MK and Alex’s Wedding Ceremony

My friends MK and Alex asked me to officiate their October 27, 2023 Halloween-themed wedding in Houston, TX, and I was honored to oblige. Below is the ceremony I wrote for them.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Welcome to MK and Alex’s wedding! Please silence your phones and devices and put them away. There’s a professional photographer here, you don’t need to take photos.

INTRODUCTION
My name is Nina Paley. I met MK and Alex just before a screening of my film Seder-Masochism in New York. The festival director had just whispered to me they’d gotten complaints about me being a “TERF”. As I wandered around in a familiar despair, a young woman introduced herself to me. “We love your work,” she said enthusiastically. And then, conspiratorially, “and also your ideas.” That perked me right up. Shortly after the screening we visited a vegan restaurant together. MK and Alex were still shell-shocked from the social implosion of the anarchist vegan co-op house they’d helped create. They were so smart, creative, and optimistic, I was utterly charmed by their tales of getting bashed up by idealism’s inevitable horrors. A year or two later they emailed me about their new women-centered feminist social media site, Spinster. I became a moderator, joined them on a visit to California, saw MK at the Michigan Framily Reunion, interviewed Alex and MK separately on the Heterodorx podcast, and otherwise follow them online. MK and Alex are a couple of brave and brilliant pioneers who have been through a lot together. Their relationship has already outlasted any of mine by a factor of at least two, so I am pleased to officiate their union.

INVOCATION
Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today in the sight of God and these witnesses and the spectre of disappointed Radical Feminism to join together MK and Alex in holy matrimony; which is either an honorable estate instituted of God, or the maintaining of women as chattel property in Patriarchy. Into this holy estate, or disgrace to women’s liberation, these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore, if anyone can show just cause why they may not be lawfully joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace – Radical Feminists excepted, they’ve already heard our arguments, Alex and MK really really REALLY want to get married anyway for some reason. Maybe they want to make babies? We know what causes that, talk to me after the ceremony and I can explain. 

READING
At this point in the ceremony it is traditional to read from the Apostle Paul, The first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13: Love is patient, love is kind, blah blah etc.

Now I shall read from by Toerien and Williams, “In Knots: Dilemmas of a Feminist Couple Contemplating Marriage” page 434:“…marriage remains thoroughly tainted by being a long-standing buttress for the patriarchal domination of women.” 

DECLARATION OF INTENT
MK and Alex, you have come together this day so that God may seal and strengthen your love in the presence of this gathering, and the Patriarchy may further enforce oppressive gender norms. I ask you to state your intentions: Have you both come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage? As if anyone has free choice uninfluenced by society? If so, answer by saying ‘I have.’ (I have.)

MK and Alex will now exchange vows. (Vows recited)

RING EXCHANGE
MK and Alex will now take off the rings they’ve been wearing for 6 months and pretend to exchange them, just as they will pretend the relationship they’ve been in for the last seven-and-a-half years will be consummated after this ceremony.

Alex, as you place the ring on MK’s finger, repeat after me: With this ring, I thee wed.

MK, as you place the ring on Alex’s finger, repeat after me: With this ring, I thee wed.

PRONOUNCEMENT
In so much as MK and Alex have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, having given and pledged their faith, each to the other; by the vestiges of disappointed Radical Feminism, I pronounce you Adult Human Female and Husband. 

You may kiss the groom. Or not; your body your choice!

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My 2023 Year in Review

In addition to the highlights below, I continued to co-host the Heterodorx podcast with Corinna Cohn, and make $150 Drawings.

January

My 2023 started with crowdfunding platform IndyGoGo retroactively canceling my independent comic book Agents of HAG, automatically refunding all the backers and denying me access to all records.

I traveled to New Orleans with my pals Corinna Cohn and Shannon Thrace to attend a Quillette Social. It was a fun trip, my first flights since 2020’s COVID pandemic shutdowns, and I didn’t die.

February

I flew again with Corinna to Ireland, to visit our friend Alasdair who had been recently diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. This was my first trip ever to that country, and I feared my last time ever to see Alasdair. (SPOILER ALERT: Alasdair didn’t die. His immunotherapy treatments appear to be wildly successful and there’s a good chance that whatever kills him eventually won’t be cancer.)

I began production of my coolest merch item ever, Apocalypse Animated Lenticular Cards. These were very costly to print, so I crowdfunded some of the expense, this time through GiveSendGo because they supposedly don’t cancel artists. It’s a Christian platform so I did get a call from them later offering to pray for me and my project. As long as the so-called secular world is high on canceling, I’ll take any prayers I can get.

I returned to IndieGoGo with a campaign for Compliance Comix, which is just Agents of HAG (which they canceled) minus the words and pictures. Much to my surprise they didn’t cancel this campaign, so I actually printed them.

March

I embarked on the GENDER WARS Playing Cards. Once I committed to this project, the drawings just flew out of me. Meanwhile I made travel arrangements for events in New York City, Scotland, and Ireland. I may have been cancelled in January, but things were looking up.

On March 21 I came down with Covid. “Good timing,” I thought, “I have more than a month for this to pass before my travel starts. Better now than later!”

I then proceeded to have fevers over 103°F and was pretty much confined to bed for 4+ weeks.

April

Every day, I thought, this might be the day I start to feel better. Every day I continued to be very sick. I could walk from my bed to the bathroom and back. Occasionally I could walk to the kitchen. One time I tried to empty the dishwasher but it made my heart race. I occasionally tried walking, and struggled to the end of my driveway and back. I’ve been very sick before, but Covid was something else. It just pinned me down and didn’t let up.

On good days I could sit at my drawing table and work on the remaining GENDER WARS cards, which I was keen to finish. Somehow, I did.

May

On May 2nd I left my house for the first time since getting sick, to attend a party. I was back to bed the next day. The following day I rode my bike. May was mostly one day semi-normal, one day back in bed. Eventually I returned to almost normal, except for my resting body temperature, which stayed a full 1.5°F higher than it was before. My GP was utterly incurious about it.

I finally made a proper e-store for the Apocalypse Animated and GENDER WARS cards and other merch. Long overdue!

June

My Mom began preparations for moving from the house we’d shared for 7 years, to an “Independent Living” apartment at the local Geezer Place. After a very brief search for a housemate, my friend J was eager to move in in August.

I rode my bikes frequently and gently. I avoided overexertion, as that can cause the dreaded Long Covid. My rides got longer as I got healthier, and finally I rode my first Imperial Century of the year, 100 miles. It felt great.

July

I returned to my usual summer occupation, long bike rides and recovery. Corinna and I flew to Denver for the ICONS summit July 21-22, one of the best conferences I ever attended. I was really inspired and encouraged by the badass female athletes and their supporters.

August

My sister and her husband visited Urbana to help my Mom move. My supposed future housemate J backed out of moving in at the last minute, leaving me with a bunch of problems and significantly less trust in other people. My Mom moved successfully and her new apartment is so nice I’d love to live there myself, but I can’t afford it.

I had some minor digestive health issues, not really unusual.

September

I got to test ride a fancy AZUB trike with battery assist! 

I filed a complaint with the City of Urbana against local store the Art Coop, which had displayed a prominent “NO TERFS” sign for years.10222023 dey1.jpg

I finally furnished my Mom’s former side of the house, which had been eerily empty since her departure. I hung my handmade art quilts around the space and suddenly it became pleasant and beautiful. 

Listing image 1

October

I had my first AirBnB guests in the Quilt Suite. I rather enjoy being an occasional innkeeper. If you’d like to stay here please email me directly for a better rate:
20 Talk To Me, Baby

I tried some elimination diets in hopes of discovering what was causing my digestive troubles. I ate no wheat for a couple weeks. I avoided dairy. I avoided chocolate. I could not find the culprit before I flew to Houston, TX to marry MK Fain and Alex Gleason. I’m seldom even invited to weddings, due to my bad attitude and unromantic nature, but these two wanted me to officiate their ceremony! It was a pleasure and an honor.

Then I flew to Denver and hung out with my friend Lisa, who made this amusing little short about Menopausal Woman.

November

Still in Denver, I attended the Genspect conference shortly thereafter. It was fun, intense, and socially overstimulating, but worth it to see all these people I knew from online in 3-D/360°. I flew home after 11 days of travel. 

After Genspect, I got canceled again.  

Also after Genspect, the so-called Gender Critical movement blew apart, due to what’s now called AGPgate. I had planned on making a 2024 edition of GENDER WARS cards, but the illiberal behavior of my former compatriots put me off. I’m still not sure if I’ll make that deck or not. Regardless, I have other things to occupy my time and attention, because I finally visited a doctor to discuss my not-resolving digestive issues.

December

“Your symptoms could be colon cancer. I’m not saying you HAVE colon cancer. But you’ll have to get a colonoscopy.” So I was referred to a GI specialist, which usually takes months, but there was a cancelation so it only took days. I had my blood tested and my poop tested and a colonoscopy was scheduled, which would have taken months but — miracle! — there was a cancelation so that too only took days. I was soon diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and have been on the rollercoaster of “acceptance” ever since. A follow-up with another specialist determined my case is moderate-to-severe, its only redeeming quality that it’s of such recent onset I may escape bad scarring if treatment (monthly hospital-administered infusions of a “biologic” drug called Skyrizi) puts it in remission. My infusions still aren’t scheduled because we’re waiting for “prior authorization” from my insurance. Meanwhile I’m on a low-fiber diet, which as a formerly-healthy vegetarian is bizarre. My attention is consumed reading Crohn’s disease forums, trying to guess what foods might ruin my guts, and getting to know my new masticating juicer that arrived a few days ago (so far, so good). I’m pretty confident my Crohn’s was triggered by Covid, as that is a Thing; I call it Covid Reactive Autoimmune Pathology, or CRAP. It might explain why my temperature has been elevated since my Covid Spring. 

On the bright side, I’m receiving lots of love and support, for which I feel much gratitude. 

I neither regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. As we stumble into 2024, I feel mostly curiosity. Whatever happens in the next 12 months, one thing is for certain: more will be revealed!

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CANCEL CULTURE Playing Cards?

GENDER WARS Playing Cards were a hit of 2023, and I intended to make a 2024 edition. But recent schisms in the gender world have put me off, so I’m pivoting. I got into the gender mess because of my interest in Free Speech, and would rather focus on this subject. Therefore, I request your nominations for CANCEL CULTURE Playing Cards:

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“We at Northeastern University stand for inclusion and diversity.”

Today I was supposed to speak to an animation class via video. College I’d never heard of, teacher I’d never heard of, small thing, figured they knew who I was. Made plans, blocked space in my calendar. Barely an hour before I’m supposed to log onto their zoom link, I get this:

Full email thread pasted below, because it’s so typical. I will never accept another speaking invitation unless they promise not to do this.

Every time I think, “good, they don’t care, it’s blown over,” and EVERY TIME this happens. I’m like Charlie Brown trying to kick Lucy’s football.
This was such a small thing I was doing AS A FAVOR TO THEM.
No more.

Parul Wadhwa <parwad@gmail.com>

To:

Wadhwa, Parul

Cc:

Nina Paley

Tue, Nov 14 at 10:32 AM

Hello Nina

We at Northeastern University stand for inclusion and diversity. We stand against your stance with TERF as expressed on your website and will therefore have to cancel our lecture today and withdraw this invitation.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

Thanks for your understanding and interest.

Parul Wadhwa

On Wed, Nov 8, 2023 at 9:24?PM Wadhwa, Parul <p.wadhwa@northeastern.edu> wrote:

Perfect, thanks Nina. See you Tuesday!

Parul Wadhwa

Lecturer, Mills College 

College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD)

Northeastern University 

Oakland, CA

From: Nina Paley <nina_paley@yahoo.com>

Sent: Wednesday, November 8, 2023 2:05 PM

To: Parul Wadhwa <parwad@gmail.com>

Cc: Wadhwa, Parul <p.wadhwa@northeastern.edu>

Subject: Re: Guest Lecture request at Northeastern University virtually

 

Hi Parul,

Got it! 

You can use the bio at https://sedermasochism.com/director/

See you Tuesday,

–Nina

http://www.ninapaley.com/

On Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at 02:36:18 PM CST, Parul Wadhwa <parwad@gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Nina

I am looking forward to having you come to our class next week Tuesday at November 14th, 10am PST. 

Can you please share your bio that you’d like me to use to introduce you to our students at Northeastern University.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Looking forward to meeting you next Tuesday.

Thank you for your time,

Parul Wadhwa

PS- Here is the zoom link for joining the class: Parul Wadhwa is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: ARTD2370 20327 Animation Basics SEC 30 Fall 2023 [OAK-1-TR]

Time: Nov 14, 2023 08:30 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

        

Join Zoom Meeting

https://northeastern.zoom.us/j/91462978281?pwd=S1RXYmdQQ1NUTmUxWk44T0RDV1Z2QT09

Meeting ID: 914 6297 8281

Passcode: 881802

One tap mobile

+12532158782,,91462978281# US (Tacoma)

+12532050468,,91462978281# US

Find your local number: https://northeastern.zoom.us/u/abQwIVKUea

On Mon, Oct 30, 2023 at 3:34?PM Nina Paley <nina_paley@yahoo.com> wrote:

Thank you!!

—Nina

Sent from my iPhone

On Oct 30, 2023, at 5:27 PM, Parul Wadhwa <parwad@gmail.com> wrote:

Yes, that works too.10-11am PST, Nov 14th it is then. I will send you a calendar invite this week. Thanks!

On Mon, Oct 30, 2023 at 3:25?PM Nina Paley <nina_paley@yahoo.com> wrote:

Hi Parul,

Can we do it an hour earlier?

—Nina

Sent from my iPhone

On Oct 30, 2023, at 5:19 PM, Parul Wadhwa <parwad@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Nina

That’s great. Tuesday the 14th of Nov works for me. Let’s keep it at 11am PST?

Would you have about 15 minutes any day before that so we can discuss the lecture briefly? I can meet on zoom/phone any Friday for 15-20 mins. 

Thanks so much for your time. Looking forward to having you in class.

parul

On Fri, Oct 27, 2023 at 8:26?PM Nina Paley <nina_paley@yahoo.com> wrote:

Hi Parul,

Great! Any of those Tuesdays would work. How about the 14th?

—Nina

Sent from my iPhone

On Oct 27, 2023, at 9:27 PM, Parul Wadhwa <parwad@gmail.com> wrote:

Thanks for your interest, Nina. Yes, my class meets virtually every Tue 9-12pm PST. 

Would a meeting over zoom work for you?

Would any Tues between the 14th Nov-5th Dec work for you?

thanks,

p

On Fri, Oct 27, 2023 at 6:44?PM Nina Paley <nina_paley@yahoo.com> wrote:

Hi Parul,

I’d love to, but I live in Illinois. Would this be a remote video visit?

Thanks,

—Nina

Sent from my iPhone

On Oct 27, 2023, at 4:23 PM, Parul Wadhwa <parwad@gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Nina

My name is Parul and I am an artist and educator currently teaching at Northeastern University, Oakland as a Lecturer. My current offering is an Animation Basics course (syllabus attached) that introduces undergraduates to the 12 basic principles of animation and their applications in 2D and 3D using animation tools.

I am writing to you to invite you as a Guest Speaker to my class. 

I teach Tuesdays 9am-12pm PST  virtually so any coming Tuesday would work for me. Would you be available for about 40-45 mins + 10 mins Q&A to speak to my class? 

I was hoping you could share about Sita sings the Blues (which is my favourite piece of yours) in the context of the class. I was wondering if you could introduce your journey into animation and working on this film, the animation techniques you used and the storytelling process. Also, anything else from your work that you might want to include.

There is a stipend of $150 from the university for your valuable time.

Please let me know if you are available and interested. 

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Have a good weekend.

Sincerely,

Parul Wadhwa

MFA, Digital Arts and New Media

https://www.parulwadhwa.com

<ARTD 2370 + ARTD 2371 .pdf>

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Maya’s Request

As you know, requests for my  Hundred Hundred-and-Fifty Dollar Drawings are limited to two words or less.

But on March 11 I found this in my Twitter DMs:

Could you draw this as a picture for me

“it is a prime opportunity to get inside the tent with a goal-line defence, unless a clear upstream threat, accompanied by actionable intelligence, pops its head up”

Normally I’d say no, as that is batshit and impossible. However the request came from Maya Forstater, who explained:

It is a present for Helen Joyce – she has been training military types on how to write as a side-gig and this is the kind of thing they say.

Given the commissioner and the recipient, it was a challenge I couldn’t refuse, although I charged more for the extra words plus hazard pay (risk of head explosion). But first I gave it to AI art generator Dall-E:

Clearly this was a job for a human being. I felt so needed.

Although it was impossible to convey everything in the request, I did my best:

“it is a prime opportunity to get inside the tent with a goal-line defence, unless a clear upstream threat, accompanied by actionable intelligence, pops its head up”

Looks like I won’t be replaced by AI anytime soon.

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GENDER WARS playing cards in progress

When a friend recently suggested a deck of playing cards featuring major players in the “gender wars,” I knew I wanted a set. I tried to find other ways to make it happen – photographs? Filters? AI art generator? – but decided the most expedient option was to just do it myself. Which isn’t particularly expedient, as a deck requires 54 designs (if you include 2 Jokers).

I generally suck at caricatures, but decided my limited skills would have to be adequate. I Can Do Hard Things, just not perfectly.

This is probably my most successful caricature so far. Do not expect this level of resemblance throughout the deck.

Working furiously, this week I made the first suit, Hearts. Red suits (hearts and diamonds) will be more-or-less gender critical, and black suits (clubs and spades) will be more-or-less transactivist. If this sounds like inside baseball, it is; that’s why my friend suggested a deck in the first place. I’ve turned into a gender nerd, and “civilians” have no idea whom I’m referring to when I gossip. Edutainment!

I want to crowdfund for this project, but as I don’t trust any major crowdfunding platforms, I just set up some PayPal pre-order buttons. Yes I know PayPal sucks too, all online payment platforms suck, and cryptocurrency is still too volatile.

Pre order here!

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