we are allowing them to set the agenda, thereby forcing us to police each other into submission.  Many can agree on what racism is; however, the idea that the constitution of Blackness may indeed be as fluid as many other identities is  something that needs to be carefully interrogated.  This may seem like a fruitless effort to Mattera but it is a necessary interrogation for Black people.

Conservatives will continue to mock universities that encourage students to think critically because their brand of government calls for automatons and troglodytes.  The more educated a person is, the less likely they are to vote conservative and this is what Mattera really fears.  An aware populace will not readily swallow the lies that conservatives daily proffer as truths.  



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dear Readers Sick Days

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I will be taking the day off.  I was very sick last night and now that the baby has joined me in stomach ills, I think that a day of flat ginger ale and soda crackers is in order.  Hopefully I will be back at it tomorrow.

Dear Oprah

This is a guest post from the ever fabulous Monica of TransGriot

image TransGriot Note: I wrote an open letter to Oprah back in 2007 asking when she was going to interview an African American trans person on her show. Time for another one.


Dear Oprah,
When you began to cover transgender issues on your show back in 2007, I along with the African descended trans community were excited that you were beginning to train your attention on the issues of transgender people.

The trans community in general deeply appreciates any opportunity we have been granted to educate the public. The sizable viewing audience exposed to your shows highlighting trans issues has been invaluable as well.

But once again, I have to ask on behalf of the African American trans community, when are you going to show us the same love you have shown the white trans community when we need the media exposure far more than they do?

We in the African descended trans community have been disappointed to see that our media blackout continues, even on Oprah.

The problem has and continues to be in the 57 years since Christine Jorgenson stepped off her flight from Denmark into the glare of media publicity in New York that the narrative of transgender exposure and experience has been predominately driven by white trans lives.

I wrote an open letter respectfully asking for equal time for transpeople who share your ethnic heritage. In the almost three years that have passed since then, I and the African American trans community have watched shows featuring Thomas Beattie and other white transpeople up to and including your recent show focusing on trans filmmaker Kimberly Reed.

But what still stands out for us is the glaring lack of African descended transpeople on your show.

The fact that your Emmy award winning talk show will be ending September 9, 2011 has added to the increased sense of disappointment myself and other African descended people feel as we fail to see ourselves and our lives represented in these shows.

That disappointment is heightened by the fact that we disproportionately continue to bear the brunt of anti-transgender hate violence.

Since your first 2007 trans themed show we have witnessed the late Duanna Johnson's beating by a Memphis police officer caught on videotape. We have had dozens of African descended transpeople such as Taysia Elzy, Ebony Whitaker, and Lateisha Green murdered, and far too often, the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against African descended transpeople share our ethnic heritage.

And frankly, our transitions are different from our white trans counterparts.

Your audience as you are keenly aware of consists of cis and trans African-Americans. It is inside and outside our African American community that we African American trans people struggle against violence, invisibility, faith based ignorance and rejection of our lives. The predominately Caucasian lens that transgender experiences have been framed in has led to a misguided perception in our community that being transgender 'is a white thang.'

Isis King is just one example of trans African Americans of all ages who are blowing away that myth. We're talented, proudly living our lives and wish to make greater contributions to uplift our people.

Like any other persons, we want unconditional equality and acceptance in our society and a fair chance to make that happen.

An appearance on your show by an African descended transperson or transpersons would not only be deeply appreciated by us, it could go a long way towards breaking down those barriers of ignorance about trans issues on the African-American community and who we are to the world at large.

It would also give our friends, supportive family members and allies a positive thing about us to point to.

Whether that happens before September 8, 2011 is up to you, and I pray it does.
Sincerely,
Monica Roberts
The TransGriot
2006 IFGE Trinity Award Winner

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Canada Is About To Deport A Bi-Sexual Man To Jamaica

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Jamaica is a beautiful country that is ripe with many issues.  It is extremely poor, with high rates of violence.  If you happen to be a member of the GLBT community, residing there can literally be a death sentence.  GLBT activists  have aggressively campaigned to boycott Jamaican products, as well to ensure that artists like Buju Banton and  Beenie Man are unable to perform. One popular performer Elephant Man had this to say in his lyrics:

"When you hear a lesbian getting raped/It's not our fault ... Two women in bed/That's two sodomites who should be dead."

J-Flag, the Jamaican gay rights group, believes that violent lyrics have contributed to attacks upon and even the murders of gay men and lesbians in the country. J-FLAG estimates that some thirty people have been killed in homophobic murders in Jamaica between 1997 and 2004. This number includes the co-founding member of J-FLAG Brian Williamson who was hacked to death with a machete. A crowd reportedly, openly celebrated around the body.

Nickaldo Smith, was convicted of assault with a weapon in November of 2003, in Toronto, Ontario.  He was then ordered to be deported back to his native Jamaica.  He then filed an appeal which was denied by the Immigration and Refugee Board in 2009.  Smith was originally sponsored by his mother in 1999 at the age of 17 to become a permanent resident.

According to the Toronto Sun:

Smith unsuccessfully appealed the deportation order to the Federal Court of Canada. He then appealed to the court for a pre-removal risk assessment in a second failed bid to remain here.

“The applicant asserted that he feared persecution in Jamaica due to his sexual orientation,” Judge Michel Beaudry wrote in a Feb. 11 decision. “The applicant discovered he was bisexual after (girlfriend) Karen encouraged him to explore his sexuality.”

Court heard Smith began dating Karen in 2005. He then began a “sexual relationship” with John, a friend of Karen, whom he is still dating.

His relationship with John was short-lived because Smith was placed in detention in April 2007, Beaudry said.

He said Smith was to have been deported last June, but that was put on hold pending an appeal.

His appeal was once again denied with Canadian officials stating in their ruling:

"The applicant has provided insufficient evidence to demonstrate that there would be a lack of protection being offered by the Jamaican authorities for him as a bisexual man or as a deportee. Should the police act contrary to their mandate, there are avenues of recourse available to the applicant through higher authorities and/or NGOs."

This is the same police force that failed to declare the murder of John Terry, a British diplomat, a hate crime despite discovering a note found next to the body of the deceased calling him a batty boy stating that, “this will happen to ALL gays".  It cannot be fairly stated that police would act to protect Smith.

Clearly, Smith had to have been aware of the consequences of criminal activity before committing the crime.  The issue is that had he been born a Canadian citizen, he would have served his time and reintegrated into society without any further punishment.   It is mendacious to suggest that deporting a bi-sexual man to Jamaica would not present a serious risk of personal harm, when homosexuality remains a crime punishable by ten years in prison there.  Politicians openly preach anti-gay rhetoric and homophobia is institutionalized. Canada long ago outlawed the death penalty and by forcing the deportation of Smith we could very well be sentencing him to death, if it is discovered that he is bi-sexual.

Toronto has a fairly large Jamaican population, however; they are conceived of as violent thugs.  It is common to read stories about Jamaican thugs terrorizing neighbourhoods.  They are seen as contaminating the neighbourhoods of good (read: white) Canadians.  Much anti-immigrant vitriol is targeted directly at the Jamaican population in Ontario.  Racism, poverty and a lack of education are never factored into the conversation. 

It is also important to note that while gay marriage has been legal in Canada for some time, it has not reduced homophobia.  The GLBT community is still subject to violence, as well as employment and housing discrimination.  Like any other marginalization in Canadian society, much of homophobia is practiced covertly, thus giving the impression to outsiders that it is a thing of the past.

Smith’s case presented the authorities to act on various socially ingrained biases: homophobia, ethnocentrism, and racism.   By virtue of his criminal offense, Smith is considered a threat to Canadian law and order, though he presents no greater threat than a Canadian citizen previously convicted of a crime.  Can immigrants ever truly believe that Canada is their home, if we can revoke their right to stay in this country?  Should a criminal conviction in Canada subject a person to a penalty that we have long ago ruled to be cruel and unusual punishment?


Wednesday What’s Up?

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This week I finally got around to watching “If These Walls Could Talk”.  I have not been able to stop thinking about this movie.  It’s the story of women and their experience with abortion and reproductive choice .  If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it . 

After today, it’s all downhill for the work week.  Please use this open thread to chat about whatever is on your mind.  Have you seen a good movie or read a great book that you would like to recommend?  Is there an issue that is just grinding your gears?  Let it all hang out and I will join you in the comment section.

The Congressional Black Caucus Parties and Priorities in the Spotlight

This is a guest post from Genma of Genma Speaks.

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The Congressional Black Caucus (C.B.C) spending budgets on lavish parties have long been a dirty little secret that many have known but rarely talk until now. The New York Times has pulled back the curtains to allow those who have questioned the C.B.C’s politics and fundraising power, a glimpse into C.B.C’s finances and the cozy relationships with corporations.

According to the New York Times article, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation raised $53 million from 2004-2008. The donations poured in from over 700 corporations and unions. The goal of the CBC Foundation is to help disadvantage African American students and policy research. But most of the money has been spent on shindigs and celebrations. The timing of this article could not have come at a more inconvenient time for the C.B.C members. The C.B.C has held several ‘sessions’ behind podiums of late to address the high unemployment rate in the African American community. I call their sessions, meet and greets. Nothing like seeing C.B.C’s members gather together to meet and greet the press with no solutions or ideas about the ills of the communities they were elected to lead. With demands and commands, they want the President to create more jobs in the African American community. When they make demands, none of the C.B.C members address the high school dropout rates in their districts, the high incarceration rate of black men and the number of homes that were bought with little investment of money or no credit.

Very few C.B.C members speak truthfully while posing for photos; when you do not have an education, have a criminal background and no credit...the jobs are few and far between. The truth is hard to accept sometimes. When we examine the number of corporations that are on the C.B.C boards (they have several), we find some of the largest corporations in America. The C.B.C board members read like the Who’s Who of corporate America; Boeing, Dell, Citigroup, Verizon, Heineken, Anheusuer- Busch, Amgen and Glaxo Smith Kline. If a corporation lacks diversity in its company makeup and is known to peddle projects that are harmful to the black community, they are perfect candidates for the C.B.C boards that bring in the money like armoured trucks. The C.B.C members appear to have deeper relationship with many of these corporations than they did with the previous Bush Administration who barely held a meeting with them and rarely acknowledged their existent during his presidency. Yet, they’ve had several meet and greets to make demands of the Obama Administration in the last year. Holding a meeting in the middle of a blizzard last week to discuss jobs in the African American community spoke volumes.

Maybe the C.B.C should hold meetings with corporate board members and ask about sponsorships for job training for former inmates, educational seminars for students to show them the value of staying in school and being a contributing member of society, and real credit counselling for members of the African American community. Since we have seen the damage that Wells Fargo ‘bought’ seminars have done with many cities like Memphis and Baltimore, members of CBC should get out of bed with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and actually help their constituents become better by becoming more knowledgeable of the finance industries. By the way, Fannie Mae was number seven out of the top fifty in donations to the C.B.C Foundation.

In 2008, C.B.C Foundation spent $4.8 million on events and conferences, $3.8 million on programs and researching, and $1.7 million on fundraising and other costs. Expenses for the events and conferences included $700,000 for catering, $350,000 for a decorator, approximately $400,000 for contractor for lighting and production and $372,000 was spent on scholarships according to federal tax records. More money was spent on catering than on scholarships. We often yell about the harm others have perpetuated on the black community but time and again the harm is allowed by the very activists and elected politicians that claimed to fight righteously for the community. C.B.C members are not held responsible for the back door deals that are made at the expense of the folks they represent. C.B.C members are given halos and anointing oil and they prove to be no better John Mayer, whose devilish comments about black folks from a drunken haze infused interview with Playboy Magazine went viral. After reading the balance sheets and donations given to the C.B.C, John Mayer seems like an altar boy. He is a mean, ugly, and crude racist but he is not using “hood passes” to raise money for scholarships for disadvantaged black youths like C.B.C members who stand at the podiums demanding equitable treatment of blacks while having events and parties to honour themselves on corporate and taxpayers’ dime.

The Southern Company, which serves customers in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, paid $300,000 to honour Miss Highness herself Chairwoman Barbara Lee. They were the title sponsor of the event. The unemployment rate in my rural hometown in Mississippi is 18.20%. Mississippi Power and Light is the utility provider to that area. The median income in Jefferson County is around $19,000 a year. The $300,000 sponsorship that The Southern Company spent to serenade a woman who does not represent Mississippi would have employed 12 people. I wondered why an electric company which provides services in the south would spend $300,000 on a California Congresswoman coming out party. “Knowledge is power”, my grandfather would repeat often. When one looks at bills sponsored by Congresswoman Lee, it does not take long to find the answer to my question in fine print to standout:

HR 890: American Renewable Energy Act – Establishes a national Renewable Energy Standard (RES) to increase our use of renewable electricity to 25 percent by the year 2025.


Well, no wonder they were willing to give such an electrifying celebration! Influence peddling does not discriminate. Chairwoman Barbara Lee is not the first and only politicians whose relationships with corporations and the bills they sponsored are questionable. But the C.B.C members have way of breaking the backs of the African American community that reminds me of a pimp trying to organize a union for unemployed women of the night.

Look at how the C.B.C uses the Black Newspapers to promote their “goodness” with free publicity while at the same time cozying up to corporations that would NEVER spend ad dollars with Black Press. Heineken Beer? Have a color person ever been in a Heineken ad? But they get a “hood pass” by donating huge dollars to C.B.C who would never jeopardize their party funds to keep jobs in the community that they want the President to take note of the lack of jobs. Got that? I didn't. If ten percent of the money raised by the CBC was given back in ad revenue to the Black Press that covers the CBC daily and weekly, how many Black Newspapers would still be in business? The Black Press held an event in DC for Congresswoman Barbara Lee as well. The Black Newspapers’ sponsorship bought them pictures to promote the CBC for free.

The need to wine and dine with corporations and influence given so freely to the electric company did not seem to reach black newspapers that report every “good and faithful” deed of C.B.C. The Black Press was not a premier sponsor at $500,000, nor a Presidential sponsor at $250,000 or a Congressional sponsor at $100,000. But the dollar value of the ink and paper that was spent to print thousands of photos from the 100’s of events and private parties totaled millions in comp revenue for Black Newspapers around the country. How’s that for equitable treatment? But how often have the C.B.C advocated to the advertising industry on behalf of Black Newspapers or use the network to help others? While at the same time, C.B.C members used the Black Newspapers without a thought to how they are surviving. The Black Press keeps the C.B.C members on the front page in predominant African American communities. “Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free”, comes to mind. Many C.B.C members have become takers from the community they are elected to serve while gathering on the steps of congress to meet and greet and demand and command more for a community that they talk about but under serves.

With the curtains pulled back, let us look closer into the CBC’s window to see their view of the world.

Elsie L. Scott, chief executive of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, acknowledged that the companies want to influence members.
Ms. Scott said she, too, had heard criticism that the caucus foundation takes too much from companies seen as hurting blacks. But she said she was still willing to take their money.
“Black people gamble. Black people smoke. Black people drink,” she said in an interview. “And so if these companies want to take some of the money they’ve earned off of our people and give it to us to support good causes, then we take it.”

Sources: NY Times, Charity Navigator, C.B.C and The Southern Company

 


Mercy Killing or Murder In The U.K.?

Seventy-on year old Ray Gosling admitted to smothering his lover after learning that he was dying of AIDS and no relief could be found for his pain.

Transcript:

I I I talked about the circumstances, he was in pain.  He got AIDS; there was no cure.  It was in the early days and there was no relief of the pain.  And I went though those things with the doctors and when he first got AIDS we had a pact.  He was my lover, he was not my partner. He was my bit on the side but we had a wonderful wonderful love affair and we said if it comes to that, I don’t want to live.  You, I rely on you Ray to finish it.  And he was in terrible, terrible, terrible pain and I finished him.

Gosling originally made this startling confession the “BBC's Inside Out programme.”  Police have now launched an investigation with the help of the BBC to determine whether charges will be laid.

According to the BBC, Dr Peter Saunders, from Care Not Killing, said:

Mr Gosling's account sounded like a case "not of assisted suicide but of intentional killing or murder".

He said: "It's rather bizarre this was filmed more than two months ago and the BBC has been sitting on it and hasn't informed the police and the case hasn't been investigated.

"At the moment all we have is Ray's word there was a pact and it wasn't clear from his description whether his lover even wanted to be killed or asked to be.

"It's not up to us as the viewing public, on the basis of one very brief selective testimony, to draw conclusions on what might be a very complex case.

"That's why it's so important all these cases be fully investigated so the true facts can come out."

Goslings confession caused a major furor with many advocating on both sides of the issue.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, British Medical Association (BMA) head of sciences and ethics, said the association had a firm position.

"We are opposed to the legalisation of assisted dying.

"Assisted dying is illegal in the UK, so doctors are not permitted to help terminally ill competent adults to die," she said.

The BMA said it believed the ongoing improvement in palliative care allowed patients to die with dignity and physician-assisted suicide and voluntary and non-voluntary euthanasia should not be made legal in the UK.

As medical technology advances the ability to extend life is increasing.  The question has now become, is the point of medical intervention to prolong life because we can, or should we factor into the equation the quality of life?  We can also ask whether life belongs to the individual or the state.  If life belongs to the individual, should they not have the right to end it if they so desire?

There are so many complex issues and questions surrounding assisted suicide. Even if we assert that a person should be able to choose, can we always be certain at the moment of death that they have not changed their minds?  There have also been many cases of able bodied caretakers euthanizing disabled people because their lives are routinely devalued.  Who decides when a quality of life becomes unacceptable?

Really, on this issue I have far more questions than I do answers.  I know that I don’t want to linger, suffering in unimaginable pain.  I also know that I can trust my loved ones to make the decision for me if I am incapable because we have talked about what I want; however, not everyone is in the same position.

In terms of Gossling, I don’t think we can tell from the short snippets of video that are available, whether or not this is a case of assisted suicide or murder?  What he has done by his public confession is create a global conversation regarding the right to die.  In that vein, I ask you to share your thoughts on this issue.  Please be mindful that this is a contentious issue and so keep all responses respectful.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Spark of Wisdom Privilege: The Weight That We All Carry

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This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.  Many of you are  familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky.

If you are privileged, then you don't understand

There are many things I could say about privilege - but most have them have already been said and in far more eloquent manner than I ever could. I sometimes think the "Invisible Knap Sack" series and "Privilege 101" checklists should be required reading for the populace.

One of the things all these posts have in common is that they try to teach people how to understand privilege - understand and acknowledge it's existence, which is vital.

But I'm going to address a different element of privilege:

Being privileged makes you ignorant. Not only does it make you ignorant - it makes you IRREVERSIBLY ignorant. When you are privileged, there are some things you simply cannot understand - no matter how much research, how much effort and how much work you put into this. The mere presence of privilege makes it impossible to understand some of the aspects of marginalisation. No matter how much of an ally you are - it doesn't mean you are not privileged and it certainly doesn't mean you are immune to privileged ignorance.

Recently there was a statistic (isn't there always?) saying that 36% of people in the UK think homosexuality is wrong (which you then have to factor in to "36% of people in the UK are willing to ADMIT they think homosexuality is wrong.") It was another depressing statistic in a long line of depressing (and likely meaningless, skewed and inaccurate) statistics, but it came back to me while I was in town doing some emergency lunch break shopping (because, y'know writing milk down on the shopping list when you empty the bottle is apparently such a challenging and taxing task - but I digress) and it hit me that I was surrounded by scores of people, nearly all of which would be straight. And I thought "a third of the people around you think your love, you life, your very being is wrong."

And I was scared. I had a moment of panic. I checked my reflection in a nearby shop window to see if I had somehow sprouted rainbows or some other clear sign of gayness, tucked my hair into my jacket and hurried back to the office to come to my senses - and to wallow in shame at succumbing to the instinct to hide yet again.

I discussed this with my friend, a straight ally. And he told me how foolish I was and how silly gay people were to hide. He told me at great length how he thought homophobia would end tomorrow if all closeted gay people were to come out and reminded me repeatedly that I had sworn not to hide anymore and how stupid it was to be scared all the time.

Basically, a classic case of privilege blinkers, even from someone who tries to be an ally. He knows that gay people are attacked and abused, but he's never lived it, he's never been attacked, he's never known the fear. He doesn't understand the need to be on guard or what it's like to be so very careful all the damn time. He has heard of, but doesn't understand the risks and personal costs of coming out.

In another incident, I was discussing various marginalisations and was told, "you're ok, gay people can hide." In one simple sentence, the whole destructive and toxic element of the closet was glossed over and ignored - even lauded as a good thing. The endless lies and acting, the repression and self-hate, the legacy of trying to "change" gays were all happily brushed away.

And, going back to my university days, where our local GBLT society was overrun by well meaning but almost comically clueless straight "allies." They spent an unbelievable amount of time lobbying the university to move our discreet, relatively out of the way office, to a larger more prominent location - all the while the actual GBLT people were saying "some of us are closeted. Some of us need the privacy, some of us appreciate the discretion." but they didn't listen - they were too busy telling us what we wanted. They were all allies, people I'd call allies (well, maybe not the university gang. But they tried to be) they all spent a lot of time trying to reach out to GBLT people; however, they still didn't understand

So what does this mean?

Aye I actually have a point - not just rambling away (though I do so like a ramble). My point is that this ignorance is important and no matter how much of a friend you are, how intense an ally or how hard you try - that ignorance will remain. And that's not a bad thing, but it means that you will always be an outsider and never truly get it

This means that you don't know better than we do about what does and does not offend us - or what should or should not offend us. Sure, marginalised people can make mistakes - but they're more likely to be right than privileged people.

That means that if a marginalised person is hurt or angry or sad by prejudice - and even if you don't know why - they probably have a reason. Belittling, questioning or demeaning or minimising their hurt is not ok - and certainly unworthy of an ally. Questioning their reaction is unfair, demanding they act or react a different way is grossly wrong. You do not know the cost. You do not understand how difficult it is, the courage it takes.

That means that you have to tread hellaciously carefully if you have a criticism of the marginalised community as a whole (and, y'know, probably better not to. Because you're in severe danger of sweeping statements there) or their fight for rights in particular. No-one needs to hear what a white person thinks all black people need to do. No-one is particularly eager to hear what a straight person thinks gays are doing wrong. That doesn't mean there can't be legitimate criticism - but there's a very very good chance that you are stomping big ignorant boots all over someone's sore spots.

That means don't tell them what they need or want (or should need or want). They know.

Hmmm, this is longer than I expected (and didn't include nearly as many digs about Beloved not putting milk on the shopping list as I intended. Which he didn't. And ruined my coffee) but ultimately it comes back to the first rule of allydom:

Listen more than you talk and follow, do not lead.

Kevin Smith & Southwest: the tip of the fat-shaming iceberg

I have a new post up at Global Comment

image On February 13th, Kevin Smith was asked to vacate his seat on a Southwest airlines flight, on account of being “too fat” to fly. Smith is a very successful director, and when he decided to use Twitter to register his complaint at Southwest’s atrocious behaviour, he reached millions. In a series of tweets, he expressed his anger at having been subjected to Southwest’s Guidelines for Customers of Size, and people listened.

This is what Smith had to say:

“Wanna tell me I’m too wide for the sky? Totally cool but fair warning folks: If you look like me, you may be ejected from Southwest. I know I’m fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated? Hey @SouthwestAir? F*ck making it right for me just ’cause I have a platform. I sat next to a big girl who was chastised for not buying an extra ticket because “all passengers deserve their space.” F*cking flight wasn’t even full! F*ck your size-ist policy.”

The age of social media means that corporations are no longer able to put a spin on incidents like this. Once a story goes viral, it gains a life of its own. Had this occurred to a passenger without celebrity status, it would simply be chalked up to (largely acceptable) prejudice against amorphous fat people, and forgotten about.

Kevin Smith is a man with over one million Twitter followers, however, and suddenly, the human element in this story was brought to life. Kevin is funny, successful and engaging, and is the opposite of the stereotypes attached to fatness. Many were able to quickly realize that the way he was treated was unacceptable. It is much harder to discriminate against someone once we have come to like them as much as we like Kevin Smith.

Overall, though, fat-shaming is everywhere we turn. It happens in the erasure of fat bodies from the media. Women who are average weight are routinely photo-shopped to appear slimmer. Fat people earn less than skinny people, even though there is no substantial evidence that they are less competent. Doctors routinely ignore the medical complaints of fat people and assume that every illness or complaint is weight-related, even when the patient and medical evidence indicate otherwise.

We have been socialized to believe that fat is always the problem. If you cannot get a boyfriend, the answer is to lose weight. If you want to be successful in life, lose weight. The answer is always “lose weight.”

Finish reading here.

Tune in Tuesday: Bitch Meredith Brooks

When I was in my twenties, I thought that this carefree life would just go on forever.  I remember drinking like a fish and then waking up early to go to work.  I could do that shit then.  Well, along came my beautiful baby boy and the world changed.  I love being a mom but all of a sudden the carefree world that I had taken for granted suddenly disappeared.  I found myself juggling motherhood, work, being an unwife and my own personal interests.  Yeah, frustration, frustration, frustration.  My girlfriends and I created howl at the moon night where we get together dance, drink and vent to deal with the stress. This song quickly became our theme song because  because it represented the multiple roles that modern women have to play and how difficult it gets sometimes. 

Well if you are a fan of this song or it speaks to you in a particular way, let it fly in the comment section.

I’m Gay Is Offensive

image I am not a fan of vanity plates.  Do we really need to have fancy slogans on the back of our vehicles?  There are times however, when this aversion is stymied because someone has taken the time to use this ridiculous concept, to make a political point that needs to be made.

An Oklahoma man attempted to get the words “I’m Gay” as his vanity plate only to be told by the Oklahoma Tax Commission, which regulates license plates, that Kimmel's plate would violate its policy of banning offensive language. Kimmel countered that "favouring certain viewpoints is not allowed" under the U.S. Constitution, according to KOKH News.

According to the Advocate, Keith Kimmel stated:

"I always thought vanity license plates were to express something about yourself.  Me being gay is one of my leading traits, so I thought, Hey, why not?"

How do the words I’m Gay constitute offensive language?  Kimmel is fighting this under a violation of free speech but this is really about homophobia.  If a person is offended by the words “I’m Gay”, it is because they hate gay people.  This fact cannot be argued. That hate is absolutely irrational and undesirable in a society that claims to value all people is too often ignored.  Hate is about having the ability to oppress because we have become infatuated with coercive power.   Quite often hate and power in its most negative sense, make horrendous bedfellows that work to maintain a hierarchy of bodies.

Personally, I think that it is brave of Kimmel to want this plate. There is a difference between being out and announcing your sexuality casually to any and all passersby.  We live in a heterosexist society that often means that when someone is identified as gay they are summarily subjected to attack.  Many GLBT members have been attacked for simply daring to take up space, never mind making the kind of declaration that Kimmel is attempting to make.

By not allowing the words I’m Gay as a license plate, the state is attempting to force gay people to stay in the closet, thereby making them invisible.  How can you say that a person is offensive?  What is it about gayness that is inherently offensive?  It seems to me that the only goal with this is to maintain the false construction of the GLBT community as deviant.  This is discrimination and it is offensive. 

As a straight person we don’t think about the ways in which daily we take the opportunity to ensure that our privilege is maintained.  Even when we are not actively working to maintain our undeserved privilege, the state, the media, schools, etc., will work to ensure that we can continue to walk through the world flouting the rights of others. Heterosexuality means never having to worry that you will be considered abnormal.  It means the ability to be sure in the knowledge that your existence and who and how you love will be validated. Why should the possibility that we may have a bias against someone who is gay, take precedence over their right to exist?    And make no mistake about this, Kimmel’s battle is about the right to walk through this life with the same dignity as any other person. Offense should never trump anyone’s right to take up space, especially when said offense exists solely for the purpose of maintaining privilege. 

 


When The Ignorant Speak

 For the past few days I have been struggling with Rippa of the Intersection of Madness and the ever so ignorant Anna Renee over one word – Retard.  As you may well remember,  Rahm Emmanuel recently used the word retard as a negative descriptor.  Palin could not resist turning this into a political attack against Obama, while ignoring the ways in which Limbaugh et al took the opportunity to use the word relentlessly.  Clearly, Palin is no true advocate for the differently abled; however, critiquing her behaviour should never give anyone licence to engage in disableism.

As a disabled woman, I take disableism very seriously. I may not always have the knowledge to speak of disability outside of my own with eloquence or knowledge; however, to the best of my ability I attempt to attack it immediately.  I have worked very hard to become aware of words that my community finds offensive and to advocate for an understanding that these words are harmful and the resistance that I have faced has been strong.

When I saw the following: Sarah Palin Is As Retarded As All The People That Love Her – immediate relatives excluded, I clearly had to argue that the use of the word retarded was unacceptable.  Yes Palin is vile but this does not absolve the speaker of using disableism to make his point.

If you can handle scrolling through the comments you will find a request for me to teach, mockery of the fact that the word retard is indeed disabelist, silencing in terms of being told to watch my tone, an attack because my speech is too intellectual and my personal favourite justification of disableism because Black women are oppressed.

I can agree to disagree with anyone on politics because we are not all going to take issue with the same thing but I cannot nor will I ever agree that ableism is acceptable for the sake of a punch line or because someone wants to step up the ladder of oppression.  I know first hand how hard it is to live in a disableist society and in fact, I have written repeatedly of the struggles that I have faced because of it.  For me to say that this is acceptable, I would have to internalize the hatred that is directed at me as a disabled woman.

One of my major issues with certain members of the Black community is the false belief that the only issue facing us is race and that we must all think and talk alike to belong.  I didn’t lose my identity as a Black woman when I became disabled, instead  I gained is another site of oppression.  When I go to a site that cannot see intersectionality, my first thought is that they do not advocate for the community that they claim to.  Africans of the Diaspora are diverse and this means that some of us are gay, disabled, trans, sex workers, women, poor, etc., and if you cannot look outside of your personal lived experience to realize that EVERYTHING intersects with race then you do not truly care about Black people. 

The Black woman that is struggling to raise her child in poverty is just as much my family as the trans man who may be living in comfort.  The disabled woman who is a college professor, is just as much my sister as the lesbian activist who is struggling to write her truth on napkins in between working low wage jobs for long hours.  We cannot ever truly be a people until we understand that there is no right or wrong way to be Black and that the experience of being Black in this world is diverse.

I will be honest and admit that my frustration and disgust with Rippa and Anna Renee inspired this post but in truth, you can see this pattern of speech repeated at Black blogs like, Bossip, Crunk and Disorderly, Mediatakeout.com etc.   For shits and giggles, they will reduce people to a vicious punch line without any regard for how it damages their own community.  If you are Black and doing this you damn well ought to know better because these are the master’s tools and I hold you to a higher standard because your race is a visible marginalization.

You cannot care about social justice, if you are not concerned about the welfare of all people.  You cannot be a good ally unless you are willing to learn from the people on whose side you hope to advocate and you cannot grow as a person unless you are willing to acknowledge that you are an imperfect being and will therefore make mistakes.   Social justice is not about you and it certainly is not about centering your issues in a debate.  It is about giving voice to those that have historically been silenced and understanding that all issues are interconnected.  Advancing on the back of others is a fools journey because you can never really rise to anything of value this way. 


Monday, February 15, 2010

Transgender Jails in Italy

image When members of the transgender community are incarcerated it often presents a problem for the penal justice system because it was constructed only to accommodate the male/female binary.  This places trans prisoners at particular risk.  A trans man who has a vagina would not be safe in an all male prison and pre-op trans women who are placed in male prisons are similarly not not safe.  In the U.S quite often the penal system will simply place the trans prisoner in solitary confinement for the majority of their incarceration.  Solitary confinement is understood to be a form of torture and yet trans inmates are regularly subjected to this because of a lack of proper facilities. In both Canada and the U.S., inmates have had to sue to maintain their hormone treatments and to complete to their sex reassignment surgeries.  Even though there is much medical evidence to affirm that this is indeed a medical  condition too often the penal justice system will consider the needs of trans inmates to simply be cosmetic.

The opening of a facility specifically designed to house transgender inmates will hopefully lead to a more humane form of incarceration.  According to the BBC:

The prison, at Pozzale, near the Tuscan city of Florence, is expected to house inmates who mainly have convictions for drug-related offences and prostitution.

Gay rights groups in Italy welcomed the move to convert an almost empty medium security women's prison into a specially equipped detention centre.

It is thought that Italy has a total of some 60 transgender prisoners.

The centre will house about 30 people, according to reports.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy, in Rome, says that until now transgender prisoners have been located in women's prisons where they are often segregated for their own safety.

Leaving aside the issue that drug and prostitution is not best dealt with by incarceration, if we are determined to incarcerate members of the trans community, we have a responsibility to ensure their safety and to the best of our ability promote good mental health. 

It is my hope that this model will be copied throughout the world.  Being trans is difficult enough in the outside world and to be placed in a position of outright powerlessness in their case often leads to complete loss of personhood.  At some point these incarcerated inmates will rejoin society and are we at all better severed if they emerge as damaged human beings at our hand?  Prison should be about rehabilitation; however, when it comes to trans prisoners the punishment aspect is magnified because they are regularly subject to conditions that most inmates avoid due simply to their cisgender status. 

 

British Survey Suggests That Women Are To Blame For Rape

Until it has happened to you, you cannot possibly understand the real violation that rape is.  In that moment, it stripes you of your power and your agency.  Despite the fact that feminists and womanists  have worked hard to push the message that no always means no, it seems that a percentage of British citizens still believe that depending upon the circumstances, that women are responsible for their own rape. 

The results of an online survey entitled, “Wake Up To Rape”, recorded the responses of 1,061 people aged 18 to 50, comprising 712 women and 349 men.  Though it is often suggested by womanists and feminists that we live in a rape culture, the stark revelations of the respondents leaves no doubt that much work still needs to be done.

Of the women who believed some victims should take responsibility, 71% thought a person should accept responsibility when getting into bed with someone, compared with 57% of men.

One-third blamed victims who had dressed provocatively or gone back to the attacker's house for a drink.

The survey also found more than one in 10 people were unsure whether they would report being raped to the police, and 2% said they would definitely not do so.

The main reasons were being too embarrassed or ashamed (55%), wanting to forget it had happened (41%) and not wanting to go to court (38%).

No matter how many times this has been said, a woman is never  responsible for her own rape.  These arguments absolve the rapists of responsibility and construct men as mindless machines, incapable of controlling their behaviour. Who decides when a skirt becomes to short or when a top shows to much cleavage?  All this kind of argument does is set up a framework in which it can be understood that some women do not have the right to physical autonomy and are thereby unrapeable bodies.

We see this kind of thinking continually reproduced because we have a fixation with the idea that rape is only a terrible thing when it happens to supposedly innocent and pure virgins.  This construction is a manner of social discipline that punishes women for existing in this world.

Do we blame people who are murdered for dying?  Do we blame people who get taken in by confidence men for being scammed?  The tendency to blame women for being raped is to force women to restrict our behaviour.  The fear of rape is instilled in the mind of a girl at a very early age.  Just interacting with the world is enough to cause women to constantly be aware of the potential threat.  We learn to park our cars next to street lights, not travel at night unless it is in groups, always have someone aware of our whereabouts, and take defence classes.  How many women will stiffen and quicken their pace if they become aware of a man walking behind them?  How many places do we avoid simply because of the fear of rape?

Victim blaming punishes women for being women while absolving rapists.  It creates fear in other women which leads to an even greater likelihood that they will not report an assault to the authorities.  We are all endangered when rapists are allowed to go free and yet the potential danger is viewed as secondary to promote the discipline of women.  Being born with a vagina should not make one a lifelong victim of fear and shame.  No should mean no and until we can accept that, patriarchy will continue to exist with unregulated hegemony.

 

 

 


Tonight On Blogtalkradio

Normally we do our shows every other Sunday; however, this week due to scheduling issues, the Womanist Musings Podcast will occur tonight at 8 pm EST.  You can listen live here. The call in number is (347) 326-9452.

image

For those that are not able to listen live, I will post a link to the podcast for you to download on this post tomorrow.

PeTA’s Worst Dressed for 2010: An Exercise In Shame

PeTA has never been known to respect marginalized bodies.  Much like any other oppressive group, they feel that the best way to attain power is to demean those that are considered to be at the bottom of the social hierarchy.  Below you will find the images and commentary that PeTA used in their campaign to decide who is the worst dressed of 2010.

Aretha Franklin

imageFinally: footage proving that Bigfoot really does exist!”

Once again PeTA never fails to show its high sense of class to the world.  Comparing a Black woman to bigfoot is highly racist.  Bigfoot is understood to be a creature and by making such a comparison they are removing Aretha’s humanity.  Throughout history, Black women have been reduced to animals to justify our exploitation and marginalization. PeTA’s advertisement is not even a new twist on an old game; it is simply the repetition of an old trope meant to classify Black women as “other”.  When we consider that they have never been an organization to show any kind of respect to women of colour, this is hardly surprising but it does not lessen the insult.  Attacking someone’s humanity is not going to cause them to change their position to match yours, instead what it will do is encourage the perpetuation of the behaviour that you despise.

Rihanna

imageYou'd think that being a victim of violence would have opened Rihanna's heart to the suffering of others—like the animals who were beaten, drowned, and electrocuted for her fur coats. Girl, you've got beautiful eyes: Use them to see the pain and suffering your wardrobe causes”.

What they had to say about Rihanna is particularly cruel.  PeTA has never really given a damn about women unless there is an opportunity to slut shame, fat shame, be  lesbophobic, transphobic, or racist.  Taking this terribly tragic event and using it to forward their goals is co-opting her experience and that of every survivor of domestic violence.  Everyday women die at the hands of their intimate partners and as cruel as animal abuse is, there is a difference between a human being and an animal.  There are those that will say that my aforementioned statement is speciest; however, even if PeTA refuses to acknowledge it in their arguments, women  matter.

For PeTA, any kind of publicity counts as good publicity, even if in the process they marginalize entire groups of people.  Class and race play a large role in why Black women continue to wear fur.  For generations a fur coat was understood to be a visible marker of class privilege and success.  Due to racism and sexism, many Black women were denied opportunities of positive class progress, as well as positive reinforcement.  To many Black women, a fur coat means realizing a dream they did not dare to dream.  Until the symbolism behind the fur coat is understood and dismantled, Black stars will continue to wear furs unabashedly.  It has also not escaped the notice of Black stars that for generations, White women wore their fur coats without complaint and now that some Black women can afford them there is an issue.  While race may not be readily be evident in the desire to wear fur, it is most assuredly an issue.

Seeing their attacks on Aretha Franklin and Rihanna we will once again shake our heads and sigh, after all it’s PeTA right?  What we should take away from this is a renewed effort to fight for equality because in a society that truly valued ALL women, such actions would be considered unthinkable.

H/T Transgriot


Sunday, February 14, 2010

It’s Our House and Our Game

Certain people seem to be unable to understand the sorry ass fate that awaits them.

That’s right, THE THUNDER AWAITS!  GO CANADA

Sunday Shame: Suffering For Love Edition

Well, Valentines day is today and so I thought that it would be a great day to talk about the things with we put up with for love.  We all do it.  They may be small compromises but they are definitely compromises.   Even as you are performing said task, you know that there is not another being on the planet for which you would be willing to make such a compromise.  It is because we love this person or group of people that we put up with these little indiscretions.

image If you follow me on twitter, you are well aware of the unhusband’s penchant for destroying perfectly good meat.  Really, I don’t know what pork or beef have ever done to him, to cause him to abuse them so.   Last night he made a roast for dinner.  When it read rare on the meat thermometer, I told him to take it out of the oven.  Meat must have some red in it to maintain its flavour otherwise you have a dried out flavourless carcass.   Fortunately, he decided to remove the roast when it got to medium rather than well done.  I will say that the roast was still tender but not as great as it would have been had it been rare.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot convince him of this very simple truth. 

When he bbq’s my steak, he invariably turns it into a piece of cardboard or serves the steak blue. Umm yuck, there is a difference between blue and rare.  Yet when I watch Bobby Flay, the master of the BBQ, he has the nerve to scoff.  You would think that he might just be able to take a tip or two from a man that has been very successful grilling food; however, when it comes to the BBQ, his inner caveman pride will not allow him to be taught.

Cooking has never been his thing and if the meal is edible, it is a huge accomplishment for him.  Due to my disability, my forays into the kitchen have become less and less.  Though I love cooking for my family when I am able, it causes me a lot of image physical pain to do so.  He usually will ask for directions from the kitchen about what temperature to cook things at, or how long something has to be in the oven.   This week he admitted the ultimate shame, whatever temperature I give him, he increases it by twenty-five degrees. Yes, you read that right, twenty-five degrees.  Is it really any wonder that the meat is always like shoe leather? Chicken in particular does not do well when cooked like this.  Of course, he has still failed to make the connection between the temperature and the texture of meat.

Then of course there is the destruction that he creates in the kitchen to make these meals of dubious consumption.  I mean really, is it necessary to have the kitchen look like a tornado went through it to cook a simple meal?  This morning I walked into the kitchen to make my tea and made my escape as quickly as possible.  I agree that the person who cooks should not have to clean the kitchen, but isn’t that rule predicated on the unspoken agreement that the cook does not lose hir ever loving mind and turn the kitchen into a disaster zone?

Now I suppose I could let all of this go, if it were not for the fact that he occasionally insists on getting inventive with food.  There has to be a rule about experimenting before you master the basics and if there isn’t one, I demand it be created immediately.  The unhusband just loves to insert curry where it does not belong.   Not every meal needs to include a touch of curry, no matter how much you like that particular seasoning.  One meal that for me  is particularly memorable, is the scrambled eggs, shrimp with a touch of curry and thousand island salad dressing concoction.  Try and picture that for a moment; now imagine eating that.

I love my unhusband because he is a good man but honestly, if I could take away his kitchen duties forever I would.  He is wonderful at many things but cooking is just something he was never meant to do.  I know you are going to read this and so I will say I’m sorry darling, but it’s the hard truth.  See what I put up with for love?

So in honour of Valentines Day, I thought we could comment about how we suffer for love.  What annoying little habit does your Beloved have that drives you around the bend?  It could be anything from leaving crumbs on the counter to folding the laundry “the wrong way”.  For those of you that are not paired up, please feel free to share your biggest pet peeve.  It may seem like a small thing but if it grinds your gears, now would be a good time to let it all hang out.