Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fast Food for Fags

Interestingly enough, fast food giant McDonald's supports Gay Rights. Needless to say, I was stunned. So was the usual religious right, who are now calling for a boycott of McDonald's.

It's not that McDonald's will make you obese and give you heart problems; no, the reason you should hate McDonald's is that Double Cheeseburgers support Double Manlovin' (yeah, I know that was a really really bad pun).

Honestly, even after watching Super Size Me, I still eat at McDonald's occasionally. Sure the food is horrible, but it's cheap, and grease is tasty when you're drunk. My biggest beef with McDonald's is the working conditions (which really is just how working minimum wage is in this country) and the fact to make all that beef contributes to world hunger. Other than that, I don't really have much of a problem with it. I mean, we all knew it was bad for you before Super Size Me, and since the film they have made strides to provide better (but still not good for you) options, and they give you the nutrition facts up front. Sure, you really didn't need Morgan Spurlock to tell you that eating 3 Big Macs a day is bad for you, but since the film you have no excuse, it's up to people's personal decisions now.

So maybe I'll have a Double Cheeseburger once a month from there, just to show a little gay rights support. Well, I'll wait until 2:30 in the morning after a couple of beers....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eating from home

I was reading the New York Times and I read this article on people in big cities such as San Francisco and New York who make it a point to only eat locally grown food. They even hire people to come in and grow and tend for their organic gardens.

While I think it's awesome to eat locally grown food, I wonder about the legitimacy when it is just another yuppy fad. I suppose it is a matter of ends and means, and perhaps it is not fair for me to say these people don't legitimately care about supporting local farmers and helping out the environment. However, when neologisms such as "locavores" (yes, I'm not kidding, and the N.Y. Times didn't even put it in quotes or bother to define it, it took me a while to figure it out) appear it makes it hard to believe people really care about the environment and are instead just trying to look cool. Mostly because these people are just paying someone else to do it for them: "Oh, I am too busy doing my job that just serves the corporate machine, but yeah, I'm an activist... well I pay someone to be an activist for me, but that's O.K., right?"

On one hand, I get the feeling these people are the same people who bought SUVs a few years ago; on the other, they do live in New York and San Francisco, so that doesn't seem that likely.

I suppose I should just quit my bitching and be happy people are doing something that's good, even if it's for the wrong reasons. I just wish people would care before it's the cool thing to do...

Edit: Apparently locavore is now a word in the dictionary, at least according to QueenMelian. God help us all...

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Sorry for the hiatus, I didn't mean to disappear for so long, but life sort of just happened...

Anyway, I was reading articles in the blogosphere and I found this article about the correlation between political leanings and happiness.

Turns out that liberals are often sadder than their conservative counterparts, and the main reason for this is that conservatives are able to rationalize inequalities away to just being the result of people's actions and not society as a whole.

This news troubles me, I do agree with it - it often feels like a very very uphill battle - but does this necessarily equate unhappiness? Shouldn't the struggle become a source of happiness because we know we are fighting for equality and justice? I know it's kind of cliché, but I think we should just look at someone like the Dalai Lama, who despite great hardship is happy because he knows what he is doing is the right thing. Also, I find it troubling that such selfishness brings happiness.

My friends and I were talking about this the other night, and my friend remarked how "Liberals only believe in Darwinism in the sciences and conservatives only in society." Interesting indeed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good Tidings

Sorry I haven't posted in a while since my last post, I have been very busy in my personal life.

The good news, however, is that I have been accepted to present at an international conference on the erotic in Austria this fall. I am pretty psyched! :D

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Just another name on another database...

It appears that YouTube has lost out to Viacom, where the media giant now has access to users viewing habits on YouTube to see who has been viewing Viacom's copyrighted materials. It looks like privacy on the internet has taken another hit.

Viacom says they aren't going to prosecute people who watched the videos, it's just evidence. Somehow I think they will find a good way to use the "evidence" to create a marketing campaign...

Another one bites the dust...

Why does it always seem that things I love, which I agree with on certain values, have to come back and bite me in the ass.

I love Bolthouse Farm juice, it's tasty and nutritious and I love to sip on a glass of Green Goodness. Turns out that the Farm is really just a front for fundamentalism. Yep, the company is a crazy Christian organization that loves to hate queers. Looks like I should do more research before I put something in my cup. It seems that conservatives really know how to sell things to the people they hate.

As for now, I will just have to learn to love Naked and Odwalla. Unless, of course, they turn out to be baby seal clubbers.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A little late, but still...

Congratulations Thomas Beatie, the no-longer-pregnant transman, for your healthy baby girl!

News Link

Happy America Day!

As you should all know, today is the 4th Of July, which is one of my least favorite holidays. This is not, as many right-wing talk show hosts would want you to believe, because I do not love America, but rather because it results in two things that should never mix: fireworks and drunk people. Other than that I love the chance to sit back and enjoy the fact that I could have been born in a much much worse place, and that even though it has its problems, America is a pretty cool place. I <3 freedom after all.

There is an article that I saw a while ago, and I feel like this would be the perfect time to write about it. I found it on Spiegel, and it deals with the rise of people wanting autocratic systems of government over democracies. [Link Here]

The gist of the article is that due to American involvement in the Middle East, many feel that democracy is an ineffective form of government and prefer autocratic systems of ruling. This is actually an argument that I have been having with one of my coworkers recently, and honestly I am sort of torn on the subject. On one hand, I don't like the idea of power being so centrally located, on the other, I don't really know if democracy really exists. And by exists, I mean that one person is actively participating in their government. For one, I doubt the existence of a subject, who is doing the acting? Certainly not one person, but rather a collection of ideas and forces that have shaped this lump of flesh, but definitely not a subject. Which goes directly into the next point of democracy often acts as if it were an autocratic system, just an autocratic system that changes the autocrats more often. I mean, if we look at political parties as "bodies", you will see that the whole body does not ever accurately represent its parts. I know for one that I am barely a democrat; in fact I don't even identify as one except in my voting, since I would rather cancel out a Republican vote than vote for a candidate I believe in who I know won't win. (Sounds a bit like Nietzsche's lion, eh?) So I vote democrat, and still get pissed off when there is no universal health care, big business isn't severely limited, and rich people can still easily get out of paying taxes because they can afford people to weasel them out of paying. The things I want will probably never come to pass, and though you could argue that they could "if I convinced enough people" the fact of the matter is that the "subject" is really so influenced by ideology (as I know my own Marxist ideology is merely a product of my experiences and situations) that most people won't agree with me. So how is that any different from existing in an autocratic government?

Despite all these flaws, however, I am still all for democracy (even though I think that a socialist-anarchy would be better, where the socialism is implemented via a grassroots effort as opposed to a state power, but I know that most people wouldn't follow). Even if my views are usually overshadowed, I still love that I can hold them without fear of punishment, and I like that even though I will probably not get what I want politically in most things, I still can influence things in a direction I am at least OK with.

As for autocratic governments, well, I want to discuss a quote by Michel Foucault in his preface for Anti-Œdipus by Deleuze and Guattari:

Last but not least, the major enemy, the strategic adversary is fascism. ... And not only historical fascism, the fascism of Hitler and Mussolini - which was able to mobilize and use the desire of the masses so effectively - but also the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us. (xiii)

In order to truly celebrate the freedom that America grants us, we must not allow ourselves to be lead, and we must fight our desire to submit to power. Truly loving America is not to become enamored with a candidate or political party, or guns, or pro-life/pro-choice, or gay marriage or anything topical and passing. No, the way to love America is to lead your own life, and question authority and demand it respect those who it governs.

So happy 4th of July everyone! I am going to celebrate in the most American way I can think of: spending the day at Wal-Mart. Hell, I might even go to McDonald's for lunch.

I leave you on this quote:

"America was not built on fear. America was built on SUVs, on fast food and an unbeatable determination to go to Wal-Mart. Fear is just the fun prize like in the Happy Meals!"

Recommended Reading:
Deleuza, Gilles and Félix Guattari. Anti-Œdipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. - The guide to living a non-fascist life. [Get it on Amazon]

LeGuin, Ursula K. The Dispossessed. - A pretty cool sci-fi novel (and I'm not really a fan, so you know it's good) which compares a anarcho-socialist society and a hyper-capitalist pseudodemocracy. Pretty good as far as dystopias go, and a lot better than most as it critiques two types of government as opposed to one. [Get it on Amazon]

On buying, may I recommend Amazon's marketplace, as you can save trees and a book from being unloved! Plus, it's cheaper!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Facebook Can't Tell If You're a Girl or a Boy!

A few days ago, I got this article posted on my Facebook wall: He said, she said: Which is it? Facebook asks. The article basically says that Facebook will begin urging its members to start specifying what the sex of each member is (or I suppose what the gender is, I guess it depends on which the particular person chooses to specify).

Today, I got the question:

Which example applies to you?

Right now your Mini-Feed may be confusing. Please choose how we should refer to you.

  • Theo edited her profile.
  • Theo edited his profile.

The article says that this is a move made because Facebook has gone from English-Only to supporting multiple languages, and many languages do not have a gender-neutral pronoun like English. This is, of course, only partly true, as English has no gender-neutral singular pronouns. The pronoun "they" just gets bastardized and used incorrectly (my grandfather would rail against this endlessly, as he got his PhD in grammar or something). The problem is many languages, such as French, don't even have a gender-neutral plural pronoun.

This leads to the point: How can we fight a gender binary system when it is embedded directly in the ways we communicate in the world: Language. Returning to French, when you want to say "they" you either use the masculine (ils) or the feminine (elles). As it was taught to me, it wouldn't matter if there were 1 million women and one man, if there was a man you would use ils. The rhetoric behind this one grammatical rule is that the presence of one man negates any number of women.

Language is inherently sexist, but it is what we use to communicate ideas that combat sexism. What is one to do? Well, the most effective way would be to create new language (Esperanto 2.0), but definitely not the easiest or most likely. I think the only thing we can do now is to just break the rules of language and reform it from below. Sort of like linguistic grassroots sabotage.

As for now, I will continue to keep my sex off of Facebook, and force it to guess whether "Theo updates his profile or her profile."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New blog!

Unlike most musicians, I have decided that my next online project is going to be a group effort. Thus OtherVictorian and I have decided to start a side project for both of us called Carrion Bag. It's an assortment of reviews, examinations, and general ranting about pop culture, or not-so-popular culture.

I urge you to check it out, the first feature is a review of Katy Perry's album "One of the Boys". If you hate the song "I Kissed a Girl," then you will love this review.


P.S. If you are interested in becoming a contributor to the site, let me know!