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The evidence at trial shows that marriage in the United States traditionally has not been open to same-sex couples. The evidence suggests many reasons for this tradition of exclusion, including gender roles mandated through coverture, FF 26-27, social disapproval of same-sex relationships, FF 74, and the reality that the vast majority of people are heterosexual and have had no reason to challenge the restriction, FF 43. The evidence shows that the movement of marriage away from a gendered institution and toward an institution free from state-mandated gender roles reflects an evolution in the understanding of gender rather than a change in marriage. The evidence did not show any historical purpose for excluding same-sex couples from marriage, as states have never required spouses to have an ability or willingness to procreate in order to marry. FF 21. Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.

[P]laintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages. )

Judge Vaughn Walker, Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, pages 112-114

I have nothing to add.

(Except to say that if you enjoy schadenfreude, Judge Walker's comprehensive demolishing of David Blankenhorn's status as self-declared expert, on pages 38-49, is a thing of beauty.)

Edit: Courtesy of the Onion: Typo In Proposition 8 Defines Marriage As Between 'One Man And One Wolfman'.
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I was just spamming Twitter with enormous quantities of chat about the Prop. 8 closing arguments liveblog. Short form: Cooper, lawyer for the anti-gay-marriage side, just accused gay people of causing ... single parenthood and adultery. But Judge Walker's calling Cooper on his nonsense.

Anyway, I obviously can't continue to clog everyone's Twitter feed without being obnoxious. Therefore, I declare an open post for Prop. 8 closing arguments discussion. Talk to me, folks!

Here is the liveblog, at Pam's House Blend. There are other liveblogs and transcripts elsewhere.

Firedoglake liveblog, part 1: Olson and Boies' closing arguments
Firedoglake liveblog, part 2: City of SF
Firedoglake liveblog, part 3: Cooper's closing arguments.

Boies' rebuttal hasn't happened yet.
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[livejournal.com profile] tesria is hosting an auction in support of [livejournal.com profile] fire_and_a_rose and her family. Before I quote the auction post with more detail, I want to say that [livejournal.com profile] fire_and_a_rose has been a friend of mine for years. She's a witty, friendly, fascinating person who's had an enormous amount of awfulness piled on top of her over the years, and she needs our help.

The family of [livejournal.com profile] fire_and_a_rose is in tens of thousands of dollars of medical debt. We are attempting to hold an auction to help them in any way, no matter how small. You may auction off your ability to write a story (give a minimum length, and the “winner” can request the topic), or to draw art — to offer one, or five — or to offer pieces of knitting, or clothing, comics, books, or something similar if you prefer something tangible.

The situation is increasingly desperate; both [livejournal.com profile] fire_and_a_rose and her mother have lyme and bartonella, while [livejournal.com profile] fire_and_a_rose has babesia as well, and has been in treatment for over a decade, with progress finally showing with a switch to a new doctor in the past year. It’s thousands of dollars each months in bills. Her mother will cease to see a doctor if necessary, or to treat to a lesser extent, but obviously they would like to avoid that.

Again, here's the auction link.
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My Old French is out of practice, which makes me sad, because the printed translation of the thirteenth-century satirical poem I am currently reading has been expurgated. Therefore, while I am finding some of the anus jokes in the Song of the Peace with England, I may be missing many more of them!

According to the editor/translator, Thomas Wright, the poem "seems to have been written on the occasion of the intermediation of Louis IX. of France, between the contending parties [i.e. the royalist party supporting King Henry III and the reform party more or less led by Simon de Montfort] in England, in the beginning of the year 1264. Much of its point consists in a rather gross play on words which cannot always be translated." Yes, actually, they can.

For your edification and entertainment, rather gross plays on words appear behind the cut. )
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*To be fair, I'm less stumped than I was when I met with my advisor this afternoon.

Anyway, my newest procrastination mode: I write double dactyls about the texts I'm studying.

Stalworthy, schmalworthy,
Kitchen knave Havelok
Married a princess
In Lincoln, one night,

Fell asleep, mouth open,
Cried Goldeborw,
Our future is bright!


Watery fluttery
Brendan the Voyager
Plus sixty pilgrims de-
Cided to sail.

Halfway to Eden, they
Stopped on an island, but
Called it a whale.


Maybe I'll write more of these on the plane tomorrow. (I'm flying east for spring break and Passover.) I'm still trying to figure out what I can do with the nicely double-dactylic word "historiographers."

In the meantime, you all should try some. Remember, two stanzas of four lines each, first line is gibberish, second line is someone's name, one line in the second stanza consists of a single six-syllable word, and fourth and eighth line rhyme.
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(I began this post in November. See, I can finish posts I promise myself I'll write! Sometimes!)

The year is 1910*. You are an Englishman or -woman of no particular importance. Somewhere in Eastern Europe, a small principality has mislaid its rightful prince. Because you are both insatiably curious and lucky enough to be connected to this principality in some way, you find yourself on your way to the principality, about to restore order!

*Or 1890, or Sometime Before 1914.

If this is happening to you, congratulations; you are living in a Ruritanian romance. )

Some examples of the form )

If I've missed any romances, please share; I'm in the market for more imperialist monarchist wacky hijinks.


Edit: I was wrong about the name of the kingdom next to Galazon. It's Aravill, not Aravis. All those unpronounceable imaginary foreign names are the same to me. ;)

Thank you!

Dec. 27th, 2009 11:47 pm
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[partially cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] fairytaleknight]

Whoever gave [livejournal.com profile] fairytaleknight a paid account extension, thank you so much. I am both surprised and very pleased.

Do you like drabbles, anonymous giver? Send me a story request. Anonymous comments are enabled if you prefer to remain unknown (but I'm curious!).


While I'm on the thank you notes, [livejournal.com profile] bookelfe's letter really cheered me up one day, and lots of people including [livejournal.com profile] just_ruth sent me lovely v-gifts. Of course, and I don't say this often enough, thank you all for your friendship, and I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.
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than watch Muppets sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" on YouTube.

Actually, no, wait, there cannot possibly be anything better that we could do today.

(If I am the seventeenth person to post this on your friendsfeed, I apologize. I got it from [livejournal.com profile] angevin2 and [livejournal.com profile] fox1013, and I really had no choice but to share.)
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Two things that have improved what's shaping up to be a deeply frustrating day:

Via [livejournal.com profile] cursor_mundi, the Random Academic Sentence Page. Here are the results of my most recent click.

Pootwattle the Virtual Academic(TM) says:

The (re)invention of the anesthesia of forgetting gestures toward the representational validity of the public sphere.

Smedley Smedley the Virtual Critic(TM) responds:

Pootwattle's wide-ranging study of the relationship between the (re)invention of the anesthesia of forgetting and the representational validity of the public sphere narrowly avoids withdrawal into conscious unreadability.

Via [livejournal.com profile] moireach at [livejournal.com profile] greatpoets: B. H. Fairchild, "The Deer".

Amid the note cards and long, yellow legal pads, the late
nineteenth-century journals containing poems by Swinburne or
Rossetti or Lionel Johnson, the Yeats edition of Blake with its
faded green cover and beveled edges, I and the other readers in
the British Library began to feel an odd presence. We lifted our
eyes in unison to observe the two small deer that had entered
the room so quietly, so very discreetly, the music of their
entering suspended above us, inaudible, but there, truly, as the
deer were there...

Edit: One more link you should all read: [livejournal.com profile] sotto_voice writes about Maine's No on 1 Campaign.
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I have no intention of watching Dollhouse, ever. I do, however, find it hilarious that my friends' reactions to the most recent episode fall into two overlapping categories:

1: Dear Joss Whedon, why are you objectifying women? Sincerely, feminists who used to approve of you.

2: Dear Joss Whedon, I see what you did there with the Wife of Bath. Sincerely, amused medievalists.

In the part of the Venn diagram where the two circles meet, we get posts on the order of

3: Dear Joss Whedon, you do not understand the Wife of Bath. Sincerely, medievalists who do gender studies.

I feel that the existence of all three of these types of posts demonstrates that I obviously have the right friendslist.
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Absolutely rage-inducing advertisement of the day, printed in white text on a black background on a poster pasted on a vacant storefront:

Strippers will not tolerate disrespect... HAHA, just kidding!

A website address beneath the text suggested that there may be a movie associated with this poster. I feel that it is not a movie I want to see. In fact, it is probably a movie I want to wave protest signs in front of.

In cheerier news, instead of writing this afternoon (*facepalm*), I ended up in the basement of Local Independent Bookstore reading Sir Terry Pratchett's Nation. (Then I ended up purchasing the book... remind me not to walk into bookstores.) The plot involves an analogue-Polynesian boy and an aristocratic English girl recreating civilization on a tsunami-wiped island, but the plot itself is only a vehicle for an argument about human dignity and faith and belief and rage against the divine. Oh, and there's a postcolonial reclamation of science from imperialism in there: the Galápagos writes back, or even more precisely, we learn, the Galápagos wrote first. I'm trying to avoid an author-centric critique here, but I can't stifle the sense I get that in writing Nation, Sir Terry manipulates his own, deeply personal, rage and desire for dignity in the face of mortal and divine failures.

Not a perfect book by any means; there are subplots that seem unnecessary and moments of tonal dissonance; but a very fine book, worth reading and worth debating. I keep thinking about how it's a direct reply to Lord of the Flies and an indirect reply to His Dark Materials, but since what I should be thinking about is my dissertation, I'm going to stop my post here and invite comments.
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In August 1980 my parents went to the Democratic National Convention. As I remember the story (for of course, I wasn't there, exactly), my father had gone up and down the streets of Philadelphia that summer to collect signatures. He collected enough to become an alternate delegate for Edward M. Kennedy.

According to legend, it was desperately hot in New York, and my mother spent the whole convention nauseated. I don't imagine that a packed Madison Square Garden, at the height of summer, is a good place to be when suffering morning sickness.

I only know this story from hearing it told. But Ted Kennedy is still somehow linked to my life, and it's very strange to hear that he is dead.
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My grandmother (step-grandmother, really) on the health insurance debate: "I just don't know. I don't like socialized medicine."

Me: "Um, [M], do you know where your insurance comes from?"

My grandmother: "I don't have to pay a thing now. But it's good I got all my limbs replaced before this all started. They wouldn't do that after they change things."

Me: *sigh*

My step-grandmother, who has no resources other than her stepsons' support and her social security payment, is insured through Medicare. I tried repeatedly to explain to her that she already has government-sponsored insurance, and that health care reform means expanding government-sponsored insurance, but I think she's taken too many doses of Fox News to understand me.
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Via [livejournal.com profile] catamorphism: Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and one of the world's most distinguished scholars of African-American literature, was arrested last week in front of his own house. Apparently, having some difficulty with his front door lock, Professor Gates attempted to break the lock open... and some passerby or neighbor called 911 to report that a black man was breaking into a house in Cambridge. When a police officer arrived and asked Professor Gates to step out of the house and provide his information, the professor said, "Why, because I'm a black man in America?" and refused to leave his house or identify himself.

They arrested Professor Gates for disorderly conduct. He was released on the same day, and a Harvard Law professor is taking his case.

Take a look at the police incident report (PDF). Then read the comments at the Boston Globe article, including this gem of utter logic failure:

Enough of throwing down the race card ... we have a Black President now, so that tired old ship has sailed. The guy got indignant like any self-important Harvard professor does, pulled the old "Do you know who I am?" routine, and got arrested as a result.

That's not what happened. Professor Gates came to the attention of the police because, as he said, he is a black man in America. Because he's an eminent and spectacularly well-connected black man in America, he's unlikely to get into any lasting trouble because of this arrest... but hundreds and thousands of other black men in America don't have the professor's advantages.

Edit: I am freezing this post. This is not aimed at any specific commenter. Because I'm crossing the country tomorrow, I won't have time to monitor the discussion, and I'd rather close the post before anything more incendiary is said in my journal.

Also, you might all be interested to know that the charge against Professor Gates has been dropped. I think we can all agree that that's good news.
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Today is apparently a day of Strong Narratives About Women here on LJ. This pleases me.

Via [livejournal.com profile] nextian: Home Team: The 2009 Matches. Nominate your favorite powerful, interesting, confident or just awesome female fictional characters, and vote for fictional characters who've already been nominated. Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan needs more votes, people.

Via [livejournal.com profile] roz_mcclure: [livejournal.com profile] binsybaby wants to improve girl movies. She has some great ideas, including

Sisterhood of the Traveling MONSTER TRUCK ON FIRE


Never Been Kissed AND THAT'S OK


I don't know about you, but I'd fill the multiplex for any of those films. That is, I'll fill the multiplex later. Right now I'm going to work on my [stream of curses omitted] chapter.
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Oh, look, Obama's willing to promise same-sex partners of federal employees some vague and unspecified benefits that don't include health insurance. Apparently, said promises are part of an attempt to keep a LGBT DNC fundraiser from losing all of its attendees, a week after the current administration filed a brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act. How nice.

(Can I take a moment to ponder the name of the Defense of Marriage Act? I mean, it's about defending marriage from dangerous people! Like me! Does that mean I'm attacking marriage? Is it a sort of siege warfare metaphor, and if so, do I get to storm the battlements? Because that could be fun!)

I think I need a new politics icon, because I'm certainly not using the LGBT-for-Obama icon this week.
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he admitted finally, "but the Marquess, at least, has a very fine hat."

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is going to be my favorite Catherynne M. Valente ([livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna) book since The Orphan's Tales, and if you've read my journal long enough you know how much I love The Orphan's Tales. Cat is especially gifted in taking preexisting models of genre, turning them upside down and shaking them until they become utterly new and wondrous. This time Cat is remixing the classic children's otherworld fantasy. I hear echoes of The Phantom Tollbooth in the first chapter, along with a smattering of E. Nesbit, a touch of Michael Ende, the faintest breaths of George MacDonald and Charles Kingsley, and a great deal indeed of Alice and Oz. But Cat's version of the classic narrative is very much her own, subversive, mythologically-inflected and full of wonder:

"Obviously the eating or drinking of Fairy foodstuffs constitutes a binding contract to return at least once a year in accordance with seasonal myth cycles."

September started. "What? What does that mean?"

The Green Wind stroked his neatly pointed beard. "It means: eat anything you like, precious cherry-child!" He laughed like the whistling air through high branches. "Sweet as cherries, bright as berries, the light of my moony sky!"

Now, the thing about The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland is that it's going to be an entirely online book, posted chapter by chapter and supported by reader donations. [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna and her partner are having financial difficulties, and Fairyland is one of the ways in which they're trying to support themselves. Go and read, and if you like it, you can afford it, and it feels right to you, donate.
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Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] flintknappy. You've caught up with me again.

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Dr. George Tiller was assassinated at his church in Wichita, Kansas this morning.

Dr. Tiller's clinic was bombed in 1986. Dr. Tiller himself was shot in 1993. He was acquitted of performing illegal late-term abortions in a criminal trial in March 2009; the trial itself may have been triggered by citizens of Kansas signing a petition to bring Dr. Tiller before a grand jury. ADDED: At one point, the attorney general of Kansas attempted to get access to Dr. Tiller's confidential medical files, claiming he wanted them so he could prosecute statutory rape cases.

From Dr. Tiller's own testimony at his trial this March:

Tiller became emotional as he told the jury why he continues to practice, even though he and his staff have been harassed for years by anti-abortion protesters, one of whom shot him in both arms as he left work in 1993.

" 'Quit' is not something I like to do," Tiller said. He has not closed shop, he said, because his patients need him and he has the "strong support" of his family -- including his wife of 45 years, three daughters (two of whom are physicians), a son and 10 grandchildren.

He said that one family conversation crystallized in his mind the importance of his work.

"My daughters came into my study," he said. "I was reading. And they said, 'Daddy, if not now, when? If not you, who? Who is going to stand up for women with unexpected and badly damaged babies?' I had the support of my family, and we were able to proceed ahead."

I notice that I've been writing this post in as neutral a tone as I can muster. That's because I don't know how to express my anger and my grief. I'm going to take refuge in silence, now. Please share with me a moment of silence for a doctor who continued to serve his patients despite all manner of attacks, verbal and physical, legal and illegal, and who died for this service.

Added: The Wichita Eagle has a gallery of file photos of Dr. Tiller and his clinic.


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