Tag Archives: criticism

The Welcome Death of Marvel Comics

 

Red_Skull

The Red Skull providing a politically conservative take on the “Refugee Crisis”

It’s a comfort to know that comic books no longer hold the mass appeal that they did in an earlier age. For the most-part, you need to travel to a specialist shop as they are no longer available off the rack at the local drug store. Sales are dropping and I think the reasons are pretty obvious.

Trite plot-lines and themes taken out of a politically left agenda tend to alienate the majority of readers. My love for Marvel’s universe stemmed from first rate characterization and originality that birthed and denoted what we now call the Silver-age of comics. All that has taken a backseat to gimmicky, paper-thin, politically driven pap that fails to inspire and ignite the imagination.

None of this is new of course. On some level, Marvel and its chief rival Brand Echhh … er., DC Comics have always addressed some measure of social justice and related causes… drug addiction, racism, and alienation were tackled as long ago as 1963 when the Fantastic Four defeated “The Hate Monger” an evil despot who turned out to be Adolf Hitler! Oops! forgot to add in the spoiler alert 😉 Later in the decade it was Peter Parker’s pal, Harry Osborn getting hooked on pills and the Green Arrow’s side-kick, “Speedy” getting hooked on heroin.

In an effort to bow before the twin idols of tolerance and diversity Marvel has been tweaking and reinventing familiar characters. Basically the formula has been to highlight a character’s sexual orientation or identity, change their sex (more often than not symbolically rather than literally i.e., have a female don the costume and mantle) and to change their ethnicity so that they are no longer Caucasian but a visible minority of one stripe or the other. All this is rather predictable as the movie representations merge with their comic book counterparts.

One particularly egregious example stems from a new series called  “Captain America: Steve Rogers”. In the first issue  Cap’s longtime enemy the WW2 Nazi super criminal Red Skull appears reciting the standard politically conservative opposition to unchecked immigration.

The problems with the above depiction are numerous to say the least. Simply put, it is erroneous to equate legitimate concerns Westerners have with regards to large-scale Muslim immigration and the Nazis of WW2.

As a conservative minded Westerner it’s a bit disconcerting to have the Red Skull become Marvel’s representative for people like myself. It’s beyond twisted of course but that’s the result when Marvel hires a former politician to pen a comic book. Nick Spencer is the mind behind this disposable trash and yes you can “Google” him.

By the way, and this is a spoiler…..

ALERT

ALERT

ALERT

ALERT

ALERT

ALERT

ALERT

ALERT

ALERT

oh what the hell….

It turns out Steve Rogers has been a servant of Hydra for years and that he has internalized conservative values i.e., Nazi values. So I guess I can take some solace in the fact that the personification of America’s fighting spirit is as guilty and fundamentally evil as I am.

I honestly debated even writing this article. I mean what’s the point… it’s pretty much pissing into the wind. But it’s a slow moving Friday….

I am obviously not alone in my criticism of Marvel’s PC branding. Here’s a few choice quotes from other industry observers:

bigbang

On the sorry state of the industry

From Comic Book creator, Matt Battaglia:

Back in the desert, a group of presumably illegal immigrants are crossing the border, and the Sons of the Serpent arrive [ a 1960s created Avengers villain organization fueled by racist ideology] .

Some lines from the Serpents: “By invading this sovereign land, you defy the laws of God, nature, and the United States Constitution… until the mighty wall is built, you come here for employment that is rightfully ours! And if denied it, you seek welfare paid for by our tax dollars! … look who it is, y’all! Captain Socialism … apologizing for our country’s greatness that you have time to come down here and flout still more of our laws…”

Seriously, this is what the villains are espousing. It’s a lot of conservative buzzwords given a murderous edge, and that’s that. Together with the overall tone and narration of the issue, conservatives have every right to be angry.

Going back to Captain America’s earlier observation that “this country is a divided as it’s ever been,” we agree. Mainly because one side of the argument unilaterally paints the other side as racist, murderous monsters who are “spouting intolerance and fear” and “drowning out common sense.” 

See: http://thefederalist.com/2015/10/21/its-true-captain-america-is-now-captain-leftist/

And the headline says it all from an article by Douglas Ernst of the Washington Times:

‘Captain America’ comic likens critics of Syrian refugee programs to Nazis

See: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/23/captain-america-comic-likens-critics-of-syrian-ref/

And finally the aptly titled: “Why Comic Books Suck” blog (love the title)

See: http://whycomicbookssuck.blogspot.ca/

It’s comforting to know that the sinking ship called Marvel Comics may finally go the way of the dinosaur. The fact that both DC and Marvel have tried to reboot their anemic franchises every few years is tacit admission that their relevance is lost and they are culturally moribund.

My advice? Collect Marvel Masterworks… the company’s brilliant Silver-age output and remember what was.

 

 

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John Lennon: Still an Iconic Genius

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I am not a fan of revisionism and it may seem strange that I feel somehow compelled to jump to the defence of the legendary John Lennon. Nonetheless, there have been a few echoings, a few pointed barbs that have called into question the measure of John Lennon’s musical legacy. Unheard of while he was alive, enough time has passed since the artist’s assassination in 1980 that some have felt emboldened to denigrate Lennon’s musical legacy.

Admittedly, much of the criticism is clouded by moralistic concerns over his absentee fathering of son Julian, his anti-Christianity stance, his self-destructive tendencies, and his own efforts to de-mystify the over-shadowing accomplishments of The Beatles. Certainly, none of the former Beatles are as controversial or divisive as John Lennon when it comes to public opinion.  I get all that. However, to undermine, to criticize Lennon’s musical legacy is simply a disservice not only to the historicity of the Beatles’ and his own solo contributions but to the plain truth of the matter.

So, putting aside moralistic concerns let us turn our attention to the criticisms of the critics.

Geoff Emerick (Engineer on the Beatles Abbey Road album, Sgt Pepper, Revolver and more):

Emerick has been outspoken about his favoritism towards Paul McCartney as being the Beatles’ “true” musician. He says as much during an interview available on youtube:

However, once one reads Emerick’s autobiographical “Here, There, and Everywhere” it becomes clear that the Beatles’ erstwhile Engineer has some demons of his own to exercise. As Publisher’s Weekly reported in its review of the book:

He [Emerick] concedes the group never really fraternized with him—and he seems to have taken it personally. The gregarious McCartney is recalled fondly, while Lennon is “caustic,” Ringo “bland” and Harrison “sarcastic” and “furtive.”

http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-59240-179-6

It should be noted that McCartney was Emerick’s best-man at his wedding and admits further that fellow “Apple” staffers saw him as McCartney’s man during the tension filled Apple Corps years of the late 1960s. So, take what you read regarding Lennon’s role in the Beatles with a large grain of salt when reading Emerick’s account of those days.

Other criticisms of Lennon cite a lack of originality and a musically derivative output. Check out listerverse’s
Top 10 Unpleasant Facts About John Lennon by Edward Benjamin for examples of this kind of thinking.

http://listverse.com/2012/05/12/top-10-unpleasant-facts-about-john-lennon/

To be sure songs such as Come Together have readily apparent connections to earlier works by other artists. In fact, Lennon settled out of court with publisher Moris Levy whose company owned the rights to “You Can’t Catch Me” the admitted influence behind the well-known Beatles hit. However, as Lennon himself said:

Come Together is me, writing obscurely around an old Chuck Berry thing. I left the line in, ‘Here comes old flat-top’. It is nothing like the Chuck Berry song, but they took me to court because I admitted the influence once years ago. I could have changed it to ‘Here comes old iron face,’ but the song remains independent of Chuck Berry or anybody else on Earth.

http://www.beatlesbible.com/people/john-lennon/songs/you-cant-catch-me/

This was nothing new for Lennon who said of his earlier hit” You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”:

“That’s me in my Dylan period,…I am like a chameleon, influenced by whatever is going on. If Elvis can do it, I can do it. If the Everly Brothers can do it, me and Paul can. Same with Dylan.”

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-beatles-songs-20110919/youve-got-to-hide-your-love-away-19691231

Lennon remained decidedly unapologetic about incorporating sounds and ideas from other musicians. He is not alone in doing so, McCartney, himself, has said about his song, “Back in the USSR”:

I wrote that as a kind of Beach Boys parody. And “Back in the USA” was a Chuck Berry song, so it kinda took off from there. I just liked the idea of Georgia girls and talking about places like the Ukraine as if they were California, you know?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_in_the_U.S.S.R.

The Beatles influence on other artists is undeniable. The English rock group Queen has been quoted a number of times citing the Beatles and specifically John Lennon as being a major influence.  Does that then relegate Queen to the status of Beatles wannabes? And God help Oasis– as the joke goes:

Noel Gallagher: “I feel like giving it all up and forming a Beatles’ cover band”
Rejoinder: “I thought Oasis was a Beatles cover band!”

From a musical perspective Lennon is regarded by most musicians as a capable but not a brilliant guitar/piano player. Lennon himself made no claims to technical brilliance a la’ Jimi Hendrix:

 I’m really very embarrassed about my guitar playing, in one way, because it’s very poor; I can never move, but I can make a guitar speak. I think there’s a guy called Ritchie Valens, no, Richie Havens. Does he play very strange guitar? He’s a black guy that was in a concert and sang “Strawberry Fields” or something. He plays, like, one chord all the time. He plays a pretty funky guitar. But he doesn’t seem to be able to play in the real terms at all. I’m like that. Yoko has made me feel cocky about my guitar. You see, one part of me says, “Yes, of course I can play,” because I can make a rock move, you know? But the other part of me says, “Well, I wish I could just do like B.B. King.” If you would put me with B.B. King, I would feel real silly. I’m an artist, and if you give me a tuba, I’ll bring you something out of it.

The Rolling Stone Interview
http://taz4158.tripod.com/johnint.html

And that’s part of the answer. Obviously, musical taste is to a very large extent an exercise in subjectivity. Nonetheless, the fact that Lennon influenced so many others, including Paul McCartney speaks to something bigger than mere subjective impressions. In Rolling Stone Magazine’s List of 100 Greatest Singers John Lennon landed at number 5. No less a personage than Jackson Browne wrote passionately of Lennon saying:

There was a tremendous intimacy in everything John Lennon did, combined with a formidable intellect…it was a stunning thing — he always told the truth. He felt he had the right to talk about this stuff, and that gives his voice a singular identity. It’s not the chops of a heralded singer — no one goes on about his actual technique. He went right to what he felt, what he had to say.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-singers-of-all-time-19691231/john-lennon-20101202

Jackson Browne gets it! Ironically, the very same quality of raw, unpolished, brutally honest musical communication is what Geoffry Emerick is critical of. However, that is the essence of Lennon’s appeal for those of us that continue to enjoy the genius of his musical gift.

Many of Lennon’s hits stand the test of time despite a conscious effort to write about what he liked, what he was interested in and not what his listening public necessarily wanted him to sing about. Lennon’s poignant meeting with a “fan” in 1988’s “Imagine” reveals Lennon’s own take on his music:

Fan: You weren’t thinking of anyone in particular when you were singing all that?
JL: How could I be? How could I be thinking of you man?
Fan: Well, I don’t know maybe I don’t care me but it’s all it’s all somebody you know
JL:  I’m thinking about me, or at best Yoko, if it’s a love song, but that’s it. I’m basically singing about me I’m saying you know I had a good shit today and ah this is what I thought this morning and ah you know I love you Yoko whatever— I’m singing about me and my life you know and if it’s relevant for other people’s lives that’s all right.

Fortunately, for the rest of us Lennon’s music was and remains relevant for our own lives. Below are a few Lennonism’s I keep handy as they reflect truth for me and I find them coming to my consciousness when encountering certain people and situations relevant to myself:

One thing you can’t hide is when you’re crippled inside—
John Lennon “Crippled Inside” from Imagine

I use this as a reminder for myself that my dysfunction shines through and is easily seen by discerning folks around me. It also comes to mind when I notice another person swimming in their own dysfunction.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.—
John Lennon “Beautiful Boy” from Double Fantasy

A reminder to expect the unexpected— to be humble as you never know what unexpected changes may come your way.

Woman is the slave of the slaves—
John Lennon “Woman is the Nigger of the World” from Sometime in New York City

A profound song that reminds us all of the ongoing plight of women throughout the world. Every woman is either someones daughter, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, or grandmother.  How can such violence and discrimination be shown to the sisters of the woman you care about. It makes me weep.

And Finally my top ten John Lennon songs list— some because of their lyrical content, some for the creative artistry expressed therein and some simply because “it’s got a good beat, Dick and I can dance to it.”

1. Strawberry Fields Forever
My proverbial “you’re on a desert island and can only take 5 singles with you” scenario. This would be my number 1 choice.

2. I Should Have Known Better
Features jangling Rickenbackers— one of my favorite Beatles tunes— ear candy 🙂

3. Revolution
The rocking B side to Hey Jude version. Pure Rock n’ Roll

4. A Day in the Life
A Lennon and McCartney composition but the main song structure is Lennon’s

5. Working Class Hero
One I identify strongly with— alienation from the “system”

6. Mind Games
Brilliant melody and features the steel guitar wizardry of the late “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow

7.  Give Peace a Chance
A simple chord structure but powerfully anthemic

8. In My Life
Sentimental and nostalgic. I love it!

9. Girl
Cleverly nuanced with multiple meanings. Lennon said it’s in part a knock at Christianity

10. Starting Over
Not so much for the song, itself, but the song capsulized the hope and promise of a freshly energized John Lennon ready to take on the newly born decade of the 1980s. I remember being so excited when I heard this on the radio for the first time. I couldn’t believe I was hearing a new Lennon tune following the singer’s lengthy self-imposed exile from the music business.

JOHN LENNON
“‘How long are you gonna last?’ Well, you can’t say, you know. You can be big-headed and say, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna last ten years.’ But as soon as you’ve said that you think, ‘We’re lucky if we last three months,’ you know.”

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Bruce Lee, Vampires and Jesus: Ye Shall Know Them By Their Suits?!?

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Parsons: What’s your style?

Bruce Lee: My Style? You can call it the style of fighting without fighting.

Parsons: The art of fighting without fighting? Show me some of it.

That little exchange occurs in Bruce Lee’s classic martial arts film, Enter the Dragon. I love that scene! Lee outwits the hapless Aussie, and the poor guy almost drowns as his little boat is dragged behind a much larger boat en route to Han’s island fortress. So what, might you ask, has Bruce Lee to do with Jesus and Vampires? Quite a bit actually.

Lee was critical of rigid and formalized structures in traditional martial arts—the katas of Karate for example. Read this brilliant quote from the master, himself:

I have not invented a “new style,” composite, modified or otherwise that is set within distinct form as apart from “this” method or “that” method. On the contrary, I hope to free my followers from clinging to styles, patterns, or molds. Remember that Jeet Kune Do is merely a name used, a mirror in which to see “ourselves”. . . Jeet Kune Do is not an organized institution that one can be a member of. Either you understand or you don’t, and that is that. There is no mystery about my style. My movements are simple, direct and non-classical. The extraordinary part of it lies in its simplicity. Every movement in Jeet Kune-Do is being so of itself. There is nothing artificial about it. I always believe that the easy way is the right way. Jeet Kune-Do is simply the direct expression of one’s feelings with the minimum of movements and energy. The closer to the true way of Kung Fu, the less wastage of expression there is. Finally, a Jeet Kune Do man who says Jeet Kune Do is exclusively Jeet Kune Do is simply not with it. He is still hung up on his self-closing resistance, in this case anchored down to reactionary pattern, and naturally is still bound by another modified pattern and can move within its limits. He has not digested the simple fact that truth exists outside all molds; pattern and awareness is never exclusive. Again let me remind you Jeet Kune Do is just a name used, a boat to get one across, and once across it is to be discarded and not to be carried on one’s back.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeet_Kune_Do

Wow! I love that! Lee also famously said:

Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bruce_Lee

Much like Lee did with his martial arts philosophy, I incorporate truths outside of traditional Christian sources into my spirituality. This freedom on my part causes an immediate knee-jerk reaction from Christians adhering to stricter forms of the faith. I can almost hear the shrill warnings of apostasy raining down upon me from various religious quarters as I type this out.

I’m sure Lee encountered much the same kind of criticism from his Wing Chun peers when he incorporated Judo, Fencing, Karate, and a host of other disciplines into his fighting style. However, I am convinced that Jesus and his disciples operated in much the same way.

The target in all cases is religious form and tradition that do nothing for God but everything for self aggrandizement, exclusivity, and sectionalism. Often, the problem originates in something beneficial, born of good intent, and frequently even of a spiritual nature.

The Bible is rich in examples. One of my favorites centers on the Ark of the Covenant. No, not the one Noah hung out in with the giraffes and humpty-back camels and some chimpanzees. I’m talking about the other Ark. You know, the one Indiana Jones went after in the first movie. The one that melted the Nazi leader’s face.

Anyways, the Ark of the Covenant was a good thing. God even told the Israelis how to make it and what materials they needed in doing so. The problem was that the Jews got their focus off of God and what He wanted.

They got themselves involved in a war with the Philistines figuring they would win in convincing fashion but they got clobbered. Naturally, you’d think they’d call upon the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob to pull them out of the fire so-to-speak but they didn’t. What they did do was to ask for the Ark of the Covenant!

After the battle was over, the troops retreated to their camp, and the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the LORD allow us to be defeated by the Philistines?” Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it will save us from our enemies.”

1 Samuel 4:3 New Living Translation (©2007)

Well, they got the Ark took it into the next big battle, and the Philistines promptly scattered them to the winds; adding insult to injury the Philistines took the Ark away from the Jews and brought it back with them as a trophy!

What happened here? Well, the Jews basically forgot all about spirituality and replaced it with a fetish. It’s the same kind of superstition you see in Vampire movies.

Van Helsing and company invariably obtain a cross or crucifix at some point in the story and burn the undead antagonist with it usually by branding their forehead or hand. There’s generally a scene included in which an impromptu cross is made of some discarded wood. The Vampire hisses and turns from the hated “holy” object usually covering himself with his cloak. I also like the cleavage scenes where Dracula or whatever fill-in is about to put the bite on a pretty victim. He pulls back the delicate bodice, young soft breasts rise and fall with each gentle breath,  but suddenly a delicate cross or crucifix is revealed!  Thank God! It successfully repels the beast from continuing with his salacious assault.

Of course all this supposes either that Dracula and his ilk believe in Christianity or God or that there is some actual power in the “symbol” of “the” cross. Again, as with the Ark of the Covenant, there is nothing inherently bad about crosses or holy water or the Eucharist or whatever. The problem comes when believers get their spiritual eyes off of God and onto some aspect of the Faith that they have fetishized.

Jesus criticized the Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders of his time) for wearing enlarged phylacteries, [religious boxes in which were contained scriptures] (Matthew 23: 5) because it allowed them to make a demonstration of their religious conviction. The Pharisees judged their spirituality on an outward show and Jesus took them to task for it. Of themselves, Phylacteries are not bad or wrong but if you fetish them, you’ve got a problem.

Jesus is quoted as saying:

“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad.

Matthew 12:23 New Living Translation (©2007)

Figuratively speaking, Christians are presumably born again of a good tree. Therefore, borrowing from the example above, the fruit they bear is good. We are known by the fruit we bear spiritually. As Paul wrote in letter to the Galatians:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness

Galatians 5:22 New Living Translation (©2007)

Those qualities are what should set a Christian apart from the unbeliever not the crosses around our necks, the clothes we wear or the church we attend.You shall know them by their fruits… not by their suits, folks.

I agree with Bruce Lee when he says: “He has not digested the simple fact that truth exists outside all molds; pattern and awareness is never exclusive.”

Take a look at the image below:

Guess the Religion Game!

Religious Mix and Match: Can you match the religious expressions with the religions listed below?

If you can properly assign the following words to the corresponding religious expression above then I suspect there’s something wrong with this picture: Buddhism, Catholicism, Evangelicalism, Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, Druidism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Sikhism, Rastafarianism

Ok, one more Bible story.

When Peter witnessed the “Transfiguration”; that point in the Gospel narrative where Christ is lit up with Divine light, Moses and Elijah appearing with him, the excited disciple says:

“Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials–one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified.

Mark 9:5-6 New Living Translation (©2007)

It looks like Peter immediately wants to start a religion or at least mark the occasion with a religious monument. However, before the new religion can take root. God breaks in with an announcement of His own:

Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Mark 9:7 New Living Translation (©2007)

To me this is the crux of it all (pardon the pun). Basically, God is telling Peter to forget focusing on the Holy light-show, forget erecting religious monuments and to listen to Christ. Ultimately, and in every case that trumps any religious form, structure, rite, or function you can possibly think of.

The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

John 3:8 New Living Translation (©2007)

Honestly, I firmly believe the only way someone should be able to tell if we are Christians is if we bear the character of Christ not via our tshirts, suits, and crosses or the kind of building we enter.

In other words, be like water my friend. Be like water 🙂

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The Hypocricy of Radical Feminism’s stance on Transgender Theory

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Sheila Jeffreys’ recent complaints against Transgender inspired opposition to her exclusionary Radical Feminist paradigm irked me today. Does something about the following quote read hollow with you?

For several years there has been a concerted campaign via the internet and on the ground, to ensure that I, and any other persons who have criticised transgenderism, from any academic discipline, are not given opportunities to speak in public.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/29/transgenderism-hate-speech

For those out of the loop, Radical Feminism is in opposition to sex-reassignment surgeries and deems transsexuals to be co-opted supporters of the patriarchal status quo. As an “idiot’s guide” primer to the whole Radical Feminism vs. Transgender Theory debate check out the rather entertaining:

The Rad Fem Vs. the Trans Activist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBUNdv2sVzY

But back to the specifics of the topic at hand. If you are wondering why I appear to be lacking sympathy for Ms. Jeffreys’ plight it’s because Transgendered individuals have been actively dissuaded—banned from certain Radical Feminist sponsored events. Perhaps, nowhere more infamously than at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.

To cite an About.com article that poses the very direct question, “Is the Festival Transphobic?” a representative of Lesbian Life responds:

We strongly assert there is nothing transphobic with choosing to spend one week with womyn who were born as, and have lived their lives as, womyn. It is a powerful, uncommon experience that womyn enjoy during this one week of living in the company of other womyn-born womyn. There are many opportunities in the world to share space with the entire queer community, and other spaces that welcome all who define themselves as female.

Source: http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/lesbianactivism/a/TransatMich_2.htm

Now where have we heard that line before?

[Donald] Trump has since reversed his “naturally-born” female position — and has promised to allow [Canadian transgendered Miss Universe contestant] Jenna [Talackova] to compete.

Source: http://www.tmz.com/2012/04/03/transgender-beauty-queen-miss-universe-gloria-allred/

Oh right, Donald Trump had his very own women-born-women policy! I wonder if Ms. Jeffreys takes comfort in the fact that she and “The Donald” see eye-to-eye on the naturally born woman issue? Certainly opponents of transgenderism make strange bedfellows!

It also brings to mind the “men-only” clubs that some feminists sought to desegregate based on suppositions of male privilege and rights of access. Yet, didn’t those men cite the same kind of argument? To paraphrase the quote above:

We strongly assert there is nothing misogynistic with choosing to spend time with men who were born as, and have lived their lives as, men in our men’s clubs. There are many opportunities in the world to share space with the entire community, and other spaces that welcome all who define themselves as women.”

In other words, “sure have your freedom. Live where you will. But um, not on my block“.

I’ve made this point before. Anti-transgender rhetoric and practice works only insomuch as our critics are able to identify us. The picture heralding this piece features yours truly, and the lovely, Miriam Rivera. We are both transgendered, but ironically, she is preoperative and I am post-operative. In other words, I’m the one with a vagina. Yet, because Miriam passes so well it is likely she that would gain access to a “woman-born-woman” event and not myself. I’m squarely in their gun-sights, not Miriam. Perception is everything folks.

Yes, because I “pass” less effectively, I am subject to greater scrutiny and derision. I applaud beautiful women such as Janet Mock who has chosen to celebrate her uniqueness as a transgendered woman when her ability to move about us undetected could have been a very real option.

I yearn for a world of inclusion—not exclusion!

I think of the ignorance, and stupidity inherent in racist ideologies. I love, welcome and embrace the fact that new genetic research, notably the Genographic Project highlights our shared humanity and common ancestral beginnings. I’ve been researching my family tree as part of the needed research for a memoir I am putting together. I’ve been excitedly pouring over old documents citing relatives in the UK. However, the greater truth is that we are all African—all of us!

One people, and a shared hope of fulfillment, and lives rich in meaning and purpose. Come one. Come all; independent of religion, race, color or creed.

As for Sheila Jeffreys and Radical Feminism all I can say is:

Live by the sword of exclusion, elitism, and  privilege, and you die by the same.

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