Thoughts on the May 28th Jefferson Memorial Protest/Arrests?

This news is being reported elsewhere at greater length, in more detail, and with more inflamed passions. Still, events that occurred during the most recent silent dance protest inside the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC– “in celebration of the first amendment’s champion and in response to US District Judge John D. Bates’ ruling” that prohibits peaceful demonstration on memorial grounds– should be documented on Coilhouse as well. Whenever an incident like this takes place, the more space we create in our communities for rational discussion and analysis, the better, right?

In addition to affording us an opportunity to think more deeply about the ramifications of a ruling like Bates’, the circumstances surrounding the May 28th Jefferson Memorial protest give us the chance to critically examine and debate the most powerful forms of civil disobedience we have to choose from.

How, in the future, can American citizens most effectively protest the passing of laws that we believe to be unjust, even insidious?

Here’s an excerpt from a particularly interesting op-ed piece, “D.C. Circuit Opinion Banning Dancing at Memorials Deserves Very Close Scrutiny” by Forbes writer Ben Kerschberg, written shortly before the May 28th protest took place, in response to the galvanizing ruling against Brooke Oberwetter:

The D.C. Circuit states that “the government is free to establish venues for the expression of its viewpoint” and that “it is not obligated to allow other monuments expressing alternative viewpoints” It further states: the “Jefferson Memorial . . . was built by the government for the precise purpose of promoting a particular viewpoint about Jefferson.”

Respectfully, could the court please explain–it did not–what viewpoint about Jefferson the Memorial embodies? And did Oberwetter in any manner act in a way “expressing alternative viewpoints” antithetical to that embodiment?

Mr. Jefferson isn’t here today to weigh in on this matter, and quite frankly, given our separation of powers, his opinion neither would–nor should–have any bearing on the courts.

But I do think he would be disappointed with the D.C. Circuit’s opinion here.

Happy Birthday, Pete Seeger

A live Letterman performance of “Take it From Dr. King” by Pete Seeger and friends, 2008:

Via the always elucidating Roger Ebert.

The amount of music Seeger has made in support of civil rights, cultural tolerance, non-violence, and environmental protection over the past century is epic. Songs he either composed or co-wrote include: “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song),” and “Turn, Turn, Turn!” He –in cahoots with Joan Baez– was also greatly responsible for popularizing the spiritual “We Shall Overcome” during the 60s.

Seeger was just shy of his 90th birthday at the time of the above Letterman performance, during which he intoned: “We sang about Alabama 1955, but since 9/11, we wonder, will this world survive? The world learned a lesson from Dr. King: we can survive, we can, we will, and so we sing. Don’t say it can’t be done; The battle’s just begun. Take it from Dr. King, you too can learn to sing, so drop the gun.”

He is 92 years young today.

Via Wiki: Pete Seeger entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt (center), honored guest at a racially integrated Valentine’s Day party marking the opening of a Canteen of the United Federal Labor, CIO, in then-segregated Washington, D.C. Photographed by Joseph Horne for the Office of War Information, 1944.

Seriously, Facebook? WTF.

EDIT: Dangerous Minds just posted an update on this story, clarifying a few things. It included this response from the Kiss-In organizer, Paul Shetler:

“Hey I just saw this. Before it goes too far, I just want people to know that FB have NOT removed the kiss-in event page; it’s still there, but _I made the event private after the event_ was over and only visible to those who had been invited as there were starting to be trolls posting abusive nonsense on it.”

(Thanks for the heads up, Kevin!)

While it’s already a well established fact that Facebook is ethically bankrupt, this particular example of arbitrary heinousness is the worst in a while. The story’s already gone viral; just doing our part to ensure it disseminates as widely as possible. Reposted verbatim from Richard Metzger over at Dangerous Minds:

This is perplexing. And annoying. And infuriating.

I woke up this morning to an email from Facebook with the subject “Facebook Warning”:


Content that you shared on Facebook has been removed because it violated Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Shares that contain nudity, or any kind of graphic or sexually suggestive content, are not permitted on Facebook.

This message serves as a warning. Additional violations may result in the termination of your account. Please read the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities carefully and refrain from posting abusive material in the future. Thanks in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

The Facebook Team”

Ah… yeah… it seems that the sight of two fully-clothed men kissing was too much for Facebook, or too much for some closet-case asshole (Hi Jerry! Remind me why you and I are “friends” again? I sure didn’t ask to be yours, pal…) who complained about it. The photo appeared here on Dangerous Minds in the context of Niall’s post about the “kiss in” demonstration that was cooked up, ironically ON FACEBOOK ITSELF, in London to protest against the rude treatment two gay patrons experienced at a pub called The John Snow. The two men, Jonathan Williams, 26, and Jamie Bull, 23 were sitting in a corner kissing when the owner asked them to leave. Over 750 people signed up for the protest.

Oh, WAIT A MINUTE, I went to check on the Facebook page that organized The John Snow pub protest… and it’s gone, too.


I’ve written to Facebook asking them why this content was removed, but have at this point received no reply. I’ll update this post when I do. In the meantime, why not share this photo on FB as much as you can? I’m hoping they’ll restore the post as it was so everyone can pile on the jerk who wrote all the homophobic stuff on my FB wall. I think that’s the best outcome here, Jerry getting a taste of his own medicine…

In any case, the protest went off last night against The John Snow pub, with protesters chanting “We’re here, we’re queer and we won’t buy your beer.” You can see the BBC News report here.


Wesleyan University students, determined to speak out against extreme conservative members of the House of Representatives’ recent attack on Planned Parenthood, have presented this straightforward, sex-positive rallying cry to fellow young people across the country:

Via Lauren Goldberg, thanks!

Their press statement:

In order to “balance the budget” the House of Representatives recently announced the intention to strip all federal funding to Planned Parenthood. This is unacceptable. It’s time to face reality: many young people have sex, and need to know how to stay safe and healthy. Even those who have chosen to wait still need to know how to be safe and healthy when begin their sexual activity. This extreme ideological measure threatens our youth’s ability to choose their own future.

In many parts of America, Planned Parenthood is the only place young people can go to learn about safe sex, access contraceptives, or have a simple question about “down there” answered.

With all the rhetoric centering on “government waste,” Congress’s refusal to close multi-billion dollar corporate tax loopholes and instead eliminate essential, multi-million dollar sexual health programs is beyond hypocritical.

We are starting a student movement to make sure elected leaders know: Americans have sex, and we stand with Planned Parenthood.

On March 9, 2011, the Senate defeated the proposed de-funding bill. “However, budget negotiations are not yet over and we expect conservative members to continue to push to include the amendment to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds in upcoming continuing resolutions,” stated PP in a recent newsletter.

Obviously, teens and twentysomethings aren’t the only ones who would have been negatively impacted by the proposed H.R.1 bill. People from all walks of life have been benefiting from the many services Planned Parenthood provides for nearly a century. Were the organization (which spends ZERO federal dollars on abortion procedures) to lose all government funding, untold millions of women and men would potentially be affected.

What can defenders of reproductive rights, sex education, inexpensive health care, and safe sex advocacy do to peacefully and intelligently combat further ideological attacks? Visit Stand With Planned Parenthood to learn more.

Fantasia 2000/Four Tet Mashup

Thanks for sharing, Phoenix Marie Paris!

Eep. No doubt I’m outing myself as one seriously crusty-ass graverhippiezoomdweebie by admitting this, but –with all due respect for Stravinsky and his Firebird suite (indeed, with lifelong reverence!)– I’m finding it’s rather nice to revisit this gorgeous animation from Fantasia 2000 with a less bombastic score attached to it, namely Four Tet‘s “Love Cry”. I dunno, is that completely horrible? Should I lay off the Longbottom Leaf? Yeah, probably. Sorry. We’re all working crazy long hours over here (hence the sluggish blogging) on Issue 06, so it was either a half-baked ZOMGDISNEY post, or this animated gif of a tumbleweed…

Wayfaring Strangers

Image by Mike Brodie, a.k.a. the Polaroid Kidd.

The dark days are here to stay, it would seem – at least for all my friends in New Orleans. It feels wrong to even try to write about it at this point, but I really don’t know what else to do, and this heartbreak has to go somewhere. The night of Flee’s memorial Second Line parade, eight of his friends and their dogs burned to death when their squat, an abandoned warehouse, caught on fire from the barrel they were burning scrap in to stay warm. A few names have been sussed out, but I’m still not sure who was in that place when it went down, or if I knew them. Three women and five men between the ages of 19 and 30 died in the inferno, all described as “accomplished musicians or artists – jolly, happy people.”

Apparently one of the girls who died had been jumped by a guy on her way back to the squat recently, and had her face and arms slashed by his knife. She had been considering filing a report, but never got the chance. This insane rash of random violence with little motive brings to mind the shadow-play I saw performed at the Mudlark Public Theatre on Halloween, about the Axeman of New Orleans, who terrorized the city from May 1918 to October 1919. My friends are in a similar panic right now, though there’s no speculation that the assailants are possibly the devil in disguise. Monsters, maybe. Disenfranchised young men, raised in poverty, abused, angry and numbed to the violence and death that surrounds them, that they wreak. There is a bleak miasma, a rotten swamp-funk of despair and fear that seems to be seeping up through the banquettes and curling around every corner down there right now. This fire wasn’t part of that crime-wave, no – but all this bad shit happening at once, without even giving people a chance to catch their breath… It’s just brutal. What’s really fucking with me is the response of “concerned citizens” who callously voiced their opinions about the kids who died with nasty comments on a local news site. I should know better than to ever read that shit, because it’s usually horrifying, and makes me feel very sad for humanity. It got under my skin, though – these people basically saying “good riddance to gutterpunks” and that they got what they deserved for choosing to live the way they lived. Unbelievable, and so sad, that people would respond to the accidental deaths of eight young people with such vitriol. Even the more compassionate news stories refer to them as “homeless” or “transients”, and lead in to discussions about the pitiful lack of resources and shelters in New Orleans, which is of course important, but not actually very relevant to who these kids were. Here’s a couple comments from the thread which address it better than I can:

“You just assume that because they were squatting they don’t have jobs, but a lot of these kids do work. They do bike delivery in the quarter or wash dishes or tend bar. They travel a lot, so often they don’t tie themselves down to a lease. They sleep on the couches of friends or in abandoned buildings. It may not be your choice of lifestyle, but it’s not malicious and it’s not lazy. It’s just different. Their lives matter just as much as yours or mine. Grow a heart and some perspective.”


“Every human deserves a warm place to sleep and healthy food. I didn’t know those kids well, but I knew that they were working on that building, that they had built lofts and had made more improvements to that structure then who ever owned had in years. They weren’t homeless – that was their home and it burned down and its a goddamn tragedy anyway you write it down, and if you think otherwise you are a cruel person who needs to go back to whatever godforsaken suburb you crawled out of and stay there.”

Goddamn right.

Gender Subversion Poster

Via Slim –who says he was reminded of it when he read this piece by a mother defending her five-year-old son’s Daphne costume– comes this awesome sauce:

This poster can be purchased on the cheap, or downloaded for free at the Crimethinc site as part of their “Gender Subversion Kit”.

“Part poster, part zine, and made to be deployed in an endless number of environments, the Gender Subversion Kit is a 22″x14” two-color poster on the outside and a line art illustrated gender-fuck coloring book road map for both kids and adults on the inside. Inspired by and adapted from the boys will be girls will be boys . . . coloring book by JT and Irit, we took the parts we loved the most, made a few small changes, and mass produced it on the cheap.”

The Vagina Power Halloween Special

It was many years ago when I first discovered the awesomeness that is Vagina Power, an Atlanta-based public access show hosted by the inimitable Alexyss K. Tylor and her often shocked and bewildered mother. Few have done more to empower women than Tylor, a woman whose unique voice shines through in the heated battle betwixt the genitals.

In this particular episode, she uses the holiday of Halloween to focus on a woman’s duty to police her vagina, a valiant call to arms, meant to tame the lawless land below the waists of the Second Sex. In doing so she also explores the wedding ring’s role in binding both the Penis and the Nuts. It is not quite as stupendous as when she explained that “dick’ll make you slap somebody”, but it is classic Alexyss K. Tylor nonetheless.

Revenge: A Dish Best Served Conservatively

Many words have been devoted to the act of vengeance, the best methods of acquiring it, how best to deliver it, the various flavors of it; all these aspects have been explored in great detail over the course of mankind’s history. Little more shall be written here. Instead we shall present a singular act of very public vengeance.

It should come as no surprise that this particular scenario took place within the realm of politics, that unsavory business which plays host to liars, thieves, and whores and which has shown itself to be a particularly fertile breeding ground for vengeance. Specifically, we are focusing on an event that took place during a discussion of conservative author Jonah Goldberg’s new book Proud To Be Right which was broadcast on CSPAN2.

(Yes, there is more than one CSPAN. There are three in fact. I know this is hard to believe, but it’s true. I blame David Forbes. Moving on.)

The event in question (embedded above, the full video of which can be found here) is a rant by one Todd Seavey regarding fellow panelist and essay contributor Helen Rittelmeyer (who went to Yale, just in case you didn’t know). It turns out that the two dated for two years; a relationship that one could describe as contentious. Seavey’s monologue is a withering indictment of what can only be described as a twisted, right-wing succubus whose only pleasure in life is making those around her suffer. This is, again, according to Mr. Seavey who, in his 2007 screed “Ten Rules for Dating Todd” opens with a questionnaire for potential suitors to determine if they are “sane” having “encountered some ‘mentally special’ women over the years”, something he wishes to avoid in the future. This seems to not have saved him from Miss Rittelmeyer.

The Daily Caller (for whom Rittelmeyer worked for at one time) has further skulduggery, emails, and back-and-forth for those who are interested. For my part, I’m perfectly content with this examination of how Obamacare is destroying this country, as surely as Rittelmeyer destroyed Seavey with her infidelity.

Update: Additional thoughts from Seavey on the episode here.

Transgender Homecoming King Stripped of Crown

Mona Shores High School student Oakleigh Reed.

Here’s an incredible story about Oak Reed, a transgender high school homecoming king candidate who would have won by a landslide had the school board not disqualified him, and the ensuing outcry from his majesty’s peers. These kids are NOT having it, and now the story’s getting national attention. Via the Daily Kos:

If the kids of Mona Shores High School in Muskegon, Michigan are a harbinger of the future…I have some hopes that our world is going to get geometrically better and more sane with each passing generation. They had elected one of their friends to be homecoming king, a fellow who happens to be registered as a female with the school system. A transgender teen, honor roll student, and well liked guy was elected by the school body to the honor… which of course was stripped away by the school:

Then, last Monday, the principal called him into her office.

“They told me that they took me off, because they had to invalidate all of my votes because I’m enrolled at Mona Shores as a female,” Reed said.

Asst. Superintendent Todd Geerlings said the ballot gave two choices: Vote for a boy for king and a girl for queen.

And now the kids are raising holy hell.

Right. Freaking. ON. Oak’s friends and family have started a Facebook page, Oak Is My King, and they’re selling shirts internationally to raise money for his upcoming sex reassignment surgery. The SF Chronicle has picked up the story, and now the ACLU wants to get involved. Way to go, y’all! Huge love and support is heading your way.