Tina K. Russell

May 20, 2009

Screw You, GQ

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 9:35 am

AND HE SHALL BE JUDGED: GQ Features on men.style.com

Bloody hell.

So, GQ magazine (yes, that GQ) decides to go all highbrow and run a thrilling exposé on Donald Rumsfeld being an even bigger jerk—and even more incompetent—than we ever knew, which, given what he knew before, is really saying something. I saw the coverage on The Rachel Maddow Show, and it did look very interesting. And, guess what.

You might be aware that I have ADD. You might not be aware that I, uh, swing both ways. Perhaps I shouldn’t call myself out on that, here; I imagine that any straight woman can appreciate a beautiful woman, just as any straight man can and won’t admit to appreciating a beautiful man. But, yes, Tina Russell is bisexual, though this does not need to come up often in my blog topics.

And so, the sadistic fools at GQ decided to design their brilliant exposé to be the sort of thing that would interest and anger me; a veritable Tina trap, geared to be the most painful to my personal psyche. Here we go:

The text is tiny. I mean, really tiny. You can make it bigger, of course, but that’s beside the point.

The article is on ten pages. I loathe multi-page articles; you might notice that I link to the full-page versions of articles whenever I can. Reaching the end of each page, each click, each wait, each load, is a new opportunity to forget whatever it was I was doing, or, more accurately, to lose the wonderful sense of being lost in my reading. These page breaks are heinous crimes against those with ADD.

And, just to rub salt in the wound, there isn’t even much on each page; I guess they wanted it to be “more like reading the magazine,” that is, if the magazine required you to point at a small link, wait ten seconds, and watch your field of vision redraw itself each time you wanted to turn the page. (Though, this is GQ. If I were reading the magazine, I’d probably have to flip through pages of cologne ads, quizzes, and bulleted lists of things “she” won’t tell you she loves in bed, because you’re too shallow to ask her and you’ve decided that buying this magazine is an appropriate substitute for communication in your relationship. Moving on…)

Each page has a promo for GQ in the upper-right corner. Specifically, it’s the GQ cover with Jennifer Aniston naked.

How in the Lord’s name am I supposed to read an article that’s a) on ten, separate, short pages, b) in bizarre, tiny text, and c) when Jennifer Aniston is naked in the upper-right corner?! They want to be reading about Donald Rumsfeld this way? Are they nuts?

And this is an important piece! This is a vital journalistic service! In fact, this may be the first vital journalistic service to be completely undone by a nude Jennifer Aniston. And to that I say, shame!

(I should mention that, as a transsexual woman who likes other women—it actually seems to be rather common, as gender identity and sexual orientation are seperate phenomena, and transsexuals have the privilege of seeing under the table of gender and perceiving what a charade it all is anyway—naked Jennifer Aniston does two things to me. One, she is beautiful, so I drool. Two, she is out there, with the body I would want, using the body I would want, using it to make people happy. I imagine this feeling of conflict is common to all women who have a thing for our fairer sex, however… when you’re transsexual, it’s the source of the deepest sort of existential angst, the kind that keeps you awake at night and can break your spirit at its core. I might talk about it sometime… if I feel like it.)

I suppose GQ wants to be more like Vanity Fair these days: ten percent fairly good journalism, and ninety percent utter vanity. Well, good luck. Perhaps, not long from now, people will say they read GQ just for the brilliant exposés. And, of course, they won’t, they can’t, because they’re too distracted by the exposure.

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February 14, 2009

The Smut-Hawley (UPDATED)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 12:09 pm

Washington porn tax would fund social program – OregonLive.com
OLYMPIA — State Rep. Mark Miloscia of Federal Way has proposed a 19 percent tax on pornography.

He wants the revenue to save a program that provides money to people unable to work because of physical or mental disabilities.

The General Assistance-Unemployable program would be cut in the budget proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

The legislation would tax adult magazines and video, telephone services and paraphernalia.

The tax would need a supermajority vote of the Legislature or approval by voters. Miloscia told The Spokesman-Review he’s confident his proposal would pass if it went to a statewide vote.

I think this is a terrible idea for 3 reasons:

  1. You’re taxing a specific kind of speech. Why not single out action movies or picture books for a tax? It’s not even the medium that defines what is being taxed in this proposal, just the content.
  2. A program that depends on revenue from porn taxes is a program that depends on the flourishing of the porn industry, not exactly I goal I think lawmakers in Washington State have in mind. Here in Oregon, a distressing amount of our money comes from the lottery and from video poker machines, and as a result, the government rolls over instantly whenever the gambling industry asks us for anything.
  3. It creates an inappropriate stigma. Gasoline taxes are often used for road repair because the costs and benefits stay within the same group (people who use roads). What is the connection between porn and the difficulty of people with disabilities to find employment? As someone with a learning disability, I benefit from school and government considerations all the time; society as a whole benefits when all are able to succeed regardless of circumstance, so I’m not sure why consumers of pornography should be singled out to pay.

In short, I see no reason why we should tax porn-consuming Peter to pay disabled Paul; it’s mean-spirited, it’s opportunistic, and it’s offensive. I support these kinds of government programs and wish the taxes would be spread among those who benefit (everyone), rather than targeting a specific group for no reason.

Update: It died. One reason cited is that a fellow state senator “foresaw problems with a bill that would put a different sales tax on goods based on content.” I believe the legislative term for this is “no sheezy.”

October 22, 2008

Learning

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Tina Russell @ 12:41 pm

Reaching an Autistic Teenager – NYTimes.com

Mmm, this article gives me the fuzzy lump in mah heart. I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I have Attention Deficit Disorder. (The jokes, by the way, aren’t funny. Okay, except for this one.) It’s not pleasant. I also just never fit in as a kid… or, well, ever.

I don’t like having ADD and being transsexual, but hey, it’s my lot in life. I’m also a middle-class, white American attending college, so I get a lot of privileges in my life that I’m very grateful for.

Anyway, this article (a feature for The New York Times Magazine, which I am a slut for) talks about a new school for teenagers with autism and related disorders, and it makes me a bit misty and wistful. They teach that you should follow the child, not vice versa, and see where they go. Build on what they say and do. Then, along the way, they’ll learn the skills that anyone needs for life. (It’s more complicated than that, but I’m paraphrasing.) Essentially, time wasted trying to get them to act “normal,” however valiant and understandable an effort, could be spent exploring and learning about their worlds, giving you an opening to teach just about anything… at their pace.

I’m skeptical in general about fads in alternative education because I’ve been to so many alternative schools in my life. (I often say I’ll write a book about it; any takers?) Often, the theory has been that if you simply surround the child with learning stuff, they will take it all in by osmosis. I find this abhorrent! I’m a gamer. I need goals, I need obstacles, I need positive and negative reinforcement. But yes, I need to learn at my own pace; I’ll forever be glad that in seventh grade, I studied exponents, the Middle Ages, and the Russian Revolution. (The last was an independent project; teachers suggested I’d like the Russian Revolution because I like political upheaval. They suggested either that or the Cuban Revolution, which is funny because my dad is a Russia expert and my mom is a Cuba expert.) I studied censorship and read Huckleberry Finn. I presented the case for and against Kevin Mitnick, whom the government was then trying to ruin publicly for the electronic equivalent of trespassing (and is now, as could have been predicted, a reformed, well-paid computer security consultant). That school was awful—as a gifted middle school, it was an Ivy League version of Lord of the Flies—but I’ll remember well the things I learned, and the lessons reinforced by teachers who were not going to stand by and simply hope I’ll take it all in. (Again, another post.)

So, I read about this school for teens with autism and other learning disabilities and think wistfully about what it would be like to be in a school where you could choose your own direction. I’m not, to any degree, an “unschooler”; left to my own devices, I regrettably waste away due to a lack of motivation (or rather, a strong motivation and lack of drive, a pitiable state that nonetheless one can grow during). But, given a strong and well-designed system of incentives and disincentives, I like to fantasize about what it would be like to have a school I could design around me, rather than have a school attempt the other way around.

I’d probably do art all day. Art, art, art! I’d have naked people of all shapes and sizes trapse into my studio and I’d practice, practice, practice until I have about a million styles down pat. At the end of the day, I’d read things like economics like economics and history, that I’m also interested in, as well as the news, and practice my math on a computer program of my own conception. (I say this often: give me a grant and a year, and I’ll come up with a much better way of teaching mathematics.)

That’s wonderful to think about. It’s too bad it’s all a fantasy.

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