And The White Lion Roars

This WordPress.com site is for those who refuse to accept mythology as literal truth, and instead question everything!

Month: April, 2016

Man, I Need a Potty Break!

And the white lion roars!

Week-before-last we were paying a visit to my parents. As Mom finished warming up some leftovers, Dad, hubby, my youngest sister and I sat around the table and chatted about this and that. My husband brought up a story from an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Dad, who has dementia and all the anger and grumpiness to go with it, stopped him there. I knew that was going to happen because he had referred to her as Ellen “Degenerate” in my presence a few years before. Hubby had the bravery to ask, “Why don’t you like her? Is it because she’s gay?” Dad snarled his answer, “That’s part of it. I DO NOT like gays.”  Before anyone decide that he feels this way because he is a fundamentalist Baptist, which he is, it is important to remember the life-long impact some childhood experiences can have on adults. Until that day I didn’t know that he was accosted as a child by a man in a public restroom. Mom piped in that the same thing had happened to two of her cousins. Sister and I tried to remind them that a pedophile and a gay person are not the same thing, to no avail. Another family story of Mom’s is that when she was about seven (she was the youngest of nine children, and her older siblings were much older than she) her oldest brother was drunk and pulled a gun on her parents. Since that day she has an irrational fear of alcohol, and believes anyone who takes even one drink is on the road to debased and violent alcoholism. So I understand that these kinds of events live long in the memory. But just for the sake of discussion, can we have a rational discussion regarding the so-called “bathrooms bills” that have passed in three states, and have ninety-seven other bills pending. These bills basically say that a transgender person must use the public restroom that matches the sex they were born with, not with the sex they identify with. Here I must ask the obvious question, who’s going to do pee-pee duty? Will there be police officers checking the genitalia of people who don’t “look” like the traditional idea of which sex uses which bathroom? Have you seen some of the more famous transgender people? They are sexier and more beautiful than many of the people who were born with the sex they transitioned to. Who can really know by looking? There are people who look less feminine than traditional standards, or less masculine, but are one-hundred percent straight. When these bills insist that people must use the restroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate, are we going Sheriff Joe Arpaio (Maricopa County, AZ) forcing trans people to carry papers (i.e. birth certificates) into the restroom with them? I remember someone who was adopted by his stepfather, and when the court finalized the adoption  he was given a new birth certificate listing his stepfather as the father. I suppose this could lead the transgender people having their birth certificates changed legally when they transition. Of course, in “red states” this would be fought like the battle of Armageddon because of the extreme and hateful use of “religious freedom” laws. I’ve seen photos on social media of cowboy types posing with guns, insisting they will go into public restrooms armed to protect their wives, daughters, etc. I can’t help but wonder who the depraved one is. The faces in these photos  look as if this was the moment they’ve been waiting for-something to defend with their open carry weapons; or an excuse to hang out in the ladies restroom?

We must also separate pedophilia, a mental illness and a crime, from homosexuality and transgender?  They are not the same. They are not the same. They are not the same. Most pedophiles identify as heterosexual whether they prey on opposite or same sex victims.

There is also the question of “choice” and consequences. I’ve mentioned this before in a blog post years ago; for those who believe that homosexuality is a choice, why would anyone choose this? To be demonized, discriminated against-even in jobs and housing and unfortunately too many times, by parents and families of non-gender conforming children, for some people who are so insecure in their own sexuality they try and prove they are straight by beating up gay people (or perceived gay people.) Preachers and reality TV stars who probably don’t realize that they have ever known a gay person will make ridiculous statements about how gay people live their lives, and their ‘flocks’ will believe every word, pass it on and make everyone they know afraid of the gay person. Gay people are always at risk of being victimized or criminalized. For transgender people it is even worse. The percentage of the population estimated to be transgender is .03, less than one-half of one-percent. Think about that; out of three-hundred-million Americans, that is around only 290,000 human beings who are transgender. The vast majority of Americans have probably never met one. I guess I’m fortunate in that I’ve met several, and one of my lifelong friends has two trans children, so from her I’ve been blessed to gain some insight into their struggles. But I am clearly in the minority. It is very easy to be afraid of something one doesn’t know or understand.

However, admitting that one may never have known an openly gay or transgender person, can we please look at facts instead of the fears that politicians love to play upon to get votes? The fact is that not one incident of a transgender person assaulting a child in a public restroom has ever been reported to law enforcement. Not ONE!!! Is it possible that a transgender person may also be a pedophile? Of course. Any anomaly is possible in any group, but it seems to me that these people, who are so often targets of the hate and ignorance stoked by by politicians hoping for votes, we would most likely would have heard of it by now. In face, like that one undocumented immigrant who raped and killed a woman gets shouted about over and over again, ignoring all the white citizens who do the same sort of thing in much greater numbers, if there were an incident in which a trans person committed such a crime, we would see that name and face all over Fox News and their numerous online presences until we are sick of it. Are there probably homosexuals who may also be pedophiles? Of course. Same as the previous story about the transgender citizens of this country. There can be criminals and predators in any group-any group at all. Including fundamentalists and republicans (as is evidenced by the targeting of several youths he coached in wrestling, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R, IL.) Mr. Hastert, by the way, identifies as a heterosexual male lthough his victims are all male.

Last year when former Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner announced his transition from male to female, with a new name, Kaitlyn, she was glammed up, featured on news stories and glossy magazine covers, and everywhere else, ad nauseum, and lauded for her bravery for months and months. She was offered new reality shows since she was no longer married to another famous reality star whose name I refuse to mention, and she would no longer be welcome on that particular program. I puzzled on Facebook what happened to transgender teens who weren’t worth millions, and didn’t have access to the best cosmetic surgeons, makeup artists, etc. Several people weighed in, until my very wise youngest sister, who is a retired educator, said, quite simply “That’s easy. They commit suicide.” It was such a simple answer, but so honest that it was like a slap in the face. “Wow,” I thought. That is absolutely true. People who do not conform to sexual norms commit suicide at a rate more than forty-percent higher than the rest of the population. If a young person identifies as transgender, or even gay in many cases, and their parent lack the resources or willingness to help and support them in accepting  themselves and their non-gender conforming identities, they are likely to be bullied, and even attacked for who they are. Sometimes the bullying and non-peer acceptance can be enough to make a young person believe there is no hope that things will ever get better. There was even a movement begun by journalist Dan Savage called “It Gets Better” to give hope to LGBTQ young people, to give them encouragement that the hopelessness and negativity they are experiencing will get better. The movement was designed for this purpose after several suicides of LGBTQ teens was reported; it gave a place for hope to young people who might even be contemplating suicide.

So, let’s get past the fear please! Let’s look at the reality of what is truly happening in public restrooms, even in red states like North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. In the article I cited from the Dallas Observer below, a man who is running for sheriff of Denton, TX (about 40 miles north east of Fort Worth) advocating violence against trans people in public restrooms. I am horrified by what I am reading and hearing on this issue. But please know, there are no transgender people in any restroom waiting to accost your children. What is more likely happening is that transgender people are hoping you are not armed;  you are not looking  to beat them up or commit other acts of violence against them. They just really want to go to the bathroom. In peace.

http://www.ellentv.com/, Ellen DeGeneres is an American comedian, television talk show host, gay rights advocate, philanthropist who came out as lesbian in 1997, and married actor Portia DeRossi in 2008.

http://mic.com/articles/114066/statistics-show-exactly-how-many-times-trans-people-have-attacked-you-in-bathrooms#.p6tFQbxt7

http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/03/20/15-experts-debunk-right-wing-transgender-bathro/198533

http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201510150001

http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/denton-county-gop-sheriff-candidate-tracy-murphree-calls-for-violence-against-transgender-people-needing-to-pee-8240131

http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/Paraphilic%20Disorders%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

In the case of pedophilic disorder, the notable detail is what wasn’t revised in the new manual. Although proposals were discussed throughout the DSM-5 development process, diagnostic criteria ultimately remained the same as in DSM-IV TR. Only the disorder name will be changed from pedophilia to pedophilic disorder to maintain consistency with the chapter’s other listings.

pedophilia is termed pedophilic disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and the manual defines it as a paraphilia involving intense and recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about prepubescent children that have either been acted upon or which cause the person with the attraction distress or interpersonal difficulty.[1] The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) defines it as a sexual preference for children of prepubertal or early pubertal a

http://www.vocativ.com/culture/lgbt/transgender-suicide/

http://www.itgetsbetter.org/  Started in 2010 by journalist, gay activist and sex columnist Dan Savage to give hope to LGBT young people.

 

 

An Asshole By Any Other Name Still Stinks

And the white lion roars!

On April 6th America was treated to a video of a thirty-nine year old employee of Starbucks screaming at Florida governor, Republican Rick Scott because of his refusal as governor to expand Medicaid, and his cutting of funding to female reproductive clinics. As a result of his actions, the barista, and many other low wage women in Florida are not able to purchase health care insurance through President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”

What struck me about this video more than anything else was how many times she called the governor an asshole. When and why did this become our favorite pejorative? I found the  wonderful list above just by looking at a thesaurus site and searching for asshole synonyms. If you ask me, she should have called him a pilgarlic¹. That would have shown him!!!

Of course, his response showed the depth and maturity of the statesman Governor truly is; he made a video attacking her. Keep it classy, Governor. (Sarcasm.)

After I looked at the synonyms for asshole (which I truly expected would bring up anatomical terms) I searched “anus,” for which there are apparently no synonyms other than ‘asshole.’ Then I did a search for lists of pejoratives. This is an adventure that I chose not to undertake since the first lists had over two-hundred pages each. With all these choices of mean things to call each other, can we not be a little more creative? Especially with all the studies that have come out the last two or three years saying that we salty tongued folks tend to be smarter than average…is this the best we can do.

While we are at it, why do we take words that really mean something good and make them mean something bad? Why is ‘tool’ now a bad thing? If homo-sapiens had not learned to use tools we never would have survived, or come to both dominate and destroy the earth. Dick? This nickname for a penis? This is a male body part that is not only useful and necessary for a man, but can also bring great pleasure to a woman. Why is it now a nasty name to call a guy? There are others, but I’ll let go of the use of curses in the U.S.

I don’t really like talking about the 2016 presidential election, it has already been the most disgusting display of idiocy on the republican side that I have ever seen. My problem is that I see so many pluses and minuses for the two remaining democratic candidates that I’m not sure which way to go between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. In the beginning it was a slam-dunk for me, Bernie Sanders. Secretary Clinton² has much baggage from a few decades in public service, she’s too hawkish and not near as progressive as I. Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist,” and is always at least a little, but sometimes a great lot, to the left of Secretary Clinton. But as a woman, and a feminist, her record of working to improve the lot of women and girls all over the world is stellar, as is her position on women’s reproductive rights, which is very important to me. But so is income inequality, which I am fairly sure that Bernie can be better trusted to address. I also have an impossible amount of student debt, which Bernie also promises to address. I don’t like Hillary’s hawkishness, but we do have a terrible threat, worldwide, from violent extremists, and her experience as Secretary of State may give her more insight how to deal with this threat.

So you see, this has to be the most consequential election of my lifetime. I never thought any election would matter as much as electing President Obama in 2008. But it isn’t just the presidential election that matters. If democrats don’t take back the senate and lots of state legislatures women will very soon, especially in the “Red” south, need to kiss reproductive choice, health and safety goodbye.

¹ “Pilgarlic” is an archaic word making fun of bald men.

² Hillary Clinton was President Obama’s Secretary of State during his first presidential term, 2009 to 2012,

 

 

 

 

The Fog of Hedges

For me, The Fog of War (2003) is absolutely the gift that keeps on giving. I get more fascinated every time I watch this film. There are so many angles to it, so many sub-themes to explore. Lately,…

Source: The Fog of Hedges

We Are Billion Year Old Carbon

And the white lion roars!

This post is slow going as I just had shoulder surgery a week ago, on my dominant (left) arm and typing with one finger is cumbersome. But on I slog. As you might expect I’m, very sadly, watching lots of TV. And there is a message going out daily from the idiot box that I’ve noticed for years without realizing just how prevalent the message is; that everything in nature is scary and icky. And it isn’t just females on TV squealing about how deadly and squidgy things outside the studio are. This past Thursday, March 31, I watched the Today Show and both Tamron Hall and Willie Geist  did an entire segment of animal stories, carrying on and on about how gross and deadly it all is. Tamron Hall , Willie Geist I think it may have bothered me so much because Tamron Hall’s parents were educators and Willie Geist has small children who will carry that message with them on through their lives, and man will continue ignorantly hating nature, and mindlessly destroying it instead of embracing nature and our connection to it.

This is not new, and they are not the only guilty ones, I’ve seen this every day, somewhere or other for the last two weeks and on. In fact, all my life. It used to annoy me terribly when I was in school and a girl would see a worm or a snake, or even a bird, and would squeal like an idiot. (They were usually the ones with boyfriends, not me. Is that why?) I remember the first time I ever held a grass snake and let it crawl around between my fingers; I was enthralled! And I never believed that the squealing was anything but an affectation.

And it isn’t only television and silly adolescent girls who send out this message. Movies do the same thing to make us afraid of the non-human life around us. Movies about vicious wolves and bears and tigers. And bees, without which we lose our foods that need pollinators. Starvation is much more frightful to me than bees. I used to wait for a bus when I worked for the University of IL, and sometimes the trash cans near for the most part humans are not the prey of any large animals, or small ones for that matter. We usually have no reason to be afraid of squirrels, opossums, geckos, etc, but nearly everyone I know believes them to be terrifying. Trust me, we DAILY do more harm to them than they ever do to us.  I read earlier this week that one opossum can eat 5,000 ticks in one season. Ticks are much more dangerous to humans than the animals that prey on the ticks. You may perk up here at the way to call BS on me for not loving something from the natural world, but I understand that wherever we live, everything that lives with us has a place within our ecosystem. Most of the small (and large, for that matter!) animals who live in our world just want to do their jobs in order to survive and reproduce-that’s it. They do not attack, harm, maim or kill us unless they are afraid or feel threatened. An opossum’s hiss is only meant to tell us to back off. And if they attacked us, how much harm could they do? Seriously, how much? Better to walk away and let them feed their babies, no harm done.

Yes, sometimes humans are harmed by the natural world. Sometimes we stray too deep into the territory of a tiger or bear. Sometimes a dog bites because it is afraid of us and has no other way to defend itself. Once in awhile these intercourses lead to a human death. In almost every one of these tragedies education or a responsible adult could have prevented the event from occurring. Ticks and mosquitoes spread disease?  When walking in tall grasses or the woods, wear something to repel them. Ticks and mosquitoes bite dogs? Protect them! Dogs bite children? Teach your child how to approach strange dogs, and not to treat your Fido like a pony. Horribly, if your child is not taught, and Fido reaches the end of his rope at having his tail pulled, or being ridden, it will be Fido who pays with his life for your failure as a parent to teach your child how to interact with him.

Yes, there are snakes that are poisonous, and some are very aggressive. You can ask if I’m afraid of them and the answer is still no. I respect their place in our world, and the good they do us, I don’t walk in fields at night where I can’t see the ground and I don’t disturb them during the day. There are three major poisonous snakes in Texas, where I live; the rattle snake, the copperhead, and the cottonmouth water moccasin. Cottonmouths are aggressive and poisonous, don’t swim near the banks of rivers and ponds, especially if there are low-hanging trees near the water. Every story I’ve ever heard about people being attacked by copperhead during the day has involved digging up fence posts or mailboxes and such where the snakes live. Normally they don’t come out during the day, but if you mess with their nests be smart, steady and prepared. I won’t go into rattlesnakes here because, well, this is Texas, where idiots gather lots of the biggest ones they can find to play with and ultimately kill during our annual rattle snake roundup. Every snake bite that happens during that appalling travesty is deserved, just like every goring that occurs during every bull fight. There is no sport, or honor or nobility in torturing an animal with a sword then killing it with a final sword strike.

My biggest point is that all of these fellow carbon based life forms have  a job, and as the top predator on earth, we should learn to rejoice in our luck that most of their jobs also benefit us. Snakes control field rats, which carry diseases into our homes. Opossums control ticks, which could otherwise bring diseases to our best friends and on to us. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that I am grateful to snakes and spiders for the bug killing work they do. And I am grateful for the diseases that these insects pass on in the wild to keep animal populations in check. No one wins when any one species overpopulates. It’s all a part of the “cycle of life,” and it is not scary, icky, it’s not deadly if you’re educated, and it is not gross. It is actually quite beautiful.

honor the earth