Bit(ch) 19: “self-directed pursuits of pleasure without shame”

As a feminist who fucks*, I have no problem with “Anaconda.” I find it delightful.

* It isn’t the male gaze, dominant narratives of sexuality, or hegemonic femininity which reigns true throughout Minaj’s work. It’s her own sexual state of being. And when Nicki Minaj struts out in a string bikini or exudes her own sexuality in the middle of something otherwise empowering, it isn’t an inherent contradiction or a cause for debate. It’s simply a reflection of how many women — women who, often, feel comfortable with and empowered in their choices — are living their sexual lives. As sexual beings, we’re allowed to indulge in self-directed pursuits of pleasure without shame. We’re allowed to be frank about our own exploits. We’re feminists who fuck, and a lot of times it looks like both things happening at the exact same time.

“Anaconda” wasn’t an isolated incident, and it wasn’t Minaj’s first time articulating her own identity nor her last. Throughout her feminist declarations, however, has appeared the same specter of doubt. Feminists refuse to take Minaj’s statements seriously, continuously torn between embracing her sexually raw and eccentric persona with her own self-declared girl-power focus. It’s clear that when Minaj is making feminist statements in a language that resembles mainstream feminist discourse, folks are giddy to jump on the bandwagon — but her oversexualized state of being, her sexual aggression and occasional sexual dominance, often worry them.

This is hugely problematic.

It’s the impossibility to ultimately marry the image of a sexually empowered woman to her state of existence which allows for the distorted view of women’s sexuality to prosper. When feminists honor Minaj’s feminist lyrics, as they did with “Anaconda,” and then admonish her for expressing herself with sexually charged images and videos, they are playing into the same dominant narratives about women’s sexualities that perpetuate victim-blaming, slut-shaming, and the subordination of women.

The proof is in the pudding, respectability politics be damned. Nicki Minaj is a feminist, and she expresses that in her work. In the long run, what Minaj has contributed to the existing and ongoing dialogue of women’s oppression is the perspective of someone who refuses to be defined by any categories she doesn’t claim for herself or constrained by the desires of other people.

Today’s feminist blogosphere can get super hung up on who self-identifies as a feminist and who should be allowed to, but what that conversation ignores are both the variances among us as women and the real, lived experiences of women living in those variances. In a universe in which we are still enslaved to the dichotomy of “slut” or “virgin,” Nicki Minaj has chosen to live within her own spectrum of sexual expression — and she’s proven that at no matter where we land on that spectrum ourselves, we’re still whoever we damn well please, feminism and all.

Nicki Minaj’s Feminism Isn’t About Your Comfort Zone: On “Anaconda” and Respectability Politics. Autostraddle, 8/25/14.

A large part of sexist oppression is narrowing women and their sexuality to “respectable” limits that can be approved of by General Audiences. Fuck respectable. Fuck limits not chosen by me or chosen to confine me into something smaller, safer and easier to drown so someone’s dick doesn’t feel small.

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Victor White III

State police investigate in-custody death. The LA Weekly, 3/10/14.

The family is in the process of raising funds to pay for an independent autopsy of Victor White’s remains. Anyone who is interested in making a donation is encouraged to send monies to MidSouth Bank (account number 3428427). The family is also using social media to raise awareness about the case and encouraged anyone with information about the incident to come forward. For more information about the social media campaign, go to #JusticeForVic.

A similar incident occurred in Arkansas in 2012 involving 21-year-old Chavis Carter, who autho­rities say shot himself in the back of the head while handcuffed on the back seat of a police car.

“This doesn’t add up,” the Rev. Raymond Brown, a New Orleans community activist whose pro­tests in Jena several years ago raised national awareness about the plight of the Jena 6, told The Louisiana Weekly. “It just doesn’t make sense.

Man kills himself in backseat of Iberia Parish deputy’s car. The [Baton Rouge] Advocate, 3/10/14.

The Rev. Raymond Brown, president of National Action Now of New Orleans, said Monday night his organization also plans to look into the shooting death. The group also looked into an excessive force complaint against the Iberia Sheriff’s Office following a large street party in September.

“Something is seriously wrong with this picture,” Brown said Monday night of White’s shooting death.

Group wants Department of Justice to investigate suicide.  The [Baton Rouge] Advocate, 3/14/14.

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” [Rev. Raymond] Brown [leader of the New Orleans branch of National Action Now] said. “How can you find the drugs and not the gun?”

Lt. Anthony Green, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said the agency would not release the name of the arresting deputy nor say whether the deputy had been placed on leave.

Brown said video surveillance equipment at the Sheriff’s Office could shed light on what happened.

“These videos should show what took place,” he said. “A video camera would solve the problem.”

Green said there are no cameras located in the area where White was shot.

Green then said the Sheriff’s Office would remain silent until State Police release its report.

Unanswered Questions Still Haunt Family Of Victor White III., 4/4/14.

Rev. [Victor] White disputes the allegation that his son was arrested for participating in a fight. According to Rev. White,

We seen the video (from 300 Lewis Street where the fight occurred) and my son was not in a fight. There was a fight but my son was not involved in the fight. Looked at the video and my son was actually inside the store when they say he was outside when the fight took place.

Reverend White has a number of answered questions concerning the death of his son that he thinks will best answered by an independent autopsy. He has set up a GoFund account called ‘#Justice for Vic’ to raise the needed $15,000. An account has also been set up at Mid-South bank for anyone who would like to help.

State Police say gun used in White shooting death is not one deputies use., 8/22/14.

State Police Master Trooper Brooks David told us that troopers did originally believe the gunshot’s entrance wound came from the back, however following the coroner’s investigation, it was determined the entrance wound was from the front.

David said State Police are still waiting on evidence in the case. He said he cannot comment further on the active investigation.

Lt. Anthony Green, the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman at the time of the shooting, said protocol calls for deputies to check suspects for weapons before they are placed into a police unit.

Who’s lying: the Iberia Parish Sheriff or Victor White III’s autopsy report? The IND, 8/22/14.

The autopsy by Christopher Tate, a forensic pathologist with the coroner’s office, reveals a number of glaring holes in the deputies’ account of White’s death, starting with a change in the cause of death from accidental shooting to suicide.

The report also shows that White was killed from a gunshot wound that entered the right side of his chest, tearing through his left lung and heart and exiting through his left armpit, leaving the upper arm with lacerations — a much different scenario than the handcuffed man who shot himself in the back as deputies claimed.

The autopsy further reveals that White suffered from some sort of blow to the face, listed on the report as two upper facial abrasions near his left eye.

In an article posted in the weeks after the shooting, Vice’s Cooper reports on a conversation with White’s father, Victor White Sr. From that conversation, which came way before the autopsy’s release, here’s what White says about his son and the deputies who arrested him: “I know they beat him before he arrived at the station, because those who were with him before he was arrested said he didn’t have a mark on him.”

White’s father also told Cooper that upon learning of Victor’s death, he immediately drove from Alexandria to New Iberia to see his son, but was initially refused by the sheriff’s office. And when he finally did get clearance, the body was covered from the neck down by a sheet, with sheriff’s officials refusing to disclose any details on what happened. It took a post on the sheriff’s Facebook page for White to learn how they were saying his son died, and for him, it didn’t add it up. And he certainly is not buying the coroner’s report that suicide caused his son’s death.

From the start, this case was shrouded in too many questions, but now, with the findings from White’s autopsy released, this situation has worsened for a sheriff’s department with a known history of unfair treatment of black residents in Iberia Parish.

Victor White autopsy findings released., 8/23/14.


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Bit(ch) 18: Suicide? Really? [update]

How does a man handcuffed behind his back produce a gun [from nowhere] and shoot himself in the chest? And how is that a “suicide”? Because it happened in a police cruiser out of view of any surveillance cameras?

Victor White III: The Raw Story, image from Facebook

The Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office has released only the first page of the autopsy report, which contradicts statements initially made by State Police who said White shot himself in the back while handcuffed in the back of a sheriff’s unit.

According to the autopsy, the bullet entered White’s chest, then perforated his left lung and heart before exiting his armpit area and lacerating his upper arm.

The report rules White’s death a suicide.

State Police issued a release in March that said deputies were called to investigate a fight in the 300 block of Lewis Street and found White was allegedly in possession of narcotics. Deputies handcuffed White and took him to the Sheriff’s Office for processing, but said White refused to exit the car when they arrived. State Police also said in their initial report that while the deputy was requesting assistance, White produced a handgun and shot himself once in the back.

Autopsy report: Victor White III shot in the chest, not back., 8/21/14.

Police believe that White had somehow hidden a gun in the backseat of the cruiser and committed suicide by shooting himself. White died shortly after, with police stating there were no surveillance cameras in that area of the parking lot where the car was parked.

Questions were immediately raised as to how White could have smuggled a gun into the cruiser and then managed to shoot himself in the back when left alone.

According to the autopsy report, the bullet entered White’s chest, perforated his left lung and heart before exiting his armpit area and lacerating his upper arm.

The report still lists his death as a suicide.

Admitting that the case is still being investigated, State Police Master Trooper Brooks David said that state troopers originally did believe the gunshot entry wound was in White’s back.

No explanation was given for how White could have shot himself in the chest with his hands cuffed behind him.

Tom Boggioni. Autopsy report shows Louisiana police lied about suspect’s suicide by shooting self in back. The Raw Story, 8/22/14.

[Couldn't find any articles at but that could be for any number of reasons.]

UPDATE: 8/28/14: quotes a NBC News story on Victor White III and manages to never state that White was handcuffed behind his back. just calls it “handcuffed.”

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Bit(ch) 17: A Fucking Plastic Water Bottle?

But as the rally was winding down and most of the protesters were leaving the area, someone among the dozens still in the streets hurled a plastic water bottle at police.

Helmeted officers, some with heavy weapons and dogs, suddenly emerged in force. They ordered the remaining protesters to leave and chased down those who resisted as more bottles were thrown. Police later said they arrested 47 people and seized several loaded firearms, but no gunshots were fired.

Police arrest dozens overnight in Ferguson as prosecutors prepare case for grand jury. Reuters/The Raw Story, 8/20/14.

A plastic bottle is not a weapon, especially if thrown at someone wearing a helmet who’s heavily armed, nor does “more bottles” justify 47 arrests or dogs. This is still disproportionate response. Plastic bottles and rocks are not the same as Molotov cocktails or tear gas or rubber bullets or MRAPs.

Gregory McRae already is imprisoned for burning the body of Henry Glover – who was shot by another officer days after the 2005 storm.

…McRae’s lawyer says in court filings seeking leniency that McRae was suffering emotionally from the storm’s carnage when he burned the body. He also says McRae did not know Glover had been shot by another officer and didn’t realize he might be covering up a crime.

Ex-cop who burned body post-Katrina seeks leniency., 8/15/14.

And post-Katrina/Floods “stress” is no excuse for burning a body, regardless of whose it was or where it was or when it was. There is no excuse.


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“But every time you show your face/Somebody dies, man”

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You Can Record Police + the Five-O App

It’s Perfectly Legal To Film The Cops. HuffPo, 8/13/14.

“There are First Amendment protections for people photographing and recording in public,” Mickey Osterreicher, an attorney with the National Press Photographers Association, told The Huffington Post. According to Osterreicher, as long as you don’t get in their way, it’s perfectly legal to take photos and videos of police officers everywhere in the United States.



To change the dynamic between law enforcement and communities, Caleb Christian, a 14-year-old Georgia high school freshman created an app that will allow citizens to rate and leave reviews of their police districts. Named Five-O, Christian along with his two sisters programmed the app so citizens can input details of every interaction they have with the police officers they encounter.

For Harriet reports, the app allows for citizens to rate individual police officers based on their professionalism. The app review allows for “citizens to store the details of each encounter with law enforcement; this provides convenient access to critical information needed for legal action or commendation.”

The app debuts on the 18th for iOS and Android. This video is way too long, though. And too loud.

I hope it works. As Michelle Alexander posted on Facebook, “WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING IS NOT WORKING.”

what we have been doing is not working

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National Moment of Silence: NOLA 6PM

6pm tonight/Thursday, Lafayette Square

National Moment of Silence Against Police Brutality New Orleans

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Another Pontchartrain Expressway Rousting

Homeless given 3 days to leave encampment under Pontchartrain Expressway., 8/12/14.

The city, along with a coalition of homeless organizations, will be going out over the next several days assessing each person’s needs.

There are currently enough temporary shelter beds available to house the 140 people who are living in the encampment, Parent said. Most people will be directed to the New Orleans Mission, the Salvation Army, Ozanam Inn and Covenant House.

People who have significant physical and mental health disabilities will be placed in permanent supportive housing while others from out of town could be eligible to receive bus tickets home through the Travelers Aid Society of Greater New Orleans.

…Many of the people in the encampment have stayed at various shelters but most of the facilities have time limitations on how long people can stay unless they have permanent employment or are enrolled in a social services program such as drug rehabilitation.

People come back because they need Somewhere. Rousting cleans up the area but doesn’t solve the problem, especially for the hard-to-place like sex offenders [but too many "sex" "offenders" in LA are easy-to-harass sex workers]. Do we really want to be the kind of city/country where a fire or a breakup puts people on the street for months? Or a few shelter nights here and there? Oh, wait, we are that place.

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Bit(ch) 17: But Where’s the Fucking Original?

Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it. – Colette

I love the quote but…

There are versions of this quote all over the Internet but if a book of Colette’s called Casual Chance was published anywhere in 1964, I can’t find any trace that that book exists. Not in university and public libraries, not in Google searches which are generally blogs and personal dot-coms repeating the quote in similar words or the same words as the website or blog or Tumblr that person got it from but no Casual Chance by Colette in any year. I haven’t found “Casual Chance” listed in other books by Colette or in bibliographies either, though there have been a lot of reprints and rehashes of her work so it is possible I missed something. I’m not that pain-addled to not know how to search for a book or a quote or a collection of particular words. It’s people “quoting” each other, borrowing from each other without anyone checking the first appearance for accuracy or truth.

But if it’s not Colette, if it’s just a sloppy pick-up game on the Internet, I hate people and their weak-willed stupidity even more than I already did.

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Bit(ch) 16: “vagina”

Vollmann’s most important artistic influences are Gauguin and what he described as the “power colors” of Native American art. His other inescapable influence is the female body. The majority of Vollmann’s visual art centers upon women generally and geishas, sex workers, and those he calls “goddesses” specifically. Usually they are nude. From where I was standing I counted at least two dozen vaginas, their fleshy machinery painstakingly drawn and then painted over with a delicate red slash. Vollmann uses live models, so every vagina within sight is currently out there right now, wandering the world.

Tom Bissell. You Are Now Entering the Demented Kingdom of William T. Vollmann. The New Republic, 7/22/14.

All following links are NSFW.

By the end of that paragraph I was gnashing my teeth. “Vagina”? You mean the birth canal? Or is “vulvathe word he couldn’t find? Or labia? Inner or outer? Or the clitoris? Or the clitoral hood? And do these labia reflect the wide variety of labia formations and clitoral hood permutations? Because rarely does one pussy look exactly like the next. Or is it all one composite “vagina” like from a blur of gynecology CME videos?

“delicate red slash”?

The rest of the Vollman article, though, was fascinating.

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