Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Wars 12/20/07

In 2004, it was decided by certain up front Christian folks that Christmas was being assaulted by the rest of us. Either we were too materialistic or not reverent enough or totally indifferent to the birth of Christ. The holy day itself was being drowned out by the loud obnoxious ads enticing us to support retail businesses during the festival of lights, tinsel, and horizontally-challenged Santa Clauses. Wow. Suddenly, Christmas was in need of defense and legal teams. I didn't really give two shits about it. Apathy and brain injury are companionable bedmates.

Fast-forward to the last couple of weeks ending the year 2007. A couple of things happened. The first was that my atheist husband rebelled against the company Christmas party and the subsequent concern of a loud-mouthed co-worker when he refused to kick in a couple of bucks for a present for the boss. The second was my attendance at a 12-step meeting where "spirituality" was one of the topics.

It was the day of the staff Christmas party-- a small affair involving co-workers and Christmas cookies. He refused to participate in the frenzied conviviality which is the mark of staff parties everywhere. Instead, he chose to take his routine lunchtime walk outside. I didn't find any fault with that choice.

The last hellhole that I had worked at expected the managers to take part in every friggin' staff party that came along. Being as I don't drink and don't really enjoy giving up my free [unpaid] time to hang out with my co-workers-- after my attendance at one or two of these things-- I stopped going. The higher end bosses were pushy yet I held my ground. I told them the truth. The parties weren't my thing, didn't relieve my stress, and weren't something I wanted to spend my time doing. Period. Life went on in spite of my refusal to participate in what for me would have been social fakery.

At the last hellhole, someone or other was always hitting us up for money-- a group Christmas present for the Jewish boss, a present for whoever was having a baby shower that week, a few dollars here, a couple more there. I gave, stupidly. My husband likewise also gave to various group efforts at making merry in his own place of employ. After his walk on the day of the staff Christmas party, he was asked to donate a few bucks towards a Christmas present for the boss. This time, he said, "No."

And then hell broke loose in his hellhole. Husband was the only one who had refused as it turned out. Begging co-worker proceeded to announce his refusal to everyone within earshot-- which as it turned out was the entire staff. Husband got pissed and pondered several versions of offensive e-mails which he would have liked to write in response but knew he couldn't.

While hell was breaking loose at his job, I was attending the 12 step meeting where the topic of "spirituality" was rapidly disintegrating into how materialistic the world is, how Christ's birthday was being shit upon by the unholy masses, how most everyone got it all wrong, how Jesus is the reason for the season. Rather than cause division in the room, I left and went to another meeting where the topic was indeed more centered on issues related to recovery.

"Let's celebrate Solstice," my husband proposed to me when he got home, knowing that as a non-wiccan witch I gave a nod to the passing of the seasons. "Screw that," I said. "Solstice just marks an astronomical event in the sky. Let's be evil Roman satanists and go whole hog out for Saturnalia!" He agreed even though none of his ancestors hailed from Italy.

Some of mine did. Perhaps they were the pagans watching the march of Christianity overtaking Europe and mourning the loss of sacred groves to the new religion. Perhaps they were the soldiers burning down the groves or the builders erecting churches over the hallowed ground now declared to be profane. More than likely, they were just regular folk hanging out in Southern Italy working the fields or selling stuff in their stores or whatever the hell it was they did on a daily basis. I sort of doubt that they had to attend staff holiday parties or chip in for a new toga for the boss.

Christmas is not really my holiday. I grew up in a Christmas-celebrating family and that was alright I guess. I have a variety of memories of Christmases past. I remember the giant Christmas tree at Rockerfeller Center in the City, the street vendors celebrating roasted chestnuts, the two guys who loaded up a canoe in Bambergers' with unpaid for Christmas presents and carried it down the elevator and out the front door without being stopped, the Santa Clauses and the fact that some had blue eyes and some had brown led me to conclude that the whole Santa thing was a story, my mother's fake green tree, my dad's fake silver ones, snow, vacations, the cranberry red raincoat and cool red ski outfit with the decorative corn cobs that my dad gave me one year and my mother throwing them out [she did this to everything he gave me every Christmas], lasagna at my aunt's, antipasto at my step-grandmother's, lights, decorations, my dad's repertoire of fun songs fitting the season. I also remember going to church.

Up until this year, husband and I participated in the secular madness. Lights got strung, expensive presents which we increasingly could not afford got bought year after year, the tree went up, the cats got to adjust the decorations on the lower branches, the dog got excited, visits got made, food got eaten, wrapping paper got thrown out and so on. This year, we decided to buy minimal sorts of gifts for our two families. I've been out of work for four years due to complications of traumatic brain injury after all. We took a severe financial hit on that one. We acknowledged our reality and this year acted accordingly. This year, we will not be crying about money we could not afford to spend. The lights, tree, and decorations remained in their boxes in the attic. Our lives and the lives of those around us continue in spite of the fact that we have decided to live within our means, energy levels, and non-beliefs. I am thankful that in the United States of America we can make our choices as we see fit.

We don't have any human kids. It certainly wasn't for lack of trying. They just didn't happen. Consequently, I've never had children to explai the whys and wherefores or the politics of Christmas to. I've never had to explain that public school students are permitted to sing traditional Christmas carols as written along with secular songs, never had to protest against a teacher informing my children that they are destined for hell, never had to educate my children on the varieties of traditions as practiced by tons of people in tons of places. This year, as the Shrub and presidential candidates air their stupid little commercials slash campaigns wishing the voters a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or both, I won't be having to explaining what is really going on in those commercials to my offspring. For that I count myself spared.

I don't decide where I will shop on the basis of whether employees have been instructed to say "Merry Christmas," "Season's Greetings," "Happy Holidays" or nothing. I don't choose my friends on the basis of what they celebrate or don't celebrate this time of year. While I don't ascribe to the notion of an inherently Christian nation or to the idea that anyone who doesn't believe that Jonah could have survived in the belly of a whale for three days, seen that oh so controversial movie "The Passion of Christ, or rejects the whole Jesus as savior routine is automatically going to the sulphur pits to burn forever and ever Amen, I don't hate people who do embrace those concepts. It does not harm me to wish people who celebrate Christmas a "Merry Christmas." It does not offend my essence to have strangers automatically assume that I celebrate Christmas.

You want to know what really bothers me? Okay, so that is a rhetorical question since I am going to tell you anyways. What really frosts me is that the House of Reps recently took time out to pass that ridiculous nonsense about the importance of Christmas and Christianity. Oh I know that Christianity has a bunch of followers. Some of those followers [particularly in other countries] are not having a happy time of things because of their faith. American Christians who have the nerve to broadcast that they too are among the persecuted might wish to try life in Pakistan or Egypt or even Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, in New York City several Jews riding a subway got beaten up. Apparently, responding "Happy Chanaukah" to ten people wishing you a "Merry Christmas" can result in a bloodbath. Similar to the bloodbath of the execution of Christ I suppose. Except that it was a Muslim who came to the aid of those getting the modern day ass-kickings. Abortion rights or civil rights for those of us who are non-hetero does not equate Christianity being made illegal in the United States.

Christians in the United States who fight abortion rights or the inclusion of actual or perceived sexual orientation in hate crimes are not threatened with death daily. A family in heavily Muslim Pakistan who recently converted from Islam to Christianity is in hiding in fear for their lives. An iman in England is now wanting to kill his converted to Christianity daughter. Christians in West Papua are in danger of wholesale genocide courtesy of Muslim Indonesia. Christians are faced with the possibility of being gunned down over in Iraq where recently a 24 year old woman was killed in just that manner.

To the Christians in the United States who are clamoring to get on the persecuted-for-my-faith bandwagon, get a clue. Go visit the website which as near as I can make out is a website run by Christians for Christians. Life over here is pretty damn good. Please remember that. This so-called war on Christmas is a smokescreen. Dump it. Let's all get on with the business of learning how to live peacefully with each other in spite of our differences, shall we?

*radical sapphoq dedicates this blog to her husband*


Saturday, December 08, 2007

...the lack of notification when an entry has been administratively set to "Explicit Adult Content" is a problem, and we are working on implementing a way to notify you...We also feel it is important that content which has been set as containing "Explicit Adult Content", or "Adult Concepts" clearly indicate that this is the case.
*Appeal for said administrative decision???
And how is the decision decided???
And why are yous crawling through friends-locked posts???
What exactly is an adult concept??? Cursing? Politics? Freedom from your religion? Witches? Lesbians? Bisexuals? Gays? Trans? AIDS? Death? Bad-mouthing Putin? Dissidence??? Revolt? Wank? Thought? Atheism? Secular Humanism? Animal welfare rather than animal rights? Rape? Sexual abuse? Surviving childhood sexual abuse?
If I wanted someone to police my thoughts, I would not have moved away from my mother.

For those who see the adult content lj-cut, we realize they may not see the lj-cut intended by the author of the post. This is something for which we do not have an immediate solution...and are open to any suggestions you might have.
*Here's a suggestion. DUMP IT. Translation: don't. Don't get involved in these petty censorship issues with the right-wing whacKKKos who are trying to dictate their ideas and impose their version of fundamentalist dominionist christianity upon the rest of us. Or is it Putin himself that we are battling???
A couple of words for you: Safe Harbour.

Additionally, we are determining what the best option available is for users who initially entered an incorrect date of birth. As a temporary solution, with their username and a copy of any government issued identification which includes a date of birth.
*Other places are content with the use of a credit card as proof of age.
How about just kicking off all the minors who didn't have the sense to lie about their ages when signing up?
And send any of yous a copy of government issued i.d.??? Dream ON.

...our Abuse report form does not properly indicate that our Hate Speech policies apply to members of any sex, gender, or sexual orientation. We assure you this is simply an oversight...the Abuse Prevention Team's Hate Speech policy has, and will continue to apply to these groups.
*That is bogus. NOT GOOD ENUF. The abuse team in my experience is only interested in finding ways to tell us to check the FAQs and not to bother them with any serious issues. Can you say: stalkingharassmentimpersonationhatecrimesanorexicsuicide???

...we feel it is important to give you an update on our plans to resolve these outstanding issues, and welcome any additional feedback you may have on how to further improve the adult content flagging system.
*Additional feedback on how to further improve the adult content flagging system. My feedback is welcome, eh? Here is my feedback: DUMP IT.

For any lj user who has managed to read through this post and gives a shit, sapphoq has accounts at insane journal, commie journal, blogger, multiply.
And for those who don't give a shit about where I will be, I still hope that you will find a better home where free thought is not illusionary.

Finally, on all of this BULLSHIT about how we MUST protect other peoples' little rugrats and not write mean things in our journals:

What you people are doing is far more obscene than a few curse words and naughty bits about Harry Potter fucking Draco or Snape or whoever.

And all you people working for Live Journal Inc., in a couple of years when SUP decides to move the offices out of San Francisco, I hope you enjoy living in other countries.


Fuck censorship...Fuck censorship...Fuck censorship...

Monday, December 03, 2007

El Jay Selling Out to a Russian Company

Ah ha! Six Apart is selling Live Journal. Perhaps then that is part of the reason for the idiocy that is infesting El Jay these days.

We will see what we see. I don't know if a Russian Company will do better with Live Journal or not.

radical sapphoq watching the lunatics in the hallways

Live Journal Waves Censorship Flags Around Again

Over at , Live Journal in the Press speaks nothing about the latest thing that has gotten many users in a tizzy. All of the articles referred to are from 2003 and 2004. Live Journal and its' dictatorial company Six Apart are both set upon becoming an embarrassment to the cause of freedom of electronica.

Users are now being asked to flag each others' journals for content that is adult sexy, adult themes, hate speech [with sexual orientation left out-- shame on you El Gay], offensive and one other category that I cannot think of right now. There is an inherent bias in all of this. If journals containing g.l.b.t.i.q. content are flagged, there won't be too many eyebrows raised. And witches-- lots of people don't want the witches around either. Filthy non-god heathens, atheists, sex outside of marriage, gasp drugs, rape memories...the list goes on. I propose adding dominionists and revisionists to the list. And that is the problem inherent in believing "in self-expression." There is always a risk that some folks are bound to express themselves in ways that at least one of us will not care for. And what the hel ever happened to parents supervising their kids on the net???

The post which is supposed to answer concerns expressed about the so-called flagging uh actually censorship-of-others tools found here at doesn't. The promise made several months ago of clear policies and definitions remains un-addressed.

From the reader is told that the "we" of Live Journal believes in self-expression and diversity. To that I can only say, ,sarcasm> "Yeah, right. Walk this way to see the bridge I got for sale in Brooklyn." < /sarcasm>.

sapphoq says: The machinations of Six Apart are truly something to watch. Hey if El Jay wants to become vanilla, El Jay will have to do that without any more help from my bisexual bucks. I am currently cross-posting to Insane Journal. And Commie Journal is looking better daily. Yahell 360, another great defender of censorship, is going under on January 31, 2008. Maybe I will live long enough to see Live Journal go the way of 360.

*radical sapphoq opposing censorship over and out*

Flag it. Offensive Content.