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May. 20th, 2011

Support Damon Fowler

*Sigh* Today I Was going to do a fun write-up of my day (I spent most of the day trying to get to a shopping district in the middle of the mess of construction that is typical of the area that my parents live in and almost running over a bunch of orange cones randomly strewn across the highway for no reason, and ending up going in circles for an hour), but then this story was brought to my attention by an online friend, and since this has a lot more far-reaching consequences than me driving around in circles for an hour, this gets my attention today.

Damon Fowler was supposed to graduate from high school in Louisiana today. I haven't heard whether or not that happened, although I really hope that it went off without a hitch, and that he was safe today. See, Damon's school usually did a sectarian (Christian) prayer during the graduation, something which in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution (given that he attends a public school), and he decided to contact his superintendent threatening to contact the ACLU if they continued with this tradition. In his words, “My reasoning behind it is that it’s emotionally stressing on anyone who isn’t Christian. No one else wanted to stand up for their constitutional right of having freedom of and FROM religion. I was also hoping to encourage other atheists to come out and be heard. I’m one of maybe three atheists in this town that I currently know of. One of the others is afraid to come out of the (atheist) closet.” And, the school district grudgingly agreed. Mainly because they didn't want to end up paying for Damon's college education. Of course, though, word got out that he was the one who got the district to put a stop to the prayer. And damn, was the entire town butthurt.

Among the ranks of those with hurt butts was Damon's English teacher, Mitzi Quinn. Not only is her grasp of standard English grammar... well, sketchy, especially for an English teacher (and trust me, if I can pick up on your bad grammar, it's pretty bad), she has the temerity to go out and publicly trash a student, saying, ““And what’s even more sad is this is a student who really hasn’t contributed anything to graduation or to their classmates.”

Now, uh, I'm sorry, but that's just incredibly unprofessional. I know that teachers talk smack about their students when they think no one is listening (I used to work for my former school district, and teachers like to gossip, just like everyone else). They talk about how Bobby sucks at math, and how Susie is really annoying, and how Jane and George won't stop making out in the hallway, and how Sam is getting expelled next week for stealing Tom's iPod. Just like anyone else, teachers like to gossip. They also talk about how Lily is a little bitch, and how they'd really like to kick Jesse for always talking back. While that might not be the most professional way of handling it, it's generally accepted that what gets said in the staff lounge stays in the staff lounge. They're not barging all over the metro area yelling to anyone who will listen their complaints about their students. At least, not if they don't want to get fired.

But Mitzi Quinn? She told her complaints to the town newspaper, basically calling this student a lazy heathen bastard, only in not so many words. Since the climate in town is already very hostile to Damon, this is just adding fuel to the fire.

Sadly, even Damon's mother refuses to speak to him for this transgression of wanting his school to follow the Constitution. And just to spite him, one of his classmates delivered a very long, rambling Christian prayer to the cheers of the entire auditorium. How very dare he! It's not like the First Amendment is the law all over the country or anything... oh wait. Oops. It is.

I graduated from high school last year. My school's chosen speech-giver planned to go to Liberty University to become a Baptist minister. You'd think he of all people would be liable to throw a bunch of religious references in his speech, but he didn't. The most he did was thank God in his list of people who'd helped him become what he was today, along with his mom, dad, and favorite history teacher. Of course, I went to school in an urban area, surrounded by students of many different faiths. Trying to include a sectarian prayer would likely result in a mass walkout by Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, non-religious, and pagan students, of which I knew several from each group. It just wouldn't have been stood for.

Unfortunately, though, when you go to school in an apparent hivemind, you don't get Constitutional rights. Screw that! I'm sorry, but I thought this was America, not Saudi Arabia. You can't go around forcing everyone to pray to the same god that you do. I'm an atheistic-leaning agnostic, but I have many friends of many different faiths. They respect my beliefs, and I respect theirs. It works pretty well- I get to go to a lot of holiday parties, and everyone generally gets along really well (well, except for the one time someone dropped their cell phone in the chip dip, that was awkward and the phone owner got irrationally angry). But all of those times? They're at private residences, and having religious ceremonies on private property is perfectly acceptable. But you can't do it on public property, it's tantamount to the government enforcing a religion on its people.

I wonder if everyone who was so hot to trot on this prayer would be cool with it if Muslim students decided to pray an Islamic prayer in front of everyone? Or if Buddhist students decided to pray aloud? What about if Jewish students brought their rabbi in to pray? Somehow I don't think that would go over as well. What if I wanted to pray to the Underpants Gnome? Somehow I don't think they would appreciate that very much either.

Either way, I wish the best to Damon, and hope that he does contact the ACLU. I hope that Mitzi Quinn is fired, for being an unprofessional bitch. And I hope that Damon stays safe for his last few days in his hometown.

Friendly Atheist's coverage
WWJTD's coverage
Bastrop Enterprise (the town newspaper's) article, containing Mitzi Quinn's statements

Apr. 12th, 2011

THIS is the butthurt-du-jour?

So the clothing company J. Crew has a new ad for a stripey shirt of some kind featuring the company president hanging out with her son, having some mother-son bonding time. It's actually a very adorable ad, which you can see here. What's wrong with it, you ask? Why, that woman has the audacity to paint her son's toenails fucking PINK! It's horrible, culture-war pundits are screaming, boys are going to think they're girls, and girls are going to think they're boys! Next thing you know, we'll have people trying to cut off random parts of their body, Caucasian people darkening their skin to claim to be African-American and vice-versa, then a really weird leap of logic claiming that if men blow-dry their hair, then the species will die out because no one will want to procreate. Or something. My brain doesn't quite parse stupid in such large amounts.

Uh... OK then. I... don't really see the connection between a little boy and his mother goofing around and painting their toenails, and the END OF HUMANITY AS WE KNOW IT. Also, the kid is FIVE. Not fifteen. FIVE. At five the only difference between male and female I was aware of was that boys had cooties. I highly doubt this kid thinks he's a girl, or is gay, or anything of the sort, simply because at the age that he is, the deepset understanding kids have of gender politics basically boils down to “COOTIES!” I'm not an expert on gender, but seriously? This is just dumb. A five-year-old just wants to be like his mom. I know my younger brother wanted to get his nails painted too, when he was three years old, because he wanted to be like our mother.

Guys, I'm sorry your moms locked you in the basement until you were 18 and didn't show you any kind of affection, much less bothered to take the time to hang out with you and do fun stuff like paint your toenails crazy colors. I'm sure it sucks, seeing a mother and child actually having fun together, but seriously? Don't be a hater just because your momma didn't love you.

Seriously, it's really obvious from the photo that both mother and son are having a lot of fun. How much of a depressing asshole do you have to be to take issue with that? Were you locked in the basement and not allowed to do anything other than your math homework? Do you not allow YOUR kids to leave the basement and do anything other than math homework?

Because that's depressing.

Culture and Media Institute Article- J.CREW Pushes Transgendered Child Propaganda

Fox News- J. Crew Plants the Seeds for Gender Identity

The Swash- J.Crew Ad Showing Boy with Pink Nail Polish Sparks Debate on Gender Identity

Mar. 29th, 2011

Oh, Sarah Palin...

You're upset about Bill Maher calling you a “dumb twat?” And a ”bimbo?” And another word? Put on your big girl panties and deal with it. You made the choice to be a politician all on your own, and you know what? People talk shit about politicians. It's one of the Great Truths of Life, right up there with the inevitability of death and taxes.

I'm not saying it's pleasant. I'm not saying it's a good thing. In fact, Maher comes off as a giant douchebag with all this, especially after he got called on it. But it's one of those things that just... happens. It's not just you. People talk shit about the President. People talk shit about the VP. People talk shit about the Speaker of the House. Hell, people probably talk shit about the local dog-catcher. It's a part of being a politician.

Just call him a fuckmuffin and move on with your life.