Tags: politics

shiny jen

can someone explain this to me?

What I don't get, right now, is why we're all being super-sad about the kids who bowed to homophobic bullying and killed themselves, but super-judgemental about the paper who bowed to homophobic bullying and apologised for announcing a gay wedding. I must have seen a dozen posts in the last hour badmouthing that paper.

If they got bullied into doing what they did...why are we blaming them? Aren't they also victims of bullying? Okay, if they actually changed their minds and decided that Teh Gheyz are Ebil, that's one thing. We can be judgemental about that. But why aren't we first asking them just what these mysterious rabbis threatened? Telling them that it doesn't matter what the rabbis said, we'll support them? Pushing to know who these rabbis are?

Why are we blaming the victim?

Can we stop it, please?
shiny jen

pre-fornicatory experiences

"A college bop," said Etienne expansively, "is a pre-fornicatory experience."

And the crowd of listening freshmen giggled and fancied Etienne a little bit more, which was presumably the intended effect.

A minimal amount of social bonding and aesthetic enjoyment occurs at a college bop, aided by coloured lighting, cheesy music, and subsidised alcohol, but overriding all is the naked desperation of all present to conclude the evening in carnal embrace.

That is to say, the degree of sexual awareness is practically palpable (as is a great deal else). Who is checking you out? Whom might you be checking out? At whom might you make a pass? What will be the flirty move here, the suggestive word there, that will get you successfully laid? Where is Etienne?

I mention this not because I think you, dear readers, are unfamiliar with these scenes, but because I have little taste for bops, clubs, and other such pre-fornicatory experiences; having avoided them for some ten years, I recently found myself once again in just such an atmosphere, but in the context of an Orthodox Synagogue, which incongruity bears examining.

Among the women, during davening, I wasn't expecting the immaculate makeup, the artlessly blow-dried hair, the tight, tight skirts (modestly below the knee) or the plunging necklines (over a skin-tight undergarment modestly covering collarbone and elbow, of course). I wasn't expecting the enthusiastic displays of piety in the men's section, or the self-conscious charm exerted during socialising afterwards.

Above all, I wasn't expecting that tense, searching, sexually aware atmosphere, where one is continually groped by other people's questing feelers. Where all members of the opposite sex are potential targets, and all members of one's own sex, competition. I was transported back ten years to the college bop; I found myself looking around for Etienne. Granted the aim isn't to get laid at the end of the night - rather to get married by the end of the year - but it's equally as intense, equally as hungry, equally as naked, and sadly unmitigated by loud music or freely-flowing alcohol.

I should perhaps have expected it. The shul describes itself as the nexus for committed, Torah-observant Jews to meet and develop their Jewish futures together; this is apparently code for kosher meat market. I just wasn't expecting shul to be a pre-fornicatory experience, and I didn't like it much.
shiny jen

(no subject)

Here's a thought.

Sara Hurwitz, the Not-A-Rabbi-Because-We're-Orthodox clergy member at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, got Not-Ordained-Because-We're-Orthodox a few weeks ago, and they decided that calling her Rabbi Hurwitz would be a bit too much like saying "Have some communal acknowledgement of your rabbinic education and function," so they gave her a pretend title, Mahara"t.

This is short for Manhigah Hilkhatit Ruhanit Toranit. (See if you can remember that tomorrow - read the link, it's a good article.)

Here's an idea for all those Yeshivat Chovevei Torah guys who think that Mahara"t is a perfectly reasonable substitute for "Rabbi." When you get ordained, reject "Rabbi" and "Rav" and insist on Mahara"t, Manhig Hilkhati Ruhani Torani.

Here's an idea for the Hebrew Institute. Instead of calling Steven - junior to Sara, hasn't graduated rabbinical school yet - "Rav Steven" or "Rabbi Exler," call him Mahara"t Steven. (Steven, I honestly think you're a great person, and the politics isn't your fault at all. You're a super guy and you'll be a super rabbi, and I'm sure you feel pretty terrible about the unequal situation.)

Actually I'll give that a paragraph of its own. Steven Exler is a lovely guy and I have a suspish that he isn't altogether easy about being Rav while Sara is Maharat. So he is a pawn in the political game, and that's not his fault. Repeat after me: Steven Is Good.

Anyway, I think I shall start calling YCT boys Marahat myself, regardless. You are cordially invited to join me. At some point, a spade is just a spade.
shiny jen

Tweeting Susan Boyle

All right all right, I can't not post about Susan Boyle, evidently.

Some of the Tweeting Susan Boyle is happening because it is nice to be reminded that entirely ordinary people are frequently much more talented than we assume. This is well and good. But we do not need to be Tweeting Susan Boyle because zomg look fat lady sings, see the monkey dance, do we? It is a fact of life that you do not have to be 18 and sexy to sing nicely. So I hope none of you are doing that.

I thought the clip was freaking super because Simon Whatsit gets far too much mileage out of being an utter git, and watching his jaw drop, and everyone else's jaws drop, was entirely satisfactory.

I also rather enjoyed it because it's a potted version of Utter Wish-Fulfilment, as in, random ordinary person dearly wants to be a success and it comes true and everyone is wowed to bits, and come on, if you've got any appreciation for soppy at all you've got to appreciate that. Triumphing against all the odds and seeing the pwnage of one's enemies is one of the oldest songs out there, and Susan Boyle sung it, and despite the fact that it's only a good story because everyone's horribly judgemental about people like her, it would still be a sad thing if we weren't tweeting about it.
shiny jen


Amazon.com made of fail: they have done to GLBTQ-friendly books the online-bookstore equivalent of hiding them in a mouldering box in the basement of a condemmed building down the street behind a door with a large sign on it saying BEWARE OF THE TIGER, IT WANTS TO PRONG YOU IN THE ASS.

Google for Amazon Rank and then have a poke around the internets.

Looks like some combination of bad database work and seriously deficient public policy, even if it *is* as innocent as monkeying around with a live database, and I don't think it is; there's also a hefty dose of REALLY DIDN'T THINK THIS THROUGH in there, which is fail when it's this sort of thing. That is, I don't think it is as much malicious let's censor all TEH EEBIL GAYS as some twit in charge of a database failing to realise that there is more to LGBTQ culture than hardcore horse porn, which is a problem of considerable magnitude, don't get me wrong, but not necessarily actively malicious. Anyway Amazon needs to explain why it did what it did, admit that it was wrong, and apologise properly.

Even if it is just saying "We thought that clicking GLBTQ meant hardcore horse porn and didn't realise it also meant children's books and stuff, and oops, and sorry, and we realise our database isn't working very well." Rather than "oh, accident, heheh, byebyes."

Is my take.
shiny jen

miscellaneous. *More* tea, vicar?


Hilarious (read the product reviews)

Breaking news shocker, exercise won't make you thin if you're already at your body's optimal weight

scary - I didn't know heat from candleholders could ignite tables.

Serious effort to combat Artscroll's dominance in the siddur market. Winning quote: It is almost like the ArtScroll siddur is a household word - er, "almost"??

This made me very very happy and is completely non-political.
shiny jen

Being Human: It's For Everyone.

"being molested" is so ubiquitous that it is considered a normal part of growing up female

Source thread.

This was my first sexual experience: I was eleven. It was my first year in big school, in a technical drawing class. The teacher was out of the room. The Popular Boy groped me from behind while the rest of the class, girls and boys both, looked on and laughed. Through a fog of terror and utter humiliation, I managed to stab his arm with a pencil. It drew blood. As well as the shame of having been groped and laughed at, I was frightened all day that he would tell on me and I would get into trouble with the school authorities for having stabbed someone with a pencil. I guess I must have known on some level that being groped wouldn't be viewed as sufficient grounds for defending oneself violently.

Like other kids, I grew up being told about Stranger Danger and how if someone touches you in ways you aren't comfortable with, it is okay to tell on them. So, since I had been invaded and humiliated in a sexual, unwelcome, public, shaming manner, and since I was extremely upset, I tried to tell someone I trusted.

I got told to shut up and stop making such a fuss. Being molested is a normal part of growing up female, you know. So I shut up and absorbed that shame and embarrassment and knowledge that if you are molested, other people are going to laugh at you for objecting, and it is your own fault for being insufficiently invisible.

And it's only very very recently that I've realised that something doesn't have to be full-on rape to be Wrong, and it's okay to object to being groped, and if someone tells you to shut up, that's not because you suck, it's because they suck. Hear that? It may be normal to be molested, but that doesn't mean it's okay. It doesn't mean you have to shut up and stop making such a fuss. It's okay to want to be a human being, and to want to be treated as such.

Well, that's today's post. It doesn't have much to do with Torah. On the other hand, it has everything to do with Torah.

PS - Comments are screened and will stay screened unless you indicate specifically that you're okay with them being unscreened.

PPS. Telling women that they should learn self-defence IS NOT the answer. That validates and reinforces the assumption that molestation is the norm, accepts that such is completely inevitable, and plants or strengthens the idea that someone who is attacked is somehow at fault for not having learned to defend herself. A woman shouldn't have to learn self-defence in order to avoid being molested.