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Note: This article has been cross-posted to KP Writes.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Seth MacFarlane's performance of his original song "I Saw Your Boobs" at the Oscars, and after reading articles concerning it on Jezebel and in the Atlantic, a few thoughts that have been percolating in my head have finally brewed into brain-coffee.

Now, I'm not going to write about the "I Saw Your Boobs" incident in particular, as I have nothing original to say on that score. What I've been thinking about is what constitutes humor in general. What makes something funny? And more to the point, when is it okay to mock something?

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Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 10:28 AM PDT

The Thing With The Womb

by Ms Pris

I read the news and hope it’s fake.

I wonder, is this what it feels like to choke on your own rage?

My eyes burn and I can’t breathe. I don’t have words. I just sputter.

There are no words left to say. I’ve said them all already, and there is no point in saying them again. I’ve been screaming into a void for months, achieving nothing but hearing my own voice echo back at me.

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As I was going to check my email, I came across this article on Yahoo!

It seems Tennessee's latest abstinence only law is to outlaw handholding. Yes. Handholding.

Can we just take a moment to actually talk about abstinence only education?

I live in MS. I received an abstinence only education. And I can tell you it doesn't work. Kids who are taught abstinence only are just as likely to have sex, and more likely to do it unsafely and associate sexual exploration and fulfillment as something shameful.

I'm a non gender normative, non sexual normative individual who was pushed through and broken by that system, and I've managed to pull myself together again relatively unharmed. Scuffed, but with more character for it. I'm a best case scenario. There are others who will have issues with shame and body image, not to mention self worth for years because of the slant MS takes on sexual education.

And those are just the psychological damages. There's also the high rate of teen pregnancy and the spread of venereal diseases, and just general ignorance all around. A MS sexual health class, if taught how the state mandates, actually teaches very little about sex itself. Everything I know about sex is information I went out of my way to learn myself.

The be all and end all of the class was "If you have sex, you're going to hell. If you have sex, your parents will hate you. If you have sex, your peers will revile you. If you have sex, you are a dirty whore. If you have sex, do all you can to hide it. If you need help, there is none to be found here."

Abstinence only education builds up sex into an event of such importance and significance that there is a tremendous feeling of pressure, of being watched, judged, every moment. It takes a long time to escape that feeling. It creates an unrealistic expectation of doom, a Sword of Damocles hanging over your head. The emphasis is DO NOT HAVE SEX DO NOT HAVE SEX HAVING SEX IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO NO DON'T DO IT DON'T, YOU HARLOTS, HEATHENS, DEMONS. It's about fear, and social stigma, rather than a calm, reasoned explanation of the inherent risks.

We need to, as a nation, accept that sexual feelings, from asexual to homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, and everything in between is a normal part of the human experience and stop minimizing the importance awareness and acceptance of your own sexuality plays in a well adjusted individual. Abstinence only education is never going to achieve that.

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Fri May 18, 2012 at 09:44 AM PDT

Daughter of a Southern 'Gentleman'

by Ms Pris

I was born in the southern tip of The South. I was born in Mississippi, so far south you can't go any farther without swallowing the sea.

I grew up among rows of churches and church goers, puzzled by why there needed to be two next door to each other.  I grew up listening to sermons that no one else seemed to hear, wondering why everyone claimed to be a good Christian when they immediately forgot the words of their so called Savior the moment they left the churchyard.

I grew up among a strong sense of tradition, of what men and women should be. I learned abstinence only education. I got used to seeing pregnant classmates as young as fourteen.

I grew up taught that the poor were just lazy. I grew up amongst a culture of hate. I grew up being told that gay people were evil. I grew up with prayer in schools.

I grew up thinking everything I was, everything I am, was a source of shame.

I am the bisexual daughter of a Southern Gentleman, and I grew up knowing that I could never tell him my true thoughts, my true opinions, on anything.

But last night, I did.

I'm still shocked by what he said.

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Having taken a cyber crime class, the first thing I wanted to do with my newfound understanding and appreciation of the issues inherent in legislating and policing the internet is examine the proposed internet regulation legislation that is a hot topic right now, at least among those of us who use the internet for more than email and ordering things from websites. In short, Geeks.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 3523), or CISPA for short, is being proposed as a way to enable the government to better secure networks against attacks and enforce copyrights and patents. The text addressing copyrights and patents was tacked on after the failure of the wildly unpopular SOPA (Stop Internet Piracy Act). While some internet sources claim that CISPA will be undergoing revisions before it is debated or voted upon, as the text currently reads I find it to be vague to the point of giving the government carte blanche to spy upon citizens and to interfere with the social culture that has emerged on the internet among those who typically are branded or assume the identity of ‘Geek.’

I mean of course those people who can be found on websites and message boards devoted to comic books, genre television, and the like. While in the days before the internet, we Geeks were limited to infrequently published fan magazines and conventions to interact with one another, the greater reach and connectivity of the internet has allowed us to build communities where we can discuss and share fan media centering around our interests. This is, of course, why attempts to regulate and perhaps censor this intangible neighborhood where we’ve made our home deeply concern us. Wanting to understand the legal issues surrounding this phenomenon that has allowed me personally to connect with so many people with similar interests is what made me want to take cyber crime classes in the first place.

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