Thursday, August 30, 2007

Living in America or Life In Africa?

If you were forced to evacuate your home without even having enough time to put on your shoes, do you think it would really be unethical for you to loot salvage a pair of water-soaked shoes from a store where all of the merchandise will have to be thrown out after the storm anyway? What if it were your son or father or grandfather that was forced to wade through the floodwaters in order to get to safety and then tolerate the blazing hot concrete while y'all waited to be rescued? Would you tell him to just rough it or make due until the city re-opens and someone is willing to sell him a pair of shoes?

This picture was taken on the highway as New Orleanians waited for several days in order to be rescued. There was no food, no water, not even anything to cover themselves from the alternating rains and burning summer sun. The unidentified male in the photo used cartons and rubber bands just to keep his feet from having to touch the bare concrete.

I wish I knew who photographed it so that I could ask for their permission to post this here. I found it on a local site where people were downloading the pictures they were taking of the city so that those who evacuated could see how the different areas fared during the storm. I hadn't planned on using this picture because it seemed too tragic, too frustrating for me to look at, let alone post it on My Private Casbah. However, today I was surfing the web and I came across a site with this photo that was taken in Africa:

Really, how different are the two? Why is it in a nation that is supposedly the most affluent in the world, people were forced to endure a situation that rivals conditions in most "Third World" countries?

Monday, August 27, 2007

What's In A Name?

Two days ago, VanGoghGirl was sitting in the office while her dad and I typed on our computers. Out of the blue, she said she had a question she wanted to ask me.

"How would you feel about using my dad's last name?"

Well, that got my attention! I asked her if that was something that she wanted. She said that The German and I had been together for so long that he was practically my husband, so she just wanted to know how I'd feel about having his last name.

I told her that if it was something that she wanted, then when it comes to stuff with her, I'd be willing to use a hyphenated name that combines The German's last name and mine. That way I could keep using my name too. She said that my idea sounded okay to her.

I'm not really keen on the idea of abandoning my last name all because I have a partner in my life. My father and his twin were adopted by my grandfather as toddlers. He's the first father-figure they ever had. Still, my grandmother and grandfather never changed the kid's last names. Grandmère uses my grand-père's last name though.

I just don't understand what brought this on. Yes, we all have different last names here but it's never bothered me. If people who know VanGoghGirl assume that I have the same last name as her, it doesn't botther me. It's an honest mistake and it doesn't hurt me to just respond first and correct it later, if at all. I wonder if someone at school said something that made her feel self-conscious about our abundance of last names in this household. I have refrained from asking her more about it for a couple of days because I didn't want to make her think that I'm trying to bombard her with questions about something she may not feel like discussing just yet. After school, hopefully I'll be able to work this into the conversation so that I can hear more details.

Presidential election support

The German and I have different ideas with regards to the 2008 Presidential race. He thinks that Hillary Clinton is more electable because she's white. I think that Barack Obama is more electable because he's a man. I've been giving a lot of thought as to why we both reached these conclusions. On the one hand, I think that our cynicism has a lot to do with it.

I'm doubtful that Americans can ignore popular views about gender differences enough to see a woman as strong and stoic enough to be the Commander in Chief. The German doesn't think that white people are really willing to appoint a black person to the highest position in government. We both agree that a 2008 ticket with Obama and Clinton would be the ideal combination for the Democratic party but we disagree about who would need to lead it in order for them to have the best shot at winning the final election.

We've discussed this at length and I can definitely see where he's coming from. Because "the white moderate" prides itself on being open-minded and enlightened about race, many refuse to believe that they may harbor racist notions about people of color. I think this unwillingness to engage in self-examination is what motivates some to make decisions that will effectively limit the amount of interactions they'll have with people of color on a regular basis.

At the same time, humans are creatures of habit. If something has been a certain way for a long time, people often prefer to keep it that way even if they don't know why or how things got like that in the first place. The presidency has always been held by a rich white guy and until rich white guys are no longer interested in politics, I think that the presidency will remain in their hands. It's like that saying about sticking with the fool you know instead of the fool you don't know.

MRI Morning

I had an MRI today. I've had so many of them at this point, I could practically set it up and perform it on myself. Fortunately, I had stayed up 'til the wee hours of this morning, so I was able to go to sleep inside of the machine. It can be hard to sleep in there if you're not accustomed to it.

There are these loud banging and clanking noises coming from all around you at any given time. The center gives you plugs to put in your ears to block out some of the noise but all they can do is dull it down a bit. And the earplugs hurt! My ears are sore from having this big wad of yellow foam expanded in my ears for an hour and a half.

I didn't get to check out the scans today but I'm looking forward to my doctor's visit so that I can see what interesting patterns and shapes this cancer has been making in my chest lately.

The Summer of Death

You know, I have barely cried about this latest death in my family. It's not that I don't care or that I care less. I think I'm just maxed out. I am feeling battle-worn, desensitized. My gorgeous baby niece that I never got to see in person--it still hurts me. Visions of my uncle's violent suicide still replay in my head over and over again, almost every day. Is it that I have so many screwed up thoughts in my head that there simply isn't room for more horror?

I want 2007 to be over already. I want to put this year behind me. I want VanGoghGirl to feel free to pursue her emo-kid aspirations without having to worry about her actually committing suicide. I want to stop making these stupid lists in my head: How many more family members will die this year and who is most likely to be next, What's probably going to be the cause of death for the next person in the family.

The thing is, I'm not crying as I write this. I'm sitting here eating a banana nut muffin and drinking bottled water. There's been no downpour of tears, only a couple of light drizzles. I brought a handkerchief to the funeral and I wound up only using it to dab the perspiration off my face while we stood at the grave site. They took the flower arrangement off of my uncle's casket and made them into little bouquets for the family members to take home with them. As I stood there while my dad got my flower for me, I had the most self-centered thought that has ever passed through my head:

"God, it is so hot! I hope that the next person to go doesn't die until it gets cooler outside."

Before the funeral, my aunt and my dad weren't even sure that I should go. The funeral march (from the building where they had the service to the grave site) was going to be grueling. We're a fairly traditional family so we'd all be in black, which certainly doesn't help one to cool down in 97 degree (Fahrenheit) weather without a single cloud in sight. I went anyway.

It was a HUGE funeral. To give you an idea of how popular he was, consider this: Down here, the young kids get these R.I.P. t-shirts made with the deceased person's picture, birth date, and death date on the front. The lady at the shop that was creating the shirts told my aunt that she had already sold three hundred t-shirts marking my uncle's death.
After the funeral we found out that some people had gone and got t-shirts made at a different shop so the number was actually over 300. The service was held in a funeral hall room that is bigger than most churches I've attended. Even then, the pews were packed and people lined the walls from the front of the platform where the casket was, all the way out to the hallway that led to the main hall.

He had nine kids--two with his first wife and seven with his second. One guy from my uncle's neighborhood got and spoke about how, despite having all those children, my uncle would always take a kid from the neighborhood with them when they went on vacation. One of my uncle's sisters got on the stage and spoke about how people always knew when my uncle had arrived because there would be two SUVs pulling up to the house. Some of his sons read poems that they had written. A pastor got up and led the people in prayer, not just for our family, but also for the family of the man who killed my uncle. They prayed that he never pick up a gun again and that he eventually understands the impact of his actions.

Overall, it was a very nice service. Maybe that's why I'm not crying so much. Or maybe it's all just too sad for me to even begin to cope with.

Friday, August 24, 2007

"Anonymous" Drama Spreads To Other Blogs

This Anonymous raid is still dragging on. It's moved on to other blogs. Some of them belong to people that I actually care about. Unfortunately, my friend Thin Black Duke made some comments about it and I think that they were made with good intentions. His stance is that Anonymous' actions are wrong and that it doesn't matter who their targets were. I think this is where we part ways on this issue. You see, I think it does matter who is being targeted here.

These things don't happen in a vacuum. This has been a long time in the make. The people involved--the ones that are now trying to position themselves as victims--have been the main individuals who have condoned, promoted and perpetrated the outing of women on the internet as of late. Try as I might, I can't have sympathy for someone who is guilty of the same sort of victimization that they are now facing. I just can't do it. These are the people who egged on Encyclopedia Dramatica when it suited them. And now we're supposed to have pity for them? I'm sorry, but it ain't gonna happen here.

I'm not going to say that it's wrong for Thin Black Duke to be upset about what's going on. In fact, it's his ability to empathize with others that makes me so attached to him. I seriously view him like a brother. When I was having a really serious crisis and my doctors and I weren't sure if I was going to see this one through, he really comforted me. Yeah, I know some people discount internet friendships as not quite "real" but he's one of the few people I've encountered who I would actually go to bat for even if I never ever met him in person.

Perhaps it's a personal fault with me. It's just that, I know they are hateful liars. I know they are racists. I know they are ableist. I know they are transphobes. I'm just not able to erase that from my mind when I hear about these people. I'd been discussing this on Duke's blog but I think it all became too much for him. I'm posting my response to Cheryl Seelhoff's latest bull that she left in his post. When I see her feigning innocence, I just feel more certain that this is no one worth feeling sorry for. I've included all of the relevant links for anyone who hasn't been following this entire saga. I think this will show where things REALLY began, despite Heart's protestations.

Cheryl: No radfem has threatened anyone with rape, murder, slitting their throat, fucking them in the wounds. No radfem has published personal information, phone numbers, fax numbers, addresses, photos of people’s children, and ongoing threats to the internet. No radfem has urged others to do all of the above.

You must enjoy being proven a liar, Heart. It's all still available for everyone to see. Your buddy Stormcloud threatened that unless Renegade never opens her mouth and speaks up about radical feminists again, she would publish her private information. She was "nice" enough to start with posting Ren's real name and then telling her that her next move would be to put up photos of her face without the eyemarks blacked out to shield her identity because she is a sex worker. In this same post, you can see numerous self-identified rad-fems condoning Stormcloud's actions. Of course, this isn't an isolated incident with your pal Stormy. She tried to blackmail Antiprincess just a few months before.

There's also your buddy Pony/Sis who had a lot of fun calling Renegade Evolution a whore and a dog and calling those who defended her johns. Of course, there's also her "house nigger" reference in the same post. Yet you're still entertaining this person on your blog.

And then there's Luckynkl. I'm going to post the entire message that she sent calling Brownfemipower a dog because it needs to be seen:

Women of color are oppressive? LOL. That’s a good one. Almost as funny as saying white women are oppressive.
Women, regardless of race, class, creed or color, do not have the power to oppress, ok? The best that any woman can do is ally with male power. Women do that in part by using a sequitor before the word “woman,” be it a race, nationality, creed, color or what have you. All that means is that you are the property of the men of that chosen category and are being bred like a domesticated dog to reproduce and suppy members to those various teams of men so they continue with their beloved hierarchies and playing their favorite game of “King of the Hill.” They then take turns throwing each other off the top of the hill and being king. No race, color, class or creed of men have clean hands. They all love, participate in and support this game and each has had their turn. Their only complaint being when they’re not the ones on top and making all the kingly rules.
Women are not allowed to play this game, ok? Their only role is to supply members to men’s chosen teams.
So what is a white woman? She is simply a woman that has been determined to be acceptable for white males to breed with to insure the continuation of his team. Same goes for black women, red women, brown women, Jewish women, Amish woman, Mexican women, Japanese women or what have you.
We have another name for this. It’s called “animal husbandry.” But instead of producing German Shepherds and Chihuahuas, women are being bred to produce the various races, creeds, colors, nationalities, etc.. Because men need heirs to continue playing the game. Unable to reproduce themselves, they must control those who do. Women.
The battle has been over what it’s always been over. The battle over the uterus and who gets to control it. Because he who rules reproduction can control the world. Sexism can be found at the root of it all and racism is born of it.
Unlike sexism, racism is relative. It depends on which region of the world we’re talking about and what time period. White men may be the dominant group in America, but that’s not the case in China, now is it? And it sure wasn’t the case in America a few hundred years ago when Native Americans ruled the roost. In fact, Ghenghis Khan was the greatest conqueror of all time. Here’s a newsflash. He wasn’t a white boy.
Until y’all get this, you will completely miss the boat and be complicit in the hierarchies of the patriarchy and insure the continuation of men’s favorite game.
In the meanwhile, y’all sound like sisters squabbling over which daughter daddy decides to bestow favor on. A daddy that will inevitably be replaced by another daddy who will choose another daughter to bestow favor upon.
So when do you get it that none of the sisters have any power or say-so? And that it’s all up to daddy? That women have no more power than men’s dogs? Sure the dog may live in a mansion and eat steak every night and even have a chauffered limosine. But is it the dog that has power?
Think about it. And then stop being such tools. In the meanwhile, here’s a bone, Fido. Go fetch

Nobody cares whether you blogroll them. After this thread over at Brownfemipower's site no one I know wanted to have anything to do with you.

What you deserve is for some one else to determine. I'm simply not feeling sorry for you...especially when you were lauding the actions of Encyclopedia Dramatica when they outed people last year. I guess we weren't supposed to remember that, were we?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Reflecting on the Deaths in my Family

I'm panicking about the idea of losing any more weight. My stomach has only just started to calm down a bit. My GI-tract still can't handle a lot of foods but I've been able to indulge in a few nutrient-dense meals without my body forcing it to do an "early exit". However, I'm still using the Nexium twice a day and I'm still having the horrible stomach cramps at least a few days out of every week.

I've tried to focus on other things and not dwell on the stressful details in my life right now. I kept wanting to write about my uncle's suicide and my niece's death but I just felt like I'd be unable to handle all of the emotions if I let myself release it in any way. It's just overwhelming me now.

My uncle was a Vietnam War veteran. Once, him and a group of soldiers were hunkered down for the night in the jungles and when he woke up, all of the soldiers around him were dead. During the night, the "enemy" had crept up and slit the throats of all the other men. God only knows why they didn't get him too. Maybe they ran out of time. Who knows? My uncle was haunted by his experiences in Vietnam. He never got over them.

Besides my niece (my aunt's child), he had two sons from a prior marriage. These two are basically rotten individuals but one of them was worse than the other, by far. He served years in prison for shooting a man in the face. When he got out, he couldn't find anyone willing to hire an ex-con.

My uncle was rather "comfortable", as we'd say here. He and my aunt had just moved into the dream home that they'd had built. They had a nice income and they owned a few nice assets. My uncle wanted to help out so he co-signed on a loan for an eighteen-wheeler truck after his son promised to be responsible and pay the note on it once he got a job.

The son got the truck and became a driver for some company. He was making good money doing this. He didn't have a wife or any children to take care of so he could do the long-distance routes that pay rather well. For some reason, he decided that he just wasn't going to pay the note on the truck but he wasn't going to give it back to the bank either. Instead, he just stiffed his dad for the money. If that wasn't bad enough, he refused to speak to his father who was trying to find out why he was doing this.

The son would go right down his father's street to visit his aunt but not even stop by his dad's house and see him. My aunt kept telling my uncle that it's just money and it's not like they couldn't afford to just take care of the note. Still, my uncle took it really hard that his son would cheat him like this and pretty much brag about it to the rest of his family.

On the day before he committed suicide, when my aunt was at work and my cousin was at school, my uncle had a confrontation with his son on the front lawn. My aunt only found out about it later because a neighbor came forward who had heard and seen them arguing when she went outside. We don't know why my uncle didn't even tell my aunt about what had occurred that day. His son is the only one who knows exactly what was said between them.

We don't know when my uncle purchased the gun. We don't even know where he hid it before he used it. On Thursday, two days before his birthday, he waited until my aunt and cousin had left the house and he locked himself in the garage with the gun and a note he had written. He took the gun and shot himself in the face.

The thing is, he didn't die immediately. When my cousin got home from school, she could hear noises coming from out of the garage. She used to have a key to the garage but she'd misplaced it a while before this. She went in her room and searched for her missing key so that she could see what was going on in the garage. She found it. She opened the door.

There was my uncle, with half of his face gone and much of his brains were splattered all over the room. His body was groaning and trying to get up. My cousin called 911 and went and got the next door neighbor. The ambulance came and brought him to the hospital. My aunt was called by the police and told to go to the hospital where my uncle had been taken. One of their neighbors took my cousin over to their house to remove her from this horrible scene. My uncle died at the hospital.

My cousin is still in denial. She can't accept the fact that he killed himself. She says that it must have been an accident. The note my uncle left, the investigation, and autopsy showed that it was indeed a suicide. My aunt and cousin are seeing a psychiatrist. God only knows how this one event will screw with their sanity for the rest of their lives. I know it's changed our entire family forever.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Gun Violence Victim In My Family

This past weekend, the brother-in-law of one of my cousins was killed. Friday night, he was gunned down in front of a food stand where he was getting some dinner to bring home to his life-partner. He had been holding conversation with a woman who was seeing a married man. He didn't even know the woman. It turns out that she and this man that she was seeing had just gotten into an argument about her seeing other people. She told the guy that she could do whatever she wanted because he's married and doesn't have any right to monopolize her attentions. She then proceeded to walk over to where my relative was at the time and struck up a conversation with him.

The jealous boyfriend came up and tried to attack the woman. Some nearby individuals prevented the attack and the woman went into a building until the boyfriend left. When she felt ready to leave, my relative walked her to her car because she feared for her safety. As she was getting ready to leave, her boyfriend shows up once again. He hadn't really left. He had gotten in his car, pulled to where he was out of sight, watched and waited for the woman to come back outside.

The boyfriend pulls into the parking lot where my relative was standing in line to order some food. He exchanged some words with my relative and then took out a gun and shot him to death.

The perpetrator turned himself in on Saturday and he's being held on a $500,000 bail.This doesn't really provide me with any solace. VanGoghGirl is utterly depressed. This is too much death for her to deal with at once. It would be one thing if it were like when her great-grandmothers died (her father's grandmother and my step-dad's mother). They were old and had lived good lives. They passed away rather peacefully.

I don't think that I'm going to let her go to the funeral. My relative had a lot of young children and I'm sure it's not going to be a very calm event. My stomach turned on me this morning. I guess it's the stress.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Latest Quizelets: "Are you a Feminist?" & "Are You Masculine or Feminine?"

You Are 82% Feminist

You are a total feminist. This doesn't mean you're a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).
You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It's a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.

You Are 40% Feminine, 60% Masculine

You are in touch with your masculine side.
You are not overly sensitive and not easily moved.
Occasionally, though, something will get through and touch your heart!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Who is Anonymous?

There's been a lot of talk around the feminist blogosphere regarding what "Anonymous" actually is. I first heard about Anonymous from someone on Second Life who was explaining the Hal Turner chronicles. Hal Turner is a pretty pathetic jerk who runs a right-wing white-power radio show. He was close friends with Sean Hannity and frequently called in to his show until Hannity started getting popular and no longer wanted to be associated with an avowed racist. At some point, Hal's activities came to the attention of folks who go by the name of "Anonymous".

"Anonymous" is the name used by an amorphous group of people who frequent several different sites on the internet: 4chan, 7chan, 420chan, Encyclopedia Dramatica. These sites are primarily used to post and share porn but they are also used to coordinate pranks. No one is in charge of Anonymous. No identifying information is used. Anyone can post a link to some site or suggest a "raid" but the only way they get carried out is if the idea seems sufficiently funny to a significant amount of readers. If it is appealing, then perhaps one person will go and do something mildly annoying to the target. If the target exhibits what Anonymous considers a reaction that is disproportionate to the level of annoyance, then they'll take it up a notch and see just how much of a rise they can get out of the target. How far it progresses past that point depends on how many laughs Anonymous thinks it can continue to get from the situation. The best thing a target can do is simply ignore Anonymous. It really is the best option available. Trust me. If you fail to heed this advice, you may wind up becoming a permanent target. You do not want this happen unless you are willing to leave off from using the internet for the next few years.

In the first raid I heard about, Anonymous decided that harassing Hal Turner would definitely result in "epic lulz" (i.e. lots of laughs). Hal posted someone's personal information on his blog and refused to remove it. To Anonymous, this act needed to be avenged. So, they went and found out more about Hal than the guy could ever have dreamed possible. After that, they proceeded to post his information all over the internet. They were able to show that he was basically conning the racists who sent him money thinking that he needed thousands of dollars just to broadcast his radio show. This did not sit well with the folks at Vanguard News Network and other similar sites. Hal instantly became a persona non grata. To be honest, I thought it was rather hilarious! The idea that someone had managed to turn his white supremacist buddies against him just amused me to no end. To this day, Anonymous is still wrecking havoc in Hal's life. I can't say I feel sorry for him at all.

As of late, several women have had their blogs raided by Anonymous. I've talked about one of them a few times here on My Private Casbah. Would you like to guess who I'm talking about? I'll give you a couple of hints. She has an extremely inflated ego. She's a (bleached) blonde. She's running for President of the United States, and her name isn't Hillary Clinton. If you haven't figured it out, you can read more about it here and here. I'm pretty sick of even mentioning these folks but, as should be expected, it involves the usual suspects whenever ridiculous rad-fems on the internets.

This post is only tangentially related to them. In some of the conversations about the recent Anonymous raids, some folks have claimed that these attacks were initiated by men's right's activists, political adversaries, et cetera. On Antiprincess' blog, I found a comment that a member of Anonymous wrote explaining who they actually are. I found it pretty interesting so I decided to post it here. I think that Anonymous represents a part of all of us that most people try to hide or get rid of. As with anything in life, inevitably, there are always going to be people who choose to nurture it instead.
Anonymous said...

"in order for the ED and 4chan folks to do their thing, they need fuel. we're it. EVERYBODY's it. men, women, radfems, MRAs, homeschoolers, Republicans, Christians, earth mamas, mild-mannered shoeshine boys - we're ALL grist for their mill, it may be just a matter of time."

In situations like this, I find that I am behooved to educate the average internet citizen on what, exactly, Anonymous is.

The first step to understanding Anonymous is to understand our mantra (I will spare you the full length of our creed and code, and summarize):

Anonymous is legion. Anonymous does not forgive. Anonymous does not forget. Anonymous is amoral. Anonymous is neither good nor evil.

Anonymous is legion: There are many anonymous people on the internet, and all members of Anonymous are anonymous, but Anonymous is not a single anonymous. There are many. While Anonymous has specific goals, individual members of Anonymous may behave erratically.

Anonymous does not forgive: Self-explanatory.

Anonymous does not forget: We have very, very long memories. Self-explanatory.

Anonymous is amoral/Anonymous is neither good nor evil: Anonymous is beyond morality and human notions of right and wrong, good and evil. Anonymous may appear cruel to some, saintly to others. Your perception of us is colored by what you believe. One thing is certain; none of us are as cruel as all of Us.

Anonymous is much like an ant colony. Remember, we are legion.

Individuals of Anonymous may act with autonomy, but we are all driven by a single, driving need: find food. Our food, is lulz.

Are you a moderate Christian who pays his taxes, loves his family, donates to charity, goes to church once a week and cares nothing for the sexual preference of his neighbors? You are not food.

Are you an intelligent graduate student who has little time to spend on the internet between working on your dissertation and your budding career? You are not food.

Are you the female CEO of a successful corporation who balances motherhood with professional advancement? You are not food.

Are you a crazed racist who runs a website, community and podcast dedicated towards promoting racism, and will you react to criticism and harassment in an uproariously satisfying fashion? You are food.

Are you a histrionic teenager who posts weepy Youtube videos of you making the audacious claim that your fringe subculture is the spearhead of a revolutionary social movement that will uproot all of society after said subculture acquires "equal rights" (whatever that means)? You are food.

Are you an insane radical feminist who believes that all men are rapists, that pornography is rape, that it is acceptable to indoctrinate your children into your rabid ideology simply because they are beginning to explore their sexuality, despite your best efforts to make them hate their own gender and their own genitalia? You. Are. Food.

Anonymous is the entity that comes to restore balance when Bad Things® happen on the internet. While individual members of Anonymous may aspire to specific goals, Anonymous as a gestalt entity only desires food.

You see, Anonymous is always hungry, and Anonymous must always feed. If you aren't food, stay out of the way.



Updated on 12-16-7: Removed Ebaumsworld reference. Several Anon's have pointed out why its users clearly aren't a part of Anonymous.

Friday, August 17, 2007

People With Disabilities Are Sexual Beings Too

My blog buddy Brain Hell had an interesting dream the other day. He was having sex with President Hillary Clinton in the White House. I don't think I'm voting for her to be the President but she's definitely near the top of my list of politicians I'd like to spend some private time with.

Brain Hell's post also had a link to a video on YouTube that I found quite interesting and informative. You might enjoy it too.

*Warning: Not Safe For Work*

Elizabeth Edwards' Award-Winning Comment

Hat-tip to Rachel

In a recent interview Elizabeth Edwards made the following ridiculous comment regarding her husband's campaign:

"We can't make John black, we can't make him a woman. Those things get you a lot of press, worth a certain amount of fundraising dollars."

Elizabeth Edwards:

This month's winner of the Special White Woman Award

Thanks Elizabeth, for proving that people with cancer can be really big assholes too!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Evidently, Cheryl Seelhoff Lieks Moar Drama

I'm really disgusted to have to even write about this but I can't remain silent either. Never before have I encountered someone as despicable as Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff (also known as "Heart" or "AmazonHeart" on some internet boards). I've had more than my share of dealings with her in the past but never before have I been this furious about any of her asinine behavior. Most of the time, I can just point and laugh or shake my head when I happen to read about her internet antics. However, I'm so-oo-oo past that right now.

Of course, if you need to, you could probably get some hearty laughs of your own by reading about how she has decided to enter into the presidential elections race. That's right, Cheryl "Fight The Establishment" Seelhoff is running for the position as Commander in Chief of the United States military. It makes sense, right? I mean, it's not as if maintaining a military force would make one a tool of THE PATRIARCHYTM, right?

Then there's the fact that she wrote her own wikipedia page. Now, that is a riot all by itself! Don't bother looking for it on the site because it's already gone but you can check out the cached version of it on Google. For some reason, the editors didn't think that having one mention on page three of an article on constitutes sufficient proof of fame. I wonder why! Is anyone surprised that no one besides Heart and her (less than a dozen or so) regular commenters thought that she was notable enough to warrant having a wiki listing? There are some people who have become moderately famous in real-life thanks to their internet following: Mario Lavandeira aka "Perez Hilton", Amber Lee Ettinger (Obama-Girl), William Sledd (from "Ask a Gay Man"). Now, we can argue about whether these three people should have listings, but Heart? That's a no-brainer.

I found it interesting that her self-praising blurb mentioned that, back in 1998, she won a court case against some folks at the church she used to attend. According to Heart, she was awarded in excess of one million dollars. So why was she begging her fan-girls for money last week?

"If you can help me to get to the Festival, I will be eternally grateful. Airfare to Fest as of just now is $503 round trip, which is the cheapest fare. I need to take my youngest daughter, Maggie, so the total cost for both of us would be $1,006. The womyn raising money to help us all get home are hoping to be able to help get me a ticket for Maggie, but that is still not certain, so I may need $150 for her ticket at the gate. I also would need two shuttle tickets to get us from the airport to the land and back, a total. The total is $1,236."

Now, unless Heart has managed to spend an average of 100,000 dollars each year for the past ten years--that's not even factoring in the fact that she has a full-time job that has been generating an income during this time, as well-- there is no way that this woman could be broke. That makes it all the more disgusting to see her go on to say,

"It’s bizarre to me to read, as I sometimes do, that this event is for rich white women. That’s foolishness. It’s for lesbians, a comparatively impoverished, disenfranchised group, no men to depend on, no men paying the bills (as is true of quite a few of Fest’s detractors)."

The fact that this came from the lips of a person who brags about her $1,000,000+ settlement makes that particular claim sound pretty dern hollow, in my book. And why is she asking for money? It's not because she doesn't have enough money to put food on the table for her family. It's not because she needs airfare to go and be with a dying relative. It's so that she can go and hang out at a festival for a week.

Oh, and by the way, she has a husband. That's right! This woman who goes around calling herself a lesbian is married. Her and her husband have been together for over ten years now. And lest one think that it was just some sort of "arrangement of convenience"--a concept that I find completely understandable given the situation that lesbians face in some other countries--this is the same husband that's the father of her two youngest children. She doesn't really talk about him on her blog. Perhaps it's because doing so might show what a fake she is when she waxes on about being a lesbian. After all, as Heart says,

"A female entering a relationship with a male? That’s a heterosexual relationship, no matter how anybody 'identifies.'"

It's crazy. If you're heterosexual, then what's the problem with being honest about that? You don't have to have a spouse that agrees with every view you have in order for them to, at least, be worth acknowledging. The German and I certainly don't see eye to eye on everything but does that mean that I'm going to pretend he doesn't exist whenever I'm talking about what and who is important in my life? Of course not! You don't have to be dishonest in order to be a real feminist. In fact, I'd say that a major part of being a feminist means being willing to speak truth to power. For all her so-called"rad-fem" beliefs, it seems Mrs. Seelhoff never figured this out.

Anyway, I've gone on long enough about Heart's other antics, so I suppose it's best that I get to the reason why I've taken the time out of my day to point out Heart's hypocrisy and lies. I had decided that Heart wasn't really interesting enough for me to expend any more energy writing about here on My Private Casbah. It's quite clear that she's proud to be a racist, disablist, transphobic bigot, so there really isn't any point in trying to reason with her. This became especially apparent to me once I saw that there are other self-proclaimed "radical feminists" who are willing to consider the idea that feminism necessarily includes the principle that all women are worthy of protection. After speaking my mind with the award, I moved on to other topics.

Well, that was until someone was kind enough to hip me to one of Heart's posts on the forums for the Michigan Women's Music Festival. In it, she uses me, bint alshamsa, in an attempt to buttress her transphobic views. Now, it's one thing if Heart wants to spout her garbage all across the internets, making herself look like an idjit. However, when she tries to use MY disabilities as proof that people should be afraid of teh evil transgender people, that's when I have to speak up about it.

Here's a snippet from her post:

"Last winter a young, disabled woman blogger, unaware of who Renee was (Renee was going by "Womansspace" at the time (!)), all but invited Renee to stay in her house with her after having been e-mailed by Renee and subjected to the RainSong routine! I should leave Renee out of this discussion precisely why? So other women reading -- a LOT of women read here who aren't Festies, and some of them have encountered Renee via the blogosphere -- can get sucked in by her and have their lives all fucked up by her like a whole bunch of other women"... If anyone wants to see the blog posts where RainSong almost ended up moving in with the young disabled woman, e-mail me.

Now, would you like to see the blog posts that she was talking about? Here is it:

You've Saved My Life

Now, granted, it was several months ago but even then, does being thirty years old mean I'm so young that I couldn't possibly make an informed decision about who I wanted to let stay in my home? Does the fact that I have a disability really have anything to do with whether or not I am intelligent enough to determine whether or not someone is "safe enough" to have around?

I mean, why did Cheryl think that invoking my identity as a person with disabilities would add validity to her transphobic views? See, this isn't the first time I've dealt with this sort of thing. It's disablism, pure and simple. By referring to me as a "young, disabled woman blogger", Heart is trying to position me as someone in need of protection, a feeble child in danger of falling into a trap that only the transphobic rad-fems can save me from. It never occurred to her that a woman with disabilities could actually make up her own mind about who she wants to have around her by CHOOSING to be around transgendered people. I guess someone forgot to tell me (and millions of other people with disabilities) that we're supposed to walk around scared to make the same sort of decisions that non-disabled people make every day. After all, we might be Taken Advantage OfTM! Quelle horreur!!!

According to Heart's mentality, because I have a disability, I'm supposed to be frightened to death by the idea of having a sixty year-old transgendered woman visit my house. Okay, that seems silly to me but I can understand why the idea of taking in folks from off the street might be a bit too much for some people to handle. What I don't get is why, of all people, Heart is the one who supposedly knows best how to judge what kind of person someone is. She doesn't exactly have a good track record of choosing emotionally-healthy people to share her life with.

I, on the other hand, have plenty of experience with successfully living with those that others might not be willing to take a chance on. Ever since before I was born, my mother took in others who were in need of a more stable living environment. When I became an adult, I did the same thing. In my lifetime, I've lived with:

1.a woman with paranoid schizophrenia
2.a sex worker
3.several pregnant teenagers
4.three siblings who were the children of a woman with a drug addiction
5.a seventeen year-old boy who had never had his own bed before moving in with us
6.five children (male and female) who had been sexually abused and abandoned by their mother
7.a girl who was a member of a gang,

And that's just a sampling. The others I won't mention because I don't know for sure if they'd be comfortable with me talking about it here. Now, despite the issues that these individuals faced, my mother made sure that no harm ever came to us from those she let into our home. For all her faults, she never taught me to live in fear of my fellow human beings. She NEVER accepted the idea that having a disability meant that I should be pitied or shielded from the world that everyone else had to face.

But none of that matters to people like Heart. To her, it's perfectly acceptable to use people with disabilities as pawns in her campaign of hatred. It's the same thing she tried to do with people of color and then had the nerve to get angry when numerous bloggers called her to task for it in the same way that some of the other posters to the Michfest boards have done lately.

She can't support her assertions with any sort of rational arguments. Instead, Heart anoints herself spokesperson for all sorts of groups that she knows nothing about and then she begins to claim to be an authority on what these people think. She's been in two inter-racial marriages. Therefore (according to her), that makes her an authority on what it means to be black. That idiotic idea didn't work on the people of color bloggers that she tried to present it to and that dog won't hunt here either.

I'm the one who has had their body cut open, stapled, stitched, sawed on, and irradiated. NOT HEART. What has she done to earn the right to claim what my disabilities prove?
Only a disgusting individual like Cheryl would have the unmitigated gall to use someone else's--a woman, I might add--disabilities as a means to bolster her hateful and fundamentalist assertions. Well, I've decided that I'm not just going to sit back and do nothing about it.

I'm placing a link to this post on the site that Cheryl is telling people to go and look at. That way, those who want to can see who it is they are dealing with when they talk to her. Renee's problems are nothing compared to the utter fraud that is Mrs. Cheryl Seelhoff.

P.S. Don't expect me to have any sympathy for her because she and some of her buddies have managed to piss off some folks over at Ebaumsworld, Encyclopedia Dramatica and 4chan. I'm sticking with the same position I stated when it first began. Malcolm X has a quote that keeps coming to mind when I think about this situation:

"Chickens coming home to roost never made me sad. It only made me glad."