Friday, March 30, 2012


If I may speak--sorry? No, I'd rather stand, if that's alright. I've been sitting all day. Thank you.

If I may speak? Thank you. I don't really understand why you needed to see me for this. Yes. Yes, of course. It's your decision. I understand. You don't have to explain yourself, I was just registering my lack of understanding on the record.



I don't particularly think it matters. I mean, any of it. I understand that it matters to some people, including intelligent people. I just don't know why it matters. Like, if you show me a spectrum, and say, "Here's the red; here's the orange," I understand that a lot of people would agree with you on that. I probably would, though I'd draw the line a little differently. But that doesn't explain why we drew the lines there. The what and the why are different things.

That's kind of why I didn't want to be seen. I mean, I came, of course; you can see that. But, if I could choose my medium, I'd rather it be only my words. My tone and body language, too, if I could do that without signaling other things about me, but just my words would work well.

Yes. That's why. Everyone's a little prejudiced about something, so I'd rather be unseen, so each person can make as few assumptions as possible. Yes. I know. They'll probably assign me a gender and things like that. But it's a bit better--like the way that Dr. Thomson probably pops into your head as male if you expect doctors to be male. It's the default, so that means I get your default settings.

Okay--okay, yes, I'll start.

It's an issue of sexism.

No. No, it's not an issue of sexual orientation. I mean, maybe it started out that way, maybe that's a root or even the root, but in practice, it's sexist. It's like that law where more African-Americans were being executed than any other group. The idea behind the death penalty wasn't racist, but it was applied in a racist fashion.

It's true, that a heterosexual person can marry the sort of partner he or she is likely to choose, and a homosexual person cannot. But both of them are granted, for instance, the right to a loveless marriage, and their pools are equally limited.

Anyway. That's not even the argument I hear the other side use. It's about making a cohesive family unit. Or something of that ilk. I don't understand that at all--we get abusive relationships between partners of the opposite sex, and I have to imagine that's worse on the theoretical child. And there are people who can't conceive. But that's not where I'm going.

What about people who are bisexual? You're not stopping me from marrying someone I like; you're stopping me from marrying half my pool of possible mates. It's exactly like outlawing interracial marriage; it's racist because you're telling me who I can and can't marry based on race. Therefore, telling me who I can and can't marry based on sex is sexist. You are taking my race and my partner's sex into account, but you were also taking both our races into account. It's the same thing.

Oh, wait. I wanted to keep anything about me out of this. Can we strike me saying I'm bi? No, I'd say the same stuff; I'd just leave it vague that I am-- Oh. No, I understand. Can we strike this, then? Thank you.

Yes. Yes, I know. Rome was not built in a day. We know the words. Hm? Yes, I said, 'we'. Why? Because we all do. Everyone who's been through any human rights movement does. "Wait," means, "Never," and both sides tend to make in-groups. That's actually an interesting one, from our perspective, since I refuse to pass for gay or straight, so I end up being accused of trying to pass for both--because mixed-race children always had it easier, right? I mean, where I grew up, it was pretty much social suicide to say that someone who'd come out as homosexual was straight and "just confused," but saying the same thing to a person who'd come out as bisexual was fine. Asexual, too.

Hm? Oh, no, that time was intentional. If they're going to know anyway, I might as well make use of it. Uh...I don't see why you'd want to, but I didn't say anything important here. Sure.

I guess my main point is that it's just a human right. You can find a lot of cultures that accept it, and it pops up a fair bit in the animal kingdom, so it's odd to call it unnatural. Really, monogamy is more unnatural than homosexuality. However you look at it. Promiscuity and polyamory are more common than monogamy. No, I'm not condemning it. No, not condemning that either. Wait-- No, just--



Thank you. I'm not condemning anything. That's not why I'm here, and I wouldn't be here if that were my purpose. I'd just like to be able to raise any children I might have while secure in the knowledge that the law is on their side, if they want to do things that other people have the right to do.

Thank you for your time. I'll show myself out.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Blade and Fang

The part of a recent-ish English paper that I liked. Except the pictures, because I don't know how to make blogger actually re-size. (As opposed to saying it re-sized the image.)
Lies. The word hisses like a venomous serpent. We are told from a very young age that honesty is the best policy, that we should not emulate the boy who cried, “Wolf!”

Then, as we grow, we are taught of ‘white lies’. These are lies that we may tell. White lies protect lives, secrets, and happiness. The white lie to keep a secret is a tame snake: the little one is your pet, but it is yet reptilian, and close enough kin to the hissing striker of a black lie to make many uncomfortable. Still, we feed these snakes; we let them in our homes. They are not dogs, to sleep at the foot of our beds, but we live happily enough with them. Some may even enjoy the company—a lie told gives closure in a way that, “I can’t tell you,” does not. Yet still. It is odd to allow them too close. Strange to like them too much.

Last, we have the shining white lie. This is no serpent-kin, but a knight in shining armor, forever at the ready to protect others from horrors which might be too much for the poor things’ constitution.

When lies are wrong, they are a failure: A black lie is a failure of conscience. A white lie is a failure of creativity. A shining white lie is a failure of empathy. As Elizabeth tells Will in Pirates of the Caribbean, and Will spits back at her, “It wasn't your burden to bear”—each decided the other would rather not know a secret, and each was wrong. The speaker pities the listener enough to withhold information. Or, sometimes, it is a failure of courage: the inability of the speaker to face the truth, and so the inability to speak it. Or the inability to admit to a secret by saying, “I can’t tell you,” or, “It is not my secret to tell.”

All lies have two elements: the living half and the tool half. The living half has a mind of its own—a serpent-lie may come back to bite the liar; a knight-lie may slice into someone the liar did not intend. The living half comes into being once the lie is told, and then cannot be taken away completely, not even by telling to truth. Truth means little without trust. The tool half, on the other hand, remains whether or not the lie is told. The sword rests sheathed on the knight’s belt; the serpent’s venom rests in a vial. The important thing to remember is that lies need not destroy. Next to the sword rests the shield—a shining white lie is assuming another’s weakness; the liar need not be wrong. And, though we are right to be wary of snake’s venom, the venom is its own antidote. The trick is that we need someone with a clear head to wield both sword and shield, and to measure out the venom. Lacking that, a liar may slice off a limb without meaning to, or poison someone who needed no antidote. The liar needs to understand the situation.

Put it simply: Liars should not lie to themselves. A liar who breaks this rule is trying to self-apply an antidote while delirious with fever. One who tells a shining lie without facing the truth strikes at a dragon while blind and deaf.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

World Poetry Day

Today is. And I haven't written a poem in too long. This, I suppose?

Once upon a Time

I love the old stories
When I was young, glories
Beautiful little things of light.

I'm older, know older ends
The wolf at the door doesn't always die
It's not always alright.

(I knew dragons, but not in my tales
(Didn't know how to speak without veils.)

Red died, sometimes.
Before then, she was clever.
(The trick with the rope around the tree.)

Rapunzel's witch was strong
She wandered with twins
(Her he saved, then him she.)

Beauty wasn't always smart
But she was always a hero
(Sacrifice, endurance to earn her glee.)

The old stories are always important, I think.
The dark can win--yet we try, still.
And, important to me, if a subtler hill:
Stories of women's strength are older than a blink.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Rapunzel was in a tower for most of her life. Her first step out into the world was, interestingly enough, the outside world coming in--the prince. The second was the desert. She had the good and the bad, and, since it's a fairy tale, it worked out in the end.

Now, you're Rapunzel. Specifically, a Rapunzel who has been warned of the outside world, and also told some of the amazing things. The witch held up leaving the tower as one of the most important moments in your life, and explained that it will happen on this very specific date. That you have a tower filled with books, movies, songs all based around the various lands outside your tower. And it is very important that you keep up on your studies, because if you fall enough behind, you'll get stuck in the tower, and never learn of the land outside.

Enter: Prince.

The prince smiles. He points out the time that can elapse between now and your leaving the tower. Then, he shows you exactly how little work you have to do to leave the tower, between now and then. All these things you've been doing just to leave the tower now barely matter. Because the date is set. Unless you actually try to get stuck here, he explains, you'll leave.

Your first feeling is probably simple glee. You've been working your whole life to reach this goal! There are so many wonderful, unbelievable things outside your tower!

And you're safe. For the first time in your life in nearly two decades, you don't have to bother. You get to leave on a schedule; you know when it's coming. And you're probably a touch restless. That may make you want to try new things: sneak out of the tower, or not study for tests, or stay up all night doing something frivolous. And there would be few or no negative consequences for doing so.

Then it strikes you, quite suddenly, that you may never have this opportunity again.

In that moment, the witch's warnings mean very little. That novel you wanted to pick up, the movie you wanted to stay up all night watching, the prince's touch, mean much.

You are free. You are old enough to be left alone to do things, and can shuck responsibilities without hurting people. You have been in the tower long enough to know this combination has not happened before, and know little enough of the world outside to not know if it will ever happen again.

Your future is set and planned for. Your past is done.

The prince's hand fits well in yours, and you live your next few months of moments in the present.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Let Light In

What makes this picture fascinating enough that my English teacher shows it at the beginning of each year? Much of it, I think, is the mystery. We cannot see the man's face, and most of his body is covered--enough that I could argue that the wanderer is female, if I cared to. The background is fogged beyond recognition, even more so than the wanderer: we can say with fair certainty that he is a human male, and can see his hair. But does he look on fogged ocean, with rocks jutting from the waves? Does he look on the ruins of ancient temples in a wide, green meadow? Does he look on mountains? All we have are guesses, so we never need stop guessing.

The mystery adds to this piece's artistry. But not all work needs to be mysterious--there are other things even in this work. The careful brush strokes to make realistic hair, or the ragged edges and gradually layering of the fog itself.

The mysteriousness adds to this work, but a work need not be mysterious to be good. Yet critics often say the same thing of works that are comedic: They cannot be 'true' art--whatever that means.

Even our language reflects this reaction: is serious literature good literature, or literature that is not comedic? Comedy cannot be serious literature; it hardly matters. Franz Kafka put this idea as bluntly as one can: "I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for?"

Comedies can teach us about life. If every piece of wisdom we gained left us a shattered wreck, all geniuses would be sociopaths in self-defense. There's a limit to how many times one can shatter before losing pieces. And an entirely angsty work has the same issue a saccharine one does: the audience stops caring.

Perhaps comedy does not fill our hearts the way tragedies do. But then, angel food cake won't do if one wants black forest cake. Comedy is not automatically immature. Comedy is not a failed attempt at being tragic. Comedy is a choice to look into another side of our lives.

Anyone who says rain washes away sin has never laughed in the sunlight.

Friday, March 2, 2012


You are born to the Earth. Whether you believe it to be merely a test for the next world or wholly valuable in itself, you are born.

And it is no mean thing to be born. In your line are nobles, kings--for the blood mingles each generation, the blood spreads. In your line philosophers. In your line warriors. In your line heroes(; in your line villains). Always, always strength.

For you, little green-white-red-black growing thing, are born of survivors. Little sun-yellow one, you are born of those who saw the serpent, who fought the dragon, who ran swift', spoke well, lived.

A boy in one of our legends--for we still make legends, even should few think to call them that--is, simply, "The Boy Who Lived". He fights, and he wins, by power of love and bravery. What do you think you are, dear star-bright? What do you think your ancestors fought for?

We are pack and tribe. We are young and old, dark and bright, good and awful. We are we. When the world shakes, and there's nothing left to hold, a hand is there.

You are born of fight and fire and loss and love. You live, little dear one mine. Never forget.
© 2009-2013 Taylor Hobart