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This is a long post, for which I will not apologise. There is no TL;DR for this. You’ll read it sufficiently to get the idea, or you won’t. Either way, your decision is yours alone and you are responsible both for making it and for living with it – as are we all.

Originally posted to the author’s Facebook page.

I’ve been considering exactly how to do this for some time, and I’ve come up with no satisfactory answer, no solution that doesn’t trigger my anxiety over and over. For a long time – longer than I’d care to admit – I was determined that I wouldn’t do it at all, that the matter was mine and mine alone, and that only those people I trusted would have the information.

Well. Those whom I both trusted and were in regular contact. Some people I’ve still too many loaded feelings about to speak plainly to them, largely for fear of being a bother.

Understand, therefore, that I am writing this in sound mind, but a state of extreme personal distress.

It is not a plea. It is not an appeal. You will come to whatever conclusions on your own.

Recent events spur me to action. Certainly mine is an unimportant voice, one tiny whisper in a storm. Nonetheless I feel compelled, as matters on the world stage propel us to dark places, from which the global community has crawled back before but has refused to learn its very hard lessons.

So too do matters far from recent, issues stringing back decades and centuries and millennia, which compound upon the heart and mind of the thinking person who feels inclined to do even the most cursory of study into world history. These things punch downward as surely as those who wield the cudgel of doubt and the sabre of fear – politicians, religious leaders, media moguls and mega-corporations whose names we all know even without speaking them. These people give ‘conservative’ a bad name, even from the perspective of an unabashed progressive like myself.

Now more than ever in recent years do matters parallel outwardly, as well as inwardly, the events preceding the Second World War.

And now is the time when I need to stand up, even if only to add one tiny voice, all too easily ignored.

I am nonbinary.

Nonbinary pride flag

This constitutes my ‘coming out.’ I am now an out nonbinary individual. I am also bisexual, but that’s not new information. I may be somewhere in between bisexual and pansexual, but that’s neither hither nor yon, and it’s not the point of this message.

I am nonbinary. I do not identify as conforming to the gender binary. I do not identify as male or female; exactly how I DO identify is something I’m still privileged enough to be exploring, but I know, as a matter of absolute certainty, that the binary isn’t it.

To get the PSA portion of the message out of the way: I don’t care what pronouns you use to refer to me. As I am largely masculine in appearance, he/him is the most common and easiest for you. As neutral as I am to pronouns, I dislike gendered nouns; referring to me as ‘he’ won’t bother me, but a ‘man’ will earn an internal wince. It is unlikely that I’ll confront you about this. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother me.

I am nonbinary and I am proud of that, fiercely so in my own quiet way. I am not a font of knowledge to be tapped for your curiosity, nor a freak present for gawking amusement. I am a person, and deserve the same rights and dignity as any other. I am ferociously individual. I am who – and what – I am.

Part of what I am, though, is scared. Terrified. Anxiety issues aside, the news that the U.S. Government is planning to legally erase transgender rights is something that should petrify EVERYONE, no matter who they are or how they identify. Persecution of LGBT+ people is not new – we are used as scapegoats for everything from theoretical bathroom rape to natural devastation wrought by hurricanes, cyclones and wildfires. Many countries kill LGBT+ people when they find us. In some, an LGBT+ person is unspeakably lucky to live past 35. Even in supposedly ‘developed’ countries, a transgender person can fully expect to have their identity routinely ridiculed and disrespected after their death (which will disproportionately be due to either suicide or homicide).

This isn’t how I wanted to come out. I’m not convinced I wanted to come out at all. But the more of us who refuse to kowtow to fear pressed upon us by those who claim the right to rule without caring for the responsibility that role brings, the better.

We are under siege. Even the most Right-wing of evangelists and Left-wing of TERFs find themselves in lockstep with one another in denying our very existence. These new proposals are not the first sign that the United States of America is run by a Fascist administration, nor is it the second or even third, but it is a horrifying indicator of the ever increasing danger to transgender and nonbinary people.

So yes, I am afraid, and unashamedly so. I would be an idiot to not be afraid, and you are an idiot if you think I’ve no reason to be afraid. I am scared for my fellows over in the U.S. I am scared that cancerous Fascist policy will take root and spread. I am worried it will come here, to Australia, my beloved home, a nation that should know better but that has been committing cultural genocide for as long as white people have been on these shores, and whose people STILL seem unable to summon the compassion for refugees detained in off-shore camps which our media isn’t even permitted to approach.

I’m terrified that when the next great global conflict comes – as it will, whether prompted by politics, resources, ethics or religion – we transgender and nonbinary people will find ourselves rounded up and slaughtered in even greater numbers than we are now. I’m scared that even with my white skin and largely masculine appearance, these very words will be used to condemn me, ‘other’ me. As privileged as I am to have a voice, to be able to walk down the street without harassment, to live my life in relative peace, all of that – for everyone – is under greater and greater threat.

But as afraid as I am, as much as it paralyses me, I will not let it win. I will not stand in silence and pretend this isn’t happening.

If enough people speak out, even as tiny whispers, it becomes a roar.

This is my whisper. May it help us all make a roar together.

— Scott Thornby, 2018-10-23

Music Monday: ‘Dragonborn,’ Skar

‘Dragonborn,’ Skar

When I first booted up Skyrim by Bethesda Software, the most recent Elder Scrolls game at the time, it was with the understanding that I would most likely dislike the game.  I’ve no long-standing connection to the game series, you see, as I was bored by its predecessors.

This game, though, caught me from the very start with its title music.

Do not, for a moment, get me wrong: the game has issues.  The chief of these are addressed most efficiently, as is generally true of Bethesda games, by the modding community rather than the company itself.  Patches abound for mechanics tweaks, UI changes, bug fixes, mesh enhancements and countless more.

It seems just, therefore, that its title music should be treated to the same fan-propelled alteration.

I know next to nothing about Skar, but this track is incredible.  Its power is undeniable and suits perfectly a modern take on the warrior-culture of the Nord inhabitants of the game’s titular nation.

Listen in good health.

Music Monday: ‘Pretty People (Simlish Version),’ Dexter Freebish

Oh hell yes I’m putting down a game song for Music Monday!

Let’s be clear: I don’t know that much about Dexter Freebish or their(?) music.  Or even if ‘Dexter Freebish’ is the name of a single artist or a band.  I haven’t even Googled that far.

But when I came across this song whilst playing The Sims 2: University, I was freaking hooked.  Turns out I don’t like the original anywhere near as much as I dig this version.

The creation of music is a work of art, an act of expression, that ultimately adds that little bit more to the world (yes, even the really bad stuff).  To take that act of creation and adapt it to a fictional language with no set guidelines and barely any glossary (Simlish, in this case, the ‘tongue’ spoken by the Sims in all of the versions of the game of the same name), and still make it sound awesome, is no small feat.  While Pretty People is not the only extant song given the Simlish treatment, it is easily one of the best.

This is, it’s true, the kind of creativity that doesn’t get the credit it’s due.  Games are still viewed as silly things for kids who never grow up.  And maybe there’s a kernel of truth to that sentiment – from a particular point of view.

But if this is the kind of thing we get to rock out to, screw it.

Sul sul!

Music Monday: ‘Doctorin’ the TARDIS,’ KLF/The Timelords

Beautiful scenery.  Terrible effects.  Love it.

In honour of the commencement of Jodie Whittaker’s tenure as the Thirteenth Doctor, a flashback to this brilliant, iconic, awful piece of musical fan music.

The KLF were an electronic band in the UK, and it’s members… either released this as the Timelords, or were also producing music under that name independently of their KLF works.  I’m not sure and I’m not so invested as to feel the need to find out.  Hie thee to Google if you demand more info.

What this song was to me, however, was a terribly catchy, terribly enjoyable and, well, terribly terrible part of my youth.  It crashed into my awareness, unrepentant and brash, a powerful testimony to the act (and skill) of being able to fiercely love something and yet still be able to have a bit of fun with it.  Doctorin’ the TARDIS might be a dreadful mashup of sound clips and a rather blatant ripoff of a couple of other songs, but it is fun.  Honest, ridiculous fun.

And that’s all it needs to be.

I don’t, Gods forbid, present this as an example of good music.  It’s a reminder to those Doctor Who fans out there to check yourselves and ask the question: am I taking this too seriously?  Can I still have fun with it?  Can I expect solid programming out of Doctor Who and still genuinely enjoy it just for the sake of what it is, right now, today?

One of the core themes of the show is change.  If you can’t let it change, if you have to fight and bemoan and wail about it, are you really a fan of the show – the whole show – or are you just a fan of the small part with which you are most familiar?

Merry Music Monday, folks, and congratulations to Jodie Whittaker and the whole Doctor Who crew.  So far I’m loving it.

Music Monday: ‘! (The Song Formerly Known As),’ Regurgitator

Ah yes, Regurgitator, a true staple of Australian music.  This isn’t the first song of theirs that I heard but it was the first that I knew as a Regurgitator song.  Unit is the first of their albums that I listened to, the first I bought and remains my favourite.

This song in particular strikes quite a chord, as it reminds the listener that it’s actually okay to be a complete dork as long as you’re having a good time.

Enjoy!

Music Monday: ‘Calypso,’ Spiderbait

I woke up with this song in my head.  I don’t know why.

This is one of the songs of my younger years.  In 1997 I was twenty-one, still finding my feet and asking some very hard questions of myself regarding my identity, my worthiness, my goals and dreams and aspirations.  Many of those questions, another twenty-one years later, I have yet to answer.  This song, released at such an influential period in my life, retains a special place in my heart.

Enjoy, if you care to.

Music Monday: ‘Zombie,’ Bad Wolves

Yes, it’s a cover.

My information on this may be shaky but as I understand it, the artists (Bad Wolves) were intending to collaborate on this song with the Cranberries prior to Dolores O’Riordan’s death.  She was only four years older than me.  This song therefore became a tribute, and a compelling one it is.

The lyrics are a little different but they point out something utterly essential: we haven’t learnt.  For all our advances in technology, society and medicine, it truly is ‘the same old theme in 2018.’

Music (Makeup) Monday: ‘Bloodsucker,’ Paralysed Age

Argh!  I missed last Monday’s post!  Oh well.  Two posts for today, it seems.

I have a real soft spot for this song.  I first heard it as ‘Bloodsucker 2000’ on the album ‘Music from the Succubus Club.’  I won’t go into the nuances, but suffice it to say this dark but playful tune caught my heart pretty much immediately.

Music Monday: ‘Rock It For Me,’ Caravan Palace

This is the track that a friend of mine used to introduce me to the concept of electroswing and, more specifically, the excellent French band, Caravan Palace.  It remains one of my favourites of theirs, though others hold special places in my heart nowadays.

I don’t pay a great deal of attention to musical trends or genres, so I was unaware of the existence of electroswing before this song – and I have to say, I love it.  The fusion of old and new is kind of incredible, and Caravan Palace does it particularly well.

And so, I present it without further comment.  Enjoy.