January 2012


Recently, a woman in Seattle named Babylonia Aivaz decided to marry an old warehouse to keep it from being demolished.  While this seemed like a wacky idea to me at first, she made a really good point.  She said:  “If corporations can have the same rights as people, so can buildings.”

She’s right—it’s only logical!  And now she’s got me plotting.  Is there a way for me to get married to a multi-million-dollar corporation?  This would pretty much solve…well…ALL of my problems.  But how do you do it?  Do I send in an application like I would for a job?  Do I have to wait for a corporation to propose?  (I’m assuming the corporation buys the diamond ring, because…I mean, c’mon.)  Then again, what proof does anyone have that a company hasn’t proposed to me already?  How did Babylonia know that the warehouse wanted to be married to her?  Communicating with inanimate entities requires a little bit of telepathy. 

There will be a few complications to be resolved.  The biggest issue, of course, is that I already have a boyfriend.  To make matters worse, he’s quite wonderful, so I don’t exactly want to give him up.  No worries, though!  If we have learned anything about the romantic habits of capitalism, it is that a corporation will have no problem with an open relationship. 

Then there is the whole “traditional marriage” concept.  Those of us who believe in marriage equality have had difficulty just trying to persuade the paragons of morality who dwell in our midst to allow unions between two consenting adults.   Public referendums about gay marriage have gone down in defeat.  So what chances does an even more unconventional idea like mine have?  Actually, they’re not bad.  Since the Supreme Court decided that corporations are people in the Citizens United case, I have not heard about any referendums or votes overturning this verdict.  The road to full personhood with all its rights appears much smoother for a corporation than for a gay person.

Also, the people most opposed to changing the institution of marriage—conservatives—are head over heels in love with corporations.  The Republicans in Congress (and, let’s face it, many of the Democrats as well) are practically married to them already.  There’s probably no room left for me, but I might as well try.   First, I need to choose a suitable marriage partner.  I’m an internet junkie, so an online company like Google or Facebook would be nice.  I’m thinking Facebook, since I already spend a large portion of my day with him/her. 

So there it is.  Time to go ask a corporation out for a date.  Wish me luck.  Above all, wish me a Kardashian-like speedy divorce—because that’s when the big money starts rolling in.

In the past few weeks, I have been hearing a lot about liberty.  The freedom to live one’s life as one wishes to live it.  And, of course, the government’s desire to take that liberty away.

I would like to add to that chorus of voices and say that I, too, believe in freedom.

First of all, I believe in the liberty to live my life without having twelve or thirteen children.  We’re not in the nineteenth century anymore and I don’t need to spend my existence as a woman pumping out kids and dying in childbirth.  I want the freedom to fulfill my goals and ambitions, to educate myself, to have a satisfying career and to be creative.  I don’t want that freedom taken away from me as I am reduced to the procreation role of a rabbit. 

Secondly, I believe in my freedom to follow a religion other than that of the conservative Christian church.  As far as I know, we are (still) permitted to follow different religious faiths in this country.  Therefore, I will plan my principles, my sex life, my marriage and my worship rituals around my individual spiritual beliefs.  I realize that there are conservative Christians in government who would like to take those liberties away, but all this means is that they don’t understand the greatness of this country.  I have my conversations with God too—they are not the only ones with that privilege—and the message I’m getting from Him doesn’t bode well for them.

I also believe in the freedom to use my brain.  I don’t think God would have given me an active, functioning, sarcastic mind if I wasn’t meant to use it.  I believe in the freedom we have as a species to use our intelligence, to make amazing technological and medical advances, and to make the world better this way.  I don’t think we should be ashamed of that, as if it somehow takes us further away from God or Nature.  I don’t believe in abandoning all the progress we’ve made so that we can return to the “good old days”.  Or the Dark Ages, more like.  Does anybody here really want to live in a world with no cancer treatments or high-speed Internet?  Moving on, then.

Finally, I would like to live my life free of fear.  Free of the fear that if I develop a serious illness, I will lose everything I have.  The fear that I will be swindled out of my retirement savings.  Or the fear that I will have to spend my life working for minimum wage, because all of our work will get outsourced overseas and there will be no other options for me.  But I forgot…I have already been born, so my well-being means very little to those in power.  Even less since I’m a woman.  If only I was a fetus, perhaps I would have better luck! 

We just got out of one.  I had breathed a sigh of relief that we would be able to start getting back on our feet.  And now, here comes another one.

Today I’m reading in several news sources that US General Martin Dempsey is in Israel to urge restraint, as Israel mulls a possible pre-emptive strike on Iran.  What happens if Israel gets embroiled in military conflict with Iran?  I doubt that we’re going to let our ally get beaten to a pulp.  As much as I disagree with Israel’s domestic policy sometimes, I do not see that as an option either.  So then it’s yet another potentially disastrous and draining war for us.  Just the thought of it makes me want to curl up in a fetal position under my desk.

Like most people, I’m no fan of Ahmadinejacket.  I was very excited when the Green Revolution in Iran was taking place, and even took part in a completely useless march through downtown Portland supporting it.  Because that’s our cure for everything in Portland—protest marches.  I love the idea that the people of Iran might be able to overthrow their tyrannical government.  I hate the idea that we may soon be bombing those same ambitious, idealistic people into oblivion.

Also, has everyone forgotten that we don’t have the money for another war?  Some of the Republicans calling the loudest for an attack on Iran are also the biggest budget cut proponents.  Ah, but wait, we have all these programs like Social Security and Medicare that need to get slashed anyway.  We’re getting too big for our britches in this country, expecting things like a dignified retirement.  We forget that we have to pay a price for maintaining the empire.

And then what about countries like China and Russia, who oppose an attack on Iran?  Are we headed for an all-out world war?  China is obviously a trading partner, so they have to tread down a very cautious path.  It’s doubtful they would want to take us on at this point.  But I fear what might happen when we become so weakened by a series of unending wars that other countries no longer respect us.  Please, let’s maintain our strength, not waste it.

If nothing else, this is another useful wake up call telling us that we need to stop being so dependent on oil, so dependent on it that we keep having to fight for it.  We have to look at options like alternative energy sources and public transit and bikes, before it’s too late.

In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my fingers and toes crossed that it’s not time for World War III yet.  I mean, I’m just getting started on this blog, for chrissakes!

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I fell victim to it, along with some other people I know.  I am just now recovering from a serious bout of Santorum panic.

I don’t think I can be completely blamed for it.  Santorum is one of those scary people known as social conservatives.  This means that on top of the usual right-wing predatory philosophy of “If you happen to be old or sick, you are a weaker specimen, and need to be rejected from the pack”, he also carries an unappetizing layer of push-it-down-your-throat religiosity.  I suppose the pompous morality is there to try to hide the predatory thinking, something that the libertarians, in all their charming honesty, do without.

Anyway, Santorum wants to annul all the previously established gay marriages–in the name, no doubt, of liberty.  He would like to allow states to ban contraceptives.  As he said in an interview, contraceptives are bad since they give one all kinds of sexual license.  In short, he represents the kind of small town thinking I instinctively fear—because I am someone who comes from a small town.  Sure, a small town in Eastern Europe.  But let me share a little secret:  Small towns are the same all over the world.  They’re FRIGHTENING.

If I want more proof that Rick inhabits a different planet than me, I need look no further than the sweater vests he is currently hawking to anyone who will donate $100 or more to his campaign.  I’m not sure why, but Christian conservatives even have a fashion sense all their own.  The make-up styles of the female Fox news anchors have induced bouts of panic in me as well.

So when Santorum came in second in Iowa, I freaked out.  I forwarded Facebook posts with all of his scariest quotes, and left rambling comments on blogs.  I envisioned a Santorum presidency and tried to decide which country I would flee to when all the condoms had run out.

Of course, I had forgotten one thing:  this was Iowa.  It was the place where Huckabee had, once upon a time, come in first.  The nominees don’t come out of Iowa.

And so thankfully, things are now in a much more predictable place.   According to the latest reports from the BBC, the crowds at Santorum speeches are still full of energy, but much smaller.  He also made the mistake of wading into his “gay marriage equals polygamy” stuff with some college students, and got heckled and booed.  Most importantly, another BBC news article (yes, I luvs the BBC) interviewed a few people in his audience who said they didn’t want to hear anymore about abortion and gay marriage.  They wanted to hear about the economy.  It’s still the economy, stupid, not theology.

Well, I have been miraculously healed from my irrational moment of panic and feel much better.  Now to get ready for the real thing:  Romney and months of boring debates about tax code and health insurance.  Hallelujah!

I used to believe I was a nerd.  I was always made fun of for being a nerd when I was younger, mainly because I wore glasses and spent all my time reading, and so I assumed that those were the basic requirements for nerdiness.

But as with everything else, things get complicated as you get older.  It turns out that nerd and geek are much more specialized terms than I thought.  Geeks are into programming stuff on computers.  I love computers as a tool for sharing gossip and irrational political opinions.  So, not a geek.  Nerds are expected to be into sci-fi, which is a genre I have never managed to become enthusiastic about.  I’m still obsessive about reading, but my preferences are a mixed bag of everything from Victorian novels to 20th century Eastern bloc fiction to pop culture analysis.  I’m not sure what that makes me.  I guess that the comic book and superhero thing can also put one in the nerd category.  I grew up in Poland reading a comic book about a superhero called Orientation Man, who was constantly being chased by an Eskimo with a broken heater, but somehow I don’t think that qualifies.

And I get the feeling that my love of hip-hop automatically cancels my membership in the nerd world.   

So what am I?  I’m definitely socially awkward enough to be a dork, but there’s so much more to me than my klutziness.  I suppose my fanatical interest in politics might mean I’m a wonk, but that word implies connections and influence in Washington D.C. that I just don’t have.  A bookworm?  A dweeb?

Ah, hell.  I’m from Europe.  I should have known all along.  I’m an intellectual.