orycon 38

Back from Orycon 38! They certainly kept me busy – panels on building microphones, on orphaned lyrics, on building a recording studio, a bunch of others. I was in fact so busy that I only managed to take one photograph. It’s from the green room balcony, and here it is:

But I’ve seen some other photographs around. Sadly, so far, they aren’t public – if you find any, link ’em in comments! Also, thanks to everybody who turned out for a Sunday afternoon show at checkout time, that takes some goddamn dedication. Cramming six songs into a half-hour set doesn’t sound that tricky, but I wasn’t simplifying anything for anybody, which is why I showed up like two hours early to set up before anyone else. (Setlist: Supervillain For I Love You, Thirteen, Coyote, Shout at the Desert, Kaiju Meat, We’re Not Friends/The Future Has a Place.)

I’m definitely going to keep performing Kaiju Meat as if it were actually a hiphop song, which it’s not really? But that performance approach really helps it work live, so I’m doin’ it. We also did USSR later, in the band scramble, and that nearly started a goddamn riot. EVERYBODY SING ALONG IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU!

I really only got to one panel I wasn’t running, the hilariously fun Overwatch meetup, wherein… okay, so, there’s a meme, Everyone In Overwatch Is Gay? Because EVERYONE IN OVERWATCH IS GAY. And at the meetup, literally everyone was queer, we actually checked.

It was hilarious.

So, yeah! Thanks again for having me, and special thanks to the createspace crew for the use of their sewing supplies – very much appreciated – and let’s do it again next year. ^_^

hark, a schedule!

Hey everybody! Heading down to Orycon this morning. I’m bringing the carbon and crystal microphones and we’re going to do what we did at Clallam Bay Comicon and let people record themselves all old-timey. It’ll be fun!

My schedule, as of the latest revision received:

5pm – Choosing & Learning a Musical Instrument – Mt. Hood (2)
6pm – Building Old-Technology Microphones Because You Can – Belmont (2)

2pm – Group Home for Abandoned Lyrics – Belmont (2)
6pm – Building a Home Studio on the Cheap – Belmont (2)

12:30pm – CONCERT! – Mt. Hood (2)
2pm – Band Scramble – Mt. Hood (2)
3pm – Jam In The Key of C – Mt. Hood (2)

See you there!

today was supposed to be about music

Today was supposed to be about music and about this weekend at Orycon. Today was supposed to be talking about the little demonstration circuit I’ve put together to improve my panel on building antique-technology microphones because you can. It was going to be fun.

But no. Not now. Because it’s been one fucking week since this savage election and Trump surrogate Carl Higbie is already talking about concentration camps as positive precedent on Fox News.



Fascism is right fucking here, kids. Right here.


oh and yes, this is going to be a thing for a while

Like everyone else, I wanted all this to go away for a while after this hellhouse of an election was over. And historically, I’ve kept most of my political stuff off the band blog, only getting into it when it was specifically within and about geek culture.

But given the fundamentalist policy influx I’ve already discussed, now supplemented by newer and creepier moves like ideological tests for higher education:

I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do,” Carson explained. “It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.

…and bringing in people like Peter Thiel, who famously kinda hates elections and democracy and thinks everything has gone to hell since women started voting:

I must confess that over the last two decades, I have changed radically on the question of how to achieve these goals. Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible. … Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron.

…and the inclusion of white nationalist anti-semitic misogynists like Steve Bannon at the top level of the new administration:

Now, you may be asking what I would have women replace the [birth control] Pill with, since it’s obviously so awful. Condoms? Vasectomies? The answer is: nothing. We need the kids if we’re to breed enough to keep the Muslim invaders at bay.

The solution to online ‘harassment’ is simple: women should log off. Given that men built the internet, along with the rest of modern civilisation, I think it’s only fair that they get to keep it. I, Donald Trump and the rest of the alpha males will continue to dominate the internet without feminist whining.

…that’s not really an option anymore.

I mean, Mr. Bannon in particular is a vicious piece of work. It’s not just that he made Breitbart a propaganda vehicle for the “~~alt-right~~” clusterfuck of racism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny, but if that wasn’t cartoonish enough, he literally has the endorsement of the literal fucking American Nazi Party, NO, REALLY:

Chairman of the American Nazi Party, Rocky J. Suhayda, who wrote a post after Trump’s election night victory celebrating it as a call to action, said he was surprised at the pick of Bannon, but said it showed him Trump could follow through on his campaign promises.

And it’s not like Trump and Bannon don’t know the arc of this path either. Bannon in particular wants to destroy everything so they can take over:

Trump: “You know what solves it?” [Mr. Trump] said of America’s sorry state. “When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell and everything is a disaster. Then you’ll have a [chuckles], you know, you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be when we were great.”
Bannon: “I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed… “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

I should’ve paid more attention when the fundamentalist right started quoting Stalin without irony a few years ago. That should’ve twigged me more than it did. I thought it would marginalise them completely, and talked about it like that, saying, “wow, they’ve really gone off into the woods,” but goddammit, instead they’ve found their white supremacist leadership cadre, have allied with actual fucking Nazis, have taken the offer the devil offered Jesus (by 81% – they didn’t even hesitate), and are going for it.


And unless you’re heading overseas, you don’t get to opt out. And maybe not even then.

Am I scaring you? WRONG. I’m not scaring you, the facts are scaring you. The situation is scaring you. And go ahead, be scared. That’s fine.

But do not be intimidated. Do not be paralysed. Fear is a great motivator if you don’t let it control you, and now is the time when you need to control it – and translate that energy into action.

I’ll talk more about that soon. We need to go after media that tries to pretend this is normal, and provide “balanced” coverage of THE ACTUAL FASCISTS, like they’re already doing with Bannon. We need to go after politicians who try to deny the white supremacy, the misogyny, the anti-Semitism, like Trump transition team leader Reince Priebus, who says, “I haven’t seen any of these things” out of Mr. Bannon. (HEY REINCE, I’VE GOT A HANDY LIST.) When they start the sweeps going after people, don’t call that normal either.

“If [Mr. Trump] wants to deport two to three million people, he’s got to rely on tactics that will divide communities and create fear throughout the country,” said Kevin Appleby, the senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies of New York. “He would have to conduct a sweep, or raids or tactics such as those, to reach the numbers he wants to reach. It would create a police state, in which they would have to be aggressively looking for people.”

Fight this police state bullshit; completely refuse to co-operate on any level, and tell your cities and states and schools to do the same. Fight it, fight everything like it, fight everyone who is for it, because in the end there is no middle ground with fascists, with white supremacists, with proud misogynists, because there is no civil discourse with people who have decided that you are not people. In dispensing with the idea of ‘loyal opposition,’ they’ve run themselves all the way to the brink, so far along the crumbling edge of the cliff that they’ve made their with-us-or-against-us vision of the world actually come true.

this is the neofascist “alt-right”‘s vision for you

Ally with anyone who backs off that precipice. Try to peel off the underinformed, the automatic party-identify voters, the low-information, the unaware. Pull back everyone you can. But the true believers, the Trumpian alt-right base?

It’s them, and it’s everybody else. If they can fling us to our deaths off that cliff, they will. And they’ll enjoy it.


orycon this weekend, with show and tell

I’ll be at Orycon this weekend! I have panels and workshops and a concert on Sunday afternoon, so please come out for it!

They’ve actually given me a panel on building old-technology microphones, which is pretty cool, and I’ll let people record themselves on a 1920s-ish carbon mic and a 1940s-ish crystal mic, so hopefully that will be fun. People really seemed to enjoy it when I had the setup running at my dealer table at CBCC.

I need to find time – somehow – to wedge in building a new amp board for the microphone panel, because I don’t want to take apart the existing crystal microphone for show-and-tell, and I think it’ll be neat to show that off. Later today. Hopefully. Assuming nothing else explodes.

Like, Monday, right? Things Happened, and then I got to spend the afternoon pulling unimaginably gross material out of a fluid pump system while going, “oh gods, oh gods, I hope this is only cat litter, please let this just be cat litter,” and when that’s happening, you have officially reached what one might call a BAD SCENE.

Not “darkest timeline” bad scene, but: bad.

so disgusting

Anyway. Thank the gods that’s over. See you this weekend!

i got a complaint from a heterosexually married straight white man

Here’s something from one of the arguments I mentioned in my previous post. This is from a discussion with a heterosexually-married straight white Catholic couple – both Republicans – who argue that talking about the Trump supporters hating people is unfair, and stereotyping, and hate speech directed at straight white men.

He and his wife are both very Catholic – and very conservatively Catholic – which will explain some of the below, which otherwise might appear irrelevant.

The Republican party does hate LGBT people. Democrats used to, though less – that changed slowly over the 1980s and 90s.

Right now, the Republican VP elect and the man most in charge of domestic policy in Mr. Trump’s transition team both also hate LGBT people, and are part of a movement that hate LGBT people, and one is an executive director of an organisation that officially hates LGBT people.

Mike Pence opposes Anna and my marriage. Mike Pence backed a constitutional amendment banning it. Mike Pence thinks I should be banned from certain jobs, such as the military. Mike Pence supports civil rights law, except for queers, where he opposes it. Mike Pence supports hate crimes law, except for queers, where he opposes it. (This is not a commentary on the validity of support for those laws, but it is a commentary on the exceptions he makes.)

Mike Pence thinks me and Anna being married will destroy society.

Mike Pence supports “conversion therapy,” and advocates Federal funding for it. I’ve talked to people who have been through “conversion therapy,” involuntarily, sent there by their parents. It is a fraud, a quackery, and ranges between ludicrous bullshit and literally torture – look up electroshock aversion therapy sometime, if you want a sample.

I know people subjected to this. It is real.

Mr. Pence thinks it’s okay to torture people like me into not being queer, and thinks the Federal government should fund it.

I don’t know Mr. Pence’s position on Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which overturned state laws making me illegal for existing, but the movement he’s proudly a part of supported those laws, fiercely, with newtype blood libel, massive lobbying efforts, and public initiatives to make me various degrees of illegal. I worked eight of those, including ground work, going door-to-door arguing why people shouldn’t vote to do things like ban me from many kinds of employment and have public schools teach that I was, oh, what was the phrase, it showed up in three initiatives – “illegal, immoral, perverse, and wrong,” I think it was. I don’t know that Mr. Pence supported that – but the fundamentalist evangelical political movement he is a part of absolutely did.

And that’s the vice-president-elect you voted for.

And Mr. Blackwell, who the Wall Street Journal and other media have reported is in charge of the domestic policy group inside Mr. Trump’s transition team is worse. I do know that the Family Research Council supported all these initiatives, because I was there, fighting them. As well as fighting their state-level mirror and proxy groups.

Mr. Trump chose both of these people to make domestic policy, and said all the way back in January that he would be onboard with overturning Obergefell v. Hodges, which triggered Federal recognition of my marriage.

That’s the president-elect you voted for.

If this was Northern Ireland, and I supported, argued, and voted for a rabidly anti-Catholic party, one that argued that the government should fund torturing Catholics into converting to Protestantism, would you argue that I didn’t hate Catholics?

If this was Northern Ireland, and I supported, argued, and voted for a rabidly anti-Catholic party, one that argued that the government should fund torturing Catholics into converting to Protestantism, but I said it wasn’t for that, it was for other policies they supported, and said I didn’t actually have anything against Catholics but was voting for this party anyway, would you believe that? Even if you did, would that make it okay?

Would my callous disregard for your rights and safety be cool with you after they won and started setting up a transition team stacked with believers in the anti-Catholic parts of the platform? After allied parties started outlining the steps of their plans to implement the first parts of this?

If you complained about all of these actions, and talked about your fear now that plans are being moved into place, and I said, “Why are you being so horrible to me, talking about all this? Why are you so awful, calling me such a hater? You’re stereotyping me! And hating me!” – how would you react to that?

Be honest. And show your work.

And that’s only the one axis. I’m not even going to talk in depth about the racism and demagoguery, though really, I should, because Mr. Trump’s alt-right base is overtly and proudly racist, proudly misogynistic, proudly anti-Semitic.

And it’s not just one-way support from that alt-right, either. Mr. Trump and his team retweeted their memes. Mr. Trump and his team appointed a self-declared alt-righter to run his campaign, one who made Breitbart into another home for them on the web. That alt-righter – Mr. Bannon – is now on the executive committee of the transition team. Mr. Trump brought them into the tent.

His campaign has made white supremacy campaignable again. I’m not including you on that, but when I see those targeted groups’ fears? I get it. They’re not making this shit up either.

It’s not that you’re a straight white guy. It’s that you’re a straight white guy who voted for this, and now are mad that we’re upset at the result. (Because it deeply and personally attacks core components of our lives. We have cause.) And here you are, trying to make it about all about your hurt feelings, and complaining about you feeling hated for your vote, when we’re trying to figure out whether those of us who can do it need to flee the country for our own safety.

I like you both. I didn’t know you that long when you were here, but I like you. But when the stakes are this high, well, you vote for part of it, you’re voting for all of it.

And you did.
Additional commentary on what they called my “ideological superweapon” is further down the blog page.

about those calls for unity

Anna and I have been in arguments with Y U MAD SIS Trump voters about why we’re, shall we say, unhappy with the election results. Here’s a good post from her about that:

So about that call for unity, then
angelahighland.com – November 12th, 2016

it didn’t take long

It didn’t take long to put the lie to Mr. Trump’s pleasant victory speech.

The head of Mr. Trump’s domestic-policy transition team is a guy named Ken Blackwell. You’ve heard of him as a GOP officeholder in Ohio, but he’s also with the Family Research Council, an all-out no-holds-barred hate group aimed at LGBT people.

I’ve written a lot about the HRC in the past, on my personal journal, and for mailing lists; Mr. Blackwell personally believes my partner Anna and I are sins against God’s law, that we are worse than “barnyard animals,” and so on. Like Mr. Pence, very much into the whole “torture us into conversion” scene.

The FRC as an organisation supported outlawing us directly, too. And it has a long history of serving as a generator of newtype blood libel screeds asserting… well, anything they can come up with that makes LGBT people look like monsters and demons. They made it their job.

And now, they’re preparing a list of executive orders for Mr. Trump to execute in his first hundred days. A lot of them were items they put in the Republican platform. They include removing as many protections for LGBT people as they can, and bonus points like allowing health care providers to refuse care to queers. Since they’re inside his transition team, they’ll get those executive orders.

At the same time, an allied group, the so-called “National Organisation for Marriage,” looks forward to working with the Trump administration. They’re the biggest, most focused anti-marriage-equality organisation, and were almost dead before now. They plan to work with Mr. Trump to pick “justices [who] will inevitably reverse the anti-constitutional ruling of the Supreme Court imposing same-sex ‘marriage’ on the nation in the Obergefell decision.”

They’re two justices away from that; they’re three away from going after Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which struck down state laws making me illegal. One justice is effectively already in the pocket, thanks to the GOP deciding that they’d only confirm justices within their own party, so really, it’s one away and two away, respectively. And if for some reason you’re not clear on it, Mr. Trump is onboard with this.

NOM call all this “The Plan.” I think it’s kind of hilarious that they’re going with the Cylon motif for a step-by-step route to extermination. But, well, on top of everything else, the Cylons were radical Abrahamic monotheists, so it fits.

Basically, big swaths of domestic policy are being farmed out to the fundamentalist evangelical movement. And that movement quite explicitly wants to wipe me off the face of the planet.

Mr. Trump’s alt-right base is thrilled with all of this, of course. And why wouldn’t they be? After all, they’ve got one of their own leading the transition team, and the author of Arizona’s infamous “Papers Please” law also onboard. And there ain’t no party like an alt-right party ’cause the party don’t stop until they’ve killed everyone. Right now, they’re working on a campaign to terrify and intimidate vulnerable people – mostly women – in the hopes of driving them to suicide. (Pretty much assume every kind of cw on those links, by the way. It’s bad.)

I wasn’t joking, or exaggerating, when I said they’ve declared war upon us.

So. What do we do?

First, survive. Here is a planning document for various targeted groups, in English and Spanish, to try to help people survive the next few years. It’s a work in progress, being updated regularly. I am not the author. There are various things you can do for yourselves that they can’t undo, as long as there is any shred of law left hanging.

But watch for those shreds being stripped away – that’s when things will get extra dangerous. The GOP already spent the last few months ignoring court orders to stop voter suppression in four states; things like that will only get worse for the next couple of years, because like most authoritarians, Mr. Trump is a big believer in personal rule, as opposed to institutional rule, and doesn’t have the slightest fuck to give about law.

Fortunately – and this is the closest to a ray of light I can throw in here – that tendency can be played. Personal rule is all about personal alliances, and Mr. Trump is already keeping enemy lists for the explicit purpose of revenge. Remember that, and keep track of it, because that will be exploitable.

If Mr. Trump makes enough Republican enemies in the Senate – and if the Democratic Party can be convinced, somehow, to stand up against this crap – we’ll be able to limit the damage. And he’s real good at making enemies.

eta: Wow, a transition-team shakeup already? What a clown car. Here’s what NPR is reporting as the new roster as far as we know it. VP-elect Mike Pence (who also professionally and religiously hates LGBT people) is now leading the team entirely (Alt-right -1, fundamentalist right +1), Mr. Bannon has been demoted but only one level, to the executive committee. (Alt-right: no change.) Mr. Thiel of PayPal – who famously wrote that elections are incompatible with “freedom” – is added at the executive team level. (Authoritarian-right +1, I guess?) I’m not seeing Mr. Blackwell anymore but we don’t have a complete roster, maybe he’s just shuffled around in there. I don’t even know. (Possible fundamentalist right, -1.) Ben Carson was also added to the exec team (fundamentalist right, +1, but as they go, not as professionally hateful towards LGBT people as Blackwell.)

eta2: Here’s the complete announcement about the shakeup. I have sent email to the official contact address inquiring about Ken Blackwell. More if and when I have it.

things that i am not

things i was not, already:

  • a believer that eventually, americans will do the right thing

things i am varying degrees of likely not to be, in two to four years:

  • legally married under American Federal law
  • legal as a person in all American states

things i will almost certainly never get to do now:

  • face an election which is not existential

things i cannot fucking believe, even given all of the above:

  • That the Americans handed the fucking nuclear codes to a violent, racist misogynist with no fucking impulse control whatsoever and a history of talking about using nukes in the middle east.

Watch out for your friends. People of colour, queers, women just in general – post-Brexit, there was a bunch of violence in Britain against the hate targets, and this was very, very much a hate campaign, and it won. Harassment, pretty reprisals, and imtimidation will be endemic.

It was neat watching Mr. Trump read his victory speech off teleprompters, so carefully. If he hadn’t been spewing a constant stream of lies the whole campaign, if I had any reason whatever to believe a single word of it, I’d even think it was nice.

But in this world, if you’re not a straight white man, you’re a target. Wonder Woman the fuck up, because that’s how it’s gonna be; this was a declaration of war.

I popped in on 4chan a few times last night, watching /pol/, and of course they’re ecstatic – and one thing that struck me was yeah, they hate blacks and Jews and anybody else not white enough for them to varying degrees, but even in victory, they really, and I mean really, hate women.

And at the Trump rally last night, what was it, still, in the audience? “Lock her up!” over and over again.

Reprisals against women, large and small – that’s what they’re looking forward to the most. Ending feminists. Ending the “cucks.”

So guess what, kids. We’re all supervillains now.
eta: Anna has a post up, here.

i was going to write another election post, and then i did

I was going to write another election post, one that involved phrases to Trump voters like, “be a rationalist for one minute longer, voter, what is your analysis?” – but I just couldn’t.

But I still want to reach out to those mostly straight white guys who don’t understand why queers, people of colour – hell, women in general – are in such fear this election, when they aren’t. And it’s actually pretty simple.

It’s because there are pretty much zero straight white guys for whom this election is existential. That’s the difference, right there. Polling data relayed by fivethirtyeight.com indicates that, for heterosexual white men, as a demographic group, this is being seen as a fairly normal election – one with extreme rhetoric and a particular contempt for the Democratic Party’s candidate, but “normal.”

But there are lots of people, including me, for whom Mr. Trump’s stated plans are specifically existential matters. See Mr. Trump’s friendliness with white supremacists combined with the GOP’s plainly racist vote suppression efforts, and Mr. Trump’s history of legally actionable racism. See Mr. Trump’s pledges to jail Ms. Clinton if he’s elected. See Mr. Trump’s pledge to appoint justices only if approved by an organisation which thinks states should be able to make me illegal by fiat. See Mr. Trump’s well-known and continuing contempt for women – and as a blinding nexus of misogyny and racism, can you imagine what the reaction would’ve been to Mr. Obama had he sired five children by three wives, talked about how sexy is daughter was, and bragged about grabbing women’s pussies? Ye gods.

Now, I’m kind of used to every election being existential for me. But one of the things Mr. Trump has done has expand that sphere of targeted groups, and that’s a huge shift. By making the white supremacist and virulently misogynist ~~alt-right~~ a political factor, by making all that awfulness campaignable, he’s extended varying degrees of that horrible state out to pretty much everybody not a straight white guy.

(That speech about the secret cabal of international bankers controlling the world a couple of months ago, that really brought out the anti-Semites. He hit every keyword and phrase short of “dirty Jew” in that one.)

So now everything’s existential all the time, and every election is life or death, is citizen or not, is everything-short-of-bombings political war. And republics do not work when elections become existential.

Oh, they can tolerate it for small enough minorities, as the experience of queers over the last couple of decades shows – but not for large percentages of the population. And thanks to Mr. Trump and his courting of the “alt-right” – and the Republican Party’s general abandonment of the idea of a “loyal opposition” – that’s the path we’re on right now.

So maybe this does come back around to my original theme after all. Where are we? Not just you, whoever is reading this, particularly straight white guys for whom the existential nature of this clusterfuck has not yet come to apply – where are we all?

Look at what’s happened over these last many months. Look at where we are now. A victory by Mr. Trump makes this election – this lunacy – the new normal.

Be a rationalist for one minute longer, would-be Trump voter, and tell me – what is your analysis?

Return top

The Music