alee_grrl: From Fantasia: Demon mountain from Night on Bald Mountain (bald mountain)
Poetry, because my brain is itching to do something besides panic. I'm driving down to Norfolk on Monday. The essay/short answer portion of test is on Tuesday, and multiple Choice sections on Wednesday. I'll return home on Thursday.

Over at [community profile] poetree there has been some fabulous posts this week on exploring politics through poetry, including [personal profile] raze's wonderful exploration of jazz poetry and Langston Hughes. You might say that this poem was inspired by that post and jazz poetry.

This is a little rough in spots, and I'm not sure about the fourth and fifth stanzas.Poem below the cut. )
alee_grrl: Abby Scuito from NCIS (abby)
I thought I would share three things that made me smile today:

If you haven't been introduced to the Memos from Fury tumblr, I am deeply sorry. Especially if you are a Marvel comics or Marvel movieverse fan. Cause these are seriously laugh out loud funny. I would apologize for the time you are about to loose, but it is totally worth it for the laugh it will bring to your day.

Ellen once again proves that she is awesome with this hilarious response to the completely unnecessary and ridiculous Bic for Her For added sarcasm and snark read the Amazon reviews. I wouldn't advise reading all of them unless you have a lot of free time. But at least skim through some, cause they are very entertaining.

Finally I was absolutely delighted by this video which was shared as a link on Facebook. The video presents an honest and open discussion about how very complicated human sexuality is. It is a short video but is a great introduction to the topic which discusses, among other things, the differences between biological sex and gender identity (and the fact that biological sex is not as binary as we like to think it is); the non-binary nature of gender; and the differences between sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and sexual behavior.
alee_grrl: Image of Marvel character Deadpool with text, "Shh, my common sense is tingling." (common sense)
Originally posted by [personal profile] ionaonie at Reproductive Rights
Originally posted by [personal profile] anjak_j at Reproductive Rights
Originally posted by [personal profile] emrinalexander at Reproductive Rights

A star-studded cast wants you to sign!


The Bill of Reproductive Rights is an effort by the Center for Reproductive Rights to deliver a thundering statement—backed by hundreds of thousands of signatures from concerned citizens like you—to the U.S. Congress and the President that they must guarantee and protect reproductive rights as fundamental human rights and stop the attacks by politicians who want to take those rights away.

Draw the line! Sign the Bill of Reproductive Rights!

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alee_grrl: calvin from calvin and hobbes in rant mode (calvin rant)
This came up on my facebook today, and it so succinctly point out why the "War on Women" is not just hyperbole, but why it is wrong and we need to continue to fight against it.

alee_grrl: Image of Marvel character Deadpool with text, "Shh, my common sense is tingling." (common sense)
Well the BBC Americana show premiered today, and my fellow interviewees and I got a whopping minute of air time. A brief clip of myself and two of my fellow students was used as an aside/counter-balance to the overarching interview with Robert Putnam (a Harvard prof). The main interview was in regards to Mr. Putnam's new book, Faith in America. Having not read the book I do not feel as if I can comment on it, but from his comments on the interview I doubt my comments would be favorable. Mr. Putnam would appear to believe that religion is what makes for better citizens and that religious beliefs are what drove the American revolution and the Civil Rights movement.

I disagree profoundly with this idea, especially since I get the sense that he defines religion in the narrower sense-referring to organized religion and disregarding secular humanism, deism, paganism, agnosticism, etc. Most of the founding fathers were deist, and secular humanists, which negates the theory that religion was the driving force behind the American Revolution. I doubt that they would have argued so adamantly for the separation of church and state if they truly felt that religion was so essential to being a good citizen. Again I am responding to Mr. Putnam's interview, not the book. I know from personal experience how interviews can be slanted in many ways, so I will keep that in mind.

Case in point, of the likely 13 minutes of tape I personally provided, less than 30 seconds was actually used. I'm slightly surprised any was, as I felt my colleagues had equally valid and interesting responses. What was used was basically to point out that America has some way to go in religious tolerance, and, gee, atheism is alive and well in the U.S.. It was funny that my self-identification of paganism was cut, but I can see why it was in the context of a half hour show. Truthfully the minute of air time we got was more than we might have gotten in many American broadcasts, and the edits didn't vilify us in any way. It would have been nice to hear some of what we said about improving religious tolerance, and how secularists have as much civic mindedness and community spirit as anyone else, but I will settle (for now) with being acknowledged and not being vilified. I also get the feeling that the our view was not discussed as much because it is more of the norm in European society, whereas the bizarre dichotomy between conservative religious beliefs and our secular founding is much more interesting and dramatic.

The show itself was a fascinating listen. It is always interesting to get an "outside looking in" perspective on your own culture. I enjoyed the interview with Alice Walker, of The Color Purple fame, in the latter part of the show. I shall have to look for her new poetry book and the excerpt she read was gorgeous. I also loved that she considers herself pagan, and discusses her reasons for this self-identification. It balanced out my frustration with the first part of the show.

If you are interested you can listen here:

BBC Americana
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
So I was invited to participate in an interview on secular humanism, atheism and religious tolerance in the United States for the BBC Radio 4 show, Americana. It was a very strange experience for me as I do not consider myself a public speaker and tend to be on the introverted side. I also tend to feel that my personal beliefs are just that...personal. However I do believe that the only way to achieve tolerance is to improve communication, which means that more people outside of the "norm" need to be willing to speak about their beliefs in public forums. One of the best ways to encourage tolerance and open minds is to put a human face to whatever is being demonized or vilified.

I personally self identify as pagan. I belong to the Secular Law Society because I feel that religious belief and legal realities should remain separate. I feel that religion is a private thing, a personal choice and that everyone should have the right to believe as they will. As long as my personal beliefs do not infringe on the rights of others I should be allowed to believe as I will. That said, I also feel that no one has the right to push their beliefs on me, just as I do not have the right to push my beliefs on them. A reasonable discourse about beliefs is different from actively pushing those beliefs on others. Reasonable debate is a great way to encourage the growth of ideas and the evolution of belief; things that strengthen society and, in my opinion, improve the quality of life for everyone because such discourse encourages a more open, tolerant society.

Myself and several other members of the campus Secular Law Society were invited to participate in an interview with BBC Radio 4. The interview was conducted via cellphone with an on location free-lance tech on hand to record our responses. I know that we provided more than 50 minutes of tape, and it is a 30 minute show (and I can't imagine we're the only interviewees). So it will be interesting to see how it is cut and framed and which responses are used. It is probably a good thing it was video-taped as I turned bright red while responding. I'm fine when speaking publicly about non-personal matters or performing for a music group, but have me speak publicly about myself and I blush so hard it's a miracle I don't spontaneously combust.


alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)

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