Monday, August 28, 2006

Talking "Space"

The whole Pluto debate shows how the problems we have with politics occur. I mean, consider what actually goes on: the experts on planets have been perturbed by Pluto for a long time. It doesn't behave like a planet, and it's awfully small. So they have big debate, and at the end they have a new definition of what a planet is, and Pluto doesn't make the cut.

It's at this point that the weird starts, cause for a tiny, icebound piece of rock on the edge of the solar system, so far away that we can't even see it without special telescopes, Pluto suddenly has a hell of a lot of fans. One would think, to read some of the sites, that something essential about Pluto had changed. In fact, it's the same as it ever was; all that has changed is how we describe it. And, just maybe, how we think about it. And that is what people are resisting (Honestly, it's not like there's something magic about calling a spacebound chunk of rock a planet anyway; it's a word left over from previous centuries meaning, basically, a wandering star. Originally, the Earth wasn't one and the Sun was).

Anyway, if people are getting whipped up into a froth over this, if they're resisting a minor change made by the experts in an obscure field, what kind of results can we expect when it comes to changing how we do things on Earth?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Talking Space.

There's been some fuss lately about the whole Michigan Womyn's festival and their policy in 
regards to trans-women vs. "bio-women."   This has been addressed elsewhere by people 
who understand the whole thing much better than I do, but there is one aspect of it that I'd like 
to address.

A lot of the comments I've been reading deal with the whole "segregationist" nature of the 
festival itself; that is, the fact that they exclude anyone, including men, is seen as a wrong step.  
 I disagree.  

Here's the thing: minority groups--no, wait.  Let's define our terms, first.  Minority/majority relationships have little to do with the actual relative sizes of the groups in question, and everything to do with their relative power.  Thus, even though women outnumber men, they
hold fewer of the reins of power in modern society and are thus a disadvantaged, or minority, group.  The same goes when you compare people of colour to whites, gays to straights, the poor to the rich, and so on.

So.   One thing about majority groups is that they are used to being in charge (because most of the time, they are). You put them in a situation where something needs to be done, 
they want to take charge and make sure that it gets done the best way.   Often with the best of 
intentions, they talk over the minorities around them, leaving them without a voice in what might be their own issues.  This is why separatist women's groups exist, and why they are important.  They give women a place where their own voices can be heard (straight, white men have no need for such places,  because their voices are heard everywhere already.  To quote the sage Homer Simpson, "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are.").

That said, I agree that the refusal to allow trans-womyn into the festival is unfair and prejudicial.

This will probably be the last time I try to handle something deep.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ceci n'est-ce pas un blog

This blog does not exist.  Stop reading now.