Bandwidth is going through the roof — not because I’m getting so many more visitors recently (although I am — hi there, new people! Check out the groovy digs!) but because someone on Livejournal linked to a picture here. And the thing is, when you link to a picture on livejournal, it not only gets linked to on your blog, it also gets linked to on every single “friends” blog that has you listed. And either this person who linked the picture has a lot of friends, or people simply cut and pasted the picture into their own livejournals — thus precipitating more “friend” journal hits and so on. And apparently people are just linking to the picture — not back to me personally. And you know. I hate that. If you’re going to thieve my bandwidth, at least do me the courtesy of an actual link, so I get something out of it, like (possibly) new readers.

As a gentle reminder to Livejournalers, I replaced the picture with this:

In addition to letting them know what they’re doing, it’s also a much smaller graphic, memorywise.

To be honest, I don’t really mind people doing direct picture links, but I do wish they’d let me know first so I can say “yeah, that’s okay” or “no, you’re on Livejournal, please just cut and paste the picture into your own space” (or “hell no — you leave my precious pictures alone!!!” Although I don’t usually say that one).

Anyway, if you’re one of the livejournal people who came this way thanks to the graphic, hi there. I’m not actually angry at you. You’re just going to end up costing me money is all. Please, please, please ask for permission to link to my pictures next time. Thanks.


My Right to Same Sex Marriage (in Massachusetts)

Uh-oh, here I go again:

One of the typical responses to the whole “gay marriage” thing is that gays and lesbians won’t actually lose their equal rights by the passage of an amendment that limits marriage to only one man and one woman, because gays and lesbians can marry a man (if they’re a lesbian) or a woman (if they’re a gay man), and they won’t lose that right no matter what. (Orson Scott Card, a writer whose fiction work I immensely admire — and who is also strongly socially conservative — brings forth this argument here).

All right, fine. Let’s go ahead and play this game, and cast it another way. Which is:

In about six weeks, barring the sudden and direction intervention of God, a meteor that wipes out only the land mass of Massachusetts or a temporally mobile, socially conservative cyborg that zooms back in time to kill several members of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, people of the same sex will be able to marry each other in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This is a done deal, unless by some miracle two-thirds of the House and Senate and three quarters of the US states ram through an FMA in that time, which seems, shall we say, unlikely (this is where that sudden and direct intervention of God comes in).

However, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, in its wisdom, did not specify that only gays and lesbians may marry members of the same sex; indeed, anyone could do so — even, say, me. So sometime in May, I will have the right to marry another man in Massachusetts. Now, granted, for me to marry a man, I would first have to divorce my wife (extremely unlikely), and then find a person of my own gender who I am sufficiently attracted to in all ways — mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually — that I can be persuaded to shack up with him for the rest of my days (even more unlikely still). So it seems doubtful I will take advantage of this right (no more than, say, a gay person would take advantage of the right to marry a person of the opposite sex). But that’s not the point. The point is: I can. It’s my right.

So, if a Federal Marriage Amendment passes, not only will the United States of America be taking away the right of gays and lesbians to marry a person of the same sex (in Massachusetts), it will also be taking away my right to marry a person of the same sex (in Massachusetts).

And so, this is me saying: I want the right to marry a person of the same sex (in Massachusetts). And in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I have that right (or will, in six weeks). I won’t exercise that right, true enough, but so what? I can think of a number of rights I have that I have not yet exercised and/or have no intention of exercising, but that doesn’t mean those rights aren’t still mine under the Constitution of the United States — or that I wouldn’t get extremely agitated if someone tried to take those rights away.

I will have the right to marry someone of the same sex (in Massachusetts). And so will you, regardless of your sex, color, race, creed, national origin, or range of physical ability. The ability to marry a member of the same sex (in Massachusetts) will be, I dare say, refreshingly egalitarian. So rejoice! You have a right you didn’t have before. And that’s not a bad thing — indeed, the US Constitution is famously rife with instances where rights were expanded, sometimes for particular groups but also for the public at large.

A Federal Marriage Amendment would take away my recognized right to marry a person of the same sex (in Massachusetts) — and why would I want to amend the constitution to take away one of my rights? I mean, sure, it’s easy to take away rights of other people, especially when they’re, you know, fornicating sinners and going to Hell for their terrible terrible Sodomite ways anyway. But let me ask you — are you really willing to throw away rights which accrue to you?

And if you are, why should anyone stop there? If you’re willing to throw away your right to marry a person of the same sex (in Massachusetts), what argument do you have for wanting to keep, say, your right to bear arms? Or your right to peaceably assemble? Or your right against self-incrimination? Or your right to keep the government from quartering soldiers in your home? Or, indeed, any right you may care to think of?

I love my rights — I daresay I am greedy for them, which why I would choose not to part with a single one of them, even the ones I have no intention of using — even the right to marry someone of the same sex (in Massachusetts). I had said earlier that the Federal Marriage Amendment would take away the rights of a specific group of people, but I see now that I was wrong. It would take away my rights, and yours too, and the rights of all Americans to marry someone of the same sex (in Massachusetts). A right that even accrues to the people pushing the Federal Marriage Amendment, although clearly, they don’t deserve it. I would thank them very kindly to their hands off my rights.

So I say: Fight! Fight for your right for same sex marriage (in Massachusetts)! If you let them take it away, who’s to say they won’t come for your guns next? Or your books? Or your home? Or your liberty? If you love America and what it stands for, you can do no less than demand your right to same sex marriage.

In Massachusetts!


Building the Perfect Goth Girl

Goth girls are made, not born, and so in the interests of Athena developing that essential patina of removed disdainful alienation that will serve her well to mask her insecurities and neuroses through high school and college, we got her this little goth doll, whose name, if I recall correctly, is “Malice,” and is very much like what Barbie would have been had she been fed nothing but a diet of Anne Rice books and old tapes of Tones on Tail, Japan and Dali’s Car. Athena is delighted, although of course careful not to actually let any positive emotion about that fact show, as you can see from the photo above.

The pump was already primed. One of Athena’s favorite animated films is The Nightmare Before Christmas and her favorite holiday is Halloween; of her three favorite colors, two are black and purple (the other is pink. Give her time). And one of her favorite recent bands is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who are not goth, but as anyone who has checked out Karen O’s wardrobe knows, are definitely a step in the right direction. And: She likes spiders. Really, it’s like someone drew a map to Gothville and gave it to her.

You ask: But now how will you nurture the paradoxically passive-aggressive goth impulse, the one that claims to hate people yet dresses specifically to get attention? Well, you know. With love is how. Krissy has prepared the way with the complete sets of Rice’s Vampire and Mayflower Witches series; on my end I’ve got the complete Sandman collection, including the two stand-alone books about the Ankh-wearing gamine Death. Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice and Sleepy Hollow? Check. The recorded works of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, the Cure, Nine Inch Nails and The Misfits? Check. The Crow and The two Addams Family movies? Check and check. And we have at least one Edvard Munch print in the house. Believe me, we’re ready.

And what if Athena rejects goth? After all, she does currently have gymnastics class at the YMCA. Physical exercise is not very goth. And she also loves tuneage from They Might Be Giants and Cole Porter, neither of whom have a shred of gothiness to them. And while she adores The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy (speaking of goth training films), she’s also very positive about Kim Possible and Spongebob Squarepants. And — perhaps the biggest strike against her incipient gothosity — she likes playing out in the sun. We have to accept the very real possibility that our darling child may give in to the pink side of her nature, the part that enjoys floral patterns and Easy Bake ovens and wandering around the house in a ballerina get-up.

And of course, the answer is: We’ll love her to bits anyway, because she’s our daughter and we want her to be happy — even if that means she actually, you know, shows that she’s happy. Goth girl, cheerleader, or anywhere inbetween, what we really want is for her to be herself. We’re happy to say she’s already that, and becoming more so every day we know her.

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