Beer Hat Neti Pot

I have endless frivolous bad inventions! World, I bring you . . . the Beer Hat Neti Pot. Beer hats are those contraptions that rig up two cans of beer on your head, one on either side of a hat, with plastic tubing so that the beer siphons into your mouth.

Beer Hat

You can be too drunk to lift up your own beer and still keep drinking. Grrrreat.

Neti pots are those little teapot looking things that you stick up your nose to irrigate your sinuses with salt water. They’re very effective at helping a stuffed up nose!

So obviously, there is a socially useful medical application for the Beer Hat!

Yes, the Beer Hat Neti Pot will bring joy and healthy nasal passages ! Even if your sinus infection is so bad you can’t bear to bend over the sink to rinse your sinuses in salt solution, you can wear the BHNP in bed or around the house. The tubes come down from bottles of salt water attached to the hat, and go right up your nostrils. An elastic band will help keep the nose tubes securely attached.

Perhaps some intrepid voyagers in the world of terrible inventions would want to irrigate their sinuses with beer!

Using a nose mask or perhaps a snorkel, the backwash from your snotty nose could then be channelled into another tube that goes into a Camelbak backpack.

Or if you live on a boat like I do, you could go on deck and let your nose water flow freely into the harbor.

I have allergies and get a lot of sinus infections so I’ve had a lifetime to think about this important issue!

I will make ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

Someday I’ll blog seriously about books and politics and poetry again, I promise.
Beer hat photo by Dave Nicoll

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Cat eggs: another bad idea

This weekend one of my sister’s chickens laid an egg for the first time. I can’t wait till I get to find and eat an actual home-made egg. Everyone was super excited about this egg. My brother-in-law showed me an entire photo slide show of the egg, its yolk color, what it looked like cooking, and the egg on the plate with some toast, half eaten. I stared at their newly mature hen. Suddenly instead of looking delicious, like a cartoon moment where a starving shipwrecked sailor sees the chicken turn into a roast chicken, the hen morphed into a weird science-fictional egg-producing machine, and I saw it like a little robot centered around manufacturing this very complicated object, in cross section like a diagram of the Digesting Duck. OMG chickens.

The amazing taste and healthy yolk color of the fresh eggs from your very own hipster chickens, the fact that you fed them mealworms from your own urban homestead worm farm and the tops of the organic beets you had for dinner, are all lovely thoughts. But that’s not the point of chickens to me. My main love of the idea of eggs right from the chicken are about a farm girl mythos. I totally wish I could be a farm girl. In reality wouldn’t go well at all.

In books about kids on farms, chickens are awesome. You go into the barn or the henhouse amid soothing clucks and happy peeping chicks. It’s equal parts peace and bustling. You put your hand under the fluffy butt of a warm chicken into the sweet-smelling hay, and it sleepily protests as you take out the eggs and put them in basket lined with a red-checked cloth. It’s like this primal experience of nurturing comfort. Nice mother hens! Eggs! Yay! A little child could do it!

In reality, I’m allergic to chicken dander. Last time I touched a chicken, my face swelled up so much I could barely see. And hay makes me sneeze. It would be 4am and freezing on the farm. The hens would peck the hell out of my arms and face as I tried to reach under them. Even an inch-long cockroach flying into my face would make me scream and freak out, so a flapping chicken would basically be like a super powered palmetto bug that could knock your glasses right off. There’s no way. Also, in my real world, there would be no basket and everything would be covered in smelly chicken poo. Likely also covered in the blood streaming from my face and arms from being pecked half to death.

So the obvious way to fix these problems is to create cats that can lay eggs. A little genetic engineering and wham, we get CATS OF THE FUTURE. Cat eggs! There you are in bed in your cosy house. You get up and in its nest box your cat has laid a lovely unfertilized chicken-tasting egg. Hens are *not* peaceful and cosy and sleepy. Cats are! You simply side your hand under the fluffy cat and remove the egg. Instant breakfast!

Cat eggs!!!!!!!

Justbeinlacy suggests modifying the cats to also provide coffee. That sounds great in theory, but I draw the line at milking my cat.

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Dealing with Internet Drama in Feminist Discourse – SXSWi panel report

The Internet Drama in Feminist Discourse panel was led by Rachel (RMJ) from Deeply Problematic and Garland Grey from Tiger Beatdown.

woman with fist raised in woman's symbol

My notes are fairly sketchy. Many people in the room spoke up but I didn’t record everything and wasn’t sure of people’s names. The hashtag on Twitter was #femdrama, and from that tag I can see Natalia, caitlinrain, kaisersake, queenie_nyc, lzbellz. We went back and forth lot between talking about trolling or moderating obvious crap, vs. engaging in discourse between blogs as well as among commenters.

I talked a bunch in the middle of this panel, but forgot to mention that there is quite a lot about this topic and the idea of feminist “safe space” vs. Anonymous free speech in a book in 2009, The WisCon Chronicles: Carnival of Feminist SF. Section 3 of the book is all about Internet Drama, with contributions from Micole Sudberg, Cynthia Gonsalves, JJ Pionke, Hanne Blank, Vito Excalibur, my transcript of a panel called Can Internet Drama Change the World? with panelists Alexis Lothian, K. Tempest Bradford, Woodrow Hill, Julia Starkey, and K. Joyce Tsai. Debbie Notkin and I wrote a long essay about feminist culture class here, “Safe Space vs. LOLspace in the WisCon Trolling”. I think the participants push hard on the boundaries of what we expect from public discourse.

To start off the discussion, Rachel and Garland introduced themselves and mentioned their blogs and their experiences being suddenly embroiled in very intense and sometimes personal discussions online.

Rachel says drama can be useful and it can be possible to create drama for good or at least use it for good. Why would you start drama? What do we mean by it? How do you deal with people starting drama with you, in a responsible and ethical manner? How do you internally deal with the stress of it and take care of yourself while continuing on with your feminist activism?

Garland mentioned hashtag activism, like Tiger Beatdown’s #mooreandme campaign. He hopes we don’t start any new drama in this room today. If we mention recent feminist discourse online, great, but let’s not take sides on particular incidents. Rachel asks for our personal backgrounds or experience in this area.

A guy with big glasses talks a bit about a rock and roll bulletin board or mailing list he’s involved with and says drama arises over people deciding other people should be banned. Drama is splitting, divisive, and means people have to go off and make new forums.

Rachel responds that that’s how new communities formed. In answer to Rachel’s question about what drama means, I talked a bit about how the personal is political, we try to put feminisms into practice in daily life, we examine that in public discourse and it gets very intense.

Rachel talked about how criticism can be very personal and come in a barrage. It can carry the overwhelming message that we already get from society that our voices are worthless, it’s not worth continuing to put it out there. We have to separate the criticism we get that’s valid from that overwhelming societal message that we’re supposed to shut up.

Natalia talked about female leadership and the leaky pipeline. She was at a talk where Ruth Simmons was speaking; she was drained from being the token person speaking up, and Ruth said something about it being important for us to keep speaking up, because people who see us staying silent then think they’re not part of things either.

Garland talked about hostile actors, people who want to shut a conversation down or aren’t acting in good faith. Some people come in and are obvious name callers but it can also be stealthy, injecting ideas into a conversation that disintegrate it, undermine discourse, for example, the idea that “it’s just the the internet” and isn’t important. For instance Penny Arcade… (a bunch of people in the room laugh in response and talk about the dickwolves thing).

People talked about trolls and moderation and getting overwhelmed with comments. I mentioned geekfeminism.org and our comment policy. We also have filters for sensitive topics that bump comments right into moderation, like “too sensitive”.

The guy with glasses talked more about the women in Phish fandom board he’s part of. It was something like 90% women and 10% men. They started a women only forum. So excluding men was one option for improving the drama.

Teresa Van Deusen said it’s really bad when things immediately devolve into name calling. Someone talked about drama at SXSWi this year and how people in one context don’t think you might have other identities in the room. There is some poster about liking boobies and people don’t think about what that says. You can be a woman who likes women, and likes boobs, but still hates the ad and thinks it’s sexist.

Rachel talked about how drama is a really good way for some people to talk about intersectionality. People learn what language to use, how to quote people, how not to appropriate people’s words. At best it’s not a destructive cycle of anxiety where there’s drama. Someone else then talked about Amanda Marcotte whose work they admire, but she had given a speech that was appropriating things women of color had said, and then her response wasn’t good. We then talked about women of color and feminists of color being marginalized. Rachel mentioned that has plagued feminism since at least the 1800s, racism in feminism isn’t new with the Internet. Garland adds that we can screw up a lot faster now. There was some mention of intersectionality and privilege, cisgender, class, race, US-centrism, and other oppressions we fight as women.

Garland asked us to consider what we want from this discussion. What would make our day? Teresa responds that she already thinks the last 7 years or so of feminist discourse online has been amazing and beautiful.

Someone from Bitch Magazine says that when you’re feminist and blogging and unpaid and then get embroiled in drama it’s just difficult. There was more discussion of trolling, moderation, and swift banning. Rachel said that disallowing anonymous comments has been helpful for her to manage time. On her main blog she doesn’t get a ton of comments but when she writes for a bigger site the responses can be really bad. Emily May from Hollaback says at first they didn’t allow comments at all. Now they do. Michael from a small women’s college in Minnesota then talked about their online communities and I think Facebook, but my notes are incomplete.

Natalia talked about hashable and how mainstreaming feminist discourse can be important. She loves hashable and wanted to give constructive criticism of it.Their automated greeting is “Hi guys” which she criticised with the #languagematters tag. They responded fairly well, and then said “Well, it’s mostly not sexist”. Then they listened and changed the greeting to “hi there”. Rachel talked about discouraging and disallowing ablist language. Teresa said we need an app for that. The room buzzed a little about editing filters that would help alert us not to make common mistakes. It might be nice to have a WordPress plugin.

I talked some about how public discourse is documenting our consciousness raising. The riot grrrl movement isn’t well documented on the web. Maybe the web is going to make our history more obvious and accessible. Criticising other feminists is especially fraught because we are all vulnerable to the tools of misogyny, which can take us all down. Once the criticisms go mainstream, we all look bad, we’re catfighting, etc, but we have to do it and treat it as an important part of history. Very young girls are reading this stuff now, they get our history early, they are prepared. When I saw Style Rookie commenting around the feminist blogosphere it was great.

The band fan guy talked more but I did not get what he was trying to say. I totally wondered what his drama was though because he clearly had had at least one.

Someone else said please learn from feminism from past dramas. If criticized then think about it, think critically, don’t keep making the same mistake over and over, learn how to apologize, edit your posts.

Natalia: Women of color’s voices are silenced, people don’t htink about that by generalizing about this to be about white women, they’re not thinking of women of color. When we say how can we call people out in a constructive way, actually, what we need is not so much that as we need white people not to freak out when called out on their wording or on not including women of color.

There was a general “hear hear” throughout the room and a bunch of different women spoke up to say they agree.

I said some things about the tone argument and that anger isn’t a reason not to listen to someone and their point.

Someone else talked about giving way more validation and consideration to a harsh criticism when it came from a particular identity. Skye talked about that too but I missed the particular example. Garland says he can be rude and confrontational and that’s his personal style; if he feels like someone made a mistake and didn’t do it maliciously, he can be nicer, but intentions don’t matter in some ways.

An organizer from Girls Rock talked about watching teenage girls get harassed by boys, like on Facebook boys just going “girls suck” and the girls having to deal with that. How to help them in public spaces?

Rachel says, Think on how you will want to respond. What kinds of spaces are you creating? What do they have room for? What volume will there be?

People talk about when to stop engaging. What to do when people are asking over and over to be educated and you have to do feminism and racism 101 constantly. Dealing with derailing.

I said that we keep talking about intersectionality as our hotspot of feminist discourse rather than there being drama about any particular political position like abortion. As feminists talking in public we have to have a deflector shield of not listening to people telling us not to do it. Then it is all too easy misapply that shield to other feminists and allies and their critiques. We need not to dismiss criticism because it’s angry and there is a place for anger in public discourse between women and resolving it and working through it and anger doesn’t have to mean failure.

Someone talked about some Susan Faludi articles but I couldn’t hear…

Skye from Heroine Content talked about a post and comments from women of color about them being racist in their coverage of this action movie with jodie foster with a gun. She has a double standard of letting those comment through because she wants to hear those criticisms and also make them clear that they’re happening and what her response will be. (Rather than deleting a comment for being angry.) Rachel agrees and thinks it says it very well.

Someone else said we are not doing the oppression olympics with comparisons but feminism can lead people into anti racism.

Rachel says she feels it’s important to take criticism seriously when someone marginalized criticizes her privilege she looks at it straight away.

People talk about self care and it being stressful to be the person giving the criticisms . And it is important to take breaks, short or long, and look away, helpful to get away from situations for a while. Be with your friends.

Natalia talked about being uncomfortable with the analogy of stains on your record. We are human, it’s not a stain, it makes us more us, we all make mistakes and are growing.

Rachel: It’s still a mark, just because I messed up and now have grown, it doesn’t mean people have to start liking me again.

Natalia talks about the movie Switch and how she liked it a lot, then realized from online discussions that it was about violation and rape, and she felt like a bad feminist for liking the movie. She then held that self anger and disappointment, thought, let’s be with that, and how am I going to change and are we going to change? How can we become better? And not be reductive?

There was more discussion, but I don’t have the notes. The discussion successfully raised a lot of important points for people to think about, and I think established that many people in the room felt that drama, or at least heated discussion between feminists online, is important. There was some dwelling on how to react internally and in public as a person with privilege who is going to get criticized in public but also some good mention of the personal and political impact it takes on marginalized people to have to do the criticism so it was not all “tra la la learning experience”. I do think this discussion was harder to have in the environment of SXSWi than in a smaller and more feminism-focused conference, or at least harder to dive into the conversation intensely, in part because we didn’t know each other or who we were talking with other than the panelists. I would have wished for a brief introductions round for everyone in the room, but it was only a 1 hour panel so perhaps too short for that. I also would have gone for a bigger panel with more diversity among panelists. It made me really happy to get to hang out with Other Feminists on the Internet but in person!! I’m so glad we had this complicated conversation at SXSW and think it needs to keep happening. Thanks to Rachel, Garland, and all the other people in the room for showing up and kicking ass and taking inspiration from each other.

I feel I should point to existing discussions about feminism and online discourse but will need to do that in another post or later in a comment below. If anyone has suggestions or would like to point to a post round-up that already exists, please comment and link-drop!

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Feminist Drama and Human Rights at SXSWi

I’m hoping to make it to two panels today on my day pass: Dealing with Drama in Feminist Discourse, and Building Human Rights into your Social Site.

The human rights panel will be fantastic as it’s Danny, Jillian York, Rebecca Mackinnon, and Ebele Okobi-Harris talking about ways that companies can be aware of potential problems their users may have around the world. The panelists will likely be talking about Internet and social media use in recent political events in Libya, Iran, China, Tunisia, and Egypt, to show how important a web company’s infrastructure can be to political movements as well as to the protection of people’s individual safety and privacy.

No matter how narrow you think the use of your website or service will be, if it’s successful, it’ll be used in ways you’ll never expect – including life or death fights over human rights in foreign countries. The design of your sketchy PHP code might make the difference between a free press or a government clampdown, tortured dissidents or a bloodless coup. Twitter aids activists in Iran; Facebook helps the independent press in Ethiopia; World of Warcraft is policed for sedition in China. What is happening on your site that you don’t know about? And how can you design it so you help the good guys?

The Feminist Internet Drama panel is run by Garland Grey from Tiger Beatdown and Rachel (RMJ) from Deeply Problematic.

Drama and conflict in online social justice is usually best minimized and carefully managed. This presentation, which will focus more on examination than instruction, is not just about how to check your privilege. It’s about when to call out, and how to avoid abusing others. It’s about how to respond, when to check out, and how to take care of yourself in a community that demands everything of you.

I have a soft spot for Internet drama, giant flame wars and flameouts, and any intense political discussion, but especially the discussions that happen in the feminist blogosphere. They’re political consciousness raising, documented in detail, and they affect people’s lives deeply. I wrote a book chapter on it in The WisCon Chronicles: Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction, to talk about feminism, safe spaces, trolling, ethical responsibilities, and responses to controversies within feminist communities, so I’m very interested to see what Garland, Rachel, and the others in the room have to say.

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Hovering around the edges of SXSW

Hello from Texas! I’m enjoying every second of driving around and talking and seeing things, post oaks, creeks, weird little sheds, retaining walls with junk and painted tiles cemented into them, I love south 1st and brightly painted mexican restaurants, I bought a bag of pastries to nosh on in our room, people were all walking around from party to party and show to show, Super Ranchito stores and odd warehouses that had blinky lights and something *going on*, an entire marching band dressed like bees, a girl in the back of a pedicab playing a tuba, infinite hipster nerds casually slopping back and forth from party to party down east 5th, just some general funkiness, grackles swooping and screeching all over the trees, all the orangey brick or limestone of the buildings, and the way there are lone stars or texas shapes on damn near everything!

Friday night I went out with Kris, who lived at 21st St. Co-op when I was first there in 1987 or so. She picked me up and took me to Bedpost Confessions, a fiction reading and sex-positive scene, with over a hundred people sitting there listening to the stories.

As we drove around I felt sad as the supersonic space simulator zoinking thing is no longer between Taos Co-op and Ken’s Donuts. It was a big metal i-beam. If you bonked it specially, it made the loveliest space noise. Alas, it’s gone!

The cab driver who took me to the car rental place told me about a time when he had cancer and had to panhandle on corners to raise $3000 to get cancer treatment at MD Anderson in Houston. He pointed out a location on Airport Blvd where he had bad luck. He ended up raising the money standing outside a Mexican grocery store on South 1st. In less than a month he’d raised the money. The cancer treatment saved him from having his arm amputated. He told a good story as we circled around through the neighborhood near the highway and 51st street. I wanted to tell him to tell that story to everyone, since it made me want to tip him high.

There was a 7 foot tall, very large dude in the car rental, getting a big old panel truck. I admired his amazing belt which was covered in big texas-shaped conchos with stars on them and looked well loved and cared for. He looked sheepish for a bit, hemming and hawing about “where he got the belt”. He put the conchos on himself with his tools, and 30 years ago, it was his horse’s saddle cinch. Wow, what a belt. I then felt AMAZINGLY happy driving off in the rental car. The powerrrrr!

It’s beautiful to have a car. Right now, I can walk a couple of blocks, but it hurts and is very exhausting. I can’t walk a couple of blocks, do something, and then walk back! While my wheelchair is great, the curb cuts are terrible in downtown Austin. Really terrible. The sidewalks are often made of bricks, interrupted by stairs and tree planters. The crowns of the roads – the bit where the road rises up in the center – are high, which means I have to go uphill twice every time I cross a street; once to get into the center of the roat, and a second time to get up the curb cut on the far side after I’ve gone downhill into the gutter. If not for the car I would feel a bit trapped here in the hotel. The downtown pedicabs seem like a great alternate option; I took one last night back to the hotel from Colorado and 4th with Danny holding my wheelchair in his lap. For a minute the pedicab cycler thought I meant to sit in the wheelchair and hang on behind his cab trailer. The look on his face was priceless.

On Friday I drove off the long way over the bridge that is east of I-35, on Pleasant Valley, to Skye’s house where we gossiped and worked super hard. It was really good to talk about all the things (work projects) where it’s so much easier to show each other directly and fix things right on the spot. It was productive!

me_n_skye

We went to lunch aiming for El Mesón. It was closed at 2:30 though! So we ended up on South 1st. I had ceviche and bought some bags of pastries. Then… well, one of my totally stupid goals for this trip was to go to a store that has good Yelp reviews called New BROhemia which has vintage men’s shirts and especially guayaberas. I got a fabulous cream colored guayabera and another mexican shirt (not a guayabera but with a flower/vine pattern) that’s my dream shirt for being foppishly butch. You would have to see its delicate pattern of rosebuds. I couldn’t stop saying and thinking “New BROhemia” and then busting up laughing.

Danny and Tempest and I hung out for a while in the HIlton bar. We gossiped about writing and journalism and activism and Wikimedia Foundation and mobile phones and netbooks and politics and online things for hours. Just as Tempest hopped into a cab and we were leaving we saw Annalee and Charlie who were dragging us back to the bar for one more drink. But I had already decided to go take a bath and fall asleep. I didn’t put any talks this year but spoke at SXSWi in 2006, 2007, and 2009. I’m just along for the ride.

Yesterday I took it easy in the morning, then went with Tempest and Virginia to lunch in East Austin. Danny and I went to Pease Park for fossils, then to my old co-op to look around. I lived there for 5 years and love it dearly. Three people took us around on a tour, unlocking doors, explaining the current culture of the co-op and the subcultures of its different sub-buildings. There had been a party last night, so the common areas were trashed and smelled like beer. The kitchen and dining room were clean so I think it was just the aftermath of the party making things look a bit heinous! The computer room has been expanded into where the laundry used to be. The kitchen and pantries are re-organized, but startlingly the same even down to some of the same laminated signs from 20 years ago still up on the walls. I recall our kitchen manager from around 1988, Lillian, making the yellow laminated “Save Plates” sign that’s still up on the door of the kitchen. It’s very interesting to see how institutions and traditions evolve, what lasts and what changes.

One thing that was exactly the same about 21st St. Co-op; people gave me a tour in exactly the lovely way that we used to give tours to people 25 years ago. Happy to explain anything or unlock any door, with a sort of touching concern that you get the answers to your questions and the experience of the place that you wanted to get. There is also an openness about the place’s flaws and drawbacks. The guy who gave me a tour, whose name I forgot, and Marisa who very nicely took us to see the Rainbow Road mural in suite 1B, both invited us back to hang out and have a beer that evening, just stick around and hang out, or come back during the week for dinner. I notice the same culture of welcoming new people at Noisebridge, as strangers walk in, are shown around, and are invited to stay.

Last night after a rest in the afternoon I went to the Gawker/Gizmodo party. I stayed put in one place and talked with people up there on the outside patio of the Hangar Lounge. There was an elevator, hooray! People brought me lots of drinks with glowing ice cubes. I talked with Rebecca and some other people from the ACLU, with Eva and Julie from the EFF, with Annalee and Charlie, Gina Trapani, Turi from Demotix, Latoya from Racialicious, and tons of other people. I explained what BlogHer is a bunch of times, as usual at tech conferences; people still have the impression it’s a small non-profit!

Today I went to see HONK, which was like the best bits of a parade happening over and over. Over a dozen marching bands went down Cesar Chávez street. We ran into Adina and Sunir and Prentiss and David. The parade ended up at Pan American park, where the bands played one by one on stage. In between sets, people stood up from the lawn and started jamming spontaneously. Adina and I talked about wikis and wikimedia issues including ways citation and sourcing could be changed to work in a less elitist way.

Honk was so inspiring! While I wish I had an accordion or trombone or a trumpet and could play them, maybe a harmonica would be more realistic . . . very portable… lightweight . . . I could join a marching band playing the harmonica. Now I want Noisebridge to have its own half-human, half-robot marching band!

After the Honk parade we had lunch on South Congress, rested and worked a while at the hotel, and then I went back over to Travis Heights to my friend Marian’s house, looked at her books and talked with her and Reed and ate her delicious food. I know Marian from the ALTA literary translators’ conference. I gave her some tiny books from my small press (Burn This Press) including my translation of Mala piel. She gave me lots of book recs and copies of two of her translations – one of Oblomov (!) and the other, White on Black, a memoir by Ruben Gallego, a guy with cerebral palsy who grew up in Soviet state institutions.

After that, the Google/ACLU party where I met lots of great people. It was an 80s themed party. Just beforehand I had the idea to shave Cyndi Lauper checkerboard pattern in the side of my head with Danny’s beard trimmer. (It is easy enough to shave all of it off later.) Ran into Kaliya, Phoebe and some other Wikimedia people. We left pretty soon though. It was way too loud in there, and I couldn’t get upstairs. I felt like my ears were damaged for a couple of hours afterwards! Really loud!

We kept running into people in the street – Tassos, Schuyler, the new media people from London who used to be riot grrrls (and I’m sure still are) and the people from ITP/Singly, and Tara Hunt. We stopped by the League of Extraordinary Hackers event, which had gone past the hacking part and gotten to the part with screaming crowds surrounding an arena with lego robots, and as that was also too loud and crowded we lounged in the tail end of a steampunk room and then came home in an “uber pedicab”. I don’t know how anyone has the energy to go to the entire conference and go out afterwards and keep it up for the entire time of the film and music festival too! Or how anyone runs this huge sprawling complex of conferences!

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How to help the 11 year old girl in Texas who got gang raped

This morning I woke up to a story from the New York Times about an 11 year old girl in Cleveland, Texas who was gang raped by more than 18 boys and men: Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town. The NYT article focuses on the damage done to the boys and men, and by extension to the entire town. The men were described as being “drawn into” gang raping a little girl. The NYT then quotes residents who appear to be blaming the girl for being gang raped, because of the way she dresses.

Shakespeare’s Sister comments, “As horrible as this story is, the article serves as a great example of exactly what we mean by “rape culture.””

Here are a few more details of the case: 4 More Cleveland ISD students arrested, and 18 charged in gang rape of 11 year old. Up to 28 men and boys may ultimately be charged in the case.

The attacked is stated to have occurred in the home of one of the suspects, Timothy Ellis (19), and at an abandoned mobile trailer (around the corner form the home). According to official documents, Ellis asked the [alleged] victim is she wanted to ‘ride around’ before they arrived at his home. She was taken into his bedroom and told to remove her clothes or a group of girls would come to beat her up and she would not be taken home.

In the arrest warrant, it states that multiple individuals had sex with the minor as others took pictures and videos. The assault moved to the secondary location when the aunt of Ellis arrived home and made everyone leave the premises.

This morning, feeling sick to my stomach and sick at heart, I made a few phone calls. I called two women’s centers that provide rape crisis services in Liberty County, Texas: The Montgomery Women’s Center and New Horizons Family Center. Both serve that area with rape crisis counseling, advocacy, financial assistance, and emergency shelter. I donated to both women’s centers.

I also called the Liberty County Sheriff’s office at 936-336-4500 to ask if there is a victim assistance fund set up for the girl. The sheriff’s office was not aware of a fund and said that the case was being handled by the Cleveland Police Department. I called the Cleveland Police at 281-592-2622, and ended up leaving a message. I include the numbers so that interested readers can follow up. If such a fund doesn’t exist yet, I think it should, and likely they will set up one up if people start calling and asking where to donate.

I grew up in Northwest Houston not far from Cleveland, Texas. Next to a small town like Cleveland my suburbs were probably a cosmopolitan paradise. But I remember the kids’ and adults’ attitudes towards rape. It wasn’t good, people. This is a small town. The accused rapists include popular athletes, grown men, children of school board members, and so on. The girl is in foster care now and is probably going to have to move out of town. The town itself will likely just trash her reputation — a little kid!!! and rally round its golden boys. It’s bullshit. The media is reporting on how she dresses, what the town thinks of how she dresses, where she hangs out, whether she cusses on her Facebook page… ALL COMPLETELY NOT RELEVANT to her being kidnapped and brutally gang raped.

It disgusts me to think of the number of people walking around Cleveland, Texas who knew about this horrific rape and assault. The rapists themselves knew. The friends of the rapists knew. At some point everyone knew and likely had seen the videos, too. Some of them probably laughed. The rapists must have felt really big and proud and manly about being rapists whose acts of sexual violence were captured on cameraphone video. I bet they felt like real studs. Some of the kids who saw those videos had to have told their parents. Who probably didn’t do anything. The girl went to the principal of her school and told. I wonder how that played out for her, don’t you? I bet the school stalled like hell and then only reported it to the police when it was clear they had to cover their asses. All those people knew and they walk around just like regular people instead of feeling like the perpetrators and accomplices of pure evil.

Here is the list of the accused so far, the ones who aren’t minors:

The suspects previously arrested in the case are: Jared Glenn McPherson, 18; Kelvin Rashad King, 21; Marcus Anthony Porchia, 26; Devo Shaun Green, 20; Xavier King, 17; Eric Bernard McGowan, 19; Jared Len Cruse, 18; Isaiah Rashad Ross, 21; Timothy Daray Ellis, 19; Rayford Tyrone Ellis, Jr., 19, and Jamarcus Norris Napper.

I don’t care if these men’s lives are “ripped apart” because they raped someone, or watched someone get raped. All of y’all can go right to hell. You weren’t “drawn in” to gang rape. You decided to rape someone or stand by while your friends raped a girl. Seriously, fuck off and die.

The Houston Chronicle’s article makes it clear this girl and her family need immediate and serious help.

Someone has been making phone calls to Maria’s house. Police fear they’re coming from people seeking retribution.

“They keep calling and asking for her,” said Maria, whose last name is not being printed to protect her daughter’s identity. “They don’t believe me when I say she’s not here and cuss us out. They’re trying to find her. This is the time when she needs us the most.”

Logo for FM 1960 with Texas map

Anyway, please donate to the women’s centers that are local to Liberty County and Cleveland in Texas, and please help me get a victim assistance fund set up for this child. I wish she could see the supportive messages we’d all like to send her.

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