Thoughout this third season of Doctor Who, although I enjoyed many of the episodes and Martha was starting to grow on me as a character, there was one thing that absolutely drove me crazy. That was the way Martha pined after the doctor from day one, long before he'd shown himself to be deserving of it. With Rose it was different. She initially signed on with the Doctor not because of who he was, but because of where he could take her and what he could show her, and as they spent time together, their friendship grew stronger until they became inseparable. Martha, on the other hand, although she enjoys and participates fully in the adventures, seemed to initially be signing on so that she could be near the Doctor, and I just didn't see what was motivating that. But now I think I do. I was rewatching the beginning of the season because I had missed what this year's Bad Wolf/Torchwood equivalent was and now that it seemed to be coming to a head, I wanted to go back and find it. So I was watching the first episode and in the beginning Martha is kind of unsure of the Doctor, but thought he might know what he was doing, which was a sensible position given the evidence. Then, in order to save the world and for entirely non-romantic reasons (which he stresses), the Doctor kisses her, whereupon she gets all melty. Now with most people this wouldn't make sense, but since, as we all know, the Doctor is made of magic, I can see how being kissed by him might cause a person to fall immediately and completely in love with him and want to follow him to the end of the universe. It's still a cheap plot device that they could have done without, but it's better than no motivation at all.


Everyone knows that the Sex Geek is a genius, right?

Well if you don't, this should convince you:

So I told my aunt that I never really figured out I was queer. I just figured out, over a period of many years starting in early childhood, that everyone else wasn't.

Damn, I missed it!

Sitemeter was down for a couple days, and by the time I got around to looking at it again, the milestone was passed. But sometime during the week before last, I got my 10,000th visitor. Cool beans, dudes!


Oh Noes! Teh Intartubes Are Danjerus!

Via Pharyngula, I found this news report about the companies DefamationAction.com and ComplaintRemover.com, which promise to remove unsavoury things posted about you or your company on the internet, for a fee. When I first read about this I figured they used legitimate legal threats against people who were committing libel, or at worst sent nastygrams. I was not expecting this:

This letter is being sent to you in the name of more than 500 businesses. No matter where you go, we will cause you a problem. Your life is in danger until you comply with our demands. This is your last warning.

Your neighbors already know about your criminal dealings and how you are making many people loose (sic) their business. You will soon be beaten to a pulp and pounced into the ground six feet under with a baseball bat and sleg (sic) hammer. You will soon be sorry not just from what I am capable of doing to you, but what other members will do as soon as they know exactly where you are. Its (sic) just a matter of time until I get to you.

Here is what you can do to save your life. But you must act imidiatly (sic). Make what ever deal it takes, you must comply.
I mean, what? No, seriously. *This* is what companies pay, apparently, hundreds of dollars a year for? Badly spelled extortion? I have to say, if it weren't for the sheer hilarity, I'd be sorely disappointed. I mean, this is the online equivalent of a guy showing up at your door with a baseball bat. Except he's two feet tall and it's a Nerf bat.

Fucking dumsnuts


You People Are Assholes

I was at someone's house this evening watching So You Think You Can Dance (aside: yes that show is every bit as stupid as you expect it to be) and the girl half of a couple that was supposed to perform collapsed in rehearsal and had to be rushed to hospital, so in order for the boy to nonetheless get to perform they partnered him at the last minute with the choreographer's assistant. She was a woman of well over 200lbs and, knowing that the people outside of my lovely Montreal bubble can be ignorant jerks about size, I expected some awkward silence and nervous giggles. I was not remotely prepared for what did happen. Immediate hoots and hollers, cries of "ooh, that poor guy!" "Ew, he's going to have to touch her again!" "Oh, he's way to hot for this!" And of course when the choreography was remotely sexy the screams doubled. As if, because she's fat, her mere presence was somehow damaging to him. I mean the raw hatred and disgust emenating from my fellow guests was soul-shattering. How people get filled with that much hate and manage to go on with their lives just baffles me*.
I was inclined to just bitch about how much I hate it here outside my bubble, but the fact is that the worst, most discouraging part of the whole experience was me. Because I said nothing. I sat in silence as this fountain of hate erupted around me and did nothing. How could I? How could I have failed myself so utterly? Because I was worried about my relationship with my host. Because I didn't want them to see my tears. Because I knew that if I did speak up they would look at me and dismiss my words, forgetting that I felt the same way when I was 30lbs lighter and still worthy of respect.
There's still a lot of distance between me and the sort of woman I want to become. The terrifying sort of woman in front of whom people are afraid to speak, lest they say something stupid.
In the mean time, this is what I can do in my cowardice. Too scared to speak aloud when it mattered, I can now sit at my keyboard and type.
You can find the details and sources here and here, but this is what I have to say:
1) Being fat is not bad. Fat people live longer, have lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, and (among women) reach menopause later than thin people.
2) Being fat is not something people can help. Fat people have the same diet and excersize habits as thin people. The only reliable way to acheive and maintain weight loss is to go on a lifelong starvation diet.
3) Losing weight is bad for you. Losing and gaining weight repeatedly is really fucking bad for you.
Someday I will have the courage of my convictions. For now I have a blog.

Update: Thanks to parodie in the comments for pointing me to this video:

*Just so's we're clear here, this woman was a trained dancer. She knew the steps and she moved well. She was strong and, in order to pull off some of those moves, in excellent shape. The ONLY thing people were laughing about was her size


A Crowded Institution

I like this post of Andrea's about polygamy, but I have to respectfully disagree with her on one point:

I firmly do not believe that multiple marriage has anything at all to do with same-sex marriage. The MacLean’s article says, “Marriage, already open to same-sex couples, could become a very crowded institution.” Oh, for Chrissakes. Did you really need to toss a sprinkling of homophobia into the mix? Because we queers are crowding the straights, is that it? Invading their personal space, perhaps? I didn’t realize that marriage was a room with a maximum capacity. Are we a frickin’ fire hazard now? Screw you. Get the fuck over it, people.
I agree that that was a homophobic and assholish comment on the part of the McLean's author, and that people do need to get the fuck over it, but I strongly disagree that same sex marriage has nothing to do with non-religious polygamy. Indeed, I think they are two aspects of the very same issue.

To me, the crux of the SSM debate was whether we wanted marriage to be a religiously defined institution, based on traditional ideas of relationships as necessary for social-group-mixing, transfer of property, etc., or an institution based on sense and legal expediency, providing humane and reasonable ways of dealing with such questions as health-benefit sharing and income tax on households that share expenses, child custody when households split up, etc. If we decide on the latter then the reasons for restricting the institution to groups of two evaporate along with the reasons for keeping it between opposite sex couples.

Like Andrea, I think that marriage is an out-moded, irrelevant, oppressive, and mysogynist institution (which is what I assume she means when she says "marriage kinda sucks"), and I think we need something new. If people want their religious institutions to bless their romantic/sexual relationships, that's their business, but I don't want to have to be involved in their fight to get the religious institutions to bless *this* particular pairing, or *that* particular set up. That is so resoundingly not my problem, and the best way to keep it that way is to make religious marriage an exclusively religious institution, carrying no legal weight whatsoever, and come up with something else on the legal side of things. I think what would work best (and Andrea touches on this as well) is a set of standard but tweakable contracts that have more to do with how a household is set up financially and in terms of child care, and don't worry about who's fucking whom. I agree that we need a system where two people in a romantic triad can sponsor the third for immigration based on their relationship, but I don't think that's enough. We need a system where a woman who stays home to care for her sister's or adult daughter's child will qualify for domestic partner benefits, and get consideration in terms of custody should the household split up. Households and families do not always consist of two (or more) adults who are sexual partners, plus kids. Adult siblings living together, groups of unrelated but not-sexually-involved women living together to share resources and raise their kids, grown children living with their parents or aunts/uncles, and all manner of other households are all completely normal, healthy and good ways to live, and the law needs to reflect that.

I think the conservatives who screamed that same-sex marriage was just a stepping stone towards allowing consenting adults to enter into whatever relationship they wanted, with full legal sanction, were absolutely right. I just don't see what the bad is.


It must be Pride

After all, that's the only time this happens to me. And it sucks because it means that tomorrow in the big parade I may have no choice but to wear a shirt. Stupid sunny dyke march.

The bra- and tank top-lines provide a nice contrast (although what you see in the picture is nothing compared to what it looks like in real life) but are also evidence of my not having gone completely topless. For the first time since my first Pride when I was 16, I covered my boobs (although I did lose the top and wear just a bra for most of the march). I must be getting old.



* * * * *SPOILER ALERT - If you haven't seen all of Torchwood yet and don't want to know, don't read this post* * * * *

For all its flaws (and they are legion), Torchwood will always hold a place in my heart as the first show I've seen to completely normalize same-sex relationships. Generally, when we think about shows that normalize queers we think of things like Queer as Folk or The L Word. But QAF and The L Word aren't really shows about anything. They're not mysteries, or medical shows, or sci fi, or cop shows, or anything. They're personal dramas, about relationships and sex and love and friendships and rivalries. They're shows about gay people being gay. And that's fine as far as it goes, but Torchwood takes it a step further. Torchwood is a science fiction show about a group of people who work for an alien-watching organization, and that is *really* what the show is about. They have adventures and fight aliens and screw around with advanced technologies they have no business touching and open tears in the fabric of space and time, and *that* is what drives the plot. But, like any remotely decent show, the primary characters have personal lives beyond the main focus of the show and we see depth and development in their interactions with each other. And not a single one of them is entirely monosexual.

The main character, Gwen, is primarily straight. She has a steady boyfriend and there are strong indications that this is not an exception for her, but there is one episode that has her making out with a girl under the influence of alien pheromones and, while this may not be something she does every day, there is nothing in her manner to suggest that she finds it shocking or disgusting after the fact.

Captain Jack, as many of us know from Doctor Who, is just a good old-fashioned slut. He'll sleep with anything pretty enough, it doesn't even have to be human, and he likes it that way. This fact seems totally fine with the rest of the Torchwood staff.

Owen is, for the most part, a womanizing jackass, but if the boyfriend of the woman he is currently, um, izing, kicks a fuss, Owen is more than happy to arrange to bring them both home with him in order to keep the peace.

We see many indications throughout the show that Toshiko is pining after Owen, but when the right woman comes along, Tosh falls head over heels. Although things don't work out for them (the woman ends up being a murdering alien in disguise, in love with Tosh but also using her to get inside Torchwood) and Tosh's colleagues suggest that maybe falling for a murdering alien isn't the best course of action, the fact that the murdering alien was also a woman doesn't enter into it. And in fact, Gwen specifically tells Tosh that she shouldn't let this put her off relationships, because "love suited [her]".

And finally, Ianto, who we know is Jack's at-least-occasional lover, we find out also has/had a girlfriend who he is madly in love with.

In addition to having all these wonderfully queer characters, another thing that the writers, etc. on Torchwood do right is how they write their same-sex relationships. It's done respectfully and realistically, with the relationships varying, depending on the situations and the personalities of the participants. There are no archetypal gay or lesbian couplings to be found. We are not banged over the head with any "look, this character is gay, GAY!!!" stereotyping, nor are we subjected to idiotic are-they-aren't-they? ambiguities a la early Willow and Tara or late Xena and Gabrielle. The same-sex sex scenes are shown every bit as explicitly as the opposite sex ones (which is to say not very) and the characters' interactions are as complex or superficial as one would expect from a straight couple in a similar situation.

I know that British television is a lot more willing to push the envelope with this sort of thing, but for those of us exposed mostly to North American media, this is downright revolutionary and, crappy writing and acting be damned, I want the show to continue and, if it hasn't already, air here.