On One Hand

April 26, 2007

il.lit.er.ate Quizzes

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 3:03 pm
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WHAT IS YOUR IL.LIT.ER.A.CY RATE?

You scored as 79% il.lit.er.ate. You are quite il.lit.er.ate; you break the barriers between high and low art and know how to get involved. You let creativity expand boundaries and understand that it’s the stuff with lowly origins that becomes the next generation’s classics.

What's your il.lit.er.a.cy rate?
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WHAT KIND OF ILLITERATI ARE YOU?

You scored as MYSTIC. Your form of self-expression is personal and very deep, tied to feelings of love, spirituality, or peace with nature. You don’t show off most of what you create, but when you do bring it out, it’s powerful.

MYSTIC

90%

ESTABLISHED

90%

REVOLUTIONARY

65%

SOCIAL

60%

SPECTATOR

25%

What kind of ILLITERATI are you?
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As always, visit il.lit.er.ate Magazine .COM

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April 23, 2007

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April 22, 2007

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French Elections reach Second Round – Woman Holds Baguette

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 1:59 pm
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Sarkozy and Royal take first round

Conservative French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist candidate Segolene Royal will face each other head-on after the first round of the French presidential election selected them as the top two candidates. Bayrou, Le Penn and all other minor party candidates were eliminated by the first-round vote, as Sarkozy, winning about 30 percent of votes, and Royal, with about 24 percent of votes, scored the top two spots needed to continue to the final vote on May 6.

This is good news for Sarkozy, who almost always beats Royal by one or two percentage points in hypothetical face-off polls between the two leading candidates. If Centrist candidate Francois Bayrou had won the first round, Sarkozy would likely lose, since hypothetical face-off polls between Sarkozy and Bayrou showed the Centrist beating Sarkozy by a comfortable margin.

The French run-off process ensures a candidate must get more than 50 percent of the popular vote to win, but it also reveals another important fact about human politics: Centrism is a tough place to fight from in any political landscape. Liberals hoping to beat Sarkozy or Conservatives hoping to beat Royal could have rallied to compromise behind Bayrou, who would have won a sure second-round victory. Instead, Bayrou was eliminated in the first round to maintain a classic Liberal-Conservative clash on May 6. Political environments are often thought of in terms of bell curves, with most people standing firmly in the center, and increasingly fewer people in positions each step farther toward the Left or Right. But this election process shows the landscape to be more or less “flat,” with people spread evenly so that there are just as many voters on the extreme right and the extreme left as there are in the center. This might even indicate that the electorate is truly divided, with most citizens identifying with Liberals or Conservatives and very few voters in the center.

It might also show that ideology and policy are less important than personality in politics – which would ring true for American elections, but also show that the traits that voters prefer are as diverse as their political views. Royal was liked for her femininity, and, well, femaleness by some progressive voters. She is thought of as trendy and hip, yet welcoming and maternal. Sarkozy, meanwhile, is liked for his strength and articuclation, and right-wingers like his Franco-centrist ideas that are touchy toward immigrants and foreigners. Such conservatives are not turned off by his authoritarian tendencies the way liberals are.

Caricatures in action

CNN.com reported the French results and tied it to an interactive Gallery, which included the following picture and caption:

An unidentified French woman holding a baguette and a ballot prepares to vote in Saint-Cloud, outside Paris, on Sunday.

Source: The Associated Press/ CNN

What?! She brought a baguette to vote? It is as if she intended to say yes, I AM French to any American media present to take her picture. I can only assume the choice of this photo for the website over the dozens of alternates was some kind of inside joke among CNN’s web editors. Either that, or this starts a new worldwide trend, so that next Italians will be arriving at the polls carrying cans of tomato sauce and Americans will bring cases of Diet Coke.

Segolene Royal is now the first woman in French presidential history to make it to the second round. She’s made a name for herself in the books, even if she loses to Sarkozy on May 6. But Royal also has some chance at winning – albeit an improbability – since at least a third of French voters report in polls that they are still undecided between the two front runners. Sarkozy is thought to have an authoritarian bent, which makes French voters nervous. Royal is criticized as superficial and naive, but when the diluted media attention on each of more than a dozen candidates crystallizes around Royal and Sarkozy only, the two candidates have a chance to re-define themselves. If Sarkozy slips up – or Royal displays a stellar performance, we could see the polls begin to shift and Segolene Royal become the first woman president of France.

April 20, 2007

4:20

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 4:20 pm
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I was disappointed when my mom said she saw “tens of thousands” of people gathered in Civic Center Park in Denver on 4:20pm, April 20 this year. It was late that night when I spoke to her, and she said the video clip on the news showed that the “whole park was packed” with people. I knew that meant a lot of protesters in favor of reforming marijuana laws, since Civic Center Park is huge; I have been to festivals there that were said to have held upwards of 100,000 people.

I was disappointed with my mom’s story only because it suggested Denver’s celebration was bigger than Boulder’s – and therefore I missed out on a truly historical event. I was out on Boulder’s 4:20 field, in front of the library on the CU campus, and Boulder’s gathering was impressive in itself. But perhaps in light of Denver County’s recent decriminalization or marijuana as city ordinance, and the University of Colorado’s attempts to crack down on 4:20 smokers in the past few years, the epicenter of the celebration has shifted away from the university toward the state capital 20 miles away.

But no, according to all the local media, Denver’s apparent throngs of people were an illusion in the video my mother saw. The Rocky Mountain News reports that there were 100 police at Civic Center Park and almost as many arrests, and, as the same paper reports in another article, “over 700 people” at the rally.

Meanwhile, the News reports about 3,500 pot smokers on the Norlin Quad field in the center of the CU campus, says the News. A handful of police were there keeping an eye on the protest, but few tickets were issued. Several of the local businesses and restaurants adjacent to campus; like Dominos Pizza and Chiba Hut subs, sent vendors out to the field to sell food. There were whole pizzas, t-shirts and sandwiches, all sold for $4.20 apiece.

I was on the field at 4:20 distributing copies of the 4th issue of il.lit.er.ate Magazine. We got out about 250 copies and another 250 up on the Hill where the students meandered to buy food after smoking. I didn’t smoke anything myself, (I hardly ever do anymore), even on this smoker-friendly day. It’s just not my thing. I was more into the spectacle, which is the biggest protest I have ever seen on a CU campus.

Last year’s 4:20 was on Farrand Field, a field near the dorms where the celebration is traditionally held. The event was huge my freshman year – a special date, being 4.20.2004, but after that, CU’s reputation as a “party school” and subsequent media debacles with riots, drinking-related deaths, and ousted professor Ward Churchill left the university hoping to prevent 4:20 from being a chance for more public criticism. The next year’s 4:20 was rainy, and the field was closed down, so students gathered in the parking lot adjacent and rushed over the barricades at the last minute. Cops turned the field’s sprinkler system on, but there were so many bodies on the field that the water didn’t reach most of them. The next year, cops cracked down again, barricading the field and photographing people who went on to it anyway. Photos were posted Online, and anyone who identified one of the pot-smokers got a $50 reward while the identified person got a $100 ticket. The CU police department got its ass sued off after the ploy; apparently, while smoking pot is illegal, doing it in a specific place and time is protected speech and the smokers’ citations, which were issued for “trespassing,” were void.

This year all of Farrand Field is turned up under construction. It is unfathomable to me how it takes a full year to remodel a field, which consists of grass and dirt, but the university has had Farrand Field closed since August and it is currently walled off by 8-foot construction fences and enormous mountains of dirt and gravel.

Norlin Field was the alternative, and it seems to have been a good one: law enforcement officials resigned themselves to let the peacefully-indulgent protest happen. So 3,500 giggly and hug-happy stoned students proved that it isn’t that big of a deal.

April 19, 2007

The AOL Amoeba

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 9:59 pm

AOL is a virus. It’s an amoeba. It creeps into a computer as free software and eventually incorporates every useful thing into itself. If you don’t stop it, AOL will destroy you.

I installed AOL on this computer years ago, innocently, as my main Internet browser and email service. I was using dial-up at my parents’ house, on my way to live in the dorms where I would get a much better Internet connection. I was 18 years old. Over time, automatic updates offered new versions of AOL, each a little larger and fancier, with the likes of 5.0, 6.0beta, 6.0, 7.0, with increasing variance of decimal points, eventually up to version 9. I was pleasently surprised when the AOL service offered free spyware protection, a free virus scan, and free computer repair services.

That is, until AOL started presenting me with more offers and pop-ups than I ever could have gotten otherwise, and meanwhile my Windows Task Manager reported that about 40 percent of the programs I had running were AOL related – using over 100K in system resources – and that only includes what I could easily observe.

What was once an innocent program had become a monster. There was no stopping it. Even when I sad “no” to new AOL offers, they found themselves on my computer somehow.

Then the AOL software started loading automatically every time I turned on my computer. I found a way to shut that function off, and for a while it would remain off as long as I never used AOL. But every time I opened the AOL browser the function switched itself back on, to open in full-force with every re-start of the computer, regardless of whether I wanted it or not. The only way to prevent that from happening was to completely quit using the browser, resorting to Internet Explorer – sort of a demon in itself – to check AOL email.

Most programs come with uninstallers, and AOL is no exception, in theory – but AOL’s uninstaller removes 2 files, or about 1/1000 of the total mass of AOL programming on the computer. Meanwhile, opening the “Uninstall AOL” program secretly loads all the other AOL software, so if you check the “processes” section of the Task Manager, several AOL programs are running again. And when they’re running, they resist deletion – I think the program detects when you try to remove any AOL feature and has it automatically re-installed right away.

It’s like a conscious entity that resists its own destruction. Something resembling the computer with a young British girl’s voice in the movie Resident Evil or HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Or maybe like a virus that mutates and becomes stronger every time they think they have a cure, like that new strain of HIV on the news, recently discovered in Seattle, that is resistant to ever retroviral drug. When I started deleting AOL files, AOL programs that lurked in the corners of my computer would ensure their swift return. The “Add or Remove Programs” option in the Windows XP Control Panel now shows no AOL software left on the computer – I activated every “remove program” option the menu offered and quickly had the AOL components erased. But I know AOL is still there, because the program is still present on my Start Menu – and still loads when I select it. Meanwhile, good God – AOL has put itself back on the startup menu, to automatically open the program when the computer re-boots. When I look at the Windows Task manger, and view the processes running, “aolsoftware.exe” is there, using 6,000K of memory. When I manually shut the program down by clicking “end process,” it instantly reappears.

An “AOL system info” window that I’ve never seen before, which has spontanteously emerged on my screen in the midst of this, reports that I’ve loaded and connected with AOL a total of 888 times since it has been on this computer. That’s in 4 years that I’ve had this. Goodbye AOL, you were useful once, but no more, and at this point I’m doubting I’ll miss you.

My first shot at a solution? I downloaded a free program called “CCleaner” (which stands for “crap cleaner”) that allegedly removes nasty programs like AOL, according to some of the 1.5 million websites that open when I google search “uninstall AOL.” It’s a free program, and though anything like this is risky (it could turn out to say it removes junk but actually ads it, sort of like the way AOL works), I’m going to give it a shot. It actually has its own uninstaller, which means it’s willing to help you let it go.

Crap Cleaner also clears other junk that lingers on the comptuer – temporary Internet files, cookies, clipboard files and all the like. So far, this program, along with Spybot – probably the most useful computer program ever invented – seems to be a rarity in the electronic world where a program actually does what it says it will.

Crap Cleaner takes a long time to work. I don’t know why. When I set it to do scan through and delete a few simple files, it took about 10 minutes to run. I canceled before it had a chance to finish, and though it said it cleaned “332MB” of space, the only files it logged as deleting were the Temporary Internet Files. I’m not sure if it’s good or not. But it doesn’t seem to be hurting anything, so I’ll keep it for now.

But as for deleting AOL – no luck. Ccleaner only deletes programs already found on the “add or remove programs” file, a course I already tried to take. Going in manually – which is scary – was my ownly recourse.

There were five AOL related folders in “program files;” they were AOL, AOL 9.0, AOL 9.0a, AOL 9.0b, and a folder called “AOD” which clearly contained only AOL-related stuff. All of the folders successfully dumped to the recyle bin except for AOL 9.0, which, upon delete, said “access is denied.”

But at least the other folders were gone, resulting in a dump that took almost 30 seconds to clear from the recycle bin. The remaining 30MB folder seemed immune to delete, and even upon opening it up and gutting its contents one by one, several of the programs resisted with “access denied.” It was ultimately whittled to one folder called “cool” with several “hidden” files that would not allow themselves to be erased.

April 18, 2007

Press refers to Women Candidates by their First Names

In the United States, the contest for the Democratic nomination for the 2008 Presidential election is Obama vs. Hillary. That is, Barack Obama, the hopeful (male) upstart and national political novice from Illinois, against Hillary Clinton, the powerful and connected (female) wife of a former President. Meanwhile, the current Bush cabinet features the likes of Gonzales, Gates and Condoleeza.

Across the Atlantic, the catch phrase for the 2007 election is “Sego or Sarko;” referring to the female Socialist candidate, Segolene Royal, and the conservative male UMP candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy.

What unites the prominent female figures from both sides of the ocean – who couldn’t be more politically distinct? It’s that they’re all commonly referred to by their first names, while their male peers are known almost exclusively by last name only.

The reasons for this might be more complicated than it seems. The name “Clinton” is still thought of as refering to Hillary Clinton’s husband and former president Bill, who reached higher office than Hillary so has a more prominent position in the public consciousness. To refer to Hillary Clinton by her last name still might cause confusion, depending on the context. Condoleeza Rice, meanwhile, has an extremely unusual and fun-sounding first name, while her last name is comparatively normal and boring. Segolene Royal’s first name is used for the alliteration between it and the last name of her opponent, Nicolas Sarkozy, and European headline writers struggling to make catchy titles for boring political news will notice “Sego-Sarko” has a nice ring to it.

Also, the rarity of female high-office holders and the near ubiquity of male politicians ensures that each female candidate or legislator is the only one with that first name, while the male field is packed with names like “George” and “John” that make last-name references necessary.

But a feminist critique might also find that women are spoken of in personal and sheltered terms, while men are distanced respectfully under a last-name title. It’s rare, after all, to see a headline discussing the platform of “Barack” – though there are clearly no other “Baracks” in U.S. office. He’s always either “Obama” or “Barack Obama,” while his competing front-runner is “Hillary Clinton” or “Hillary.”

Will this prove to be an asset or a burden for female figures? Down-to-earth personality and humanness is thought of as an positive in politics, and by emphasizing such attributes through a more intimate reference, female candidates might be more endeared and harder to berate in attack ads. But it also sets them apart as women, and in a percieved “age of terror,” voters might want someone appearing strong, and, well, masculine. It’s no secret that femaleness has been a burden in winning elected office in the past (otherwise the “first female” of any public position wouldn’t be the huge deal that it is in the media), and anything that makes a candidate’s womanness more obvious could be an advantage to male opponents.

Gender as a Campaign Strategy?

One sharp difference between the American and French political races is that the French candidate is widely criticized for using her femaleness as a reason to vote for her. Royal frequently calls on “women voters” and has asked for votes for the purpose of breaking male-dominance of politics in the past. Whether or not this is a legitimate reason to vote for someone, the fact that Segolene Royal is a woman is already well-known and highly publicized in her country, and the consensus among political analysts is that such pleas are seriously damaging her popularity. Even Royal’s own Socialist party allies have expressed disappointment with the strategy of using gender as a campaigning tool.

Hillary Clinton has hinted at her femininity, but hasn’t made it such the deal Royal has – leaving such (obvious) observations for others to make. But even with the limited play Clinton has given her womanhood, American analysts have taken notice and advised caution against playing up the gender too much. Sexism is still a reality in American culture, and a female President would certainly help counter that. But many of those who intentionally try not to be sexist say that, though gender is no reason to vote against someone, it isn’t a reason to vote for someone, either. And those who will vote for a woman just because she’s a woman already know Hillary Clinton is female, whether or not she points it out. So far, Hillary Clinton hasn’t done that much. If Clinton wants to stand a chance at winning, she should keep it that way.

April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech’s Lessons on Violence

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 10:14 pm
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Aside from arguments that it’s “too soon” to discuss gun control laws in light of Virginia’s student massacre, I haven’t heard any good reason why there shouldn’t be a call for gun restrictions now that we know the killer used tools only made available after the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 expired in 2004.

Gun proponents across the country are literally up in arms (no pun intended) over the possibility that their guns could be confiscated, as they’re worried, politicians and firearm proponents explain, that personal firearms are necessary for self-defense.

I have no problem with households in rural areas keeping a rifle by the nightstand in case of an armed intruder. I don’t even have a problem with suburban families keeping pistols or even larger collections of guns for protection or novetly purposes. I can see a scenario where a person hears someone breaking in downstairs late at night, and since police are at least several minutes away in an unincorporated county, the gun is a useful a means of self-defense in the bedroom. I can see recreational shooting at firing ranges that involves single-shot pistols and hunting rifles that result in few accidents and a healthy exersising of individual freedom.

But the assault weapons ban only applies to “semi-automatic” weapons, which include grenade launchers, detachable magazines (for rapid re-loading), the ability to hold more than 9 rounds per clip, or a flash-suppressor, which makes the flash of light when a gun is fired at night invisible. The assault weapons ban made many other features illegal, and some of its aspects were superficial; there were restrictions on what kind of scope a gun could have, and for a gun to be considered an “assault weapon,” it needed to have at least 2 of the qualifying features, so any gun with just one of these capabilities was permitted.

The once-banned weapon feature used in the Virginia Tech massacre was a detachable magazine holding 15 rounds, which meant that the shooter only needed to spend a 1-2 seconds for infrequent reloads, and could meanwhile kill up to 15 people with each magazine. If the gun were limited to fewer rounds or required a complicated reloading process, the shooter could have been stopped while re-loading by anyone who dared to tackle him during that generous window.

There is no conceivable scenario in which a gun that fires more than 9 rounds per clip could be used in self-defense. One to three shots are enough to kill any intruder, and if there is a group of intruders who all have guns, there is no way the victim could shoot and kill all of them before being shot him or herself. These assault weapons are allowed on the market simply for the entertainment purposes of gun advocates who like to use them, and the sacrifice is the blood of innocent people and the threat of terrorism to all Americans.

There is also no conceivable scenario in which it is useful for a gun to be powerful enough to hit an airplane from the ground, or to shoot a person from miles away. In the age of terrorism, it seems that every person flying on an airplane or who is a public figure has the right to know these weapons aren’t available to any person as long as he doesn’t happen to have a criminal record. An intruder or threatening attacker would never be dangerous at such distances, so once again, there is no useful self-defence purpose for such weapons. Yet they are all currently legal in the United States.

Gun proponents say that if someone in one of the shot-up classrooms at Virginia Tech had been carrying a concealed weapon, the massacre could have been prevented. Concealed weapons are banned on most college campuses, including Virginia Tech, so this was not a possibility on April 16. But this kind of approach toward self-defence puts the burden of law enforcement on average individuals, who, no matter how well-trained in accuracy and target practice, have no experience handing dire situations with firearms. It also introduces the possibility of the presence of weapons during chaotic situations like athletic events and student-led riots, where the risks of firearm use are far greater than any benefit. Then consider the burden on individuals caught up in bank robberies or gas-station holdups – the far majority of which do not result in injury – whose anxious but quiet situations suddenly become all-out shootouts as soon as one of the bystanders whips out a gun. Meanwhile, for a tragic event that is witnessed by one in tens of thousands people during their lives, individuals would have to bear the burden of carrying a concealed weapon all the time. In all liklihood, even if concealed firearms were permitted or even encouraged on the Virginia Tech campus, so few people would exersize that right that no one who witnessed the massacre would have been carrying a gun. And it’s a far greater infringement of individual liberty to force private citizens to carry weapons out of necessity than it is to ban them entirely, ensuring all are safe.

Police officers are paid through tax dollars to protect people in violent or dangerous situations. If someone is paying taxes for personal safety, he or she have a right to be protected, not stuck with the burden of carrying a weapon needed to protect him or herself from countless other weapons in a society saturated with ridiculously powerful guns.

Luckily, preventing tragedies like this doesn’t require the total gun control that we see in the United Kingdom, which might work for small, dense countries but not for big sweeping areas like the United States. It only requires that the most dangerous millitary-type weapons be banned – weapons with no practical purpose besides entertainment, or rarely, killing dozens of innocent people. It might be an exciting moment when a gun-lover, with no bad intentions whatsoever, first pulls the trigger on a weapon that rips apart a paper target with machine-gun force and can shoot for a long time without a reload. But others have the right to live, and its time to stop letting people be killed for a novelty item.

Abortion is a Moral Dilemma from All Angles

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 12:10 pm
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I support a woman’s right to choose, but that doesn’t mean I think the position is an easy one to take.

No matter how you look at it, abortion is a moral dilemma. Unlike many platforms that social Conservatives stand on, abortion is not necessarily a “victimless” right. Even if same-sex relationships or medicinal marijuana use were “sins” before God (which I do not believe), it’s clear that the individuals responsible for committing those “sins” are the only ones affected. Abortion, meanwhile, removes and destroys an organism that some consider to be a living human being.

The “pro-life” agenda is often filled with nasty rhetoric that undermines the compassion pro-lifers claim to have. Some put blame on the pregnant woman, reviling her as “not taking responsibility for her sexual promiscuity.” Others would like to punish women who chose to have sex by making their abortions illegal, while allowing other women to have abortions if the pregnancy was caused by “rape or incest.” But an embryo created by rape or has no less theoretical “right to life” than any other, and the nuanced stance makes the issue into one about sexual morality and women’s rights rather than an embryo’s life.

Compassionate pro-lifers want to ban abortions to protect the life of what they consider a human being, but also understand the burden they are putting on women who would otherwise have an abortion. They might agree that a woman has a theoretical right to end her pregnancy but believe that the embryo’s right to be born is more fundamental. Their solution to the abortion dilemma is to protect and de-stigmatize unmarried pregnant women so that they will not abort pregnancies out of embarrassment. They tie their pro-life stance to a position to give social aid to working women who cannot afford maternity leave or to raise children. They avoid addressing their ideological opponents in derogatory terms.

Compassionate pro-choicers don’t know whether an embryo is a “human” or not, and say that government cannot be the one to make a decision about where life begins, which falls into the realm of religious belief. They say it’s difficult to define when an embryo becomes “human” since there is a continuum of living tissue from parents’ bodies, to a separate sperm and egg, to a fertilized egg, to an embryo or fetus, to an infant, to an adult woman able to conceive a child. Drawing a line at “conception” is as arbitrary as drawing it anywhere else. They say a woman must have autonomy over her body as a basic right, and would rather abortions be safe and legal than self-inflicted and dangerous. But they know that their position is a difficult line to tread, and hold their views with humility knowing that a future potential person is prevented by abortion. They want abortion to be a choice, but don’t try to make it an “easy” choice, and understand those who believe it is wrong.

This April, a radical anti-abortion group returned to the University of Colorado campus as they do every year, advertising their pro-life platform by setting up 30-foot billboards showing giant pictures of dismembered embryos and fetuses juxtaposed with living infants. The group’s rhetoric is harsh and powerful, and the images are gruesome and disturbing, bringing the issue to a carnality likened to the way anti-war activists and photojournalists show pictures of bloody battlefields. Some staunchly pro-choice students were upset that a group would bring the debate to that level. The late-term abortions depicted are extremely rare, and many doubt that the partially-formed embryos nearly microscopic in size from early first-trimester abortions are really “a human life.” Others thought the gruesome pictures were a distraction from the real issue; aren’t organ transplants and live-saving surgeries just as bloody? The more radical pro-choice students thought the group had “no right” to demonstrate and say they have no respect for pro-life views. But the cancellation or postponement of a potential life is a real part of abortion, and we need to keep that in perspective.

Abortion is a moral dilemma, and those who support it should be able to see and digest even the most graphic challenges to that position. We all care about human life, regardless of our views on abortion. Pro-choice students should be able to respond to the posters with calmness and composure, turning their discomfort – not into angry rebuttals – but into an opportunity to reflect on the complexity of the issue and voice disagreements calmly. I personally think the complexity of abortion is a reason to avoid encoding collective judgments on it as law, which is the basis for my pro-choice position – but others disagree. The people putting up the macabre signs believe they are going to save lives, and believe they are standing, not with religious authorities, but with the helpless parties (unborn embryos) they think are overlooked – a position that ultimately seems far more “liberal” than “conservative.” For all of us who disagree with the tactics or the goal, we need to entertain the conflict, not with anger, but with humility and respect.

April 16, 2007

ill Release Party

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 12:40 am

The Illiterate release party was awesome – the magazine formally presented its most recent issue in an enormous local rock climbing gym converted into a party space with several performing bands, banners, a fashion show, giant video screens and a bar in the age 21+ drinking area. The place is big enough to have an upstairs cafeteria area as a balcony overlooking the downstairs gym, and the 30-foot “island” rock feature (with a flat platform on top) in the center of the gym was a good place to project the videos from and also separated the big area into nice compartments for separate events to be staged in designated spots.

I’m not sure how many people showed up, but I think there were over 1,000 tickets sold at the door. I was supposed to police the bus we hired to take guests from Pearl Street to the party, and later work the button maker (which I have no idea how to use and was unable to figure it out), but ended up doing bouncer-type work. We came across a major problem when we couldn’t get guests in and I.D. checked fast enough, so several hundred people were waiting outside, and I heard through the grapevine that some of my friends ended up waiting an hour and a half just to get in.

The models drank all our booze. I didn’t get body painted because I found out that it meant I was supposed to be in the fashion show, and I doubt you’ll find anyone to be more averse to the idea of being out on a runway than I am. I told one of the models it was “beneath my masculinity” to be on a catwalk. I think I offended her; I probably could have come up with a better articulation of why I don’t want to be on a stage where my painted naked body is the only thing people are expected to look at. But fuck it, the whole night I stood blocking people with beer from taking their drinks outside the designated area and I doubt I’d be very intimidating with zebra stripes painted on my chest while I’m wearing nothing but a thong. “Hey buddy, can we keep the alchol upstairs? And ooh, careful of the body paint; my thighs and underarms are still a little sticky.”

Most of the guests were nice. One guy who knew me seemed a little put-off by the fact that I didn’t make an exception for him to bring beer down to the main floor. It would have been pointless anyway; if I had let him get by with it, someone else on staff would have seen the beer and stepped in, or else one of the cops there might have seen alcohol where it wasn’t supposed to be and we could have been shut down. Meanwhile, I got very good feedback about my article in the magazine. People always new what article I was talking about when, if asked which piece was mine, I said “the one about the sorrorities.”

I got to the rock gym at 4 in the afternoon to help set up, and guests arrived at 9 and stayed until almost 2. I was at the gym until 4 in the morning cleaning up. I was standing for at least 11 hours of that time. My ankles fucking hurt.

Illiterate is a magazine, but a better definition for it is an interactive community where readers can participate in an artistic dialogue. We host open-microphone poetry readings every Wednesday (8 pm at Lulu’s – formely Album’s Bistro – on the Hill in Boulder) where all are welcome to perform. Musicians or performers of decent talent are welcome to contact us about performing at future big events. For those who are out of state but interested in participating, anyone can visit Illiterate’s website at illiteratemagazine.com and post articles, fiction, poetry, photos or artwork for public viewing. If you have anything you want to show off, put it on our web page and it could end up printed in our next issue. (We would contact you before printing it, of course). You can also view artwork other people have submitted, and vote on artwork if you sign up or log in. If you’re interested in getting something published but it’s far too offbeat, edgy, or out-of-context to be marketable anywhere else, we’re exactly the right publication. Even if you think your work sucks, you can post it under your name on Illiterate’s page and the piece you loathe might be exactly what we’re looking for.

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