the counterculture

The phenomenon of young conservatives being surrounded by liberalism at colleges and social media and then seriously thinking that conservatism is some sort of counterculture movement while the right holds control over every branch of the federal government and most state governments always makes my head spin

“Welcome,” she said. “Welcome, and thank you for agreeing to be a volunteer with Multnomah County Libraries. We are so grateful for you and your commitment to our community. For the next hour, we’re going to go over some important information that you need to know as a volunteer, no matter what role you play.”

I expected that we were going to learn about things like policies for canceling our shifts, or maybe where to find first aid kits. We probably did talk about those things. But the part that I remember most vividly is the first thing she talked about.

“We’re going to start with the Library Bill of Rights from the American Library Association,” she said, and she projected the text of the document onto the screen. “Everyone who works for libraries, including volunteers, helps to support and uphold the Library Bill of Rights.”

This was new to me. I’d been a regular patron at my local public library for years, graduating from Dr. Seuss to The Babysitters Club series to, most recently, my fixation on books about neo-paganism and queer sex. No one had mentioned this whole Bill of Rights thing. It was a short document with just a few bullet points.

“Libraries support free access to information,” Bess explained. “One of our core values is intellectual freedom. This impacts all of you because when you’re volunteering for the library, we expect you to support the rights of library users to find and read whatever they want, even if you don’t agree with what they’re looking for.”

She continued, “For example, let’s say that a small child came up to you and asked where to find the Stephen King books. You might think those books are too scary for someone that age, or that he shouldn’t be reading that kind of stuff. But that doesn’t matter. No matter what, we help people find the information they want, and we don’t censor their interests. Does that make sense?”

Heads around the room nodded, and I leaned back into the wall, letting her words sink in. It was absolutely, positively the most radical, punk rock thing I had ever heard in my life.

I can read whatever I want. No one can stop me.

I can help other people read what they want. And no one can stop them.

“This is core,” Bess added, “to a functioning democracy. We believe that fighting censorship and providing free, unrestricted access is key to helping citizens participate in the world. And, most importantly, we keep everyone’s information strictly confidential. So, even if you know what books your neighbor is checking out or what they’re looking at on the computer, you don’t share that with anyone.”

As someone who kept carefully guarded notebooks full of very personal thoughts, I was especially excited by the library’s emphasis on privacy. All of this sounded great. I wanted more. I wanted in. I wanted to be a crazy, wild, counterculture librarian-witch who would help anyone read anything from The Anarchist’s Cookbook to Mein Kampf. I would be a bold freedom fighter in the face of censorship. I would defend unfiltered Internet access and anatomically correct picture books. Maybe I was only in the eighth grade, but I was ready to stand up to anyone who tried to threaten the ideal of intellectual freedom. Fuck blink-182. Libraries were the real punk rock.



“Beyond a haze of yellow flowers, the Beatles and their womenfolk (above, from left, Paul and his girl friend, John, George, Ringo and their wives) struck a lightly brooding pose with their new guru— Indian mystic Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.” — Life, 8 September 1967.

anonymous asked:

I’m not trying to be inflammatory, I’m just curious. How do het ace/aro people face SYSTEMATIC oppression? Gay/bi/trans people face oppression like difficultly adopting children, finding housing, they may be fired from employment because of their gender or orientation. So they are bared from normal parts of live because of their gender/sexuality. Gay ace/aro people face this too, but what do het ace/aro people experience on a societal level?

If you’d been following my blog at all or even bothered to peruse it a little before dropping this message in my inbox, you’d probably already know the answer to your question. 

You’d ALSO probably know that there are bi and pan aspecs too (e.g., I’m panromantic demisexual) which isn’t “gay” (does this term also include lesbians?) so I feel like your ask erases part of my own identity and that of others in the community.

For these reasons and more, I’d bet money that you’re not here because you’re “curious”. You’re probably here because you figure this is how you’re gonna stop a “self-imposing” aspec from speaking up for herself. 

Well guess what: That’s just hateful & sad.

Regardless though of your intentions, I’m here to say that there is in fact SYSTEMATIC oppression against aspecs. For example, Dr Gordon Hodson wrote this about his 2012 study: 

In a recent investigation (MacInnis & Hodson, in press) we uncovered strikingly strong bias against asexuals in both university and community samples. Relative to heterosexuals, and even relative to homosexuals and bisexuals, heterosexuals: (a) expressed more negative attitudes toward asexuals (i.e., prejudice); (b) desired less contact with asexuals; and © were less willing to rent an apartment to (or hire) an asexual applicant (i.e., discrimination). Moreover, of all the sexual minority groups studied, asexuals were the most dehumanized (i.e., represented as “less human”). Intriguingly, heterosexuals dehumanized asexuals in two ways. Given their lack of sexual interest, widely considered a universal interest, it might not surprise you to learn that asexuals were characterized as “machine-like” (i.e., mechanistically dehumanized). But, oddly enough, asexuals were also seen as “animal-like” (i.e., animalistically dehumanized). Yes, asexuals were seen as relatively cold and emotionless and unrestrained, impulsive, and less sophisticated.

When you repeatedly observe such findings it grabs your attention as a prejudice researcher. But let’s go back a minute and consider those discrimination effects. Really? You’d not rent an apartment to an asexual man, or hire an asexual woman? Even if you relied on stereotypes alone, presumably such people would make ideal tenants and employees. We pondered whether this bias actually represents bias against single people, a recently uncovered and very real bias in its own right (see Psychology Today column by Bella DePaulo). But our statistical analyses ruled out this this possibility. So what’s going on here?

If you’ve been following my column, you’ll recall that I wrote a recent article on what I called the “Bigotry Bigot-Tree” – what psychologists refer to as generalized prejudice. Specifically, those disliking one social group (e.g., women) also tend to dislike other social groups (e.g., homosexuals; Asians). In our recent paper (MacInnis & Hodson, in press), we found that those who disliked homosexuals also disliked bisexuals and asexuals. In other words, these prejudices are correlated. Heterosexuals who dislike one sexual minority, therefore, also dislike other sexual minorities, even though some of these groups are characterized by their sexual interest and activity and others by their lack of sexual interest and activity.

This anti-asexual bias, at its core, seems to boil down to what Herek (2010) refers to as the “differences as deficit” model of sexual orientation. By deviating from the typical, average, or normal sexual interests, sexual minorities are considered substandard and thus easy targets for disdain and prejudice. Contrary to conventional folk wisdom, prejudice against sexual minorities may not therefore have much to do with sexual activity at all. There is even evidence, for instance, that religious fundamentalists are prejudiced against homosexuals even when they are celibate (Fulton et al., 1999). Together, such findings point to a bias against “others”, especially different others, who are seen as substandard and deficient (and literally “less human”). “Group X” is targeted for its lack of sexual interest even more than homosexuals and bisexuals are targeted for their same-sex interests.

From news coverage of a recently published study (2016):

What should the average person take away from your study?

Since I first became interested in the issue, I have come to conclude that U.S. society is both “sex negative” and “sex positive.” In other words, there is stigma and marginalization that can come both from being “too sexual” and from being “not sexual enough.” In a theoretical paper, I argued that sexuality may be compulsory in contemporary U.S. society. In other words, our society assumes that (almost) everyone is, at their core, “sexual” and there exists a great deal of social pressure to experience sexual desire, engage in sexual activities, and adopt a sexual identity. At the same time, various types of “non-sexuality” (such as a lack of sexual desire or activity) are stigmatized.

For this particular study, I identified thirty individuals who identified as asexual and asked them first, if they had experienced stigma or marginalization as a result of their asexuality, and, second how they challenged this stigma or marginalization. I found that my interviewees had experienced the following forms of marginalization: pathologization (i.e. people calling them sick), social isolation, unwanted sex and relationship conflict, and the denial of epistemic authority (i.e. people not believing that they didn’t experience sexual attraction). I also found that my interviews resisted stigma and marginalization in five ways: describing asexuality as simply a different (but not inherently worse) form of sexuality; deemphasizing the importance of sexuality in human life; developing new types of nonsexual relationships; coming to see asexuality as a sexual orientation or identity; and engaging in community building and outreach.

I hope that average people would take away from this study the idea that some people can lead fulfilling lives without experiencing sexual attraction but can experience distress if others try to invalidate their identities.

Some of the social isolation we aspecs experience comes from religious communities. Indeed, the popular myth that religious people revere aspecs is very much NOT TRUE. For example, read “Myth 8″ from the VISION Catholic Religious Vocation Guide:

MYTH 8: Religious are asexual

Question: What do you call a person who is asexual? 

Answer: Not a person. Asexual people do not exist. Sexuality is a gift from God and thus a fundamental part of our human identity. Those who repress their sexuality are not living as God created them to be: fully alive and well. As such, they’re most likely unhappy.

All people are called by God to live chastely, meaning being respectful of the gift of their sexuality. Religious men and women vow celibate chastity, which means they live out their sexuality without engaging in sexual behavior. A vow of chastity does not mean one represses his manhood or her womanhood. Sexuality and the act of sex are two very different things. While people in religious life abstain from the act of sex, they do not become asexual beings, but rather need to be in touch with what it means to be a man or a woman. A vow of chastity also does not mean one will not have close, loving relationships with women and men. In fact, such relationships are a sign of living the vow in a healthy way. Living a religious vow of chastity is not always easy, but it can be a very beautiful expression of love for God and others.

Religious women and men aren’t oddities; they mirror the rest of the church they serve: there are introverts and extroverts, tall and short, old and young, straight and gay, obese and skinny, crass and pious, humorous and serious, and everything in between. They attempt to live the same primary vocation as all other Christians do: proclaiming and living the gospel. However, religious do this as members of an order that serve the church and world in a particular way. Like marriage and the single life, religious life can be wonderful, fulfilling, exciting, and, yes, normal. Yet, it also can be countercultural and positively challenging. It’s that for us and many others.

If you thought religious life was outdated, dysfunctional, or dead, we hope you can now look beyond the stereotypes and see the gift it is to the church and world.

NOTE: YOU CAN BE A GAY CATHOLIC PERSON BUT NOT ASEXUAL, BC ASEXUALITY DOESN’T EXIST (yet somehow we’re also “most likely unhappy” and “oddities”). I sincerely hope and believe that not all religions characterize us aspecs this way. But here are some personal accounts I found on a reddit site answering the question “Do any religions have a negative stance toward asexuals?”:

Please note that the Christian pastor in the last example was fearful (or something?) that an asexual was helping to lead a youth group and kicked them out of the church as a result.


The 1960s were an awfully turbulent time.


1. First man on the moon.

2. Vietnamese children running from the site of a napalm attack.

3. MLK in the march from Selma to Montgomery.

4. The self immolation of a Buddhist monk in protest of governmental anti-buddhist policies in South Vietnam.

5. Flowers are placed on the bayonets at an anti-war protest, otherwise known as “flower power”.

6. Woodstock music festival, attended by an estimated half million people.

7. The Beatles

8. Marilyn Monroe, who died August 5th, 1962.

9. President John F. Kennedy.

10. Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn in to office after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

I get tipsy and call out fallout (to a friend)
  • me: can I say something about fallout (specifically fallout 4, but it might apply to other games too in certain cases) I observed lately tbh
  • me: Goodneighbor really made me think about it
  • me: so like, fallout 4 in particular has a fucked up discussion going on about what's culture and whats counter-culture
  • me: diamond city seems to be a mimic of what we consider 'culture' as opposed to the lawless no-inhibitions degeneracy of the savage commonwealth.
  • me: its clean, everyone is 'normal'
  • me: the central element of it is buying and selling goods
  • etc.
  • me: the most 'strange' element in it is an unusual marriage-- the codifying of a socially respected relationship and household
  • me: maybe.
  • me: (I know the mayor is a synth, that is a reveal tho)
  • me: goodneighbor seems to be a schism of those that we consider 'counterculture'-- disabled people, disfigured people, people considered second-class citizens that are not willing slaves or servants of the community, refugees and asylum seekers, addicts, artists, bohemians
  • etc.
  • me: including implications that this is where trans people belong, through Kleo
  • me: and outside, the raiders seem to be a very portrait of 'degeneracy' with gambling, drugs, and implied sex (those fetish harnesses and other 'shocking' looking kinky clothing styles!)
  • me: etc.
  • me: but the thing is
  • me: what's culture?
  • me: no one has systemic legitimacy in this world over any other person
  • me: is Diamond City majority culture? its citizens are a minority.
  • me: why do we consider it 'safe' or 'ordinary'
  • me: why do we consider Goodneighbor 'counterculture'
  • me: ?
  • me: If our prior culture or idea of normality has totally dissolved(and with it, the game keeps implying, all pressures or personal sense of responsibility or morality, like a constant festival of fools or a The Purge like scenario), why are people who dress like, look like, act like 'freaks' any less respectable than 'good honest farmers/tradespeople/citizens/etc.'
  • me: And its not a coincidence that the aesthetic of the obviously counterculture raiders, and some of the people in Goodneighbor, is sort of dog whistle 'queer'-- lgbt+ people have taken accusations of degeneracy and turned them on their head, taken weapons out of 'moral majority' hands for generations and appropriated them to demonstrate the facile nature and arbitrary bounds of the ruling class
  • me: (non-harmful) Kink's historically gay even if straight kinksters often don't have correct respect for lgbt+ spaces.
  • me: Pride's not full of leather and drag, tiny holographic print shorts, for no reason. Pride's not about establishing who scans the 'most normal' to the status quo, but a suggestion that there's no reason that our world finds these images more shocking than straight relationships, which run the spectrum of health from committed to downright poisonous themselves. Totally without examination or accusations of being 'wicked.'
  • me: what I'm trying to say is that it's a statement by omission that in the future, it's the raiders that have the wacky hairstyles, the tats, the fantasy personas, have the riots, and do the drugs, or go 'insane' from lack of 'healthy relationships' and basically manifest all the negative stereotypes that lgbt+ people have weathered in different ways
  • me: and that there are no respectable people in diamond city that walk around without pants and have an undercut, or are camp
  • etc.
  • me: can you imagine going to one of the 'respectable' establishments and seeing someone who looks like a raider and calls you (of any gender) 'cookie' or something
  • me: it wouldn't happen
  • me: meanwhile we have overt transmisogynistic caricature robot in Goodneighbor that basically implies that the creators think that trans women are an uncomfortable fringe and barely within society-- at least she's not a gun crazed drug fiend. And even then, you can find violent dirt on Kleo.
  • me: there are not even 'passing' trans women in Diamond City, who conform to the demand that to be an honest, respectable person, 'normal' (conforming to gender roles) is the thing to be
  • me: or trans men for that matter
  • me: basically like
  • me: I think that the fallout universe has something to say about the power fantasy that many disaster or apocalypse scenarios suggest-- that if there was no society, job, car, house, future holding you back, you'd be a badass who could do anything they wanted
  • me: even in that scenario, when all societal obligations have been erased and all your debts to it have been absolved, our status quo of society still exists
  • me: 'normal' has never been destroyed
  • me: despite the game's major theme of "maybe 'normal' was our undoing"-- capitalism, strict reactionary gender roles a la the 1950s and 1960s, nationalism over global fellowship, etc.
  • me: "normal" is still in place as the yardstick of 'civilization'
  • me: sorry ive had a non-insignificant amount of rum in the last half hour
  • me: but like
  • me: that's just what I think
  • me: why aren't there settlements full of people who look like raiders but overall are cool and friendly?
  • me: why aren't there seemingly 'normal' looking people who actually are super hateful raiders who buy and sell people's children?
  • me: Throughout history it's not been the marginal 'freaks' with no power who sell people to other people
  • me: it's been the prestigious people. Wealthy people who define what's acceptable and what the laws are, with social power and money to buy, who have labor they need doing and see the value in owning all the means of production... including the laborers.
  • me: if that world's been destroyed,
  • me: where are the benign 'freaks' of Diamond City?

“Dance of the Witches in Front of Chicago Federal Building, Oct. 31 1969.”

Discovered this amazing feminist group called, “Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell” or shortly entitled, “W.I.T.C.H” while reading about the Weathermen the other day. They mixed street theater and protests which usually included witch costumes and chanting hexes. 

I’m really surprised Tumblr doesn’t talk about this group more so you can read a little bit more HERE

“WITCH lives and laughs in every woman.  She is the free part of each of us, beneath the shy smiles, the acquiescence to absurd male domination, the make-up or flesh-suffocating clothes our sick society demands.  There is no “joining” WITCH.  If you are a woman and dare to look within yourself, you are a WITCH.  You make your own rules.”

What a time to be alive. 



Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run … but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant .…

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights—or very early mornings—when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder’s jacket … booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change) … but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that ….

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda … You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning .…

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave .…

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)

The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
(Parlophone PMC 7027)
Released: 1 June 1967
Chart Position: #1

Side A: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” • “With a Little Help from My Friends” • “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” • “Getting Better” • “Fixing a Hole” • “She’s Leaving Home” • “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”
Side B: "Within You Without You" • “When I’m Sixty-Four” • “Lovely Rita” • "Good Morning Good Morning" • “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” •  "A Day in the Life"