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This is the Tumblr for Cand86, a.k.a. Gwen, just a crazy girl who spends far too much time online.


This is the tumblr for my as-of-lately rarely updated blog, Pop Shot, a simpler place for me to drop off all the random thoughts in my brain and a dumping ground for every one of the amazing things I happen to find whilst meandering on the Internet- pictures, videos, songs, quotes, and websites that would otherwise languish in folders or on my browser's Favorites bar until I felt I could organize and post them "properly". Enjoy the unorganized mess!

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24 March 13

I’m constantly going back on forth on my feelings on foie gras as I read competing arguments for and against it- can creating it be harmless for ducts when done properly?- but I also just really want to try it and see what all the fuss is about.  Like, somewhere that does it good, because supposedly when cooked properly, it’s heavenly.

I’d have to go to Nevada to do so, though.

5 January 12

Reblogged: torakoneko

15 November 11

when people say fucked up shit like, “i wouldn’t want a sex worker reading to my children,”

theoceanandthesky:

what they really mean is, “i don’t want sex workers to exist, they’re gross.”

because basically what you are saying is that sex workers are no longer people. they have been reduced to what they do for a living. and that’s all they do- is sex work. they obviously aren’t children, parents, neighbors, guardians, teachers, people with dreams, volunteers. and regardless of how they got there, whether they enjoy it or not-  they are below you. 

[in reference to this post]

A-fucking-men.  It’s the highest irony of ironies that the anti-porn/anti-sex work folks are the ones who say that sex work reduces people to only sexual objects, and yet when it comes down to it, it’s the pro-porn, cool-with-sex-work peeps who are like “Oh, Sasha Grey is also person who reads to kids and cares about illiteracy- cool.”, while the hysterical anti-porn people can’t seem to see her as anything but an [ex] porn-star*.

* I wish there was a better term for this.  “Ex-pornstar” has this ring about it that conjures up various folks who have left the industry only to rail and fight against it, or at the very least regret and denounce their past.  Is there a better phrase to indicate someone who is no longer active in the industry, but holds no [publicly stated, at the least] grudges against it?

Reblogged: qu33rm0

21 July 11
I’m not one of those atheists who vociferously denounce agnosticism; most of the time I really don’t care if somebody identifies as such, and indeed, I think that it’s a comfortable position for a lot of people to take- when you don’t have faith in the supernatural, but atheism sounds so final and resolute*, it just feels right to call yourself agnostic.
But this picture, and the snarky tone it takes, bothers me enough to make me  tackle the topic.
Bethany asked for me for the link to this brilliant article not too long ago, which posits that conservative media creates a false narrative of “Both the left and the right do it; they’re both guilty of ____.” in order to legitimize their actions.  I believe the same is true for many theists- and I’ve written about it before.  This demotivator is evidence of that in action- it equates atheism to theism as though they were equal but opposite viewpoints.  They’re not.  Atheism and theism employ opposing thought processing, which leads them to opposing viewpoints, but the fact that those viewpoints are the opposite of each other is the result of their different processing.  In other words, atheism vs. theism is not “there is a God vs. there is no God”; it is “I require logical processing to arrive at a conclusion vs. I do not require logical processing to arrive at a conclusion.”  (And once again, I will point out that I am not loading the word “logical” with any value judgments- it simply means “of deductive reasoning”).
If you try to frame atheism as a form of faith, equal but opposite of religion, then obviously, agnosticism will be seen as the most sane option.  And indeed, if I accepted the concept that atheism and theism are two sides of the same coin, then I would probably be in full agreement with the caption here- yelling back and forth about something that can never be resolved (barring undeniable, miraculous proof of the divine) is the epitome of stupidity.
But atheism is not faith- it is the absence of evidence.  Stephen Colbert has a penchant for cutely saying “Agnostics just atheists without balls.”, but the honest truth is that agnostics just don’t get it.  (Or that they get it but are too afraid to either call themselves atheists, or to follow their weighing of the evidence to its logical conclusion).
I value consistency over pretty much anything else- if you are not trying to push your agenda on me and you remain consistent in your ideology, then I tend to ignore you.  The only problem is that it is impossible to be consistent with a flawed premise, and agnosticism is no different:
If you want to champion agnosticism, I stand by your choice, so long as you apply your agnosticism widely and consistently.  Not only must you consider and give validity and credence to the possibility of EVERYTHING that has ever been mentioned but not disproven (the FSM, Lochness, Big Foot, a monster hiding under your kid’s bed), but also those things which nobody has even claimed to exist but still cannot be conclusively proven to not exist.  And if you really do approach life this way, well, 1) kudos, you are amazingly consistent, and 2) I feel incredibly sorry for you, living in a frightening and unpredictable world that must make mere existence rather horrifying.
ETA: In perusing Tumblr, I came across a post featuring the following wonderful image, which is incredibly elucidating and shows clearly how agnosticism is not a middle point between atheism and theism:

* Which is still the way it is often perceived, even though nothing could be father from the truth.  Atheism is predicated on there being no credible, observable, objective proof of the supernatural.  If there were such proof, no atheist would deny it (although they might very well point out that something which is undeniably proven no longer requires faith and is such, can no longer be called supernatural).

I’m not one of those atheists who vociferously denounce agnosticism; most of the time I really don’t care if somebody identifies as such, and indeed, I think that it’s a comfortable position for a lot of people to take- when you don’t have faith in the supernatural, but atheism sounds so final and resolute*, it just feels right to call yourself agnostic.

But this picture, and the snarky tone it takes, bothers me enough to make me  tackle the topic.

Bethany asked for me for the link to this brilliant article not too long ago, which posits that conservative media creates a false narrative of “Both the left and the right do it; they’re both guilty of ____.” in order to legitimize their actions.  I believe the same is true for many theists- and I’ve written about it before.  This demotivator is evidence of that in action- it equates atheism to theism as though they were equal but opposite viewpoints.  They’re not.  Atheism and theism employ opposing thought processing, which leads them to opposing viewpoints, but the fact that those viewpoints are the opposite of each other is the result of their different processing.  In other words, atheism vs. theism is not “there is a God vs. there is no God”; it is “I require logical processing to arrive at a conclusion vs. I do not require logical processing to arrive at a conclusion.”  (And once again, I will point out that I am not loading the word “logical” with any value judgments- it simply means “of deductive reasoning”).

If you try to frame atheism as a form of faith, equal but opposite of religion, then obviously, agnosticism will be seen as the most sane option.  And indeed, if I accepted the concept that atheism and theism are two sides of the same coin, then I would probably be in full agreement with the caption here- yelling back and forth about something that can never be resolved (barring undeniable, miraculous proof of the divine) is the epitome of stupidity.

But atheism is not faith- it is the absence of evidence.  Stephen Colbert has a penchant for cutely saying “Agnostics just atheists without balls.”, but the honest truth is that agnostics just don’t get it.  (Or that they get it but are too afraid to either call themselves atheists, or to follow their weighing of the evidence to its logical conclusion).

I value consistency over pretty much anything else- if you are not trying to push your agenda on me and you remain consistent in your ideology, then I tend to ignore you.  The only problem is that it is impossible to be consistent with a flawed premise, and agnosticism is no different:

If you want to champion agnosticism, I stand by your choice, so long as you apply your agnosticism widely and consistently.  Not only must you consider and give validity and credence to the possibility of EVERYTHING that has ever been mentioned but not disproven (the FSM, Lochness, Big Foot, a monster hiding under your kid’s bed), but also those things which nobody has even claimed to exist but still cannot be conclusively proven to not exist.  And if you really do approach life this way, well, 1) kudos, you are amazingly consistent, and 2) I feel incredibly sorry for you, living in a frightening and unpredictable world that must make mere existence rather horrifying.

ETA: In perusing Tumblr, I came across a post featuring the following wonderful image, which is incredibly elucidating and shows clearly how agnosticism is not a middle point between atheism and theism:

* Which is still the way it is often perceived, even though nothing could be father from the truth.  Atheism is predicated on there being no credible, observable, objective proof of the supernatural.  If there were such proof, no atheist would deny it (although they might very well point out that something which is undeniably proven no longer requires faith and is such, can no longer be called supernatural).

15 July 11

Myth: Feminists Don’t Care About Muslim Women

Whenever my dad decides to talk about Muslims or Islam, no matter from what angle, he will inevitably end up saying something along the lines of “You’d expect that feminists would be all up in arms over the way they treat women.”

It’s annoying as hell, and I know he’s doing it to upset me.  I always reply that no, feminists are most certainly aware of, reporting on, and advocating for women who are being oppressed by conservative, radical, fundamentalist Islam.  I point out that the reason he doesn’t know this is because he doesn’t consume any feminist media, but it goes in one ear and out the other, the implication being that since I offer no proof, he is right and wins.

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31 May 11
You will have 2.1 minutes to thoroughly discuss contraceptives in the schools, including periods of silence and over-talking due to digital audio delay problems. Ready? GO!
— Very astute commenter neon desert in regards to Fox and Friends’ “discussion” (I use that term loosely) about sex ed and contraception distribution in schools.  I mean, seriously?  I think even ten minutes is too short to adequately discuss this or most other topics … how must it feel to be brought onto a news show just to say roughly one or two sentences?
20 May 11

You’ve Got To Be Shitting Me

Remember how once upon a time in America, white people in the South used to own black people and treat them like chattel?  This horrible event- known as slavery- included the black men and women being forced to live inside of the white folks.  The slaves couldn’t do anything- being uncomfortably squished inside of the white folks’ bodies, they didn’t have much choice; you can’t work the fields, pick cotton, cook, or clean when you’re housed in someone’s abdominal cavity.

This calls to mind our current situation today, where the ones doing the unpaid, forced manual labor is actually fetuses.  Harrowing, indeed, to see them toiling out there, being treated liked property.

If that describes the world, the comparison of slaves to fetuses is fine.  If you live in the real world and that isn’t the case at all, THEN STOP COMPARING FETUSES TO SLAVES.

I don’t mind people who hold the belief that a fertilized egg, a zygote, an embryo, and a fetus are people from the moment of conception, but I really hope that the same people who hold those beliefs can also realize the ludicrousness of this argument (not to mention the racial insensitivity and co-opting of civil rights as mentioned in the article).

I mean, honestly.  What.  The.  Fuck.

I hate bringing up the whole “parasite” argument, because I do think it’s pretty awful, but it’s stuff like this that really makes me want to say “Fine, you think it’s a person with the right to life?  Well, right now it’s trespassing on my body so I’m gonna pull the sucker off and you can have it.”  Because seriously, if anybody is a slave in this scenario (a comparison I wouldn’t use in the first place), it’s the woman. The government has never forced private citizens to care and provide for other private citizens, and they’re more than happy to take those for whom you cannot do so, either forcibly (Child and Adult Protection Services, foster care) or willingly (Child Drop Off centers, orphanages).

I am not an incubator.  If you want, take the thing out of me and put it in your own goddamned incubator, because the women wanting abortions don’t want these “slaves”, as you call them.  And masters not wanting their slaves is a really shitty example of slavery, Colorado.

30 April 11
I found this picture through a “butch lesbian” Google Image Search, but clicking on the source proved to be quite interesting- turns out the image was originally featured here on the site Patently Silly, and then later was featured as a humor piece on Graham Norton’s show, for which he was then warned by the BBC for being offensive.
Certainly Graham was acting in poor taste- but what of the original drawing?  The author writes in defense of the drawing, and while there are plenty of wonderful things in both that defense and the original post (explaining the legitimacy of “butch” as a positive identity and appearance, rather than dismissing it as a “negative stereotype”, decrying the lack of gender diversity in media, and commenting positively to the strength, confidence, toughness, and sexiness of the butch lady in question), there are also some things that make me sad.  Things like the snarky “Ms. Butch Van Straponstein” and that her appearance even had to be remarked upon at all.
I praise the Patently Silly writer for speaking mostly well in defense of the drawing and butch women, and I’m not even that pissed at Graham Norton (it’s not as though he said something that different from what the majority of people- queers included- often say).  I’m just still waiting for the time when folks with non-conforming gender presentation can be the subjects of a diagram without having to draw attention to it- when nobody blinks an eye because there’s a butch lady assembling the Ikea furniture in the instructions.

I found this picture through a “butch lesbian” Google Image Search, but clicking on the source proved to be quite interesting- turns out the image was originally featured here on the site Patently Silly, and then later was featured as a humor piece on Graham Norton’s show, for which he was then warned by the BBC for being offensive.

Certainly Graham was acting in poor taste- but what of the original drawing?  The author writes in defense of the drawing, and while there are plenty of wonderful things in both that defense and the original post (explaining the legitimacy of “butch” as a positive identity and appearance, rather than dismissing it as a “negative stereotype”, decrying the lack of gender diversity in media, and commenting positively to the strength, confidence, toughness, and sexiness of the butch lady in question), there are also some things that make me sad.  Things like the snarky “Ms. Butch Van Straponstein” and that her appearance even had to be remarked upon at all.

I praise the Patently Silly writer for speaking mostly well in defense of the drawing and butch women, and I’m not even that pissed at Graham Norton (it’s not as though he said something that different from what the majority of people- queers included- often say).  I’m just still waiting for the time when folks with non-conforming gender presentation can be the subjects of a diagram without having to draw attention to it- when nobody blinks an eye because there’s a butch lady assembling the Ikea furniture in the instructions.

21 April 11

Religion, Mockery, Humor: I’m Confused

Warning: Many of the links contained herein may be considered offensive or blasphemous; click with care.  Also, at least one is NSFW.

A few days ago, sex worker/pornographer/awesome gal Furry Girl (for whom I have tremendous respect and who breaks the mold by applying deserved criticism to any religion, not just Christianity) retweeted one of porn star Nina Hartley’s comments at the sex worker conference Desiree Alliance.

The comment made me smile, but not guffaw; I’ve both seen it and heard it before (specifically thinking about Margaret Cho’s reaction to “The Passion of The Christ”: “Oh, Jesus, say your safeword!”).  It’s an old joke.  But I was surprised by Keltik, who I follow on Twitter, reacting negatively to it (although in retrospect, it seems like maybe the old joke and lack of originality was the problem … nah, I kid, I kid).

Like is often the case when someone seems truly angry or upset at something I reacted glibly to, I wanted to understand, to make sure I wasn’t letting privilege or lack of empathy block me from seeing where he was coming from, so we engaged in the sort of tight, condensed mini-discussions Twitter’s 140-character limit forces you to have, reproduced here for those who don’t want to go through the arduous task of trying to read it there (clicking will take you a larger/clearer version):

I went online then, because I truly was curious- was I wrong in my understanding of religious humor?  Had I been watching too much Comedy Central?  What was the general consensus regarding religion, humor, and the ideas of offensive mockery or blasphemy?  (Not surprisingly, the majority of results were about Islam, Dutch cartoonists, fatwas, South Park, and Salman Rushdie).  It was actually quite hard to find a good, honest, in-depth discussion about where the line between funny and offensive was drawn, particularly when I filtered out those that dealt with free speech and/or satire as a form of criticism (both of which I and Keltik seem to be in favor).

This article describes very nicely what I think Keltik was trying to say- that an understandable reason against mockery would be that it stereotypes and promotes bigotry.  And I don’t think that’s far off-base with some forms of mockery- Dana Carvey’s The Church Lady on SNL would be a good example of satire based on belittling, pigeonholing, stereotyping, and in many ways fostering hatred against religion with its parody.  But saying that Jesus died on the cross because he forgot his safeword- I don’t see in any way how it stereotypes or promotes bigotry, nor a lot of other religious comedy.

I love humor (seriously; my TV is constantly tuned to Comedy Central), and I’ve always actually enjoyed analyzing just what makes something comical, so I tried to take stock of what I liked about religious humor.  Sometimes the humor comes from carrying Biblical aspects to an exaggerated conclusion, like Summer Jesus.  Sometimes it comes from skeptically “secularizing” Biblical stories (i.e. jokes implying Mary simply got pregnant and claimed it was God as a cover), funny because it’s a clever reinterpretation.  Much of the humor I like bears the incongruity factor, like Jesus exaggerating his miracles for the lulz, God hitting on a woman on “Family Guy”, or Jesus singing “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”- it’s funny because it’s blatantly opposite the Biblical narrative; we all know God/Jesus wouldn’t actually do such a thing or be so silly.  Sometimes it’s the joy of religious puns.  Sometimes it’s in the comparison of Biblical events to our real-life events or viewpoints … whether it’s pointing out that Moses’ lengthy wandering of the desert was just another example of a man too stubborn to ask for directions, or BDSM aficionados notice that both they and Christ have the voluntary torture and punishment bit in common and quipping that Jesus was “the ultimate sub/bottom” or some such.  And, of course, there’s always room for kids adorably botching prayer (whose appeal, I think, is basically that it’s hilarious how often kids mess up in emulating adults, in religion or elsewhere).  But all in all, I just can’t think of any real instances where I’ve found religious humor that I felt was malicious, mean-spirited, or evil.  I’ve found plenty that weren’t particularly funny to me, but that had more to do with timing, delivery, and punchline, rather than subject matter.

As described in the above Twitter conversation, I’m sure it doesn’t help that Bethany, my best friend and Christian extraordinaire, is able to laugh at religious humor, as are the Christian-identified folks on the website she frequents, Jesus Needs New PR.  And indeed, along with Matthew Paul Turner and his commenters are other Christian communities and authors who think God has a sense of humor.

But the point of this post isn’t for me to justify what I think ought or ought not be offensive to religious folks, or even to provide evidence of Christians who think differently; the whole reason I engaged Keltik was to try and understand what he found so offensive in Nina Hartley’s statement, and, by extension, what similar statements towards which he might also feel the same.  And, after so much rambling (I’m sorry! I’m long-winded, I know!), maybe that’s the heart of the matter: I still don’t know what is okay to say and what isn’t okay to say around Keltik.

Our conversation went on for so many tweets not because I was trying to be obnoxious (I know all too well that when non-religious folks think they’re earnestly engaging in friendly debate, religious folks can feel like they’re being attacked), but because I really wanted to know precisely what constituted mockery/blasphemy for him.  I’m sad to say that I still don’t really know.  I have vague words: context (but what context makes it okay, and what context makes it offensive?), intention (how does one evaluate the intention of the joker?), respect/disrespect (I still don’t understand what equals respect and what doesn’t).  About the only thing that seemed clear was not insulting people, which I agree with, if we are meaning no pejoratives or name-calling.  But the vagueness of “respect” still troubles me.  I was hoping for some good examples- perhaps a blanket ban on any blasphemous treatment of religion, or even a concrete contrast (“joking about Jesus looking like a hippie is cool, joking about the resurrection is not”, etc.), but nothing, nada.  And since it doesn’t seem to be the case that jokes are always mockery, I’m really left in a pickle as to not knowing which ones will be offensive to him and which won’t.

I don’t know; is it too demanding for me to ask what exactly falls under “mockery” and what doesn’t?  Is it unfair to make accusations of bigotry without clearly defining what is and what is not bigotry?  In other words, am I being unreasonable?

I gladly welcome discussion on this topic- whether it’s your personal views on religious humor, what you find funny, what you find offensive, or on where to draw the line and how to be respectful … you can comment here or on Twitter.

Thoughts?

30 March 11

Reblogged: lenachen

Themed by Hunson. Originally by Josh