Ignorance is Not Bliss for the People Around You

I would like to share my reply to a comment I found for an article about how the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer is so anti-feminist. This comment I am replying to responds to a comment above which pretty much says Twilight misrepresents the ideals of the Church of Latter Day Saints.

Original Comment:

I also agree with everything in this article and the post above me. Being an LDS youth, nothing irked me more than seeing Mrs. Meyer’s undertones in this piece of “literary” work.

And, like the above post mentioned, Edward and Bella wait until they are married – but that doesn’t stop them from coming too close. Mrs. Meyer scuffed out the line between chaste affection and smut with the four books, and now hundreds of young LDS girls think it’s okay to neck and touch because Mrs. Meyer is LDS and her books teach that it’s okay to do that kinds of things. And parents don’t do anything, because Mrs. Meyer is LDS and her books MUST be okay to read. I work at a bookstore, and it’s almost sad to see parents coming in and telling me, “Oh, my nine year-old daughter loves these books. She’s going to be so excited I’m getting her this one!”

There are more LDS themes than abstinence. Mrs. Meyer tries (and does so poorly) to enter themes of eternity and living together forever by the end of her books. She hardly succeeds. What she has succeeded in is breaking down the vampire stereotype that has been in the making for hundreds of years. Vampires are not supposed to be sexed up. The original Dracula was an ugly old man who thirsted after blood before anything else. (Read the book by Stoker; it’s very fabulous.) But Mrs. Meyer seems to think it’s okay to crush this idea. I’m not saying that new ideas are unacceptable, but Mrs. Meyer leaves little room for other options. ALL of her vampires are sexy, sparkly, toned, good-smelling…things. To enter back the idea of an ugly old vampire will not succeed, simply because of the fact that rabid fangirls will crush the figure instantly and cling to their marble-chested, alabaster, stone-skinned sex-god. Mrs. Meyer has brought in this new figure and obliterated everything else. We see how this generation is being brought up. It’s sad.

My response:
I’m sorry, but Meyer castrated the vampire myth; she definitely did not sex up her vampires. Vampires on principle should be overly sexual and wanton creatures: that is where all of their scare comes from. They are such a perversion of morality and goodness because of what they are and how they behave that people should hate them. Stoker’s three female vampires dripped with sex and definitely provided Harker with more ecstasy than his lovely Mina ever could and I think it is incredibly ignorant of you to think that Dracula being old and ugly meant all vampires should be old and ugly. Not to mention the outrage Dracula portrayed at the lovely vampires feasting upon Harker when he stumbled upon them; Dracula may well have been homosexual. Seeing as you thought Dracula was such a great novel, I’m baffled that you should think Meyer “sexed up” her vampires. But Stoker wasn’t the first to sex up his vampires: vampires have been overly sexualized from the origin of the myth. Lilith is often considered a vampire figure: as a demoness of illness and death, she preyed on newborn children and copulated with men in their sleep to spawn hundreds of demons each day. She can be seen as a Succubus figure. Lamia, often seen as the Ancient Greek vampire, seduced men so she may drink their blood and consume their flesh. Does any of Meyer’s vampires ever seduce or even drip with sex? No.

Meyer created her vampires to be completely asexual. If Edward were a Victorian vampire, he’d be bisexual, have sex with anyone he pleased, and the entire series would be considered smut. If Edward were anything like Lilith or Lamia, he’d have wooed Bella into some sort of romance and then kill her and drain her blood. He does nothing of the sort. The entire series is filled with heterosexual couples who probably sleep in separate beds and barely touch each other at all. What I found completely amazing is the number of people who let the vampire myth be so distorted by an LDS author. Who in their right minds would enjoy reading Harry Potter as written by a Catholic priest? Who in their right minds would enjoy reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin as written by the KKK? Who in their right minds would allow such a moral and religious figure to rape the vampire myth – a myth so filled with sex and unconventional sexual orientations?

Have you read any Anne Rice? Her Lestat pretty much turned his gay lover into a vampire because he seriously wanted some of that body. Or maybe you’ve heard of Carmilla, the lesbian vampire who preys on young women? The vampire myth has always been of very sexual creatures who feed upon humans. Meyer’s creatures are neither sexual or feed upon humans.

Nikki Giovanni Poems for ENG 242

The Lion In Daniel’s Den (by Nikki Giovanni)

on the road to damascus

to slay the christians

saul saw the light

and was blinded by that light

and looked into the Darkness

and embraced that Darkness

and saul arose from the great white way

saying “I Am Paul

who would slay you

but i saw the Darkness

and i am that Darkness”

then he raised his voice

singing red black and green songs

saying “I am the lion

in daniel’s den

I am the lion thrown to slaughter”

 

do not fear the lion

for he is us

and we are all

in daniel’s den.

 

Kidnap Poem

ever been kidnapped
by a poet
if i were a poet
i’d kidnap you
put you in my phrases and meter
you to jones beach
or maybe coney island
or maybe just to my house
lyric you in lilacs
dash you in the rain
blend into the beach
to complement my see
play the lyre for you
ode you with my love song
anything to win you
wrap you in the red Black green
show you off to mama
yeah if i were a poet i’d kid
nap you

 

Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why)

I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
that only glows every one hundred years falls
into the center giving divine perfect light
I am bad

I sat on the throne
drinking nectar with allah
I got hot and sent an ice age to europe
to cool my thirst
My oldest daughter is nefertiti
the tears from my birth pains
created the nile
I am a beautiful woman

I gazed on the forest and burned
out the sahara desert
with a packet of goat’s meat
and a change of clothes
I crossed it in two hours
I am a gazelle so swift
so swift you can’t catch me

For a birthday present when he was three
I gave my son hannibal an elephant
He gave me rome for mother’s day
My strength flows ever on

My son noah built new/ark and
I stood proudly at the helm
as we sailed on a soft summer day
I turned myself into myself and was
jesus
men intone my loving name
All praises All praises
I am the one who would save

I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
the filings from my fingernails are
semi-precious jewels
On a trip north
I caught a cold and blew
My nose giving oil to the arab world
I am so hip even my errors are correct
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
the earth as I went
The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid
across three continents

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

I mean…I…can fly
like a bird in the sky…

 

Poem For Unwed Mothers (to be sung to “The Old F.U. Spirit”)

It was good enough for the virgin mary

It was good enough for mary

It was good for the virgin mary

It’s good enough for me

 

Chorus.

Translations of the Tao Te Ching

By Steven Gregory.

One of the oldest texts in the world, the Tao Te Ching, also happens to be one of the most widely translated books in history. Although its true origins are somewhat unknown, its teachings are said to have began sometime during the Zhou Dynasty, when, as fable has it, a woman finally gave birth to a wrinkly baby with grey hair, after more than 50 years (62 years according to legend) of pregnancy. Laozi, or ‘Old Master’, began teaching himself in the high courts, and soon became disillusioned with the Chinese government and decided to leave. Before leaving however, a guard on China’s border pleaded the wise man to write down his teachings, and thus the Tao Te Ching was born. Composed of 80 chapters, or small poems, Laozi’s teachings deliver a broad spectrum of thought-provoking philosophy that has actually evolved into a religion. Eventually this ancient text was introduced to the West, but unfortunately because there are many cultural and idealistic concepts present in this book for which the West has no knowledge of (or even a word for), the translations are heavily subjective and based on interpretation of the translator. There tend to be three major categories of translations however, the literal translation, the poetic translation, and of course the political translation.

Undoubtedly the most controversial and interpretative chapter is the first. Although across the many translations it expresses the same principal idea, language and diction gives the text different connotations. For example, in the translation by Ursula K. Le Guin, the excerpt, “So the unwanting soul sees what’s hidden, and the ever-wanting soul sees only what it wants” the wording is expressed in a more poetic undertone, suggesting its meaning in not only a physical, but a spiritual sense, unlike the more materialistic translation by S. Mitchell stating, “Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations” which expresses the same general idea, just in a more interpretative and physical sense, rather than with the spiritual aspect. Similarly, Mitchell’s opening chapter states, “The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name” which does attempt to interpret any Eastern concepts, is generally more difficult to understand because of this, compared to the much more flowery “A way can be a guide, but not a fixed path; names can be given, but not permanent labels.” In this translation by Thomas Cleary, the Tao is interpreted to be ‘A way’, a Western idea that does not actually have the same meaning as ‘The Tao’. In fact, the distinction is even made between this ‘way’ as being not a path to follow, but a ‘guide’, even though The Tao is really neither.

In similar fashion, the 77th chapter is an excellent example of how the Tao Te Ching can be interpreted in a more political sense, focusing on the physical and moral implications amongst a greater society. The excerpt “Those who try to control, who use force to protect their power, go against the direction of the Tao. They take from those who don’t have enough and give to those who have far too much. ” by S. Mitchell chiefly exemplifies this by establishing the presence of the very specific ‘force’ and ‘power’, both words that are usually associated with the government. This is a very political interpretation of the Tao Te Ching as opposed to Yi-Ping Ong’s “It is the Way of Heaven to remove where there is excess and add where there is lack. The way of people is different: they take away where there is need and add where there is surplus” which uses words like ‘excess’ and ‘lack’ that are much more broad and encompassing, thus expanding the overall meaning of the passage beyond just the implied idea of controlling force like a government.

These minor differences amongst the many translations of the Tao Te Ching may not seem like important elements of Taoism, but for a Westerner reading such a translation it may in fact have a surprising effect on that persons view and understanding of The Tao. This is why it is quite important for readers to try and see these various interpretations. This also points to the immense flexibility of the already ambiguous text and philosophy.

Gay Characters in Comic Books

(Facebookers, please ignore the double posting)

I always thought I hated comic books. As a kid I avoided shows like X-men and Batman and TNMT, and I have no idea why. Point being, until my favorite kick ass Vampire slayer (Anita Blake) was turned into a comic book, I never read any comics at all. After Anita, I picked up X-Men: The End, and I was stricken with Emma Frost, after that I went on to explore more interesting characters, and actually bought comics for the first time in my life (as a 19 year old no less) I fell in love with Sabretooth, Emma Frost, Mystique, the Silver Surfer, Storm and especially with Deadpool (“Do I still think in those little boxes? Oh how I missed you, what fun we shall have!”)

Shortly after Anita Blake came out, I thought of transferring my favorite creation (Merrick Anatole Silvak) from novel to comic book, I even wrote a small script and drew a small story board that sucked and I scrapped, along with the script. I suspected that the majority of comic book readers (male, straight, teens-thirties) would really not be too interested in a megalomaniacal gay sorcerer (if at all) So I moved on to writing short stories and fantasy novels that included strong leading female and gay characters, ignoring the comic aspect of speculative fiction.

I eventually came up with my new favorite creation, a bisexual teen living vampire named Kevin James Lancaster (no, I did not intend for it too sound like Harry James Fucking Potter, it just unfortunately happened) and then I really wanted to see a bi character in a comic. Then on June 1st, someone told me about American Comic’s first gay kiss between Rictor  and Shatterstar*

So, I googled (I LOVE google, you can know the basics of virtually anything in a manner of minutes!!) and found that there is a medium sized list of gay superheroes that I was unaware off (I was aware of Emma Frost’s brother Christian, but that’s it, and he had no powers)

First off on the list was obviously Batman and Robin, which is just speculation and the creators deny it, and I myself don’t believe it, but apparently, many people do believe it.

Then on the list is the uber-flamboyant, HIV-positive Hispanic Extrano (Strange in English) in 1988. He could use magic and I consider him generally not interesting.

Alan Moore (one of my favorite comic writers) was the next one to explore Gay and Lesbian Themes in V for Vendetta and Watchmen (That’s probably why he’s a favorite of mine, plus he’s British). At about the same time that The Sandman ( Neil G-something, the same dude who wrote Stardust I think, correct me if I’m wrong, I’m writing from memory here) was exploring themes of transexuality.

Then came Apollo (a superman archetype character) and Midnighter (a batman archetype character) who actually got married and adopted a daughter. I am personally not a fan of Apollo, but Midnighter’s violent take on life I very much enjoy. (I likewise hate both Batman and Superman, I am very much a Marvel kind of person) At this point I realized that Marvel’s giant leap forward was actually long after Apollo and Midnighter got married. Apparently, the Big Gay Kiss happened in the year 2000. Windstorm the publisher of the comic is related legally somehow to DC, and I can’t bloody figure out how. Oh and they’re a British Branch. So no American.

Because I’m on a DC roll, I would like to add now, that the newest incarnation of Batwoman (Kate K-something) is lesbian, and since I’m not a DC comics person, I really don’t know much about that.  (and DC seems generally homophobic, except for Apollo and Midnighter).

But I do know that the amazing Mystique (we’re talking Marvel now, so this I do know) and Destiny (who can tell the future and is blind, wow, big surprise) were lovers, but it was all hush-hush because of Marvel’s ridiculous “no gay” rule. I am not too sure how I feel about the whole sensitive Destiny, very feminine and kick-ass bitch Mystique all in control of the world being a couple because it seems to play too much on the whole masculine lesbian, feminine lesbian, masculine gay, effeminate gay thing. But overall, since I love Mystique, I am willing to overlook what as Moore calls it “that strange attitude towards gays” oh, and Destiny, who I previously hinted that I believed was a boring character, was murdered, so Mystique is alone again.

Then I came across THE couple: Hulkling and Wiccan from Young Avengers (ok, when I said I hated DC I was omitting the Teen Titans) Hulkling is a teen version of the Hulk archetype (not a teenage Bruce whatshisname, just a similar personage ability wise) who is part Skrull and part something else who can shape shift, become somewhat Hulk-like and has the necessary healing factor to go with it (btw, I am not a huge fan of the Hulk or She-Hulk [horrible sexist name] but the 2008 movie was good, therefore I thought I would likewise hate a character named hulkling, but I was wrong) Wiccan is a teenage, male version of another favorite female character of mine, Scarlet Witch. And he totally kicks ass, just like Wanda, plus he’s a guy that adds points to his awesomeness. Their relationship was hinted at from the very beginning, but was confirmed in issue twelve (I think) when they had a very sentimental and cute and awesome set of panels where they decide they are dating, they should go looking for Scarlet Witch, take a trip together, et cetera. ( I can’t do the relationship justice in words).  I absolutely love this couple and I can’t wait for the peck on the cheek that has to come next (unless it already happened and I am already behind again, which happens all the freaking time!!) My favorite quotes from this pair are the following:

“My name’s Billy Kaplan and its official, I have the coolest boyfriend EVER!” – Wiccan

And:

Wiccan: Why bother, he never listens

Hulkling: Hey, I heard that

Wiccan: Oh sure, NOW he listens.

Which I find adorable.

Anyway, in reading this I realized that Northstar is gay, which I someone managed to miss. I have absolutely no idea how I missed it, but I did. And in the Ultimate X-Men incarnation he dates Colossus, no joke. Other noteworthy gay characters in the Marvel universe (recent Marvel universe) are Anole, a lizard-type mutant who was supposed to commit suicide but didn’t cause he’s cool like that. Three characters who I had to wiki cause I have no bloody clue who they are: Phat, Vivisector (sounds too much like viviparous to me, made me laugh, get it? he’s gay and he’s called Vivisector?) and Bloke, all three characters are mercifully dead.  Also included in wiki’s list (which I found far too late in my writing) is someone named Graymalkin who sounds like a character with awesome potential (all of his abilities only work when he’s in the dark!!)  Anole by the way was mentored by Northstar (that was somehow important) Oh and a lesbian character named Karma was listed somewhere in there too.

Ok this brings about the end of my initial look into gay comic book characters. I have a few personal last words.

As a gay man living in America, I appreciate the fact that there are gay superheroes who do not remind me of the gay people I unfortunately know. I say this because I believe that people, gay, bi, straight, or asexual, are all meant to be self-reliant, strong-willed, self-assured and self-critical. Unfortunately, its rarely that I see a gay man be those things in real life, and too often am I reminded that stereotypes are born in reality and that all too often, people who would otherwise have unlimited potential, get caught up in these molds and never move beyond them. I feel like I am surrounded by weak-minded, shallow, emotional gays and lesbians who lose themselves in the stigma and the even worse “pride” that stands as a senseless act of alienation from the rest of society.  I enjoy the Young Avenger’s pairing of Billy and Ted because aside from dealing with real issues like coming out and homophobia, they also continue living as normal a life as any superhero can.

Gay Marriage in Church History.

A friend of mine posted this and i felt obligated to repost it here.

When Marriage Between Gays Was a Rite
http://www.global.org/Pub/Gay_Marriate_Rites.asp
An article in the Irish Times that discusses same gender unions in the early church.
by Jim Duffy
Published in 1998
Gay Christians
As the churches struggle with the issue of homosexuality, a long tradition of gay marriage indicates that the Christian attitude towards same sex unions may not always have been as “straight” as is now suggested, writes Jim Duffy.

A Kiev art museum contains a curious icon from St. Catherine’s monastery on Mt. Sinai. It shows two robed Christian saints. Between them is a traditional Roman pronubus (best man) overseeing what in a standard Roman icon would be the wedding of a husband and wife. In the icon, Christ is the pronubus. Only one thing is unusual. The “husband and wife” are in fact two men.

Is the icon suggesting that a homosexual “marriage” is one sanctified by Christ? The very idea seems initially shocking. The full answer comes from other sources about the two men featured, St. Serge and St. Bacchus, two Roman soldiers who became Christian martyrs.

While the pairing of saints, particularly in the early church, was not unusual, the association of these two men was regarded as particularly close. Severus of Antioch in the sixth century explained that “we should not separate in speech [Serge and Bacchus] who were joined in life”. More bluntly, in the definitive 10th century Greek account of their lives, St. Serge is openly described as the “sweet companion and lover” of St. Bacchus.

In other words, it confirms what the earlier icon implies, that they were a homosexual couple. Their orientation and relationship was openly accepted by early Christian writers. Furthermore, in an image that to some modern Christian eyes might border on blasphemy, the icon has Christ himself as their pronubus, their best man overseeing their “marriage”.

The very idea of a Christian homosexual marriage seems incredible. Yet after a twelve year search of Catholic and Orthodox church archives Yale history professor John Boswell has discovered that a type of Christian homosexual “marriage” did exist as late as the 18th century.

Contrary to myth, Christianity’s concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has evolved as a concept and as a ritual.

Professor Boswell discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient church liturgical documents (and clearly separate from other types of non-marital blessings of adopted children or land) were ceremonies called, among other titles, the “Office of Same Sex Union” (10th and 11th century Greek) or the “Order for Uniting Two Men” (11th and 12th century).

These ceremonies had all the contemporary symbols of a marriage: a community gathered in a church, a blessing of the couple before the altar, their right hands joined as at heterosexual marriages, the participation of a priest, the taking of the Eucharist, a wedding banquet afterwards. All of which are shown in contemporary drawings of the same sex union of Byzantine Emperor Basil I (867-886) and his companion John. Such homosexual unions also took place in Ireland in the late 12th / early 13th century, as the chronicler Gerald of Wales (Geraldus Cambrensis) has recorded.

Unions in Pre-Modern Europe lists in detail some same sex union ceremonies found in ancient church liturgical documents. One Greek 13th century “Order for Solemnisation of Same Sex Union”, having invoked St. Serge and St. Bacchus, called on God to “vouchsafe unto these Thy servants [N and N] grace to love another and to abide unhated and not cause of scandal all the days of their lives, with the help of the Holy Mother of God and all Thy saints”. The ceremony concludes: “And they shall kiss the Holy Gospel and each other, and it shall be concluded”.

Another 14th century Serbian Slavonic “Office of the Same Sex Union”, uniting two men or two women, had the couple having their right hands laid on the Gospel while having a cross placed in their left hands. Having kissed the Gospel, the couple were then required to kiss each other, after which the priest, having raised up the Eucharist, would give them both communion.

Boswell found records of same sex unions in such diverse archives as those in the Vatican, in St. Petersburg, in Paris, Istanbul, and in Sinai, covering a period from the 8th to 18th centuries. Nor is he the first to make such a discovery. The Dominican Jacques Goar (1601-1653) includes such ceremonies in a printed collection of Greek prayer books.

While homosexuality was technically illegal from late Roman times, it was only from about the 14th century that antihomosexual feelings swept western Europe. Yet same sex unions continued to take place.

At St. John Lateran in Rome (traditionally the Pope’s parish church) in 1578 a many as 13 couples were “married” at Mass with the apparent cooperation of the local clergy, “taking communion together, using the same nuptial Scripture, after which they slept and ate together”, according to a contemporary report.

Another woman to woman union is recorded in Dalmatia in the 18th century. Many questionable historical claims about the church have been made by some recent writers in this newspaper.

Boswell’s academic study however is so well researched and sourced as to pose fundamental questions for both modern church leaders and heterosexual Christians about their attitudes towards homosexuality.

For the Church to ignore the evidence in its own archives would be a cowardly cop-out. The evidence shows convincingly that what the modern church claims has been its constant unchanging attitude towards homosexuality is in fact nothing of the sort.

It proves that for much of the last two millennia, in parish churches and cathedrals throughout Christendom from Ireland to Istanbul and in the heart of Rome itself, homosexual relationships were accepted as valid expressions of a God-given ability to love and commit to another person, a love that could be celebrated, honoured and blessed both in the name of, and through the Eucharist in the presence of Jesus Christ.

The Amazing Atheist

www.youtube.com/theamazingatheist.

Go watch!!!

Return to Blogging

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t posted anything in a very long while, and not like I used to post, almost every day. I have a few reasons for this, one of them being that I was not in a writing kind of mood. So many things have happened between my obsessive write a post a day times of Heroes season 3 and June of two-fucking thousand nine.

Several things contributed to this lack of blogging: I finally sat my fat ass down and read Atlas Shrugged. One of my best friends left me, and that hurt. I have been writing back-story and outlines for Blue Willow, which is now a writing project that is a year old. I’ve been reading too much philosophy and the new Anita Blake book came out. Etc, etc. Other things that were good is that Gay marriage is legal in six states (count them SIX!! Of course gay marriage is still banned in 40, count them 40!!) And Barack Obama is delightfully ignoring the gay rights people, and not half as much as should have been already done for the environment is being done. One thing that has been taking up way too much of my time is watching the videos of TJ The Amazing Atheist on YouTube to who I will link and have a video of, just to get your attention.

Also, I have been practicing Neutral Jin on the matter of gay rights, watching from the sidelines and doing nothing much. However, I read one personal account by a Mormon that has changed that attitude, she presented a very flawed, pathetic and basically bullshit reason for not supporting gay marriage. And I there is something that I hate is flawed reasoning and hypocrisy, so I will address that as well. So I have a list of things that I have to write about:

Friendship and preconditions for it.

Views on Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged.

Gay Marriage.

Mormons General Politics, with emphasis on the economy and Human Rights and the environment.

And that is all for now.