Inborn Sexuality: Does it matter?

Let’s imagine, for a moment, that people can choose their sexual orientation. Does that make it any more acceptable to discriminate on that basis? Of course not. People can equally choose their religious expression (if not their actual beliefs), and yet discrimination on those grounds is unacceptable.

Frankly, unless you want to date me, my sexual orientation is not much of your business.


Matilda: “Naughty”

I want to see Tim Minchin’s adaption of Matilda, and I don’t want the experience to be spoiled by too many previews, but I do so love this song. “Naughty” is among Tim Minchin’s best songs. And it’s a life lesson. And it’s true.

I’m not sure who the singer in this one is.

Edit: That version has been removed for copyright reasons, so here’s a replacement:

This version has all four Matildas singing together at the Olivier Awards.


“Nope”: Out of scope

HR 1264 is a bill in New Hampshire which would allow businesses and employees to refuse service to anyone if it involves “solemnization, celebration, or promotion of a marriage” in “violation of the person’s conscience or religious faith”. Any service. This is an extraordinary wide scope, and Rob Tisinai’s take on it is worth reading.


More Christian Sharia

The scary people at the Liberty Council have created a document called “The Declaration of American Values“. It’s basically a rewrite of the Constitution, and it is weird. My favourite bit has to be point 4:

To secure the free exercise of religion for all people, including the freedom to acknowledge God through our public institutions and other modes of public expression and the freedom of religious conscience without coercion by penalty or force of law.

Because public institutions acknowledging God is perfectly compatible with the “free exercise of religion for all people”. And a society in which no “penalty or force of law” can apply to anything done on the basis of “religious conscience” would be really good fun.

Internal consistency is not these people’s strong suit. And nor is imagination. They are incapable of imagining themselves on the other end of a document like this. Other parts of the Declaration are more overtly hateful. It is based on “consensus values”, which means that if you aren’t exactly like them, you are a second-class citizen. Code-speak. You get used to it if you read enough of this junk.

If you want to see the full document pulled apart (it’s only a page, and it contains nothing of any intellectual worth), check “The New Christian Sharia“.


Ugandan Apartheid

Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa, was speaking in Uganda when he was asked about the proposed anti-homosexuality bill there. He compared it directly to Apartheid South Africa.

Mr Mbeki said apartheid South Africa prohibited sexual relations “across the colour line” aided by The Immorality Act which handed the police legal ground to raid “people’s bedrooms” before dragging them to court for prosecution.

“I mean what would you want? It doesn’t make sense at all. That is what I would say to the MP. What two consenting adults do is really not the matter of law,” he said.


Twilight and the Quileute: protecting “indigenous peoples’ collective cultural property”

Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga is set in Forks, a real town, and includes references to the Quileute people, a real Indian Nation, situated nearby. The books are incredibly popular, and busloads of tourists visit Forks and the Quileute Nation. The tourist industry in Forks has benefited greatly from this; that of the Quileute, less so.

Also, there is no legal protection of the Quileute name, which means that the “Quileute” hoodies, jewelry and other goods do not raise them a penny. In fact, they don’t really have much to do with the real-life Quileute at all.

Many Indian tribes develop markets for their own cultural property — or at least the part of it that is not deemed sacred and therefore private. Some have introduced culturally appropriate commercial products — Navajo rugs, for example, or Potawatomi porcupine-quill earrings — to educate non-Indians about their traditions or to earn a living.


The Quileute are likewise eager to share their tribal culture, even if the interest in it was created primarily by Hollywood. The Quileute welcome outsiders, as my own interactions with them have confirmed. When hordes of “Twilight” fans showed up in La Push in 2008, the tribe, as a sovereign Indian nation, could have closed its reservation, but tribal members chose not to do so.

As Angela R. Riley says, The ultimate choice, regarding not only the Quileute but all indigenous peoples, is not simply whether outsiders are free to appropriate tribal cultural property.


Newt Gingrich : Polyamory :: Wife-beating : BDSM

Newt Gingrich, Republican candidate for the presidency of the USA, was caught cheating, and then asked his wife, Marianne, for an open marriage:

She said when Gingrich admitted to a six-year affair with a Congressional aide, he asked her if she would share him with the other woman, Callista.

Riiiiiiiiight. This is not polyamory. This is cheating. The difference, in case you missed it, is consent. (Also, polyamory and open relationships are not the same thing.)