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Nathan Oelker

Transgender “Warrior Princess:” Coming Out and Published

He fought on some of the most dangerous battle fields of the world for 20 years, but Chris Beck’s personal struggle is far more compelling. Now known as Kristin, the former Navy SEAL has now come out as a woman, and telling her story in a new biography “Warrior Princess: A Navy SEAL’s Journey to Coming Out Transgender.”

But for most of her life, no one could have known the difference. Beck was married twice and had two sons. He was also a consummate man’s man, playing football, riding motorcycles, and becoming a war hero. He served as an enlisted petty officer in the SEALs, accumulating seven combat deployments, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, and serving with Seal Team Six, the unit that lead the raid to kill Osama bin Laden.

But six months before that famous mission, Beck retired, and finally made the decision to complete his transgender odyssey: he began hormone therapy in 2011.

“Chris really wanted to be a girl and felt that she was a girl and consolidated that identity very early on in childhood,” said Anne Speckhard, co-author of “Warrior Princess,” which was released last weekend. The book says that Chris, “had considered living as the woman he felt himself to be for a very long time, but while he was serving as a SEAL he couldn’t do it.”

This is because, while gays and lesbians can now serve openly in the military, transgender men and women still cannot. So why is this the case?

Basically, the armed forces require organization, and prefer neat, simple categories. Since it’s naturally difficult to get millions of warriors ready for battle, relief efforts, or any maneuver, the authorities don’t deal well with these types of differences. Then there are the ethical, personal, and moral perceptions that factor into transgender identification, including the unfortunate, surviving notion that anyone outside of usual sexual or gender roles is mentally unbalanced or depraved. The Atlantic summarized it extremely well when discussing this issue last year: “[M]any military members are afraid of what they don’t understand.”

But in the meantime, Kristin Beck is continuing this new battle via social networking. While working as a military consultant in Florida, she maintains an active twitter account, criticizing current soldiers, who, among other things, stay off the battlefield. And many of her former SEAL buddies have expressed support, including one who said: “You’re a Team Guy, first and foremost, and you always will be. I’ll drink a beer with you anytime, anywhere, for any reason, no matter how you are dressed … especially if you are buying.”

If fellow military members can support a choice for transgender identification, then at some point, we all can.

Mermaids! Again!

Mermaids are back and debunked for double!

So what’s even bigger than the Puppy Bowl? Mermaids: The New Evidence. This documentary, that premiered on Animal Planet Sunday as a sequel to the highly watched, easily-disregarded Mermaids: The Body Found splashed up 3.6 million viewers and made history by establishing the new network record.

The last mermaid “documentary” (or mermumentary?) was popular as well when it premiered last summer, and ignited a furious internet debate about the existence of mermaids. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration even released a statement to remind people of the non-existence of these mythical marine muses:

“The belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species. Magical female figures first appear in cave paintings in the late Paleolithic (Stone Age) period some 30,000 years ago, when modern humans gained dominion over the land and, presumably, began to sail the seas. Half-human creatures, called chimeras, also abound in mythology—in addition to mermaids, there were wise centaurs, wild satyrs, and frightful minotaurs, to name but a few. But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.”

So there we have the government proof that it’s a hoax—but to add to the false intrigue, the documentaries suggest that there’s a dark, federal cover-up of these bio-aquatic findings, complete with a spin-off webpage that claims seizure by the US Justice and Homeland Security Departments.

Fun stuff. And mermaids definitely make a more playful conspiracy film than Loose Change or Zeitgeist.

Finally, let’s examine the epic impact this has made upon the cable-sphere. Animal Planet has been around for 17 years, and is a network devoted to the natural (not supernatural) world—however, despite the fact that there are about 2 million cataloged species on the globe, mermaids set the record. And actually, the network’s last big bonanza was Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real.

But don’t despair at the current state of culture and tele-education, because this brings up so many new possibilities for great entertainment. To start, how about we eliminate Animal Planet altogether and simply go with Cryptid Planet? (That title comes from “cryptidzoology,” the pseudo-science of studying animals thought to exist that haven’t been scientifically-proven to exist). Get rid of Shark Week for Bigfoot Week and keep the subdued masses from demanding something of substance for their terribly endangered intelligence.

But hang on…first I need to finish the zombie apocalypse shelter.

Drones: From 3D Printers to the Unmanned Sky

Here’s something that should be frightening to the average American. As if the thought of drones in warfare wasn’t scary enough, particularly drones over our heads here in the US (which, by the way, legislation is being hammered out for) it may soon be easier to manufacture drones by utilizing the technology of 3D printers.

This process is being discussed by the Navy, and could effectively cut out the middleman while quickening the method of making drones. As Lt. Commander Michael Llenza writes in the Armed Forces Journal:

“For the Navy, the technology promises to shift inventory from the physical world to the digital one. Instead of actual parts, a ship might carry 3-D printers and bags of various powdered ingredients, and simply download the design files needed to print items as necessary.”

Additionally, it seems that a future role for soldiers in combat with this technology in use will be recycling. For this new weapon and drone effort, soldiers may be eventually required to collect their spent equipment for reuse elsewhere. Shell casings could be broken down at a later time to make new tools, and even demolished drones could be made into new helmets or Humvee armor.

So it seems like this is another step towards automating war. The readers are here asked to briefly think over that concept…not much time is required to discern that “war automation” is a process that could definitely be perceived as completely and utterly insane by Americans with any kind of intelligence whatsoever. If the human race has reached this point where such violent activity is commonplace enough to be deemed “automated,” perhaps it’s finally time for the idea of war itself to be seriously reconsidered.

Additionally, it raises far more concerns for people who want their privacy protected from a possible omniscient eye in the sky. Even as President Obama announced his intention to cut back on the military’s use of unmanned aerial drones, the allure of 3D printing makes their creation far too simple to be ignored and could have an influence on the drone legislation and regulations currently being established in Congress. According to a law passed last year, the FAA is required to allow widespread drone flights in the US by 2015. Therefore, concerned citizens still have a two year window to fight back and let their elected officials know what’s important to them.

Does Katy Perry Have Every Girls’ Fucked Up Teenage Dream?

Perry and Pattinson: Awww…they both start with “P”!

All right, so there’s no official confirmation that they’re dating, but after they crashed the wedding rehearsal for some total strangers in California over the weekend (oh nostalgia, reminds me of my ex) what do you think?

Well, it seems like a perfect match. I mean, Perry was married to Russell Brand, so it doesn’t appear looks are that important. (Voice too! Jesus Christ, that kind of tolerance deserves a Grammy all it’s own). And Katy Perry’s just fuckin’ hot, so maybe we outta take away Rob’s “faggot” epithet.

Or not, because it’s just too much fun: like the meme that has the picture of Nosferatu on one side (check Wikipedia, you fuckin’ kids) with the subtitle “Vampire” and Edward on the other with the subtitle “Faggot.” That was on my desktop for weeks.

Anyway, back to our skewered subjects. Apparently, Perry and Pattinson didn’t do anything to draw attention to themselves. They just sat in the courtyard of the San Ysidro Ranch Hotel in Montecito, Calif. watching the ceremony, dressed very casually. Perry reportedly had on a hoodie and big sunglasses. (Holy shit! Are there pictures? Let me know which Target bargain bins I can buy my own at!)

So moving on, this brings about some fun speculation. Like, does anyone wonder if his dick is ice-cold, just like a real vampire’s? If that’s what turns Katy on, I shoulda looked her up a long time ago. (They make dildos for that shit too…but my god, how fast would THAT kill the mood?) As for Pattinson, I’m sure he’s happy to be around someone who doesn’t have the permanent “Who Farted? Look” (ie Kristin Stewart) on her face. And it’s likely another plus to be around someone who’s at least somewhat talented…you know, even if she has no Grammy nominations yet, but there’s still time for Perry, maybe…

So congratulations Katy! You have a real shot at stealing most of your fans’ “Teenage Dream.”

London Attack Called a Terrorist Attack

And it Could Add to Counterterrorism Controversies

The London attack suspects first hit the British soldier with a car then hacked him to death with knives and meat cleavers in mid-afternoon as horrified pedestrians watched. With blood flowing in the south London road, the attack suspects chatted with onlookers and scored propaganda points into camera phones.

Finally, the police arrived and shot both men in the legs. Both suspects spent the night in hospitals under armed guard.

The attack was later designated as a terrorist attack by British authorities, and it was later revealed that they had been the subjects of previous investigations into terrorist activity. The attackers were also found to be Christian-Muslim converts, who were inspired by al-Qaeda but not appearing to be directly told by the organization to attack the infantryman.

This is yet another entry in a list of terrorist attacks to occur in the city in the last decade, and coupled with the Boston bombings last month, the London attack could be an alarming security sign. Attacks like these give more credence to the increasing of police forces in developed countries around the world, which could to the erosion of civil liberties as people are willing to give up more of their rights in the name of security.

However, while events like these are incredible tragedies, they absolutely shouldn’t warrant more spying by government agencies or intrusion by police forces. While people should definitely be smart and protective of themselves, and the government should be occupied with basic matters of national defense, increased paranoia is the major thing to avoid. Persuasion through paranoia and fear by politicians and legislators only leads to dangerous absurdities like the PATRIOT Act, unconstitutional roving wiretaps, and surveillance via personal correspondence, so stay wary of both terrorists and “terrorists.”