Culture



For people who have known me since childhood, this isn’t an unsurprising revelation. It was when I first told them. My friends would always ask me why and it was difficult to explain. It wasn’t a religious thing. It wasn’t that I hated Halloween — I will always love Halloween. It was more a habit born out of a lack of safety in the neighborhood I had once lived in. Before I was 8 years old, I lived in a rather unsafe neighborhood. Gang fights on my corner were not unusual. If I was out after dark in our neighborhood, both of my parents were with me. My dad wasn’t typically home early enough to go trick-or-treating, and my mom did not feel comfortable taking me out without him. So we gave out candy to the few kids who decided to brave it. Usually, we were done by about 7 because it just wasn’t a big deal in that neighborhood. Right after my 8th birthday, my parents and I moved into the house with my grandfather. He lived in a safer neighborhood, so it would have been fine for me to go — I could have even gone without my mom. But I didn’t. I handed out candy. All of my friends who lived in my neighborhood seemed to come by my house, and I got to see all of their costumes. It was pretty awesome. I never felt like I was missing out on the fun. If we had candy left over at the end of the night, I could pilfer it. (We typically didn’t.) The only time I really went out trick-or-treating, I went as a chaperone for my foster sister. I was fifteen and she was twelve. We only walked down our street, but it was fun. I still didn’t get candy — since I wasn’t really going out for that. I did get some money from one of the neighbors. Instead of candy, he was giving out coins for people who could correctly answer math problems. I had always been in advanced math classes and was in Algebra II that fall, so racking up money was pretty easy. Regardless of where we lived, I dressed up every year until middle school and once as an adult at a church dance. One year I was a purple bunny. Another I was a ballerina. I dressed up in an antebellum-style dress the year that I discovered the movie Gone with the Wind. I even dressed up as a clown one year. My favorite costume was when I dressed up as Maleficent, my favorite character from Sleeping Beauty — actually, she’s my favorite from any Disney movie. My mom made my costumes and didn’t seem to mind that I always wanted to dress up in fun styles, even if I didn’t go out asking for candy. I’ve attended events that were Halloween-themed, as a child and as an adult. I’ve been to haunted houses and mazes, which weren’t all that thrilling. (I don’t get scared when watching thrillers and horror films, so that makes sense.) I’ve gone to autumn festivals at school. When I was 8, I had a Halloween party and three or four friends came over. It was actually the day after Halloween, which made getting food and stuff a lot easier. (Yay, post-holiday candy sales!) We had a cookie cake and used toilet paper to turn each other into mummies — you know, without the wire hanger up the nose and the organ preservation. (Yeah, I went there.) Being the day after also meant that we didn’t dress up for the party, which was probably a good thing since it was a rainy day and everyone had walked over. When I was 24, I went to a Halloween Young Single Adults (YSA) dance with other 18–30 year-old members of the LDS church in my region. I dressed up as a hippie that night and won the costume contest. I also lost one of my favorite earrings in the world on the side of I-65 that night, so there were good times and bad ones. I didn’t enjoy the good as much as I should have because I had already had a bad month — one week earlier, my friend’s car caught fire when I was in it, then I sprained my ankle later that night — so losing my earrings just added, for lack of a better phrase, fuel to that fire. RIP beloved earrings. Anyway, I digress. I know that for people who aren’t from the United States that missing out on something like trick-or-treating might seem like it isn’t that big of a deal, but it sort of is. It’s a part of our culture, especially if you’ve been privileged enough to grow up in a place where it is safe to go out. So not having that experience did sometimes make me feel like an outsider, but I didn’t really feel safe enough to have that experience — even when it actually was safe. It’s weird that I do sort of regret not having the experience. But I’m also okay with not having it. I guess that’s one of those complicated things about being an adult — coming to terms with the stuff that you experienced or didn’t experience when you were younger. But I hope that if I have kids some day that I get to take them out trick-or-treating or, at least, let them dress up like their favorite characters because I think that getting that night of fun and make-believe is really important. Happy Halloween.

I Never Went Trick-Or-Treating As a Kid



Button Up: Trump, Consent, and Culture Donald Trump’s ridiculous claim that all polls show he won second debate with Hillary Clinton False: Ted Cruz claim that Hillary Clinton backs ‘unlimited abortion’ to moment of birth From Now On, Anal Fissures Will be Known as Trumps A Few Quick Questions for OkCupid’s Moderators If you care about the environment at all, why are you voting for Jill Stein in a swing state? I’m Afraid I’m Going to Have to Cancel Men Michelle Obama delivers the most powerful indictment yet of Trump’s misogyny An Open Letter to My Mother, Who “Might” Vote for Donald Trump Trump suggests women speaking out are too ugly for him to sexually assault Trump vs the GOP Understanding How the Manosphere Views Women Why the Green Party Has Destroyed Itself with Jill Stein Yom Kippur, Donald Trump, and Apologizing Like You Really Mean It



Just a few more reasons to oppose the Talking Piece of Candy Corn Trump.   172. Didn’t correct audience member who called Obama Muslim before ranting about Muslims. Right after an audience member stated, “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. You know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.”, Trump said, “We need this question. This is the first question.” The audience member went on to ask, “When can we get rid of them?” Instead of correcting the audience member on both the ethnic cleansing idea and the Obama’s religion and nationality, Trump gave a vague answer about how he would look at and do plenty of things. After receiving a lot of backlash, Trump said he wasn’t “morally obligated” to defend Obama. Okay. How about being morally obligated to say that ethnic cleansing is awful? How about that? 173. Tweets sound like an adolescent. If you haven’t noticed, you haven’t been paying attention. It’s even become a joke. 174. Would shut borders on Day 1. During a Twitter question and answer session in September 2015, Trump said, “The first thing I’d do in my first day as president is close up our borders so that illegal immigrants cannot come into our country.” This was before his “total and complete shutdown” of borders to Muslims proposal after San Bernardino and the renewed call after Brussels. 175. “Why aren’t we letting ISIS go and fight Assad and then we pick up the remnants?” On 60 Minutes Scott Pelley: We’re at war with ISIS as we sit here. How do you end it? Donald Trump: I would end ISIS forcefully. I think ISIS, what they did, was unbelievable what they did with James Foley and with the cutting off of heads of everybody, I mean these people are totally a disaster. Now, let me just say this, ISIS in Syria, Assad in Syria, Assad and ISIS are mortal enemies. We go in to fight ISIS. Why aren’t we letting ISIS go and fight Assad and then we pick up the remnants? Why are we doing this? We’re fighting ISIS and Assad has to be saying to himself, “They have the nicest or dumbest people that I’ve ever imagined.” Scott Pelley: Let me get this right, so we lay off ISIS for now? Donald Trump: Excuse me, let — Scott Pelley: Lay off in Syria, let them destroy Assad. And then we go in behind that? Donald Trump: –that’s what I would say. Yes, that’s what I would say. Then… Donald Trump: If you look at Syria. Russia wants to get rid of ISIS. We want to get rid of ISIS. Maybe let Russia do it. Let ’em get rid of ISIS. What the hell do we care? Scott Pelley: OK, that’s Syria. What do you–do in Iraq– Donald Trump: With that– Scott Pelley: –with ISIS? Donald Trump: Look with ISIS in Iraq, you gotta knock ’em out. You gotta knock ’em out. You gotta fight ’em. You gotta fight ’em. You have to stand– Scott Pelley: On the ground? Donald Trump: –if you need, you’re going to have to do that, yes. Scott Pelley: Troops on the ground. Donald Trump: Yes. 176. Says Muslims believe America should be governed by shariah. Trump cited a highly flawed poll that found that 51% of American Muslims should have the choice of being governed according to shariah. That poll had come from an organization known for dubious claims and studies about the threat of shariah and used unreliable methodology. Trump used the poll’s findings to base his ban on Muslims entering the United States. Trump has also allied with individuals like Roger Stone, who accused Khizr Khan of wanting to initiate shariah and oppress women & gays, and kill Christians. If elected, Trump would be the first Facebook meme to be elected President of the United States. 177. “We have places in London and other places that are so radicalised that the police are afraid for their own lives. We have to be very smart and very vigilant.” London’s Metropolitan police responded, “We would not normally dignify such comments with a response, however, on this occasion we think it’s important to state to Londoners that Mr Trump could not be more wrong.” The Met thought that Trump’s claim was also potentially damaging, and Downing Street also criticized his message. Even Boris Johnson, who is basically a British Trump, thought the comments were “complete and utter nonsense” and remarked that “crime has been falling steadily both in London and in New York–the only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.” Apparently British Trump occasionally has better sense than Donald Trump. 178. Did not say anything about Jo Cox’s death, but comments every time a story of murder linked to Muslim extremists breaks. When Jo Cox was assassinated by a man yelling “Britain first” who had supported far-right groups with similar ideologies to Trump, Trump said nothing. When fans of his celebrated her death, he said nothing. She’s been dead for over a month and he still hasn’t commented. But whenever there’s even a slight possibility that a crime has been committed by someone he thinks is Muslim, he’s won’t stop talking about it. Gee. I wonder if he’s only seeing one group as actual terrorists. What would he do if far-right terrorists here attacked left-wing advocates & politicians? 179. Called Libya Hillary’s baby, and wasn’t referring to Benghazi. On Face the Nation in January, Trump said, “She has caused death. She has caused tremendous death with incompetent decisions. I was against the war in Iraq. I wasn’t a politician, but I was against the war in Iraq. She voted for the war in Iraq…Look at Libya. That was her baby. Look. I mean, I’m not even talking about the ambassador and the people with the ambassador.” I wish someone would explain to him that his opinions on Libya don’t matter, especially since […]

2016 Reasons to Oppose Trump: Reasons #172-184


Hello, it’s me. Yes, I’m back on the last day of the Democratic National Convention to give the fifth list of reasons to oppose Donald Trump’s presidency and to oppose him in general. But if this list doesn’t convince you, maybe the previous four (1, 2, 3, 4) will. If that’s not enough, there will be another list of 21 reasons next time, and another the day after that, and the day after that…and so on until there are 2016 reasons to oppose Trump. 85. Trump supported Brexit. Donald Trump viewed Brexit as the British people taking control over their own country and borders, and putting their needs first, or so he suggested. Unfortunately, a man who somehow got a graduate degree from Wharton doesn’t seem to understand much about the economy. Apparently, business degrees don’t require that a person understand economics or global policy. Liam Fox, Trade Secretary for the United Kingdom, explained how woefully inaccurate Trump’s assumption that Brexit is all about focusing on Britain are, “In fact it was the reverse: In my view, it was about Britain becoming a much more outward-looking country.” He also saw Brexit as an opportunity to bilk money out of his supporters. Donald can’t ever miss an opportunity to do a little song and dance for a check from unsuspecting, innocent people. Sad. 86. …But he didn’t know how Scotland had voted in the EU Referendum. How does a man who was raised by a Scottish immigrant not know that one should never confuse the will of the English with the will of the Scottish? Scotland, along with Northern Ireland, voted to remain in the European Union, a decision that could dissolve the United part of the United Kingdom. It would officially change the way that Scotland and England have functioned for over four hundred years. If ever there was proof that total assimilation within a culture was a bad idea, it would be Donald Trump’s inept understanding of how Scotland fits in to the Brexit situation and into the United Kingdom in general. How do people judge this man to be competent enough to vote for? 87. Donald Trump claims that he broke the glass ceiling for women all by himself. I’ll repeat. Donald Trump claims that he broke the glass ceiling for women all by himself. He told Bill O’Reilly, noted White House slavery enthusiast, “Number one, I have great respect for women. I was the one that really broke the glass ceiling on behalf of women, more than anybody in the construction industry.” He also told O’Reilly, “My relationship I think is going to end up being very good with women.” I don’t even know where to begin. Taking credit for breaking the glass ceiling? Even if he’s succeeded in helping women in one industry, it is not his place to say that he broke the glass ceiling. I guess if he was asked who gave women the right to vote, he’d claim he wrote the 19th Amendment and got it ratified on his own. I bet he’d even claim he was up in Seneca Falls. He might as well. He is taking credit for the achievement of women and of the hardwork put into giving full-fledged equal opportunities and rights to people regardless of sex or gender, even though he fails to pay women the same as men on his campaign. He is asserting his privilege to deny women the ability to say that they earned their position and that they fought for it. To quote the great philosopher and ethicist Taylor Swift, “I want to say to all the young women out there, there will be people along the way who will try to undercut your success, or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame. But if you just focus on the work…you will look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you that put you there. That will be the greatest moment.” 88. Trump called pregnancies of employees an inconvenience for business. Yes, he actually said, “a wonderful thing for the woman, it’s a wonderful thing for the husband, it’s certainly an inconvenience for a business. And whether people want to say that or not, the fact is it is an inconvenience for a person that is running a business” on video. So there’s proof that he feels this way. To summarize: the pro-life party is now being represented by a man who once called pregnancy an inconvience for business; and he said this after he began identifying as pro-life. 89. Trump has called Elizabeth Warren ineffective. To Trump, ineffective means that Elizabeth Warren pisses him off and doesn’t put up with his bullshit. He’s said she is the least productive Senator, that she gets nothing done, that she is weak. Elizabeth Warren should channel Mean Girls character Regina George and ask Donald, “Why are you so obsessed with me?” Because, clearly, he is. 90. Donald Trump insulted Warren by saying she has a big mouth. Apparently, Trump thinks that women who stand up to his childish behavior are worthy of scorn and deserve to be silenced for it. He’s even said that he wants to shut her up. Way to go, GOP! You’ve nominated a man wanting to silence women. Classy stuff, if you’re in the 1950’s. 91. Trump accused Hillary of only being popular because of the “woman card” and not for any other reason. In yet another example of Trump being an misogynist, he decided that Hillary was somehow getting more support because she’s a woman. He said, in a news conference at Trump Tower in April, “Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card. And the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her.” He claims a former United States Senator and Secretary of State is unqualified. You know, unlike a “businessman” who has never […]

2016 Reasons to Oppose Trump: Reasons #85-105




If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you might have missed my tweets over the judge determining Kesha couldn’t leave her contract with Dr. Luke & Sony. To say the judge’s decision bothered me would be an understatement. A big one.  I’ve encountered quite a few people who have said that if it was really rape, Kesha would have reported it. Around 68% of rape victims don’t report. Some said that it’s not really rape because because Kesha denied it in a deposition. If Dr. Luke was intimidating or threatening her into denying it, she likely lied to prevent further abuse by him. Sexual assault and other types of abuse can cause a person to deny abuse is occurring. When you’re being hurt, you will do anything to prevent future abuse because you know that if you upset your abuser, they may lash out & they may become more violent. An abuse victim learns what actions they can take & what words they can say that won’t lead to aggression, injury or death.  Of course I stand with Kesha, because I personally understand what it’s like to not share your abuse, your trauma with the world. I lied about the aspects of the abuse1 that occurred in my past for years. I lied to therapists. I lied to doctors. I lied to my parents. I lied to friends. I lied to other relatives. I lied to people who read this blog.2 I lied over and over. I could tell people with ease that it didn’t happen & that I didn’t know why they thought it did. I was ashamed. I was afraid. And, like most people who endured traumatic events, in denial that what I went through was truly abusive or traumatic.  It might make more sense to some to write Kesha off for her denial or delay, but I can’t judge her for that.  And then there are the people who say that she must be lying because all or most victims lie. This is untrue. Those who do report don’t usually see their rapist go to jail or even to trial. And those who report or even acknowledge that it happened at some point in their past are automatically called liars/accused of crying rape, which is statistically unlikely, as there’s a 2-8% rate of false reports with rape & sexual assault. They have their credibility & morality challenged, while they hear nothing but praise for the perpetrator.  Look at Kesha’s case, people are using her image as a “party girl” to discredit her. That image was likely one decided upon by the producers & label executives. She was niche marketed by them, more specifically by her abuser3 himself, Dr. Luke. It’s entirely possible that the idea of Kesha as the booze-loving sex pot was an attempt to keep her silent about the abuse. And even if she really was a party girl, she still could be a rape and/or abuse victim. We shouldn’t stick to the idea of a perfect or preferable victim type because that silences so many of the abused. There is always one aspect of a victim’s life or personality that gets used against them to deny that abuse ever happened or to pretend that they were responsible for it happening.  I stand with Kesha & I will continue to do so. I applaud the celebrities who are willing to risk their careers to stand up for her. I applaud the non-celebrities who have posted in the #freekesha & #boycottsony hashtags and who have defended her, even when they don’t like her music. I applaud the people who have shared their own stories. There is so much courage, goodness, & hope being shared. It’s very beautiful. It gives me hope that even when a judge makes such a dehumanizing decision that people will support an abused person’s decision to get away from their abuser.  Downplayed the severity of the emotional abuse, denied the sexual abyss occurred. ↩If you read old entries on here, you can probably even find some here. ↩And producer & label executive. ↩

I Stand With Kesha




Four percent of websites are considered pornographic; a much smaller percentage than most expect. Many people like the websites while many others hate them; and some who claim to oppose them enjoy them privately.1 I know that they’re a touchy subject2 for a lot of people, but I want to know what you guys think of them. Do you approve of porn? Have you ever viewed it? Do you think that it objectifies the actors? Are people who view porn complicit in any abuses that may go on in the porn industry? Has the industry done enough to prevent things like sexual assault, unwanted pregnancies, and STDs on set? Does viewing porn contribute to issues like pornography and/or sex addiction? Does viewing porn make it hard3 for people to relate emotionally to others? Does it encourage dangerous behavior in its viewers? Or is controversy related to porn exaggerated? Can porn be empowering? Josh Duggar ↩Pun intended. ↩Another pun. ↩

Daily Debate: Oct. 7, 2015