Angela Bocage


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the activism category.

Tearful a.m., blessed p.m., and–CORGIS. And a new cartooning possibility…!

I’ve been neglecting this more serious blog to have my silly fun over at my MySpace blog, but enough of that…today was enough of both, really. And anyway, when my much-admired blogger, serious, scholarly, politically aware, ethical, cool, Witch and polyamourist pal tells me she’s gonna make a t-shirt that says “I’m not Prince Charming but I’ll F*** You ‘Til He Gets Here,” all the categories blur…we might do a comic strip together, though, about her adventures dating straight girls! They are SO into her, which I can totally understand anyone being, and it’s certainly about time for me to draw some more.

Anyway, this morning we had to go in early, because my resked’d driving test was at 2 and my spouse had to drive into the city from her suburban office and had to get work done first, of all things. So maybe i was somewhat sleepless. But when this nice young guy at work, who’d also used to frequent the late lamented Blackout Books in NYC, brought in the Rolling Stone article about Brad Will, I couldn’t read much before I flat-out lost it. I couldn’t stop crying. I clenched my teeth, told myself it was better to just cry as quietly as possible and get some work done than go to the ladies’ room because I’d probably just break down worse there, and sloggy kleenex after sloggy kleenex plopped into my plastic-lined cheapo office wastebasket….

Everybody knows who Brad Will is, right? Ha! The corporate media sure had the disappearance of some pretty teenager partying with her senior class in Grenada all over every front page in America, but the cold blooded political murder, in Oaxaca, of a scruffy guy who was there to report the truth? Not so much. The “truth,” unwieldy and blobbularly nebulous concept that it is on its best day, was so bizarrely corsetized into homogenized yuppiethink in the Rolling Stone article that I wasn’t just crying for Brad, and for the loss of Brad, and for a world that’s lost him, but for the smarmy monkeyshit in which his memory is buried, if articles like this are all anyone sees. Apparently there are other written and filmic accounts in the works, and i will definitely, definitely write about what i find.

In the meantime, I stuck my earphones in and blasted myself deaf in the left ear between the False Prophets’ Overkill and Blind Obedience again and again and more personally-cheering pieces like Plastic Bertrand’s Ca Plan Pour Moi, Loreena McKennitt’s Dante’s Dream, and Current 93’s Tam Lin, playing drums and bass somewhere on the astral plane, and, strangely, getting a prodigious amount of work done before time to leave for my driver’s test.

The taxi ride over to Columbus Boulevard and Tasker, where the Driver’s License Center sits most harmoniously with its surroundings on the corner, certainly corroborated my lovely coworker Mahesha’s information that that neighborhood’s drivers are libertarian absolutists regarding which lane one can turn left out of. We almost, but did not, get killed on one such occasion, so I busied myself reading interesting facts in the Rights and Responsibilities sections, for both passengers and drivers, posted on the back of the front seat. I fantasized that since the driver was a total slob, and yakked departure-to-arrival on his cell phone, thereby abdicating two of his responsibilities, perhaps I could have been forgiven for schlepping a muddy baby goat or incontinent miniature horse, as two of my responsibilities were not to tote “unrestrained” animals and not to dirty the interior.

Though Coach was a lot more worked up about the test than I was, the Powers smiled lovingly and I got the sweetest, nicest, most gallant–I’d venture to say courtliest!–driving tester one could imagine! What a sweetheart! And slipped as effortlessly between the now-daylit parking cones [I’d practiced there the night before, along with some other enterprising women–cf. my MySpace] as a muddy baby goat into a taxi! No, wait, MUCH more so!!! And this is after a calm, cool, collected cruise ’round the area–so the sweetie-pie tester turns to me after I’ve reparked Coach’s vehicle (Pallas Athena aka “Speedy”) and says “As we say in South Philly, ‘Bingole!'” (And Coach’s sun-visor St. Christopher medal, which had survived WWII on a submarine, probably came out of the duck-and-cover position he’d assumed when her Hebrew honey got behind the wheel…)

So watch out, cz i’z licensed to pilot carz in todos los Estados Unidos, y Guam, France, Germany, and Puerto Rico tambien!!! And so we came home and this evening watched The Queen, which is brilliant, and whose Corgis won the coveted Fido award, Britain’s canine answer to the Oscars, and deserved it richly every one. The cuteness ALONE woulda aced it, but their dance of synchronized obedience to queenly directives was too prosh!!! and any dog lover should seriously see this flick…even if it was a tad inaccurate in the conformation of the Labradors.

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Michael Vick gets away with murder–and a real man who saves lives

Straight up, I don’t really read Sports Illustrated, but CNN-SI online,  in George Dohrmann’s article “The House on Moonlight Road” lays out simple, stark facts about the small black buildings in the woods behind the Vick property http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/football/nfl/05/29/vick0604/index.html . Behind this respectable-looking, spacious property in Smithfield, Virginia, the little black buildings, hardly visible in the daytime among the trees, wouldn’t have been noticed at all at night. There, Michael Vick either ran or supported what I would call a torture chamber where sentient, sensitive creatures were bled and injured and murdered for men’s enjoyment, their “sport.” The article is far more objective than I am. It quotes not only investigating officer Kathy Strouse, but athletes, NFL officials, and HSUS authorities. The latter, interestingly, admit that well before Kathy Strouse went to Moonlight Road they knew that both the NFL and NBA harbor many more such murderers; one sports figure, who insists his pit bull dog is a “pet,” nevertheless affirms his understanding that sooner or later, hey, a guy’s just gonna wanna know how tough is dog is.  So, in the scenario that was repeated hundreds upon hundred of times on Vick’s property and others, he’ll force her to fight until she kills another dog or is torn and damaged to the point where the “guy’s” part of the drama is clear: no, he won’t get her to an emergency hospital! He’ll kill her, of course, as cruelly as possible, to distance himself from her “weakness.” This article is not sensationalistic or exploitive, and author George Dohrmann is to be strongly commended for that clarity, and especially for having  the guts to include words and actions from a true real-life hero, the animal control officer Kathy Strouse.  A member of the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force, it was Strouse’s deductions which put the evidence into perspective, deductions based on observations over 22 years as an officer, expert witness, and teacher of animal officers throughout the country.  Her knowledge made crystal clear what so many would love to call murky, controversial, confusing. Confusion is so convenient at times–the forces of oppression and cruelty, and their sympathizers in the media, love to find reasons for it.

Kathy Strouse isn’t the only hero I’d like to focus on, however. I know how often we’re importuned by causes seeking our support, petitions to be signed that get buried in the incoming junk mail or forgotten in the rush to work, to do the laundry, change the baby, write that letter, all the rush of our wonderful messy lives. But to wash the evil taste of fear and death away, please take a look at Eric Ardia of Smilin’ Pitbull Rescue (www.spbr.org/ ) . Eric has been doing what he does–rescuing, transporting, fostering, caring for, these loyal, silly, loving high-personality dogs, and the huge huge invisible work of organizing that includes so many phone calls, introductions, connections, lists and time–for eight years, and his site explains why it honors his late sister, an environmentalist and educator. Look at the glow in those big ol’ pitbull faces when they know they are loved and wanted! The goofy antics of one of his rescues, Precious! And see Mighty, the vulnerable little pup that almost didn’t make it, as he gains strength and spirit. And then click on Smilin’ Pitbull Rescue’s laconically-named “Anti-Vick” button. If you can donate, or buy a t-shirt, or tell people about this site, please do it. But it’s so easy to add your name to the petitions. I’ve shared that mushy-mush picture of a “real man”–in the very best sense it can be–huggin’ his pittie with loads of folks today.

Because the most Michael Vick can be punished at this writing is five years in jail. That’s what I mean by getting away with murder. And unless he’s banned from US football, a pro team will hire him, my football experts tell me–he’ll have won on both fronts and the world will be that much safer for cruelty and callousness. Eric Ardia sets a counter example, of honor, of love, and of hard work. That’s the kind of guy I want my son and my friends’ sons to look up to.


More on Nikki Craft…

I just read a splendid article about the mechanisms of discrediting feminist writing (Over Her Dead Body: How Ariel Levy Smears the Ashes of Andrea Dworkin, by Julian Real at http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/levy/index.html )   because thinking about how much I like my praying mantises and miss my times with Nikki Craft prompted me to look up some websites by and about her. Although it was a painful and difficult time, memories of Nikki are mostly so joyful and full of energy and hope. I remember sitting with her and some other young women in her beautiful artful rented room in a house in Santa Cruz, where there was a little stepladder up to her bed, I assume thoughtfully placed there so her little dog Casper wouldn’t have to jump up and down. How funny she was in her observations of the some of the ludicrous goings-on in Santa Cruz at the time. But how ardently she spoke against cruelty to animals, how she lived her compassion with Casper, and how cogently she linked her witness of  mass murdered dogs in a field to the murders of women we seemed to hear about every other week back then. She was the kindest, most passionate, most friendly individual I’d ever met at my work on the school newspaper, City on a Hill Press.

Most of the people working there when I first started in 1977 or 1978 were really scary to me, a very sheltered Southern girl who’d never been out after ten p.m. except to church events before coming to the University. They were also, compared to me, extremely affluent, well-traveled, with experience of the world and a lot more choices. I was just an illustrator and paste-up person, working there to afford rent, cheap film series, the occasional record, used (yup, they were vinyl then) at Logos. I had to drop out of school repeatedly to pay for school; cleaning houses,  cleaning the machines at the Wrigley plant or graveshifting packing tea boxes at Lipton, eventually getting what I thought was the greatest gig ever, selling tickets at the Del Mar theater, which meant that by local convention I could attend any film in the area free–yes, even at the arthouses, hallelujah! Other students had internships at museums or national magazines; my first summer in college I’d made change from a booth at the boardwalk arcade because I was too clumsy on the machines that sold tickets to the rides. Boy, was I an idiot–depressed, isolated, and of the world outside my devout theoretical universe (I coulda told you reams about the history of the Christian Church and the labyrinthine eddies of its doctrinal samba-dancin’ over the centuries!) I knew so so little. The guys (mostly guys) who did writing & editing were every bit as sure they came from a different and superior universe from me as I was.

Knowing and working with Nikki changed my life. Even after the young woman had a firebrand reputation, even after she’d become a lightning rod in the debate between people who cared about women’s lives and the men who loved their porn, she was able to walk into the offices of City on a Hill Press–testosterone central–and charm all the guys immediately with her genuine friendliness, humor, precious little white dog, and killer shoulder massages. I was gobsmacked at her elan! Oh, but like the thing with the vinyl, I guess I gotta explain that everybody gave everybody shoulder massages in those days. Just not always on first meeting! And before desktop publishing, y’all, layout and pasteup people were extremely grateful for Nikki’s. And she was drop dead gorgeous with those huge clear eyes and glossy dark hair, whether she was wearing claystained sweat pants and a bandana on her head or a funky crazy sparkly Myth California gown. She inspired me to read, read, read, read, Susan Griffin and Mary Daly and the Take Back the Night anthology and take a class in lesbian literature…I’ll continue this sometime, but I have to wake up early for work now, so that’s just a few random memories of a shrewd and sneaky saint of my early life! Definitely, definitely check out the Julian Real article. Apparently Ms. Nikki Craft was also an inspiration to that author.


D.I.Y. takes on new meaning! Or: a yam by any other name is just as sweet?

Brilliant lovely accomplished Spouse is lunching with her adorable distinguished top-attorney-in-all-the-land-in-her-specialty Mentor. Ms. Mentor is bemoaning the lack of quality help compared to way back when Miss Spouse was her law clerk.

Mentor: They give me people like “Bob” [probably not his real name]. He’s already bilged outta two other practice groups! Then they sent him to a satellite office. And the satellite office sent him back! Oy. I mean, he’s a sweet guy–”

Spouse: Hmm, when I was a wee lass, saying “sweet guy” in that tone was my Daddy’s way of intimating “dumb as a yam.”

Mentor: Ahh, but don’t insult the yams. They have growth potential!

So Don’t Insult the Yams is gonna be on a homemade t-shirt for my beloved. Don’t tell her! I put her on a secret “ridiculous t-shirt of the month plan” since she looks so adorable in them; “I failed driver’s ed,” with an upside down automobile; “I do all my own stunts” with a universal human symbol racing forward with its butt on fire; and The Da Vinci Cod: the Mona Lisa cradling a large fish. But this one I shall create myself.

(Although I must encourage everyone to support the wonderful science education site from which the Cod shirt comes. It’s got super great nature stuff and supports science education: www.whatdidyoubringme.homestead.com. We got one of our elderly aunties a lovely hummingbird totebag, and my son a glow in the dark bats hat. And I got a lovely black praying mantis hat and black praying mantis t-shirt, nostalgic for my brief career in the Praying Mantis Women’s Brigade. Viva Nikki! And viva science education!)


Underrated Urban Decay, and supporting companies that don’t support cruelty

One of my favorite makeup companies is Urban Decay. Their grouchy little garbage cans of shadow with flip-up lids are among the most underrated products around: get past their campily overpunked names like “gash,” “uzi,” and “asphyxiation,” or my fave: “polyester bride,” and you’ve got really lovely, wearable, durable color that’s as silky as a dream and as sheer or as bold as you choose to make it. It’s the combination of these shadows’ tenacity and their creamy-silky texture I can’t praise enough… but people like the brilliant and adorable Linda Rosewood(www.moremadonnalessjesus.com),  who’ve never bothered with makeup, will never share my wonder at Urban Decay, because they weren’t dopey enough in high school to wear the horrid, chalky, crumbly cheap-ass drugstore crap eyeshadow I endured. I shudder at the bitter memories! But perhaps if someone were to lure such ladies to indulge themselves in a playful session of ornamentation, they’d like the little garbage cans, or the bright satin of Urban Decay’s deluxe shadow line, in spite or because of the fact it comes instead in jewelboxy little thematically embellished mirrored compacts with more elemental names like Peace, Honey, Graffitti, and Fishnets. Peace is acid-trip cerulean, Graffitti pungent green, Honey warm dark gold.

I swear my makeup obsession really began when, as little Southern girls, bunches of us would be playing outside and choose one to be The Queen,  put flowers in her hair and berry juice on her lips, bedeck her with more flowers, and any “dress-up stuff” fabric or jewelry our female relatives let us play with, and adore the female beauty of our peers (which could be anyone’s)! Actually, it more likely started with those female relatives. Look at my cousin Jennifer Horne’s “Aunts” poem (linked to at right). Of course, we were damn lucky we didn’t get poisoned by the wrong berry, bitten by brown recluses, or felled outright by some deadly birdshit-borne virus…

Like deep-Southern little girls, the Urban Decay folks know how much fun makeup is supposed to be. More importantly, they are one of the rare companies whose sites take a stand against cruelty. Too Faced only talks about that anymore in terms of the boys’ (excellent!) makeup brushes, and nary a mention remains on Stila’s site–although of course after Estee Lauder sold the company it was bought late in 2006 by an “investment firm” that also runs, among other things, an aluminum extrusion company, a couple of plumbing supplies, building materials, synthetic textile, and other companies of no discernible aesthetic focus. (But wait, don’t give up on Stila yet–instead look for more Stila news here first, because an insider has promised to give this blog the real scoop real soon!) Although Urban Decay states that they are “not a vegan company,” they are nevertheless kind enough to designate, with an appropriate paw print, the significant number of their products which are vegan.  The site http://www.caringconsumer.com/ can help  find other companies we critter-lovers can actively and happily support. PETA also offers a downloadable catalog of cruelty-free companies as well as a yearly caring consumers’ catalog one can order at http://www.petacatalog.org.


If you needed any more reasons to love Hayden-Harnett…

Just got their email saying they’re stepping up their whimsical-in-name, serious-in-results “Friends of Al” project, offering anyone who buys their Friend of Al shopping tote 20% off the rest of their order. In addition, out of the very reasonable $55 price for the sturdy and pretty tote, $25 goes to organizations fighting global warming–plus, our Hayden-
Harnett friends will plant ten trees. Well, bravo again, Toni and Ben–not only for creating your line of gorgeous, timeless, beautifully well-made, imaginative, and did I mention gorgeous, bags, but also for making them in such beautiful colors, and even more for using real girls as your models, featuring Py the Cat on your website, taking dreamlike pictures and sharing them, and now, supporting one of the most serious concerns facing the planet.

And, dear readers, even if you don’t share my purse passion, my bag besottedness, Hayden-Harnett make a lot of other cool stuff (e.g., clothing, jewelry, wallets, eyeglass cases) as well, and you shop–everybody has to shop–so use their birdy-dreamish green and natural canvas bag instead of paper, or plastic.  http://haydenharnett.com/news/friendsofal.html


Robbin’ Robin….

March 17th, at the San Francisco finals of the National Teen Poetry Slam presented by Youthspeaks, a poet did something unprecedented and crazy: after getting scores like 9.2 and 9.4 in the first round for his slash-and-burn Popolitical, and hearing the fierce round of boos from the packed audience in the Masonic Auditorium for the paltry scores, Robin Black spoke directly and defiantly to the panel of judges before his second round offering: “Man, I’m not here for y’all!”

Only then did he throw down The Revelation or the Bullet, a challenge to every human being living in these times. Again the same comparatively low scores, and again the poetry-loving house responded to those scores with outraged screams and boos. And while Robin was thus not one of the five SF poets going on to the next round of the National Slam, he was very, very clear about the message he was there for.

Afterwards, greeted with much more love by members of the audience than he had been by the judges, invited to participate in events, invited to hang out with new poets and poets he’d already heard and respected, and getting his hand grabbed by an elderly lady who told him “those motherfuckers motherfuckin’ robbed you!” Robin isn’t wasting time being mad because he brought the finest rocky road and the judges wanted to taste butter pecan, he’s already going back to the hard work that brought him this far: the high-risk kid with a record, the high-school dropout who chose to teach himself, is taking those next steps he can’t not take, because that’s who he is…not there for the judges, but there for the message, there for the people.

Check out his work at the link on the right, especially Revelation and Popolitical. I looked into this child’s eyes the day he was born and knew he had some kind of amazing gift to give the world, some kind of starry core of fierce compassion and clear vision, and I am proud beyond words that he’s my son.



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