Happy birthday to rikibeth!
Happy early birthday to aaronace, badgerthorazine, and nihilistic_kid, who advance a year over the weekend!
Still in collapse mode when I get home from work. This is a source of frustration.
Amanda Palmer Post
Will be on the BARCC blog, actually. I figure that's the best way to make sure I don't get unnecessarily bitchy. Necessarily bitchy is enough.
A great discussion happened yesterday on my Google Buzz, though, and I've obtained permission to repost it on LJ. With a cut-tag, because it is long!
wakingdreaming: - Thanks for posting about this. I'm a big Amanda Palmer fan and have been for a few years now. I knew about the Evelyn Evelyn project, my girlfriend and I have the EP that was put out a couple years ago, but I didn't know about the child pornography detail she'd so casually thrown in for their back story.
I'm really disappointed in Amanda and Jason over this. To me, this does not seem typical of either of them and I hope they find a way to make it right. I've just posted a comment on her blog expressing my disappointment. I don't know if she'll respond to anyone but I hope she will.
shadesong - Sadly, I don't find this atypical of her; she makes a career out of trivializing sexual violence.
wakingdreaming - That's not my experience of her. Do you have other specific examples besides the song "Oasis?" (I support her explanation of why she did that one the way she did but I understand why others don't.)
shadesong - Yep. She likes to toss around the word "rape" in all of her interviews to mean things it doesn't mean - the record label is raping her. The industry is raping her. Et cetera. It got up my nose the first time, and I'm less amused every time since. It's a big part of her schtick.
She is very much not an ally.
aussie_nyc - That's a linguistic abuse I have always detested. It gets no less awful for becoming more widespread.
shadesong - (Not that she cares what I think, as I'm one of the disabled feminists she's told to fuck off. Not me personally, mind, as I don't waste my breath on trying to educate her. Just that I happen to be a disabled feminist.)
shadesong - Matt: Also the whole schtick she does on her tour mock-raping a Katy Perry lookalike. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-zvRsT6o5k
wakingdreaming - I really have to disagree with you on the "linguistic abuse." The word rape also means to take away one's assets. The sexual assault definition we commonly work with today very probably proceeded from that definition. Using the "take away one's assets" definition, her use of the word has felt appropriate to me every time I've seen or heard her use it.
I've been in the room when she does the Katy Perry scene and it never made me uncomfortable but I'll reevaluate that.
I'm a disabled feminist, too. I don't have a problem with the disability back story for Evelyn Evelyn at this point. I don't mind people poking fun at the disabled if it's not done in a mean-spirited way. I definitely DO have a problem with the child pornography detail, though. It's definitely ill-conceived.
laliari - thank you for making me think. i'm not easily offended, really - and i'm still not sure if i'm offended- but it definitely made me tilt my head to the side a bit. there are times, as an artist, however, that i had one tenth the balls she has, even if she's deeply offensive to some people. i'm getting better though - but i still pretty much want everyone to like me.
gwynraven - Actually, forced sexual intercourse is the original definition of the word in English. It comes from Latin rapare "to seize" through post-Classical Latin rapum "rape, forced sexual intercourse, violence" circa 1200 to English through the Anglo-Norman rap/rape "violent seizure, abduction, rape, forced sexual intercourse" in the late 13th century. The sense of forced sexual intercourse bled into the sense of the abduction of a woman for said purpose, and from there into the violent seizure of things other than women. In all its incarnations, however, the word rape has designated extreme violence, and I don't think you can accurately use the word in reference to mere economics.
disabled feminist and word-geek
(All of the above info came from the OED, in case you're wondering)
wakingdreaming - I don't have my University of Maine library card on me right now so I can't get into the online OED at the moment. Thanks for looking that up. I was having to make due with Merriam Webster.
I would argue that the way the record company has tried to deprive Amanda of her livelihood constitutes a certain kind of violence. It's reasonably clear to me that she certainly regards it that way. I don't claim to know Amanda well or personally, but I've met her several times and followed her career diligently for several years now. To me she comes across as a sensitive and responsible person who really IS a feminist and an ally of sexual abuse survivors. That said, though, I really think this Evelyn Evelyn thing is a big problem she's created for herself and I hope she finds a way to make it as right as possible. People do make bad choices sometimes. For now I want to give her the chance to fix this one or give a damned good explanation for not doing so.
shadesong - Matt: The bit about hating on disabled feminists isn't me pulling something out of nowhere; it's a quote from her Twitter. It's linked to in that article I shared. This is all out of Palmer's mouth.
And Librarian Gwyn is, of course, correct. I'm having a nice cup of coffee right now. That's an asset. Taking away my coffee is not raping me, much as I do need my morning coffee.
Lin Christen - Yes, thank you Gwyn! I, too, thought that evolution of the word was from the broader to the more specific. Happy for the clarification.
primal_pastry - Ms. Palmer's work is deliberately edgy with intent to shock. I believe she does it in large part for the gain that comes from attention with possibly only lip-service to any "higher" motive. However, I also support the effect of her work: to destigmatize the word rape. Taking away the awful power of that word to make us feel victimized just by saying it can only be a good thing.
Shira: I disagree about the coffee. The rape culture is predicated on acquiring or proving power by taking away sovereignty. Taking away your coffee (especially if that act is motivated or facilitated by the fact that you are female) is on the same continuum as other forms of assault.
laliari - Now I really wish I had a way to put my thoughts on deliberate vs. accidental/unintentional shocking-ness into words that followed any coherent line of reasoning.
. I'm coming up on 6 months since my rape - and I don't think the use of the word bothers me in alternate contexts, however, I can see how it could. I also didn't think I'd have flashbacks in the arms of someone I love, or be as affected by seeing The Lovely Bones as I was - so I guess it's a process.
Maybe that's my problem sometimes - being able to see all sorts of different sides of things. Darn ENFP. Anyway, back to lurking, but I'm having fun reading this...
aussie_nyc - The abuse I refer to is (for example) when aggrieved sports fans say "our team got raped by the referees." To my mind, that's a shameful misuse of the word.
gwynraven - I can understand the urge to destigmatize the word rape by using it in other contexts, but I think in the end all it does is trivialize it. The word rape should be shocking and disturbing - the act is shocking and disturbing. Destigmatizing the word doesn't destigmatize the victim, it destigmatizes the act.
Words lose power when they're over-used: take swearing for instance. The word fuck used to hold a great deal of power - saying it out loud drew powerful reactions from everyone around. My grandmother, who in all other ways curses like a sailor, won't say that word I, on the other hand, growing up in a later generation in which such language was par for the course, often find myself muttering 'fuck fuck fuckity fuck' when I stub my toe. I don't think that there is a word in my lexicon that has the same shocking stopping power that fuck has for my grandmother's generation.
The word rape should be shocking. It should stop the conversation in its tracks while everyone absorbs the disturbing nature of the act. While taking away 'song's coffee could be an act of violence on the same spectrum, it's not the same thing.
And while I'm on a linguistic rant, can I say that I hate all sentences that make 'rape' a passive verb? "She was raped." No. That's bringing the action back on the victim. She wasn't raped - someone raped her. Stop making it sound like being raped was something she did.
Ok. Rant over. Really.
primal_pastry - Gwyn, I couldn't disagree more about destigmatization. Rape should not be a conversation stopper. It should be part of an active conversation about something we all agree is wrong. In large part, people will not upset the status quo even to defend themselves from harm. There must be some degree of pragmatic comfort with discussing sexual assault and its aftermath so that victims of violence can seek legal and medical help without feeling as though they are doing something wrong.
Reporting rape should be as simply obvious as reporting a broken leg. The damage is done, help is called, and the healing process begins. That we insist on treating the very word as something sacrosanct does not help victims of the act.
"While taking away 'song's coffee could be an act of violence on the same spectrum, it's not the same thing. " Yes, that's why I said "on the same continuum as " rather than "equivalent to".
gwynraven - I'm not saying we shouldn't talk about it, we do need more open discussion about sexual assault. I guess I just don't think it should be placed in the same category as a broken leg. I feel the same way about child abuse, torture, and hate crimes. I feel that they are truly horrific crimes and should be treated as such. Using the word to refer to other lesser crimes, even on the same continuum, seems to me counterproductive. To me it leads to situations in which it would be appropriate to question 'when you said he raped her do you mean the really bad kind, or just the annoying kind?'
We do need more open discussion about rape. I just think we shouldn't be calling things rape that really aren't.
primal_pastry - " I guess I just don't think it should be placed in the same category as a broken leg. " Nor do I. Which is why I said "Reporting rape should be as simply obvious as reporting a broken leg. " What I'm discussing here is the cultural baggage around seeking help.
"We do need more open discussion about rape. I just think we shouldn't be calling things rape that really aren't."
About which we completely agree.
gwynraven - "What I'm discussing here is the cultural baggage around seeking help."
Ah! In that case I completely agree with you there as well.
wakingdreaming - Shira: I saw the quote from her Twitter about dismissing the disabled feminists as well and I'm not pleased.
I know taking away your coffee isn't rape, by assets, I mean things like your livelihood and other things that are of serious value to you.
asim - Matt: But the point of rape isn't "taking away", honestly. I'll come back to that term in a moment, but the idea that someone can "rape" something else is about equating the intense violence of rape to other activities, not removing something. And it is, at best, lazy clichéd writing.
I can steal Shira's coffee, but violence upon it would hardly be anything like rape. So, too, would stealing, say, her house. So why use that term to begin with, when it's a term that does generate some horrific issues with so many in society, today? It's a word with power, and I disagree with the assertion that this act "depowers" it; as someone who grew up watching the term "nigga" get put through similar pushes, I can assure you that this isn't how it works.
Moreover, the implication that rape "takes away" something sounds, to these ears, too damn much like the idealization of virginity that's a frustrating segment of how too many see women's sexuality, to this day. I'm extremely discomforted by that concept leaking into discussions of rape. Be they virgin or whore, the act of sexualized violence is the core of rape, and connotations of that term in other non-sexual contexts risks encouraging the very real, and very damaging, beliefs about rape in our culture: that it's a joke, that women should just "shake it off", that only "bad girls" get raped, that stranger rape is the only "real" rape, and so on.
Exploiting the term "rape" for a variety of linguistic situations only adds fuel to the already burning cultural bonfire, and that is, I think, at the heart of this issue.
gwynraven - Woodrow: Here, from a purely linguistic view, I'm going to have to disagree with you, although I agree with the overall point of your post. The essence of the word "rape" is to take away - ultimately, the word is derived from the Latin rapere meaning 'to seize; to take by force.' In other words, to take that which does not belong to you through violence. Although the word has always, in English, referred specifically to sexualized violence, that sense of seizing is still in the background.
Where I would differ, however, is in the implication that what is being taken from a woman (or man) in the act of rape is their virginity. What is being taken from them, violently, is their consent True loving sex is, in my opinion, an act of mutual giving - each partner gives his or herself to the other and receives the other in turn. To take, by force, that which is meant to be given freely is the ultimate perversion of the act, and has nothing to do with virginity and everything to do with demonstrating absolute power over another human being.
So it is not the implication of 'taking' that I disagree with in the use of the word for other things - it is the idea of using the word 'rape' for anything less than true rape that I feel trivializes the original meaning.
laliari - well, for me, it did take something away, at least in that moment - and that was my ability to control who had sex with me. now, i've worked pretty hard (and succeeded, mostly) for the past 5 months to not let it take anything permanently away from me - my ability to trust, to be physical, more specific things that i'm not willing to go into here. however, i do totally see your meaning. you can ask shira or jessica and both had to help me dig myself out of the trap of blaming myself. that was the part for me that hurt the most.
i think to the casual observer i might have just shaken it off -but thankfully no one told me to do that. they would likely have wound up missing limbs. i process quickly, i guess - but then again i'm strange.
back to amanda palmer and evelyn-evelyn for a minute, i think i would be inclined to raise my eyebrow at her and say "Really? Faux-sploitation WITH an exploitation back-story? Wouldn't conjoined twins have been enough, even if they grew up in a happy home?" - who knows, maybe she's trying to make some point about schadenfreude or something that fell short?
wow, and gwyn just said part what i meant to say in a more concise manner.
gwynraven - When it comes to the Evelyn-Evelyn thing, what bothers me most about it is the idea of sexual exploitation being used as a marketing gimmick. I haven't heard the songs - I know nothing of the content of the show. Maybe Amanda Palmer has some wonderful, meaningful things to say about disability and sexual exploitation of children. Maybe not. But the whole gimmicky thing of pretending the 'twins' are real - that bothers me.
wakingdreaming - Gwyn, I ENTIRELY agree with you there. I saw an Evelyn Evelyn show back in November of 2007 and thought it was great fun. I am pretty sure the sexual exploitation detail hadn't been included in their back story yet. If it was, I somehow missed it. What adds insult to injury is that Amanda and Jason, who I usually like and respect, don't seem to understand the complaints about this. All they've managed to do so far is basically say "Well, we never MEANT to harm or offend anyone." Obviously, that's not a very good apology and I hope they'll consider this more deeply.
asim - @Gwyn: I do agree with the idea that consent is the key thing being taken away. And also that the original denotation of "rape" involves seizure. I was off, and I do apologise to all for my errors.
Upon reflection, I don't think it's background. I think the idea that rape has to mean something is taken away actually is key to a lot of the overall debate on "rape culture". Again, it falls back to how some (too many!) people think "bad girls who are asking for it can't be raped"; if rape still has connections to things being taken, what's seen as the most valuable situation for a woman under those circomstances? Her virginity.
And if that's "not there", then there's nothing to be taken, and thus, no crime in their eyes. And that's part of the fight, I think.
gwynraven - @Woodrow: I'll agree with that. The problem being that people see the thing being taken away as either virginity or even just sex. And so they think that people who they consider to be 'asking for it' clearly give it away at the drop of a hat anyway so where's the harm?
Yeah, the focus needs to be less on the actual act of sex and more on the lack of consent.
laliari - @gwyn ooh, now I want to talk about the concept of the "Bad" girls...
gwynraven - Feel free - I love this discussion we've got going here. Y'all are really making me think through my convictions.
shadesong - Chiming in late as I've been at work then doing dinner prep - I am absolutely loving this conversation. I'm writing a post about this, focusing on the child porn exploitation aspect, for the BARCC blog tomorrow, and I really hope you'll comment there! Because this discussion rocks, and more people should see it. (With that in mind, would it be okay with people if I reproduced this thread on my LJ?)
[editing out the "fine by me"s.]
laliari - she posted a new blog - and while i don't think i'm down with the EE thing, or at least still kinda squicked by it, she wrote this, which kinda touched on the first comment I made:
i know a lot of younger people read this blog and i have constant contact with teenagers who are always asking me:
“how do i get brave?”
a lot of that answer lies in situations like these.
when you are forced to sit down, reckon with a situation, listen to people screaming that they hate you, take stock of what you’ve done, look everyone in the eye, tell them what your intentions are, and know that they will either hear and understand you or they will walk away.
and then your job is to not run after them.
your job is to stay calm. your job is continue on with your work.
and the hardest thing, sometimes, is to continue on with your work in a spirit of love, without letting other people’s hate and anger getting the best of you, and turning you into bitter, angry and jaded fuck.
it’s so easy to be afraid. to do nothing. to not make your art, to not follow your calling, your passion, your impulses, to not take any risks for fear of people cutting you down and misunderstanding you.
most people are CONTROLLED by fear, because they’re convinced they’ll do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, write the wrong thing, sing the wrong thing.
those fears are founded. you can see that, here, now.
shit happens, you can upset people.
and you need to do your work anyway, because the world needs you to.
that, i think, is how you get brave."
But that's a WHOLE other thing, says the girl who has all her art supplies in one room and is too afraid to do anything with them, despite ample free time, and yet is apparently seen as brave for contacting a long lost love, in the face of rejection. i still don't feel brave about that, but apparently i'm seen as brave by a bunch o' folk.
gwynraven - Yeah, I did like that paragraph. Still don't like the E-E thing, and I don't think she really gets it yet, but at least she's thinking about it. I feel bad that Neil's gotten all kinds of flak over it.
laliari - Bad girls - thoughts.
I googled and found this repellent piece of garbage:
Make sure to have a trash can nearby when you read it. This man, or his intended audience, represent so much of what's wrong with the way that both women AND men are socialized that it's not even funny. I want to sit down and ask him if he believes this shit, but I'm afraid of the answer I'd get. If anyone cares to pick it apart, point by point, I'm happy to help - I just don't know that I'm up to the task all by my lonesome.
I've always looked at 'bad girl' from a sexual standpoint - ie - bad girls like sex and are comfortable having it, talking about it, etc. It's that whole classic Madonna/Whore thing. I've hated that my entire sexual life, and never really bought into it. I don't have any real shame about how many people I've had sex with, or in what ways, and have always resented the implication that I should. My regrets stem from less than ethical behavior on my part when I was younger - in that time B.P. - before Poly. Once I realized I'm not a monogamist, and that I could be honest and open and share myself and NOT LIE to anyone to do it, my life got at once a lot simpler and way more fulfilling.
I don't think there's anything wrong with someone having a limited set of sexual partners. I don't think there's anything wrong with someone having an unlimited set. As long as everyone involved is content with what they have, not putting anyone at risk (including themselves) - go for it. I've heard the term 'sex positive' attacked by people who feel that they're being judged for marrying their high school sweetheart and only ever having sex with one person. Well, if you're having good, fun, fulfilling sex with one person - guess what? I think that's pretty damn sex-positive, so long as you don't judge me for my two boyfriends.
Why do i think there's not enough coffee or enough time to get all of my thoughts out? I know that sometimes they're probably jumbly - I tend to think a little faster than I type, and things don't always come out right - but that's what I have other people for - to help me refine my points, even if it means falling down a bit.
Weird personal analysis thing there - sorry. :)
asim - @dharma: I'm...not as thrilled.
I'm a guy Belly Dancer. There aren't many of us, and when I started, there was a lot of free-floating hostility to my presence in a 99.99%+ women-centered environment. I've had...issues, big and small, over my very presence and existence -- and I know I'm not the only guy who has, as few of us as there are.
But one thing I learned is that it's not enough just to hold chin up and keep plowing. That way, swiftly, lies a certain madness and "purity of vision" that leads you to not see the train coming down the tunnel at you.
It's not enough to say, "I will not fear." It's not enough to have that pure artistic vision. You have to also place it in the context of the world you live in, else it's not truly art -- because art comes from, and is beholden to, our world(s). If you have issues navigating the real world, you're likely to have issues, sooner or later, in the artistic realms you've built up -- and then walled away to decay.
If Amanda wants to, in essence, wall herself away from criticism she doesn't enjoy, it's her choice. But every time you make that choice, you also cut off avenues for inspiration outside yourself, you cut off a part of the ability to develop critiques of your work. I do not recommend this as a long-term, artistically viable, strategy.
laliari - @woodrow - totally good point. i don't really think she's doing that, however, or advocating it even. but she has a good point about the fear thing. and here's where the internet breaks down because i'm smiling as i write this - i don't see myself as having a 'vision' - i view myself as a conduit for art, that it's informed by me and my experiences, but i merely borrow the bones of what i do from some higher source. re: issues navigating the world- back when i was pagan, we used to talk about someone needing to be able to pay rent before they could get their third degree - and i wholeheartedly eschew the idea that with creativity comes madness. correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation there, i don't think. i'm also REALLY bad at talking about my art. like really bad. it doesn't have words in my head, which makes marketing and defending and explaining near impossible for me. i envy those who are able to do that.
gwynraven - Oh gods that article was nauseous. The 'bad girl' "puts a high price on her vagina"??!? Why not just call her a whore and be done with it. I don't want to pick that piece apart because I don't want to look at it long enough to do so.
I recently read a description of who should be allowed to marry that I think fits my thoughts on sex: the author said that marriage should be allowed among "non-related adult beings capable of meaningful consent." Notice that there are no number or gender specifications in there. As far as I'm concerned, as long as all parties come to the act with full knowledge and compatible expectations, it's all good. The idea that women who like sex are 'bad girls' (while men who like sex are 'studs') is not only inaccurate, it's extremely damaging to both women and men.
laliari - @gwyn i love the marriage description. love it. i think the thing worse than the article is that there are actually people that not only believe what that man wrote, but make decisions based on it. i'm partnered with someone with 3 sons under the age of 18, and i hope that we can prevent them from falling for this sort of crap. critical analysis of gender stereotyping is key, i think.
i think everyone should have to take anthro 101, and sociology of sex and gender, along with social problems. damn that transition from a hunter gatherer society to an agrarian one, the resultant understanding of animal husbandry and the corresponding desire for men to know that the children were 'theirs.' everyone always knew who the mom was in a matrilineal culture.
gwynraven - @dharma: I totally understand what you mean about the artist being a conduit for something larger. And it's not like my art never goes places that make me uncomfortable. I'm dealing with that right now with a character who was raped in certain circumstances that, at first glance, seem to exonerate her rapist. I've begged and pleaded for her to give me a more clear-cut explanation that won't make me sound like a rape apologist, and all she says is 'tough shit, that's how it happened.' So now I'm stuck trying to figure out how to present what I've been given in a way that won't make it seem like I'm making excuses for something inexcusable.
So yeah, art can do some uncomfortable things. And you do have to think about how your art appears to the wider world. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that what bothers me most about the whole E-E thing is the sense that the artist seem to be in this case distancing herself from the questionable material. That may not be her intention, but it's what I get from it. 'I'm not responsible for E-E. I just found them.' If you're going to create art that is disturbing and uncomfortable and call it art, at least own it.
yendi - Not sure I buy that as a definition of bravery. Sitting down, reckoning with a situation, listening to people screaming that they hate you, taking stock of what you’ve done, and the examine what they're saying and acknowledging any wrongdoing on your part would be a hell of a lot braver. She's merely describing a form of obduracy.
aussie_nyc - I think someone's art can be completely divorced from the world around it. That leaves pot luck as to whether it connects with anyone in a useful way (or at all), but it's not automatic that it won't connect. But as Adam says, that's not bravery.
In conclusion, I love conversations like this, and no one should steal my coffee.
Wearing: Green button-down shirt with gold vine pattern. Yes, my body reshaping has allowed me to wear button-down shirts again. Of course I have Thoughts on this, and there will be a Post. Also jeans. As yet undecided on other adornment.
Reading: Prince of Storms by Kay Kenyon.
Writing: Have done nothing this week, due to aforementioned state of collapse. :( Today, I hope? MPB?
Knitting: Another Simple Yet Effective Shawl, out of the yarn I was going to use for the accursed not-a-TARDIS scarf. It works better for this; it's a little splitty, so it wasn't good for that twisted ktbl, but it's fine for this. Waiting for skein #2 to finish the chunky cowl for Phoe, hence the quick & easy timekiller shawl that I don't have to think about. Next up will be the In the Land of Oz shawl or the Hayworth shawlette.
Today: Work, BARCC blog post. Home, hopefully working on MPB; Elayna might be going to a friend's house. *crosses fingers that she won't be too tired to write* Possible circus folks thing tonight.
Tomorrow: Clothesline Project meeting, house stuff - maybe dancing, maybe party, maybe cocooning.
Sunday: VDAY 2010: A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant & A Prayer. I am in this and you should go!