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Jan 9, 2014 ankylosaur commented on Savage Love.
@125, thanks, but I just happened to be here by accident and couldn't resist posting an opinion. I don't intend to hang around. People here continue to talk about interesting topics, no doubt; and Dan's wit is as sharp as I remember. Take care.

Jan 9, 2014 ankylosaur commented on Savage Love.
Et nunc, utinam patientia sileam, quum aliorum melius sit.
Jan 9, 2014 ankylosaur commented on Savage Love.
@Ven, I tend to agree with nocutename that the Oppressed vs. Oppressor dichotomy is an oversimplification that often confuses the issue (by, for instance, obscuring the individual, this-person-vs.-that-person aspect of it, among other things). Oppression (as we now call what used to be termed "prejudice" or "social inequality") is a much more complex phenomenon than that, and one that often results from something akin to Adam Smith's invisible hand rather than from the intentions and desires of various human groups.

Just to mention one example... I know you don't like science fiction, but you may have heard of Samuel Delany, who is a literature specialist in his own right. In one of his stories (in his famous "Tales of Nevèrÿon" series, which I highly recommend to those interested in theoretical questions concerning language, symbols, literature, and gender), he describes how a primitive matriarchal society, where men were "oppressed" (had less prestige and control over their own lives, though they themselves would hardly think of themselves as oppressed) slowly changed into a patriarchal society, where women were "oppressed" (had less prestige and control over their own lives -- and they did feel oppressed, because they were more aware of what had changed) by virtue of a process that had nothing to do with gender, and without anyone ever wanting to change anything: the natives came into contact with money, and gradually switched from an exchange-based economy to a money-based one. The effect this had on gender relation was the result of the novelty -- money -- interacting with certain features of that society that were only indirectly related to gender. After reading the story, one is moved to reflect on who or what exactly is to be "blamed" (if there is any blame?) for the shift that happened in that society.

Because, ultimately, the problems in the oppressor-oppressed nomenclature is how easily it suggests who is to be blamed -- and how misleading this facile interpretation is, both historically and with respect to how to choose the means to change the situation into a less unfair one.
Jan 9, 2014 ankylosaur commented on Savage Love.
Both CIS and his friend are human. And we are dealing here with the eternal problem of humans who may or may not react correctly (according to some code of conduct) under certain circumstances. And all the disagreement above basically centers around the question of whether or not CIS' friend's reaction can be excused given the pressure s/he lives under, or not.

My point is that, in the end, this is difficult to ascertain. I would be loathe to make a decision without hearing CIS' friend first. What caused this reaction? Just that one word? Its adjectival use? (Nouns and adjectives can often shift places in English, by the way; the grammatical explanations are incorrect. And -ed as an adjective can be an attribution marker rather than a process; cf. "the moneyed elite", in which nothing "moneyed" the elite, they just have money... I think these claims are trying to "explain" something which ultimately boils down to how CIS' friend [i]interpreted[i] CIS' choice of words. As always, it's not in the words, it's in the people who use them -- and in the people who interpret their use...)

So, what did CIS think he was saying, and what did CIS' friend think CIS was saying? Clearly they differ. The humane thing to do would be for both of them to seek common understanding of each other's good intentions, and acceptance of their flaws. It is also quite possible that CIS's friend lashed out unjustly (though, I repeat, I would still like to hear his/her take on that). It is also quite possible that CIS wrote something that he shouldn't have -- given the pressures and situations that his friend (not simply "all transgender people, but [i]this particular person[i], who has a personal life experience with specificities not shared by all others) has had to put up with." Regardless of both possibilities, I hope they can grow beyond this incident and resume their friendship.
Jun 2, 2013 ankylosaur commented on Savage Love.
I am glad to see you guys are still discussing intelligently the case studies that Dan Savage proposes in his column (now that he appparently has completely transitioned to a defender of a system of ethics for relationships, which he can apply to specific cases so as to attempt to bring clarity to the minds of those who seek his help). I hope you will continue to do so, and that you will feel enlightened and more able to understand others and their dilemmas -- which probably is the (best) reason why people ever started reading advice columns.

I do not think I will be returning here, for obvious reasons, as you probably had already guessed. I made a couple of attempts, and it did not really work. The words never ceased to be just words. So I will make it official now, while also wishing you all the best.

Ankylosaur (actually, Sérgio) out.
Dec 10, 2012 ankylosaur commented on The Wheels On the Bus Go Round and Round.
@42, I tend to agree with you. For what it's worth, here's my $.02 (worth $.02, I guess):

People think "sexual orientation" = "nature", "what I 'really' am", and "sexual identification" = "culture", "what I have become (in my society, through my choices)". Given that, in our culture (!), nature is better than culture, it follows that sexual orientation is better -- more ''legitimate'', ''deeper'', more ''who you are'' -- than "sexual identification" (never mind the word "identity" and its origin)...

Which is why people argue about that. To me, it's not really a question, but a claim about what makes people people, what makes them "who they are", plus a hidden claim about the nature vs. culture debate.

Some people feel a "choice" (for lack of a better word) as if it were their "nature" (culture -> nature; "I'm born gay/straight, there's nothing I can do about it"), whereas others don't ("I'm bi-curious, but it doesn't really do all that much for me", etc.). It may well be the case than in the gay-straight continuum the number of people with well-defined extreme preferences -- 100% gay or 100% straight -- are more numerous than along other continua (say, BDSM vs. non-BDSM, monogamous vs. polyamorous, etc.). So maybe there are more people who feel that they don't have a choice about being gay or straight than there are people who feel they don't have a choice about being BDSM or polyamorous -- and this would be in itself an interesting fact -- but I think it's a difference of degree, not of kind.

To sum up: it's not as the first commenter above said: "it's either dick or vagina or both, only 3 possibilities". Er, no. There are more. There are different intensities and combinations, for starters.
Dec 10, 2012 ankylosaur commented on Savage Love.
@250(grizelda), hi! nice to see you here. Just back from the vet, where the cat (Main Coon, 3 1/2 months old, "official" name Cleopatra, "real" name kitty-kitty) got her second vaccination shots. The vet says we should de-worm her again (in case this is how you say it in English) just to be on the safe side. If my wife agrees, then perhaps we'll be doing that.

Cheers, merry Mayan end of the world to everybody, and a meow to the happy few! :-)
Dec 10, 2012 ankylosaur commented on Savage Love.
@245(kserasera), thanks for your kind words. (And sorry for the grammar mistake in the sentence you quoted from my post...)

And yet I am fascinated by others, and the ways in which they differ from me. I suppose there is a balance to be found between accepting yourself and being welcoming to others (and their quirks), and finding it -- so that you're not unfair, neither to yourself nor to others -- is one of life's many growth routes leading to enlightenment (if that's the word you like for the kind of thing this leads us to).

Happy holidays to all here. All in all, you're an interesting bunch.

And now it's time to take the cat to the vet.
Dec 10, 2012 ankylosaur commented on Savage Love.
@221(mydriasis), I tend to agree on the topic of children's false self-esteem (though I would be less quick on the "wouldn't kill themselves when bullied" -- it's true, but it seems to imply a certain blame-the-victim attitude that I'm sure you didn't want to imply).

From what I can see, the problem is a lot of child-raising these days is based on some sort of feeling of guilt, with tenous but threatening "future consequences" in terms of likeability, group acceptability etc. if you don't do what is expected. Without other things ("values", "right and wrong", etc.) to get support from when one happens to be different from the others, these vague threats become too overwhelmingly important --hence the children cutting themselves because of an A-. Or getting the exaggerated but superficial self-esteem of little brats who think the world revolves around them -- but will collapse at any sight of this not being the case. (South Park's Cartman comes to mind.)

To love yourself, you should to enjoy spending time with yourself--no matter who, or in what situation, you are.
Dec 10, 2012 ankylosaur commented on Savage Love.
@231 -- it's not a sign of weakness per se, just like believing in Santa Claus is not a sign of weakness. It's just incorrect. That's a different thing.

I understand you don't like people trying to discuss happiness, what it means, and how to achieve it. So be it. But rest assured that your god, if he existed, would disagree with you. The Jesus you like so much would disagree with you. He was, you know, the welcoming type -- going around with prostitutes and stuff -- and always thought that people and their souls mattered more than mere sexual questions.

If the gates of paradise are closed to those who can't have sex the way you want them to, are they really the gates of paradise -- or are they the gates of another place?...