Articles and Essays, Works in Progress

WELFARE REFORM WELFARE REHARM

Proponents of welfare reform in NPR’s “20 Years Since Welfare’s Overhaul, Results Are Mixed” missed some recent history through their nostalgic rose-colored glasses, and so did the reporting itself:
Clinton welfare reform penalized people including my family for not landing and attending 5 job interviews a day. The single parent who could not achieve this impossible feat had their share of welfare and food stamps and medicaid taken away. It was horrible. The caregivers struggling the most were punished for feeding themselves by taking away their food and necessities. No child care was provided when Clinton welfare reform was first put into place, for years. Single parents, mostly single mothers, were forced under threat of being thrown in jail to attend classes in “job training” that consisted of degrading them. These training classes and skills tests and meetings did not take into account the education of the person or the person’s and family’s particular life situation.
There was no welfare-to-work act. The jobs available to even a college-educated welfare recipient single mother at the time paid $4.25 per hour. Especially with no or little help to transition to working, a parent was “better” off on welfare than working; that is, a single mother did the math and made the right choice to feed her kids.
As soon as a person was working, she would lose low-income subsidized housing. So she also made the choice to keep a roof over her family’s head.
She would also lose any community assistance for people on welfare if there was any.
If you didn’t report some income or help received, you’d be legally punished. So trying to relieve the situation even a little was impossible under the threat of jail.
In the early and mid-90s, single mothers raising a family without a husband were still very much looked down upon and actively condescended to culturally and specifically, by shop owners and managers, by police officers, and especially by the social workers and department of human service officials whose job was to work with and “help” their families.
On top of that, DHS investigated a parent whose kids complained of hunger or whose kids were very stressed or whose kids did not have a father because she protected them from witnessing and experiencing (more) domestic abuse. She did this alone often without the support and help of police she might have called in incidents, but rather their blame on her. Then she was criminalized for protecting them and for the failings of welfare reform, police, courts, human services to understand or care what she and the children were forced to deal with; she and children were pro-actively punished and criminalized multi-fold for the agencies’ and programs’ failure to realistically respond or interact with realistic consideration or respectfully in the first place.
On top of that, DHS investigated a parent whose kids complained of hunger or whose kids were very stressed or whose kids did not have a father because she protected them from witnessing and experiencing (more) domestic abuse. She did this alone often without the support and help of police she might have called in incidents, but rather their blame on her. Then she was criminalized for protecting them and for the failings of welfare reform, police, courts, human services to understand or care what she and the children were forced to deal with. These agencies and programs of the law punished her and the family multi-fold in lieu of realistically responding or interacting with realistic consideration or respectfully in the first place.
This is how I grew up. Through this, despite this, my mother raised her family.

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Works in Progress

Gun Control Alt Delete

The U.S. average is one shooting a day. A nation-state where the military can have these weapons but the people can’t, and government en masse decrees via violence–yes, corporate government’s violence–some people as mentally ill in an inaccurate and stigmatizing way primarily for-profit scares me just as much as the possibility of “unstable lone wolves” fatally hating in violent action with weapons. I don’t know the answer, but an essential form of martial law is not it, though the NRA needs to put its mansplaining, KKK-seeded shriveled moneyed dick back in its rapey shorts, and could use some talk therapy.

To the argument that citizens should not be allowed military-grade weapons, we need to back up.  The concept of “military-grade weapons” in the first place scares me; it’s a big part of the problem.  Sure, maybe it’s kind of too late to go back on that, because the weapons are so powerful. But I wonder if societies thought that at every new level of advancement and technology of weapons. And there is empirical evidence of stricter gun laws corrollating to fewer deaths by guns. But, those governments, of Canada, Scandinavian countries, European countries, may be not as corrupt and imperialist, or imperialistically capable and practicing, as the U.S.’s. Plus, *more* people still own guns in Canada, and all citizens serve in the military in some of the Scandinavian countries. How do these factor in comparitively and for the global whole of armed citizens?

A corrupt, racist, classist, and corporate government produced and perpetuates the labeling, stigma, and division by naming some people “mentally ill” just as it criminalizes people often by group (the poor, groups of people of color, by zip code, by religious belief, by citizen/immigrant status, and also accomplishes this via methods [besides classification] of geography and affiliations), forcing other dehumanizing and demonizing permanent labels on them such as “felons,” or “convicts.” Both of these are purposely socially synonymous with violence.  It’s also, purposely, an unpredictable, morphous violence–very similar to the conceptual wars on drugs and terror. The only constant is the simultaneous pressurizing of these primarily arbitrarily and discriminitorily delineated people by also disallowing most employment and opportunistic education and other social participatory and productive opportunity. The perpetuation is the ripple effect of Othering by the people, including those who also may be stigmatized in another of the ways or even the same. The people do the bulk of this divide-and-conquer and -profit work. So because of how that is done, I do not think it solves the problem to simply bar weapons from people branded with these stigmatizations.

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Articles and Essays, DIDY-do it ya damn self, Ruffled Draft, Works in Progress

EDUCATED IN AMERICA

EDUCATED IN AMERICA
   If you don’t get a good job right out of college, she said, you’re fucked. Then the more time passes, the less and less desirable you are or capable you are considered to be. Then, you really are out of the loop, because you’re not up on your college learnings of what’s latest work in the field or industry work of what’s going on, from the inside. Cause most of that shit is kept exclusive, for the in-crowd only. And how can you keep up and research and write articles or whatever without any credit, established affiliation? You’re not allowed places if you’re just a person, an independent researcher; you have to have some company or organization credentials. You can’t even get membership into associations usually if you are not at a company or organization. And how the fuck can you research all this stuff and try to keep up and research and write articles or work on stuff in your field when you’re too busy working at or looking for a job at some shitty place for $8/hr of furious-paced, very physical service work, or figuring out how the fuck you’re gonna get places with no bus fare, and how the fuck all this food stamp/Unemployment/stave off medical bills magnitude of beauracracy works, etc etc. An Anthro/Archeology prof/researcher once told me, as many other academics and professionals and books on academics/employment applications inform, well, we don’t just look at grades/transcript for admission, we look at what kind of job you’ve had. So, after you’ve put all this hard work in to try to survive, and are finally saying, my only option to make any kind of decent steady income and make something of myself whatsoever is to go “back to school,” that is, to grad school, to just try to afford it, work till it drops,  join a church so they’ll help you prioritize internet, and attempt feably to sell your dysphoric  female body online in order to afford to–all those jobs you took, grasped at, fought for because they were what was finally or actually for once available or that you could get to and from, in order to fucking survive–are a negative factor on your application?!?!
   What kind of fantasy land is she living in? Researcher-professors (or fill-in-the-blank) aren’t actually that far removed from reality; they can’t even consider tenure a feasible future anymore, especially if academicking while female.
   Of course, (unless there were a fantastic job, maybe) going to grad school is what you really always wanted and had originally planned to do right out of college, but of course couldn’t afford the insane $200 test and all the insane applications fees, esp. since any reductions or waivers are not available unless you are in ONLY your 4rth year of undergrad as a “traditional” “senior” and going full-time–which of course you couldn’t afford to do, and mostly anyone who is not super fucking rich with some connection like a parent who’s a professor and practically their entire tuition is waived cannot do. And since so many people are of course so fucking broke and struggling, more and more people have been unable to afford to even try to get into grad school, but since there are nothing but unsustainable or just complete shit temp jobs if there are any, it’s the only option other than to return to or continue on in undergrad like I did, presumably since the 2008/2009 crash–there are in fact a few programs that have application fee waivers, but they have waited over half a decade and make sure to keep that information as well-hidden as possible on their websites or application instructions, certainly don’t put it on paper or any other place accessibly or updated. Of course, still you can’t afford to even do all the schools/programs, etc. research necessary and study for the GRE since all that takes so much time, esp. the longer you’ve been out of school, or even if you did it while still in school, you have to do most of it all over again anyway cause it’s been so long; its been so long the profs you were hoping to go to a program under have now moved from the accolade-ed state-but-reputed-enough school back to their rich-ass upper crust 2 lesbian spots ever in the Ivies. People who are younger than you, who hadn’t even started puberty when you were arrested your first year of college, your second year on your own, cause of course you had to work to save money first,  eating plain white rice with the amazing privilege of somewhat edible mystery mustard from previous roommates’ abandoned condiments, have now gotten the jobs and professorships where you are hoping to apply to grad school or where you try to apply to a job, but get to the “Internship” line and start crying in the middle of the library. Then you remember, of course, so-&-so had a car in college and parents who helped pay tuition or pay off loans, so could afford to take the unpaid internship (as if there’s actually any other kind) after college if they have been at this company since then. Whereas the Americorps shit-pay position you were grooming yourself for like a brain-damaged Jester who longs to be a stable boy just to stay somewhere at Pharaoh’s court, though you still have the pride-urge to do such recently re-promoted civil service (Thanks, Obama), an actual government program to improve conditions for the poor and disenfranchised in many areas, that your mentor did…you will never be allowed to do because of the record, permanent criminalization.
That’s around when you realize they are doing this on purpose, and they win. Because all you can do is put ice in a bag on shin, on your shoulder, on your hip the police smashed and pulled out of socket, and try to psych yourself into walking to the illegally-anti-union factory fake in-house “temp agency” to get in line for 90 minutes for a hopeful job for the day.  And don’t forget to do your physical therapy, but by the time Obamacare gets passed, it will be too late anyway, you can’t carry a tray across a restaurant all night, the president and presence of ubiquitous image of “HOPE” will certainly be gone, like the benefit of the physical therapy less than halfway into the shift at the 20-minute lunch break. But, to look on the bright side, to get where you are, your single-parent has a “good” job at a university where she does not get a lunch break, but don’t tell the Union. White-collar jobs are hard to come by, they say. Say you, it’s just as physical as the job at Taco Bell, but at least I get some “food.” Mix extra water in the plastic rice, Yum!; mas! agua! it’s just business; don’t worry, there’s no Union to tell. The Republicrats succeeded in seceding, choked you with their white-collar star-circle flag; it was just the American Dream.
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Articles and Essays, Words & Works of Others, Works in Progress

Bigender Multigender Gender expansive Nonbinary Genderqueer Neutral Androgynous

Bigender Multigender Gender expansive Nonbinary Genderqueer Neutral Neutrois Androgynous

http://www.npr.org/player/embed/384104070/384134300
http://www.npr.org/2015/02/06/384104070/paiges-story

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Fiction or so, Plays, Works in Progress

Play:

“A Couple of Good Copy-Editors [sic]”

(or, Beady Yes’m)

“A Couple of Good Copy-Editors [sic]” explores a young woman copy editor’s concern and fascination when she and her male copy editor coworker sneak late at night into their office, the publisher of “Ending Violence Everywhere”, or “E.V.E.,” newsletter–to discover their pair of editors passed out in full bondage gear in the copy room. Over their leather-clad bodies, she espouses her morals, questions them, and argues with her fellow lowly copy editor colleague, with whom of course she “vascillitates” in and out of a solely work-centered relationship. The show culminates in, well, I won’t spoil it, but she and he experience multiple feminist political repugnancies and simultaneous liberation, plus, everyone’s a little queer for toner, right? She essentially embodies the sex culture wars, from Dworkin and MacKinnon to Camille Paglia and Pat Califia, though the latter are perhaps more attributable to the mise-en-scene of the freeze-frame editors-in-chief in leather.

 

The play is currently under revisions from its college production at the University of New Mexico in the Robert M. Hartung Words Afire New Plays Festival.

 

 

 

a-couple-of-good-copy-editors-play

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Works in Progress

Planned Parenthood: Saving a Morally Poor Country

I don’t understand why you’d say we don’t need Planned Parenthood. It is the most real of women’s health centers. The reason they might not do mammograms is because of not getting enough funding because of the politicians & people trying to force their religion down other people’s throats and on top of that use it as an excuse to misogynistically stop this awesome respectful source of healthcare for women and control over our own bodies & for men and family planning and teenagers.
What do you mean, a female-bodied person can get a mammogram at “any woman’s clinic” and “even at your primary care doctor.” There are few women’s clinics in most areas, and they are usually booked for a long time. I’ve also never had a primary care doctor that didn’t have a long wait. When I had PID, the primary care doctor referred me to a gynocologist. I couldn’t afford that, so I was forced to go to another clinic, and had to see a male doctor available in order to see a doctor in time when I wanted to see a female doctor. Many women’s clinics and primary care doctors also only do the breast exam and refer patients for the mammogram.
When I was a teenager in the late 90s, you could get FREE condoms and a fairly inexpensive appointment at planned parenthood for STD checks, and some places regularly for free. Planned Parenthood was the main place to go for LGBT people that you could trust to be non-judgmental and be able to be comfortable before there were HIV clinics, men’s clinics, LGBT clinics. They still are in many places. Then came “abstinence-only education” and slashed funding–now you couldn’t even get free condoms at Free Med Clinics! I remember going to the doctor back in my home town I think in ’04 after long unusual wait for a scheduled appointment, and wondering what had happened, and why were they now so rushed. There was so much demand now; it had changed so much. I found out why: Then came the conversations with people 4 years younger than me, who had gone through high school entirely under a Republican old white male president clueless about epidemiology and public health. They had gotten only abstinence-only education and didn’t know about their own bodies, didn’t know how to prevent STD/STIs, and on and on. I’d have to sit them down and give them my Clinton-era sex ed education. Then the stories came in, high school and junior high kids spreading herpes like wildfire, the colored sex bracelets revised from the framework of those “purity” bracelets that revisited and renewed an extremely oppressive outdated patriarchal sexist premium on “virginity,” which also inspired another revision, having anal sex so a girl could “save” or “keep” her (vaginal) “virginity.” Nothing wrong with ways to have pleasure from your body–but is it truly consensual, that young woman’s choice, when she feels such heavy societal pressure to remain a so-called virgin that she uses her body in a way that she would not otherwise choose? It is another example of abstinence-only sex education backfiring. Then the numbers came in, rapid rampant increase in teen pregnancy and in cases of STD/STIs in teens. HIV contracted most commonly by women, cases ever on the rise, with poor women more likely to contract it.
You worried about “innocent lives”? Then stop the death penalty–like Francis said. Stop a completely classist, unchecked racist judicial system that sentences to death young black men. Stop the terrible discrimination against older women (of any color) in employment. Fight to raise the minimum wage so that single mothers can actually support their families. Get the for-profit corruption and racism and insensitivity to LGBT kids out of the foster care and child and family services and adoption systems…oh, perhaps by getting out of the equation the requirement to pay thousands, usually tens of thousands, for an adoption attorney; by welcoming all the hopeful adoptive LGBT parents into the adoption and foster care systems; and by getting accusatory social work and extra policing out of poor and people-of-color neighborhoods and families at misrepresentative higher volume than middle class neighborhoods and families. STOP ABSTINENCE-ONLY SEX ED! Stop the stigma against a woman doing with her body what she chooses, in the name of some patriarchal g-d or religion; stop the stigma against pre-marital sex and pregnancy and having a child “out of wedlock.” Welcome immigrants and make sure they can work to make enough money to feed their children and care for them and get health care. Make sure people working at restaurants and food industry and labor jobs and part-time jobs can get adequate healthcare–that means PAID SICK DAYS to take care of themselves and THEIR YOUNG CHILDREN and paid sick/family leave to take care of sick kids. Require community free or sliding-scale childcare for families parenting children under school age (and for after school), like many socialist democracies do. Oh yeah–have **FEDERALLY MANDATED PAID MATERNAL AND PATERNAL LEAVE FOR MONTHS** like EVERY SINGLE OTHER WESTERN/”DEVELOPED” COUNTRY, with the exception being the United States.

But don’t perpetuate the problem by stopping women’s clinics, like Planned Parenthood, from respecting women enough to do with our bodies what we choose as part of the health care.

Keep your religion out of my vagina.

P.S. If you just really hate or don’t respect women, which might include yourself, remember that Planned Parenthood serves families, men, and children in early childhood.

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Works in Progress

“Mansplaining”: Sexist?

Well, mansplaining wraps up the sexist privileged blinding in one word and to me is legitimately used when it’s referring to the specific concept of a guy explaining something to a woman (or someone he views as subordinate) out of the assumption that the person does not understand because of their gender. (It can include the self-perception that a person has superior knowledge, often connected to their own male gender, when this kind of explaining extends to another male, probably viewed as inferior.) It is explaining something when no explanation is asked for or no explanation is warranted, offering knowledge as if the other person could not possibly have this knowledge or know how to find it, or instead of explaining what the person did ask about, explaining something very basic or giving lay-person level or pretty unrelated information to show off and/or as if the person is not smart enough to realize you’re not answering the actual question. Often the explanation is offered by someone who does not actually know much about the topic, but either believes he does in what seems like a male privilege superiority complex (esp. or when around females).  And the reason there is a term “mansplaining” now is because it is a recognizable experience. It is so common that women from many perspectives immediately know what someone is talking about who describes this, and that is why the term took so easily. It nice to finally have a word for it, and one that indicates a behavior that’s frowned upon.
There may be audible intonation of condescension, or the “explanation” may be contextually condescending and politically condescending with its sexism. Occurs especially, but *not* always or only covering topics, disciplines, or situations over which male dominance has traditionally maintained a stronghold (cars, machinery, math, film directing, computers, carpentry lawn mowing, politics, business…but also everything else under the sun).
For fairness’ sake, I invent the term “transplaining.”
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Some examples would be:
  • When I asked my male coworker to help hang a large framed picture on the wall over a staircase by holding it in place while I stepped back to get a view of whether or not it is level and by holding it while I marked where to nail in the picture hangers, and he started to ‘explain’ how to correctly nail in a nail with a hammer and insisted that the picture was level while up against it holding it on the wall looking side-line at it from off-center.
  • Two women at a bus stop discussing NASA’s achievements, the history of rocket engines for use in space, decisions regarding funding of space exploration, the shuttle program, the recent New Horizons images and discoveries, etc. A man at the bus stop “informs” them that the first images of Pluto were just taken, and explains to them how a rocket engine works (supposedly).
  • At a café or bar near a high school or college campus, a woman reading Richard III and enjoying her drink looks up to a man standing at her table. “Shakespeare! Best author in the English language,” says the man, nodding approvingly. “Arguably,” the woman says. “Have you read any others?” he asks. “I teach; I’m teaching the Histories,” she responds. “Romeo and Juliet, now that’s the best love story of all time,” he says, then ‘explains’ the plot to her, and how Shakespeare’s plays were the soap operas of their time.
  • See How to Find a Mechanic and Fix Your Car where a “solution” was explained by a mentor missing the point.
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