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everyone at NOBLE is raging about Fetish in the Fall being cancelled in kenner by Chief Congeni. is it so wrong that it pisses me off that they are putting so much energy into being pissed off about this? they want to ban shopping and buying gas in kenner. i don't. i've said that hurting the innocent merchants won't make a difference. they reply that those merchants voted for him. i replied two things.... that there wasn't an opponent and that i imagine most didn't even vote. this really bothers me.....

i am sure that what i am about to say here will piss off a lot of you, but i am really bothered by what is going on here and i am not one to keep my mouth shut.....

i wonder how many people raising hell about this actually voted last saturday....or even know, without looking it up, which district they are in, who their representatives and congressmen are....

once a month or so, i used to post something here needing volunteers for one thing or another....sometimes it is tutoring at-risk kids, working at an event, stuffing condoms or going around the quarter passing out condoms. i rarely get any response from anyone on this list for these kinds of things. i am not forgetting those of you that did come a couple of times and stuff condoms for mardi gras outreach, or those of you who helped me with the kids on the aquarium field trip and one of you who made boxes of donations to the center. but, for the most part, no one on this list has an interest in any type of community service unless it is related to swinging whips or wearing leather. i've never been around such a large group of people with such little ability to act. everyone was up in arms about rev. storm protesting decadence, but only one other person from NOBLE was out there with me passing out condoms and hate crimes project fliers. it is easy for most of you to scream about boycotting kenner because you don't even go there in the first place. i do hope that most of you will put your pen to your words and write letters to the politicians involved in stopping this program.
within 6 blocks from where you are sitting right now there is someone, or an entire family, that needs help. everyone is so involved in their own kinks and their own selves to prioritize issues. last night i debated this issue with someone that is used to seeing me politically active, whether i am protesting or speaking at the capital. he didn't understand why i wasn't fuming over this. i am, but it isn't because the event was shut down. kenner was not the place to do this in the first place. yes, the politicians who put a stop to it represent the people. has it crossed anyone's mind that the people in kenner don't want this? has it crossed anyone's mind that they, like you, have a right to fight something in which they do not believe? we are different in our sexual lifestyle than a vast majority of the entire world. so what if they don't want us? take it somewhere they do....i am sure the city of new orleans wouldn't even blink. but, yes, i am upset, but not because a fetish event that would have come and gone in a few days and was commercialized (i won't even talk about what i think of people who turn a profit off our kinks) was canceled i am upset because if people in this group would take half this energy and apply it to something that could make a long term difference in the lives of others, we could really change things.

you want to fight kenner? let's take a look at what really matters.......

last year, kenner had a crime index of around 4000. this is much worse than the national average. they are also worse than the national average in rape, murder, theft and teenage pregnancy. believe it or not, it is down by 42% because of congeni's leadership.

1 in 6 children live in poverty.

most of their schools are classified as academically *below* average, with a poverty rate of about 63%. the middle school drop-out rate is 6.4%....this is middle school!!

now, i can give you these same statistics 10 years ago and you will be surprised at the substantial decrease in crime, domestic violence and juvenile problems. congeni may be against fetish in the fall because kenner is a family place.....but i hardly blame him, even as one of those he is against. he has worked hard to make kenner a family place and he has been pretty damn successful. he has instigated some of the country's most successful youth programs, bringing down juvenile crime and drug rates by over 20%. he has come down harder on domestic violence offenders than any other police chief in the state, in history.

a few months ago a vietnamese woman in the community where i work was tied to chair by her husband. he poured gasoline on her and set her on fire in front of his 8 year old son. i came here and asked for volunteers to help at the center with some domestic violence outreach. i didn't get one response. doesn't this enrage any of you? she is still in the hospital.

in the last two months, two teenagers have been shot and killed in the very neighborhood in which i work to try and help them.

there are 7 active youth gangs in my neighborhood. the average family income is $6300 a year. every single school where i serve is rated as academically unacceptable. there are 70 children in my afterschool program, myself and 1 volunteer. most of these children are from single mother households, and many have fathers in prison. when i ask these kids if they want to be out of this neighborhood when they are 18 they tell me, "it don't matter. when i am 18 i am going to be dead or in prison". domestic violence is rampant in this community. 8 year olds carry guns and others go to school with bruises in places we can't see.

for eight months i have struggled alone in this community. i spend very little time with my friends anymore. no one has any interest in helping. i won't buy that it is a matter of finding time. my center is open from 10 in the morning to at least 9 at night nearly 7 days a week.

this isn't some third world country, it is new orleans. your city. or your neighboring city. i bet more of you live here than in kenner. don't these things matter to you?

there are just some things that are more important than fetish....and, yes, even more important than people telling me i can't hold a fetish event in their city.

you all are enraged when a community rejects you and your beliefs, but what do you do for a community that isn't related to kink? now, i don't mean to generalize. i am sure some of you do your own volunteer work and i imagine those of you who do will understand what i am trying to say here.

i am sure i've given many of you cause to direct your anger at me. i won't apologize for it. i can only hope that i have made some of you think about more important priorities. i've quit posting here a need for volunteers in anything, even related to sexuality. it only disappoints me. but if i have in fact triggered your anger, i can only hope that you will find a valuable place in which to direct it.

sadly,

maia

musings: http://curiosa.org/rambles.cfm

If we'd been born where they were born and
taught what they were taught, we would believe what they believe.
sign inside a church in Northern Ireland, explaining the origin of intolerance and hate


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( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
beaten_grace
Oct. 11th, 2003 08:03 am (UTC)
Please read this as narrated in a gentle voice, it's not meant to be heard harshly at all :)
i have posted time and again about how important community service is to me. i have dedicated nearly my entire time in New Orleans working for one non-profit or another and/or volunteering my time to various organizations and causes. i am politically active, quietly and privately, yes, but active nonetheless. i exercise my right to vote, understand my districts and who i choose to represent my family. i'm confident in my political action and my community action and because of that i don't harbor any ill feelings because of your post. i think it's important to encourage others to participate, fortunately i was brought up with enough community spirit that it doesn't require the tolling of the volunteer bell to get me off my ass to do something.i *have* tried to make it to events that you have posted about, unfortunately they have always conflicted with prior commitments or personal issues that proved more immediate. (Yes, i do sometimes put myself first. It took me a long time to learn to do that at all, so i try to not deny myself when i feel the need)

Boycotting Kenner may not be the appropriate course of action, some people may be hurt in the long run because of it, however, it doesn't affect my shopping patterns at all. In five years i have made perhaps ten purchases in that city. *My* dollars will not be missed, they were too few and far between to make any kind of impact. i never meant to imply this is my only course of action, i do plan to write my letters. i do plan on making my voice heard. It just has to wait until after this weekend. Whether or not others choose that course of action i leave up to them. It's their duty to make informed political decisison. You have given people some things to think about. Whether or not they make their decisions based on the information you have given them is in their hands only. i can understand your outrage, and i have taken it into account. While i am still not going to go out of my way to support businesses in Kenner i *will* as i always have support the smaller businesses in my neighborhood (and i DO live in Jefferson Parish) as well as in New Orleans where i spend my working days. A boycott of Kenner does not to me mean withdrawing long standing financial support to merchants of that area, it only means not taking my business out of my neighborhoods and into theirs.
melissamuse
Oct. 11th, 2003 08:12 am (UTC)
Re: Please read this as narrated in a gentle voice, it's not meant to be heard harshly at all :)
again, i did say that i know some of you do volunteer, and i had you in mind. i understand also that boycotting kenner has little effect on you, but you were encouraging it and for those that do live in kenner, it could have an impact.
i never go to kenner, unless it is to the airport (minus that convention i had to speak at, which i posted about here and discussed my feelings about being in kenner). but i wouldn't tell the people that live there not to shop there because of this event.
i also said that those who volunteer would understand what i am trying to say in my post. it isn't about boycotting...i've made my feelings known about that in other posts. it is about directing energy where it is best served. i think you do that.
beaten_grace
Oct. 11th, 2003 08:18 am (UTC)
Re: Please read this as narrated in a gentle voice, it's not meant to be heard harshly at all :)
i totally understood where you were coming from in your post.

i didn't encourage others to boycott businesses in Kenner, i simply said that i would be doing it. If people are going to choose a course of action because i said i was doing it they would be showing up to my volunteer events, and yours as well.

i should hope me saying i'm going to be doing something isn't enough to warrant encouragement... then i'll have all sorts of people shirking responsibilities like studying and keeping an immaculate house to engage in hours of decadence (or fucking the police... ew).
mysticknyght
Oct. 11th, 2003 09:57 am (UTC)
several things at work here...
1. Congemi is a democrat who will most likely run to succeed his brother as mayor this coming spring. It's hard to ask any politician outside the Quarter to support a fetish event. Jefferson Parish is conservative and Catholic, fetish events usually happen in parish rectories, not hotels *droll grin*

2. I don't know any of the background of the organizers of the event, but why pick Kenner in the first place? I'm assuming price here, since it's cheaper to get a hotel for an event in the 'burbs than downtown. Still, no doubt there are alternatives.

3. Nick Congemi, as you pointed out, has been a strong supporter advocate of women's rights in abuse cases. He instituted a very strict policy regarding domestic violence police calls for his department, and went very public with it. If somoene (male or female) calls 911 in Kenner with a domestic violence complaint, someone is going to jail, no matter how much the victim recants by the time the cops show up.

Nick is one of the good guys.
xochizlan
Oct. 11th, 2003 11:21 am (UTC)
If we're making lists...
What about a man who-

*Solved a seven million person unemployment problem

*Restored a nation from its sense of post-War defeatism

*and Had a vested interest in seeing even the little people of his country prosper by developing, among other things, cities, 1.5 hundred miles of new highways, inexpensive automobiles, and workers' benefits programs?

"Nick is one of the good guys."

I'm sure most people in 1930s Germany would have said that very thing about Adolf Hitler.

Hate and intolerance are the same no matter the form they come in
mysticknyght
Oct. 11th, 2003 11:26 am (UTC)
Re: If we're making lists...
Your entire list is a non sequitor, and a very poor one at that. show me where Congemi's position is one of hate, and perhaps your Hitler analogies might have some merit. What I see here is a position of either misunderstanding or ignorance. Congemi's position is the fest is demeaning to women and will promote domestic violence as a result. Show me where that is hate speech equivalent to that of Hitler.
xochizlan
Oct. 11th, 2003 02:07 pm (UTC)
Re: If we're making lists...
Not to nitpick, but I said it was a matter of both hate *and* intolerance. But we'll focus on hate.

Hate (thanks to Merriam-Webster): 1 a : intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury b : extreme dislike or antipathy

Aversion derived from fear. Fear, the child of misunderstanding. Misunderstanding, which you admit (and I will too), one of the things at the heart of this issue.

Congemi can put whatever spin he'd like on the issue. First it was family values, then it was protecting the women who would obviously be exploited by such an event. Which subsection of his constituency do you imagine he'll pander to next with this?

Hitler was just as coy. He played on what the already anti-Semitic majority wanted to hear. He fostered a loathing of Jews based on the ideas that they were dirty outsiders, therefore it was acceptable, actually natural, to cast them out.

It all boils down to one group being excluded and marginalized by a regime that finds their presence insufferable.

By definition, that sounds like hate to me.

At any rate, in both cases you have an act of hate being used to further a political agenda. This is about nothing but votes. It will gain Congemi more in votes and public image than it will cost the city economically to exclude this one little group from having their pervert party. So he wins.

If he was honestly so concerned abut domestic violence, why not get rid of all the means to by liquor in Kenner? I mean, not every case of abuse against women can be contributed to alcohol, but if it even has the potential to be related in any way, based on this Congemilogic, then eliminating a source of the problem will help eradicate the problem all together.

The answer is obvious. If he even suggested in a hushed whisper he'd take just one bottle of liquor off a store shelf anywhere in Kenner he'd kiss his political career there good-bye.

Congemi might be an great mayor, a swell democrat, and a champion of battered women everywhere. Bully for him. The moment he decided that the presence of one group... one person... was abhorrent, for no reason other than the way a brain is hardwired (and, to close a potential hole in this position, I do mean in a way that doesn't harm innocents. I'm certainly not suggesting the acceptance of those who willing inflict harm on those who do not ask for it.), he stood up to be counted among the worst of the worst our specie has had to offer.
mysticknyght
Oct. 11th, 2003 02:20 pm (UTC)
Re: If we're making lists...
Nope, you can't ascribe these feelings to the man unless you've met with him and talked to him about the incident. I *know* Nick Congemi, and my belief is his position is based on mis-information.
xochizlan
Oct. 11th, 2003 02:33 pm (UTC)
Re: If we're making lists...
Then he's guilty of not making himself informed. Of speaking out against a group he knows nothing about, except, perhaps, what he's picked up in innuendo and rumors. Of perpetuating a myth by using his position as a voice of authority in the community by spreading more venom.

I'm still missing the redeeming qualities. In fact, looking at him as someone who is willing to denounce a group before he's done his research makes him seem that much more reprehensible.
mysticknyght
Oct. 11th, 2003 02:42 pm (UTC)
Re: If we're making lists...
boy, we've come a long way from calling the guy Hitler, and I thank you for that. You do no group a service when your accusations are outrageous. Yes, he's misinformed. Should he change that? Yes, indeed. Will he? Probably. Will it make a difference? Not in the short-term.

Redeeming qualities? Well, perhaps you were too angry to read my list completely. Maybe you should go back and look again. Nick is a good cop who is quite concerned with the overall welfare of the citizens of Kenner.
xochizlan
Oct. 11th, 2003 03:05 pm (UTC)
Re: If we're making lists...
I'm neither backing down from the analogy, nor was I too mad to notice something. This situation might have actually made me a little more fiery than usual, or at least of late, but it's far from having me mad past the point of rational thought.

I don't in any way think I was being outrageous. If he's a friend of yours then I'm merely dropping the comparison to be polite. I don't want to be uncivil.

In fact, along those lines, I'm thinking perhaps it best if we just agree to disagree. I'm never going to convince that what I see going on is Truth, and you won't do that for me. The sparing has been enjoyable and, honestly, thought provoking, but I'm sure we both have better things to do with the rest of our Saturday afternoons than run circles around one another. :-)
mysticknyght
Oct. 11th, 2003 03:12 pm (UTC)
Re: If we're making lists...
You're welcome to the last word on this...
moderate_excess
Oct. 11th, 2003 11:28 am (UTC)
Re: several things at work here...
Nick may be one of the good guys, but he is simply wrong and showing his ignorance in this case. If he hadn't sent his letter urging the hotels not to host this event, what is the likelihood that people in Kenner would have even known it was there? His concerns about BDSM seem to consider it as an abuse of women, which shows that he is ill-informed. I doubt it would be possible at this time, after he has taken such a public stance, to disabuse him of his erroneous notions.

And I do have to say one thing about boycotts, and I'm surprised you, Maia, seem to have overlooked this. The power of a boycott is not to punish those who voted for a regime or elected official. It is not even to sway those people to vote differently in the next election. It is an economic threat that is used to affect people in the only place it seems to matter: the pocketbook. If the local merchants feel that their business will be adversely affected by a decision made supposedly on their behalf by an elected official, they can express their concerns to said official and perhaps effect change. And if the electorate feels their tax base will be adversely affected, they can question the decision that led to the threatened loss of revenue. It is rare that boycotts actually *do* economic harm: it is the threat of them that causes the powers that be to sit up and take notice. The rare exceptions have been nation-wide boycotts such as the grape boycott in support of the rights of migrant workers. But essentially it's like voodoo: if the recipient believes it will work, it will have the intended effect. I'm not saying I support a boycott as a solution in this particular case. I think FIF should have looked for a hotel in New Orleans. I can only assume that there was nothing avaiable. I don't know what the solution is, nor do I think most people know what it is they want to do. Do they want to force the city of Kenner to realize its ignorant ways and allow the event? Not gonna happen. Do they want to force the country to acknowledge BDSM as an accepted alternate lifestyle? Again, not gonna happen (at least, not in our lifetimes). Do they want to begin an educational process that will reveal our pervasive existance in today's society and perhaps alert people to our silent presence all around them, and begin to show ourselves as human beings rather than as the freaks and preverts we have been portrayed as? That we can do, and slowly it has been happening as images from our lifestyle have seeped into the media and public consciousness.

Maia, I can understand your frustration over the lack of response to your calls for volunteers, and for the far more severe injustices left unaddressed by the people around you. But you have to understand that the responses to this have not been out of the "let's get out and get involved" spirit which you have tried so unsuccessfully to tap. They are a direct response to an threat close to home. These people feel they have been attacked, and are responding to protect themselves and their community. The motivation, the impulse, the feeling, are all very different from the sort of action you are engaged in. It's as if you are battling the forst fire on the front lines, and they are trying to keep the house from burning down. Just because there are larger battles to fight doesn't mean this battle shouldn't be fought.

Well. That's my $.02 worth.
mysticknyght
Oct. 11th, 2003 11:37 am (UTC)
Re: several things at work here...
Nick may be one of the good guys, but he is simply wrong and showing his ignorance in this case. If he hadn't sent his letter urging the hotels not to host this event, what is the likelihood that people in Kenner would have even known it was there? His concerns about BDSM seem to consider it as an abuse of women, which shows that he is ill-informed. I doubt it would be possible at this time, after he has taken such a public stance, to disabuse him of his erroneous notions.

Perhaps after the municipal elections in the spring you can work on his ill-informed state, but I wouldn't expect any major epiphanies until then. *droll grin*
nathandarkfall
Oct. 12th, 2003 01:39 pm (UTC)
Re: several things at work here...
3. Nick Congemi, as you pointed out, has been a strong supporter advocate of women's rights in abuse cases. He instituted a very strict policy regarding domestic violence police calls for his department, and went very public with it. If somoene (male or female) calls 911 in Kenner with a domestic violence complaint, someone is going to jail, no matter how much the victim recants by the time the cops show up.

This actually scares me. It's as if the one whose accused doesn't have any rights, especially not the right to being innocent before proven guilty. I wouldn't want to be jailed because I had a sex with a women who late got pissed at me and then told people I abused her just to get back at me. This absolute intolerance against domestic abuse makes it too easy for the "victim" to become the abuser in these situations. Because who's going to listen to someone who's an "abuser?"

We practice what would be considered "consensual battery." The cops, however, don't pay any attention to the word "consensual." No matter how much the bottom will state that he or she consented to the activity, the cops will only see someone who is abusing someone else. And that isn't right.

Nick Congemi stated that the event was "demeaning to women." Well, that leaves us men out doesn't? If it's demeaning, why wouldn't it be just as demeaning to men? Men can be submissive, too. They can be "abused" just as much. He has no cencept of what he's even talking about.

The point of all of this is to raise awareness that what we do is neither wrong nor illegal. We simply want to participate in our kink without persecution.

I'm glad that Congemi has cleaned up crime in Kenner. That's great. But he needs to leave us alone and understand that we're not hurting anyone and especially not his precious "family atmosphere" in Kenner.
mysticknyght
Oct. 12th, 2003 01:47 pm (UTC)
Re: several things at work here...
This actually scares me. It's as if the one whose accused doesn't have any rights, especially not the right to being innocent before proven guilty. I wouldn't want to be jailed because I had a sex with a women who late got pissed at me and then told people I abused her just to get back at me. This absolute intolerance against domestic abuse makes it too easy for the "victim" to become the abuser in these situations. Because who's going to listen to someone who's an "abuser?"

I would submit that, in terms of the volume of domestic violence calls a police department gets, your situation is very much the minority.

We practice what would be considered "consensual battery." The cops, however, don't pay any attention to the word "consensual." No matter how much the bottom will state that he or she consented to the activity, the cops will only see someone who is abusing someone else. And that isn't right.

No, it's not right, but from the perspective of law enforcement, their policy is to err on the side of caution. The problem is that there is just too much "non-consensual battery" in this world, and it's awfully hard for a beat cop to make the distinction.

The big issue here, it seems, is whether or not one of your lovers would pick up the phone and dial 911 after a scene. If she does, then it's your word against hers as to whether the behavior was consensual. There are too many cases of men who are not kept away from their abuse victims, and the victim ends up dead. That's what someone like Nick is looking at, not your minority viewpoint.

In other words, make sure you don't get rough with someone who isn't stable and might turn on you...
whitetara
Oct. 11th, 2003 03:11 pm (UTC)
I'm a political and geographic outsider here, but I'm going to weigh in, anyway. You want to stand up for your rights to hold a fetish event? Get a lawyer. I can't give you legal advice because (1) I don't have my license yet, (2) even if I did, it wouldn't be in your jurisdiction, and (3) I don't know all the facts. Your post, and the comments to date, constitute my entire knowledge about this situation.

That said, my gut tells me there may be a serious First Amendment violation here, depending on exactly what the Chief of Police did to prevent the event.

Consult an attorney. If your BDSM community is like mine out here in CA, you probably have some in your camp already. Ask around. Even if it's too late to hold the event, there's a chance to make a major change here and I hope you'll pursue it. A lawyer in your jurisdiction will know whether there's a shot.

(Your group can't afford one? Call your local law schools and see if they have a legal clinic. Tell them you have a potential Constitutional issue. You can also try your local version of Legal Aid.)

Good luck!
melissamuse
Oct. 12th, 2003 10:54 am (UTC)
that was one of my points in a last post. do it anyway. comgemi announced, in a press conference, he would arrest anyone who participated if it went through. i would get arrested for this cause. there is nothing on which they could hold me.
i think that is a more effective tool than boycotting.
whitetara
Oct. 12th, 2003 02:48 pm (UTC)
Civil disobedience can make a powerful statement. I'd still advise you to consult a lawyer first, and to have him or her standing by with bail money.

There's something else to keep in mind, too. You said that there is nothing on which they could hold you. Remember that there is a vast difference between being able to legally hold you, and physically holding you. A vengeful police officer may be able to keep you overnight before your bail is even set. Trust me, they can make your life hell, at least in the short term. You need to be prepared for the worst if you're going to do it. That's all the more reason to have an attorney standing by, someone who can show up at the jail and demand to see his or her client. Though, even then, they are no guarantees.

However, I know zero about the Napoleonic law you have in Louisiana. All the more reason for you to get some local legal advice.

When is this shindig scheduled for? Please keep me informed.
melissamuse
Oct. 13th, 2003 07:43 am (UTC)
it has been canceled. again, kenner was the wrong place for it anyway. i've been chewed up and spit out for posting that i think people are making way too big a deal out of this. i still stand by that statement.
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