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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!


Holiday Heckling

I've had this one outlined since Independence Day and have been putting it off like crazy; but with a holiday on Monday, I can't leave it alone any longer. Thus, I present "Holiday Heckling"–or, "Look at the bullshit we celebrate!"

P.S.: This was going to feature commentary on all the major federal holidays, but as long as I don't have anything against them, what's the point?


Columbus Day: You know, we should be really proud of ourselves for the Bahamas. Blue skies, crystal waters, pristine beaches…but wait a second. Who does the Governor-General report to? Our President?

Nope. Try Elizabeth II.

Well, who discovered it?

An Italian guy.

But we funded it, though, right?

There was no "we" back then. Cristoforo Colombo got here on Spanish money, as he convinced Isabel and Fernando that he could find a quicker route to Asia.

 

And the Bahamas wasn't even his first trip–it was his second. (Which makes the claim that Columbus discovered the Bahamas and not us only half right.)

That little rhyme about Columbus "sailing the ocean blue in fourteen hundred and ninety-two"? Refers to his landing in Cuba and Hispañola1.

The second trip added four of the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. The third found him visiting Trinidad and part of Venezuela before hopping back to Hispañola and then home. Columbus's final trip would make any veteran cruiser jealous–five Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispañola, Jamaica, Cuba, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

That's right. Four trips in twelve years and not once did he set foot in the future United States. Not that I begrudge anybody their holidays, but why do we celebrate a non-American discovering sixteen countries that aren't us?

I like the trend toward "Indigenous Peoples Day". Native Americans have actually made contributions to this country, unlike Columbus!

 

Flag of the Bahamas

Thanksgiving: My notes say, "celebrating giving fatal diseases to the natives and eventually herding them into designated spaces so we could sprawl across the country like the grabby fatcats we were and are". Which says a lot…I don't think I need to elaborate.

I hate the Trail of Tears.

I hate that the reservations are cesspools of poverty and addiction.

I hate–though it's not directly related to Thanksgiving–the fact that we barged into Hawaii, said, "Ooo, this is pretty!" and annexed it.

 

I hate that so many non-essential companies stay open on Thanksgiving. (I mean retail…I thank that gods for the restaurants that cook for us!) Beyond stealing from Native Americans, we have to steal the holiday where we give thanks for food and family and all the things we're so lucky to have?

How is it that the Chinese/Taiwanese have the idea down better than we do, closing on Thanksgiving and staying open on Christmas? I realize that I live in a largely Christian area, so this might not go over well with some people and businesses, but still…

 

Admiral Joseph J. Clark, a Cherokee, and the highest-ranking Native American member of the military.

Christmas: good Goddess…where do I start?

Even if we suppose the Christos was an actual demigod and not just a spiritual being who has never come to Earth; he absolutely, positively was NOT BORN IN DECEMBER!

The bible (if you believe that's non-fiction) says there were shepherds out with the sheep supervising the lambing.

Now I don't know when lambing season is in Israel, but here in Michigan, lambing is in February! (One of the band moms I used to be friends with on FB posted photos of lambs being bottle-fed–that's how I know.)

Christmas was invented to cover the massive Roman party known as Saturnalia. Not sure why the church doesn't just move Christmas to February, unless they think it will cause confusion with Easter.

Too late for that one, though…I spent my whole childhood believing the Christos magically grew up and died in less than a year. >.<

 

I'd invite you to an egg nog party on Saturnalia, but I think we'd all regret it! 😉

​MLK Day: I appreciate what MLK did for this country–calling attention to racism and trying to get both sides to work together, but why are we only celebrating one civil rights leader? What about Rosa Parks? Dred Scott? Nelson Mandela? John Lewis, who is alive and kicking asses all over Congress? MLK Day isn't stupid, it should just be more inclusive. Why isn't there any action toward changing it to something like "Civil Rights Day"?

 

Maybe we should acknowledge the wonderful CRLs still living? (Like John Lewis, who is pictured here.)

Presidents' Day: up until November 9, 2016, I was completely cool with Washington and Lincoln's birthdays being merged into Presidents' Day. But now that it means we're honoring every president?

Nope. Abso-frickin-lutely NOT. Chump should never be honored.

Unless someone invents "Asshole of the Year" or something.

 

Barack and Joe–America's best friends ♥

Easterthis holiday is honestly just as bad as Christmas–though instead of hiding the relevant Pagan holiday, it schedules itself based on the Pagan holiday.

(And yes, I'm trying valiantly to ignore the fact that my ex-muse is staring at me as I type this. Thank you for noticing.)

So why does Easter shift every year if it's based on a Pagan holiday?

Ostara is only part of the calculation of Easter. Whoever plans the calendars each year (or for several years in advance) places the word "Easter" on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the equinox. (We have the geniuses at the Council of Nicea to blame for this one. I think they were also responsible for removing the concept of reincarnation from Christianity, so double thanks, assholes.)

Not to mention all the questions the trial of the Christos raises, like why the Sanhedrin suddenly decided to violate their rules concerning litigation. Why Pontius Pilatus could be cowed by a simple rabble (when Rome is almighty), then slaughters a thousand Samaritans on a mystical pottery hunt not two years later without batting an eyelash. How it's awfully convenient that Claudia Procula (whose existence is barely more verifiable than the Christos himself, I might add) had a dream about not executing Yeshua, just like when Calpurnia told Julius Caesar not to go to his meeting.

But that's another pile of arguments.

 

This was a header for a profile I had…I don't know why PP makes me think of Viva la Vida

Independence Day: I know I'm not the only one complaining about this…I've seen it elsewhere.

Why in the names of all the gods at once do we call it the "Fourth of July"? Christmas is not also referred to as the "Twenty-Fifth of December"! It's Independence Day, you morons!

Nothing wrong with celebrating our independence; especially since everyone else does it. (Plus it's still not as stupid as Bastille Day. Ask me about that sometime!)

No, I just think it's weird that we celebrate freeing ourselves…from a country that has become our good buddies. (Or "mates", in their parlance.)

 

Despite being very English (proven with a DNA test!), I'm actually in love with Ireland–this just fit the theme

Labor Day: eh. I believe this holiday is supposed to celebrate the impact of how unions have changed the course of American history, but it's been lost on the states that have been forced into Right to Work…not to mention everyone else just celebrates it as the end of summer. (Not sure why you want to celebrate that, either, but not my problem!)

 

I used to ride go karts on Labor Day before going home

+++++

1Hispañola [Iss-span-yo-la] is the island that makes up Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

 

Do you like my new fleuron? It means “tiger” in Japanese. I’m going to try giving that a whirl instead of the Goddess symbol, as I usually use.


Down on the Troll Farm

or: Reddit Ridiculous

 

Sometimes it feels like the Universe means for you to stumble on something. That something may not always be pretty, but if you've changed your mind (or at least have serious questions by the end), the Universe has done its job.

I haven't said much about it, but I'm fan of geisha. (I was going to write "pretty passionate", but I'm not one who scours every corner of the internet looking for pictures and news about them.) Going to an ozashiki or enkai (a geisha banquet–the first is the industry term, the second is the customer term) is on my bucket list. I was talking about my bucket list with new friend K last night, mentioned Sayuki (from Australia, she was on Oprah) and went to double-check that the geisha from Saint Louis went by the artistic name Kimicho. (She did…more on that in a minute.) Since I learned about Kimicho from a YouTube series, that's where I'd gone to factcheck and happened to click on her Instagram in the process. Deleted.

Oh no! I thought. She must have resigned! (Being a geisha is such demanding work that I'm not sure very many hang on more than five years after completing the last phase of their training anymore.) So I googled "Kimicho of Yoshinoya", found the geisha subreddit, found a post confirming that she'd retired (I guess anyone in that business can retire–you don't have to have been in a certain length before changing from "resigned")…and found a nasty "public service announcement" against Sayuki.

 

I'm not going to go into (much) detail, and I'm certainly not going to link it–if I want that much bitchiness on my blog, I'll generate it my own self, thank you!

(I'm going to call the angry blogger "AB" in the rest of this post for the sake of simplicity, though.)


Flag of Shinagawa, where the Yoshinoya okiya is located

One of Sayuki's big "selling points" (for lack of a better term) was that when her okasan (house mother/supervisor) retired, she refused to let Sayuki inherit because she was white. (This is the first time it occurs to me that that claim makes no sense. Why would you take someone into the profession if you weren't willing to treat them the same way as everyone else?) AB says that that's not the case–Sayuki's okasan died before she finished training, and when she petitioned the kemban (geisha union/board) to take over the house, they said no. In fact, she broke the rules so many times that she was eventually kicked out. (I believe Sayuki used the "because I'm white" excuse there, too.)

Another claim AB makes is that Sayuki is lying when she says that she's the first Western geisha, as there were women from Eastern Europe who went into the profession in WWII. Em…where's your citation, AB? I've read every (modern) book on geisha (or almost all of them, and only the ones in English, since I'm neither otaku nor weaboo) and I've never heard of these women–not even in Lesley Downer's book, which goes all the way back to the courtesans of the twelfth century or so! And just because they were born outside of Asia does not make them "Westerners" in my book. If you were born in the Eastern Hemisphere, you are an Easterner, and fuck any anthropologist or other "expert" who says otherwise! (In that case, though, Sayuki would still not be the first Western geisha, as she's from Australia.)


I'm into using images to break up parts of this post, so here's the Missouri state flag!

Blah, blah, blah; negative shit, negative shit, fraud.

WHOA! Fraud? Where on Earth did you get that AB?! (She has a lot of links at the bottom of her so-called PSA, but with no in-text citations, I'm not sure what goes where.) She claims that Sayuki was arrested in New Zealand on fraud charges and "can never go back". When I read "so-and-so can never go back to [Country]", I immediately assumed that it's because they're banned, but I doubt anyone would be banned from a country for fraud unless it was a major scandal like Enron or something. So again with the making Sayuki seem worse than she is, as I assume that Little Miss Angry Blogger actually means "can't go back unless she wants to go to jail". (I should point out that when Person A says Person B got kicked out of somewhere, I hesitate. Someone once told me that a friend of mine got deported from Brazil because he didn't have a "performer's permit"–or whatever–and Friend told me later that that never happened.)

 

As if that wasn't enough, AB bragged about her and her friends trolling Sayuki on reddit.

(Cue me doing a, "Yeah, that's real classy!" eye roll.)

Apparently Sayuki tried to do an AMA (ask me anything) twice? (I read it late last night and was annoyed the whole time, so I can't tell you how much I retained.) AB crowed that she and her little buddies "shut her down. Hard" both times. The second time, they were so vicious that reddit closed the thread early. AB seems to think that that's a sign of how stupid/how much of a scammer Sayuki is, but I think it's a sign of everyone in attendance being bitchy little brats(I've been to a few AMAs and most people don't spend their time bullying the guest–or if they do, reddit is the one that "shuts them down", and quickly.)

Contrary to what the r/geisha mods seem to believe, bragging about cyber harassment is not the way to encourage new members to join you, regardless of whether you feel someone is a scammer, an internet stalker, or whatever. The mods can say that they don't condone trolling, but if you post a link (as an "announcement") to a blog where someone boasts about mistreating someone else, then yes, you certainly do approve, however tacitly.

I'll let my response to them say the rest:

I was going to become a member of this community, but when you promote a post where someone brags about all of you trolling someone on here, the idea died. Fast.

I don't care if Sayuki/FG+ is a fraud–you don't attract people by saying how awesome it is that you were able to troll her to death. Trolling doesn't fix anything, and it sure as hell doesn't attract new members to your subreddit. If anything, they're going to be like me–afraid that they'll have their knowledge questioned (even though they've read every book ever published on the subject), afraid they'll be treated like crap because they're American, etcetera.

Lest you think I'm siding with FG, I should point out that that post–nasty though it may be–gave me Serious Questions about her and what she's doing. But as I've made clear, I'm not going to side with you, either.

(*steps back and waits for the inevitable insults that come with randomly picking "East Tiger" as her handle*)

+"FG" is Fiona Graham, Sayuki’s legal name. Also, my handle wasn't randomly picked, but they don't need to know that.

 

By the way: that bullshit AB (and the mod) posted about Sayuki being "fake" is just that–bullshit.

So she didn't finish training. A lot of people start acting without a degree or even having taken classes–look at the Harry Potter kids! (I know this comes off as callous, but I get the idea that classes are what actors do in between roles to fill the time. Thank you, television.)

So she's not with a geisha house or union. Saying that makes her fake is like saying an actor is fake because he isn't with SAG-AFTRA, Equity, or a theatre group (if he's in the minor leagues).

In the words of the legendary Geico commercial:

AB and her buddies can't even argue that Sayuki is taking away business. A true "expert" would probably feel the same way as AB et al. and not request Sayuki or her apprentices for their enkai. A tourist (or even an unconnected local) can't host their own enkai–however small–because of the old ichigen san kotowari ("the first time customer is refused"). It's not cool for Sayuki to harass Angry Blogger and others (if that's even true), but the same goes for the other side. Sayuki should serve the tourists and the snooty geisha fans should ignore her–that's it. No more snipping.

 


(my name in katakana)