Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Poppy Z. Brite and Various Depressing Hyperlinks

Which one of you people recommended Poppy Z. Brite's books to me? Because 90% of the books I ask for or buy these days are books that were originally recommended to me by LiveJournal people, but I don't always remember who recommended what and it's been too long since I originally obtained the Poppy Z. Brite book that I finally got around to reading today for me to remember where I got the recommendation from anymore. Whoever you are, what did I ever do to you to deserve such vengeance? See, I'd already had quite a few encounters before this with the William Burroughs/Dennis Cooper/Bruce Benderson/etc. school of fiction in which EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER IN THE ENTIRE BOOK AND EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER HAS EVER MET OR EVEN SO MUCH AS WALKED BY ON THE STREET AT ANY POINT IN THEIR ENTIRE LIVES HAS NOTHING BUT A SMELLY ROTTING DEAD FISH WHERE THEIR HEART SHOULD BE, and although invariably the writers who write in this genre string words together in very artistically skilled sentence structures, I really can't say that their skill with words was enough to prevent all my encounters with their books from being really rather unpleasant experiences. Up until I read this book today, though, all my encounters with this school of writing had been via male authors, and I was permitted to vaguely wonder whether it was some sort of male thing. Now there will be no further gender stereotyping, because Poppy Z. Brite is a woman and Poppy Z. Brite's fiction is at least as utterly desolate and grotesque and designed to totally ruin your ability to enjoy life as all of those male authors put together. So whichever one of you it was who once recommended Poppy Z. Brite to me a year or two ago, don't remind me of who you are, because I won't thank you for it, because I'm too busy being disturbed that this book has now temporarily utterly destroyed my ability to ever even look at my own skin without my mind being flooded with images of what I would look like murdered and chopped to pieces on the floor. And if you do remind me of who you are, I will refuse to ever read any other books that you like ever again.

Ahem. And now, on with my usual business of hyperlinking to deeply upsetting news stories that will totally ruin your happy mood. Maybe that's what prompted someone out there to seek revenge by inflicting similarly upsetting reading on me in return.

"The Envoy Who Said Too Much" tells the story of torture in Uzbekistan: "People come to me very often after being tortured. Normally this includes homosexual and heterosexual rape of close relatives in front of the victim; rape with objects such as broken bottles; asphyxiation; pulling out of fingernails; smashing of limbs with blunt objects; and use of boiling liquids including complete immersion of the body. This is not uncommon. Thousands of people a year suffer from this torture at the hands of the authorities."

Meanwhile, over in Sudan, a Sudanese refugee woman interviewed by Amnesty International tells her own story: "Five to six men would rape us, one after the other, for hours during six days, every night. My husband could not forgive me after this, he disowned me."

And right here on LiveJournal, a post about sexual violence by misia is receiving nearly as many responses from creepy people saying things like "Rape is fun!" and "I rape people all the time!" and "Please rape me!" and "People who get raped were asking for it!" as responses from people with hearts who actually care.

On a sort-of-related topic, "Mistaken Identity" is a quite long but well worthwhile article about four MTF transsexuals who regret their sex changes, plus one who doesn't regret it. Some of them regretted it because they made the decision too fast, but some of them regretted it because creepy Christian fundamentalists "s[ought] to reconcile transsexuals with the bodies they were born with" - after those transsexuals no longer had those bodies anymore, when the only thing that "reconciling" them could accomplish was to make them more unhappy and pressure them into having all remaining genital tissue removed from their bodies completely! Aieeee! You know, I do worry that the people who make their money off the sex change industry (or the plastic surgery industry in general) are sometimes excessively inclined to present unhappiness with one's body as having only one possible solution (to change one's body) rather than two possible solutions (to change one's body or one's mind) which each have different pros and cons in different cases and which may not be equally fast or equally easy but they should still both at least be considered before coming to that conclusion - so if the fundies were to come up with a way to spare some pre-op pre-hormones tranny somewhere the expense and social difficulty of transitioning by just making them happy the way they are, I would say good for them. But to go around "reconciling" people to bodies that they don't actually have anymore - to deliberately make people dislike and be more uncomfortable inhabiting the bodies that they actually do have now! I have no words for how evil these people are. How do fundies ever manage to sleep at night?

Have I depressed you enough yet? Okay then. I'll leave you with one article that's actually sort of encouraging, though only by way of lots of discouragingness first. Have you been worrying about how to stop the U.S. government from bullying other countries? Well, worry no longer! "The Unbearable Costs of Empire" argues that the world won't really need to worry about the U.S. government bullying other countries for much longer, because sometime within the next two to ten years the national debt is going to catch up to the U.S. government and it won't be able to borrow any more money to finance more bullying. Which is good. I think. Except that if you're American, it might hurt your pocketbook a little. But for most of the world it's good, and if you're an American living near a prime terrorism target, it might increase your life expectancy, which is also good, unless of course you're a horrible person who the world is better off without, but since you're reading my journal I'm assuming you're not. So it's mostly good. There, see? I actually posted an optimism-inspiring hyperlink! now you can kindly refrain from recommending any more Poppy Z. Brite books to me.
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