My re-introduction and “viral mothers”

Greetings all.

Yep. I know. Awful. So much for “I’m really going to do this every week now…” — 6 months later….

But here I am.

And I’ve missed this. So I’m taking a chunk out of my stupid busy life to make it a point to write an entry today. Yes, I’m writing this entry at 7:30am. Never fear…I have coffee in hand…so the plan is that it won’t be complete nonsense.

I’ve had a bit of an epiphany concerning the kind of writing I would want to do if I intend to actually do something with this crazy degree I’m getting.

It’s Paula Treichler’s idea that “cultural interpretations of biomedical phenomena and biological catastrophes are important to the understanding of disease in a social world” – and this is truly the knot of my various strands of study. It’s where the vampires and zombies can roam freely with Foucault and Haraway living dis-harmoniously, wreaking havoc in society’s imagined boundaries of disease. It’s my job to blur those boundaries, to help raise the questions about hard science and disease and disaster that don’t get asked enough in scientific contexts. I’m taking my cue from Paula Treichler, Brad Lewis and Bernice Hausman, (my adviser, his friend who teaches at Virginia Tech, who is also my friend’s teacher–small world), Donna Haraway, Sandra Harding, etc.

So for my “re-introduction” into the blogsphere, I decided to read an article passed off to be by Brad Lewis…oh….close to a year ago. Good for me that I’ve now read it. (This article is like 10 pages long and the matter of a subway ride if you want a clue into the massive business that has been my life). The article by Virginia Tech professor Bernice Hausman is entitled “Contamination and Contagion: Environmental Toxins, HIV/AIDS, and the Problem of the Maternal Body.”

Hausman addresses a recent (and by recent I’m being broad…like a decade kind of broad) hot button topic in public health, the risks and benefits of breastfeeding. Stick with me here. (More after the fold…)

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“I’d rather be a cyborg than a goddess”

This semester I am being immersed in theory. It’s overwhelming, but I appreciate the new layers it’s likely going to bring to this project. In one class I’m reading feminist theory for the first time as well as post-modernism, post-structuralism, deconstructionism – and in the other I’m drowning in the political, sociological, political, anthropological theories of community…

I have so much in here *points to head* that I need to get some of it here…I’ll try to leave class discussion to my classes and just bring what I can relate to my particular interests here – though there is still a lot that’s relevant that may be left out.

Let’s start with my introduction to cyborgs. Last week I read Donna Haraway’s “A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the 1980’s” – and before I started I was so deeply skeptical of how I could bring it back to the Contagious Narrative. And yet here I am. I’m grappling with it and will likely build on this entry later in the semester when I get to read about Haraway’s use of the vampire metaphor (as I’m sure it’s different from my own).

“…a cyborg world might be about lived social and bodily realities in which people are not afraid of their joint kinship with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints.”–Donna Haraway

But already I’m interested in this vision of the cyborg. Something part animal, part machine. But when Haraway used the word “hybrid” to denote cyborg it became something less technology based for me… what about vampires as hybrids…clearly they are hybrids of living and undead. They are human, but not. They are animal – but machine? We could potentially see the “undeath” of a vampire as mechanical in some ways. Take a computer for example…it isn’t biological, but it is partially alive – it “thinks” – so vampires do not breathe or bleed or live – but yet they live, and devour, and turn. And there is more than one way I can think of the activities of the undead as being somewhat mechanical…or at least methodical…

And then my thought processes turn elsewhere…How do we get from there to here….

“Cyborg writing must not be about the Fall, the imagination of a once-upon-a-time wholeness before language, before writing, before Man. Cyborg writing is about the power to survive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other.” -Donna Haraway

I like this quote. I started thinking of recognizable cyborgs and inevitably got mixed up…but here is where my mind went. I thought about Frankenstein and his creation. At first look we would consider the monster to be the cyborg. He is human and yet he was built by a human, he is man-made, part animal, parts of many animals.

But “The Fall” has become so distanced from what we feel as “our origins” that we no longer relate to Adam/Eve, but turn from it and even equate it with what we consider monstrous. If cyborg writing must not be about the fall – then the monster’s felt connection with Adam and his attempt to return to the “once-upon-a-time wholeness” that Haraway knows, we know, and Frankenstein knows does not exist then are we more cyborg than he?


Beware the Vampire (Bat)

I’ve got a really great post brewing to get this school year kicked off right and to get the Contagious Narrative back in motion — but for now enjoy this tiny little tidbit…

Hey remember not too long ago when I posted a very short article that sort of haphazardly mentioned a few more than normal cases of rabies in Venezuela and Peru? Hey, hey! It’s the vampire bat—go figure!

Short article and clip from National Geographic HERE

No wonder rabies is the new infectious disease being tossed around in plague narratives. Look at the recent film Quarantine or Chuck Palahniuk’s Rant.

Rabies. Hmph. How long have I been trying to say it’s not that much different from the vampiric infection or Rage for that matter? After all, let’s remember that rage and rabies share their etymology.

These Peruvian bats kill for sustenance, for survival – but the people they then infect…”the droolers” as Palahniuk calls them – their actions are no longer their own. Whatever ranting, raving, drooling madness they become…they are not themselves. They are other.

Okay, enjoy! (Like a said…teaser…tidbit) – I’ll be back, hopefully by Monday, with a brand new (longer) spiffier entry to really give the CN a jump start for the school year!


Okay, okay. I know. I was doing so well there for about a month. Slacker. Been a weird month, give me a break.

But I guess WHO has officially declared a pandemic. So I’m curious to everyone’s thoughts on this.

I haven’t really been following because…well…no one else really has either…right? I mean it’s kind of fallen out of the news…

I wonder if this will cause a reboot in news and panic?

Nearly 30,000 infected, but only 141 confirmed deaths….

I don’t know what to make of this really.

Thoughts, words, rants, questions, fantasies, delusions?

Civilization After The End

I am posting my final paper for my Violence and Metaphor class because I think it is some really good shit. Enjoy.

It’s below the fold to not annoy people too much and to not take up my whole front page. (Edit: 10-8-09: It’s now split up into multiple parts -hopefully- to make it easier to read)
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I disagree with the CDC

Hi.  Reed here.

The CDC put out a report, according to, saying that “Swine Flu Parties” are a bad idea.

Initial reaction:  Whaaa???

PigVaginaKleenex Then, I got to this part:

"It’s a big mistake putting individuals and children at risk, and the CDC does not recommend that people follow that course," he said.

The idea, which reportedly first surfaced on speciality Internet sites, comes from "chickenpox parties," where sick children infect healthy ones with the chickenpox virus.

Parents who do this usually oppose vaccinating their children, or want them to have stronger immunity against more virulent strains.

Reaction:  Oh fuck me.  Jenny McCarthy, if I ever meet you, I will kick you in the testicles.

I’ve given a little bit of thought to these parties where, according to Wonkette, “you invite somebody infected with the dread swine flu and then roll around on that person’s dirty Kleenexes,” and I must say that I now disagree with the CDC.

These parties are a fabulous idea!

If you’re dumb enough to think that purposefully infecting yourself and your children with a lethal virus about which we only understand a little bit, please be my guest and invite as many of your Aniti-Vax friends. Avoid bringing your children, but if you must, at least we get their portions of your genes out of the gene pool too.

Honestly, we were evolved to love and nurture our children while protecting them from harm.  Without that instinct, we wouldn’t be alive.  If you’re perfectly willing to put your children in direct exposure to a virus about which we know very little but which has killed 44 people, there is something mentally–and probably genetically–wrong with you.  Please exit the gene pool.


Cross-posted on Homosecular Gaytheist.


Hello readers. Thanks for bearing with me while I took a much needed vacation at home in Roanoke. I didn’t look at a newspaper, television, or allow myself to discuss Swine Flu at all…and it proved to be very restful indeed. But now, as I sit in the Roanoke Regional Airport…waiting for the fog to lift, it’s time to get back to work. Here is a snippet from a news article I read this morning about the WHO discussing moving to level 6, the last and highest pandemic threat level…

WHO chief Margaret Chan warned against over-confidence following a stabilization in the number of new cases of the H1N1 strain that has proved deadly in Mexico.

“Level 6 does not mean, in any way, that we are facing the end of the world. It is important to make this clear because (otherwise) when we announce level 6 it will cause an unnecessary panic,” she told Spanish newspaper El Pais.


Now for any of you who keep up with my Twitter feed…maybe you noticed the other day that I had a somewhat ominous sounding “tweet” along the lines of “panic and hysteria spread faster than the flu”. This thought occurred to me as I was sitting in LaGuardia on Thursday evening watching a news segment and you could just see how panicked everyone was…and how the media was feeding it.

I’m amused by this “unnecessary panic” I wonder exactly what kind of panic is necessary…

They keep saying things like… “no need to panic” but if they really meant it…they wouldn’t use the word panic…they would raise us to a Pandemic Threat Level 6…but panic is exactly what they want. Not a full scale break down of systems, rioting, and the apocalypse. But a little healthy dose of panic…a healthy dose of panic to take the eyes off of the economy.

“Not the end of the world,” says Margaret Chan — no, it’s not. It is just the sort of slight of hand thing the government and media need to get us to look the other way for two ticks.

Wow…I bet this sounds terribly conspiratorial of me. Apologies.

Maybe it’s because I’m sitting in an airport. Ugh. Anyway…I have on a spiffy new hat. So comment away. Not on the hat…on the blog.