Seeing Myself in Donald Trump’s Image

This piece was originally read at the Godless Perverts Story Hour, on August 27 2016 at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco. [Note: Includes a lot of discussion around body image, especially having to do with the nude statues of Donald Trump.]

I think it’s fair to say that I don’t usually feel much in common with Donald Trump. On the contrary, merely the feel of his name on my tongue arouses a visceral loathing and makes me want to go wash my mouth out with some kind of astringent fluid. Like a lot of people, I’ve been making myself sick with anxiety watching every little twitch and spasm of the graphs on FiveThirtyEight, not merely with the horror that something could happen to make him president, but that so many people think that he’s a legitimate candidate at all.

In short, I don’t like Donald Trump.
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Seeing Myself in Donald Trump’s Image
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A Feminist Magazine’s Hypocrisy On Rape Made Me Love Feminists Even More

I Love Feminism - Jay Morrison - Flickr
Photo by Jay Morrison
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Something happened this month that’s made me think a lot about the men’s rights movement. I’ve been thinking about how deeply I loathe them, and how, for all its failings, feminism remains one of the most important tools in navigating my own gender.

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A Feminist Magazine’s Hypocrisy On Rape Made Me Love Feminists Even More

The Green Party’s Problems With Sex Workers, and Why It Needs to Matter

 

Atheists and skeptics have provided some great commentary in the past couple of weeks Jill Stein’s anti-science crankery. It’s much needed: Stein has been let off the hook for far too long as someone who may, at worst, be kind of naïve, but is basically decent at heart. But her attempts to pander to anti-vaxxers using the well-worn “I’m just asking questions” dodge, in addition to a truly bizarre rant alleging that WiFi is destroying our childrens’ minds, has made a lot of people look askance at her.  Even Dan Arel, who had previously supported her, finally threw up his hands in disgust.

But something has gotten lost in all the delightful fisking of Stein’s anti-science fear mongering, something which is at least as harmful, if not more: Both Stein and the Green Party have lousy positions on sex work.

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The Green Party’s Problems With Sex Workers, and Why It Needs to Matter

Frivolous Friday: Can Dungeons and Dragons Be Too Queer?

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I’m a tabletop RPG geek, but I actually don’t play D&D that much. In the jargon of the hobby, it’s too “crunchy” for me. That is, it’s heavy on over-detailed tables and game mechanics. D&D has a tendency to go into excruciating detail about combat. You can’t just attach the dragon with your sword. No, you have to determine initiative, distance from the dragon, figure out if your attack type is uses a skill or a feat, add or subtract seven different kinds of modifiers (depending on your character’s health, the distance between you and your opponent, the terrain, how much stuff you’re carrying or how heavy your armor is, etc.) and whether or not someone is eligible to make an “attack of opportunity.”  In the wrong circumstances, D&D can make Fizzbin look like a friendly game of Hearts.

The result is that D&D campaigns are structured kind of like this: Your party travels thirty miles in under a minute, then spends the next three hours simulating a melee that would take about 90 seconds in real life.

I prefer rules-light games that are based on character development and interaction. My friend Maggs is currently running a game of Changeling: The Lost for me, and I’m always up for a solid campaign of Unknown Armies1 or the delightfully fucked-up Paranoia.

All of that being said, if Ali Osworth, the geekery editor at Autostraddle ever invited me to be in one of her D&D games, I would play it. If I had to, I would play one of the old-school magic users from early D&D, the ones that were banned from using bladed weapons, could only do one spell per day, and whose only offensive spell was a Magic Missile that could do 1D4 of damage. Because her rules for queering up her games sound like that much fun. A few examples:

  1. Rolling a nat-twenty while flirting means I just play a Crash Pad episode for thirty seconds.
  2. If a male player makes a misogynistic comment that has nothing to do with storyline or character development, he has to complete a lap around my living room while impersonating John Cleese in The Ministry of Silly Walks.
  3. New option on the Wild Magic table: upon rolling a 69, you transform into that Snapchat filter such that when you open your mouth, you puke illusory rainbows. Attacks against you have disadvantage for the next three rounds.

Frankly, I’d like to advocate for making rule 19 a part of the official rules. Maybe a mandatory rule.

I will admit to being put off a little bit by the title. Is there such a thing as a D&D campaign that’s too gay? If so, I can’t imagine it. The whole point of RPGs is to enable fabulously over-imaginative outcasts to indulge their fantasy lives, so if there’s anything that’s in the spirit of the games, queering it up is definitely it. Check out the rest of the article.

Photo by Marco Hazard

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  1. For those of you who know the game, I am breathlessly awaiting the release of the third edition of UA next year. 
Frivolous Friday: Can Dungeons and Dragons Be Too Queer?

A Weekend Break From Reality: Kermit the Frog Does Talking Heads

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Stop Making Sense is one of my favorite albums and concert movies EVER. Listening to the album got me through more shitty data-entry gigs with my sanity intact than I can possibly count. “Life During Wartime” remains one of my go-to songs when I’m depressed. I’ve been known to sit at cafes in Berkeley, listening to that song over and over again. Along with URGH! A Music War, the concert film is one of the best artifacts of 1980s New Wave. The Talking Heads were New Wave at its peak, and Stop Making Sense is the Talking Heads at their peak, on their very last live tour.

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A Weekend Break From Reality: Kermit the Frog Does Talking Heads

Something is Rotten in Atheism: The “Amazing Atheist” and Secular Racism

TJ Kirk, aka "The Amazing Atheist"
TJ Kirk, aka “The Amazing Atheist”

Comment policy: Comments telling me to “show you the evidence” of TJ’s racism will not be published; if you haven’t been convinced by Martin Hughes’s thorough, science-based critiques, you’re so deep in denial that it’s not worth my time to try to convince you. Similarly, comments that are primarily insults or just telling me to “kill myself” will be tossed straight down the hole.

Watching atheists start to talk about — or desperately deny — the racism of “The Amazing Atheist” (aka TJ Kirk1) has made me feel both despondent and hopeful about the future of organized atheism. I’m flashing between extremes after recovering from a week where I’ve already spent a lot of time depressed as fuck.

I’m not going to go into laying out reasons that Kirk’s videos were racist. First of all, that should be both obvious and unsurprising to anyone who’s familiar with Kirk’s history or thinks about racism on any level deeper than “the KKK are bad people.” Second of all,  Martin Hughes has done a much better job of tearing Kirk apart than I ever could. The masterful skill of his writing in his original piece and then in his follow-up after Kirk responded with a 37-minute tirade makes me envious. It also gives me hope. Knowing that we have people with that degree of skill and integrity still willing to speak up in our communities means that we may yet heal ourselves of the disease that “The Amazing Atheist” represents. Have no doubt: He is a disease, and if left untreated, he and his fans may kill any hope that atheism can make the world a better place.
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Something is Rotten in Atheism: The “Amazing Atheist” and Secular Racism

When Country Music Gets Queer: Five Songs About LGB Love

I started thinking about queer country music last week while making my way through the new album by Parker Millsap, The Very Last Day. I’ve been taking my time with the album as I usually do, and it took me a while to realize that one of the songs, “Heaven Sent,” is so queer that it doesn’t even bother hiding it.

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When Country Music Gets Queer: Five Songs About LGB Love

Red Light Legal Offers a Chance to Get Legal Resources to Sex Workers

Sex Workers' Rights Protest in San Francisco. Activist Carol Leigh seen on the left. (cc) NC-Attribution Eliya Selhub
Sex Workers’ Rights Protest in San Francisco. Activist Carol Leigh seen on the left. (cc) NC-Attribution Eliya Selhub

I’m going through kind of a scary time, financially speaking. The company that I work for is struggling, and decided to boot me off the payroll and hire me back as a part-time “contractor.” That means that where I was getting over $2,000 a month take-home pay, I’m now getting $1,000, and over $300 of that will have to go into COBRA payments.

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Red Light Legal Offers a Chance to Get Legal Resources to Sex Workers

XHamster’s Blocking of NC Porn Customers Isn’t Good For Trans Rights

It’s been kind of heartwarming to see corporations and artists boycotting the state of North Carolina to protest the passing of HB2. Born out of mass panic about trans people having the right to use public restrooms appropriate to their gender, the law bans cities and counties from granting any rights or protections to LGBT people that aren’t already in state law. It’s just the kind of hateful shit that you’d expect from the state that kept sending Jesse Helms back to the Senate decade after decade.

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XHamster’s Blocking of NC Porn Customers Isn’t Good For Trans Rights