Friday, November 15, 2013

My Peak Queer Theory Moment, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Expose Misogynistic Garbage

This blog post is one I've been meaning to write for quite some time now. But, before I delve into critiquing the monstrosity known as "Lockpick Pornography" by Joey Comeau, first, a story.

So, a few years back I was invited by a former friend to attend a "toaster party."  There were no set plans for the evening, only that attendees bring food items that could be toasted.  I was intrigued and so I ended up asking my friend if the toaster theme had anything to do with "The Brave Little Toaster."  She said it didn't, but that the idea sprang from a sentence contained in "Lockpick Pornography." The quote can be read here:
What about those androgyny loving people. They're still jacking something off, though, aren't they? They're not just sitting around looking at chrome toasters and having instant orgasms. Are they?
So eloquent and special, isn't it?

Well, needless to say, she sent me a link to the story, which I hastily read in time for the party the next evening. I remember feeling glad that we were going to be able to discuss this "book" because I had quite a few concerns that I wanted to have addressed about it.

Now, at the time, I was still very much fully immersed in queer politics, so I was much nicer to asshole men than I am now.  I made a statement in a semi sugar-coated way that I didn't like how the lead character punches a woman in the stomach simply because she is a straight woman, how a male character gets raped in his sleep, and how the only female characters in the book were "genderqueers" and were constantly sexually harassed by the main character, who has serious impulse control issues.

A guy in attendance at the party, we will call him "Turkey" since he's named himself after a bird anyway, except calling him a Turkey is more fitting because those birds show off for no reason and are generally quite dull, addressed me:  "Well, you see, you just, like, didn't understand the, like, metaphor that the author was, like, using."  Which in retrospect was just Turkey's nice way of saying "shut the fuck up, you dumb bitch."  I said "I disagree. I feel like he was being very clear with his words and that this book was very misogynistic."  My friend dispersed the tension by reiterating in heavily-laden bourgeois academic jargon what Turkey had said. And so, I shut up. Any real sense of feminist discourse effectively silenced by the penis in the room and one of his female enablers/fangirls.

The sad thing is, some of the people in my former community actually look up to the lead character in this book as a role model.  To give you an idea of the type of person the lead character is, just think of a genderqueer gay male version of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho.  I don't *recall* if the lead in Joey Comeau's book ever kills anybody, but he damages property (both private and public), physically assaults women and men, makes obscene phone calls to women and men, breaks into people's homes, participates in theft, and, if memory serves me correctly (though I HOPE I am just blocking out some terrible shit), he and his band of cronies leave pornography behind in childrens books at public schools.

But don't listen to me. If you really want to read this atrocious piece of pro-queer "literature" then here you go.  Trigger warning for almost every possible trigger I can think of at the moment. Just, proceed with caution.  This work is a piece of shit, along with every male who agrees with it.  http://lockpickbook.blogspot.com/2010/06/chapter-1.html

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Campus Dialogue on Race

Humboldt State University (my Alma Mater), is hosting this event right now as we speak.


The indoctrination is strong with this one.

I have a few problems with it right off the bat.  Now, as a white person, I do not take any issue whatsoever with my former school hosting an event meant to foster activism around issues of race.  That is a a worthy cause and should be supported with themed lectures and workshops.

Now, I also understand that HSU is not racially diverse at all (partly due to the fact that the geographical area has a long-standing history of some really disgusting violent racism, and partly due to the fact that the remaining white "race activists" are pompous and egotistical elitists.) I also understand that, due to aforementioned reasons, it might be hard to facilitate such an event, simply because those who need to be able to speak for their own groups cannot actually make it.  That being said, I would still hope that if they were hosting week long events regarding the subject of race, that they would be able to fill the week with events that are directly related to race!

Instead, we find such programming like this:

Poor Whites and the paradox of Privilege

This talk focuses on the way we DON'T talk about poverty in the U.S. Poor white folk are the largest poverty group in the country, yet they are seldom presented in the media or in conversations about marginalization. My work looks at how poor whites carve out their paradoxical identity within the glowing assumption of white privilege.
Presenter: Dr. Kirby Moss, Journalism
Yes, because "what about the poor white people?"  I thought this was a campus event designed to discuss race, and when discussing issues of race, you leave the fucking white people out of it.  Want to talk about how poverty affects white people too? Great! What you are discussing is actually an economic (class) issue, not a race issue.  Economic/class only becomes a race issue when people of color are denied opportunities for success economically based on their race.  White people do not experience discrimination based on the color of our skin. Leave white people OUT of the dialogue, for once!

And then we see gems such as this:

Keynote with Trystan T. Cotten
Transsexual Men, Genital Surgery, and Cultural Theory

Trystan T. Cotten is Associate Professor of Gender and African American Studies at California State University, Stanislaus. He has published five books and numerous articles in journals and book collections, and travels extensively around the world lecturing on transgender issues. His primary areas of research are: 1) transgender medicine and gender identity/embodiment; and 2) nonconforming gender and sexuality in the Africa(n) diaspora. Dr. Cotten's most recent publications are: Hung Jury: Testimonies of Genital Surgery by Transsexual Men and Transgender Migrations: The Bodies, Borders, and Politics of Transition. He is also the principal architect and managing editor of Transgress Press, which is a social entrepreneurial publishing firm devoted to empowering trans people and communities.
Again, I am not sure why this is in the program of events for the week.  This has even less to do with race than the prior lecture I just mentioned.  This, if anything for the mention of "Africa(n) diaspora" has more to do with discussing cultures.  However, this isn't the "campus dialogue on cultures" (though that would admittedly be interesting for the third-wavers to try tackling), this is the "campus dialogue on race" and I'm seeing certain programs that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic.

It is completely irrelevant and is more mind-numbing gender propaganda from the left designed to churn females into the corrupt system of patriarchal mutilative elective cosmetic surgery and dangerous hormonal drugs.  I'm not interested in hearing about this stuff UNLESS they are talking about ways in which men across the board force women, and other men, into strict binary roles and then insist that those who do not neatly fit are actually members of the opposite sex.  You do not get more textbook sexist than that!

Then finally, there is this:

Disability Justice and Our Potential for Resistance

Why don't we talk about disability? This is a workshop and discussion space where we can connect disability to our visions of a social justice movement that recognizes the intersections of our experiences and the complexities of our lives. Everyone welcome!
Presenter: Elizabeth Hassler
Which is presented by a white woman.  Cool. I noticed another workshop on the list also being presented by a white woman.

How deeply insulting to people of color, especially women of color.

I understand the need to talk about these issues, however, HSU chugs out a very one-sided view of issues as it stands. This week-long program overall has some very interesting-looking topics, particularly about the Black Panthers, Institutional Racism, Indigenous Peoples rights, and inclusion within environmentalism. In fact, I wish I had known about the environmental discussion as I work for an environmental activist, author, and co-founder of Deep Green Resistance and I would have found the information potentially useful.  However, certain discussion groups/workshops/lectures seem grossly out of place for an event that is specifically geared toward race.

If you really want to support a good cause, consider donating to W.O.R.D (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) Sacramento to help them get an office established.

Donate to W.O.R.D: https://www.wepay.com/xdc7611

W.O.R.D gear: http://www.etsy.com/shop/WORDSacramentoShop

There will also be some new projects coming in the next few months, so keep a lookout for those things, which will likely be posted here or on my personal Facebook page.

Edit: Want to know what is glaringly missing from any of the workshops? The mention of women.  It's as if my school wants to think that women, or our stuggles as women under patriarchy, does not exist.

The Evil Feminist has also done a piece about the Campus Dialogue on Race, which can be found here:  http://evilfeminist.tumblr.com/post/66313997254/humboldt-state-doesnt-actually-know-how-to-have-a