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If this is what “Democracy” looks like in the 20th century–Nazis throwing their Sieg Heil in a public building in Washington DC to celebrate the election of a Nazi President…then you can count me out.

Both my grandfathers went to war and risked their lives to keep people like this from ruling the world.

If this [is] America now…then “America” and I are now at war. Which is pretty scary, because America has the largest and most powerful military in the history of the world…and all I’ve got is this laptop.

Oh well.

-- Arinn Dembo, We Are At War

"America" has always been a piece of crap, genocidal, white supremacist settler state. Some of us have been dealing with this America for our whole lives. We didn't have the choice of whether or not to go to war with it, because it declared war on us.

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I have a friend whose father was a migrant worker and an associate of Cesar Chavez, who will be remembered at the judgement bar for lifting up the lowest of people, who contribute to our economy in the form of cheap produce.

I have several friends who have been the victims of sexual assault, (it’s that common) and who are triggered to varying degrees by the campaign remarks and actions and final election of a sexual predator.

I know a Syrian refugee family in the first weeks of adjustment to their new life in Arizona who found death threats from an anonymous neighbor, for whom many of us made an effort to encourage them that not all their neighbors would wish them evil.

My friends are devastated that the misogynist, racist, religious bigot candidate squeaked by to be elected, and fearful of newly empowered racists, misogynists, and religious bigots at large. Anyone who wants to tell them they should ‘get over it’ already will have to get through me first. We all know that we must move forward somehow come January 20. Grieving is part of some folks’ preparation. Compassion is a duty too.

-- MDearest, comment on Zelophehad's Daughters essay

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It is, perhaps, no surprise that the people who seem to be managing best out of the at-risk citizens I know are almost all survivors of some sort of sustained abuse—of domestic violence, child abuse, of the historic abuse enacted by grim and sordid definition on marginalized and minority groups, or all three. Some of the most vulnerable people I know are also the best in a crisis, because they kick immediately into survivor mode. One of my most fragile friends has spent the past few days making some of the fiercest political art of her life, another has put together quick, comprehensible reading lists for strategies of resistance, another is fundraising like mad for abortion rights charities and bringing networks together to keep up the momentum. This doesn’t mean they’re grieving any less, nor that those of us still pinned to our beds with panic are poor soldiers in this war to which we find ourselves conscripts. It means that the strategies that will sustain us all in the coming weeks and months are exactly the strategies that have always allowed [people] to survive abuse and intimate terrorism. They are strategies for practical survival that are also emotional armour.

[...] Normalization is psychic armour. But so is resistance. In the coming weeks and months and years we must navigate a course between the exhaustion of perpetual outrage and the numbness of normalization. That means taking care of ourselves and of one another. It means practicing a sort of emotional intelligence that the new power order lacks the capacity to imagine, an emotional intelligence that is all that stands between us and fascism with a cartoon face. It’s also called courage. If standing up to bullies was cost-free, we’d have a different world. If enough of us do it anyway, we can still make one.

-- Laurie Penny, Against Bargaining: On not taking leave of your senses

Personal stuff )

Take care of yourselves. Be aggressively good to yourselves, and your vulnerable friends. Be well.

Then stand up to bullies, for me and for every one of their targets.

jewelfox: A portrait of Rei Ayanami from the Evangelion series as an anthropomorphic albino red fox, in a sleeveless lavender top. (rei)

Trigger Warning: Talk of suicide, and an actual call to physical violence.

Read more... )

I'm not planning on dying anytime soon. But I would like to have an AR app, which lets me see the blood on everyone's hands. It's always been there, but there is more than usual lately.

EDIT: I do not think the person who wrote this essay meant to chastise our friends here on Dreamwidth. It looks like a wake up call for the unaware and uncaring.

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From the English-language Wikipedia page on kitsune:

"In classical Japanese, kitsu-ne means come and sleep, and ki-tsune means always comes."

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Reminder: The application period for the sci-fi Fate RPG is still going. Please check out the application thread to find out how to apply to be in it.

Now, then. Here's a question and answer from an AMA, or "Ask Me Anything," thread on an internet forum:

Q. Does [your girlfriend who used to be a miko, or Shinto shrine maiden] have any opinion on all of the cosplayers wearing her sacred vestments to look cute?

A. She doesn't care at all. Also they weren't really "sacred vestments" to her so much as a uniform...like a person at a fill-up station or a convenience store. She kinda likes Touhou, or at least she thinks the characters are cute. [...] She thinks Reimu's outfit is cute, and definitely better than what she had to wear.

-- [WARNING: NSFW / sexist / Reddit link] IAmA guy whose girlfriend was a miko (Shinto "shrine maiden") AMA

Sometimes, I get the feeling that it's the people who shame others for finding meaning in Japanese stories, symbols, and mythology, who are the ones that are actually racist. And possibly ageist, since a lot of the media that portrays these things came to North America in the form of "cartoons," "comic books," and video games, which aren't okay to like because they are "for kids."

Meanwhile, real-world Shinto shrines are actually using their connections to manga and anime to attract visitors. Via Green Shinto, an English-language article in a Japanese newspaper explains:

Some may see it as a trivialisation of sacred space, but priests and anthropologists counter this with such statements as, “Since ancient times, Shinto shrines have not been exclusive. It’s good if they are talked about and become attractive destinations.”

The ema with anime characters on them may strike some readers as weird and merchandise-y. But whatever your feelings about mass media and commercialism, I don't feel like it's a good thing to shame people for liking them. And I feel like when English-speaking people police each other for liking Japanese media, folklore, and/or religion, it doesn't come from a place of respect for those things. It comes from a desire to control, and to punish, and to keep racial boundary lines from being crossed.

Cosplay and other forms of self-expression can be used to give offense and to caricature. But I'm pretty sure that Square-Enix execs aren't offended when people in North America write Final Fantasy fanfic, and the priests at the Fushimi Inari shrine aren't upset about foreign tourists buying ofuda. If they are, they'll just have to console themselves with our money.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

That “but” poisons the whole phrase, because it neatly proves that whoever is saying it? They don’t love you at all. They might like you, but they don’t love you. They might love what you can do for them (or perhaps to them), but they don’t love you. That’s because love is uncontrollable; it is accepting of flaws, because it has no choice. Love is tolerant of mistakes, because it can’t do otherwise. To love someone, truly love them, is to be unable to let anything else in the way.

Maybe they did love you once, but the moment you hear that “but…” it’s a sign: it’s over. Whatever feelings they had for you are gone, and now they’re using your feelings to their advantage.

Because that “but” always leads to a request. Cut your hair. Change your clothes. Stop hanging out with your friends.

Change yourself into what I want you to be.

Because I’m the one who’s important.

-- Why Does He Stay With Her? by YorkNecromancer

The linked article is actually about the Ruinous Powers of Chaos in the Warhammer 40,000 setting. ^^; But as you can see, the author is pretty committed to making them work narratively ... and in the process, wrote the most frightening depiction of them that I've ever seen. Because the author put into words very well what causes abuse, and what the nature of evil is.

Content note: A couple of questionable (but non-explicit) visual metaphors that could be considered sexual harassment, detailed descriptions of intimate partner abuse, and dudebro(s) being dudebro(s) down in the comments.

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[The sequel's] indulgent lack of focus and mean-spirited twists beg to be rejected as a conclusion to the work that preceded it.

-- Hope Chapman, reviewing the third Madoka Magica film, and summing up our thoughts on Hate Plus

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From The Divine Witches of Cyberspace, by Leigh Alexander:

Nathalie Lawhead, Weil’s Monkey Fortunetell collaborator, believes faith bestows certain psychological advantages, and as [people] our tendency to read meaning into nearly anything means that tools of fortune, even digital art games, can help us psychoanalyze ourselves and give ourselves appropriate care.

I've personally found tarot to be extremely useful for things like realizing what is important to me, and what I am really afraid of. Not everyone owns a deck or knows how to do readings, though, and I think there's a lot of room for different apps and other aids to help people gain insight.

(I actually know someone who's working on just such a project, but they have not taken the wraps off of it yet.)

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

By Joe Parlock on Polygon:

I racked my brain to think of games featuring autistic characters that have stood out to me, and four came to mind. All of these characters are different kinds of people with autism, and some of them can be interpreted as positive representations. They also bring to light the tropes and stereotypes surrounding the condition that made me so worried about people finding out I have autism.

He uses the "person with autism" wording that a lot of people (like me) find unpleasant. But as long as we're now letting women and PoC talk about those kinds of characters in video games, we should also be listening to disabled people's thoughts on how disability is portrayed.

Personally, as an autistic person who plays video games one of my favourite portrayals is in Final Fantasy XIV Online. Your player character is shown talking to people occasionally, but words are never put in her mouth. And her somewhat-muted, frequently nonverbal reactions in cutscenes make her easy for me to identify with.

At any rate, I can't recommend the last game Parlock suggests enough.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: Bad religion, intolerant atheism, and implied homo/trans/everythingphobia.

What do I do if I have presented these questions to bishops and leaders and anyone and everyone who will listen to me and nobody has any answers but when I go quietly in prayer to the Lord and I hear the entire and total opposite of what you are asking me to do? And what if that answer gives me relief and peace and makes me a better mom and wife and sister and friend? And what if that peace is interrupted every single time I am “called to the battlefront” for this cause? What if it destroys my family, President? That’s what I am really asking. What if “defending the family” ruins my own?

Sometimes, the people who attack bad religion (or all religion) on the grounds that it's logically abhorrent remind me of people like "Brett," in the comments on the above-linked article. Who replied to the author by telling her that "defending the family" by attacking other people and destroying their families is right, despite the obvious harm it does to her and people she cares about, because the Mormon prophets have said so and God says they will never lead anyone astray. QED.

Logic is useless or even harmful if you are operating from faulty premises. The most abusive religions, in my experience, actually rely very strongly on the kind of logic that "Brett" uses. They have no use for feelings and spiritual experiences that prompt people to abandon this logic even when they don't know how to argue with it, or hearts and minds that are open enough to listen to people they "know" are wrong about everything.

When I am determining whether or not a belief (or belief system) is harmful and abusive, I don't look at whether it's theistic or not, or at which god it worships. I look at whether or not it shuts down questioning, inoculates people against empathy and understanding, and tells them to do things that they feel are wrong.

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[...] pretending that fictional characters have the agency to choose how they’re portrayed is a cheap trick that’s pretty much exclusively used to silence criticism.

- Annalee, Ghost in the Whitewash, the Geek Feminism blog

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Content note: Ablism and strong language in the source link.

Complaints about materialism are bunk, [Kirk Cameron] explains [in his film Saving Christmas], because Christmas is a celebration of God's spirit taking on a material form in Jesus. It's only fitting, therefore, that we give each other material things to celebrate his birth. As for gluttony (only technically a deadly sin), Christmas is our time to celebrate the most important man in the world, and God wants us to celebrate. "So get the biggest ham!" urges Kirk Cameron. "Use the richest butter! Make everything in your house point to Jesus!"

From the stranger.com

I pray to a goddess of food and wealth, and I'm kind of skeeved out by this. Wasn't it just a few years ago that most Christians were cautioning each other against letting Christmas shopping and parties and stuff detract from "the reason for the season?"

Which, I mean, I know the real reason for Christmas is "early Christians wanted to celebrate Yule." But what kind of person thinks it's okay to encourage a suburban North American audience to eat "the biggest ham" and "the richest butter," in honour of a homeless Jew who told his followers to give what they had to the poor?

It's never been more obvious that what most people call Christianity today is just capitalism.

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Our team projected there would be about 110,000 voters on June 3 (out of 462,000 registered, or less than 25 percent). And here was the kicker: Fully half would be age 65 and older. Roughly three-quarters would be age 50 and older. Millennials were a rounding error. If you want to know why politicians pay only lip service to the outrageous cost of college, soaring student loan debt and the fact that degrees don’t translate into decent jobs anymore, here’s your answer, I thought. But there was no way to start some youth crusade in the time we had.

Truth is, by the end of the campaign, I wouldn’t stop to talk to young people at all—the odds that they would show up on June 3 were practically nil. Seniors—and the direct mail we would send them—were pretty much all that mattered. (This truth was driven home by the little old lady at a market who punctuated her list of to-dos for me with eerie intensity. “You’d better listen to me, young man,” she said. “We’re the ones who vote!”)

-- Matt Miller, "Mr. Miller Doesn't Go To Washington," Politico


I believe that this instinct to perpetuate useless work is, at bottom, simply fear of the mob. The mob (the thought runs) are such low animals that they would be dangerous if they had leisure; it is safer to keep them too busy to think.

-- George Orwell, "Down and Out"


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Attacks on religious expression are an example of a program undertaken by left-leaning individuals without thought for how this may be a part of capital’s larger approach to destroying sources of meaning outside of itself. […]

Marx and Engels never saw some sort of “defeat of religion” as a necessary condition for moving society forward.

From http://erasmuslijn.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/chains-of-being/

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Kate Kelly, on her excommunication for petitioning the Mormon leaders to ask their god about women's ordination to the priesthood, and for raising Mormons' awareness of issues caused by gender inequality:

“I honestly thought until the very last minute that they would do the right thing,” the Ordain Women founder said Monday evening. “It feels very much like a forced amnesia, where everything you thought you knew was gone and everything you thought you were isn’t the case anymore.”

That's really an apt description, of how we felt when things turned upside-down for us. When we suddenly realized we had been betrayed, and the people we'd been told to look up to were cruel, banal, and self-serving.

Except in our case, we keep obsessively clinging to scraps of memory, trying to resolve issues from a dead person's life that simply don't matter anymore. Writing letters, that we never send, to long-dead family members. Watching, and reading, and participating in discussions about a dead church, led by dead leaders, teaching doctrines that crumbled to sand generations ago.

How do you cope? How do you adjust? How do you give yourself amnesia? Especially when the things that are going on in that world -- the great, consequential things -- seem so much more meaningful than the ones in your own, and you feel like you're trying to give your own meaning by keeping up with the struggle.

Even though your very existence is struggle, against depression and against systemic erasure of the kind of person you are.

It's hard to see our own happiness as an end in itself. Maybe if we did, this would not be so hard.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Eventually — perhaps a generation from now, perhaps two, but not much longer than that — there will be a statue honoring Kate Kelly in Salt Lake City. People there will find it confusing. Either it will confuse them because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will have become more inclusive, and so the idea of excommunicating an advocate for women’s ordination will seem strange, or else because the LDS won’t have become more inclusive, and thus most people seeing the statue will have a hard time remembering what a Mormon was.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2014/06/25/dont-even-speak-of-the-beat-menace/

The last time this happened, with black men being ordained to the priesthood in 1978, institutional Mormonism (separate and distinct from the personal faith of a number of Mormons) was able to basically sweep it all under the carpet. You can bet the black community remembered, but they're so underrepresented within the LDS church's membership that I could have Sunday School teachers give me racist explanations for the ban without anyone challenging them.

This is going to affect roughly half their membership. Even if they make it an optional thing, that women don't get until they turn 19* or go on missions or something, it's still going to be huge. I don't know what effect the Internet will have on it, since a lot of Mormons self-censor their web usage, but there are a lot more who are informed about their history and feminist issues this time around than there were during the Equal Rights Amendment battle.

A lot of them are going to become tomorrow's leaders. The only question is whether this will happen inside of or outside the LDS church.



* Mormon boys (meaning young Mormons assigned male, since they don't "get" gender identity) are ordained to the priesthood at age 12, if they pass a "worthiness interview" which requires them to discuss their sex life with a middle-aged man one-on-one behind closed doors. They repeat these interviews at least every two years, until they are ordained an "Elder" at age 18. If they confess to masturbating, it is often (usually?) seen as a reason to deny their ordination to the next office of the priesthood, which amounts to public shaming and causes a great deal of "concern" for them.

This is how Mormon boys learn to lie.

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I shouldn't have to say this, but the following is a parody, that I found on another forum.

Content note: If you know any out-there homophobic conspiracy theorists, this is probably what they've told you they're afraid of!

It's been a week since the Judge's ruling in Utah made gay marriage legal and I'm sorry to report that the entire state of Utah is a desolate wasteland.

The first thing that happened was all heterosexual couples marriages became invalid in the entire state. So right away my wife and I ran to the court house to update our nuptials and the court house was in utter chaos. The line of gay couples went out the door and there was no separate but equal heterosexual lines for the normal couples. After waiting hours in line a clerical error occurred, probably because the County Clerk was a Democrat, and I was married to a gay man and my wife was married into a polygamist family. We are now both required by federal law to live out the rest of out lives in this manner.

Next, all Christian churches and Mormon temples were forced to preform gay marriages. Not only this, but all churches were forced by federal law to change their doctrine on gay marriage. Last Sunday my husband and I even learned in Sunday School that all mention of homosexuality through out the Bible have been removed and in fact were really never there to begin with. There is even rumors that soon only black gay men will be the only ones allowed to have the priesthood in the future.

Even Christmas Day was found unconstitutional and now it's to be called Holiday Day, any mention of Christ will be an automatic fine.

Finally, crime, prostitution and drugs have taken over the state. Since the state and it's people became completely morally bankrupt last week, now all other sins are on the rise. We can't even protect ourselves from the new waves of criminals since the 2nd Amendment was also found unconstitutional by the same Socialist activist judge. My new husband and I are now locked up in our apartment waiting for the end of the world. Our only hope is to run to the border of Idaho. We plan in leaving at sun down, wish us luck.

-- howardcord on Reddit

My favourite part is Holiday Day. Although [personal profile] rev_yurodivy read "automatic fine" as "automatic fire."

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[...] if in a single miraculous instant, every mismatch of geography, skill-set and pay-scale were met and every job opening were filled at once, then two-thirds of our unemployed would remain unemployed. And at that point there would be no reason for any of them to send out résumés, brush up on their interview skills, or do any of that other victim-blaming make-work we expect them to do, unpaid, until such time as someone deigns to allow them to earn a living again.

- Fred Clark (emphasis ours)

If the point of capitalism is to connect supply with demand, it's failing miserably. An entire generation is being sacrificed so that wealthy and comfortable people don't have to question their way of life.

Not that this is anything new; it's just that now it's affecting white people in the first world. So I guess more people are taking notice.

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~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

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