It is ironic in the extreme that there are people out there who are very vocal about their feelings or so-called "moral convictions" on what you or I do in our private lives, who we love, how we choose to express ourselves, about what makes us happy or how we differ from them in any way, shape or form - regardless of whether or not we cause any harm to anyone else or not.
The irony of course lies in the detail that the same folks can't stand the heat when others apply the same heat to them in the same kitchen.
I'm a firm believer in the principle that what you believe is your own business. That is because by implication it also means that what I believe is none of your business. Conversely, what we do out of our beliefs that affects other people - such as either good works or acts of bigotry or terror - are everybody's business.
So where people plan to blow up buildings, or themselves in order to kill and maim other people, because they believe it will "somehow" make a better world - then as far as I'm concerned, that is where these beliefs become my business. If people want to force private businesses to sell their beliefs by threatening them with boycott and closure, then I want to know about it. If people want to force TV and the media to report from a particular bias or to enforce a particular religious view on society, I want to know about it. When people want to force their personal beliefs on government and through government, onto society then we should all be alarmed. What I mean by this, is entrenching the religious beliefs of one group into law so that all people have to abide by them in their daily and private lives. (In case you haven't noticed, all the above has been happening here in SA lately.) Where people are put on the rack for who they happen to have a relationship with, or what gender their partner is (or was), or put on trial for what they believe where it doesn't harm anyone, then what business is it of mine (or yours) to sit in judgment of them? Are you that person? Am I? Have we lived that person's life, walked in their shoes? Have we rolled with the same punches they had to? Are they going to be the ones to hold them at night when they lie there, alone and unhappy, telling them "Thanks to me your life is shit - but it's ok, at least now you can go to heaven"? I didn't think so.
I carry a dead relationship around everywhere with me. It’s my hobby. How lucky to have a job that’s also my hobby, To do it all the time. A few people notice, and ask if they can help carry this thing. But, like an alcoholic scared they will hear the clink of glass in the bag,
I refuse—scared they’ll smell rottenness, Scared of something under their touch That will cave in, a skin over brown foam on a bad apple.
I cram this thing over the threshold Into the cold and speechless house, Lean against the front door for a moment to breathe in the dark, Then start the slow haul to the kitchen. Steel knives catch the moonlight on white tiles.
This dead relationship.
Or not yet dead.
Or dead and half-eaten, One eye and one flank open, like a sheep under a hedge.
Or dead but still farting like the bodies in the trenches, Exploding with their own gas. Hair and nails still growing. It has the pins and needles of returning feeling in a deadness. It is a reptile in my hand, quick and small and cool; The flip of life in a dry, cold bag of loose skin. A pressure without warmth of small claws and horn moving on my palm.
At night it slips slow but purposeful across the floor towards the bed. Next thing it’s looking out of my eyes in the morning— And in the mirror, though my eyes are not my own, My mouth shows surprise that I am still there at all.
Oh, a sickness that can make you so ill, Yet doesn’t have the decency to kill you. A mad free-fall that never hits the ground, Never knows even the relief of sudden shock; Just endless medium-rare shock, half-firm, half-bloody all the time. A long, slow learning curve. The overheating that can strip an engine badly, Strain it far worse than a racing rally. The fear that you will slow to a stop Then start a soft, thick, slow-gathering roll backwards.
I want something that is familiar but not. To feel in someone else’s pocket for a key While they lean away, laughing, their arms up, Hands in the air covered in grease or dough or paint or clay.
I have to carry it around. A weeping mother brings a baby to hospital, Late-night emergency. The tired doctor smooths the hand-made lace back from its face. He sees it was stillborn weeks ago, has been dead for weeks. He looks at her, there is no air in the room…
This dead relationship. This dead and sinking ship. Bulbs lie, unplanted, on a plate of dust. Dry and puckered pouches, only slightly mouldy; Embalmed little stomachs but with hairy, twisted fingers, Waiting for something to happen without needing to know what it is. When it happens everything else in the universe can start.
This dead relationship.
I am this thing’s twin. One of us is dead And we don’t know which, we are so close.
- Katherine Pierpoint
He was a musician, a lyricist, but he didn’t like poetry. Can you make sense of that?
By now the entire city (the entire nation most likely) has either seen or heard about the nude pictures posted online of the Portland Trail Blazers’ #1 draft pick Greg Oden. They were flat, tabloid style, internet quality, mirror and cell pictures that garnered an immediate and outrageous reaction from fans, local and national media alike. At first glance, I saw a fairly unremarkable penis. However, for those of us that were up early enough, one could practically hear Portland’s collective hearts drop: another Greg Oden problem and another tragic circumstance to add to the list. Right after “Tragedy: 579874398745986: Brandon Roy sustains recurring and nagging injury-Sidelined Indefinitely” we can now add, “Tragedy: 579874398745987: Greg Oden has nude pics all over the internet and beyond”.
I was at my boring desk job today, and my co-workers were talking about the Tiger Woods scandal in my earshot. They know a lot more than I do about the Tiger Woods scandal, because I haven't read a single article past the headline - because I really don't care. I don't play or watch golf, and most athlete/Hollywood celebrity scandals are tediously interchangeable, and Tiger Woods and I just don't have much influence over each other's lives. I don't feel a need to start caring about him now; if you're reading this outside of the U.S. and don't know what I'm talking about, Google him.
But one of my co-worker's more incredulous comments made me cringe with silent frustration: "And he's married to a supermodel!! And he cheated on her anyway!"
Okay, so here's the thing about sex with more than one person: Sometimes it really has nothing whatsoever to do with the original partner. I'll admit, of course, sometimes it does. Sometimes people first fall out of love with their "primary" significant other for any number of examples of incompatibility, and they stick around a doomed relationship either because they're too afraid to be alone until they find the next partner, or because they're too afraid to hurt the other person's feelings (which invariably backfires), or because of habit. Then they lie to their partners or spite them, which is where the real betrayal happens. I take it (from osmosis) that Tiger Woods lied to a lot of women, which makes him a liar. The women who trusted him have every right to feel outrage toward a liar, and I wouldn't begrudge any self-righteous co-worker banter over that.
A friend of mine asked me today to write a more in depth blog post about pubic hair: how people groom, shave and wax, do girls do it more than guys and stuff like that. I figured I should poll some friends and ask them if they 1. altered their pubic hair and 2. what methods they use. Perhaps I over stepped some boundaries when I sent quite a few people the following facebook message:
"Hey, I’m doing a very informal poll for an article I’m writing on pubic hair and it would be very helpful if you could answer these questions for me.
Do you alter your pubic hair on a regular basis? If yes, do you trim, shave, wax, etc? Olga"
Most people responded with very short answers that contained a yes, or a no, and the method used. One friend sent me a fabulous account of all the changes this habit has undertaken in her life and another asked whether it was confidential and suggested I might be more forthcoming with details in further messages. I agree, I didn’t really put much thought into my email, and I have to admit I pretty much copied and pasted the first message I sent out, which happened to be to a friend who wouldn’t be bothered by the directness of my approach and would automatically know it was for this blog.
How can an industry that bears all to its consumers ever consider privacy to be a hot topic? The story of the possible infection spread rapidly throughout the community and even into mainstream press. I was personally contacted by Los Angeles's Tribune affiliate KTLA for a quote after the reporters there picked up the story from the Los Angeles Times.
As I write this article, what did not make it into the press were the actual identities of the performers infected or exposed in this most recent outbreak.
Dr. Sharon Mitchell, director of the AIM Healthcare Foundation, declined to make the identities of those performers known, citing confidentiality issues.
What Mitchell was referring to was a rather unknown law within the industry, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Within HIPAA are confidentiality provisions of the Patient Safety Rule that prevent, in certain circumstances, the public disclosure of private healthcare information of a patient by a medical provider, health plan and health care clearing houses.
"Family Values groups and other opponents of free speech routinely use the terms 'pornography,' 'obscenity' and 'child pornography,' interchangeably, in the attempt to cause confusion in the mind of the public, and intentionally link perfectly legal content with evidence of a horrific crime."
A favorite trick of the censors in this country is to blur the lines between protected speech, in the form of adult erotica on the one hand, with patently illegal material, in the form of child pornography on the other, by mixing the two at every opportunity. Family Values groups and other opponents of free speech routinely use the terms "pornography," "obscenity" and "child pornography," interchangeably, in the attempt to cause confusion in the mind of the public, and intentionally link perfectly legal content with evidence of a horrific crime. The media often plays along, whether through ignorance or complicity, and refers to the new child porn arrest as a "Pornography Bust."
All of this helps convince the public through confusion, that pornography has something to do with abuse of children, and that all of it is probably illegal somehow. In some jurisdictions, law enforcement investigators seize every chance to mix these concepts in a blender, by charging defendants with obscenity as well as child pornography, no matter how remote the connection, or how strong the evidence. Some evidence of this can be found in a couple recent cases initiated by the Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd. This is the same Sheriff made famous by declaring that he had jurisdiction to regulate anything online, so long as it was available for download in Polk County, Florida. According to Judd:
"But it makes no difference, because if you fed that server or you could receive information off that server in this county, then it gives us jurisdiction. ... Technically I could charge someone in Kansas, if I received child pornography here, obtained a warrant and had him extradited from Kansas and tried here."