Flight Papers

feminism and creativity, art, madness, and play

Archive for August, 2008

The Fetusmobiles are here again.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

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The DNC seems to be bringing out all the protesters. Including the protesters who feel that both the number of (1) women killed by a lack of access to reproductive healthcare, and (2) the number of car accidents stemming from drivers being distracted by giant fetuses, are far below what we, as a nation, could achieve.

(Disturbing fetus picture below the cut.)



Friday, August 22nd, 2008

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1. I went to a steampunk wedding last week, and it was awesome. A mutual friend officiated, and the ceremony ended with everyone chanting, “And so say we all.” Brilliant!

2. My computer works! It’s been kinda-working for a while now, but I just got everything set up with a new hard drive, and it’s all shiny and stuff. This means I’ll be around more, except…

3. …We’re having a cupcakes and wine party tomorrow, so probably not before that. We also have a ridiculous amount of wine, which in a great show of fortitude, I did not drink last night.

4. Of all the spam I just went through, the spam that said only, “Cunt!” took me the longest to positively identify as spam. This may perhaps be a commentary on me.

Maybe we’ll stop silencing them next year.

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

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I wanted to honor Aisha and all the wives of Muhammad by giving voice to them, remarkable women whose crucial roles in the shaping of Islam have so often been ignored — silenced — by historians. I guess maybe someone will give them a voice next year or something. — Sherry Jones, You Still Can’t Write About Muhammad

This quote may not be entirely accurate.

Asra Q. Nomani has an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal talking about Random House’s decision not to release The Jewel of Medina, Jones’ novel about Aisha, the youngest wife of Muhammad.

Their reasoning?

[Random House deputy publisher Thomas Perry] said that after sending out advance copies of the novel, the company received “from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.” … After consulting security experts and Islam scholars, Mr. Perry said the company decided “to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel.”

So that’s… interesting. Random House has taken to avoiding the publication of books because brown people—sorry, a small, radical segment of brown people—might do something dangerous if they’re provoked. And, of course, the thing that’s meant to be doing the provoking is a fictionalized (perhaps highly fictionalized) account of a woman’s life.

For some reason, I wanted to write: “I’m torn,” but actually, I’m not torn, I’m with Asra. This is stupid, and it’s sad, and it’s more-than-slightly racist. It’s stupid on multiple levels, in fact. It’s stupid that writing about the women of early Islam as if they were actual people provokes such a chillingly negative response. It’s stupid that a western publisher reacts to fear of violence from vague, scary Muslims (who assuredly are just waiting for this book to come out as an excuse to blow up, I dunno, Los Angeles). And it’s an icy blend of stupid and colonialist that the author, the professor who took issue with the book, and—I’ll hazard—everyone handling this case at Random House is white, and not Muslim.

And that last point is why I felt maybe a bit ambivalent about this particular instance of corporate insanity. Unlike Nomani, I haven’t read the book. I don’t know if it’s shite or if it’s ridiculously offensive, and in any case I’m not particularly well-positioned to determine the latter. I do absolutely believe that misogyny—some of it particular to Islam, some of it not—is driving some of the outrage against the text and the publisher’s fear of promoting it. At the same time, this is one work of historical fiction by one white author, highlighted against a background of millions of living Muslim women—artists who are alive right now and whose voices are not silent but rather conspicuously muffled. I want Jones’ work to be published, I do, but I think there’s danger in letting it define the discourse, or become the extent of the Islamic feminist canon.

Cheating cheaters who cheat.

Monday, August 11th, 2008

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I didn’t have any desire to write about the Edwards thing, but, I suppose, this isn’t just about what I want.

In that post on Punkass, Lisa takes issue with Rielle Hunter’s sister trying to “defend her honor” against a flurry of vicious attacks.

Lisa does not come to her rescue,

Excuse me. What honor? This woman had a blatant affair with a married man, whom she obviously knew was married, for at least a year. She’s a “good and honest” person? What on earth is your definition of good or honest?

Which is, I think, a rather severe character judgment to make when you know exactly one thing about a woman, and it’s presumably the worst thing she’s ever done.


Unhealthy carnal urges or Even the patriarchy can be delicious.

Friday, August 8th, 2008

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My girlfriend and I have been reading Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, which is basically the most fucking delicious cookbook you will ever purchase. It even has a foreword by Sara Quin! What more could you ask for?

So we’ve been fomenting cupcake revolution for a few months now, and I just now learned from her blog that V.C.T.O.T.W. has a blog, written by Isa, which is just as delicious as the book.

This is all backstory, of course, for an exciting, erotic tale about graham crackers.


Whenever I want to save fetuses, I drop anthrax in the mail. It’s only logical.

Friday, August 8th, 2008

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I’m kindof uncertain how to respond to this.

I mean, on the one hand, it’s very convenient that Bruce Ivans—who was, like, totally sending anthrax to congress critters and was a big time terrorist, we promise—went and killed himself just before the FBI made its case. I mean, isn’t that great? Now we don’t have to go through a messy trial and all that pesky burden of truth stuff. It’s case closed! Let’s go shopping!

But maybe that’s my inner tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorist talking. The FBI does have actual evidence, even if it’s a bit sketchy.

And then there’s the pro-life angle.


It would be nice to think that we actually had respect for the dead.

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

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It’s not exactly like we gave her much in life, is it?

I haven’t written about Angie Zapata, which is particularly unforgivable since she was killed in my city. I find myself having trouble articulating anything that hasn’t already been said.

It might be that it’s too close, that those things made clear by her murder seem to large and too obvious. Trans women—like most women, as it happens—are acutely aware of how much our status makes us targets; how much random men on the streets want to either fuck us or do violence to us, or maybe some exciting new combination of both.

It looks like the prosecutor is going to prosecute her murder as a hate crime, which means the defense is probably going to advance the idea that it’s an all-American hate crime. The kind of hate crime that’s fun for the whole family; the kind that any red-blooded American boy would be practically forced to commit (or not commit—such a nasty, criminalizing word—but maybe enjoy) after a nasty, dirty, brown (of course she’s an illegal immigrant, even if her family has lived in Weld county since the invention of, say, dirt) tranny coerces and deceives him into getting a blowjob and then sexually assaulting her.

It could have happened to any of you (straight, white men), and then what would you have to do?

So the trial’s going to be hilarious, in that way that leaves you in shock, shaking and sobbing on the floor and perhaps I have not quite selected the appropriate adjective.

The D.A. is prosecuting her murder, at least, and while I don’t exactly put a tonne of stock in our criminal justice system, I have to feel a little better about that. Little steps, I guess.

Speaking of the D.A.

“It doesn’t matter who the victim is,” Buck said, “. . . a crime like this cannot be tolerated at any level.”

That’s nice to hear, Buck. It would have been nicer without the implication that trans women are, somehow, almost tolerable victims. That we ought to prosecute this man not because of his demonstrated vicious hatred for transgender people, or women, or Latinas, per se, but because of a philosophical commitment to discouraging people from bashing heads in with fire extinguishers.

Little steps.

The papers are reporting it as a hate crime, which it is, and the stories are written an unfortunately-shocking sympathy for the victim. It’s nice that the Denver Post, at least, refers to Zapata as “she,” and “her.” It would be nicer if they didn’t use her birth name in half their ledes (when someone changes their name, legally or not, the paper generally uses their chosen name—unless they’re trans, of course). It would also be nice if they extended trans people this courtesy while we’re still alive.

And while I’m wishing for horses, it would be nice if after her murderer is convicted, we maybe started asking how he felt like what he was doing was sanctioned by society, and how he could mount such a grotesque defense with the expectation that people would, y’know, buy it.

It would also be nice if I didn’t wince in my stomach whenever I wrote “I,” or “we” in this post.

Little steps, little steps…