ACTA-An International movement against free speech.

Here is a copy of the legislation.

Essentially, this is an even more far reaching version of SOPA.  An international agreement that allows the shut down of websites believed to be violating copyright laws.  Essentially, this would apply to nearly any website.

Now, generally we think about movie and music downloading sites.  This legit, considering that we download and use these things often.  However, think more deeply and complexly about what people download or access that is actually copyrighted.  News?  Research articles?  Opinion posts?  Even using a quick picture of Mickey Mouse on a blog or a website, just as a picture to maintain interest would mean that News or opinion website would be shut down.  Passing along information about research programs, books, articles, and such would leave you open to lawsuit.

Criticizing this as an end to free speech is entirely accurate.  Any use or reference to copyrighted material will be made illegal with the passage of this law–which is happening behind closed doors.  This means discussing books, ideas, news, people would be illegal.  The law is written vaguely enough to obscure the true extent.

Please, spread the word.  Let others know this is happening.  The defeat of SOPA didn’t stop anything.


Why I’m not smart

Yay new semester!  That means new classes, new profs, and new classmates!   Yeah, not so much.  See the problem with grad school is that you are constantly surrounded by the same exact people, peers and profs.  No such things as new beginnings.  Even if you don’t know a prof in particular, they know you by reputation already.  For some people this is good.  For others, not so much.

Some people are really good at playing the Academia Game.  This means using big words, acting as though repetition of mediocre theories is some great breakthrough in the field, knowing which theories are appropriate to criticize and how, and acting like your opinions are facts.  Being smart is defined as being right and being right is defined as not letting anyone else be more right.  The best way to win an argument is with a cocky shrug of the shoulders, followed by an apathetic “Well I suppose we just see things differently”/”I guess it just comes down to theoretical differences.”  This is most expertly done with the eyes closed and the head tilted slightly upward and away from the person being debated.  The implication is “I’m so pure in my convictions I don’t even have to convince you that I’m right.  You’ll come around to my way of thinking because I’mjust that right.”

I suck at this game.  I just can’t get down.  I’m regularly told that I’m too casual.  Mostly because I say things like “I can’t get down.”   And have several times told my research mentor/dean of the school “naw son.”  I once told a classmate “sometimes you just gotta smack a bitch”—this had nothing to do with class material, I was telling a story about my weekend (don’t worry, no bitches were actually smacked.)  Oh, and I love humor.  When I was a little kid, I got teased for being smart.  So I developed this really awesome wit and combined it with my natural ditzy-ness.  This is looked down upon in academia.

But in reality, I’m really bad at using big words, I’m socially awkward, I hide in corners at conferences, I hate talking about myself (in person, I’m good at it here!), when I try to make a professional comment it’s always the completely the wrong thing, it takes me a good 2 minutes to put an idea into a comprehensible sentence, and when someone asks my opinion about things that I haven’t researched, rather than just say “Ya know, I’m not sure, I’ll have to look up some info on that and get back to you,”  I just stutter into oblivion.

So, in sum, my casual demeanor and social/verbal awkwardness officially make me worthless in the academic field.

Here is why that sucks though:  For one, well I’m stuck here for a few more years, probably longer considering that I’ve grown to like research.  For two (told you I suck at words), I get really really annoyed when I see people acting “smart” when, in my head, I can poke a thousand holes in their arguments or, at the very least, request some evidence for their claims.  But, my word-suckiness and my social awkwardness make this sound dumb or bitchy.  So I’ve given up.  I let them be the smart ones.  I sit hunched over and alternate between grumbling and making jokes…to myself…defeated.

The few profs who know me really well are cool with me and have come to accept the way I act.  My diss chair even said “you know, your word vomit is actually fairly clear.”  I downplayed my reaction, but really it was like the biggest compliment ever!  Sadly, the academic world as a whole will always regard me as a complete ditz.

Oh yeah, I’m also super-clumsy.  I have fallen on my face in front of profs.  That doesn’t help.

**Now, of course, not all profs and peers are like this.  I have had some very excellent profs that have truly challenged me and my peers.  Those individuals deserve real praise and admiration.

Hello world!

Until recently I’ve never thought of myself as a blogger.  I saw blogs as being written by either super smart people whose opinions are actually worth reading, or really dumb people who need attention.  I’ll let the world decide where I fit on that spectrum.

However, the happenings in the world have boiled up far too many internal rants for facebook to handle.  So, I needed an outlet to rant and scream at the world.  See, SOPA, the pathetic show that is the 2012 election, Rahm Emmanuel’s ending of free assembly, and a million other events are killing my little spirit.  But, what baffles me is actually how few people have noticed or care about these things and how many people get upset when the actions of the government are criticized.  My parents raised me with this really annoying need to observe and be critical of the world around me.  Apparently, 95% of this country was not raised with that particular value and think it’s bad.  Well, fuck them.

So here I am.  Not everything on here will be political or social criticism.  Sometimes I might just post pictures of robots or unicorns, because why the hell not?  Oh, the name?  Well, I couldn’t think of anything clever, so I just picked my two favorite things in the world.  Cookies and Whiskey are sometimes the only thing that get me through the day.

First real post! *Inspired by The Cleveland Show*

The other day at work, I had a few clients not able to come it, which meant I had too much free time to think.  So, I apologize if this is long.  Don’t tell my supervisor this is what I was doing at work!

But really, what motivated this was sitting around at work reflecting on a conversation with my boyfriend.  I hope he doesn’t break up with me for writing about this, but he shouldn’t because it has nothing to do with him (and cause I love him and I’m awesome!).  Just an observation of how we, as a culture have it deeply ingrained it us to not trust anyone else and assume them to be dangerous, I believe, has been a major contribution to why our culture so readily gives up liberties for a false sense of safety.

So here’s the scene.  BF and I are watching The Cleveland Show (because we’re intellectuals like that). And the episode is about Cleveland’s concern over his teenage step-daughter maintaining her virginity and his teenage son losing his as quickly as possible.  I like this episode because it just lays the double standard out there so nicely.  At one point Cleveland actually says “All women need a man to tell them what to do with their body.  That’s just common sense.” But before this conflict even gets set up, Cleveland, in an attempt to bond with his new step-daughter, invites her to the “Daddy-Daughter Dinner Dance.”

Here is where the first part of our discussion came up.  BF said the idea of father-daughter dances are creepy and doesn’t understand them.  Having been a daddy’s girl for life, I was really shocked at this.  Why?  Maybe I’ve been missing something, and maybe there is some deep-seeded patriarchy that created this—in which case, ok, but does that have to color and define how we continue to live out this custom?  I always thought they were a really cool way to encourage fathers to be involved in their daughter’s lives, especially when fathers have the overall reputation of being emotionally distant breadwinners.  He said “then why a dance?” meaning dancing implies romance and sexuality.  I suggested that most school dances, especially I assume these ones, involve very little dancing and are really just excuses for hanging out with friends and in this case, spending some time with family.  We shrugged and continued watching.

So, blah blah episode goes on.  Cleveland takes the family to church and the pastor asks children to pledge their virginity to their fathers—this actually happens in real churches as well, it’s not made up for TV.  So a bunch of girls stand up and proudly say “I pledge my virginity to my father!” …K? Roberta, the step-daughter refuses, saying it’s her life, her body, she’ll do as she pleases.  Jr., the son, stands up and says “I pledge my virginity to my father!”  So, flash to car ride home, Cleveland is shamed because his son is now “gay” because he wants to be a virgin.  Hold your Questions/Comments! J

So flash to the end, past the young adolescent boys buying a deformed prostitute and Cleveland telling his son about the need for a young man to get rid of his virginity like…fuck, idk, insert some really good metaphor.  And the show ends happily with Cleveland and Jr. at the Virginity Ball dancing to that song that goes “Daddy if it’s alright/ I’m only going to kiss you on the cheek tonight” about a dad being proud of watching his daughter grow up.  So now here again, BF says this song is creepy, what kind of dad kisses their daughter on the lips?

I had to stop and ask “So, this song is creepy and fathers and daughters bonding is creepy, but girls pledging their virginity to their fathers isn’t?”  He corrected me and said that was “just as” creepy and they all went hand in hand.  Of course he’s thinking pedophilia.  I’m thinking father’s using their daughter’s virginity as a bargaining chip in society and controlling their sexuality.

Now, yes pedophiles are creepy.  But I feel really sad that the idea of fathers and daughters bonding emotionally and being affectionate automatically connotes something sexual.  I think it shows how really paranoid we have gotten that we can’t even trust a normal father.  Are their predatory, incestuous fathers?  Yes.  Are they the majority and does that mean we should be distrustful of all fathers?  No!!!  At one point, men made a lot of progress in their attempts to be more warm and connected to their families.  And I loved it!  Fathers were allowed to be emotionally invested and caring.  A few men transcended that 1950’s ideal of “a man provides financially, a woman provides emotionally.”  A few did both!  And women did both!  It was awesome!  But, something happened that spun that around.  And I don’t know what it was.  But suddenly it was creepy for men to hug their children in public, which is worse than it being “not manly.”  L

The thing is, I know this is not just BF.  BF doesn’t want anyone to know this, but he’s a big dumb sap when it comes to kids and pets.  I’ve seen him with kids and he gets that like misty eyed “oh my god you’re so adorable, let’s play Legos and Army men!” look (no matter if it’s a boy or girl he has this same idea, so yeah, go BF!)  I know that this is how a lot of men feel, and how a lot of women feel.  But, if a man is outwardly affectionate toward, they are a pedophile.  If a woman is outwardly affectionate, they are a caregiver.  I believe men would be just as much caregivers if we didn’t have such taboos on what both men and women “should” be and do.

So, the other issue that kills me?  WHY PLEDGE YOUR VIRGINITY TO YOUR FATHER?  Why was that not the first and strongest creep out moment?  I cringed at it!  Like, physically you could have seen me cringe!  Again, for me at least, it just goes back to using your daughter as a bargaining chip.  Fathers feel a really creepy sense of satisfaction knowing their daughters are virgins and some odd pride when their sons aren’t.   I’m going to stop saying “virginity” here, because that’s morally loaded and I’m going to say “Vagina.”  So, these fathers—again this is a real practice—are now in control of their daughters’ vaginas, what goes in, what comes out.  Penises and babies.  The idea being that, if a girl wants to have sex, she must get her father’s permission.  He owns her vagina.  I’m not going into the double standard for a boy, that’s a little too obvious.  If you don’t know it, come back when you’re slightly more intelligent.  But really, this idea that it is no longer the property of the girl is what gets me.  I understand discouraging teens from having sex and agree, even though it’s never going to stop them.   But the idea here is to take it away from them.  And not even to give it to the mother who, as we discussed is the more emotionally involved parent supposedly.  But to give it to the breadwinner, the rule-enforcer, the “king of the castle.”  So it’s just saying that sex should have nothing to do with emotions, but economics and rules.  It is kept as a bargaining chip for marriage, a contract grounded in economic need.  Why isn’t this same standard applied to men?  Why the shame that your son wanted to be a virgin.  Obviously  I understand the humor, derp.  But stepping away from the show, why?

That said, so I’m not accused to being a sex-loving freak who’s children that she will naturally have, because all women have children eventually, will all grow up to be whores because I work full time and encourage my daughters to be as slutty as possible as early as possible, I hope that if I ever have kids (btw, I have a borderline phobia of pregnancy) they would talk to me about sex, get contraception what have you.  But I would never be offended if they didn’t or if they went to Planned Parenthood and got it without parental consent, that’s their right which I don’t believe in stepping on.  But I don’t think it’s my role to control my kids genitals or tell them when to have sex or who with.  Are they going to screw up?  Yeah, probs. And I’ll be there for them when that happens.  They will cry and be screwed up for a while, that’s life.  They will also cope.  Never underestimate the coping abilities of children.