A great idea worth sharing

Seen first over at What Sorts but originally from DataLounge:

Over at The Data Lounge, a recent post with a bright, new idea for those struggling with what to do in light of the push for gay marriage, and (more especially) the push back against it. They report from one gay NYC man who has just had enough:

I no longer recognize marriage. It’s a new thing I’m trying. Turns out it’s fun. Yesterday I called a woman’s spouse her boyfriend. She says, correcting me, “He’s my husband”, and I say, “I no longer recognize marriage.” The impact is obvious. I tried it on a man who has been in a relationship for years,

“How’s your longtime companion Jill?”
“She’s my wife!”
“Yeah, well, my beliefs don’t recognize marriage.”

Fun. And instant, eyebrow-raising recognition. Suddenly the majority gets to feel what the minority feels. In a moment they feel what it’s like to have their relationship downgraded, and to have a much taken-for-granted right called into question because of another’s beliefs. Just replace the words husband, wife, spouse, or fiance with boyfriend, girlfriend, special friend, or longtime companion.

You can have as much fun as you like with this one, and I’m sure the more inventive WILL have a whale of a time with this one. But expect to do more than raise eyebrows. As one of the comments in the threads that follow says something like this:

I did a test run this morning. Man says “wife”. I ask if they were married in a church and then refer to her as his ‘religious companion’. When asked, I told him that my beliefs do not recognize this as a true marriage. He looked like I had punched him in the gut.

After people have that look, they are more likely to lash out at you, even if not immediately. So have as much fun as you like, but don’t be surprised by the rage you’ll provoke!

Subversion! I love it! (sorry I’ve been writing a paper on Judith Butler’s work all day…)

If anyone tries this out, please do let me know how it goes~:)

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Mumbai

Let us suppose that the great empire of China, withall its myriads of inhabitants, was suddenly swallowed up by an earthquake, and let us consider how a man of humanity in Europe, who had no sort of connection with that part of the world, would be affected upon receiving intelligence of this dreadful calamity. He would, I imagine, first of all, express very strongly his sorrow for the misfortune of that unhappy people, he would make many melancholy reflections upon the precariousness of human life, and the vanity of all the labours of man, which could thus be annihilated in a moment. He would too, perhaps, if he was a man of speculation, enter into many reasoningsconcerning the effects which this disaster might produce upon the commerce of Europe, and the trade and business of the world in general. And when all this fine philosophy was over, when all these humane sentiments had been once fairly expressed, he would pursue his business or his pleasure, take his repose or his diversion, withthe same ease and tranquillity, as if no such accident had happened. The most frivolous disaster which could befall himself would occasion a more real disturbance. If he was to lose his little finger to-morrow, he would not sleep to-night; but, provided he never saw them, he will snore with the most profound security over the ruin of a hundred millions of his brethren, and the destruction of that immense multitude seems plainly an object less interesting to him, than this paltry misfortune of his own.

-Adam Smith (1723-1790 CE)

The pangs of grief and nausea of confusion may not touch us so deep as it will native Indians in the wake of this week’s senselessness in Mumbai. Such is the limits of human benevolence. But the world is shrinking; the sufferings of the Far East are nearer to us than they were in the 18th century.

I have a Jewish friend who was scheduled to study abroad in the Rajasthan providence next semester. Seeing as Western tourists and Jews were targeted in the attack, I don’t know how her travel plans will be effected.

I think about what sort of chapter this incident would recieve in Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, which is as much a novel as it is a love-letter to the author’s Bombay of memory.

These are the two lenses through which I survey the tragedy: a friend’s travel plans, and a 28-year-old novel. They are narrow, but let me see further than most in epochs past. The world will only grow closer in the glass as time goes on. Think how close India’s suffering is to us even now; the person at on the other line for tech support might drive past one of the hotels daily, might know one among the 195 dead or hundreds maimed.  

I am the black sheep of a praying family. No one mentioned Mumbai at the Thanksgiving table. Now that I think about it, we barely said grace this year. My 92-year-old grandmother had been in and out of the hospital for the better parts of summer and autumn. My father didn’t think she’d make it through the semester, but she cooked for us all this year, and didn’t miss a beat. No one expressed any thanks for this. Not that I heard.

Pro-ana groups go public

Via Newsweek:

Pro-anorexia, or “pro-ana,” Web sites (with more than one using the “Ana Boot Camp” name) have for years been a controversial Internetfixture, with users sharing extreme diet tips and posting pictures of emaciated girls under headlines such as “thinspiration.” But what was unusual about the site mentioned above (which is no longer available) was where it was hosted: the ubiquitous social networking site Facebook.com. The (largely female) users who frequent pro-ana sites have typically done so anonymously, posting under pseudonyms and using pictures of fashion models to represent themselves. Now, as the groups increasingly launch pages on Facebook, linking users’ real-life profiles to their eating disorders, the heated conversation around anorexia has become more public. Many pro-ana Facebookers say the groups provide an invaluable support system to help them cope with their disease, but psychologists worry that the growth of such groups could encourage eating disorders in others.

As of publication, the “Anorexia” application 258 active monthly user and  56 fans. Facebook puts the disclaimer at the top of the page:

Facebook is providing links to these applications as a courtesy, and makes no representations regarding the applications or any information related to them. Any questions regarding an application should be directed to the developer.
Of course, some members are there for twisted amusement. One of the commenter Eric Van Brunson of the University of Huston writes:
Where da skinny women at?
Another [commenter], Jay Headburg of Huston, TX, writes:
Time for dinner. Oh wait, I’m anorexic! AAAAAAAHAHAHAA
When confronted about his insensitivity, Headburg responds with one word without punctuation:
Nigger
Already there is a 3,300-plus member “Facebook to remove pro-anorexia and bulemia groups”application as well. The members’ intentions are no doubt well meant, but I would rather not see them shut down. Most pro-ana sites are anonymous, and users are silent about their use of them offline. But Facebook is a far more public forum; when activity in the “Anorexia” application shows up in a Newsfeed or profile information, potentially hundreds of friends can know exactly what a sufferer is doing, giving them a better idea of what thier situation is, and how best to confront it.

Congrats, Nepalese!

Via the Hindustan Times:

In a landmark verdict, the apex court in Nepal has given its consent to same-sex marriages, a move that beats off social taboos in the conservative valley.

The apex court on Monday directed the Maoist-led government in Nepal to formulate necessary laws to guarantee full rights to gays, including right to same-sex marriage.

“The court has instructed the government against making any discrimination on the basis of sex. This is a landmark decision for the sexual minorities and we welcome it,” Sunil Babu Panta, a leading gay activist in South Asia and Nepal’s only lawmaker in the Constituent Assembly representing the community, said.

“The court ordered the government to form a seven member committee to formulate laws that recognize same-sex marriages in European countries, ending all types of discriminations against gays and lesbians,” Panta said.

The ruling caps last year’s defining verdict where the court had decided to recognise gay identity and granted them citizenship. There is now a separate column for the third sex in the citizenship certificate.

“The Supreme Court’s order also includes the right to own property and right to employment,” Panta said.

I was mistaken in my original assumption that Nepal was the first non-Western nation to permit same-sex marriage, and reminded  South Korea and South Africa also permitted the practice; and the latter was under aparthied not two decades ago. We’ll figure it out here, too, soon enough.

Impossible (to breach) Question Tuesday

What topic won’t you be able to discuss over Thanksgiving dinner?

How post-partisan will Obama REALLY be?

The organizers of one of his press conferences divided seats into frickin’ White Sox and Cubs-fan sections.

What’s a Colmes?

Apparently, one is leaving The Hannity Happy Angry Hour.