Friday, December 17, 2004


A question in a different thread made me think of this, so I figured I'd just post it here for all to read.


by D.A. Clarke

privilege is simple:
going for a pleasant stroll after dark,
not checking the back of your car as you get in, sleeping soundly,
speaking without interruption, and not remembering
dreams of rape, that follow you all day, that woke you crying, and
is not seeing your stripped, humiliated body
plastered in celebration across every magazine rack, privilege
is going to the movies and not seeing yourself
terrorized, defamed, battered, butchered
seeing something else

privilege is
riding your bicycle across town without being screamed at or
run off the road, not needing an abortion, taking off your shirt
on a hot day, in a crowd, not wishing you could type better
just in case, not shaving your legs, having a decent job and
expecting to keep it, not feeling the boss's hand up your crotch,
dozing off on late-night busses, privilege
is being the hero in the TV show not the dumb broad,
living where your genitals are totemized not denied,
knowing your doctor won't rape you

privilege is being
smiled at all day by nice helpful women, it is
the way you pass judgment on their appearance with magisterial authority,
the way you face a judge of your own sex in court and
are over-represented in Congress and are not strip searched for a traffic ticket
or used as a dart board by your friendly mechanic, privilege
is seeing your bearded face reflected through the history texts
not only of your high school days but all your life, not being
relegated to a paragraph
every other chapter, the way you occupy
entire volumes of poetry and more than your share of the couch unchallenged,
it is your mouthing smug, atrocious insults at women
who blink and change the subject -- politely -- privilege
is how seldom the rapist's name appears in the papers
and the way you smirk over your PLAYBOY

it's simple really, privilege
means someone else's pain, your wealth
is my terror, your uniform
is a woman raped to death here, or in Cambodia or wherever
wherever your obscene privilege
writes your name in my blood, it's that simple,
you've always had it, that's why it doesn't
seem to make you sick to your stomach,
you have it, we pay for it, now
do you understand

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Choices or Otherwise...Why Does It Matter?

Ironically, I've already written about my thoughts on the "choice" of being gay -- back in the spring of 2003 (you'll have to scroll down to the post titled, "Random Thoughts").

Perhaps one of the more pertinent quotes from that long-ago post (IMHO) is from feminist humorist (aka fumorist) extraordinaire, Kate Clinton:

"So what if a gene or a gland causes gayness? Would that make the coming-out-to-parents conversation a health report? 'Mom, Dad, I've got the gay gene.' Would protest signs that say 'we're here, we're queer, get used to it' become apologies - 'we've got the gay gene, we couldn't be more sorry' or 'I wish my hypothalamus were bigger'?"

Is being gay a choice? I guess that's going to depend on individuals and exactly what is meant by "choice." But in the end -- why should it matter? Should the woman who makes a concious decision to become a "political lesbian" be deemed more worthy of discrimination than the girl who "knew she was a lesbian" at the age of 5? Should the bi-sexual who "chooses" to fall in love with another woman be less worthy of protection from discrimination than the bi-sexual who "chooses" to fall in love with a man?

In the end, we may never know if there is some sort of "gay gene" -- and even if there is, there will still be people who may "choose" to live a "straight" lifestyle even with the "gay gene," and those who may "choose" to live a "gay" lifestyle even without the "gay gene." It really doesn't matter.

The same goes for fat people. There are, without a doubt, some people who are fat because of a genetic predisposition to being fat. There are some who are fat because they eat too much. There are some who are fat because they've "dieted" their way up to their current weight (oh yes, they do exist). There are extremely unhealthy fat people and there are extremely healthy fat people -- and you cannot tell just by looking at the person which one s/he is.

As Elkins said earlier:
There's nothing wrong with encouraging people to take better care of their health, but I don't think that's really what anti-fat discrimination is all about. It is an appearance-based prejudice, and it has far more to do with fat itself than it does with "health."

The fact is, when you look at a fat person, you have no way of knowing if that person is healthy or not. Similarly, you have no way of knowing whether a random thin person is healthy or not.

When you see a fat person in McDonalds, you have no way of knowing whether that is the first time s/he has eaten at McDonalds in a year, or whether s/he eats there every day. Same with the thin person who is next in line.

When you see a fat person walking down the street, you have no idea how much they eat or how much they excercise. For all you know, they may have just lost over half their body weight over the course of the previous several years. Maybe they do weigh 250 lbs., but maybe 3 years ago they weighed 500 lbs.

When you see a person -- fat or thin -- you have no idea what their blood pressure or cholesterol level is.

If it's really about a concern over "health" -- shouldn't the emphasis be on whether that person is eating a healthy diet and getting enough excercise; whether their blood pressure is through the roof or at a healthy range? There is absolutely NO WAY to know this by looking at the person.

Shouldn't you be more concerned about the 145 lb. athlete who eats nothing but saturated fat and simple carbs and has a cholesterol level of 300 than the 300 lb. person who eats balanced meals, excercises regularly, has a cholesterol level of 100 and a blood pressure of 100 over 80?

Of course, in the end, you can advocate a healthy lifestyle as much as you want -- but it still doesn't matter. It's not your health or your life.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Quote of the Day

I may be the only person in the world who has ever traded the writings of Dworkin for pornography.

Thanks, flea. I nearly ruined the keyboard with the coffee I spit all over it. And it's not even my keyboard, it belongs to my workplace. That's ok -- it was worth it.