Thursday, December 25, 2014

All I Want For Christmas is for Ann Coulter to reconsider her definition of rape

Dear Ann Coulter,
Merry Christmas! I am an atheist, but I celebrate Christmas as precious time to spend with my family and loved ones. Today I will be with my nuclear family and tomorrow I get to meet my cousin's new baby, who was just born last month.
This week I was made aware of your stance on feminists, college campus rape allegations, and your claim that 2 out of 5 alleged rape victims are lying about it. You say they are just trying to get attention.
It makes me very sad, and enervated, to read your calloused views on feminists, and especially on rape survivors, whom you disregard in your writing. I desperately didn't want attention when I was raped when I was 18, and I didn't call the police because the rapist was my boyfriend. I wanted to pretend it didn't happen. I wanted to believe that he loved me and cared for me. It didn't occur to me that it was rape, because, like you say, he didn't use a brick. What he did do was force my legs open, when I was saying no over and over and over and over and over again until I realized that I couldn't stop him, because he was a lot stronger than I was and pushed my legs apart violently while I resisted and even tried to kick him in the face. He was laughing and saying "you'll love it". I did not love it. I did love him though, and I was confused and I wanted to be with him but I didn't want him to do that to me. I was ashamed, scared, and thought I somehow brought it on myself. This happens a lot to rape survivors, since people like you help contribute to rape culture, and all of the scaffolding to support it, by denying that it is real. When people don't believe rape survivors, it makes them feel crazy.
After quite a few years (I'm 33 now) I decided I am not in fact crazy, and began to define what happened to me as rape because of the consequences in my self esteem and failure in subsequent relationships. I have come to realize that someone I trusted violated my trust, and used violence against me when I was extremely vulnerable. It has taken years and years to find a boyfriend that I can relax and be myself with, and trust not to hurt me. I have considered prosecuting my ex-boyfriend, but I do not wish to ever have to look at him again, and anyway, as you probably would point out, the statute of limitations is over.
My Christmas wish is for you to reconsider your definition of rape. Listen to the women who are claiming it happens. I know you'd rather live in a world where rape doesn't exist, especially when the perpetrators aren't easy to vilify "bad guys" but our boyfriends, friends, husbands, brothers, cousins, or dads, who aren't supposed to hurt us. A statistic I did not find on your website, which isn't from Against Our Will, is that many rapes and sexual assaults are perpetrated by people close to the survivor.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful, rape-free holiday.
Julia Booz

Sunday, December 7, 2014

There is no meaning

The anniversary of a friend's death is coming up, and I can't help but think about her and the period right before and after she died. In light of the recent non-indictments of Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, I've also been thinking about black lives taken too soon. Kibibi Dillon was at the height of her power when she died, although she wasn't murdered by a cop. I saw her perform at Dorsey's hours before she got in a car accident. She owned that stage. She was one of two female comics at an open mic, and she headlined. She had everyone rolling. I am not a religious person, and I've been searching for a reason for her death ever since. There isn't one.
As a consequence of the miserable tragedy of her passing, (I mean really, what the fuck, she was one of the most amazing women this shitty world has seen,) I entered a new era of truth-telling. It was like I'd taken a truth serum. I can't take anything for granted ever again, not one moment where I could tell someone how much they mean to me, or be direct and honest at whatever cost. It's been an ugly couple years. Rest in power Kibibi, we love and miss you.

I wrote this for Maximum Rocknroll last month. I was telling the truth.
22 pgs/
What a perfect and timely zine to float into my atmosphere. I am smack in the middle of a truly fucked up period of insomnia that has made me reconsider the very fiber of my “being”, the definition of my being if you will, and here is an interview with Avital Ronell on Forgiveness. I did not know who this person is. They immediately cite Derrida as someone they work closely with to reach a true definition of forgiveness. Now, I am a powerbitch with an English degree who has no fewer than seven dictionaries in my house, and no hesitation to look up any word that I don’t know. I also have two books about dictionaries. And while reading this zine, I was too enchanted to stop reading to look up the words I either haven’t actually ever seen or heard before, or didn’t exactly need to look up. The context is so crystal clear that I passed right over the new words. I’ll write them here, in order of appearance, because I love transparency: testamentary, paraconcept, certitudes, aporia, aporetic, egological, dyad, endorphinate, and inassimilable.
Because I can’t even get all the way to cohesively synthesizing these concepts as they roll out of my brain, I’ll enumerate, in no order, some topics and some of my reactions: “The German sorry”, history is a history of trauma, words that don’t exist in any other language/matriculation as a cause of globalization and language as cultural export, women over-apologize, who is qualified or authorized to give forgiveness, forgiving as superiority, spiritual obligation, Nietzsche’s rhetoric of drugs, forgiveness eligibility, and, “I’m inventing a word right now: “forgivemess”…
Here’s a tidbit: “So if forgiveness were to take place—and that place is in question—how could it take place? It would have to be not by forgetting, not by all those splits we mentioned, but in the searing presence of the extreme harm that’s being done at that very moment when you’re being tortured, or screwed over, or really, really mangled. If you could forgive in the present of that moment, that might be forgiveness. But not afterwards, when things get hazy and repression sets in or the person splits off and says ‘Gee, I was horrible to you, I was your torturer, but now I’m different’. Well, now if you’re different, I want to talk to the one who did the damage to me.”
Overshare time: I identify/qualify myself as a raped virgin, so I have been trying to heal since I was 18, and part of my “logical” conclusion about healing was that I had to forgive my rapist. So I did, around five years after it happened. It did feel good to have the heart-2-heart, and at the time at least, I believed that he was dreadfully sorry. But what good does his shame and guilt do me? Not much. I’ve been feeling worthless since it happened. Like, deeply worthless. As in clinically depressed and self-medicating with alcohol and sluttery. There was one day when I fucked three people in a 24-hour period. Not ashamed by the way, just interested in what exactly I was trying to get out of it because it certainly was not an orgasm that’s for fucking sure. Pun always intended. So here I am, rageful, incredulous, and ecstatic that this little guidebook just illuminated my entire fucking life. (Pun intended again…final warning!) If I can’t come from penetration, I can come from intellectual stimulation. I can’t recommend this enough, to anybody with a brain, or a heart. If you, dear reader, are turned off by wordy shit then I forgive you. (JB)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Review from at least a year ago

I've had strong opinions about Microcosm Publishing for oh, over a decade now*—I'll sum it up by saying I think we the punks shouldn't support them: economically by buying books they publish, or by working with Joe Biel in any way. I've had plenty of conversations with writers and zinesters alike who work with them and I try to see all the possible perspectives. In light of that, I commissioned Will Rutherford to write this book review for MRR because I love Pudd'n'head zine and by the time it was submitted the coordinators had already decided not to run reviews of Microcosm produced works. So this review never appeared. Here it is! As someone who actually hasn't read it, I support you stealing this book to read it. Will is as opinionated as I am, and here's what he thinks:

Wages So Low, You’ll Freak is the story of an attempt to organize Jimmy John’s workers in the Minneapolis area under the IWW banner. Jimmy John’s is a fast food sandwich franchise (think Subway) located primarily near major college campuses. The Industrial Workers of the World is a union that’s over a hundred years old and focuses on direct action by workers, grassroots/“bottom-up” organizing, and minimal bureaucracy, coupled with anarchist/communist/socialist ideals of the common enemy being “the boss.” So, basically: punk.
The tale of woe is brought to us by Mike Pudd’nhead of Pudd’nhead zine (this is #6.) Union organizing is a stressful gig, especially when you’re not a professional organizer, trying to organize fast food workers (never successfully done in the US), and most notably, drunk all the damn time. It’s a four-year tale from ’07 to ‘10, told in more or less chronological order, with humorous anecdotes and journal entries thrown in for good measure. This is an interesting idea, because it paints a better picture for blow-by-blow baby steps towards trying to form solidarity across franchise locations, racial divisions, and sorting through blackouts and bar tabs.
I have to say, I didn’t really enjoy the process of reading this book. The tedium of recounting individual conversations (“1-on-1s”) to win converts, fighting attrition (from the general reality of short-term fast food employment, efficacy concerns, and interest), and party after bar after party, wore on me. To be fair, Mike describes its toll on him, both mental and physical. Bike delivery is no joke, especially in Minnesota winters, and when you’re dreaming big but can’t afford to take time off work when you break your collarbone (!) it’s easy to imagine a bit of hopelessness and need for escape. It was just difficult to slog through. I definitely gained a greater interest in the IWW from this story, and even though I knew the outcome ahead of time, I stayed up reading in bed a little later when I got toward the vote, hoping for our protagonist. The ins and outs of inexperienced twenty-somethings going up against Corporate America seemed frustrating, exhausting, and disheartening, in turn. But the rallying moments were uplifting, and the small victories and actions became huge.
Our hero (wah wah) is brutally honest about shortcomings: his own, the campaign’s, and where they intersected. All I knew about this tale going in had been what older Wobblies snidely remarked about “those punk kids” at the time, and to his credit, Mike agrees with most of them, hindsight being what it is. He lines out the things he did wrong, ways he pushed people too far, and short-sighted decisions they made and/or he pushed for that may have cost them the election. I can’t say that I’d like to hang out with Mike, but I’ve definitely already lent this book out to folks I knew would be interested.
The fact that this book is offered through Microcosm, the “Wal-Mart of Zines,” seems a little ridiculous. With owner/co-founder Joe Biel’s history of being a “small-business/big britches” anti-collectivist shithead, this seems like a terrible match. But I don’t know what the radical independent book printing and distribution world is like, so whatevs. Pick your battles I guess.**

**Joe Biel's response:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dude where's my ice cream?

Because the best way to say "thank you for your service" is to hide the fact that you are profiting from our collective loss. Keep it underclassy, Baskin Robbins...