More Reasons Why Homophobia Makes No Sense

1 03 2014

I’ve already given eight reasons why homophobia makes no sense, but I am continuously discovering more reasons, as you can tell by the title of this blog entry.Morgan Freeman Homophobia

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer recently vetoed (for largely economic reasons) a bill passed by the Arizona legislature to allow business owners to discriminate against people on the basis of religious belief. Senate Bill 1062 would have allowed business owners to deny service to members of the LGBT community on the basis of personal religious faith. (The pro-business Brewer was pushed to her decision largely by corporations threatening to leave Arizona if the bill was passed.)

The bill also could have allowed business owners to deny service to Muslims, pagans, very many women, and others who do not subscribe to the religious doctrines of the business owner. If a business owner passed by a restaurant booth and overheard a conversation by a Muslim woman saying she was seeking or had sought an abortion, the bill, if passed, would have given that business owner the right to deny that woman service (if the business owner could prove their religious conviction in accordance with the re-written law).Stephen Fry Homosexuality Love

This whole fiasco drew opponents to homosexuality out of the woodwork, and they populated social media in force. They hemmed and hawed against religious restrictions, while LGBT advocates hemmed and hawed about equal protection (which is also a constitutional right in the United States).

So, with that in mind, I am going to focus here on the attitudes of people I have encountered in social media who supported the bill because it would have allowed business owners to discriminate against LGBT people. I am going to expose their fallacies and destroy them one-by-one. I cannot connect a single argument with a single person, but I can say I encountered these arguments commonly (and you have probably encountered them, too).

1) ‘Why should I serve people who flaunt their sexuality at the restaurant table?’

Why should I serve people who flaunt their sexuality at the restaurant table? Oh, wait, you are talking about LGBT people, and I am talking about straight people. Why do you think that gay people flaunt their sexuality at a restaurant table any more than straight Audre Lordepeople? Is it just the fact that you know they’re LGBT? As opposed to straight? How is there a difference? I am confused.

2) ‘What’s next? Allowing swingers and people in BD/SM gear to enter my establishment and demand to be served?’

Wait, what? So you equate LGBT people with swinging and BD/SM more than you do straight people? That’s silly, since straight people probably have just as much interest in BD/SM as LGBT people. If you shun LGBT people because of their scary sexual experimentations, why don’t you shun straight people as much for the same reason? It doesn’t make sense.

3) ‘You can’t compare LGBT rights with black rights.’

This is a false dilemma. You are saying that LGBT Lesbian Charactersrights do not compare with black rights because LGBT people choose to be who they are, while black people do not. First, how do you know that LGBT people choose to be who they are? Give me the evidence. Second, even if they did choose to be who they are, natural does not equal right, and unnatural does not equal wrong. Third, it is wrong to say that LGBT rights and black rights are entirely separate just because LGBT identities are based on sexuality, and not skin colour. No, LGBT and black rights are similar because both LGBT and black people have experienced institutional and/or systemic discrimination based on their status. Obviously their experiences overlap. Ask Audre Lorde.

4) ‘Gays and atheists and what-not will discriminate against me!’

No, they won’t! What they want is a compromise. The gay-theists will take wedding photos of you, because state law says they should, and you will take wedding photos of gay-theists, because state law says you should. Doesn’t it all work out to a magical equilibrium?

5) ‘Religion trumps everybody else’s rights’Gay Love

No, it doesn’t. True religious freedom means the right to exercise your religion in peace and harmony while also respecting the freedoms of others. It does not mean steamrolling over their freedoms; it does not mean controlling every aspect of their lives; and it is not a free pass to do whatever you want on the grounds of personal faith. Religious freedom ends when it seeks dominion over the basic freedoms of others.

So that is my response to attitudes about the recent decision in Arizona. I know I will not reach the heart of truly devout Christians who believe what they believe, but I hope something like this will make a dent in the beliefs of people who are on the fence. If you truly believe that God made Adam and Eve to procreate, you have to ask yourself why there are post-menopausal women who have sex, women who have had hysterectomies but have sex, sterile women who have sex, and women who simply choose not to have children but have sex. How is that any different from a gay person having sex? Obviously it is about love and devotion toward another human being. How is that wrong?





Brandon’s Kiddie Art

12 10 2013

Brandon Art - Loretta SwitDo you have a scrap-book? Have you ever dug it out of a long-neglected closet only to discover your early childhood drawings? Well, that is exactly what I did a short while ago when my mother enlisted me in the task of retrieving some files from an old bedroom closet in her house. I unearthed my old scrap-book, which features all of my artistic accomplishments from the day I could finger-paint until the day I turned into a stubborn and fractious adolescent.

Well, I wasn’t a typical boy. Most of my scrapbook consists of unicorns and women. I never liked drawing what is traditionally considered the ‘male’ form, even though that is the body I am attracted to as an adult; I always liked drawing what is traditionally considered the ‘female’ form. To me, the ‘male’ form was chunky and unwieldy, and I saw a certain grace and wiliness in the ‘female’ form. Somehow it just resonated with me, even though I have XY chromosomes (whatever).

I’d like to share with you what I think are some of the most interesting works of ‘art’ I produced in my childhood. The portfolio was lovingly compiled by my mother, who went through a calligraphy phase in the early-to-mid ’80s. Apparently, looking back on my own work through the years, I provided the occasional annotation out of bashfulness, but I have included them here for the sake of authenticity.

This is a lady with fucked-up eyes and possibly broken legs, from 1983:

Brandon Art - Princess (1983)

This I have now christened Superman meets Wonder Woman, from 6 February 1983:

Brandon Art - Superman and Wonder Woman (6 February 1983)

Does anybody remember Charmkins? Probably not. It was a toy franchise from the ’80s. They made toy houses and figurines for you to play with. They also made toy figurine stamps. You could stamp a picture of a Charmkin character (usually a girl with pig-tails) on anything. I didn’t even remember they existed until I dug up this picture I drew in 1983:

Brandon Art - Charmkins (1983)

And then there is my future wife:

Brandon Art - Julie

Well, that turned out to be naught.

But I was created in the image of God, and God doesn’t make mistakes:

Brandon Art - Loretta Swit

Don’t I look like Loretta Swit from M*A*S*H??

And then there is the oddly disabled unicorn:

Brandon Art - Unicorn Legs

Can somebody please help her?? She’s struggling.

And then the unicorn became more robust, and she gained a few makeup tips along the way:

Brandon Art - Univorn Makeup

She and her daughter will zap you with their magical powers of unicorn happiness!

Misty (as I’ve named her) needn’t be bound by skin colour. She can be red if she wants and give birth to a green unicorn with wings! This is the drawing that won me the classroom prize in the 1984 Reflections Art Contest. They were looking for creativity. Well, they found it:

Brandon Art - Unicorn Family with Fairy

In 1985, when I was in kindergarten, I was honoured with the opportunity to work with a lovely artist named Wendy. I remember her name was Wendy, and she had a short, ’80s brunette perm. This is a product of my lessons with her:

Brandon Art - Angry Heroin Addict (1985)

I remember my mother praising this drawing for its abstractness and mystery, but for me it was just normal. I wanted to do something different. Still-lives are boring to me. I want to draw people and animals doing and thinking things.

In 1985 in Sunday school (yes, I was raised as a Christian), I decided to draw a strange and perversely vicious Easter Bunny:

Brandon Art - Easter Bunny

Yes. That Easter Bunny is hungrily scraping its way toward a basket-full of eggs with orange claws that match its eyelashes. (I’m sure the eggs are certified humane.)

Mrs Landmark, my Grade One teacher (7 year-olds for you in Britain) absconded with my precious October, 1985 Calendar:

Brandon Art - October Calendar (Unicorn and Castle)

I remember my mother saying she had a conference with Mrs Landmark in which Mrs Landmark expressed the concern that I was a little bit too effete and was worried that I would be bullied for it (and yet she liked my artwork). My mother said she defended me and expressed many positive points about my character. Mrs Landmark was full of shit. If you encounter a boy who is effeminate, you never penalise him for being effeminate–you penalise his bullies for bullying him.

And then there was the whole 1980s anti-drug campaign which didn’t work. Since then, Washington state, where I live, has fully legalized private cannabis use:

Brandon Art - Users are Losers Drugs

It’s strange how this anti-drug campaign seems so outmoded now, especially since it blindly encompasses harmless drugs like cannabis.

And then there was my beautiful drawing for Christmas of 1988 in Seattle:

Brandon Art - Christmas Seattle (1988)

I was already sifting through my scrapbook at this point, so it is amazing my mother captured this shitty drawing. It depicts Santa Claus flying over Puget Sound (an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, kind of like Oslo Fjord) toward downtown Seattle, with Mount Rainier in the background. Don’t judge me. I was ten years old.

So that is my artistic portfolio as a child. I think the main point to take away from this is to let your children be themselves and explore their own identities. I was an effeminate boy. Some boys will be masculine; some boys will be feminine. Likewise, some girls will be masculine; some girls will be feminine. Just be a loving, caring parent.





Toronto and Ontario Trip (Part 1)

31 08 2013

This August I took a much-needed vacation to my mother’s homeland of Ontario, Canada. It had been eight full years since my last visit, so I took full advantage of this year’s visit with my new smartphone camera. We arrived in Toronto, spent three days there, and then spent two weeks at her cottage on Lake Jarvis, about two-and-a-half hours east of Toronto near her home town, a small hamlet called Madoc.

Girl, did I have fun.

I’ve separated my photo-shoot into several posts so that you can eat it all up in bite-sized chunks. This first instalment consists of my arrival in Toronto, the capital of Ontario, and the exciting days and nights I spent there. (Ottawa is the capital of Canada, which I did not get to visit during this trip, unfortunately.) Anyway, enjoy the photos!

As we arrived at Pearson International Airport in Mississauga (a large suburb of Toronto), I took this snapshot of downtown Toronto from the aeroplane:

Toronto Aerial

Doesn’t Toronto have a beautiful little harbour, surrounded on one side by the lush, green Toronto Islands, and on the other by the tall skyscrapers of the downtown financial district?

This is the shot arriving by rental car into downtown Toronto on the Gardiner Espressway, which sadly runs along the waterfront but fortunately is being redeveloped on both sides by housing which takes advantage of the harbourfront location. Just look at the CN Tower rising majestically above it all. It almost looks like Dubai:

Toronto

Toronto has its own little Times Square–it’s called Dundas Square, and it is situated at the junction of Yonge and Dundas Streets. It’s where everybody in the city gathers to eat, drink, shop, and have a generally good time:

Toronto III

Toronto has a very healthy and interesting mixture of old and new architecture. Notice the Second Empire-style houses on Yonge Street contrasted against the late-twentieth-century highrises in the background, which provide a good dose of density:

Toronto VI

Here is Church Street, in the gay Church-Wellesley neighbourhood of northeast downtown. It is crammed with businesses inhabiting gorgeous nineteenth-century Second Empire-style Victorian townhouses:

Toronto V

There is a vibrant gay scene in the Church-Wellesley district, which is packed with clubs, bars, and restaurants. I couldn’t help but take this shot of a drag queen performing at Crew and Tangos on Church Street:

Toronto XV

Toronto has a vast downtown shopping mall the likes of which I have never seen before. It is suburbia surrounded by downtown office highrises, and connected to the subway system, to boot. It is also the first place I had ever seen a woman wearing a full niqab. It is Eaton Centre:

Toronto XI

A typical Toronto subway station. Basically just like New York (equally humid and stagnant until you get inside the refreshingly cool train car):

Toronto XII

Toronto IX

Here is a shot I took near the Royal York Fairmont Hotel, right across from Union Station (the transportation hub of the entire Toronto area). It isn’t exactly pretty, but it captures the view of your average bloke walking down the street toward the hotel doors:

Toronto XII

However, after the bus drove by, I was able to take this far prettier shot of the fabled tower which Rhea Perlman notoriously immortalized in the film Canadian Bacon using a substance I can only call an amalgam of hot wax and fresh semen:

Toronto XIII

Toronto XIV Rhea Perlman

So there you have it! Part One of my August trip to Toronto and Ontario, Canada. Although the pictures alone may not have betrayed it, Toronto is a phenomenally multicultural city with people from all walks of life and all skin colours speaking all languages imaginable in relative harmony, which makes me proud to be Canadian, even if through my mother. I will be posting further photos of my trip to Ontario in forthcoming blog entries. I hope you will watch, and enjoy!





Seattle Is Nastier than Connie Smith Ever Imagined

6 04 2013

Oh, if only dear old Connie Smith had known exactly what kind of city she was singing about.





Julie Gentron and the Lady League (Vol. 1, Ep. 9): The Plouvre

5 02 2013

Last time on Julie Gentron and the Lady League, the ladies joined fists in a brilliant display of lady-light over the futuristic landscape of London in preparation to intercept their dreaded foe, Plastica, at her next target of assimilation, the Louvre museum in Paris.

Julie Gentron Plastica Black Lame V“The Venus de Milo. Right. Put some arms on her. I won’t have my goddesses maimed. And be sure to get my features right when you sculpt her face into my likeness.” Plastica said these words to somebody behind her as she slithered her way into the Louvre like a cobra, led by Dr. Electro-hag and Simpson Oswald, whom she had restrained with a pair of chains which served as leashes. “Mush, mush!” She whipped the chains, and her bitches pulled forth their queen on hands and knees until she gave a yank, signalling them  to stop. She was dressed in a drapey, 1940s-style, shoulder-padded black lamé dress cut off at mid-thigh, while her hounds donned tasteful, high-end S&M attire imported from Berlin. Three plasticons–one man and two women–attended from behind, dressed in identical S&M outfits, with the exception that the male plasticon’s outfit was fitted for his body. One of the women placed an incense-burner on Oswald’s head. He grimaced resentfully at the indignity.

“Why, I never noticed it before,” Plastica said, scanning the room thoughtfully with her darkly outlined green eyes, “but this newly redecorated Louvre reminds me of my childhood Christmases. All the glitter, tinsel, and shiny glass ornaments painted green, pink, and gold. My favourite were always the indented teardrop-shaped ones. They always scattered the light to create this garish display that captivated the eye and kept it rapt with fascination, like souls enslaved.” She said this as she fondled the ornate gilt frame of a fifteenth-century Flemish painting by Albrecht Dürer with a tidily gloved finger. The face had been re-painted in the likeness of the plastic witch, and many more were undergoing a similar transformation at the hands of her craftsmen, who had all been assimilated. (Their pitter-pattering could be heard in the halls without.) Indeed, the great museum chamber was suffused with a lurid pink-green glow, like a string of Christmas tree lights, or a Manchester fashion show.

Julie Gentron - Plastica Dominatrix S&M Oswald Electro-Hag“You! Sergeant Sodomite, what’s her name?” Plastica barked at Oswald, referring to one of the stationary supermodel servants.

“I don’t fucking know!” he snapped, grinding his teeth. She ignored his invective and returned her attention to her servant.

“You, the Eastern European beanpole by the potted palm in the shape of my face. Whatever your name is. Titty. Bring me some more pline!”

“My name is not Titty. It is Tina,” said the plasticon in a Polish accent which betrayed only the slightest modulation.

“Ugh, yes, whatever. Whitney Houston. Bring me some pline!”

“Pline, my mistress?” replied Tina in a timid, strained tone.

“Plastic wine, girl!”

“Yes, of course, mistress.” Tina trotted like a deer over to a buffet table stationed on the wall at one end of the room, poured a glass of strangely incandescent liquor from a carafe, and brought it back to Plastica on a small silver tray. “My apologies, mistress, for failing to fulfil your wishes immediately and without question. It will never happen again.” Plastica gave her a condescending flick of the lashes, and Tina spasmed slightly as if under some sudden, strange spell. The witch clasped the chalice in her purple claws, took a gulp of pline, and resumed her monologue, talking into the air.

“Gather round, my children. Behold the grandeur of my work. Every ancient statue, every priceless painting betrays, through my likeness, my gift to the world–Myself!” She gave Tina a dark side-glance, then Julie Gentron - Plastica Black Lamelooked back into the air. “It grows. It grows from all corners of the globe. From the sin-filled pleasure-domes of Bangkok to the salacious man-cauldrons of Hell’s Kitchen, my plastic empire grows and thrives like a Morning Glory smothering a rotting English fence. But it all begins here, in the storehouse of Western art, the newly christened Plouvre!” She said these words in a crescendo of passion and intensity, widening her green eyes and raising her chalice in the air. She slacked her chain, placed the chalice back on the tray (which was still being held by Tina), and took a seat on the back of Dr Electro-hag, who winced under her weight.

“I’m hungry!” she barked. The other female plasticon minced robot-like in six-inch heels to the buffet table and revealed a sushi platter. She took the platter in her hands with the skill of a veteran waitress and, with a pair of chopsticks, placed several sushi pieces on to Oswald’s back, which happened to be wrapped in a tube-like sheath of cellophane especially for the occasion. She then retrieved a fresh pair of chopsticks from the buffet table drawer and handed them to her mistress, who proceeded daintily to pluck the delicacies off her man-table and stuff them–a little bit awkwardly, to her chagrin–inside her thick, plump, red lips, chewing down like a cow on its cud. This unfortunate adventure in Eastern cuisine was met by an uncomfortable quietude among the room’s inhabitants, who dared not watch their mistress chow down, but kept their eyes straight forward.

“Good gracious, queen, you look like you’re ready to back up hard against some German leather-daddy,” Plastica squeaked at Oswald, whose spine was curved inward like that of a hungry virgin twink under the voluminous stash of Julie Gentron - Plastica Marylin Monroe Black LameOriental delicacies.

“I am, if it will put me out of my misery, you odious milf,” replied Oswald, trying doggedly to balance the incense burner on his head.

“Well, obviously I’ll have to assimilate you soon, Sergeant Sodomite, but right now I am quite content with watching your fitful outbursts and the pathetic, lame insults they produce.” With this riposte, she plucked a piece of sannakji, still squirming, off the nape of his back, dipped it in a dish of soy sauce, and shoved it in her voluptuous maw.

“We do have a deal, my mistress,” croaked Dr Electro-hag with a sneer. “You would give me half of Earth as my suzerainty.”

“You will have a quarter of Earth as your suzerainty, you decrepit queen. Be thankful and bow at my feet for my generosity. Oh, wait. You’re already bowing. Ha! How convenient.” At this, Plastica took another swig of pline, applied a fresh layer of yellow-green eyeshadow, and refreshed her lips with a thick crimson gloss.

“Paris may be the capital of high art and fashion, my darlings, but I have my sights set on a less polished gem–the cutural future of Europe–Berlin!” She gestured in circular motions with her chalice and chopsticks. “You’ll notice, my beauties, the old Prussian stronghold has re-invented itself as a centre of artistic creativity, but without entirely shedding the vestiges of its Cold War past, leaving it slightly rough  round the edges, like a cut-rate 1980s gay hooker who still listens to Kraftwerk on cassette tape. It is in this thriving metropolis we shall establish our new base. And from there, Prague, Warsaw, Budapest, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Riga, Helsinki, Minsk, St. Petersburg, Moscow, the whole of northern Europe!” She rose from Dr Electro-hag’s back and unleashed a witchy cackle, raising her hands into the air and wielding her chopsticks like a deadly weapon, a piece of whitefin tuna tumbling to the ground between her six-inch Jimmy Choo heels.

Find out whether Plastica succeeds in her diabolical scheme in the next episode of Julie Gentron and the Lady League!





Miss B Digs Her Nails Into A Gay Conservative Catholic

15 07 2012

I’m getting weary of the old-fashioned sex difference revival. (Yes, I’m channelling Linda Evans right now. Shut up.) It’s everywhere in the media, from Time to Newsweek. Clinical psychologist Rosalind Barnett and journalist Caryl Rivers tackle the subject in their book Same Difference: How Gender Myths Are Hurting Our Relationships, Our Children, and Our Jobs. They critique the resurgence of gender myths in modern society, especially since 9/11, paring away at the bad science propping up such myths and showing how it hurts us.  And, boy, can these bitches mount a queen. In ‘The Testosterone Test,’ a section of Chapter Eight in their book, they mention a gay man who has embraced the specious notion that testosterone makes males more aggressive than females. To me this is anathema, and I’ll tell you why. I will, I tell you. I will!

As I’ve suggested, the section deals with claims that males are more aggressive than females because they have higher testosterone levels. The authors admit that males have on average ten times more testosterone than females, but they point out that the relationship between testosterone and aggression is very foggy indeed, and that we do not know whether testosterone causes aggression levels to spike, aggression causes testosterone levels to spike, or something else entirely causes both to spike. In fact, it is doubtful that there is any direct relationship between testosterone and aggression in males, according to John Archer of the University of Central Lancashire, who conducted a major review of the literature [1]. So we should remain sceptical about claims that testosterone causes males to be more aggressive than females. It’s more complex and nuanced than that, and failing to realise this point might have real-life consequences.

To show how influential quack notions about gender science can be in popular culture, Barnett and Rivers cite a sensationalistic 2000 cover story in the New York Times Magazine called ‘The He Hormone’ [2]. The article wasn’t written by a scientist–it wasn’t even written by a science journalist–it was written by a gay conservative Catholic essayist with HIV called Andrew Sullivan. Barnett and Rivers note that it would have been valuable reading if Sullivan had written about taking shots of testosterone to manage his HIV condition, because this might have great benefits, but he attempted to write a full-fledged science article on the relationship between testosterone and sex, citing out-of-the-mainstream scientists and making factual errors andinaccurate claims along the way. As Barnett and Rivers write,

Robert Sapolsky, an eminent Stanford University professor of biology and neurology and an expert on testosterone, told Slate that Sullivan ‘is entitled to his fairly nonscientific opinion, but I’m astonished at the New York Times [for publishing his article].’ Saposky notes that one of the studies cited by Sullivan is a scientific laughingstock that was discredited long ago. Three other respected researchers signed a letter to the Times about the article, stating, ‘[i]n particular, there are scant results from well-controlled experiments showing that testosterone affects behaviour of normal men in the ways asserted by Sullivan.’

So, given this scientific insight, my question to Sullivan is: Really? Are you serious? I am gonna put on my Lee Press-On Nails and slap the bitch off your face. You should know better, queen!

But, in honesty, why in the world would a gay man be promulgating such pseudoscience? Immediately I am drawn to five facts: he is gay, male, conservative, Catholic, and HIV positive. This is a very complex archetype to read, but to me it ultimately screams “sexual insecurity.” Of course, nobody should be promoting the pseudoscience Barnett and Rivers describe, but one would think that a gay man, of all people, would be among the first to recognise and criticise it. Doesn’t Dan Savage campaign against gay bullying? Doesn’t Sullivan? Anti-gay bullying is motivated largely by gender norms, after all, and gay people don’t fit  into the traditional male-female procreative script so integral to such norms. I think this strange disjunction in gay men like Sullivan stems from a sort of schizophrenia or cognitive dissonance over gay men being aggressive but also compassionate. Gay men want to be accepted for being effeminate, but, ironically, they also want to assume the bully’s role and hence gain power over the people who once tortured them. The white, bearded, brunette bear in plaid becomes this macho–in some cases very supercilious–bully towards the shaved, tanned, blond twink at the local gay disco. (Don’t get me wrong–I think they’re both silly for their own reasons.) The effect isn’t physical, but it’s psychological. And that’s also damaging.

Everybody should be dispelling gender myths, but one would expect gay men to be among the first to do so, because of their own personal experiences with how such myths have hurt them. But faggots have foggy memories, and their minds are like phantasmic labyrinths. I don’t think Sullivan wants to hurt people, but I think he does so with his essay. I think he might be confused, desperate, and slightly egotistical. Gay people should be reading more academic literature on feminism and gender theory, like Barnett and Rivers’s book or Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender, and they should be constructing an argument which produces a fuller image of who we should be as human beings. We should be raping the airwaves with real, sound, solid science on how everybody suffers from gender myths.

1. J. Archer, ‘The influence of testosterone on human aggression,’ British Journal of Psychology 82 (1991); 1-28.

2. Sullivan. “Why Men Are Different.”





A Vigil for Mollie and Mary Kristene

1 07 2012

Mollie Olgin and her girlfriend, Mary Kristene Chapa, went to a nature park on the Gulf of Mexico in Portland, Texas, to spend some time together before going to a movie that same night. The movie never happened–they were found in the grass by a couple the following Saturday morning with gunshot wounds to the head. Olgin died, but Chapa remains in hospital, where she is currently recovering.

This would have been a normal start to a beautiful, romantic evening, but some hateful monster decided otherwise.

Portland, Texas, police chief Randy Wright acknowledges that currently there is no evidence that the crime was motivated by homophobia, but local authorities, including Texas Rangers, are exploring the possibility. Sigh. I’m glad simply because local Texas authorities are exploring the possibility of crime motivated by homophobia in the first place, but what in the world would two lesbians be doing on a bluff above the Gulf of Mexico to require an organised, neatly contained murder-execution? We’ll have to await the results, but, so far, I highly suspect the crime was motivated by pure hate.

The most important thing at this point in time is to acknowledge the tragedy. And a tragedy it is. Mollie had just finished her first year at Texas A&MCorpus Christi with  the goal of becoming a psychiatrist, and her father, Mario, expressed misgivings over her absence from work the morning she was found, only to discover his daughter’s death. Meanwhile, Mary Kristene, who was found with her girlfriend’s body, remains in hospital, and her brother, Hilario, has expressed hope in her recovery, noting that she has shown movement in the right side of her body.

I can’t believe this is happening in America in 2012, but, somehow, I can.

Tragedy is never beautiful, but the way people respond to it can be. The murder of Olgin and the attempted murder of Chapa has inspired vigils across the United States. One of these took place recently in Cal Anderson Park in Seattle’s traditionally gay Capitol Hill neighbourhood, on the eastern edge of Downtown. (The park is named after Cal Anderson, who became Washington state’s first openly gay legislator in 1987.) Speakers included Tracy Lievsay, who went to high school with Mollie, as well as Aleksa Manila, who spoke about local LGBTQ resources.

This type of community organizing is too amazing to happen less often. Too many young people are burdened with the weight of ideas about how women and men should be, and how they will be treated accordingly. If you have an effeminate son, shut the fuck up and let him be; and if you have a butch daughter, I hope she kicks your testicles into fuck-you-ville and gives you a black-eye. Otherwise, my condolences go out to the families and friends of Mollie and Mary Kristene, and I wish a speedy recovery for Mary Kristene.

With that, I would like to present a hymn to Mollie and Mary Kristene which played during the Seattle Pride Parade. While it may seem over-joyful at first, I would emphasize its mournfully melodic quality. And, considering the deeply moving lyrical content, I think it proves a fitting homage to the struggles of gay youth everywhere. Here’s to you, Mary Kristene–and to you, too, Mollie, wherever you are. I know you’re there :)

Sources:

MSNBC

New York Daily News

Seattle Post-Intelligencer





Women Who Like Gay Porn

8 04 2012

Surprise! No, not really. It’s quite common-sensical, actually–a lot of women like to watch pornography. You might think this strange, assuming either that pornography objectifies women, or that women are sexless emotional angels, but in fact you’d be wrong. It turns out a lot of the pornography women like to watch is gay. This actually makes sense for several reasons, and it seems to corroborate research on female lust, voyeurism, and promiscuity.

The first reason it makes sense for women to like watching gay pornography is pretty intuitive. Just as straight men are sexually attracted to women, straight women are sexually attracted to men. Hence, just as straight men like watching lesbian pornography, straight women like watching gay pornography. Now people will try to break up this neat little analysis by screaming, ‘But women are less visual than men! Research ‘n’ stuff says so!’ This is basically what Tracy Clark-Flory says in her sex column at Salon in which she responds to a woman experiencing a ridiculously unnecessary tug-o’-war between her ‘feminine’ prudery and her lust for man-on-man action: ‘It’s true that research has found men to be more visual’ concedes the columnist in a tone of tired surrender. Sigh. The all-powerful spell of biologically determined sex difference prevails once again: ‘Men are like this! Women are like that! It’s in the genes! No nuance required! John Gray! Venus! Mars! Easy as cake and commercial as shit! Tehehehe!’ But there are two problems with this: Clark-Flory didn’t even direct the reader to a name connected with the research she ‘cited’ (the curse of popular publishing), and pornography isn’t just about vision anyway; it’s about hearing and other senses, too. So, even if the research proved men to be more visual than women, women might still derive other sensory pleasure from pornography, or it might simply provoke their imagination. The point is that straight women are attracted to beautiful men by way of many senses, and beautiful men are a dime a dozen in gay pornography, hence it makes sense for women to enjoy it–despite the mountains of shame that may weigh on their conscience due to age-old prescriptions on women’s  desires.

The second reason it makes sense for women to like gay pornography is that it doesn’t involve sexual exploitation of females. We all know the formula: some ugly man slams a woman’s head into the cushion of a sofa inside some gross, overlighted Hollywood McMansion while she squeals like a stuck pig and rubs the nipples of her voluminous breasts with her French manicure.  The man’s looks don’t matter, because he is the agent, while she is the screaming lump of gorgeous, glistening flesh to be used. It’s obviously male-centred and male-dominated. It almost feels like rape. Gay male pornography doesn’t have this. It involves a man penetrating another man, so there is no man dominating and objectifying a woman. Some gay pornography does involve objectification, but there seems to be a mutual respect and understanding rather than a real-life power division. This isn’t necessarily so for straight pornography, which can conjure up troubling images and memories for many women. But straight sex shouldn’t be the way it is portrayed in pornography–there is no reason why a man and woman should not have mutually respectful, understanding, and loving sex. That’s what should be depicted in straight pornography. Until that day comes, though, women will like gay pornography. Heck, they might still like it afterward, simply because they like watching gorgeous men having sex.

The third reason it makes sense for women to like gay male pornography is that it lacks a storyline. This is curious and much less intuitive. In his blog Straightguise, openly gay clinical sexologist Joe Kort, PhD, cites an article by Elizabeth F. Stewart in In Family magazine called ‘Hot Man On Man Action (And the Lesbians Who Love Watching It)’. Kort agrees with Stewart that lesbians enjoy gay pornography for its raw nature and de-emphasis on background and storyline, but he adds that straight women may enjoy gay pornography for this reason, too. But women are supposed to like storylines, right? Wrong, according to Kort. Kort cites Stewart as saying in her article that ‘It is a myth that all women–lesbian or straight–want a storyline and emotional content in porn.’ He, too, mentions that women might enjoy gay male pornography because of the balance of power as well as the obviously real orgasm (often faked by women in straight pornography). Obviously it isn’t scientifically conclusive, but Kort’s suggestion that women like gay male pornography for its lack of a storyline, and for its mutual, egalitarian rawness, deserves a great deal of further exploration, because it totally defies the assumption that women are overwhelmingly sexless and emotional creatures. (But, then, a lot of the best gay male pornography is highly emotional and romantic, and many gay men will attest to this, citing some of the highest-quality specimens of film portraying men in love.)

But why do lesbians like gay male pornography? Because some of them do! This was surprising to me. It’s anecdotal, but I worked with a lesbian at a theatre in Vancouver, and when I asked her about this, she nodded, “Yes, it’s true.” We already know one reason, it seems: as Stewart noted, some lesbians like the rough, anonymous nature of gay male pornography. I can only speculate about the other reasons: so-called ‘lesbian’ pornography is fake, degrading rubbish made by straight men for straight men (it says a lot when lesbian pornography is so off-putting as to turn lesbians on to gay men poking each other’s anuses); lesbians may derive a cerebral pleasure watching men do each other instead of women; and you don’t have to be attracted to somebody’s sex to be attracted to what they’re doing and the way they’re doing it. This last point is important. You can be turned on by what other people do without being attracted to their biological sex per se. So, that is perfectly good reason for lesbians to like gay male pornography, especially when women are so poorly portrayed in the industry.

I should mention income disparities in pornography. Defenders of straight pornography will often argue that the industry isn’t unfair towards women, because the women, being the objects of desire, actually earn more money than men. But this doesn’t necessarily give women an economic advantage over men in the industry. For who is the producer and the director? Probably a man, and that man probably earns more than any of the female models. So even then men might have an economic advantage over women in the industry. Besides, the cost of pornography is not just economic–it is also social and psychological, given the image of women it peddles to the male masses. No wonder a lot of women choose gay over straight pornography.

One last point should be made: research doesn’t necessarily support the assumption that women are more monogamous or less libidinous than men. Self-surveys do not actually reveal how people feel, or what they actually do. The media tend innacurately to portray men as more promiscuous than women when in fact women reveal a similar level of sexual desire when interviewed privately and discreetly, as Rosalind Barnett and Caryl Rivers explain in Same Difference: How Gender Myths Are Hurting Our Relationships, Our Children, and Our Jobs (pp. 58-9). We get a more honest picture if we look at our closely-related simian cousins. While Darwin observed female chimpanzees’ sexual swellings, he failed to notice the “12-day period around a chimpanzee’s maximum tumescence, when she typically mates about one to four times an hour with thirteen or more partners”, according to Barnett and Rivers, quoting Sarah Blaffer Hrdy (p. 53). In fact, there might even be reason for women to be even more promiscuous than men, or at least for men to be more loyal to women than previously believed. As Barnett and Rivers note (pp. 61-3), human females don’t go into oestrus, so human males don’t know when the females are fertile. It could be two or three days out of the month, but he doesn’t know which days these are. Hence, to ensure he successfully spreads his genes, it makes sense for the male to have sex as often as possible with the same female, not with many other females, since he might be killed or injured by their mates. Barnett and Rivers explain this increasingly accepted paradigm even further in their book, which is very much worth reading. What we can say based on these observations is that women like sex, and sex with a lot of different men, a lot more than we might wish to believe given our predilection for safe and secure sex roles.

To summarise, a lot of women like gay pornography, because they’re sexually attracted to men (if they’re straight), gay pornography doesn’t exploit women, it lacks a storyline (which women don’t necessarily crave), and lesbians dislike the degrading, fake portrayal of women in straight pornography (while taking pleasure in the sex acts of people despite their gender). We ultimately get a picture of women’s true desires, which is extremely transgressive. Pornography has been bad for both men and women, but it could be good for both. The point is that women liking gay porn liberates both sexes. It lets men enjoy the role of the sexual giver for once, and women, the role of the sexual agent, for, in the end, a black-and-white power-division isn’t healthy–a balance is.





The Divine Feminine: an Iron Age Stepford Wife?

22 03 2012

Maybe you are one of them–women, and even some men, who have secreted away from the church pew to summon the goddess in the sacred grove. The trend is growing, it seems. More people are searching for spiritual fulfillment by exploring the “feminine” side of spirituality which is central to so many pagan and New Age traditions, including Wicca, and generally absent from the supposedly more patriarchal male-god religions. But is this “divine feminine“, which forms one half of a duotheistic theology, really such a fair-minded and forward-thinking alternative to male-dominated mainstream religion? As we will see, it might actually reinforce the very patriarchy it seeks to dismantle, and the implications are ominous for women and men alike.

To show how the “divine feminine” movement backfires in its attempt to overturn patriarchy, we must first establish what the concept means. Generally speaking, the “divine feminine” embodies a triad of female archetypes: the Maid, the Mother, and the Crone. Each archetype correlates with a different stage in a woman’s life. The Maid represents the pure and innocent virgin, the mother, the nurturing life-giver and care-taker, and the crone, the wise old teacher–or, potentially, the wicked witch. She is every important aspect of womanhood, or so it would seem, and people pursue the pagan priesthood specifically to pay her homage. She functions as the polar opposite to the male god in a binary which consists of an aggressive, rational, dominant “male energy” and a passive, emotional, submissive “female energy”.We worship her because she complements a strong, disciplinarian masculinity with a weak, nurturing femininity that males supposedly lack.

But, in the stereotypical binary of the weak goddess and strong god, we already see the failure of the divine feminine to dismantle patriarchy. An example of this binary in Chinese philosophy would be the yin and yang, in which a negative, dark, feminine principle complements a positive, bright, masculine one. The divine feminine movement attempts to reclaim female authority from obscurity by extolling the meek, nurturing, yielding nature of the goddess and ignoring her strong, confident, assertive nature—but this is oxymoronic, because it suggests that women’s power lies in their powerlessness. How can women gain power and influence equal to that of men if they are essentially less powerful and influential than men? It just doesn’t make sense. So, with its schizophrenically passive-aggressive, powerful yet powerless goddess, the divine feminine simply gives patriarchy room to flourish.

Now, critics of this view will argue that the binary isn’t really that black and white. “Each man has a feminine side, and each woman, a masculine side”, they will assure you, glowing with pride in their observation. They will point out, for example, that in the yin and yang model, each side has a little bit of the other within it. This is true, but it is also true that the yin is still overwhelmingly dominant and “masculine”, and the yang, overwhelmingly passive and “feminine”, so it doesn’t achieve much to say “there’s a little bit of the other in each”. Besides, it’s a circular argument. Arguing that there is no pure masculinity or femininity, and that each man is a little feminine, and each woman, a little masculine, is a homunculus fallacy, because it still relies on the use of the discrete terms “masculine” and “feminine” to explain gender. Once again, we see how the divine feminine fails to completely liberate male and female from oppressive sex roles.

In addition to the yin and yang model, the fact that the goddess exists almost entirely in relation to males and childbearing presents a problem for the “divine feminine”. The most important role of the goddess is that of the fecund, life-giving, heterosexual mother. She is constantly associated with the earth, fertility, menstruation, pregnancy, and child-bearing. After all, only women can give birth, right? Yes, male fertility is also celebrated in the form of gods like Priapus and phallic cults, but this fertility forms only one aspect of the male god, who is also warrior, judge, poet, and leader, among many other things. The goddess, though, is overwhelmingly associated with nurturing, life-giving fertility, and her sexual relation with the god, as in the sovereignty goddess, an earth divinity whose purpose is to bequeath the land’s power to a man through sexual relations. She is the pure Maid who is sexually desirable to males, as in the Teutonic fertility goddess Ēostre (related to “Easter” and “oestrus”), the Mother who bears her husband’s children, as in Gaia, and the Crone who is useful for nothing more than giving advice and recalling how many miles she had to walk in the snow, and who sometimes represents death, sinister magic, and even cannibalism, as in the child-eating Slavic witch Baba Yaga or the Greek serpent-daemon Lamia. When the woman explores life beyond the hearth and nursery, her unbridled energy necessarily becomes an evil, a transgression against her husband, children, and community. But this isn’t exactly fair. What about girls, sterile women, post-menopausal women, hysterectomized women, lesbians, and women who simply choose not to have children, or even to marry? Most of us would still call these people female, and the vast majority of them are not evil child-eaters, so obviously the “divine feminine”, with its inordinate emphasis on female fertility, fails to represent the many different aspects of female virtue beyond that of childbirth and nursing. It is hard, then, to see a feminist ideal in this Triple Goddess.

The divine feminine is a well-meaning attempt to correct the historical repression of females in mainstream Western religion and spirituality, and in some ways it may have made inroads, but it still falls short of the goal: it presents an oxymoron in the powerlessly powerful goddess, it creates a contradiction by using the terms “masculine” and “feminine” to assure us that there is no pure masculine or feminine, and it describes a goddess whose identity exists almost wholly in relation to men and reproduction. This divinely powerful goddess begins to look like nothing more than an Iron Age Stepford wife. Of course there is nothing wrong with women being compassionate and nurturing, but there is something wrong with women being more compassionate and nurturing than men, especially if all of us are supposed to meet the same, ultimate standard of enlightenment. To reclaim female authority in religion and spirituality, then, we should be exploring the many other aspects of the divine feminine: the warrior, the judge, the poet, the leader, and the good witch. In fact, we should be expanding this to the scientist, the doctor, the politician, and the professor. After all, we no longer live in the Iron Age, and these roles meet the practical demands of the modern day. Simultaneously, we should be exploring the more yielding and nurturing side of the god. By performing this kind of self-scrutiny, we learn from each other and become truly whole human beings.





Julie Gentron and the Lady League, Vol. 1, Ep. 4: The Homosexual!

22 02 2012

Written by Brandon Arkell and Seth Gordon Little

Last time on the Lady League, the ladies were spreading their legs and lighting up London’s nighttime skyline with a blast of super-powered lady plasma, in preparation to confront the dreaded Plastic Demon.

The suite was decorated in whimsical turn-of-the-century art nouveau decor, with a view of the Eiffel Tower through great French doors which opened up on to the balcony. Oswald’s young, handsome male assistant, Frederick, was tidying papers at a desk in front of the main window.

“I’m bored of Paris”, groaned Oswald, clutching a voluminous goblet of wine and gazing outside the window. “Why do I even bother? It farms fashion trends like a soccer mom chugs corporate coffee. All of those simpering mules strolling by—they think they’re the cat’s meow, but, honestly, their City of Lights has grown dim in my eyes, and its fashion, stale.” Frederick turned his head from his work and nodded vacantly in agreement. “They’re nothing more than a bunch of dime-store papier-mâché drag queens strutting their sad plastic corpses down a worn-out catwalk. And now we’re faced with another fashion horror—this new ‘plastique’ line. It’s all over the magazine covers–Vogue, Marie Claire, even Harper’s—a glittering pile of garish, costumey garbage-bags plucked out of The Wizard of Oz or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. What’s wrong with a simple, classic dress? Stick with the basics, I say.” Here he paused briefly, swirling the wine inside his goblet meditatively. “For the life of me, I can’t figure out what the designer’s true identity is. All we know is her initial, ‘P’, but I want to know the true P, what makes her tick, what makes her build such clownish garments, what makes people fawn like puppies at such horrid sartorial monstrosities.” Frederick nodded.

“I need new surroundings, fresh inspiration!” cried the stuffy queen, throwing the emptied wine goblet at the fire-place. “Pick that up”, he said to Frederick, who hurriedly scooped up the shards of glass on the edge of the fireplace, burning himself slightly but keeping his pain to himself. “I crave the shapes, colours, and sounds of avant garde Berlin, wild, exotic Africa, remote, mystical Asia! What I need is a new muse.”

“Racist”, mumbled Frederick under his breath, swabbing his wound and shuffling papers at the desk.

“What was that?!” cried Oswald. “You’re my assistant, wretch, not my sociology professor!” He slapped Frederick with the back of his hand, which was adorned with a large, chunky ring. “I’m paying you to help me write about fashion—and pleasure me—not lecture me on stereotypes!”

“Yes, Mr Oswald”, said Frederick obsequiously, pawing at his abused cheek.

Suddenly there was an explosion of sparkle and glitter as the double doors burst open to reveal Julie Gentron and the Lady League, shrouded in a ball of lady-light. Lupa the Land-Whale clumsily smashed in through the window and tumbled over the desk, lolling about on the ground. Frederick tumbled out of his chair, overcome with shock and amazement. Expensive antique cocktail displays with colourful negro caricatures from the nineteen-twenties, among other accoutrements, were thrown to the floor in the commotion. Oswald dived behind a divan and covered his head.

“Sweet tits of Mary!” screamed the queen.

“Lady League, pose!” cried Julie, stationing herself in the middle of the hotel suite. The ladies gathered themselves and spread their legs in a buffalo stance at Julie’s side. Lupa joined the posse, spreading his stocky legs and placing his fore-fins on his thick hips. His head brushed up against the chandelier, sending a few tear-drop crystals to the floor.

“What in the name of God’s jugs are you—you praying mantises??” cried Oswald, peeking out from behind the divan at the ghastly menagerie before him. “And what is that horrible, gigantic turnip-thing?!” he cried, pointing at Lupa. Lupa lowered his head with shame and frowned. There was a pause, which gave Oswald enough time to analyse their wardrobes. “What’s that??” he hissed, pointing at Donna’s outfit.

“It’s from last season’s Halloween rack at the Bay”, said Donna, looking down at her outfit self-consciously. “It’s kind of retro trashy kitsch, isn’t it?”

“I know what it is, you minx!” grumbled the insufferable bitch. “It’s a throwback to some tacky twentieth century superheroine T.V. series. How gauche. And besides, it’s badly tailored. Look at the seams. And the theme is poorly incorporated into the piece as a whole.” He looked at Frederick for approval. Frederick nodded hesitantly, but turned and glowered.

“Why are you so ruthless??” cried Donna, observing poor Frederick’s reaction. “I thought that the fashion world was full of rainbows, baby-dust, unicorns, and—”

“—and the genius of Simpson Oswald!” cried the queen. He assumed an evangelical tone. “If I were a unicorn,  my aim would be to search out the kind of trash you’re wearing and impale it on my horn of truth! The world of fashion has no room for the lies which you parade.” He stopped and took a few moments to breathe and regain his bearings.

“Sweetie”, said Donna, drawing on a mysterious reservoir of courage, “your world of understated, black-and-grey business wear isn’t fit for a Louisiana trailer park. I Googled you, you prissy little bitch. I’ve seen the garments you made in the fashion department at Oklahoma City Community College. They say one thing: stale, dull, and conservative!” Oswald gasped and cringed in horror.

“That’s three things”, Rosalind said.

“Oh. Yeah. Three things”, Donna said, correcting herself.

“Why, you impudent child!” cried Oswald

“You heartless queen!” returned Donna.

“Girl, I’ll claw you to pieces!”

“Bitch, I’ll crush your queeny ass with one flick of my Lee Press-On Nail!”

Donna and Oswald began to tango, but Donna’s psychokinetic powers got the best of him, trapping him in the pose of a retarded gay Egyptian hieroglyph. He grunted as he fought helplessly against her stranglehold over him. She grinned smugly. Lupa began stamping the ground, flapping his fins up and down and cooing in protest. Another window-pane broke.

“Donna! Mr Oswald!” cried Julie, pressing her breasts outward and assuming an imposing stance. It was enough to cause Lupa to cower, knowing that Julie was the alpha. Donna desisted, and Oswald fell back, regaining his senses. He turned his eyes to Julie.

“Your outfit, on the other hand, is impeccable”, he said, gazing at Julie’s body like a sexually disinterested homosexual infatuated with clothing, “a flawless, streamlined melding of apparel and physique.”

“That’s because you designed it”, said Julie, impatient but flattered.

“I designed this masterpiece??” screamed the queen in disbelief.

“How quickly they forget when they sell their genius for a profit”, said Rosalind contemptuously. “Doesn’t it suit her? She’s a cyborg, after all.”

“Wh–wh–wh–what? One of those icky cyborg things? In my Paris hotel suite? Why on earth?”

“We’re here to save your puny little twig-armed white man’s arse—that’s why!” boomed Rosalind, channelling Grace Jones. Her strong, muscular body glimmered momentarily with a metallic sheen. Julie and Donna nodded in agreement.

“Save me from what?” Oswald was agog.

“Mr Oswald, let me introduce myself”, said Julie with a confident sweep of her shoulders. “I am Julie Gentron, and together my friends and I form the Lady League, a special branch of the Secret Intelligence Service devoted to defending the earth against galactic criminals.”

“Indeed! Except for that one”, he said, glowering at Donna. “Do you always let small-town drag queens follow you around like overly primped puppy dogs?” At this, Donna threatened him with her fingernails; he resumed his station behind the divan, cringing at the psychokinetic mutant.

“Do you always prance around like some useless Project Runway contestant who dropped out of community college with nothing but a pink cotton tank top with a skull-and-crossbones Hello Kitty graphic for a portfolio?” returned Donna, leering at him triumphantly. Lupa remonstrated against Oswald and Donna’s exchange with a low, almost subsonic moan, and the song seemed to have an effect on them, as they began to relax. No-one but Lupa seemed to notice.

“Ladies, please!” cried Julie, standing between the two. Lupa’s big, limpid blue eyes smiled with relief. “This display of oestrogen will get us nowhere. Let’s get to the point of this meeting. Mr. Oswald, we believe that your life is in danger. I realise this must be hard for you to accept, but you must believe me when I tell you that a malevolent and powerful she-thing is working to turn members of the fashion élite into mindless plastic-surgery drones, and you may be her next target.”

“Ba! No one touches Simpson Oswald, least of all some Rubbermaid robot from the Tupperwear Galaxy!” laughed Oswald smugly, dismissing them with a flail of his limp wrist. “I haven’t heard such a farfetched conspiracy theory since Coast to Coast AM said that evil, shape-shifting harp seals were infiltrating the Canadian Parliament. My dears, if I don’t attend this fashion show, I’ll have nothing to say in my next column.” He stopped and scanned Julie. “Why, that’s it! You just hate me—you want to kill my career! The only foe I see is in your jealousy, you viper! If you insist upon hounding me, I shall call for security to remove you and the rest of your wicked brood from my premises.”

“Sir, that is absurd!” said Julie passionately. The other ladies, including Lupa, backed up respectfully. “We don’t wish to destroy your career—the plastic fiend does! If you refuse our help, your entire career will be co-opted by P, who wants to assimilate you! That is why we are here. To help you. To defend you against P. The combined powers of the Lady League are the only way to protect you from this sorceress. Now, if you’ll just—”

“—Very well. I see that your arrogant, heaving bosoms will not desist. Frederick!” he said, summoning his cowering assistant from behind the desk. “Telephone!” Frederick brought Oswald a telephone in the likeness of a statuette depicting a woman in the act of inserting a pear into her bottom. With apparent indifference to this image, Oswald opened up the telephone and turned the rotary dial. A French voice answered.

“Oui. This is Mssr Simpson Oswald, Suite 405. Put me through to security. Security? Oui, Oswald here. What? Speak English. Yes, I’m afraid a throng of squatting harridans have stolen into my suite and wish to kidnap me. I am rather perturbed, naturally. They are quite persistent and flail about like octupi, insulting me and disturbing my evening cold-cream regimen. Will you please send—Allo? Allo?! I demand that you furnish me with sufficient personnel to evict these—”

“—Your kind words beguile my heart, queen”, interjected a strangely soft, purring voice, as if from a synthesiser. The telephone chord silently stirred to life and wrapped itself round the fashion critic’s neck, cutting off the rest of his sentence. “With such sweet sentiment, you warm it to the core, to the hard, brilliant deposit of lust which drives the engine behind this vinyl visage of mine. For this reason I elect you as vice-queen of my holy plastic army. Enjoy wearing my new hot pink, patent leather catsuit with purple-feather epaulets, Sergeant Sodomite. Today is the last day you wear an American-style suit!”

“Wha–? Gak! Help! It’s choking me!”, gurgled Oswald, tearing at the cord round his neck. Frederick flailed in panic, trying desperately to unwrap the cord, but the Lady League acted without hesitation and took over.

“Girls, waste no time!” cried Julie. The skin under her silver body-suit began to squirm; her subcutaneous weapons were preparing for the assault. “It’s the plastic demon trying to take control of objects in her environment. She must be nearby.”

“I hate to side with old dumpy bottoms here”, cried Rosalind, leering at Donna, “but the world is at stake.”  She leaped at the possessed telephone, grasping the receiver in one hand and the cord in the other. “Quick, Donna! Help me get this thing off this tired old queen’s neck!” She had more trouble than usual unwrapping the telephone cord from around Oswald’s neck given her superhuman strength. Obviously some other force was at work.

“Hey! Truck-lady!” said Donna, placing her hands on her hips. “Go grease up something with holes and pistons. If you think I’m going to help save ‘Oklahoma Male Weekly’ over there, with her queen-bee attitude, you’ve got another thing coming. Ass pirate,” she sneered at Oswald. He returned the look.

“Donna! Rosalind!” cried Julie. “We have no time for petty jealousy. For once, stop with your taunting and concentrate your powers! Now! I must rely on you two while I focus on disarming the device.” She stood erect, closing her eyes and pressing her chest outward. Donna half-heartedly followed her captain’s lead by unfolding her arms and dropping her buttocks down on top of the phone’s carriage, burying it within her cheeks. The signal sputtered.

“I’ll admit,” said Rosalind, trying to tear the cord from the queen’s neck, “Donna’s got a point. He’s a cunt. Even if we do convince him that we’re protecting him, what good will it do us? Donna’ll probably end up killing him with her bare hands anyway.” She began to wrap her hands around Oswald’s neck, her fingers intertwined with the cord.

“Girls, I’m surprised at you!” said Julie. “Especially you, Rosalind! We aren’t here to pass judgement on this man! He’s being strangled by a telephone cord, for goodness’ sake!”

“He seems to find no qualms in passing judgement himself”, said Rosalind, increasing her stranglehold. The poor man’s eyes bulged.

“And he’s such a bitch!” said Donna, gliding her fingernails over the poor queen like hovering reconnaissance aircraft.

“God damn it!” screamed Julie, the circuits of her suit suddenly lighting up in response to her mental state. “That’s no excuse! He may be a cold-blooded, ruthless lizard, but that doesn’t mean he deserves to die!”

“Help me, please!” gurgled Oswald. “I’m sorry I was such a supercilious cunt. Maybe I’m wrong about the use of colour and texture—pastels and crushed velveteen are not fashion faux pas! A smokey eye with a dark-red lip is not overdoing it! I give up! Just save me!” Rosalind looked upward snootily, and Donna bore into Oswald’s eyes with a disapproving glower.

“Girls, stop!” said Julie. “We’ll discuss this another time! Donna, stop sitting on the receiver. Use your psychokinetic power to fight the demon!”

“Oh, right. Yeah. Duh!” said Donna, raising her buttocks from the receiver and placing her fingers to her temples. “Sorry for spacing out, Julie. I can do this. I can undo the fiend’s work.” She stood still and concentrated her powers on the cord wrapped around Oswald’s neck. Rosalind assisted by tearing at the cord, and Lupa sang a whale-song which nobody could hear. The cord snapped. Oswald fell back and scurried against the wall, gasping for air. Frederick ran forward to embrace Oswald, who turned him away with a tired groan. Confused, he ran over and embraced Donna, who returned the gesture with a soft pat on the head. Rosalind looked on at Donna approvingly for once, and Lupa stamped up and down, flapping his fins, tears welling up in his big, blue eyes.

“Good”, said Julie, nodding, “but we need more juice to defeat this thing! I’ll deploy a short-distance electromagnetic pulse to short-circuit the apparatus.” She stretched out her arms, her hands curled into fists, and shot forth a beam of gamma radiation that fried the telephone receiver. Meanwhile, Rosalind and Donna were ripping apart the remains of the telephone cord. Finally it dropped to the ground.

“Bahahahahaha!” cackled the sinister voice through the mangled, disconnected receiver. “Your powers may have succeeded in this small trial, Lazy League, but you have yet to defeat my many minions! Soon you shall witness the rise of the demon, and you shall bow at her feet! I’m not going to kill you. Oh, no. I have something far better in mind for you—the beauty of my sweet, immortal caress! Yes, that is right. You shall become like me—plastic!”

The lights flickered and dimmed, as if from a power surge, and all looked at each other in silence.

Stay tuned as the ladies hunt down the inscrutable plastic demon in the next instalment of Julie Gentron and the Lady League!








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