Sunday, January 30, 2005

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Never again

Today is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

Never.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Response to comments

First, in case you didn't notice, I sided against the radicals more than against the conservatives, so :-P.

Secondly, and I quote, "[w]hile I sympathize with the radicals in that they don't want to be around people whose basic outlook on life includes segregation and hate (I wouldn't, either), there are a lot of people who are 'republican' or what have you that aren't." Seems like I mentioned that "[c]onservative and republican do not automatically equate a belief in segregation and hate." Maybe I should have said 'don't' instead of 'aren't,' and put quotation marks around some of that bit, which are not my own words, I should add.

In addition, yeah, the radicals have the privilege - they're the ones that first started holding 'All Queers' meetings. The moderator/facilitator, btw, was not a radical.

I also seemed to advocate for inclusiveness in the queer term, even the more conservative ones.

I will agree that radicals (far lefters, not the strange concoction by [who?] that are actually reactionary/fundamentalist) can be very black and white in the way that they see issues; I, however, though I do have strongly-held beliefs concerning politics and, well, actually lots of things, try to exercise balance and thoughtful consideration on issues (though I will admit I don't always succeed). That's one reason I have a blog: through dialogue with others I can ensure that my opinions are well thought-out, and that I have communicated them well.

Clearly you failed to read the entire post, and did exactly what I was complaining about - people not listening to each other.

As a parting shot, 'queer' was adopted by the "more extreme radicals" as a way of turning something hateful into something to be proud of, so if anyone has claim to it, it's the radicals.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Linkage and All Queers

Summerisle over at Times of Hate, Times of Joy brings up some interesting points while discussing socialist rhetoric and how to move forward, and tells us that a vision of the possible future should be presented. I can't say that I agree 100% -- part of anarchy is allowing different world-views to come into being -- but, it would certainly help when I'm trying to explain anarchy to someone. Rather than using vague concepts, I would have all the answers and convince them and they'd become anarchists and everyone would live in (mostly) peace and harmony.

Of course, in doing so, they would have a preconceived notion of anarchy that was caused by me, and might act coercively to ensure that their own notion was implemented... and possibly be the only notion implemented, which also isn't right.

Hmm. It might be late. Well, regardless.

Last week, at the All Queers Meeting, there was some drama. Note that this is all second-hand. I've heard two people's stories, which means I see two sides to the whole thing, though there are, of course, many more. Basically, there was a more conservative element present which felt threatened by the more radical element that was also present, who felt threatened by the more conservative element, and instead of everybody listening to one another (which they are still not doing, and instead are gossiping), each side blamed the other for being who they are (basically) and got all angry.

Never mind that the meeting was an 'All Queers' meeting, not an official group meeting, and that anything decided would be carried out by whoever felt like carrying it out, and (most importantly, because this is something that the 'more conservative' side didn't seem to understand) no one was obliged to participate (which is the basic valid point I gathered from the radical side).

Meanwhile, the radical side seemed to be unaccepting of the desires of the more conservative side to work on outreach to the, um, 'even more conservative' (ie, queer republican) elements in the community. While I sympathize with the radicals in that they don't want to be around people whose basic outlook on life includes segregation and hate (I wouldn't, either), there are a lot of people who are 'republican' or what have you that aren't. And, again, it was an 'all queers' meeting, and that implies everyone who calls themselves queer, even the conservative ones (which is a couple of basic points from the conservative side).

Note that my use of 'radical' and 'conservative' throughout this post is to refer to the two main protagonist/antagonist groups that have emerged, and should in no way imply that I am not a radical.

In other news... Things are going well with Steve. Things are going well in general, except that I have a lot of homework. And I promise to write more, but it's now almost 12:30 so I'm going to bed.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Left Hand of Darkness

Ursula K. LeGuin

On the planet Winter, conditions are harsh and forboding. Temperatures rarely lift much above freezing, even in the summer. In the distant past, before the collapse of their civilization, the Hainish colonized this cold planet, and their descendents now inhabit the milder regions, though vast glaciers cap the poles. The Gethenians, though, have an acute advantage: most of the time, they are genderless, existing without sexual drive nor possessing any genitals per se. However, entering kemmer, they take on male or female characteristics, different ones each time, and are fiercely driven to mate. If impregnated, he returns to a gender-neutral state while she carries the child to term, and then returns to a gender-neutral state as well. Otherwise, both return immediately.

Genly Ai, an envoy from the Ekumen of Known Worlds, comes to Winter to negotiate a trade agreement. Being the first alien on Winter, and being of only one gender, and that constantly, he is regarded suspiciously, and considered a pervert. The Left Hand of Darkness tells how, through a series of hardships, he comes to understand the Gethenians as they are, rather than through a dichotomic lens.

I enjoyed this book, and, admittedly, even for our own time (the book was first published in 1969), the book has controversial themes. But, I read this book in the hopes of shaking my way of thinking about gender a bit, and I don't think that happened much. I don't know whether it's because I find it easy to imagine an entire planet of people lacking a specific gender, or if the book itself didn't go far enough. One of my complaints is that I wasn't constantly reminded of it; LeGuin uses 'he' for all the characters, with possibly an exception for those in a female phase of kemmer, which might also mean I've envisioned a world populated entirely by men that can have babies.

Otherwise, the book was interesting as science fiction (or, if you prefer, speculative fiction). LeGuin also deals with the common themes of politics, outsiders and mysticism, threaded throughout the narrative and seperate chapters with local legends and stories of Winter.

Overall, I recommend this book. LeGuin, even removing the element of gender, can write an intruiging story, well worth your time. Plus, you get to find out what the Left Hand of Darkness is. ;-)