RIP Christopher Hitchens

We needed him whether we knew it or not. He was a huge influence on me; I started reading him when he wrote for The Nation and loved his deep passion for politics and for – well, thinking. He was so intense a writer, but always seemed to have such deeply-held beliefs and convictions. He was one of the few men I ever met where you could not escape how goddamned sexy he was – because he was brilliant. His intellect and his passion radiated off him.

He was an inspiration to me, and I’m glad I had a lovely conversation with him many years ago at one of his readings.

His turn toward conservative in these years since 9/11 echoed a similar turn of one of my other favorite writer-heros, John Dos Passos. They weren’t such poor company, really: both of them so in love with the US in some ways, and so deeply critical of it in others.

I’ll miss you, Hitch. I’d say Godspeed but he was the most ardent of atheists, for which I loved him too.

Shit Women Say

I love it, but I have my moments of being a misogynist asshole. That said, I also really can’t stand the way women behave sometimes, because so much of that bullshit is a put-on. That is, if only girls said these things, they wouldn’t annoy me, but when grown women squeal something like “twinsies” it really does make me ill. But there are plenty in here I’m guilty of, too:

And I love Juliette Lewis.

Via Andrew Sullivan.

Recall Update

The good news is that the recall of WI Gov. Scott Walker is on its way, with 500,000 signatures collected from every county in WI.

I may not actually be in Wisconsin right now, but I’m happy to see some good reports coming out of the recall effort, like this one, about where the signatures – and donations – are actually coming from.

People drove up to sign petitions who had actually voted for Walker in the 2010 election; but seeing the effects of his policies on their neighbors, the loss of jobs, and the power he now holds, felt compelled to sign the petition. One woman, signing with her adult daughter, stated ”…this isn’t what I voted for.”

These stories are being repeated all over the county, and indeed, the state. They are being told by a community of people who understand, whether Republican or Democrat, that as a society we have an obligation not only to the people we see every day – but to the strangers who may be the weakest and neediest among us. The word-of-mouth stories from neighbor to neighbor are becoming the most powerful message in the recall battle. No amount of money can overcome a factual accounting of the negative impact Scott Walker is having when conveyed by a familiar and trusted friend.

It looks like they will have more than enough signatures to withstand the scrutiny these petitions will receive, too.

Andrej Pejic in Push-Up Bra Ads

Oh, I love the gender deconstructing that’s going on in the wake of Andrej Pejic’s career. Now, he’s in ads for a “super push up” bra.

The most common plastic surgery for men is for gynecomastia – that is, to remove breast tissue.  That said, if most guys with gynecomastia looked like Pejic, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t bother.

Wow is he the Hotness.

(via Jezebel)

Introverts, Redux

Another interesting piece about introverts: this one the “10 myths about” model. Here are my favorites, or the ones that are the best expression of my version of introvert:

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

I’d add that even though he points out that introverts aren’t shy, they aren’t shy because they’re introverts, but sometimes we are independent of the introvert thing.

Trans Etiquette Graphic

I don’t like the way “transphobic” is thrown around – when often, what’s at work is ignorance. When I talk about non-trans attitudes toward trans people and identities, I refer to it as “trans etiquette” – as in, give people a chance to learn how not to be ignorant and rude before deciding they’re transphobic.

If they persist in re-gendering people, asking surgical status or for a “real” name, then they’re just assholes.

Fair Wisconsin Leadership Conference Jan 13-15

The Fair Wisconsin Education Fund is hosting its first ever Leadership Conference, to take place in Milwaukee from January 13th – 15th. Why go to a Leadership Conference?

1. Meet other LGBT and allied leaders from around the state. The Leadership Conference will be a wonderful opportunity to connect with LGBT and allied people working to advance equality in their local communities.  Share your experiences and gain support from people just like you who care about building a fair and just Wisconsin.

2. Learn new information and skills from local and national leaders. The Leadership Conference will offer an array of interesting and useful workshops to broaden your knowledge and help you to acquire new skills and tools to become a leader in the LGBT equality movement in Wisconsin.

3. Be a part of something new.
This conference is a new opportunity that we have never seen before.  Don’t miss out on being the first to participate in what is poised to be a hugely successful program!

4. Strengthen the movement. The Leadership Conference is a prime opportunity to build a strong base of support for the LGBT movement in Wisconsin.  Join us as we build a fair Wisconsin together.

5. Celebrate and have fun! No conference is complete without some fun and celebration!  Work hard and play hard at the first ever Fair Wisconsin Education Fund Leadership Conference!

Student registration is only $35! I’ll be there, and Chaz Bono is doing the keynote speech.

On the Road

I probably won’t be posting too much for a while, as we leave tonight for three weeks elsewhere – one week, first, in Florida with my mom, and then two weeks in & around our beloved NYC.

So for now, have a lovely December!