My husband and I had a disagreement the other day on a topic that surprised me. He made the comment that a particular story which won some awards a few years ago shouldn’t have, because it was, as far as he was concerned, a piece of fan fiction, rather than an original tale. I thought it was going to turn into a much more spirited debate, because I have rather strong feelings on the subject. But I barely got a few sentences of my first point out, when he smiled, shrugged, and said, “Okay, I see your point. But I still don’t think the story deserved an award.” And I laughed and replied, “Maybe it didn’t, but that’s a different point than saying it should never have been considered for one.” And he said, “Yeah, I guess.”
And that was it.
Which wasn’t much of a debate. And I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that we wrapped that topic up so quickly, because I think it’s one that deserves more consideration. Which means I’m going to blog about it. Lucky you!
Fan fiction, according to Professor Rebecca Black, “is writing in which fans use media narratives and pop cultural icons as inspiration for creating their own texts.” A lot of people look down on fan fiction, characterizing it as not real writing, often arguing that it is just retelling existing stories, rather than someone telling their own. My first disagreement on that is that all human story telling can be characterized as retelling of existing narratives. Humans have been telling each other stories for tens of thousands of years, and there is no such thing as a wholly original story idea, any longer… Read More…
And one of the others said, “There we go! See, now you’re disagreeing about whether that was an argument! I knew it wasn’t possible for people to live together and never disagree!”
Which caused both of us to explain that a disagreement isn’t an argument. An argument is a usually heated or angry exchange of opposing views with the intent to prove the other person wrong. We disagree about all sorts of things, but we discuss things amiably. And usually we wind up, as we explain our thoughts to each other: either talking ourselves into agreeing, or both realizing we already agree about the big topic and only have a niggle on a side issue, or both coming to the conclusion that either position is a valid one, and each of us have picked one side mostly for reasons of emotion or as a matter of preference.
One of the people at the table shook his head and said, “You guys have no frickin’ idea how a relationship is supposed to work!” And walked away. I think that since we just passed the 19th anniversary of our first date, still living together, and both seem to still be pretty happy about it, that maybe we have at least a notion.
I do get very, very upset when I lose things. And my poor husband has to put up with it while I’m rushing around the house, looking underneath things while I mutter and grumble ever more angrily. Then he tries to calmly work around me, methodically checking more carefully all of places where I might have set my keys down while I was fetching the travel mug I wanted to take with me… Read More…
Contrast this with my first memory of a hospital emergency room. It was about a year later and I was 4 or 5 years old. I had lost consciousness after Dad smacked me around because I had cried when one of his friends that were attending a barbecue in our back yard had scared me. Later, after I woke up, one of the other adults (I think it was one of the wives who was refraining from alcohol so my mother, who was very pregnant at the time, wouldn’t be the only one sober) had realized that I wasn’t kidding when I said there was something wrong with my eyes. The others were eventually convinced that I needed to be taken to a hospital. During the ride to the emergency room, Dad drilled me with the story that I had been running around in the dark playing hide and seek and had climbed somewhere I shouldn’t have, I had been surprised when someone shone a bright light in my eyes, so I fell down and landed on my head. It was made very clear that if I did not stick to this story, not only would I get an even more severe beating when I got home, but that my mother would also suffer… Read More…
This is going to be a quickie, since it’s my husband’s birthday and we’re off to do some furniture shopping as well as celebrate. Also, I’m avoiding answering the phone since some of my family members escalated the grieving process to the crying and screaming at each other stage earlier than I expected. I had thought that wouldn’t happen until after the person who just entered hospice care had actually died. But the dying man is a lifelong abuser, so I should have realized he’d drive people to turn on each other at least one more time.
While we’re on the subject of evil, abusive men, let’s talk about one that didn’t raise me…Hey, so a couple dozen of the people who wrote letters asking for leniency for admitted child molester and former Republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, agreed to allow their identities and the contents of the letters made public (which was the condition the judge insisted on before he would look at any of them). That’s a bit less than half the letters the lawyers originally tried to submit under seal: Tom Delay and ex-CIA director among those who ask judge to go easy on Dennis Hastert.
In case you forgot, Hastert has been indicted for illegally trying to conceal millions of dollars in hush money payments to try to keep the public from learning that when Hastert was a High School football coach he molested at least four of the boys under his supervision. Oh, and he’s also been indicated for lying to the FBI about what all the financial shenanigans are about: Dennis Hastert’s secret gay ‘misconduct’ is even worse given his terrible voting record on gay rights and Dennis Hastert Molested At Least Four Young Boys: Prosecutors.
He’s not being charged with the molestation, which drove at least one of the boys to commit suicide, because conveniently there’s a statute of limitations on sexually molesting children: Dennis Hastert Case Renews Debate Over Sex Crime Statute of Limitations. I think Eileen McNamara, a journalism professor at Brandeis University, puts it best in a quote from that last article:
“Why should a rape victim’s access to the courthouse depend on when the crime was committed?” McNamara wrote then. “There is no statute of limitations on murder because no one thinks the passage of time should shield a killer from answering for his crime. Why should perpetrators of the soul-killing act of rape have such a legal escape hatch?”
Why, indeed, do these hypocrites who rail against other people’s sexuality, and use it to deprive queers, women, and others of civil rights, keep being given these escape hatches?
At the end of the second round, the sore throat came back along with a new, keep-me-up-half-the-night cough. The doctor didn’t like how my lungs sounded, so I got chest and sinus x-rays along with more swabs before the next round of a different antibiotic. And so on.
And each time I was on antibiotics, I felt better, but never completely well. Which both I and my doctor figure was probably because the original viral infection was still lingering. Except during that three month period, at least two other bouts of some sort of cold seemed to run through my office. So it’s possible that it wasn’t one long lingering viral infection, but really three or four unrelated viral infections that each hit me one after the other.
But we have also had a lot of high pollen/allergy alert days during that time. Coincidentally, some of the highest pollen count days happened to occur right after the end of each of the first two rounds of antibiotics. So each time that the sore throat and sinus symptoms started to re-occur, I told myself it was probably just allergies, and didn’t call my doctor right away.
Regardless, it’s been ten days since the end of the last round of antibiotics, with so far no sore throat and no ear ache. I think that means that the bacterial infection is finally gone. And while I’ve been having sore sinuses, congestion, and itchy eyes throughout for that entire time, nothing that isn’t very typical hay fever symptoms have shown up.
But I’m still feeling paranoid. So when I woke up feeling overheated and more congested than usual, I panicked a little. Until I remembered that because of the work being done on the exterior of the house, we’ve closed up all the windows and disabled the air-conditioning vent in the bedroom. It merely took opening the front door when I took out the garbage minutes after waking up to make me feel much more normal.
Though I had pollen alerts on my phone from both a weather app and my pollen tracker, and I see we’re going to be in the red all week. So this congestion and itchy eyes and sinus headache are probably here for the long haul.
Anyway, could you pass me that box of tissue, please?
I’ve written a few times about the case of former Republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, who has pled guilty to charges of trying to illegally conceal large cash transfers he made to pay millions of dollars in hush money in order to prevent the public from learning that while he was a high school wrestling coach he molested at least four of the boys under his supervision. The sexual assaults occurred long enough ago that due to a statute of limitations on such crimes, Hastert can’t be charged with the molestation. (Which prompted the Daily Show to point out, “You’d think something as awful as molesting children would have no statute of limitations”, because things like parking tickets have no statute of limitations, for example.)
There was one interesting little twist this week as Hastert’s sentencing date approaches: The judge in Dennis Hastert’s hush-money case says that if the former House speaker wants letters of support considered during his sentencing, they must be made public. Hastert’s lawyers have drummed up 60 letters of support from various people asking the judge for leniency. However, those letters have been submitted under seal, keeping the identity of the letter writers and the contents of the letters private. Presumably because most of the people (if not all) who wrote the letters only agreed to do so on condition of anonymity. Because no one, particularly no elected official, wants to go on record supporting a child molester. The judge has rightfully pointed out that ordinarily such leniency pleas are part of the public record.
I’ve been harping on Hastert because he was an anti-gay politician when he was in Congress, going so far as to, after promising the parents of Matthew Shephard (who was murdered in a gruesome hate crime) to help pass a hate crime’s bill, actually did everything in his power to kill it (and succeeded). Some reporters have tried to claim that Hastert wasn’t that anti-gay, or at least not as anti-gay as some of his fellow Republicans. Michelangelo Signorile begs to differ: How Dennis Hastert Demonized Gays as Predators While He Was the True ‘Super-Predator’
Hastert, of course, isn’t the only Republican who demonized some people’s sexual lives while engaging is sexual misconduct himself: Cosponsor of Tenn. Transphobic Bill Accused of Sexual Harassment Not just accused—the accusations have been around for months—what has finally happened is the Attorney General’s office has found sufficient evidence against GOP Rep. Jeremy Durham that the rest of the legislature felt compelled to act, and has exiled him to an office in another building and essentially quarantined him from any contact with woman on any legislative staff position. I am very amused at Think Progress’s headline earlier this week about it: The Surprising Sexual Harassment Scandal Accompanying Tennessee’s Anti-Transgender Bill, because the only thing that any reasonable person should find surprising about this is that his fellow republicans have taken any action against their fellow family values champion at all.
The records show that Hastert’s office kept a legislative file titled “Homosexuals,” filled with policy statements from social conservative groups like the Traditional Values Coalition and the Family Research Council that criticized same-sex marriage and Clinton administration efforts to prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians. The file also includes a 1996 Weekly Standard article, “Pedophilia Chic” that warned that “revisionist suggestions about pedophilia” were being embraced by the left…
…What was curiously not in Hastert’s files, according to the Politico report, was anything about the scandal that enveloped former GOP congressman Mark Foley, who was exposed in 2007 for having sent sexually explicit messages to teenage boys in the House page program. Hastert in fact was accused of dragging his feet in dealing with Foley’s activities, his office having known about it for months but either covering it up or simply not acting with the speed expected from the office of a House member who was so concerned about child predators.
And remember those statute of limitations laws in various states that shield child molesters, while letting other, far less severe crimes be punished many many years later. You want to know how those laws came to exist? Disgraced Former NY Assembly Speaker had affairs with at least two women — one a lobbyist, the other a former assemblywoman, court papers show According to records unsealed this week, former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had affairs with two women, one of whom is a former aide turned lobbyist who was hired by the Catholic Church to pressure legislators against a bill that would have extended the time period in which victims of molestation could sue their attackers. Sheldon dropped his support for the bill once his former aide/mistress began lobbying against it. So the sex criminals being shielded were pedophile priests whose victims didn’t speak up while they were still children. Again.
And I have to ask once again, why do any of us ever take any of these anti-sex, anti-gay politicians seriously? There is not one single case of someone using a trans rights law to try to sexually assault someone, but there are hundreds of cases of anti-gay, pro-family elected officials molesting children, sexually harassing or assaulting people, having extramarital affairs, taking their same sex “photographer” who also happens to live with them on taxpayer-funded junkets, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.