Monday, June 30, 2008

There are now three angry girls

As of today, I am officially changing camps. In most issues in life, I have a very "live and let live" attitude. This has previously been my attitude towards pornography; its not my cup of tea, but whatever two consenting adults want to do in the privacy of their home...yada yada. I can thank Kate for my conversion - she got me started thinking and gave me some very interesting reading materials, including One Angry Girl's FAQ, a slide show from Stop Porn Culture, and the most convincing and well-written piece- an article written by Robert Jensen titled "Men Confront Pornography". It almost made me not want to write this blog post because I can in no way say things as elegantly as he does - but yet I trudge on.

Obviously we know how right-wing conservatives and the moral police feel about pornography, but feminists are split down the middle, those who are pro-porn because they claim it allows women to fully embrace and control their sexuality, and those who are anti-porn because they claim that porn by its very nature is oppressive and degrading. I have come to agree with the latter and I will try to explain why as succinctly as possible. First, very, very few women choose to do porn of their own free will. Many were sexually abused or raped as children or young women (including the two most famous porn "stars"- Traci Lords and Jenna Jameson), some are drug addicted, and some are simply socialized in a culture that teaches women that their only value lies in their bodies.

Secondly, my policy in the past has just been to ignore porn's existence, but I am finding that this is impossible. It pervades every area of our culture; how can a young boy exposed to pornography as his sexuality is solidifying not carry these ideas pounded into his subconscious into his treatment of women? Research shows that after viewing pornography, "men are more likely to report decreased empathy for rape victims, decreased sexual interest in their girlfriends or wives, and increased interest in coercing partners into unwanted sex acts". One study done found that pornography increased aggression in men so much that it cannot be repeated for ethical reasons. The most dangerous part is the way it slips into our culture in seemingly innocuous ways, think the "E" network's "Girls Next Door". A show that, I admit, I have watched; what's not to love about three beautiful fun-loving girls who just happen to also make porn? A lot.

I don't think porn should be outlawed - I love the First Amendment. I must admit, I borrow from Kate here - people just need to be made AWARE . Aware that porn is powerful and its influence is widespread and spreading, aware that if you watch porn you are a john, aware that every woman in a porn film is real person and is someone's daughter or sister. That's the part that really got to me. I was reading Jensen's article in which he describes a very graphic sex scene common in pornography and then talks about what happens when the cameras are off; he really forces you to see the woman as person, to think of her as your child or your friend and then I realized that I, as a woman, had dehumanized this woman without even realizing it. "She's not a woman like I am a woman - she's a slutty, worthless non-woman". Then it hit me, and I almost cried. Being constantly counter-culture is hard, but its even harder to realize you aren't doing a good enough job of fighting this culture of fear and misogyny and these attitutes big corporations are trying to sell have creeped into your subconscious.

Its not right to make someone else suffer for your own fantasy. Its not right to enjoy the subjugation of a woman in a fictional way because regardless of what you may think, it impacts you and you then carry this into real life.

And its not right for me to ignore it.

Wanna Waste Some Time?

Try Wordle!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


What a fantastic day! It was the first time I felt relaxed in probably a month. Shelly and I went with Rob and Meg and tubed down the river. Which, I gotta be honest, isn't the first way I'd pick to spend a day off, but it was perfect! Cold water, warm sun, scaring Shelly with various pieces of grass, etc.

There was nothing to do, nothing to plan, not even anything to worry about planning. That is very unusual for my job. I love my job, but it typically seems to be a seven day a week deal, so today was amazing!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Unity in Unity

About damn time. I swear we tried to give this election away. The latest polls show Obama doing much better with former Clinton supporters than a month ago.

I saw an interesting article on the Daily Kos the other day. The left wing of the party is starting to talk very seriously about holding right-leaning Democrats accountable in the near future (doing things like going after the Blue Dogs in their primaries). I appreciate that point of view, if someone votes 95% of the time like a Republican, why is to the advantage of the Democratic Party having them on board.

That being said, after the last 8 years, I don't know that I can get behind any drive for some sort of liberal puritanism! Keeping in mind I don't want to trade a bunch of Republicans that are slaves to corporate interests for a bunch of Democrats that are slaves to corporate interests. But can't we at least get through the fall before trying to sever the party again!

A soapbox fit with a touret...

Something that you must know about me before I begin this post; I am a pragmatist. Why do I mention this? Because I want you to know that I realize that there will always be crime. People are depraved. If guns were eliminated in the U.S., it would only lead to a pretty drastic increase in knife-related deaths. However, being the pragmatist that I am, I am still floored by the reality that the while the populations of England, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, and Australia add up to roughly the population of the U.S., they have only 10% of our gun-related deaths. Is this because they are less violent, less depraved, less homicidal people? Or is this because guns are outlawed for private ownership?

I am not making an argument for gun illegality. As the well known statement goes, "If guns are criminalized, only criminals children will accidentally shoot themselves in the face." That may not be it, but it is something like it.

Guns are out there and they are a part of our culture, that isn't going to change. However, stricter regulation of guns and their sale must be put in place.

This week, the supreme court ruled against the District of Columbia's handgun ban. This ruling, 5-4 along party lines, means that a ban that has dramatically reduced gun deaths within one of the most crime-heavy metropolitan areas of the U.S. is not null and void. While that seems ridiculous, the worst part is how fundamentally that the supreme court perverted the second amendment to arrive at such a conclusion. Gun ownership is legal in the U.S. for one reason and one reason alone, for the purpose of a WELL-REGULATED MILITIA. Not my words, but those of the framers of the constitution. I don't believe that hunting, recreation, or family heirlooms are mentioned.

Anyways, I am just ranting now, so I will stop.

What do you think about all this?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

An Introduction

Welcome and Hello good friends of the blogosphere. Allow myself to introduce.... myself. I am Rob, a late-twenties husband, friend, brother, son, uncle, music lover, liberal, and Christian. I am a college minister at a Southern Baptist Church in St. Augustine, Florida, where I live with my wife, Meg. I am hoping that Meg will also begin writing here, so I will let her introduce herself on her own.

There are a lot of things that interest me. I went to film school for two years before playing a game I like to call musical majors. This game does not involve majoring in music, but rather changing majors every semester for another two years. As far as college goes, all you need to know is that I attended the University of Central Florida (GO KNIGHTS!) and I have yet to go back to finish my degree.

I am an avid reader, though lately that means little more than a weekly Time magazine and about a hundred blogs. I love music and play many an instrument. I am passionate about theology and the quest to see God for all He is, rather than all we make him out to be.

I know Quinn through my wife and I am sure as different topics come up we will be sounding boards for each others view points.

I just got a new licence from the DMV and my picture looks bad as a result of needing a shave and a haircut.

For more about me and my thoughts, checkout CaptainRandom.

It is great to meet you.

Introduction number three

I'm Kate. I have a BA in English, an MA in English, two tenths of an MA in philosophy, and a PhD in Literary Theory/Rhetoric and Composition looming in the near(er) future. My academic background is a hodge-podge of later British, American and world literature that circle around my love of theory/philosophy, with film studies, women's studies, psychology, evolutionary biology, theology, linguistics, French, and Spanish thrown in for good measure. I teach composition and literature to undergraduates who (usually) couldn't care less if they learn either let alone if they learn to string together a sentence that is both meaningful and devoid of error.

When I'm not reading, writing, or grading, I like to practice ballet and yoga and I pretend I like to run.

I have a charming, chaotic family of one husband, one four-year-old son, four cats, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I've heard from a dozen people or so that I had to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I just finished the book, and I gotta say, I was kinda let down.

I'm not crazy about the diary (ok, it's not technically a diary) format. I feel like it's kind of lazy. It allows for easy, unnatural breaks in the story's flow, and I'm just not a fan. Secondly, the writing itself wasn't great. I think that in a lot of ways this is connected to the informal diary (letter) style. "Of course the sentences are choppy, it's a freaking anonymous letter!" However, I don't read novels to read choppy sentences. I have no examples right this second (I literally just finished the book). I also found the name-checking of famous novels (many about alienation) to be kind of obvious and annoying. I especially was annoyed by some of the Catcher in the Rye references. We get it, Charlie is a lot like Holden, we really do. Ha.

All that being said, I didn't hate the book. I found Charlie endearing and interesting, if annoying. I resonated with a lot of the things he said (not in a very deep way, just in a, "yeah, I get that" kinda way). I have felt infinite, I have felt different, I have cried for no reason.

All in all, I would give the book a 3 out of 5. It had some promise, and I would have really loved to see the subject matter in a more capable author's hands.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ok, I'll Go Now

Hi, my name is Quinn. I am 24, married to Shelly for 3 years. We have a non-adorable (actually quite aggravating) chihuahua. I dislike him because he is a jerk. I use parentheses all the time. Sorry.

I have a BA in English, I concentrated my studies on Southern and Post-colonial literature (I'm also interested in a smaller degree in post-modern literatur). No, I don't know what I'm going to do with that degree, thank you very much. No, that degree doesn't mean I'm a grammar-nazi or a good speller. I plan on starting back in the grad program in the fall, though I'm not all that concerned about finishing. I just miss the class room!

I am a youth director at an Episcopal Church, but other than that, I'll probably stay fairly quiet about my job so as to not call unnecessary attention to myself :)

I enjoy books (Faulkner, Morrison, etc.), movies (anything different and interesting), politics (I'm the most liberal guy I know), and music (quite eclectic in taste, but I listen to more NPR nowadays than I care to admit). I guess those are the basics...

Okay, I'll be first

Hello all, my name is Rachelle. I have my B.S. in Psychology with minors in English and Linguistics. I am currently a grad student in psychology; my research focus is on social justice. To support my growing addiction to academia, I teach English at the college level. I'm also a certified yoga instructor. I was raised by a very conservative family and tragically somehow still turned out a bleeding heart liberal and a feminist (gasp!). To top it all off I am a vegetarian (okay, pescatarian) and atheist (well maybe agnostic). I'm single and I live with two adorable trouble making dogs.


Granting this blog will change, should we introduce ourselves?

Don't look at me... I don't normally go first.
just to fill the space - by Templates para novo blogger