The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Archive for the ‘Free choice’ Category

Finally, it’s starting to look more and more like the 21st century in the Sunshine State

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I hadn’t planned a TDoT post for today, but it would be remiss of me to not congratulate the Queensland Parliament for passing the bill that will allow same-sex civil unions to be recognised in the Sunshine State. It’s finally a step in the right direction, but between the amount of media coverage that the decision is receiving and some of the comments that it has provoked, I have to ask the question about where we really are with equality, tolerance and genuine open-mindedness. In my current sleep-deprived, emotionally drained condition, the most succinct way I can phrase it is this: why does there have to be so much speculation and debate about whether people deserve to be treated equally in the first place?

Isn’t this the 21st century? The question about same-sex unions shouldn’t even be an issue: it should be a basic right as human beings.

There won’t be any new TDoT posts until early next week, as I’m heading away at the weekend for my 31st birthday. Yes, I’m getting old.

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Strippers, beer and Germaine Greer: why the sex industry gets a bad wrap

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Okay, I’ve finally decided to act upon the numerous emails, texts and comments from my readers, asking why I haven’t written anything in the best part of three weeks. I’d like to say that it was because I had been lacking inspiration, or that no story had compelled me to put the virtual pen to paper, but that would be a load of shit. In a nutshell, the combination of my work schedule and the general debauchery that is my life has left little time to write. Strangely enough, it’s an indirect association to the latter that convinced me to start typing this morning.

I admit it: I am not adverse to strippers. And when an article comes through on my Facebook news feed that includes the words sex slave, feminist and respect in the blurb, it arouses my curiosity. If Germaine Greer’s name is also mentioned, the arousal disappears, but I can’t help but read on.

Vivica Delicious (yeah, I think it’s an awesome name too) has written a piece for The Punch this morning, exploring how females working in the sex industry are viewed and unfairly labelled by certain sections of society . She makes a very valid point, because it seems like a lot of the individuals who are running around with their label makers are doing so uneducated, with either a poorly preconceived idea of what the sex industry is all about, or a notion that all women should be in the kitchen baking pies, popping out children and being doted upon by their husbands. Now, if any of the stationery-wielding, old-school feminists are going to send me hate mail, please include a pie – I’m partial to both apricot and lemon meringue.

Vivica covered some sex industry assumptions and facts in her article, so I’m going to try and expand on two of them with my own input, based on personal experience. I’ve spent a bit of time in various clubs, dated a few strippers and have known people working in other parts of the sex industry, so I’m going to assume that my view will be as well-rounded and based on fact as any other.

Assumption: All women in the sex industry are uneducated, slutty, drug-affected sluts with no self respect.

My thoughts: Most of the women I’ve met who have worked as strippers were anything but uneducated. The majority of them were doing undergraduate study while dancing at night to cover their living expenses and university costs. A few were at postgraduate level, while one was in the final stages of her PhD. The common theme was that stripping was a great way to make money by working irregular hours that fit in with their study commitments.

On the point of losing your self respect by working in the sex industry, nothing could be further from the truth. From what I have observed, and from what I’ve been told, getting to the point where you are comfortable enough to parade around naked takes a hell of a lot of confidence and self respect, and a very unclouded understanding about yourself as a person.

Assumption: The adult entertainment industry breeds misogynists.

My thoughts: How does this argument even begin to make sense? By definition, a misogynist is one who, amongst other things, harbours a hatred or dislike of women. If I really hated women that much, I certainly wouldn’t go to see them somewhere that I had to pay ten dollars for a beer.

On first appearances, when you take a very half-hearted look at the sex industry, it can seem like nothing more than depravity, sexuality and people – mainly younger women – taking off their clothes for money, because they have no other option. Because they have hit rock bottom, and can only use their bodies to procure income. But the truth is, for the women who work within the industry in any capacity, they are there because they are exercising their free choice to do so. They aren’t all mentally unbalanced with father issues, riddled with STDs or trying to bankroll their meth addiction. They do it because they enjoy it, generally get paid very well and, from what I have been told numerous times, find it incredibly liberating and empowering. The real issue is one that usually gets lost in the bigger picture, and that is the question of why it is anyone else’s business what someone does or doesn’t do with their lives. Unfortunately, as we apparently “progress” as a society, there seems to be less and less acceptance of free choice, and an increased propensity to condemn without understanding.

And so once again, I find myself signing off a post by asking why people can’t seem to mind their own business, focus on their own lives, and respect the choices of others.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

Written by disseminatedthought

September 15, 2011 at 15:01

To breed, or not to breed: that is the question

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It seems that in mid-2011, everyone takes it upon themselves to tell you what you should be doing. For whatever reason, some people have in their mind a path that you, as a contributing member of society, must follow in order to adhere to what is deemed the cultural norm. Should you decide to veer off the path of the apparent status quo, and then declare this intention to people, they will look at you like you’ve just shown them the video of your recent Alaskan seal clubbing holiday.

In the office today, we somehow got onto the topic of marriage, and as a natural progression, onto the subject of having children. When I casually informed my colleagues that I didn’t want children, I was met with a few mortified yet bewildered stares, as if some part of my ejaculation defied comprehension. That’s right, my ejaculation. While I realise that there are literally dozens of synonyms that I could have, and probably should have, used in place of it, I chose not to. See, it’s all about free choice as individual. Besides, I like the pun, and I’m sure at least one person at the news with nipples will find my reckless use one of H.G. Wells’ favourite words amusing. Once you have finished reading this, head across and check it out – it’s always a great read. Anyway, back to my ejaculating.

Once they got over the initial shock of my defiance, my co-workers interrogated me as to why I didn’t want children. In between questions, they peppered me with nuggets of wisdom like “everyone wants kids” and “once you find the girl, she’ll change your mind”. One even went as far to suggest that I needed to sow my seed and surround myself with progeny, ostensibly to fulfil some unwritten obligation to the universe. Why is it so much of a surprise to some people that not everyone wants to bring forth a legion of Mini-Mes? More importantly, why do they presume that what I do or don’t do with my swimmers is any of their fucking business?

Quintuple strollers: the stuff of nightmares for yours truly. Source: Stroller-Advisor.com

As far as I’m aware, I’ve got no medical issues that would prevent me from impregnating some poor woman with a bonsai version of your 6’5” scribe. I’d like to think that if I ever did decide to procreate, I’d at least have a basic understanding of what constituted good parenting. While I’d more than likely be sketchy on the specifics, I’d know that trying to sell my spawn for $2,000 came under the umbrella of “shit that makes one a poor parent”. Given that sale of parental rights is an existing felony charge in Florida, one has to assume that in order to necessitate such a charge, a lot of parents – and I use the word for want of a better description – missed the Parenting 101 class.

My point is this: just because I can reproduce doesn’t mean that I should automatically want to, nor be expected to. Hell, the woman in the story obviously had the physiological capacity to give birth, but she strikes me as someone who probably shouldn’t have done so. I’m not going to speculate on how or why she came to have children to sell, but she followed what many see as the path of social convention, and is now being ostracised and denounced by society, which includes those the people who have the “everyone should have kids” mentality.

People decide to have children for a myriad of reasons, but there are also just as many reasons behind the decisions of those who elect not to. As long as that individual is happy with their determination, and the decision is an informed one, based on their own personal circumstances, why is it anyone else’s business what they do? What’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander, so isn’t it better that a decision of that magnitude be made at an individual level, and not predicated purely by a physical capacity to do so, and the expectation that one will adhere to society’s “must-do” list?

Written by disseminatedthought

August 22, 2011 at 21:47

They say any sex is good sex, so why doesn’t it apply to marriage?

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There are several reasons that I’m pro-gay marriage. Most of the reasons are based on common sense, and the belief that the free choice and the option to make important life decisions shouldn’t be restricted by the fact that you are a boy who likes other boys, or a girl who likes girls. One of the other reasons is that this is the twenty-first century, and we tend not to burn people at the stake for appearing to be different anymore. If you believe what you read in the media, it would appear that I’m not alone, and that the public voice in support of marriage equality is gradually getting louder. One would hope that those whom we have elected to act on our behalf would genuinely hear this voice, but it seems that a lot of them only hear what they want to hear. Exhibit A in support of this argument is John Murphy, the Labor MP who doesn’t believe that there is a strong public backing for change, and whom suggested last week that ALP members who advocate same-sex marriage should “join the Greens”. Really, John? Perhaps you should take a look at the ALP’s values, which include fairness, as well as democracy and freedom.

Labor believes that all people are created equal in their entitlement to dignity and respect.

Labor values the freedom of all people to hold whatever beliefs they choose while respecting those of others, and the freedom to express those beliefs without fear or favour.

I’m lucky to be surrounded by a lot of amazing people in my life. Some of them are straight, and some of them aren’t. Some of them are married, and some of them are aren’t legally able to be. A few of my close friends are in long-term, committed same-sex relationships, but the option to take the next step in their commitment isn’t afforded to them. There’s every chance that they may not want to get married, but it’s a moot point – shouldn’t they have the right to choose for themselves? They work. They pay taxes. They contribute to society as much as anyone else, yet on the face of it, our elected law makers seem to believe that they shouldn’t have the same rights as other Australians bestowed upon them. When you remove all of the emotion and bullshit excuses from the equation, all the current laws do are prohibit people in same-sex couples an option that is unchallenged and freely available to heterosexual Australians.

Australia purports itself to be one of the most developed, culturally forward-thinking countries on the planet. If this is to truly be the case, we can’t continue to deprive individuals of the free choice to make the same life decisions as everyone else, based purely on that individual’s sexual orientation.

“Oh, thanks, you got me passive smoke. And I didn’t get you anything.”

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OK, it’s official. Smokers have taken a clear lead on my list of pet hates. Actually, let me clarify that. The majority of smokers have moved into the top position. Why is the clarification required? Because the minority, who have respect and do the right thing will not disagree with my thoughts. It’s those who typify the stereotypical smoker who will be whinging, bitching and sending death threats in response to the post.

I don’t smoke. Never have. I’m one of those boring people who have never even taken an experimental puff. It’s my choice not to, and I have no issue with those who wish to exercise their free choice in partaking of the habit. What I do have issue with is the smokers who believe it is their constitutional right to light up wherever the fuck they want, whenever they want, and thus remove the free choice of non-smokers not to be exposed to the myriad of toxic shit emanating from their cigarette. Also, there is the very small point about the actual smell of cigarette smoke.

According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 3.3 million people over 15-year-old were deemed current smokers. This data was taken from the 2007/08 National Health Survey, so for the sake of this argument we will assume that the figures are statistically accurate. There are now over 22 million people in Australia. So let’s say 15 percent of the population smoke. The majority (refer back to paragraph two) are therefore removing (albeit inadvertently) the free choice of nearly 19 million Australians each time they light up in public.

Do you know what the most common litter found anywhere is? Yeah. Cigarette butts. The same people who take it upon themselves to remove the free choice of most non-smoking Australians also seem to believe it’s their right to dispose of the evidence of their habit wherever they happen to take the last draw. Sometimes it’s in a bin. Rarely. Usually it’s on the ground or in a garden. More often than not it’s out the window of their car. That always puzzles me. They don’t want the dirty, odoriferous refuse in the vehicle with them, so they assume the rest of us will accept it with open arms and toss it out the fucking window. Thanks for that. I would have preferred a 30-year-old single malt, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

For those who are the subject of this rant, a few key topics: free choice, respect for others, personal responsibility and littering.

I’m not going to lecture about the sins of a vice or addiction. It’s not the point of this post, and I have as many vices as anyone. Besides, the people who this post is aimed at won’t care. It won’t make any difference to their attitude or behaviour. They are already drafting their poorly worded death threats with one hand while trying to fashion a rollie with the other.