Friday, December 23, 2011

SL Seasons Greetings!

Some holiday snapshots from Second Life, in part to commemorate my first rezzday as well as the slew of holidays this season.

And because I'm becoming such a virtual fashion plate, here's where I got the bits of my outfit.

Crop, Santa hat/jacket/corset: ~Vanilla Pleasures~by Madame du Couturier
Candy cane dispenser belt: Lusty Sexy Fashion
Boots, latex garter girdle: VvB Design (available inworld only)
Fully fashioned stockings: No.9 Nylons (available inworld only)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Aw Hell, ABC, Not Again...!

In 1980 ABC premiered a sitcom about two cis men in the advertising industry, trying to find an apartment in New York City. One of their cis woman friends suggests they move into a rent-controlled, affordable place in her apartment building. One hitch--the apartment building, known as the Susan B. Anthony Hotel, is strictly for (presumably cis) women. 

So, naturally, they don't hesitate to crossdress in order to get in.

The sitcom Bosom Buddies (get it? Bosom? Buddies? HAW HAW!) was not terribly popular and only lasted two seasons, but it was long enough for one of the cross-dressing stars of the show, Tom Hanks, to get major exposure as an actor. Shortly after Bosom Buddies was taken off the air, Hanks found himself in two starring movie roles--Splash, along side Daryl Hannah and John Candy; and Bachelor Party, which had a small part for professional female impersonator Christopher Morley as one of those gosh-darn deceptive trans women who got into one of the party-goer's pants only to pee while standing up and talk in a deep voice just in time to deliver some, um, comic relief, I think some call it....

Now, this is not to go after Tom Hanks, although he's got a lot of explaining to do for both directly and indirectly associating trans women with deceivers, and throwing in a helping of pitiful ain't-foolin'-nobody for good measure. This is about ABC, the network that green-lighted Bosom Buddies in the first place.

This was hardly the first time ABC had used trans women as the butts of jokes. Three years before, the ABC sitcom Soap premiered, introducing the world to another up-and-coming actor/comedian, Billy Crystal, portraying a gay man in one of the first portrayals of such on prime time television. Of course, by the second episode of the first season, he's crossdressing and telling his mother he wants a "sex change" so he can marry his boyfriend. Said boyfriend breaks up, so there's no further talk about transgender behavior after that--just a suicide attempt, followed by affairs with women. How convenient! 

This is, of course, another stereotype about trans women--that we're "really" cis gay men who want to have operations only because of society's homophobia. Only someone who doesn't realize the seriousness of transphobia--or doesn't care about making transphobia worse--would insist on such a skewed view. And yet, it's depressingly common.

Both of these television shows were regularly shown in my household, and so I got a double dose of stereotypes about trans women from ABC alone. No wonder it took years for me to come to terms with being trans.

So when I heard ABC was doing it again, I got peeved. Bereft of original ideas, they're reinventing Bosom Buddies with a focus on jobs instead of housing. Welcome to Work It, which makes ABC president Paul Lee "cackle with laughter".

Curiously enough, there's quite a bit of resistance to this show--from the dubious "mancession" narrative it reinforces, to the problematic use of crossdressing for humor value, to concerns that it reinforces the pitiful/deceitful narrative, are showing up online with comforting regularity. I haven't linked to any of the articles to illustrate this--Google is your friend--but that doesn't mean ABC will pull the plug on the sitcom prior to its 2012 debut.

If you could, please take a moment to sign this petition urging ABC to not let Work It on the air. If enough of us speak up, there will be at least one less media message against trans women, one less negative image for trans girls to struggle with.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Thoughts on Spirituality & Music

My Damsel and I talked about music at one point since our tastes in
music are widely divergent. She grew up in a strict fundamentalist
Christian home and while she doesn't exactly believe the same way her
parents do, her tastes reflect her upbringing; she prefers Christian
rock and pop over most other forms of music, and while she has some
knowledge of pop/rock from exposure to it in the general culture, she
doesn't get metal. She also states she feels a strong spiritual
connection to music.

In contrast, despite having had my own exposure to Christian
fundamentalism--I attended an Assembly of God in the early 80s and
subscribed to their beliefs for a time--I'm definitely a metalhead and
have been for over a quarter-century. But I used to play 'cello, too,
and even without that experience my parents had a few classical albums
at the house. In fact I listened to all the albums my parents had,
from Glen Campbell to Jimi Hendrix, from The Monkees to The Beatles.
Then there was my mother's love of Golden Oldies, my father's love of
country, and my own curiosity in everything from the history of jazz
to 20th Century compositional schools like Musique Concrete,
Formalism, Expressionism, Minimalism, etc.

But with all of this perspective, I told her I didn't feel so much a
spiritual connection as an emotional connection.

It's a conversation I've thought about much lately, and it occurred to
me that there may be a disconnect that's keeping me from making clear
where I stand. After all, if one is willing to accept that black metal
is the spiritual side of metal, given my love of the genre, you'd
surmise that there must be a spiritual element to my love of music,
albeit one that may seem highly unconventional and, from a humanist
point of view, nihilistic. (I don't see it as nihilistic, personally,
as much as complete; it doesn't forsake the darker side of humanity
nor does it fear death, but seeks to combine the whole of our
experience into a well-integrated gestalt. The emphasis of darkness,
evil, and death in black metal is more a matter of balance than
conviction that these things outweigh light, good, and life. But I

Perhaps I should state that in music I find a fusion between the
intellectual and the emotional--the Apollonian and the Dionysian, as
Nietzsche might put it, or as William Blake categorized it, Heaven and
Hell. Music is mathematics and physics--frequencies, harmonic ratios,
energy expressed as dynamics and rhythm--which attempts to express and
invoke feelings in ways words cannot. It is very powerful, and engages
the mind in a rather broad way.

But to focus on this alone is to ignore that spirituality transcends
both the intellectual and the emotional, that it goes beyond the
merely ineffable--that which cannot be expressed in words--to
encompass the inscrutable, that is, things that cannot be comprehended
at all, but only experienced directly. If I could be assured that my
readers were fluent in Qaballah, I could easily describe this in terms
of the Tree of Life, and state that one must be able to perceive the
whole of the Tree rather than linger on the lower Sephirot, where
intellectual and emotional impulses lie. But it will need to suffice
that, in my view, the heart of spirituality is in unity with the

This is why I feel the most spiritual when in the woods, or when
looking at the night sky. The knowledge of how big it all is, and how
intricate, and how full of energy, combined with the emotionally
overwhelming realization that I am so small in comparison, and yet
still part of all of this, are only facets of the unity, and thus the
spiritual connection, I perceive. The experience is so massive that no
words, no song, no work of art, could compare. It's like comparing a
map to the territory it represents; there is no way for the map to be
complete without being the territory itself.

So in a sense, I think music *is* spiritual, but only as a fragment of
a much greater holiness.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Over 3.5 hours (at this writing) of Christmas carols and originals
made by metalheads, punks, and assorted weirdos. Guaranteed to help
you survive the holiday season! Replace store muzak systems with this
playlist and watch those annoying screaming brats run far away at top
speed! Crank it loud and get a delightful mix of enthusiastic cheers
and disgusted sneers out of passersby! Dig up Andy Williams' moldering
corpse and shove this playlist in every holly jolly orifice! PUT THE

Have a happy holiday season! \m/