Labels, Poseurs, and Oppressors

January 22, 2010

People are often uncomfortable with just being themselves. They hide behind labels, subcultures, and factions to define self rather than simply being. There are also those people who don’t fit a label but still try to present themselves that way.

This past week, I had a few people who believed themselves to be certain things when clearly they aren’t what they claim to be. For one of these persons, I decided to ruffle their feathers to see how they would react to controversy by letting them know they weren’t what they presented themselves to be. Instead of providing proof to the contrary, this person decided to pick on me, call me names, and tell me off. Some people don’t know how to handle conflict but I was pointing out what was clear to everyone. There’s a big pink elephant in the room and it’s you.

I often wish I wasn’t human. I ask my dad if I can be another species, and his comment is, “You’re not another species but you can pretend if it makes you happy.” Basically, I can call myself whatever I want – but it doesn’t make it true. The same goes with other people who are so set on defining themselves with mistaken labels. They are like me, wishing to be another species, I can pretend if I like, but it doesn’t make it true.

I usually let people pretend to be what they want to be when they are clearly not that. They feel threatened by people who are the real thing because they are simply wannabes. They form networks of wannabes and live a fake existence. Most people like to believe they are awesome, smart, attractive, and all sorts of things when they clearly aren’t. But they stick around with other losers; never working on improving themselves, and always staying a sad mess. They resort to picking on others to make themselves feel big. Clearly, they are broken inside and not ready to deal with it so they resort to pettiness.

I would have been a victim of some malicious trolls; immature kids, on the internet if I cared and let it upset me. For example, they are so set on trying to prove “how punk they are” by being wicked to others in the community. I am trying to sell my punk vest on etsy because it’s time for it to have a new home. I don’t know anyone worthy of being given such a gift so I figured I’d sell it. It has about 100 hours of labor into it, so it’s worth double than what I am asking for it. For some unknown reason, maybe because they liked the vest and couldn’t afford it, or they are just a mess in their own head, they tried to ridicule me. It didn’t work because I don’t care. I am only writing about this experience to show how they are what they claim not to be. Cruel, immature, and hateful. Everything that punk stands against, these people represent.

Punk isn’t about your studded vest, your colored mohawk, or your crust pants. That’s a uniform anyways. It’s about what’s inside. Peace, equality, and freedom from oppression. Clearly, these people are the oppressors. So, no matter what tattoos they have, what songs they listen, and patches they sew on they will always be a poseur. They are followers, imprisoned to their pack because no one else wants to be their friends because they are losers by the nature they are what they hate. They will never admit it to themselves because to admit a truth would have their whole world come undone. The saddest thing is, even if they disagree with me, they won’t be able to formulate an intelligent argument beyond swear words and pointing fingers. They never look in the mirror and can recognize they are the problem because they have blinders on.

With that being said, I define myself into boxes not as absolutes – nothing is black and white, but as guides to assist. Unlike the poseurs, I don’t have an image I am presenting that I’ll give up everything to maintain just to continue living a lie. I live life fully without fear. The poseurs live in constant fear of reality which is their choice. They live a life not of reality but of spectacle and melodrama. Everything in the world is about them. They are very selfish. They are people I want not to be associated with.

Maybe that’s why it’s time to sell my vest. Those who are “punk” aren’t really punk. I don’t want to be associated with people who are a lot of talk and never any action. People who have to hide behind a computer to make jabs at others because they are so uncomfortable in their own skin. Cowards and oppressors. Being exactly what I am fighting against. I have no time for you.

Designs and Punk Gear on Etsy

January 21, 2010

So, I thought I finished my jewelry designs. I have four done so far. But inspiration struck and I am trying to figure out this design. It’s going to be something great and iconic. It’s a logo for something that has yet to be define and needs definition to represent itself to the world at large. I can do this. So, my brain is currently in logo land.

I’ll share my work once they are made/copyrighted and all that fun stuff. The pieces have anarchist/feminist/queer/vegan themes to them. The idea of the project is to donate some of the profits to charities to support the different causes. So, you get a cool piece of jewelry plus help fight the good fight.

So, I’m an artist or I pretend to be. I am still working on some awesome paintings that I’ll post pictures of them when they are done. I have very little of my current work online but you can see it on my etsy if you want.

I have a patch I made and a few vests I worked on for sell online. For stuff, here at etsy.com. The Riot Grrrl vest has about 2,000+ studs on it. They aren’t the cheap studs either, they are steel with bronze. Which means if you are daring like I was, you can wash it without it getting rusty. I hang dried it. It’s really clean though so I don’t think it needs to be washed again. It’s really awesome but it’s like 8 pounds of studding. The other vest is really cool and a lot lighter. It’s a classic punk vest. It’s a little ironic with the band Conflict being painted on leather. It has about 1,000 studs on it. It’s pretty easy to repaint over the bands if you don’t want those/want different ones. I used Tester Acrylic Paint Markers.

Veganism, Protein, and Treats – Oh My!

January 20, 2010

My dad and doctor are protein obsessed. They think by me being vegan I am not going to get enough protein. If you really look at how protein is distributed in food – it’s really hard not to get enough protein. But, if you are a vegan and really worried about getting enough protein. I’d like to share what I found.

NutriBiotic Rice Protein – I prefer the chocolate but it really doesn’t taste like much. It goes good in a glass of rice milk and has 12 grams of protein per serving – I usually put two heaping tablespoons in one glass for 24 grams of protein goodness at breakfast time.

NuGo Protein Bars – I like the chocolate chocolate chip the best. They are vegan and pretty good. 10g of Protein per bar.

Primal Strips – I like the Texas BBQ ones. For some reasons the Teriyaki tastes like dirt to me. The Hickory Smoke is okay but is more soy-like than the Texas BBQ. The only drawback on the Primal Strips is that the package is hard to open so you’ll probably need scissors and it has a lot of sodium. But, it’s 10 grams of protein a strip and that’s awesome.

Tofurkey Jerky – It’s awesome. It has 12 grams of protein per ounce but again high salt content.

Okay, this has nothing to do with protein, well, they have like 3 grams of protein per ounce but I want to share this finding with you. Gone Nuts! Living Intentions are awesome raw nuts. I found them at this little vegan store. A little costly but they are really good. I haven’t tried all the flavors but so far my favorite is Maple. The Teriyaki are pretty awesome too. Well, I like them, my dad doesn’t.

Another thing that has nothing to do with protein but sugar – Yummy Earth is some awesome lollipops. I only have tried the Pomegranate drops and they’re great.

That’s all I have to share for now. Do you have any vegan protein or yummy finds? Leave a comment and share please! Thanks! 🙂

Queer Zine – Call for Submissions

January 19, 2010

I went looking for the underground – the place were queer punks, anarchists, and free thinkers hide. A place free from hierarchies and oppression. A place where people could be themselves and be accepted. I found the underground but I didn’t find what I was looking for. But, somehow along the way, I became what I was seeking. I am the revolution. I can’t be the only one. I want to find the others.

*****

In a world treated like a machine; where everything is a commodity to be bought and sold, there lives a human who dreams of something more: community, solidarity, and connection. Can what they seek be found in such a world?

*****

Basically, my idea for the zine is two-folds: writing of an ideal underground that doesn’t exist quite yet almost like the groundwork for such a place; a manifesto of sorts, and the journey of a person to find if such a place exists. Part fact, part fiction, and queer as queer can be.

*****

So, what do I want from you? Poems, vegan recipes, drawings, gay shame theme material. Not looking to have it be anything beyond PG-13. I haven’t set the idea in stone yet – so it’s all just brewing. I have some jewelry designs I need to finish up this week before I start working on the zine. I haven’t decided how I am going to publish it yet – I might even make it a small book/pamphlet – maybe color if you have color works. We’ll see what comes of it.

I just read two issues of J.D’s last night from QZAP and I am fairly confident I can do an awesome job of putting together something that’s radical, queer, punk, and interesting.

Contact me for more details. You can leave a comment here or email me – kale.and.glitter (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks! Hope to hear from someone. Don’t be shy. This could be an awesome project. 🙂

Victim or Culprit? Life in the Matrix.

January 18, 2010

I found an old vest I covered in patches and painted on the back, “Victim or Culprit?” It’s something I think about sometimes, “Are we a victim of society or a culprit for perpetuating the system?”

When I lived in New York City, the closest grocery store to my apartment was Whole Foods. Whole Foods is corporation that’s not very sustainable. To the consumer, it’s pretty awesome that they have fruits and vegetables from all over the world so nothing is ever out of season. However, it’s not so cool all the energy used to transport the goods. Was I a mere victim of the corporation for having to buy my food there or was I a culprit that was continuing the system?

I try not to support sweatshops and slave labor but sometimes it’s unavoidable in this Matrix. I’d say about 75% of my clothing is from the United States and European Countries. The remaining 25% is from questionable origins. I try really hard to be ethical with everything I consume but sometimes things slip through the cracks. Am I a victim or a culprit?

Choice is a very limited commodity. Sometimes the choice is left up to the lesser of two evils. For example, I am an anarchist but I helped the Obama campaign because I didn’t want McCain to win. I don’t believe in the corrupt political system we have, however, just because I don’t believe in it isn’t going to make it go away or stop affecting my life. If things are going to change, it is going to because people work for it. Apathy is never the solution. But, it’s really hard when given two choices with almost the same agenda.

I usually go for independent and handmade over mass produced and corporate. People who are living on very tight budgets don’t really have the luxury of making that choice. They need to go with what’s available. I watched the movie Food, Inc. and the movie followed a family on a tight budget. When only having a dollar to spend to feed their hungry kid, it’s easiest to go to a fast food chain and get the dollar menu items to satisfy their hunger. Fruits and vegetables are more expensive than meat because of how the government subsidizes the food supply. The family out of need would go with the unhealthier options because it’s cheaper because money is the deciding factor. Are they a victim because of financial restrictions? Or are they the culprit for supporting the system?

Nothing is really black and white. There is a system of control that built up making the world how it is now. There’s so many systems within systems within systems that it’s mind boggling. With the structure of society that we have, living a hunting and gathering lifestyle just isn’t an option in the modern American city as even the trees aren’t from the city. They are planned and developed. With the absence of nature and being born into this system to begin with, from birth to death we aren’t given a choice as to the way we should live. Are we victims in the Matrix or the culprit who makes it?

Don’t forget the local community while helping the global community.

January 17, 2010

I think it’s great that everyone has come together to help Haiti. However, with the increase effort overseas, local food banks are left forgotten. There are people locally who need food and supplies too. My family has sent some money to Haiti but we’re also making a donation to the local food bank to help at home. Don’t forget the local community while helping the global community.

What To Ask Someone Who’s Gender Non-Conforming

January 16, 2010

Some people don’t know how to handle dealing with a gender non-conforming person. I don’t know why this is even an issue because everyone should be treated with kindness and respect. But, it came to my attention that some people feel the need to ask about gender identity when they come across someone who’s non-conforming. Personally, that question annoys me. My gender is of no concern to anyone unless I want to sleep with them. I am a person – not genitals. With that being said, a question that makes me feel warm and fuzzy instead of like someone is trying to box me in is: “What pronouns would you prefer?” It’s a respectful question rather than simply inquiry after my gender identity which I may not even want to discuss.

If you want to learn more about gender, try Kate Bornstein’s My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely. It’s a good book and you might discover something about yourself you might not have known.

Today’s Lesson: People don’t change.

January 15, 2010

I am rather optimistic. I like to believe in the best of people. Sometimes I’m proven wrong.

I had tried to befriend a person and they just played games with me. I don’t know why. I was always forthright with my intentions but they made a mockery of me. I thought they were a person who got it. Who stood for peace and equality not cruelty. They turned out to be one of the biggest jerks I knew by doing things to laugh at me – not with me.

Bounce ahead, four or so years. I still wanted to believe the best of this person. I thought their duplicity was a result of peer pressure so maybe outside of that setting they’ll be a decent person. I don’t like to make a villain out of anyone and I try to see the best. I don’t like having negativity associated with people so I wanted to see if they had change in the past four years. My findings were conclusive that they haven’t. It’s the same old song and dance.

When I told my doctor that I thought this person would change, she laughed at me. I know I’m a completely different person than I was four years ago because I am always working on improving myself. I want to be the best I can be. Apparently, most humans don’t operate that way. They don’t change unless they have a reason to change – and even then sometimes they don’t. Most cases they get worse. I don’t get it.

I am always reading and educating myself. I try to talk to as many people as I can about anything and everything. I have a genuine desire to help the world. I have learned you can’t help the world until you help yourself first. It was a hard lesson for me because I always want to put everyone and everything else first but sometimes you got to make sure you are okay before you can make sure other people are okay. Even on airplanes, they tell you to put your air mask on first before helping others. There’s a method to this madness.

I am disappointed that there are jerks in the world. I always thought life was about living – I mean really living and not letting hatred or pettiness cloud your vision. I would like to think of the world as a big human community – like how we come together for things like Haiti. Why do we only come together in times of disaster? I think the world would be amazing if we kept the community spirit all the time.

This person is beyond my comprehension. I used to try to understand other’s perspective and points of view until I met them. I realize I can have no idea what goes on in another person’s head. It really isn’t my concern either. One of the hardest things I have is finding people who want friendship and connection. Just finding anyone who’s willing to accept love and kindness is really hard. Obviously, this person doesn’t. Not from me anyways.

It’s a hard thing for me to accept that I can’t befriend the entire world. I wish I could. It upsets me that there are people who hate me without even knowing me. That there is even hate at all. But that’s reality.

Antisemitism, White Privilege, and Racism

January 14, 2010

I was talking to my dad yesterday and he had the ignorance to say “Racism doesn’t exist anymore. We have a black president.” Then he adds, “Racism exists like antisemitism exists, it’s always going to be there but for the most part gone.” I just got really upset and mostly was speechless. I was appalled by how ignorant he was. He’s reading a book, Feminism Is For Everyone by Bell Hooks. He was unwilling to accept that fact that in the 1970’s, Hook’s felt discriminated based on gender. My dad claims he was going to school around the same time and he doesn’t remember women being discriminated against. He says it was the height of the sexual revolution. My personal assessment is that he, like most males, are oblivious to their male privilege and when anyone who’s oppressed speaks out about it, it doesn’t fit into their reality.

Racism and antisemitism are two different things. Most people forget that because Hilter went after the Jewish people as a race – but it really is just a religion. I get really annoyed when people are like “I’m a quarter Jewish” to me, that just shows lots of ignorance. In Judaism, you get your “jewishness” from your Mother. So, it’s either you are Jewish if your mother is Jewish or you aren’t. There’s no half or quarter or anything like that. You can consider yourself to be culturally Jewish or culturally half Jewish but there is a difference than being Jewish. That being said, being Jewish is something one can hide for the most part unlike race which is apparent. Racism is discrimination based on the color of your skin.

My dad claims he was beat up in school for being Jewish. I also know that my dad was a bully. He shoved a kid in a locker with his football buddies. He did all sorts of mean things so I really don’t know if they started picking on him for him being Jewish first or if it was something to add fuel to the flame because he upset them by being a real jerk. Not to say that it was right to pick on him for his religion, but if you upset people they’ll find something about you not to like.

My personal experience as being the only Jewish kid at my school, no one picked on me about that. I also grew up and a very conservative Christian area. Then again, I wasn’t a bully.

With that being said, I think my dad is very ignorant about racism in America in this day and age. He hasn’t been to the black ghettos on the outskirts of New York City. He hasn’t had Asian Pacific Islanders refuse to date him because he’s white. Nor has he gone to be an ally to people of color to only have them accuse white women of being racists for voting for Hilary instead of Obama in the primaries. He hasn’t been to a queer scene so divided between race and class that whites go to one party and people of color go to another. I have.

I don’t know how to explain what I’ve seen and experienced with my own eyes to him because anything I’d say he can deny. The talk would end with me getting really upset at his stupidity and him remaining blissfully ignorant being unwilling to accept another’s reality. He’s unwilling to admit his male privileges so why would he be anymore willing to admit his white privileges?

There’s an article written by Peggy McIntosh called White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. I highly suggest everyone go read it. Some of the privileges that McIntosh points out that she has based on simply by being white are:

– I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
– I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
– When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization”, I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
– I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who will cut my hair.
– I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
– I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
– If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.

I remember having a talk with people of color about what their reality is like. The worse thing you can do when someone is telling you an experience of theirs is to deny it. I mean, it’s really unfair that people have issues with me simply because of my skin color but people have issues with them because of theirs. Even today, my friend pointed out to me racism on Google. If you type, “I’m terrified” in the search box – the auto-complete shows up, “I’m terrified of chinese people.” It makes me sick.

What can you do? Educate yourself and be aware of the privileges you might have. There’s plenty of books about privileges and racism.

I think for the next book I give my dad to read it will be about racism. Anyone have any suggestions?

What do you think about the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill?

January 13, 2010

The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill would be a violation of humans rights. The spirit of the bill is undemocratic and would be a blow to the progress of democracy in Uganda. It also isn’t a bill just against homosexuals – it’s a bill against everyone. A new draft bill includes a provision that could lead to the imprisonment for up to three years of anyone, including heterosexual people, who fails to report within 24 hours the identities of everyone they know who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or who supports human rights for people who are.

The existing law, Section 140 of the Ugandan penal code, penalizes “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” with imprisonment of up to 14 years. This legacy of British colonialism was introduced to punish local practices of what the colonial powers deemed to be “unnatural sex.” The laws stand as proof that same-sex sexual practices and gender diversity are, and always have been, part of Ugandan culture. The draft bill tabled today seeks to imprison anyone convicted of “the offense of homosexuality” for life.

Paragraph 3 of the draft bill sets out provisions on what it names as “aggravated homosexuality,” which will incur the death penalty, contradicting the global trend toward a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

The final section of the bill provides for Uganda to nullify any of its international or regional commitments that it deems “contradictory to the spirit and provisions enshrined in this Act.” As both the African Commission and the UN Human Rights Committee have held, a state cannot, through its domestic law, negate its international human rights obligations.

Over recent months, there has been increased campaigning against homosexuality in Uganda, led by churches and anti-gay groups. The media have joined this campaign, and have publicly pointed to individuals they accuse of being gay or lesbian.

People suspected of being gay have faced death threats and been physically assaulted. Many have been ostracized by their families or faced discrimination, including dismissal from their place of employment.

“This inflammatory bill will be taken as further confirmation that it is OK to attack or even kill people perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender,” said Victor Mukasa, of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. “It is the government’s responsibility to immediately withdraw this dangerous proposal.”

It is a dangerous proposal for everyone. It will affect the lives of everyone of every sexuality because anyone can be accused. It’s like a war on human nature – it’s perfectly natural to be homosexual. They might as well outlaw breathing. I am appalled that in 2010 – this is even an issue.

What can you do to help? You can take action by going to the Amnesty International web page and send a email to your representatives to stop this violation of human rights.