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Nothing Going on Here

I've been accused of "minimizing child abuse" in the Kevin Spacey case. Sorry…quoting Michigan law to you is "minimizing" what happened to Anthony Rapp?

Let's check this short version of the law by Michigan firm Smith Blythe:

What Constitutes Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct?

In Michigan, if sexual contact without penetration is alleged, it will fall into either the second or fourth degree of criminal sexual conduct. The fourth degree involves sexual contact, but not penetration, to the genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttocks, or breasts. (citation)

Wow, that's funny. Nothing about lying fully clothed on top of someone. Maybe Ms. Smith missed something? Let's check the full text of the law.

Michigan Law Regarding Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fourth Degree
(because whatever happened wasn't severe enough for second)

Nothing there, either!

(*sarcastic gasp*)

Do you suppose it could possibly be that Kevin Spacey didn't commit child abuse and actually engaged in nothing more than disappointing, drunken behavior?

Wow, what a concept! Maybe that's why multiple attorneys have said "there's nothing you can do"! Perhaps that's why the FBI is focusing on Harvey Weinstein, who actually broke the law!

 

If you'll excuse me, I have to take off before my eyes roll out of my fucking head.


Edited to Add: Five minutes after I posted this, I heard for the first time that there is more than one accusation against Spacey. In case you missed it the first time, this is only about the initial accusation. Since I didn’t know that anything further had come out, I do not know if he’s ever gone beyond not-quite-CSC-4.

A House Divided

or This Was Never Going to Go Well

This, my friends, is the sign of Catalunya at war; of Catalunya in crisis. This is not the flag you see when Cataluyna is at peace.

If you're one of those people who doesn't watch the news because "it's too depressing", you're missing a major political crisis in Spain. Scotland's latest attempt at independence has nothing on this.

Perhaps you're not aware that I speak una mica de català. It was the first Spanish ancillary1 that Duolingo introduced, and–despite not liking French (which influences Catalan, being that Catalunya is so close to the border)–I picked it up. Even though I don't study it very much, I call Catalan my unofficial fourth language, and I have a Catalan phrase (descansi en pau–rest in peace) on a shirt. Since I pay peripheral attention to Spain (much like Ireland–and y'all know I love Ireland), when one of the Kingdom's "autonomous communities" (not provinces–turns out those are the next level down) declares it's going to sue for independence, both sides are going to get a lot more focus than they usually do.

I'd like the Kingdom to be at peace with itself, I thought, but Catalunya has been striving for independence since before most of us were born. And I don't like the way the Kingdom tried to disrupt things when Catalunya went to the polls.

​Did you miss that bit of news, too? Catalunya went to the polls on an independence referendum at the beginning of the month and the Kingdom was furious! They sent in riot police, shot at protestors with rubber bullets, dragged people out by their hair, tore up ballot boxes and generally made a big mess of things. I don't recall hearing if anyone was arrested, but (I think) over five hundred people were injured. 500! I didn't think Spain was into bully tactics, but maybe I was wrong.

"Qué pasó con la discusión pacífica?" I'd say to the prime minister. "Cree que la violencia es la mejor manera de hacer retroceder a Cataluña2? No sé lo que sucede aquí en España; pero en mi país, si tratas a la gente así, lucharán más duro–y el villano generalmente lamenta el resultado."
"Whatever happened to peaceful discussion?"
"Do you think violence is the best way to get Cataluña to back down? I don't know what happens here in Spain; but in my country, if you treat people like that, they'll fight back harder–and the villain generally regrets the outcome."

 

​Unfortunately, the answer is that neither side has backed down. In fact, tempers have gotten hotter.

How do you say, "scruffy little nerf-herder" in Catalan? And I mean that affectionately, like Leia might have said to Han after they got married. (Hee hee) Go, President Nerfherder! Save Catalunya!

After a controversial vote in which the anti-independence lawmakers walked out, the President of Catalunya said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Okay, we're done. I'm calling independence."

To which the Kingdom's PM said, "Like hell you are! You're fired, your people are fired, the police chiefs are fired, all the state media are fired…Cataluña is Spain's, bitch! (And I'll prove it to you by replacing you on December 21.)"

Oh my damn. (facepalm)

Would you believe I still didn't know who to side with after that?

They should be free, I thought. Just because the PM got rid of the president doesn't mean that some one else faithful to the Catalan cause won't eventually find their way into office!

But then again, I continued. If you let Catalunya go, then the Basques will try again and then where will we be (in terms of unity)?

Em…turns out that that won't make a great deal of difference. There is no such thing as a united Spain. There never has been.

 

You can skip this part if you like. It's kind of boring, and my history may not be all that sound…

See, when Isabel and Fernando were in charge, Spain looked a lot like this. (I don't know too much about Spanish history before them.) The crown of Castilla y Léon belonged to Isabel after inheriting it from her brother, Enrique IV; while Aragon belonged to Fernando and came with him as part of their marriage.3 Granada, of course, they conquered together shortly before Cristobal Colon came into the picture. (Not completely sure, but it might have been absorbed into Castilla y Léon for the duration of their marriage.) History tells us that the "Catholic Kings of Spain" (as Isabel and Fernando were known collectively) united those three regions under one crown–but that's not true, either. As it is now, the regions brought under the jurisdiction of the crown retained most of the power, and the Kingdom of Spain was just a big, loose collective.

Castilla y Léon and Aragon split again after Isabel's death4, but that didn't keep future monarchs from trying to unite the country. In 1833, Queen Maria Cristina declared the creation of forty-nine Spanish provinces (there are now fifty); but the long retention of their own languages and customs left the Basques and the Catalans (even the Galicians, to some extent) with a sense of their own country and way of life separate from the rest of the Kingdom. After General Franco took over in 1936, he tried to use his dictatorship to push the regions of Spain together, but his commands were only for the duration of his reign–when the Kingdom returned in 1975, it attempted to find a way to appease all sides in its push for democracy. The constitution allowed for the creation of the present autonomous communities, allowing Spain to achieve a "separate togetherness", or for it to be considered a "nation of nations".

Boring part over!

 

Wow, I thought. If Spain has never really been together-together, what difference does it make if Catalunya declares for themselves?

I know Catalunya is prosperous, but I don't know how much of a financial impact there will be on the rest of the country–and you know how I hate crunching numbers! When the constitution was written (back when the current king's father came to power), they threw around phrases like "indissoluble ties of unity", but how can you claim that the Kingdom is united if what you have now is just a modernized version of the fifteenth century Kingdom with democracy thrown in? If Catalunya wants to leave, let them! If you wanted actual unity, maybe y'all should've thought of that before handing out liberties when you wrote the constitution.

 

And Prime Minister–really?! You really think bashing heads and generally looking like a jackass is going to win you support from overseas? Even if I wasn't on Catalunya's side before, your childish antics would certainly make me think twice!

"Papi! Cataluña isn't playing nice with me! (*throws a giant hairy fit any American child would be proud of*)"

Diosa mia! Is this how you lead, Señor Rajoy? Because it looks a lot like you took a leaf from Chump's playbook…and since America is currently the laughingstock of the world, I don't think that was such a bright idea!

(I'd tell His Majesty to smack his PM upside the head, but I just heard the other day that King Felipe sides with him. Grrreeeaaat!)

 

All I can say is stay tuned. The Kingdom thinks it's over, but just because you call a tomaquet a peixo doesn't make it so! (Look at my tiny knowledge of Catalan!)

It's been a long time since I've signed off with a music or lyric video, but every time I think about Catalunya the past few days, I recall a line from a Linkin Park song: "Don't turn your back on me! I won't be ignored!"

So here they are with "Faint" from 2003's Meteora.


1I wasn't sure what to call it–another word might be "regional". My intention was a term meaning "any language that is also spoken in a country, and has a basis in that country". Our ancillaries, therefore, might be Native American languages. Spanish ancillaries don't always have to have a basis in Spain–the second ancillary Duo introduced, Guarani, is one of the tribal languages of Paraguay.
2You’ll notice I’m jumping between Catalunya and Cataluña–the former is the name of the country in Catalan, the latter is the name in Spanish. (Both are pronounced the same, to my knowledge.) If you’re still unsure of where I’m talking about, it’s the same place that the news outlets keep calling “Catalonia”–that’s the anglicization.
3Navarre was considered a separate country, and usually ended up with a sibling of either the Spanish or the French royals on the throne.
4Fernando was never crowned King of Castilla y Léon, so the crown went to their daughter Juana and he was back to being King of Aragon. At least until they decided she was crazy and locked her away, at which point her son took over.

Steal Me a Holiday

I've indicated in other posts that Christians stole many holidays from Pagans, but I don't think I've gone into detail. So if you want to get down to "cultural appropriation", let's start there.


​What it is: All Saints/All Souls
What it was: Samhuinn

​I almost wrote Halloween, but that's more secular than religious, so it's probably better to focus on the days following. 

Except since neither is on the day of, it's easy to focus on candy, costumes and parties, not having a holy mindset. True, these are Catholic holidays and not all-Christian, but it still seems like the church is trying to distract from the spooks and splash of Halloween.

Samhuinn (Scottish, "saveen"–most use Samhain, "sowen") is the night when the veil between the worlds is thinnest; the night when those of Pagan faiths generally celebrate departed friends and family, practice divination and turn their foci inward. (See the connection?) They may also conduct new year's celebrations, as Samhuinn is when the Celtic calendar began anew.

 

The lovely Lesley-Ann Brandt, of Lucifer. I thought of Gal, but everyone wants to be Wonder Woman this year; so if I had a party to go to (and maybe if I wasn't so…ah…curvy…) I'd throw on a leather jacket and some dark makeup and go as Mazikeen. 😉

What it is: Christmas
What it was: Saturnalia, the birthday of Mithras (a god worshipped by Roman soldiers), and probably a bunch of others

I'll spare you this one, since we already covered it in Holiday Heckling. But there's a nice statue of Mithras, if you're interested.

​What it is: Saint Blaise's Day and the Blessing of the Throats; the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple; the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary
What it was: Imbolg/Immolc

Wow, talk about working overtime to cover the Celtic rites welcoming light back into the world, purification, early signs of spring and the blessing of the planting! (Wiki also mentions Lupercalia, but historians more closely associate that holiday with Valentine's Day now.) The idea of candles comes in because villagers used to carry torches in the blessing of the fields, so the church replaced them with something more portable to represent Jesus as "the light of the world". No surprise, then, that the Blessing of the Throats involves two specially consecrated candles!

…and then there are people like me who can't be fussed to pronounce Imbolg and go with Candlemas anyway! I used to light one of each color of candle I owned to celebrate the light coming back into the world. The words "Hannukah on steroids" come to mind. 😉

​What it is: Easter
What it was: Ostara

Eggs, chicks, bunnies, flowers…all that stuff associated with Easter is actually from Ostara. In fact, it's supposed that "Easter" actually comes from the goddess celebrated on Ostara, Eostre.

The only thing I have to add to my previous rant is that seven year ago, a certain actor from an Old Hollywood family tried to claim that Eostre was a "shapeshifting pedophile". (I heard about it because he texted it to his son–who I had a crush on at the time–and the son posted it to Facebook.) I don't remember my response, but it surely started something like, "Tell your idiot father…"


Next page: the Celts probably didn't celebrate all eight of these, but I'm covering them anyway!

Your ass should appropriate my foot!

Enough with the "cultural appropriation" bullshit. It's gone too far. I understand it when people wear slutty ethnic costumes or do things that degrade the people the activity is supposed to represent, but when you can't do anything anymore without cries of appropriation? Nope. No. DONE!

 

I heard someone say recently that they wouldn't want to do vodou because it would be "cultural appropriation".

Em…magick is magick. No one gives a flying fuck what color you are, just as long as you respect the practices and the right beings, whether its gods or lwa. Do you really expect non-black people who have been vodouisants all their lives to suddenly drop what they're doing and change their belief system just because you suddenly believe it's "wrong"? Christians stole their holidays from Pagans and then ran around killing them when they didn't conform to their newly invented religion, but I don't see anyone deserting churches over it!

What's next? "We can't play jazz because black people invented it"?

"We can't do martial arts because we're not Asian"?

"We can't take Bollywood because it's ‘appropriation’–despite there being Indians willing to teach us"?

At what point do we say, "What the fuck?! ENOUGH!"


Maybe we need to have a lesson in what's offensive and what's not.

If the outfit makes you say "dear Goddess!" before you even learn it's called "temptress Indian costume", it's probably offensive, never mind "appropriation"!

Pretty sure the beading on ceremonial outfits means specific things. That feather? I remember learning in elementary school that men earned feathers for killing enemies and other battle activities. Seems like women did not earn feathers!

Compare with this photo of a Cherokee woman from Western Washington University. (There was no citation, so I hope it's legit.) See how she's covered up? And no feathers, because that's not appropriate for her gender?

 

Here's one that really drives me bats–but at least I believe I have a partial explanation for it.

According to what I've read, during WWII, some prostitutes decided to call themselves "geisha girls"; leading geisha to be inextricably associated with sex in the American mind for generations ever after. (Yes, geisha did have sex once in their careers before the 1951 prostitution ban–Golden got that much right–but otherwise, they kept themselves like nuns until their careers were over.)

I could comment on everything wrong with this costume, but then we'd be here all day and nitpicking would defeat the point of a rageblog.

 

My anger at "cultural appropriation" has been simmering under the surface for a while now, but today's Ask Amy really set me off. (My paper edited out some of this stuff, but I'll include all of it.)

"Colleague": I am not from India, but I had a traditional Indian shirt, called a kurta, made when I was invited to an Indian wedding. The shirt is made of Indian silk with gold embellishments.

Would it be appropriate to wear this shirt to a Halloween gathering at my office?

I know that there are some people from India working in the same building.

Amy: No, this would not be appropriate; it would be appropriation.

Cultural appropriation is when you take something that has cultural meaning or significance for someone else, and use it for your own purposes. You choosing to wear this beautiful shirt as a Halloween costume could be quite offensive.

I think that anyone wondering how to dress for an office-related Halloween gathering should just pick a character from the TV show “The Office,” and go with that.

Okay, stop. Just stop!

There is nothing-the-fuck-wrong with this:

It doesn't show her hoo-ha, she's not trying to attract/seduce anyone, she's not wearing anything inappropriate to her gender (both wear them–I guess a kurta is a pretty neutral piece of clothing)…NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE EXCEPT THE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS OF THE WORLD WE LIVE IN!

Goddess almighty.

If it's appropriate to wear to a wedding, then yes, it's fine for a Halloween party. (Especially if no one at the wedding bitched about appropriation!) If the Indians in your office have a problem with it, they need to step off and get a life! If they have time to complain about the inoffensive piece of clothing you're wearing, they have time to go do something more productive–like skipping the party and going back to work. Or going home and bitching to someone who cares!

Mentally ill? Must be “nice”!

I noticed it's World Mental Health Day on twitter. Sounds like a great time for another rageblog! Sit down, shut up and HANG ON!

Want all rage and nothing but rage? Skip to page three!

Oregon Doesn't Believe in Disability for Mental Health Issues

Okay, it's actually unsubstantiated evidence since I heard it last night from a commenter on one of the Not Always Sites, but there are still numbers we can work with.

"If not for family I'd have been dead long before now, because mental illness isn't 'real' to Oregon Social Security. I had pro-bono lawyers for years that eventually gave up." [citation]

Wow, harsh, Oregon. Let's go to the numbers!1

  Judges Available Average Wait Approved Denied Dismissed
Michigan 64 18.9 months
(apx 1y 7m)
50% 32% 18%
Oregon 23 19 months
(1y, 7m)
42% 37% 20%
National N/A 18 months
(1.5 years)
45% 34% 21%

What surprises me at first glance is that Oregon has just over half the amount of ALJs to hear cases as we do here in Michigan. The answer, of course, is in population numbers–as of last year, Oregon had 4m residents, while Michigan had 9.9m. That's 243% more people! (Also one judge to every 173,913 people, versus 1:154,688, if you're counting.)

The wait is about the same all the way around2, but look at the more important numbers: Oregon is below the national average for approvals, above for denials and just a scant one percent off from dismissals. While it doesn't speak to how each judge feels about mental health appeals, the numbers do agree with the commenter's statement overall. It's rough to try for disability in Oregon!

 

Page Two: "We'll punish you for telling anyone you're suicidal."

+++++

1This site is fairly accurate–I've compared it to social security's page, which I can't find the link for. (Which is why I'm using that citation.)
2The wait really is that long. My appeal was filed on April 28, 2015 and my approval was dated September 29, 2016. (One year, five months and two days, inclusive of the end date. Which means it's gotten slightly worse in the course of a year.)

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