Wednesday, March 30, 2011
So here is what I wrote on Margaret Cho's link to the contest. If she actually looks at her facebook page, I hope she considers my words:
Margaret, I love you, and I'm a big fan of yours. I'm also autistic, and I'm BEGGING YOU not to support Autism Speaks. They're hated and reviled in the autism community for using pity-baiting and not having any autistic representation on their board of directors or positions of power, which is radically outside of the norm of disability activism. Autism Speaks thoroughly defies the model of "Nothing about us without us."Here's to hoping, but I'm not that optimistic. That's my teaspoon for today. If I can get one celebrity to stop supporting the horribleness that is Autism Speaks, I'll upgrade myself from teaspoon to tablespoon for today. :-)
They're also just a crappy charity. They're not recommended by the Better Business Bureau, and only 7 cents of every dollar donated to them goes to helping autistic families.
Please, if you want to support an autism related charity, consider the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, The Easter Seals, or the Autism Society of America. NOT Autism Speaks. I'm autistic, and Autism Speaks doesn't speak for me.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
The thing is, while Canadians have a right to hold their own religious beliefs, the right doesn’t extend to allow people to use their religion to discriminate against others when operating a business or providing a public service. Saying your florist won’t provide flowers for gay weddings is the same as saying your coffee shop or restaurant or funeral home or bed and breakfast won’t serve members of a certain minority group.There we go. Bless my new home and not-so native land.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Well, now it is official: In two months time, I will be leaving the United States to go to school and live in Canada. I will be a student in the Asian & Pacific Studies program at the University of Victoria. I don't intend on ever returning to America, except to work for a year or more to work within the confines of the Student Loan Forgiveness Program.
I didn't anticipate that this would be happening so soon. I had originally planned to stay here until spring of 2012. But the political and financial circumstances here have forced me out of my country, essentially.
But I am glad. In the immortal words of Leonard Cohen, "I love the country, but I can't stand the scene." I have lived here all of my life, 21 years, a meagre amount in the grand scheme of things, but a lot has happened during that time. I feel that things have become truly unstable here for me in America, as a disabled person, as a woman, as a non-Christian, and as a queer person of Jewish ancestry.
I never before would have advocated flying away with my tail between my legs. I am by nature a fighter, and I would, if I could, be willing to buckle down and show the world that I still believe in fighting for what's right in my home country. But I also have to think about my own education and my own safety. I also have to consider in the long run how much good I can do in the world. I feel that I will have the greater power to fulfil my dreams and aspirations in Canada. I will have a social safety net to depend on, a culture which is not rapidly flushing in a downward spiral of willful ignorance and cruel disregard for the vulnerable, and my beautiful girlfriend to aid me all the while. It is in this environment that I can flourish and engage in my academic future and legal future.
My talents and ambitions were not considered worth funding in America. Montanan students were collectively thrown under the bus with the slashing to upper education funding. We were considered a liability by the Montana legislature, because we were educated, passionate, and willing to challenge the dominant paradigm. So, they can pat themselves on the back for forcing me to leave, but the joke is on them. My exile will strengthen my resolve to make this world a better place for all people. From Canada, I will become unstoppable in my resolve to bring about justice, freedom, equality, and safety for all, and these lessons won't stop at the border.
I believe in Canada. It's not a perfect country either, far from it. But I know it will give me a chance to find my way as an advocate of all I believe in, as a student, and as an aspiring lawyer.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
This surprised and saddened me, and I did a quick scan of my backpack and my memory to see what I was reading at the moment that was a translation, and what foreign-language to English books had proved popular in the last few months on NPR and literary-oriented blogs I keep up with.
From my backpack, there's a translation of the Bhagavad Gita (Original language: Sanskrit) An omnibus of the plays of Ivan Turgenev (Original language: Russian) and three books, namely, Bosnian Chronicles, The Vizier's Elephant, and The Bridge on the Drina, by Ivo Andric (Original language: Serbo-Croat) as well as two books written in English, one of which, The Ladies of Grace Adieu, sometimes employs anachronistic English, ranging from a Jane Austen styled "shew" instead of "show", to full on vernacular dialects of British English long forgotten or evolved.
From various book blogs and NPR, I've accumulated quite the heavy load of books translated from English. A series on Scandinavian literature that isn't crime or mystery-heavy as the Millennium Trilogy led me to We, The Drowned (Original language: Danish) Popular Music from Vittula (Original language: Swedish) and Quicksand (Original language: Danish) Reading a blog by a Hispanic Studies academic kindled my interest in Fuenteovejuna (Original language: Spanish) and of course, everyone in the literary world is abuzz waiting for the English translation of Haruki Murakami's newest novel (Original language: Japanese)
And yet this constitutes, apparently, very little of what gets published in America. I shudder to think about what the statistics are regarding English translation literature that is widely read in America. Though if you have a stat of it, please share.
I have a decided advantage over many people in the United States when it comes to reading books that come from non-English speaking places: My background in International studies and Asian studies means that I'm more comfortable navigating unfamiliar cultural norms and styles than others may be, and have to rely less on footnotes and special annotations to explain a particular action, phrase, or allusion. This speeds up the reading process for me, and when I do have to stop to look up something or clarify a particular unfamiliar moment, I'm not thrown off from the reading experience.
Several other advantages I have which probably contributes to me reading more translated literature than average is my bilingualism (I am also slowly hoping to obtain fluency in Russian, French, and Swedish) which, believe it or not, contributes more, not less, to me reading translated works. Sure, I love reading poems in the original Japanese. But I also love comparing translations and seeing which ones come out on top. It also allows me to be more discerning about which translations I pick for people who don't speak Japanese, and can usually recommend one based not only on quality, but on their personal preferences. It also helps that I have many friends from different countries who are eager to share the best of their country's literary output with me. That is how I picked up Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ (Original language: Greek) and as well as those Andric books listed above.