Daily Beast Outs Gay Athletes

rainbow flag

I just sent this letter to the editors of Daily Beast. Content note: homophobia, homophobic oppression, trivialization of homophobia

Dear Daily Beast:

What the hell were you thinking? What possible journalistic value was going to come of outing gay athletes, some of whom live in repressively homophobic countries? You put people’s actual lives at risk — for what? What was the story here? “Gay people exist, and some of them are Olympic athletes”?

This was grossly irresponsible journalism. I know you took down some of the identifying details about closeted athletes — but why is the piece even still up at all? What purpose is served by it? And in any case, it’s too late. Do you really not understand that there are some countries where being gay is illegal — and where virulent homophobes are actively hunting down gay people for the purpose of exposing them? Do you not understand that even here in the United States, where being gay is legal, it’s still dangerous for many people to be out? Do you not know that gay people can lose families, jobs, homes, and are subject to violence? And do you somehow not know that there is a huge spotlight on Olympic athletes, and that news stories about them can and will be seen around the world?

I notice that the banner on your Twitter page has a rainbow flag on it. Shame on you for trying to score points with LGBT readers while selling us out.

Nico Hines needs to be fired. His editor needs to be fired. And Daily Beast needs to do a major overhaul of its practices, to find out how the hell this shameful display of shoddy journalism happened in the first place, and to make sure nothing like it ever happens again.

-Greta Christina

If you want to write to Daily Beast about this, their email address is [email protected] Their Twitter handle is @thedailybeast.

Daily Beast Outs Gay Athletes
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A Reason to Vote for Clinton: Trump Needs to be Trounced

Hillary Clinton

I’m going to argue that even voters in non-swing states, who think their votes for president don’t count because of the electoral college, should still vote for Clinton.

Partly, I think this election is much too important. I don’t want to screw around, not with this one. I don’t want to take a chance on electing a literal fascist because the polling was off and Nevada was closer than we thought it would be. (Stephanie Zvan has an excellent piece on why “swing state” thinking is harmful, both in the short-term and the long-term.)

But I also think the popular vote counts. It isn’t what elects the President (absurdly). But it sends a signal: to the voters who won, to the voters who lost, to other people running for office, to the rest of the world.

And when November comes, I do not want this to be a close election.

In theory, third-party votes for anyone but Trump should be read as “anyone but Trump.” But that’s not how it’s going to be read. When this election is over, almost all the media reporting will be on the gap between Clinton and Trump. And I want that gap to be HUGE.

This isn’t just an election for President. It’s a referendum on bigotry and literal fascism. It’s a referendum on keeping Muslims from entering the country, on saying Latinx judges can’t be fair and Latinx immigrants are rapists, on whether the United States should invade countries to get their oil, on whether the United States should commit war crimes, on whether Russian intelligence should hack into the email of a U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State, on making it illegal for newspapers to criticize the President, on ignoring the Constitution and treating it with contempt. It is a referendum on whether voters who lose an election should respond by shooting the President or the judges she appoints.

That doesn’t just need to be beaten. It needs to be trounced. It needs to be humiliated. It needs to be laughed off the stage. Continue reading “A Reason to Vote for Clinton: Trump Needs to be Trounced”

A Reason to Vote for Clinton: Trump Needs to be Trounced

Greta’s Podcast Interview with “Geeks Without God” Podcast!

Geeks Without God logo
Podcast fans — I did a podcast interview with the “Geeks Without God” podcast! We had some fun conversation, some serious conversation, and a lot of conversation that was both.

We talked about how life can be different for believers and atheists; how accepting atheism leads to other conclusions; similarities between coming out as TBLG and coming out atheist; how atheism can actually make it easier to cope with suffering and depression; the value of mocking religion (and how to do it without being an asshole); drawing a line between critiquing religious institutions and religious people (and why that’s sometimes difficult); thinking of evil as things we do rather than a substance we’re tainted with; how skepticism can be applied to political and social issues; and more. And we talked about the “Geeks Without God” classic five questions: what movie I will stop and watch any time it’s on; my geekiest or most prized possession; what deity or mythological figure do I wish were real; if religion were gone, what is the biggest problem facing humanity; and my favorite quote. Check it out!

Greta’s Podcast Interview with “Geeks Without God” Podcast!

Susie Bright’s Ridiculously Easy, Amazingly Delicious Roasted Tomato Sauce (Repost)

Ingredients for roasted tomato sauce tomatoes red bell peppers garlic onions fresh basil fresh oregano

It’s tomato season, which means I’m making big batches of Susie Bright’s roasted tomato sauce. This recipe is amazingly delicious and ridiculously easy (about 10-15 minutes of prep depending on how much you’re making, plus blending at the end). And it freezes really well, so whenever it’s tomato season, we make giant batches of it and freeze it in Tupperwares for the winter. You know that children’s book, Frederic, about the mouse who sits around in the summer gathering words and colors and sun rays to store up for the winter? That’s what making this sauce feels like. When winter comes, and it’s been gray and cold and wet and dark for days on end, we stick some of this sauce in the microwave and put it on pasta, and it feels like pulling a bit of stored summer out of the freezer. And when we’re making it, it fills the house with this ambrosial tomato perfume. We mostly make this to freeze for the winter, but we can never resist eating some of it right away, warm out of the oven.

I want Susie to get the traffic, so I’m not going to repeat the basic recipe here — you have to go to her blog to get it. But I have a few modifications and finer points, and those I’ll tell you about. Continue reading “Susie Bright’s Ridiculously Easy, Amazingly Delicious Roasted Tomato Sauce (Repost)”

Susie Bright’s Ridiculously Easy, Amazingly Delicious Roasted Tomato Sauce (Repost)

The Other Way Around: Letter To My Non-Depressed Self From My Depressed Self

depressed woman sitting in window seat looking out window

This post has a different comment policy than usual. It’s at the end of the post.

The other day, I posted a letter to my depressed self from my non-depressed self. The way I framed it was: When I’m depressed, I literally can’t imagine what it feels like to not be depressed — and vice versa. It’s like there are two versions of me, in parallel universes or something. So I wrote a letter to my depressed self from my non-depressed self, with some guidance on self-care, some perspectives on how to tolerate it and get through it, and some encouragement to hang in there.

But it works the other way, too. My depressed self has some things to say to my non-depressed self — mostly about things I can do when I’m healthy that will make the next round of depression less bad. Hence, this letter.

I’ll post the same note to readers I did in the other letter: I really am just talking to myself here. I realize that the first-person/second-person construction might feel like I’m talking to you and lecturing you: I promise that I’m not. My present self is talking to my future self. If you have depression, take what you need from this, and leave the rest. If you don’t have depression and have depressed friends or family members, DO NOT talk with them like this unless they’ve specifically asked you to. It’s really damaging to give unsolicited medical advice to people with mental illness: it can interfere with people’s relationships with their health care providers, and it can come across as hectoring, patronizing, unsympathetic, and judgmental.

Dear Non-Depressed Greta,

Hi. Depressed Greta here, writing from the alternate reality. I’m so glad you’re doing better now. We both know, though, that you’re almost certainly going to get depressed again. And it could happen any time: we know what some of the triggers are, but a lot of them are unpredictable. There are some things you can do now that would make things go better for me, or at least less badly, the next time it happens.

So I’m writing this to you in Summer 2016, shortly after your three-and-a-half-year episode of depression had finally wound down, and right when you were pulling out of your brief relapse. Right now I’m on the cusp between depression and health, with good days and bad days, good hours and bad hours — so I’m in a unique position to see both selves, and to know what each of us needs to hear. Continue reading “The Other Way Around: Letter To My Non-Depressed Self From My Depressed Self”

The Other Way Around: Letter To My Non-Depressed Self From My Depressed Self

“Trans people exist”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"Trans people exist. If we're rationalists, we should accept that. Trans people are people: if we're humanists, we need to apply that to all humanity."

“Trans people exist. If we’re rationalists, we should accept that. Trans people are people: if we’re humanists, we need to apply that to all humanity.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 18, “Trans People and Basic Human Respect”)

(Image description: above text, superimposed over image of trans flag.)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“Trans people exist”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

Letter to My Depressed Self From My Non-Depressed Self

depressed woman sitting in window seat

This post has a different comment policy than usual. It’s at the end of the post.

My brain has this quirk. I’m not sure if other depressed people have it; if you do, I’d be interested to hear about it. When I’m in a depressive episode, I literally can’t comprehend what it feels like to be not-depressed, or what the world looks like through my not-depressed eyes. The pessimism is almost completely convincing: my existential despair, and my obsession with mortality and death, not only seem flawlessly logical, but feel like I’ve always felt that way and always will.

And when I’m not-depressed, and haven’t been depressed in a while, the same is true. Depression just seems bizarre. When I recently pulled out of my long, hard depressive episode, I told my therapist that I “finally feel like myself,” and the previous three and a half years looked like a grim blur. Looking at my depressed self through my non-depressed eyes — and at my non-depressed self through my depressed eyes — can feel like switching back and forth between alternate realities, alternate versions of myself on different time tracks or in different universes. That’s an exaggeration, but not much of one: there’s a non-trivial sense of distorted reality and fragmented identity.

So since I’m doing better, and I’ve been doing better for a while and expect to continue, I’m writing a letter to myself, something for me to read the next time I get seriously depressed. I may not believe my friends, my therapist, Ingrid — but I might be more inclined to believe myself.

Note to readers: I really am just talking to myself here. I realize that the first-person/second-person construction might feel like I’m talking to you and lecturing you: I promise that I’m not. My present self is talking to my future self. If you have depression, take what you need from this, and leave the rest. If you don’t have depression and have depressed friends or family members, DO NOT talk with them like this unless they’ve specifically asked you to. It’s really damaging to give unsolicited medical advice to people with mental illness: it can interfere with people’s relationships with their health care providers, and it can come across as hectoring, patronizing, unsympathetic, and judgmental.

Dear Depressed Greta,

Hi. Non-depressed Greta here, writing from the alternate reality. I’m sorry you’re having a hard time right now. There are some things I think you’ll want to hear, but you may have a hard time believing them if anyone else says them to you. So I’m writing this to you in Summer 2016, shortly after your three-and-a-half-year episode of depression had finally wound down (and right when you’re pulling out of your brief relapse). If you don’t believe anyone else, maybe you’ll believe me. Continue reading “Letter to My Depressed Self From My Non-Depressed Self”

Letter to My Depressed Self From My Non-Depressed Self

“I don’t think depression is divine punishment”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"I don't think depression is divine punishment or an obscure lesson, and I'm not racking my brains trying to figure out why I deserve it."

“I don’t think depression is divine punishment or an obscure lesson, and I’m not racking my brains trying to figure out why I deserve it.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 22, “How Humanism Helps With Depression — Except When It Doesn’t”)

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed above image of bare trees on an island and on a shoreline on an overcast day.)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“I don’t think depression is divine punishment”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

Joani Blank, 1937 – 2016: A Sex Positive Pioneer is Gone

Joani Blank

You may not have heard of her, but the chances are excellent that she changed your life.

Joani Blank was, among many other things, the founder of Good Vibrations, the feminist sex toy store. You might be thinking, “Which feminist sex toy store? There are so many!” There are now. There weren’t in 1977. Good Vibrations was only the second one in the United States (the first was Eve’s Garden in New York). The roaring success of Good Vibrations made it clear that women cared about sex and wanted to improve their sex lives — and that sex shops didn’t have to be sleazy, shameful holes in the wall with shoddy goods. If you’ve ever bought sex toys, sex information, erotica, lube, or other goodies in a pleasant, shame-free environment (brick-and-mortar or online), one that welcomed men but focused on women, your life was changed by Joani Blank. She died of pancreatic cancer on August 6, 2016.

Like tens of thousands of women, I bought my first vibrator at Good Vibrations. I screwed up my courage and walked into the store, excited but nervous and embarrassed — and found a clean, well-lighted place where sexual products were sold openly and without shame, with clear information about which product did what, and a well-informed staff that would help you make your decision as if sex was healthy and entirely ordinary. The store Joani founded did more than just sell sex products. It changed the way people see sex. She shaped tens of thousands of lives. Probably hundreds of thousands. Continue reading “Joani Blank, 1937 – 2016: A Sex Positive Pioneer is Gone”

Joani Blank, 1937 – 2016: A Sex Positive Pioneer is Gone

A Reason to Vote for Clinton: Liberal Voting Record

Hillary Clinton
I’d been working on a piece about reasons to vote for Clinton, but it was becoming huge and unmanageable. So I’m breaking it down into bite-sized morsels.

Yes, you heard me. Clinton has a very liberal voting record. Her voting record in the Senate had a 75% rating from the ACLU, a 90% rating from the Sierra Club, a 94% rating from the AFL-CIO, a 95% rating from the HRC, a 96% rating from the NAACP, a 100% rating from the National Organization for Women, a 100% rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NARAL.* As Senator, she voted with Bernie Sanders 93% of the time. She was rated the 11th most liberal member of the Senate; Roll Call described her as “center-left,” while On The Issues rates her as a hard-core liberal. Continue reading “A Reason to Vote for Clinton: Liberal Voting Record”

A Reason to Vote for Clinton: Liberal Voting Record