dreamer_easy: (*cosmic code authority)
내면에 감춘 분노들을 말해 봐

I really shouldn’t be posting when I’m hypomanic, but I can’t be the only 미친 여자 out there who has had an episode triggered by a Kpop song. I once turned up at a doctor’s appointment exploding out of my skin after listening to FT Island’s Hit The Sands on the bus. This afternoon it was VIXX and Hyde. I was abruptly so absurdly high that I had a little trouble functioning in the supermarket.

I’ll be OK: this is just the cumulative effect of jetlag, anxiety, PMS, and, above all disrupted sleep. But I realised there was another factor at work as well - which inevitably led to an explosion of thoughts, which I’ll try to get down here.

Now, VIXX’s MVs are sometimes at odds with the lyrics of their songs. For example, the six-voiced protagonist of 저주인형 (VOODOO DOLL) threatens his ex’s faithless lovers - “Open the doors of hell / sinners who made her cry / (you will) cry tears of blood”, but the band themselves portray those sinners. In Hyde, the narrator (once again a single character shared between six bodies and voices) puts up a tormented struggle, verbally and physically, against his own aggression - but at the end, those big, black wings come bursting out, and he displays them without shame to the faceless girl, who holds him, wings and all, in her heart.

It’s tempting to smile or even laugh at the melodrama of it all, but adolescent feelings are real and overwhelming, and what’s more, teenage boys are surely both the most alluring and the most dangerous - literally - things in the lives of most heterosexual teenage girls. Songs and MVs like this (and fan fiction, too) must be a place where young women can safely work through some of their complicated feelings about young men.

More importantly, they may be a place where girls can work through their own negative feelings, especially feelings of aggression, which we are taught to swallow, not show. The boyfriend of VOODOO DOLL is willing to endure his lover’s anger, without ending the relationship: “Sing the curse song of / tell me the fury hidden inside you / my body is an offering to you / I’ll devote myself to your happiness” (and the one in Chained Up (사슬) is willing to be the recipient of dark sexual fantasies). The protagonist of Hyde protests over and over that he is not a bad person, but ultimately he admits and owns the “other person inside me who is not me” (as we see in LR’s Beautiful Liar, he can control :), and that person is accepted and loved.

You can be a bad person, and survive! Even a kimchi-molesting pervert like me. XD No wonder my mood jumped through the ceiling in the space of three minutes and twenty-one seconds.

To conclude, I wanted to mention the line in Hyde I was thinking about the other day. It’s this: 겁을 먹어버린 그 눈빛 이러지마. You’ll see it translated around the Web as “Don’t give me those scared eyes”, but (disclaimer: my Korean sucks)  the adjective 먹어버린 is “eaten completely”, so it might be better rendered “Don’t give me that fear-devoured glance”. Wow!
dreamer_easy: (*feminism)
This is a series of comments I made recently on Facebook which I wanted to share (lucky old you!). The context is the Daily Telegraph's recent "Slouchhats and Slackers" front page regarding the Disability Support Pension.


"Look, and I have to make this comparison - during World War II Australians actually fought against a regime that killed people with disabilities claiming they were useless people and a drain on the public purse and it is a great insult to Australia's veterans to be making those kinds of comparisons at this particular time." - Craig Wallace, President, People With Disabilities Australia


An op-ed in today's SMH goes into more detail about what advocates say is the main reason disabled people go on the pension - the difficulty they have in finding employment.


On a personal note, that opinion piece links to the original Daily Telegraph article and the attached editorials. The Tele claims, with no evidence, that people are faking mental illness so they can receive the disability pension, which is higher than the dole.

Half of disabled Australians live in poverty. If I didn't have the extraordinary good fortune of a supportive husband and family, I would probably be one of them, as my physical and mental illnesses make it difficult for me to work. We spend hundreds on my many medications, and next year meds, doctor visits, and medical tests will all cost more.

The Tele is basically saying that people like me deserve to starve. I felt a bit badly about posting that quote yesterday, reminding us of just who Australia's "slouchhats" fought during WWII, since it's pretty provocative, but tbh I am so furious at the attitude of the newspaper and the party they serve that I can barely express my rage. The quote will have to do it for me.


Some other useful links which were posted during the discussion:

Just How Wrong Is Conventional Wisdom About Government Fraud?: "Entitlement programs, from food stamps to Medicare, don't see unusually high cheating rates -- and the culprits are usually managers and executives, not 'welfare queens.'"

"It is sometimes suggested that many people on the DSP [Disability Support Pension] do not have genuine disabilities... However, Centrelink [the government agency which handles welfare] has put in place increasingly sophisticated measures for detecting fraud and undisclosed changes of circumstances for all welfare benefits. There have been relatively few cases of convictions for fraud involving the DSP (though it is a difficult task if impairments have no easily observable physical manifestations)... It therefore appears that most people on DSP have significant impairments that genuinely affect their employment prospects." That comes from a 2011 inquiry by the Australian government's Productivity Commission (Appendix K).

I found a very interesting opinion piece which gives some of the reasons the number of disability pensioners (ie people on welfare for disability) has risen: our ageing population, plus "the inaccessibility of services for people with a disability; improved identification of disabilities such as mental illness; lower mortality rates after accidents; a decline in number of low-skilled jobs and a lack of employer support for people with disabilities."


Jul. 31st, 2012 11:36 am
dreamer_easy: (Default)
"The hideous forms or archetypal images rising full-blown from Tiamat's collective unconscious may be looked upon as compensatory devices designed to help her deal more effectively than earlier with the crises she faced. Personifications of rage and hatred that manifested themselves in the form of serpents, dragons, or scorpions may be looked upon as shadow forces representing the 'dark, unlived side of her unconsciousness'... Like talismans, amulets, or antibodies, shadow forces frequently take shape in time of need to help the individual struggle against harm."
- Bettina L. Knapp, Women in Myth, State University of New York Press, 1997.

The Mesopotamian goddess Tiamat, avenging her husband and defending herself, creates an army of monsters. I don't have much of a grasp on Jung, but I recognise me old cobra in the above. Hiss!
dreamer_easy: (*get off my lawn you kids)

I've been keeping an eye on Google News for any more details of Sheriff Arpaio's failure to investigate hundreds of sexual assault and child sexual abuse cases. I'll continue to do so, but it's become quickly apparent that blogging (or even keeping up with) every news report alleging crime, cruelty, and corruption under this man's aegis would be a full-time job beyond my powers. However, if, like me, you were only peripherally aware of Arpaio before now, the above will give you some insight into what his administration of justice has been and is like. Even if you believe that undocumented migrants deserve strict or even harsh treatment, the ignored rape cases make it clear this guy is dangerous for all women and children in his jurisdiction - criminals or not, citizens or not.

ETA: Although I will just add this: "Arpaio has already cost Maricopa County $5 million in lawsuit settlements (with another $177 million filed by various and sundry)".
dreamer_easy: (*get off my lawn you kids)
"A scathing U.S. Justice Department report released Thursday found that Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office carried out a blatant pattern of discrimination against Latinos and held a "systematic disregard" for the Constitution amid a series of immigration crackdowns that have turned the lawman into a prominent national political figure.
This report has serious implications for Arpaio. His department must reform or be sued by the federal government; Homeland Security is "severing its ties" with him. (ETA: They will do the immigration screening in his jails for him.) But this is what got me:
"Arpaio struck a defiant tone in response to the report, calling it a politically motivated attack by the Obama administration that will make Arizona unsafe by keeping illegal immigrants on the street." (my emphasis)
brb lolling forever. Sort of.

Joe Arpaio and Pals Call DOJ's Racial Profiling Investigation a Political "Witch Hunt." Sheriff's Resignation: "Never Gonna Happen" - more detail on the report, its implications, and Arpaio's non-response
The Justice Department's report
The Department of Homeland Security's statement

ETA some more:
US immigration laws bow to the bigots and the opportunists - op-ed describes the damage done
Can Arpaio's "Culture of Bias" Be Fixed? DOJ Reform Plan Involves Training and New Policies
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/17/opinion/the-case-against-sheriff-arpaio.html: The DOJ report "backs up those charges with tens of thousands of pages of evidence and interviews with more than 400 people, including 75 current and former personnel in the sheriff's office."
Arpaio, MSCO and the DOJ Civil Rights Division Findings. What's It All Mean?
dreamer_easy: (*get off my lawn you kids)
"... in the pile of ignored cases is the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl in 2006. Sheriff Joe Arpaio's detectives largely disregarded the case, according to police records, never questioning the suspect, the accuser or any potential witnesses. The investigation was classified as "inactive." Two years after that incident, the suspect in that case, Armando De La Rosa, admitted to having sex with a 14-year-old girl, when he was 20, records show. He was later convicted of attempted sexual conduct with a minor – a plea agreement because he had no previous felonies on his record."
How many others?

"This is a political situation. We cleared up our mess in 2007, and my message to everybody is I'm going to be around. I will continue to enforce all the laws, including the illegal immigration laws that they don't like me to do."
ETA: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2011/12/11/20111211bipartisan-momentum-arpaio.html
(op-ed by Katie Hobbs and Ruben Gallego which succinctly puts the case that Arpaio should resign)
dreamer_easy: (*get off my lawn you kids)
Online petition calling for Arpaio to resign

The assistant police chief who discovered that the crimes had been ignored gives his account. It is damning.

The New York Times picks up the story: Arpaio Is Criticized Over Handling of Sex-Crimes Cases. 'One young woman said her cousin has tried with no success to get deputies to investigate the molestation of her three daughters. The person who did it is still out there,' she said. 'We see him all the time.'

Arizona's two senators, both Republicans, have issued a joint statement: "Victims of abuse not only deserve the respect of law enforcement, but their rights must also be protected throughout the criminal justice process. Laws that we have championed are intended to give a voice to victims of crime."

More calls for Arpaio's resignation:
http://www.azfamily.com/home/McCain-Kyl-chime-in-on-botched-sex-crimes-cases-135315103.html "'I have a 12-year-old daughter,' Veronica Vargas said. 'It hurts me every day, knowing anything could happen to her out there and nobody's going to give a [expletive deleted].'"

dreamer_easy: (*get off my lawn you kids)

"In truth, reports on Arpaio's extraordinary incompetence and oversight on sexual abuse cases have been well-documented for months -- an ABC15 investigation earlier in the spring noted that "children who had the courage to come forward and say they were molested, raped or abused were simply ignored by Maricopa County Sheriff's Office detectives."
dreamer_easy: (*get off my lawn you kids)
Critics: 'Tough' sheriff botched sex-crime cases

I'm too furious (and too sleep-deprived) to summarise the news item usefully. Let me just give you the lowlights.

"...more than 400 sex-crimes reported to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office during a three-year period ending in 2007 — including dozens of alleged child molestations — [were] inadequately investigated and in some instances were not worked at all, according to current and former police officers familiar with the cases.

In El Mirage alone, where Arpaio's office was providing contract police services, officials discovered at least 32 reported child molestations — with victims as young as 2 years old — where the sheriff's office failed to follow through, even though suspects were known in all but six cases.

Many of the victims, said a retired El Mirage police official who reviewed the files, were children of illegal immigrants.

[...] El Mirage Detective Jerry Laird, who reviewed some the investigations, learned from a sheriff's summary of 50 to 75 cases files he picked up from Arpaio's office that an overwhelming majority of them hadn't been worked.

That meant there were no follow-up reports, no collection of additional forensic evidence and zero effort made after the initial report of the crime was taken.

[...] Bill Louis, then-assistant El Mirage police chief who reviewed the files after the sheriff's contract ended, believes the decision to ignore the cases was made deliberately by supervisors in Arpaio's office — and not by individual investigators.

"I know the investigators. I just cannot believe they would wholesale discount these cases. No way," Louis said. "The direction had to come (from) up the food chain."

[...] El Mirage paid the sheriff's office $2.7 million for a wide range of police protection from 2005 through mid-October 2007 [...](My emphases)


The same item in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (in case the Yahoo page disappears): http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/critics-tough-sheriff-botched-1250882.html
Commentary: http://gawker.com/5864937/americas-worst-sheriff-officially-joe-arpaios-job-title-in-light-of-botched-sex-cases
dreamer_easy: (*feminism)
Destroying all in my path here at the mo. (Well, putting a lot of things into boxes.) Via [livejournal.com profile] bodlon, some of the latest fun with bullying, in this case, homophobic harassment and abuse aided and abetted by TPTB:

"... when [Kyle] was threatened in the locker room, school officials had him change in an assistant principal's office rather than stopping the bullying."

It's the same old destructive attitude: the target of the bullying is treated as though they're the problem. There is an uncomfortable but unavoidable parallel here with sexual assault, the epitome of gender-biased victim-blaming. Like rape, bullying just happens. It's just around in the environment, natural and inevitable, like germs; and it's up to victims to avoid it. Which saves the rest of us - bystanders, teachers, lawmakers - having to do anything about it.

ETA: More details here and in the comments - aha! Just found the lawsuit, which details the harassment these kids endured. It's harrowing reading.
dreamer_easy: (feminism)
I've been confining links and remarks about bullying to ETAs in previous postings, but I figured it was time for a roundup of the latest stuff. It is heartening to see one bullying target after another getting justice. I'd love to say "It's your turn now, fuckers, we're coming for you", but in fact the folks being held responsible are - correctly - the schools and workplaces which allow the tremendous damage caused by bullying to continue.

For example: Bully victim wins case against Sydney college. It's enraging that the school's anti-bullying policies turned out not to be worth the paper they were written on. They let the abuse of a suicidal twelve year old continue into mental illness. But she survived and, in the end, she kicked their ass for half a mill. We all love to bemoan our litigious culture, but the fact is, a whallop in the wallet can sometimes overcome inertia that a child's suffering can't. Nice one, ma'am!

Also enraging, and heartbreaking: so much social aggression is a form of woman-on-woman violence. IMHO it is a profoundly anti-woman, anti-feminist act. (Women sneaking around, ganging up, and sabotaging each other? Men must laugh their heads off.) As Kate Middleton knows, girls make the best bullies: a UK journalist compares her own experience of abuse to that of the royal fiancee. "Boys do still tend to lose their tempers, fight, and then forget their differences. Girls more often operate sly longer-term campaigns, often using social networks sites. I've seen that pattern with my own children (two boys, three girls) and the inter-girl fights are far more poisonous." (How can online fangirls put their differences behind them when every blunder and squabble is gleefully reported and lovingly catalogued?)

There are some other links and things floating around - I'll ETA them here.

ETA: This 2008 Australian briefing paper gives a good summary of the definition and results of bullying in schools (much of which applies to bullying at work, in fandom, etc). It is "a distinct form of aggressive behaviour that typically involves a power imbalance and deliberate acts that cause physical, psychological and emotional harm. It can involve physically threatening behaviour such as punching; verbal and relational forms of aggression such as name-calling and social exclusion; and... online social cruelty or electronic bullying. Evidence of the negative consequences of bullying show that it can be a physically harmful, psychologically damaging and socially isolating experience. Longitudinal studies confirm school bullying as a significant causal factor in lowered health and wellbeing. Outcomes include physical and somatic symptoms, anxiety, social dysfunction and depression. Peer victimisation has also been linked with poor outcomes, including school failure and the uptake of unhealthy and socially damaging behaviours such as alcohol and substance use." (all emphases mine)

One important difference between bullying at school and bullying online is this: that report notes that a very common form of school bullying is "appearance-related teasing" which is "intended to humiliate or harass". I've seldom observed this online, I think for two reasons: one, we generally can't see each other; two, it'd be tricky to get away with it in progressive circles. (An exception is the unflattering photograph which has found its way online.)

"Both boys and girls report being victims, especially when the bullying includes verbal insults and harassment, and there is some indication that the effect of bullying on mental health status is more enduring for girls. More often than not, boys tend to bully in direct and physical ways, while girls tend to bully in emotional or indirect ways." Interestingly, though, cyberspace is starting to "blur these gender lines".

ETA: Flood hero's brother bashed and bullied. I am uncharacteristically speechless.

Cyber bullying alert: "cyber bullying victims consider suicide twice as often as victims of physical bullying... it's more harmful because it's nastier, more malicious, it follows you wherever you go and the perpetrators often tend to remain anonymous."

There are brief, clear definitions of what is and isn't bullying at the Australian National Centre Against Bullying site.
dreamer_easy: (goddess lioness)
The Indian goddess Durga is heavily armed, rides a man-eating tiger or lion, and is typically depicted in the midst of a butchering a demon. Despite this excitingly gory context, Durga's face is generally composed, calm, and smiling - not a hair out of place. This has long puzzled me. At LACMA earlier this year, I saw this stunning Javanese Durga; I guessed that her serenity showed that the battle was over except for the coup de grace. But no - everywhere I look, I see these amazingly chilled-out images of Durga, smiling serenely as she wreaks bloody havoc. In my mind she's a reflex of those thrilling, gleefully violent Middle Eastern goddesses, like Inanna and Anat, who are far from calm and blissful as they carve up their foes. What gives?

So I woke up in the wee hours with the usual insomnia, and started perusing my mate Steven's copy of the magnificent catalogue for Goddess: Divine Energy, an exhibition we saw together a while back. And I'm looking at all these tranquil Durgas, and it suddenly hits me: she's not calm because she's winning, she's winning because she's calm.

Partly, it's confidence. This goddess combines the power of all the gods; for her and Kali, mowing down an army of demons is child's play, so naturally she doesn't break a sweat. But partly, it's sheer poise. She's balanced, focussed, undistracted, and crucially, unafraid.

So this is the epiphany I had, looking at Durga's calm face: until I get my anxiety problems sorted out, I can't really get anything sorted out.

I've had Panic Anxiety Disorder for most of my life. Sometimes I've had it under control, at other times it's quietly crept out and made important things next to impossible: everything from talking to strangers to travel to surgery. It's the reason I'm not at WorldCon right now: my head simply exploded the day before we were due to leave.

I can't talk, think, pray, or work myself out of this non-stop fit of nerves. I can't ignore it, bulldoze through it, or get through it on tranks. Basically, until I fix it, every other effort - health, social life, travel, you name it - is like trying to build a house on sand.

Fortunately, I know exactly what to do: I have a bunch of tools for stealing anxiety's thunder. I just need to quit procrastinating and put them to work.

Mother Durga - I don't know how to pray to you, how to meditate on you, what spell to use, what talisman to hold, what gesture to make. I know so little about you... the only thing I do know is that seeking your protection and following your guidance will end my suffering. - Shri Adi Shankaracharya (my paraphrase)
dreamer_easy: (red 2)
"When we asked women what female rage looked like to them, it was always Medusa... One woman told us that at times her rage feels 'mythological'. Another psychologist, with a mass of curly hair, said her teenage clients call her 'Medusa' because she can see right through them. A third told us her coworkers have dubbed her 'Medusa' and address her so, 'Because I don't take any shit.' When she first experienced her own rage and released it at an anger retreat, she said, 'It was like a flood of snakes coming out of me.'
- Mary Valentis and Anne Devane, Female Rage


Apr. 9th, 2010 10:53 am
dreamer_easy: (yellow 1)
I've been very moved by the supportive things people have said during the Unpleasantness of the past few days. Thank you all so much!

I regret very much, though, that I've exposed some of you to so much distress. If I'd thought for a moment when I first posted, I would've urged you not to get caught up in the grudgewank. It's toxic to everyone - me, my mates, bystanders, and of course, the wankers themselves.

But I didn't think. Like terror, rage propels us into action:
When I follow in the wake of battle I am the woman exhorting the stragglers: GET GOING! CLOSE WITH THE ENEMY!
Terror and rage are both thrilling. But they're also incredibly painful. We're not born knowing how to relieve that pain. It's particularly difficult for girls and women, who are taught to swallow their anger rather than expressing it, so it tends to leak out in passive-aggressive ways: malicious gossip, anonymous snark, grudge-holding, etc.

Anywho. The one thing I've found helpful is Thich Nhat Hanh's teaching about anger: stop trying to suppress or escape it, stop trying to relieve it by saying the first nasty thing that pops into your head, and just sit with it. Just recognise it's there, without judging or struggling. He puts it this way: if your house is on fire, the first thing you do is to put the fire out, not chase the arsonist down the street!

This is not to say, of course, that you won't have to deal with the arsonist eventually. But when you do, you can do it with a clear head, without being pushed around by your feelings.

There's more about this technique here: Loosening the Knots of Anger. You don't need to be a Buddhist or a meditation expert to try this; for me, even a few moments of trying to just sit with my rage cools it down a bit.
dreamer_easy: (door made of doors)
"Writing... converts anger and disappointment into deliberate and durable aggression, the writer's main source of energy. It converts sorrow and self-pity into empathy, the writer's main means of relating to otherness. Similarly, his wounded innocence turns into irony, his silliness into wit, his guilt into judgment, his oddness into originality, his perverseness into his stinger."
- Dani Shapiro quoting Ted Solotaroff
"There are seething undercurrents in Yes. Only very few people surely can have failed to see beyond the love and peace? If you took the group only at that level, then you'd have to wonder where all that aggressive playing came from for a start. There has been some severely aggressive playing in Yes. It is an interesting irony that there is all this love and peace and hippiedom, whereas in fact Yes is a very tight, highly structured, nerve-wracking organisation always short of money and always spending too much and always in trouble, which is eventually reflected in the music."
- Bill Bruford, quoted by Chris Welch in Close to the Edge: the Story of Yes


dreamer_easy: (Default)

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