Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A little light-heartedness (because I need that today)

click to enlarge

Ah xkcd how I love thee.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Oods and ends

-School starts Wednesday. Yippie.

-Even though my financial aid worker is second in command AND said I was DEFINITELY getting financial aid for Fall quarter I have none at this moment. NONE. And no one is able to tell me why the hell that is b/c I turned in my petition in May (MAY!) and have no idea what is going on. And apparently, they don't know what's going on either.

-Dating a math geek rocks. Though sometimes when we're in public we like to joke about women's "inferiority" in math because of those pesky ovaries and people take it the wrong way. They think we're serious. Like I'd ever date anyone who took that shit seriously. HA! (We also get weird looks because when we're at a coffeeshop or bar we'll make up math games. People are missing out by thinking math games are weird.)

-Have proved how big of a geek I am by buying textbook for the graduate Linear Algebra class and am up to chapter 4, having studied it and done the homework exercises. (One day I'm hoping to convince the department to let me take that class. I love me some Linear Algebra.)

-Really, really, REALLY need to clean. Badly. Will I? Mmmmmm, probably not.

-Don't want to go to school. Want more summer. But if the weather insists on being shitty I guess I'll be ok with school. I'd feel better starting school if it had ever been warm enough for me to spend a lot of time at the beach this summer. *sigh*

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

When past mental health diagnoses become a weapon

I've been trying to write this post for some time, but it's really hard to exactly express what I'm feeling, so I'll just list it: anger (and a whole lot of it), disgust, fear, anger, incredulity, outrage, shock, sadness, and more (righteous) anger.

A woman, Fran Lyon, whose website can be found here detailing what's going on, who was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder when she was a teen (which is ridiculous b/c you're not supposed to be diagnosed with a personality disorder until you're over 18) is being threatened with having her baby taken away from her, 7 years after her diagnosis, and 6 years since her therapist has said she has recovered from her symptoms. (For a breakdown of BPD look to my old post found here. Read this first if you know little or nothing about BPD/ERD.)

From Writhe Safely (link at bottom):
A man rapes a woman, her resulting PTSD is misdiagnosed as Borderline Personality Disorder.

Women who have been raped are traumatized and eligible for the non-punishing dx of PTSD, which sits on AXIS I of treatable mental illness.

BPD is an AXIS II diagnosis, the AXIS referring to disorders of the personality, that are by definition lifelong and untreatable.

Daily Mail article (Reproduced in full here with my own emphasis added).
The daughter of teachers and with a glittering academic future, Fran was delighted when she became pregnant. But social services discovered the illness she thought she'd put behind her - and will confiscate her daughter when she is born...

Fran Lyon is due to give birth to her first child - a daughter she has already named Molly - on January 3. But the prospect, far from being one of joyous anticipation, fills her with a dread that keeps her awake at night.

It's not because Fran doesn't want the child. She does. Desperately. And not because she is frightened of the pain of labour. She is prepared for that.

It is what happens afterwards that fuels Fran's anxiety. And there can be no preparation for that pain.

For within 30 minutes of birth, barring any medical complications, Molly will be handed by doctors to social workers. They have instructions to take away Fran's newborn baby and place her in foster care.

The 22-year-old will then be transferred from the maternity wing to a gynaecological ward, because Northumberland Council has decided that Fran - who has never harmed anyone in her life - is potentially a risk to other mothers and their babies.

Fran has no idea if she will be able to touch her baby, even for a minute, before leaving hospital alone, or if she will ever get her daughter back. Her biggest fear is that she won't, and that Molly will be put up for adoption.

'It is incredibly upsetting not knowing if I will be allowed even to hold my baby,' says Fran, a charity worker. 'Until social services became involved in my life, I was having a normal pregnancy and was full of excitement.

'They have taken away what should be the most precious time in my life - and I will never get that back. I'm already in love with my baby. I can feel her moving, I talk to her. I've bought her baby books and clothes. You just can't undo that attachment.'

Fran is an intelligent and articulate woman. She has nine A- starred GCSEs, five grade A A-levels and is in the third year of a neuroscience degree at Edinburgh University - which she is completing at home in Hexham, Northumberland.

However, what concerns Hexham Children's Services, which is part of Northumberland Council, is Fran's medical history.

Having had a difficult relationship with her parents, who are teachers in good state schools, from the age of 15, she started selfharming. Fran spent three years - on and off - in psychiatric hospitals.

Her problems appear to have begun when she was raped by an acquaintance at the age of 14. Diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, she was discharged from a therapeutic facility in 2002, where she had spent 13 months, and spent nine months as an outpatient.

Today, she needs no medication and, according to her former psychiatrist, Dr Stella Newrith, 'has made a significant recovery to the point where her difficulties are indistinguishable from those of much of the general population'.

In a letter to Northumberland Council, Dr Newrith, who treated Fran for a year when she was 16 and has known her for many years, stated: 'There has never been any clinical evidence to suggest that Fran would put herself or others at risk, and there is certainly no evidence to suggest she would put a child at risk of emotional, physical or sexual harm.'

Furthermore, she said: 'I would view the removal of Fran's baby as an extraordinarily heavy-handed gesture. It is also my professional opinion that doing so would be an infringement of Fran's human rights, as it would be much the same as removing a child from someone from the general population.'

Yet on August 16, a child protection case conference recommended that Fran's baby should be taken away at birth - a decision based in part on the contents of a letter from consultant paediatrician Dr Martin Ward Platt, who has never met Fran and could not be present at the meeting.

In his letter, Dr Ward Platt states that 'even in the absence of psychological assessment, if the professionals were concerned on the evidence available that [this woman] probably does fabricate or induce illness, there would be no option but to put the baby into foster care at birth pending a post-natal forensic psychological assessment'.

However, he warned that it was necessary first to establish as far as possible whether or not Fran does suffer from this illness - something Fran claims they have failed to do.

Fran has never been diagnosed with this condition, yet she has nevertheless been deemed by Northumberland Council as someone likely to suffer from Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy, a controversial and unproven condition in which a parent - usually the mother - makes up or induces an illness in her child to draw attention to herself.

And so, unless a judicial review next week rules in Fran's favour, her baby Molly will almost certainly be taken away at birth.

'I can understand why they might have concerns about my past, but the speed with which they have come to this conclusion, despite the evidence of my own psychiatrist, is terrifying,' she says.

'I was at the case conference and it lasted just ten minutes.

'This letter from Dr Ward Platt was given to me just five minutes before the meeting started, and when it was produced, the chairman said there was no point - in the light of what this letter stated - even considering the other evidence which I wanted to present, which was letters of support from psychiatrists.

'I think they simply panicked, and when people panic they make, in my opinion, bad judgments. I left that meeting numb with shock. I'd had absolutely no time to digest the letter or argue my case, and I was so horrified at what they'd said that I just couldn't even begin to respond to it.

'I have never harmed anyone in my life. I have no criminal convictions. I believe I can be a good mother to Molly - but they are not even prepared to give me a chance to prove that.

'I have offered to stay in a mother and baby unit after Molly's birth for as long as they want, and to be monitored. I would be prepared to stay there for 18 years if it meant I could be with my baby. But that, it seems, is not even an option.'

Fran's case is far from unusual. Two thousands babies under one year old were taken from their parents last year by social services - three times the number ten years ago. Critics believe councils are doing this to help meet government adoption 'targets'.

Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, chairman of the Justice for Families campaign group, certainly thinks so.

'How can it be in the child's best interests to take a baby away from its mother at birth? The reason why they do it is because it's much harder to take away a baby the longer it spends with its mother, and a healthy newborn baby is so much easier to find adoptive parents for.

'It is estimated that 97 per cent of babies taken away from their mothers at birth, on the basis that the mothers are "capable of emotional abuse", are never returned to them - and that is simply scandalous.

'Of course, there are cases where it is right to do so, but the whole public family law system is corrupt because of the secrecy which surrounds it. Decisions are based on opinion and conjecture, rather than fact and evidence.

'What does Fran's case tell us? That no woman who has been raped or had mental health problems can be allowed to have a baby, even years later?

'What could be more traumatic than for a mother to have her baby taken away at birth? It's monstrous. That, in itself, can cause mental health problems, which is then used by social services against the mother as a reason not to return the baby. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

'There has been a massive increase in younger babies being taken into care, before there is even any evidence of harm - and you have to ask why that is.'

Despite her own troubled past, Fran Lyon is convinced she can be a good parent, and is desperate to prove that. From the start, she has been open and honest with social workers about her medical history, but she feels this has been used against her.

Although she describes her childhood as 'difficult', she refuses to elaborate, other than to say that she is close to her mother and younger brother, but has no contact with her father.

The catalyst for her severe mental health problems was, she says, the rape she suffered when she was 14.

She told police that she was attacked while working as a Saturday volunteer in a charity shop in Northampton, when the shop's founder - a middle-aged man - drove her to an empty warehouse supposedly to pick up supplies for the shop.

When Fran reported the rape, he was interviewed by police. Three more women claiming they, too, had been attacked came forward and agreed to testify against him. However, in 2001 the man killed himself before the Crown Prosecution Service could decide whether to proceed.

'After the rape, I became clinically depressed,' says Fran. 'I lost a huge amount of weight and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after trying to kill myself with an overdose of tablets. It wasn't a cry for help; I wanted to die because of what he had done to me.'

She spent the next three years, on and off, in residential psychiatric hospitals in Oxford, Nottingham and London after being diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, in her case characterised by self-harming, instability and suicidal tendencies.

For the final 13 months, Fran went to a therapeutic residential clinic, where she attended individual psychotherapy sessions and group analysis before being discharged as an outpatient.

By the time she was 18, she appeared to have put her problems behind her.

She started to flourish, taking five A-levels at Orpington College in Kent and applying to study neuroscience at Edinburgh University.

At the same time, she worked for two mental health charities, Borderline and Personality Plus. It was through that job, two years ago, that she met the man who is the father of Molly.

'Of course, I was worried when I fell pregnant. I wondered how we would cope as a couple, because we weren't living together,' says Fran.

'But once that wore off, I was excited. I would go shopping with my mum to baby departments, buying books and looking at prams.'

But a few weeks ago, all normality ended. Social services suddenly became involved when Fran phoned the police after what she describes as a 'disturbing incident' with her partner. Fran's relationship with him ended immediately.

'The case was referred to social services and I was interviewed by two social workers, who said from the beginning that they would have to look at the whole family, not just one person in isolation,' says Fran.

'At that first meeting, they asked about my concerns regarding the baby's father, but then it became clear through their questions that their investigation was centred on me. I have never made a secret of my mental health problems. I felt I had nothing to hide.'

Fran was co- operative, she says, because she naively thought children's services would offer her help and support. She was stunned when she received a letter informing her that a child protection case conference would be held on August 16.

'That's when I became frightened and thought for the first time: "Are they going to take my baby away from me?"

'I couldn't believe how everything had happened so quickly. When you are up against a big system such as social services, it is very easy to feel overrun and overwhelmed.'

Realising the seriousness of the situation, Fran instructed a solicitor and contacted her former psychiatrist, Dr Stella Newrith, who offered her full support.

A second psychiatrist, who Fran knew through her charity work, offered a character reference stating: 'I have no doubt that her diligence and capacity, particularly in dealing with complex emotional situations, will stand her in good stead for the rigours of parenthood.'

Yet these testimonials, Fran says, were never even read out at the conference after Dr Ward Platt's letter was produced.

Northumberland Council insists that two highly experienced doctors - another consultant paediatrician and a medical consultant - attended the case conference.

Neither they, nor anyone else present - including Fran solicitor - made any objection. Feeling stunned and intimidated by what she had heard, she felt unable to speak out.

Everything she wanted to say will now be heard - with the help of a new solicitor who specialises in such cases - at appeal.

According to MP John Hemming, Fran should win her case; but there is no guarantee that she will. Both he and Fran are particularly concerned that last week social workers contacted the psychiatrist who provided a character reference for Fran. They believe this was done with the intention of 'pressurising' the witness into withdrawing his support, and undermining Fran's appeal.

It was seemingly suggested by a social worker to the doctor in question that Fran had given incorrect details about her health to hospital staff: in short, doubt was cast on the reality of an ectopic pregnancy Fran suffered on Christmas Eve two years ago.

'Is it ethical for social workers to go behind my back and speak to my witnesses, discussing my private confidential medical history and suggesting to them that I might have made things up?' says Fran.

'I did have an ectopic pregnancy, and I have the scars to prove that I had abdominal surgery.' Mr Hemming goes further, describing such behaviour as akin to witness nobbling. He also claims it is not uncommon for social workers to pressurise witnesses - a punishable practice in the criminal courts.

'There is a culture in which the end is seen to justify the means, and sometimes the means employed would not be tolerated in any other court of law,' he says. 'Yet if anyone tries to speak out, they are guilty of contempt of court. The whole family court system, because of the secrecy which surrounds it, is vulnerable to bad practice. Social workers are under pressure not to lose cases.' Northumberland Council, while legally prevented from speaking about individual cases, insists there is nothing sinister in their actions.

A spokeswoman said it was the court which would make the ultimate decision, after hearing legal representation from both sides. 'Safeguarding children is our top priority,' said a spokeswoman. 'We speak to all sides without bias or pressure. 'We would welcome a review of the family court arrangements, and support transparency, as long as this is in the best interests of the children.

'Safeguarding arrangements have been praised as good following a rigorous inspection by a number of Government departments. It was specifically noted that "good action was taken to enable parents to keep their children safe in the home and the community. Our duty to safeguard children is our only motivation, and we strive to keep children with their families wherever possible, or extended families if that is not possible.

'We do not have numerical targets for adoption; nor have we received any financial rewards in relation to adoption figures.'

As for Fran, the final four months of her pregnancy are filled with stress and uncertainty, and the nagging terror that her worst nightmare will become a reality and her baby daughter will be snatched away from her. 'Some days I feel positive,' she says quietly.

'But others I feel totally overwhelmed. All I am asking for is a chance to prove that I will be a good mother.'

Sadly, that wish may not be granted her.

Now I was diagnosed as BPD a few years ago, not by my therapist who believes that I only have severe PTSD whose symptoms mimic those of BPD, but by a psychiatrist I had to see in order to get meds. Now in my disability file held by the government I will always be labeled as BPD. (Thanks, doc.) As Fran's case shows, this can be very dangerous. Now I do not plan on having children, but my friends not only trust me with their children, but encourage us to spend a lot of time together (mostly b/c I seem to be everyone's favourite crazy auntie). The thought that because I have been diagnosed with BPD that I should be a danger to children is ridiculous. BPD is characterised by self-harm, not with harming others. I wish I could express more of how I feel about this situation, but I am just too overwhelmed with disgust and anger to be eloquent.

In the News:
Journal Live article
Telegraph article
Sky News article

From the blogosphere:
The Roadkill Diaries' Tony Blair's Britain
Writhe Safely's How Psychiatry Blames the Victim
Uncool's Fran Lyon (also a hat tip to Lina for making me aware of the situation)
The Trouble with Spikol's Horrifying Violation of Human Rights
*NEW* S511's Link Roundup

I will be updating this as more blogs and news items appear, and I will have another blog when the court decision is made. I'm hoping for the best, but I'm not holding my breath since society seems to think that anyone diagnosed with a mental health disorder is less then human.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Asshole of the day

In response to this post which was talking about my condescending Limits prof.

The shit you are doing is beyond simple. Stop being a pussy and quit blaming everyone for your sub-par mathematical skills. Your professor has nothing against you, he just thinks you're a fucking moron and would have probably said that to anyone that cannot understand the basics of calculus at such a level.

-Gottfried Leibniz

So me acing the next quiz must be further proof of my idiocy. So the fact that he's only condescending to female students, even the only person to get an A in our class, is not important since he so obviously would be condescending to any student, not just the women.

The fact that I maintain an A/B average in Mathematics and Physics is just because I'm lucky a good guesser because my puny mind just can't comprehend anything and I should just give up now and get a job at McDonalds, because only people with subpar math skills would get A's and B's.

How dare I get pissed at a sexist condescending asshole? Why don't I just take it like a man? Mmmmm, yeah. I don't think anyone should be treated like that, even if they are an idiot.

Edited to add: I posted this not just because I was pissed and wanted to see the bullshit some people write me (though their comments are usually unpublished), but also because it's people like this who make me want to work harder and 'show them.' Look out for me!

Computers don't like drool

Think you're into science?

Check out these people.

Here's a taste:

(don't worry if you don't know what the last symbol is. It's actually the Hebrew character Beth)

One day I will join them, since I have plans for 2 small science designs of my own. I really want to get an Ohm* tattooed above my heart since all my life has been dedicated to resistance of the status quo (activism) and the Ohm is the symbol of resistance in physics. So everyone will know that resistance is close to my heart. And for some reason I really want an infinity symbol on my right inside wrist. Smaller then the Ohm, of course.

*capital Omega in the Greek alphabet.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Evangelicals are going to eat me

Now I'm going to preface this by saying that I'm not anti-religion. I have read holy books from most major religions and studied others. The basic tenants are good, but it is impossible these days for many people to seperate the politics from the religion. I was raised strict Roman Catholic and I was an atheist at age 10, partially because I couldn't understand the conflicting depictions of God (on one had he is all-loving and all-forgiving and on the other he's vengeful and spiteful) and how people who would go to church week after week and then throw out all the things Jesus preached once they left. Hypocricy does not sit well with me, nor did it as I was a kid. While I am now currently agnostic, I believe that religion can be a positive influence on peoples lives. I do not think that everyone can live in the existentialist way that I use and the religion can teach them to be moral people. Sometimes people need fear or guilt to make them moral (evidence to this can be seen all over the news) and whatever can do that is good in my eyes. Now if only people would follow that in their daily lives.

And then I watch things like Jesus Camp.

This movie is going to give me nightmares, I just know it. The youth ministers and the kids themselves (most under the age of 10) talk about creating and being in God's Army. I learned that 75% of children that are homeschooled in the US are evangelical Christians. They are taught that the earth is 6,000 years old, and that science is just a belief, that there is no way that science can prove anything* and that things that have become commonly accepted as fact are bullshit. (I used to think Catholics were the crazy ones, but at least they believe in the big bang and that evolution is compatible with the Christian faith. Which is one of the things that still confuses me to this day. It started when I was a kid, and if you listen to Genesis who says that God's days had to be 24 hour periods? It's God ffs. S/He can do whatever the hell s/he wants and who says a day in the bible does not equal millions upon millions of years?) How will these children do in college without the basic knowledge all children learn. Now I'm a big fan of homeschooling b/c I know some very brilliant people who came out of it and learned at a very accelerated rate, learning much more then they ever would have at public school. (Has to do with the multi-age classes, etc.) It's the same problem I have with Amish kids only being taught through 8th grade, because any more learning makes them 'too proud.' Then what real choice do they get when they go on Rumspriga (sp?)? They don't have the education to go out into the real world and many people never try (or know that it's available) to learn at a higher level, so they go back to what they know. I don't mind people going back to their religion, or choose a religion, but I think they should be given a true choice. Give them a chance to think about what they are doing and understand that this is what they truly want and believe.

OK, now I've read the Bible and nowhere in it does Jesus preach intolerance, hate, war, or persecution. Then the woman pastor tells people that if Harry Potter is an enemy of god and if he had been alive while Jesus was alive then he would have been killed for being a warlock. Say what? It's fiction, people AND Jesus would have been tolerant and forgiving. Witchcraft is nothing like in the books, but that's another story. (I spent a few years experimenting with witchcraft/paganism. But it all came down to the fact, and this is really what pulled me in, is that nature is a higher power. It is everywhere, it is everything. It is a powerful force to be respected and honoured. I went back to being atheist, because in my own ways I honour nature and the universe around us by fighting for our environment constantly. Which is one thing that the Evangelicals seem to miss b/c they think they can use all our resources now b/c Jesus is coming soon.)

These children are being brainwashed. The whole reason I became agnostic is because my parents taught us kids to think for ourselves, to question everything and not to follow blindly. They're getting indoctrinated at home (which is also their school for most the kids in the video) and at churches that tell them they must be Evangelical Christians to be saved. I had a problem with being confirmed when I was 12 because I felt that that did not fully reflect what confirmation was supposed to be. It is supposed to be a personal decision to say yes, I accept Catholicism as my religion. It's supposed to be a choice made when you have the ability to do it for yourself, not because your family wants you to. 43% of Evangelicals are 'born-again' before the age of 13. They are not given time to make a decision for themselves.

OK, 'take back America for Christ?' Where does this Christian persecution complex come from? Last I looked the US was predominantly Christian. And look at our government. So incredibly Christian. The only non-protestant to ever be elected was JFK who was, *gasp*, Catholic. There's a war on? Between who? The evangelicals on one side and the evangelicals on another? The 'true christians' (evangelicals) and all of us who are going to hell even if we are moral people?

Another annoying thing is the fact that whatever they do, they do because God is doing it. How is god sanctioning people who kill abortion providers? How is god sanctioning the idea of hate and believing that people of other faiths are all going to hell? How the hell can they bless President Bush when he has done so many unChristian things, like attack a country for oil which results in the death of so many lives, some of them Christian? "This means war!" That is what the lead minister was yelling at the congregation of children. War? Jesus was no fan and I will never EVER be ok with a religion that preaches war in any form. Also it teaches these poor kids to not take responsibility for their actions. Whatever they do is what god wants. How many needless deaths have occured because of this very belief that they can do no wrong because it's 'God's will.' The man who killed Dr. Slepian thought he was doing God's will. That's very VERY unChristian. And immoral.

Speaking of abortion, how much does a 4 year old know about the complex matter of abortion? Well at this camp they learn a bullshit version of what one side believes is the truth. I'm sorry, but basic medical fact is that a baby is not fully formed at a couple of weeks. They're teaching them lies, and these kids have little to no oppurtunity to learn the truth before they make up their minds. Again, I call this brainwashing. (It is also not uncommon for anti-abortion activists to get abortions and think that there is some special exemption for them. Ask your local abortion provider if you don't believe me.)

OK, now I'm off to have nightmares about being killed for being 'an enemy of God.' Also I have to be up for Greek Orthodox mass tommorrow morning. I've always wanted to check it out (I like going to different religious services barring a few crazy ones.) and I thought tommorrow would be good b/c after mass the annual Greek fest is happening. Woo Woo. Next week I'm going to check out the local Quakers. I love the Friend's Center in Philadelphia, afterall they were the 'pro-choice cheerleaders' at the 2000 RNC in Philly. I wonder if they are one of the more radical/liberal sects. Well I'll find out next week.

Also, Christian Heavy Metal? Isn't that an oxymoron?

*While we can't conclusively prove anything, the rigorous scientific process will either prove or disprove theories pretty well. What these people don't understand is that any theory that is posed goes through a long period of others trying to disprove the theory. Theories are not adopted lightly, nor should they be. My math and science profs always told me that when I write something I have to also look at it through the eyes of someone who hates me or vehemently disagrees with me to see where my arguement is weak to make it stronger, because if they can people will disprove what I have to say.

Really the war in Iraq is about oil????

Alan Greenspan tells that the war is about oil.

In his new book, Greenspan has declared that the main reason for the war in Iraq is oil. A republican telling the truth about the war? A respected one no less? What's happening?

I personally think that this is awesome partially because I've been trying to tell my parents that, but they're way more likely to listen to Greenspan instead of me. (I mean my dad reads Ann Coulter and my parents think that O'Reilly really is 'fair and balanced.')

(Quoted article below)
AMERICA’s elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil.

In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies.

However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” he says.

Greenspan, 81, is understood to believe that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the security of oil supplies in the Middle East.

Britain and America have always insisted the war had nothing to do with oil. Bush said the aim was to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and end Saddam’s support for terrorism.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Porn again, porn again

This was in the anti-porn LJ community, and I thought I'd pass it on.

'm not requesting to join the community because I don't feel I possess the right attitude for it, but, I did find an article in this month's issue of FHM in England (of all things!) about why one man had given up porn, and I typed up most of it because I thought you and/or the members might be interested in reading it. (Were my scanner capable of scanning magazines without blurring the text to buggery, I'd have scanned rather than typed, but there you go):

[just skipping to the main bits of interest, really]

Then the internet arrived. Designed to be a force for good and to share the knowledge of the world, it was immediately used, of course, to spread images of people having sex. The filth travelled around the glove like those ocean-going barges stacked high with rotting garbage. Only this was muck that everybody wanted, that found a welcoming port in every corner. In mine too.

Along with most other red-blooded males, I gleefully downloaded the photos, saw the pussies of Pamela, Paris and Abi. I cruised the sites and eyed up thousands of girls from every nation and in every position. When broadband arrived, I thought, "This is it, Utopia, a constantly refreshed supply of beautiful women, naked and performing for our pleasure." Now we are all sultans.

(Some talk about his nephew and how his nephew'll never have to buy a porn magazine from a shop because it's just a click away on the internet. Also mentions that the nephew in question is 13)

But slowly it has become clear to me that I'm the lucky one after all, not him. In fact, I regard anyone who watches porn these days as being incredibly unfortunate. Why? Because it's going to poison your mind, mess up your relationships and ruin your sex life.

That may seem like a sweeping statement, but I know it's true because it actually happened to me. Nothing I'm about to confess is based on bland statistics or boring surveys or government research - it's based on the fact that, in bed with a woman one night, I did something which caused her to feel fear and pain. I practically became a sex offender. And porn was to blame.

My transformation from nice guy to near-rapist began when I got into the habit of kicking off each working day by watching a bit of hardcore. I thought of it as my equivalent to a cup of coffee. A pick-me-up. Five minutes of online ogling before settling down to the grind of earning a living.

(explanation that 'hardcore' in this case wasn't referring to anything underage or illegal, so it's not as though he was watching 'the shit with animals and torture and dungeons', but the regular stuff often watched online)

The participants seemed to be clean and willing, and their activities appeared innocent enough. Certainly, I never felt I was being perverted by them, especially as my favourite one, called "Her Sweet Hand", was entirely devoted to women giving hand-jobs. In my view this was only "second base" and therefore hardly pornographic at all.

If you'd asked me back then if watching these clips was affecting my sex life, I'd have said, "Yes, but in a good way." The way I saw it, my libido was getting charged up like a car battery, so when I pulled a girl I would be raring to go. She'd get better sex, and I'd get a chance to act out some of the scenes I'd watched. Everyone's a winner.

After a while, however, I noticed I was getting much more dominant in bed. Previously, I had been a pretty democratic lover, happy to share the workload in the three classic positions, but now I found I was doing a lot more doggy style. I would do it harder, too, and while I did it I would pull the girl's hair and think, "Yeah, you're getting it now, you dirty little bitch." If sufficiently emboldened by drink, I would actually say those words, and plenty more besides. Then, after showering her who was boss for half-an-hour or so, perhaps pinning her down by the wrists for variety, I'd climax. But whereas in the old days, I was happy to come into my Durex or on her tits, now it had to be all over her face and neck like a white volcano.

(the segment preceding this is mostly just reiterating what's been said before and not that interesting)

I can only guess how far down that track I'd have gone if I hadn't been snapped out of it. But luckily - for me, anyway - I pulled a girl at a party and then went too far. Far too far. We got pissed, cabbed it back to my place and then I gave her the full Beast of Hammersmith treatment. I remember talking filth, going at her like a merciless jackhammer, when she first asked me to stop.

I didn't stop. In fact - and this is the hard bit to confess - I gave it to her even harder. One... two... three strokes, riding the wave as she squirmed underneath me. I was engorged with power, my cock a weapon. But then she wrenched away from me, and I could see by the look on her face that A Bad Thing had happened.

It took a lot of fast talking and soothing hugs to calm her down. At one stage, I thought she might actually report me. When she left, I shivered under the duvet, shocked at what I'd done.

What had I become? And why? I had never acted like this before, so I deduced that it might be due to the internet porn I'd been feasting on. The next day, I visited some of the sites I'd used regularly. And slowly, just as a secret image used to emerge if you stared at those old fractal pictures long enough, the truth became clear.

Modern porn... it's not about sex at all. It's about cruelty to women. Almost all of it, especially the most popular "gonzo" king, is built on their humiliation. Again, let me stress that I'm not talking about the extreme stuff here, I'm talking about the mainstream. Your basic, entry level porn.

The problem stems from the fact that porn gets stale very quickly. There are only so many ways a man and woman can make love, so the adult-video makers have to up the ante constantly to maintain sales. Once, you never saw penetration. Then anal sex was a taboo. Now it's pretty common to see triple anal penetration. As one porn director put it, "People want more. They want to know how many dicks you can shove up an ass. It's like Fear Factor meets Jackass."

Precisely. It is like Jackass. Painful and demeaning things - like getting cornhold or throat-fucked - are happening for our pleasure. And the discomfort shows on the women's faces. They get hurt while we whack off. Looking back at my favourites with fresh eyes, I saw it clearly. Even in the "innocent" hand-job one, they worked without being pleasured themselves. They ended up been coated with spunk. They were, quite literally, sex objects.

You want to know the really worrying thing? Porn is a multi-billion dollar industry, famously bigger than Hollywood, and if the sight of women experiencing discomfort or humiliation was distasteful to the mass audience, it would have been edited out. Market forces would insist upon a correction. So the only conclusion to draw is that normal guys - not a tiny minority of perverts and weirdos, but you, your pals, your brothers, your colleagues - actually like seeing it.

Well, not me. Not any more. I've seen what they're selling and I don't want to buy it. And I warn you, everytime you watch a gonzo clip from "Meatholes" or "Exploited Babysitters" your subconscious is being bombarded with the same message. You won't so much get brainwashed as braindirtied. And then - like it or not - there's a chance you'll bring what you've viewed into your real-life relationships. Monkey see, monkey do.

Personally, I'm now only going to use the computer for e-mails and poker. If I want porn, I'll stick to the older kind where everyone appeared to be having fun. Say what you like about '80s porn movies, at least I know I'm never going to end up like the blokes who starred in them. Mainly because I hate moustaches...

(emphasis mine)

First off I'd like to point out that he's a rapist. No matter how many hugs or whatever he gave her and even though she didn't report him does not in fact mean that it wasn't rape. He admitted to continuing after she said no. He admitted that he thought she would report him. He is a rapist.

While he doesn't realise that all porn is dehumanising and degrading to women, he does come to a very real conclusion. Time and time again men tell the same story, but do we (usually) hear it in media other then feminist magazines or in forums other then the feminist blogosphere? A resounding NO. Many of the people Pamela Paul interviewed for Pornified said the same things, and about how they were no longer to sustain erections with a woman unless they envisioned the degrading images of pornography. However mush they want to sweep this shit under the rug, there are always people willing to tell their stories, be they women who escaped the industry (like me) or men who have come to the realisation that porn turns them into sadistic assholes. While I disagree with him continuing to look at porn, bravo for him for publishing this in a lads mag that glorifies the pornification of women. Hopefully more men will be brave enought to stand up to this.

Shana Tova!

Rosh Hashana is near, and the begining of a new year! Peace to all.

(And no, I am not Jewish, but I did grow up in Chicago and live in a very Jewish section of Brooklyn. I also follow the tradition of Chinese food and a movie on Xmas.)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Ban Breed Specific Legislation

Ok, I must confess that Pit Bulls (American Pit Bull Terriers) are my favourite dogs. I've known a lot of them and they are some of the sweetest, smartest dogs I have ever encountered. My friends dog would immediately stop whacking you with her tail when you said "watch your tail", among other similar things. This shows that the angry attack dogs that exist are not because of the tempermant of the breed, but instead the neglect and abuse of the owner, which should be obvious to people like the head of PETA who supports banning pit bulls.

Interested? Watch the video.

(Note: All the patriotic stuff in the video is there because Pit Bulls are an American breed, and were used in propoganda, etc. Pit Bulls used to be seen as patriotic animals, now they're seen as demons.)

Info on Breed specific legislation here

also if you want to help pits that are rescued from owners who abused them, neglected them, or forced them into dog fighting, Pit Bull Rescue Central (whose page is located here) accepts donations (page here).

I hope this will alert some of you to how horribly wrong breed specific legislation is. I have no where to point you now, but I wanted to raise awareness. PBRC's site is great talking about myths of pit bulls, etc, etc.

Monday, September 03, 2007


I found a unicorn. (Awhile ago, but I wanted to see what was going to happen)