TaraElla Themes 2017-18

A Moral Liberty
Contrary to popular (American) belief, real liberals are not Left (or Right), but pro-liberty.
The Ideas Lab is on a campaign to revive Moral Liberalism.
For more about Moral Liberalism, read TaraElla's book The Moral Libertarian Horizon.

A Liberal and Truly Intersectional Feminism, no GLIF

Only Liberal Feminism is Truly Intersectional Feminism. Learn more here.
Both the Ideas Lab and The TaraElla Show aim to advance liberal intersectional feminism.
To learn more about how other 'intersectional' feminists are doing it wrong, read The Disappointment of G.L.I.F.

More Music
More new work will be added to the catalog of TaraElla's Music.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

From a Music Chart to Seeing Culture At Large - Family Friendly vs Inclusive?

My personal music chart, the Jenienland charts, have been running for over a decade now. Some have praised it for bringing family friendly music to people's attention. However, others have criticised that, on occasion, a not-so-family-friendly (in my opinion and others' opinion) hit comes up. A good example would be last year's How We Do by Rita Ora. Why don't I make it all family friendly, people have asked.

The reason is that I stand for the principle of equal opportunity for all cultures and lifestyle choices, as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else. I am inclined towards more traditional sounds and cultural themes myself generally, but I do give every song an equal opportunity, and if I like it, I like it. Even if it means Rita Ora going number one.

I extend this approach to other cultural matters too. Culture should be a matter of free market and competition, I believe, and may the best cultures win.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Using 'Partner' for Same Sex Marriages

A while back, Associated Press has reportedly issued a memo stating that generally their writers should use the word 'partner' rather than 'husband' or 'wife' when referring to same sex marriages. They have also been respectful about letting writers use 'husband' or 'wife' for those couples who have used it themselves regularly. This has stirred controversy in some quarters. As a result, AP has now clarified that the terms husband and wife can be used for any married couple.

However, I personally agreed with the AP decision. These are the same standards I use myself anyway. Husband and wife are quite gendered terms, and I think not all married same sex couples will identify with those terms. Using the term partner has quite a tradition in gay culture, and it is respectful. My lesbian friend agrees with me.

In fact, I have decided to use that standard for everyone now, using a non-discrimination principle. All couples are referred to as 'partners' in my articles, unless they self refer to themselves as husband and wife. After all, even heterosexual couples may not abide by these gendered terms in their lived reality.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Case of Stevie Nicks: Why Drugs are Bad for You

I have often maintained my belief that a lifestyle of alcohol and recreational drug use is no good for anybody's wellbeing, and I am very serious about it. Some have blamed my stance on my conservatism, yet I can clearly tell you that it's a clearly reasoned decision. I don't even support the criminal laws surrounding recreational drug use - I believe they are useless and anti-dignity. But I maintain that it is my duty to point out the pitfalls of a lifestyle of alcohol and recreational drug use.

Here is just one more example.

Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks recently discussed her past cocaine use on TV. "Save your money, because it's gonna cost you $50,000 to go to rehab... You will have to go or you will die," she told cocaine users out there. Clearly the cocaine use didn't work out too well for her. And I suspect it won't really work out well for anybody else either - after all, that reality is the same for everyone.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lindsay Lohan: A Case of Privilege

So Lindsay Lohan avoided jail again recently, but will have to spend 90 days in rehab. Reportedly, she was upset because she would have to spend her birthday in rehab. However, sympathy from out there is very thin - many commentators I have seen are calling for her to be put in jail instead.

Why so much animosity towards her?

I guess the answer is that she has a case of privilege that most people won't have. Regarding the rehab sentence, for example, she can choose to pay an expensive sum to check into a relatively nice place, whilst a poor person facing the same sentence would have to opt for a state run facility that is similar to jail. At least she can be spending her birthday in a place that doesn't look like jail! Also, despite her chaotic lifestyle in recent years, she continues to receive jobs, and the money that comes with it. Many people who choose to live this lifestyle would have been long unemployed. What a privilege!

I guess sections of Hollywood is full of unearned privilege, and many of us are frustrated.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

On Opposing the 'Civil Union Boycott' Movement

Recently I have seen gay couples who have decided to 'hold off everything' until they can legally marry in their home country. This seems to be the case especially in places like parts of Europe and Australia, where marriage equality is not yet reality but might soon be. However, I really don't agree with this. In my opinion, if you are ready to commit, you should commit by having a ceremony and drawing up legal connections. If you are not ready to commit, that's another matter, but if you are ready to commit, you should.

The legislation of marriage equality, although important, is a political affair. Having a formal ceremony and drawing up legal connections as much as possible are personal affairs. If one cannot register a legal marriage yet, there are still ways to live in commitment, in the same spirit that a marriage should be lived in. One can have a formal commitment ceremony and at the same time have either a civil union or registered partnership (where it is available) or at least draw up legal contracts and update their will (where civil unions are not available). One can, in the ceremony, announce to everyone their legal commitments, and their spiritual commitments to stay together to the exclusion of all others and for life. After all, a publicly declared legal and spiritual commitment with the intention that this commitment is exclusive and lifelong is what marriage is about. This is the core of the spirit that should be guiding marriages anyway, and couples interested in marriage can and should also live in this spirit even where legal marriage is unavailable to them.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Carly Rae Jepsen Hopes to Push for Change

Carly Rae Jepsen recently pulled out of a Boy Scouts of America concert because she did not agree with their stance banning gay members.

My admiration for her just increased five fold. I admire people who stand up for their beliefs, and do their part to push for change.

Can all of you learn anything from this? I'm sure this is good inspiration.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Katy Perry vs Feminism - Which has a Problem?

There was a lot of controvery when Katy Perry declared that she was not a feminist last year. After all, according to some people, feminism simply means that women should be equal to men. And it's likely that Katy Perry does believe in that, I think.

However, it's more likely that the image of feminism has a problem. For example, a brief search reveals that feminism has been associated with the following:
-women who would like to be homemakers forced out into the workforce
-the despising of traditionally feminine women
-the introduction of unilateral divorce
-man-hating and the supremacy of women over men
-the devaluation of family life
-transphobia, often of the most serious kind

In the ideal world none of these should be in any way related to feminism. Yet they are now, unfortunately. It is a problem that needs to be fixed.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why do people 'hate' Taylor Swift? How about, Back Off Bullies!

Recently, I have seen many people writing about wondering why Taylor Swift has become hated by 'so many people' recently. They offer all kinds of explanation, but it really doesn't do the topic justice. In my opinion, it's a simple phenomenon that unfortunately frequently occurs in schools, although even more sadly some adults seem to never have grown out of it. It's called bullying.

Let's address the accusations first. Is she fake? We don't really know, but we don't know that about anyone else either. Is she bad for feminism? I can't see it, unless feminism means the denial of human reality and the embracing of a 'fantasy' world where girls should never act like girls. It is these people with these weird fantasies of how the world should be that have destroyed the perfectly good aspiration of being housewife for many young women, it is these people who have given feminism a bad name in some circles. Who are they to say that Taylor is bad for feminism then? Does she have too many boyfriends? She has not gone through a marriage or commitment ceremony with any of them, so she's entitled to leave whenever she wants to. Has she been mean to other women? There is no evidence of that, unless you count her songs as 'evidence'. Even more ridiculously, today I came across an article which said that it was her fault that after a year she was still saying how hurt she was at Kanye West's inappropriate behaviour, and how she was perpetuating racist stereotypes - just by telling us how she felt. Needless to say, I won't even dignify this 'argument' with a response.

So there's really no reason to dislike Taylor Swift.

My theory is that Taylor Swift is being collectively bullied, nothing more. We last saw this phenomenon with Britney Spears when she was younger. I know so many people were at least secretly happy to see Britney cry on TV that day in 2006. And I think I know the reason why it has happened to these two and not others.

Hollywood is unfortunately filled with types who unfortunately don't care about being good role models, and promote a lifestyle of endless alcohol, sex and recreational drugs. No amount of accusations will change the image of certain public figures (I don't wish to name names here but you know what type of person I am referring to) because their images are so rotten already. But Taylor Swift has a great image and is therefore different. Some of those people who have launched a verbal attack on Taylor Swift probably at least subconsciously believe they can help destroy her. It's the same kind of perverted satisfaction that comes from deliberately voting for poorly performing contestants on singing shows and seeing the next day that the frontrunner is gone.

In Hollywood, sadly sometimes it pays to be rotten. At least you don't get picked on like Taylor. How sad.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Justin Bieber Earns More Than $6,000 per Hour

It has recently been reported that Justin Bieber earned an estimated $55 million last year, or more than $6,000 per hour.

This is really wrong. I have nothing against Justin Bieber himself, but nobody deserves to earn that much. It is just testament to how unequal our society is and what direction we are heading in. This insanity must stop.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

10 Years of Marriage Equality Support Series: Marriage, Procreation and Same Sex Marriages: Part 2

Regarding the argument over marriage, procreation and same sex marriages, I sometimes cannot help but wonder if the people arguing on this basis against same sex marriages are really angry at something else, and are unfortunately taking their anger out on marriage equality. In what I believe to be an unfortunate development, many people in society have really decided that marriage shouldn't be about procreation and family but should be about only love. This, however, started out in heterosexual society and has nothing to do with marriage equality.
A common theme around opposition to same sex marriages state that it is a redefinition of marriage, and the last time that happened was with no fault divorce, which has brought on the consequence of broken families. From this line or argument, it is not hard to infer that at least some of the opposition to marriage equality is based on a fear that marriage will be further taken to be not about procreation and family. However, one can support marriage equality in the same way they support infertile couples being able to enter into marriage, without taking away from the belief that marriage is about procreation, unless one is an ideological purist, which most of us are not and should not be in relation to social matters. I, for example, am principally opposed to the idea of unilateral divorce. I personally am only not opposed to unilateral no fault divorce as law now because I respect the majority opinion on this. I see unilateral divorce as undermining the family, and I am not going to apologize for this. No fault divorce is applied across the spectrum, and represents a core change in the meaning of marriage, perhaps the most radical change ever. Marriage equality, on the other hand, is about extending some decency and equality to a minority group, and does not represent a core change to marriage as I outlined previously in Part 1.
There is indeed a case to be made for re-opening the discussion of divorce. It won't be popular, and it sure is not one of my priorities to help it along at the moment, but there are indeed merits to re-opening this discussion. There is surely widespread discomfort with the consequences of no fault divorce, and I believe only a frank discussion will solve the problem. But blaming everything wrong with no fault divorce on 'gay marriage' is the coward's way out. It is unfortunately too often cowards who hate the consequences of no fault divorce on society yet would not discuss that in fear of backlash, who have used 'gay marriage' as a surrogate thing to attack instead. We must not give credit to these cowards, cowards who do not even dare to challenge what they really believe is wrong but instead use an oppressed minority as a scapegoat.

10 Years of Marriage Equality Support Series: Marriage, Procreation and Same Sex Marriages: Part 1

Some people have argued that, as marriage was clearly designed for procreation, same sex couples just do not belong in marriage. They also say that allowing same sex couples to marry will mean that marriage is redefined to be about the emotional needs of adults.
I agree that marriage was clearly designed for procreation and it isn't just about love. Therefore, I do not support the idea of 'freedom to marry', I only support 'marriage equality'. There is no absolute freedom to marry just anybody you like, and there should not be. But including same sex couples in marriage is not about this. Marriage is a specific institution, and it should be kept that way.
The core of marriage is about procreation, it is the reason marriage exists. However we do allow infertile couples to get married. Anti equality advocates argue that this is because they still 'resemble' the arrangement for procreation, a wishy-washy argument that may also apply to at least some gay couples, e.g. butch-femme couples, and may be even applied to all gay couples since all of them are in conjugal relationships. I would rather argue that we let infertile couples marry because we are a decent society, and do not wish to exclude infertile people from marriage, so we have decided that infertile couples who otherwise live in a marriage like commitment are allowed to be married, even when they cannot procreate. We have made this decision as a society because the cost of maintaining absolute purity regarding marriage and its roots in procreation are not worth the discriminatory outcome that would taint our society so badly. The same case can be clearly made too regarding same sex couples.
More importantly, including infertile couples in marriage has not affected the central idea that marriage is for procreation, making the 'cost' of such inclusion only technical, and the case for excluding them only palatable to ideological purists, and not to the majority of the population where practical outcomes matter most. This is because infertile couples are a minority, and extending inclusiveness to them does not affect the central idea of marriage. To believe that by including gay people, comprising 2% of the population, in marriage is going to change what marriage is, is a ridiculous proposition. To uphold ideological purity now is even more ridiculous, when it has already been lost by including infertile couples. Excluding a whole class of people from an important institution in society because of a characteristic they were born with clearly taints the conscience of our society, and is clearly not worth it when the benefits are only to maintain some ideological purity, that has already been lost anyway.
A related argument against same sex marriages is that heterosexual marriages are 'complementary' whilst homosexual relationships are not. However, it is the same argument as the one above, just without spelling out the specifics. I cannot see where all heterosexual marriages are complementary and gay relationships are not, except in the field of procreation. Again, in the field of procreation, infertile couples can be said to be not strictly 'complementary' in function again, at least in some cases (e.g. where there is no womb for creating offspring in the woman). Again, to insist that this 'complementary' idea be an absolute requirement of marriage in every case is just another form of ideological purity over practical outcomes, and pertaining to an ideological purity that has already been lost anyway.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Snoop Dogg's New Single 'No Guns Allowed'

I don't usually like Snoop Dogg. But he has done something worthwhile - he wrote a new song, No Guns Allowed, hoping it will make a difference to the gun debate in the US.

Popular culture can help change minds, especially since popular culture figures talk from their own experiences, unlike many politicians. Here, Snoop Dogg comes from a position of experience - he has experience on owning guns, but his viewpoint has changed. I just felt like I had got to the point in my career and my life where I didn't need guns in my life, because I didn't project that energy. I felt like I was positive and peaceful," he recently explained. This is particularly valuable for the debate.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Chris Crocker: This Generation's View on Love

Youtube personality Chris Crocker recently posted a video 'This Generation's View on Love'. View it below. It's just something we all feel, honestly.

Then someone reminded him that homosexuality was illegal in the 1920s.

There's much to be celebrated about how far we've come along today, I guess. As I said in my last post, marriage equality will end an era of struggle not just for gay people but for the whole of oppressed society.

But we can still live a traditional life. It's a good lifestyle choice, I can guarantee.

Here's the video by the way:

10 Years of Marriage Equality Support Series: Why Marriage Equality Concludes a Movement

Marriage equality is the civil rights issue of our generation. And not just that - it is likely the LAST major equal rights movement. Gender equality has been achieved, in my opinion. There may be a lot of racism out there, but at least the laws of modern Western nations are not actively racist (like segragation in the US or the White Australia Policy). People are also no longer discriminated in law based on their religion. In recent years gay and lesbian rights have advanced, to the point where marriage equality is the only missing thing in many Western nations.

It is in this background that I have come to the conclusion that marriage equality isn't just the end of the struggle for gay legal rights, but a perfect end to the whole equal rights movement. Marriage equality may be much less challenging and impact a smaller population than some of the previous waves, but it will be our generation that will have finally achieved the equal rights dream. It will be for this that we will be remembered.

Of course, the eradication of cultural racism and homophobia, as well as general social justice and civil rights issues remain things that we need to continue to fight for in the long term. Whilst homophobia eradication seems quite successful in parts of Europe, racism appears much more deep rooted unfortunately. But that's a separate issue.

10 Years of Marriage Equality Support Series: From Same Sex Marriages to Preventing Polyamorous Marriages

As I said in my last article in the series, championing marriage equality by allowing same sex marriages will not open the doors to polyamorous 'marriages' at all. In fact, polyamorous 'marriage' are anthema to marriage equality.

I think this point should be stressed. Our homophobic opposition often make this point out of their ignorance, and although it is absurd, we need to answer it. I think we should also make it clear in all marriage equality materials that one who supports marriage equality can never logically support polyamorous 'marriage'.

That said, we are not going to discriminate against polyamorous people.  I know for a fact that some of them have children too so we should think about their welfare too. I support setting up our legal system to allow suitable custodial arrangements for their children. However, that has nothing to do with marriage or marriage equality.