09 October 2010

I survived a "Ladies Tea"

"cakes baked by men" silent auction at First Assembly in Des Moines

One of the things I've struggled with during my life is saying no. I'm not always very good at it, although I'm getting much better as time goes on. Recently a friendly neighbor of mine invited me to a "Ladies Tea" at her church--where, she explained, she would personalize her table for her guests and "ladies" would enjoy a morning of conversation and tea. I said yes. She frequently invites to me to other church functions, such as bible study, and I've always declined. Anyway, I went. It was two hours long.

One of the things I learned a few days ago was that the church, First Assembly of God in Des Moines, is a fundamental and evangelical Christian church. Both fundamentalism and evangelism are repugnant to me, so I wasn't very happy when I realized what I was stepping into. But on the advice of my dear sociologist friend I decided to approach the event from an ethnographic perspective. So I went and took my place at the table.

One of the first things I noticed upon entering the very large room, which used to be the sanctuary, was the two giant (prominently displayed and lit for the occasion) photos of children on the wall. One was a little Asian girl, the other a black girl. This was a marked contrast to all the white women in the room.

The tea consisted of about 30 tables with eight women at each table and a raised dais with four women seated at a table. We had coffee, fruit cup, and quiche. The quiche had bacon in it (what would Jesus think!) which I managed to mostly pick out. The tea was hosted by the pastor's wife, who never said a word without identifying herself as the "pastor's wife." She introduced herself and a few other contributors to the event and everyone applauded politely. When she asked the cooks to come out of the kitchen, they reluctantly stuck their heads out to rousing and very enthusiastic applause. The cooks were men.

I won't bore you with the laborious details of each speaker, but the highlights should be sufficient to give an accurate picture of the tea. The speakers were all missionaries who talked about their experiences in various places such as Indonesia and South Africa, converting Muslims from the "dark side" (they actually used those words) to the light of life walking with Jesus Christ. The most reprehensible one has lived as a missionary in Indonesia many times, and kept referring to how many Muslims there were in that country, and how there are more Muslims in Indonesia than in all of the Middle East. Of course, she gushed, these lucky heathens (upon finally reading the bible) just had to become Christian because the bible told the truth and the Koran did not. I tried to keep my expression neutral during this talk.

The other thing I kept noticing about these women was how very steeped in paternalism and patriarchy their whole worldview is and how exceedingly oblivious they are to their own lack of agency. I can't even count how many times I heard one of them say "He takes care of me," and "When I didn't know what to do, God told me," and God called me to do this" along with "God told me to . . . "

This turning of self over to some benevolent and paternal God bothers me, of course, since there is literally no room for self or agency or THOUGHT. But what really troubles me about this "God told me to" is that there is no responsibility or community or thinking involved. God tells you to be a missionary, so you do it. God tells you to move to Iowa, you do it. What if God tells you to kill your self? Or your neighbor? I sense the comfort these women get from feeling and believing that their lives are working towards some greater good--I understand that. But their world view is so limited that they believe that Islam, one of the world's great religions, is a product of the devil. That kind of belief system makes me sad and very worried.

I was happy that no one tried to recruit me. But I was also a bit sad that people have such limited perspectives on the world that they truly believe that their way is the only way.

13 July 2010

A gender crime is a gender crime.

Lately, and forever, I've noticed that when a man shoots up a workplace or shoots members of his family or by whatever method murders his wife/girlfriend/partner the MSM never ever calls it a crime against women. They just call it a "workplace shooting" or a homicide. Okay, so it might also be a workplace shooting and a homicide. But, it is also a very common crime against women. In fact I would say it is a very frequent crime that men perpetrate against women that doesn't get identified as a gender crime.

What I would most like is for this to stop, but since it won't what I would appreciate seeing is this: a headline that tells the truth and reads Yet another guy kills his wife.

You can bet your booty that when a woman kills her husband, a much less frequent occurence, it is identified as a wife killing her husband. But every fucking article I've read about this asshole in New Mexico keeps calling it a "workplace shooting." So he shot her and himself at her place of work. That doesn't make it a workplace shooting. I'm just tired of the patriarchy not seeing itself as a patriarchy. I guess hoping it will change is ridiculous.

Here's a few examples:

Fox News: 3 dead, 4 wounded in New Mexico Office Shooting

Yahoo News: 3 dead in workplace shooting

USA Today: Shooter kills two, then self at New Mexico Plant

11 July 2010

Pontypool Changes Everything . . .

Last night I watched a truly interesting movie called Pontypool. My brother first brought this film to my attention months ago and it's been on my radar ever since. I finally bought a copy since it refused to appear on Netflix. Whatever. Netflix can be stubborn. Anyway, it was billed as one of the ten best zombie movies ever. Sure.

But really, people, I love this movie. It is one of the smartest and scariest movies I've seen in awhile, and that's saying something, for me. I couldn't stop watching it, stayed up late, and was truly creeped out enough to check behind the shower curtain before heading off to bed.

The plot is simple: DJ Mazzy Starr begins his early morning shift at a small radio station in Ontario when he and his staff begin to get reports of violence and strangeness in their small town. Havoc ensues, almost entirely off-screen. There is a virus that is infecting people and causing them to try to eat each other. That's all I can say. You must watch this movie, I tell you. It's amazing.

Just to get you excited, here's a little quote from the film:

Mrs. French's cat is missing. The signs are posted all over town. "Have you seen Honey?" We've all seen the posters, but nobody has seen Honey the cat. Nobody. Until last Thursday morning, when Miss Colette Piscine swerved her car to miss Honey the cat as she drove across a bridge. Well this bridge, now slightly damaged, is a bit of a local treasure and even has its own fancy name; Pont de Flaque. Now Collette, that sounds like Culotte. That's Panty in French. And Piscine means Pool. Panty pool. Flaque also means pool in French, so Colete Piscine, in French Panty Pool, drives over the Pont de Flaque, the Pont de Pool if you will, to avoid hitting Mrs. French's cat that has been missing in Pontypool. Pontypool. Pontypool. Panty pool. Pont de Flaque. What does it mean? Well, Norman Mailer, he had an interesting theory that he used to explain the strange coincidences in the aftermath of the JFK assasination. In the wake of huge events, after them and before them, physical details they spasm for a moment; they sort of unlock and when they come back into focus they suddenly coincide in a weird way. Street names and birthdates and middle names, all kind of superfluous things appear related to eachother. It's a ripple effect. So, what does it mean? Well... it means something's going to happen. Something big. But then, something's always about to happen.

07 July 2010

I miss Cagney and Lacey

Lately I've been seeing these commercials for some new TNT show called Rizzoli and Isles, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander as two cops of some kind. What has really pissed me off about this new show is the way they have constructed these two women. In every advertisement I've seen both women are very sharply dressed, and both are wearing totally ridiculous high heels. They're both standing around looking fabulous, which I suppose is their only option since they couldn't possibly run or even walk wearing the shoes that they are wearing.

I don't plan to watch this show, nor do I really care what they wear, but truly what has happened to strong, powerful, non-glamorous women on television? These ads made me remember the old Cagney and Lacey show from the 1980s--now this show had its flaws, but still, it was refreshing to see two actors who were not supermodel types and who wore sensible shoes while they did their jobs. Why do we have to have models playing cops? Why do they have to have long flowing hair? Why do they have to wear snazzy clothes and full-on makeup? Why do they have to embody the current standard of beauty so perfectly?

Much of what was watchable about Cagney and Lacey were the stars: Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly. (I love Tyne Daly.) But they were so much more regular to me than Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. I'm not saying women have to look a certain way to be acceptable--far from it. I appreciate women of all shapes and sizes. I just wish we weren't so obsessed with ultra-skinny women who look like models and who wear crippling shoes to work at jobs where any person with half a brain would wear something more practical. Just saying.

01 July 2010

Mansplaining . . . explained.

I have to thank my friend Miranda for bringing this term and idea to my attention. Of course I knew about the action that this terminology refers to, but holy shit is it nice to have a word for it!

The activity is called "mansplaining," and here is an excellent paragraph from Rebecca Solnit's opinion piece from the Los Angeles Times that perhaps began the coalescence or convergence of feminist brilliance that came up with the term:

Men explain things to me, and to other women, whether or not they know what they're talking about. Some men. Every woman knows what I mean. It's the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men's unsupported overconfidence.

What Miranda sent me was a wonderful blog post from Science Blogs that also grapples with the mansplaining syndrome. It's worth a read. Science Blogs also refers to another blog post, by Karen Healey, about the same topic. Quoth Healey:

Mansplaining isn't just the act of explaining while male, of course; many men manage to explain things every day without in the least insulting their listeners. Mansplaining is when a dude tells you, a woman, how to do something you already know how to do, or how you are wrong about something you are actually right about, or miscellaneous and inaccurate "facts" about something you know a hell of a lot more about than he does.

Bonus points if he is explaining how you are wrong about something being sexist!

Think about the men you know. Do any of them display that delightful mixture of privilege and ignorance that leads to condescending, inaccurate explanations, delivered with the rock-solid conviction of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation?

That dude is a mansplainer.

It's a beautiful thing when smart feminist women gather their thoughts and work together to create greater understanding of living in patriarchy.

28 June 2010

Review: It's Alive (1974)

The fabulous horror blog Final Girl issues a film club review challenge every once in a while, and I finally got my shit together so I could review this classic from 1974.

This 1974 gem is written and directed by Larry Cohen, and seems to deal with the birth of a mutant baby to two unfortunate parents. We begin the action during the last days of the pregnancy, when we also learn (during some late night pillow talk) that the father is perhaps not the most enthusiastic parent. Their other offspring is now 11 years old, so we kind of get the idea that this baby was, shall we say, unplanned. Anyway, Mom realizes during the birthing process, which is also a very male-dominated and not-very-woman centered parturition, that something is "different" about this birth. I'll say.

Once the baby is born, it kills every person in the delivery room, and makes a bloody mess of the hospital. It proceeds to escape (through a skylight) and then kill a bunch of hapless humans, while also seemingly seeking out its parents and the occasional bottle (or ten) of milk, which in 1974 is still charmingly delivered in glass bottles to the upscale homes in the demon parents' neighborhood. After the spawn dispatches a milkman, it makes its way to a school, and Dad somehow decides he must be the one to kill it.

A bunch of other crap happens, wherein the audience realizes that Mom is slightly nuts (understandably) and Dad has turned into an asshole. At the close of the film Dad has tried to save the child, we know Mom wants to save it, but Dad ends up flinging his mutant spawn at a cop (yes) while they are all standing around the Los Angeles River. Of course, mutant baby kills the cop. Someone covers them up with a blanket, and we learn that another mutant has been born in Seattle. Fade out . . .

What I realized as the narrative was unfolding was that this film is so blatantly about male anxiety and masculinity that it's not even remotely arguable that it's about women or childbirth or mutant babies. Think about it: it's 1974, the year after Roe v. Wade and women all of a sudden have the right to choose abortion. Interestingly, we learn in the movie that the hapless mutant baby parents considered abortion (for convenience) but then decided not to terminate the pregnancy. Aha!

This movie is a cautionary tale warning women against even thinking of having an abortion. If you even consider it, you might have a mutant baby. But back to the male anxiety aspect--I really think that this film focuses very clearly on the father and his anxiety, whereas the mother is barely significant except to act nutty and whiny, thus stereotypically feminine. The father paces around, smokes incessantly, disavows paternity, vows to kill the baby, and overall makes a big old showy display of his manliness. There is so much anxiety for MEN about pregnancy and mutant babies, this movie argues, that we must allow them to decide to terminate the pregnancy, even after its born--you see? This movie is about allowing abortion rights to men. Who cares about women--they just take drugs and mope around. The real problem here is how pregnancy and childbirth effect men.

But seriously, It's Alive is a wonderful movie that clearly grapples with women's (then) newly constitutionally recognized right to privacy, and how these rights make men very, very nervous. So nervous, in fact, that they have to band together with lots of guns and other men to alleviate their pent-up feelings of helplessness and anxiety about not having uteruses.

Besides all the groovy social commentary and gender anxiety in this movie, It's Alive has truly great effects, wonderful 1970s clothing and cars, and totally awesome music by the famous Bernard Herrmann. It's worth a look.

20 June 2010

New Morning After Pill

Just read a story this morning about this "new" morning after pill which is effective for up to five days instead of the 72 hours of Plan B. The FDA's advisory group is recommending that the FDA give approval, but we know how that works. I don't trust them when it comes to ethical or woman-focused decisions. This new version of the morning after pill has already been available in Europe since 2009--as usual Europe is way ahead of the good old USA.

The article on CNN.com was intriguing--especially because they rely upon rabidly misogynistic group Concerned Women for America for the counter argument. I have to say I really, truly despise this group. They function in the guise of being pro-woman, but their ideology is pure hate and pure bullshit. Check out their web site if you have a strong stomach.

A few years ago they mounted a really funny campaign against The Vagina Monologues, where their tag line was something about how the Monologues "objectify" women. It makes you wonder if they even have any idea what the play is about. Morons.

06 June 2010

Growing some english peas . . .

When I was a small dependent child, my lovely mother used to make my lunch almost every day. Often there were wonderful treats in my lunches, including such delights as fresh english peas. We used to eat peas fresh from the pod--delicious! Eating these juicy green peas is one of my favorite childhood sense memories.

But alas, these are rarely to be found in the supermarket--where one can only find sugar snap peas and crap like that. Once a year I can get them at local farmer's markets, which I always do, and I usually eat most of them on the way home.

Well, this year I bought some seeds from Seed Savers and planted those little suckers in my yard, built myself a lame-o trellis, and voila! I am proud and happy to introduce you to my english peas . . . I ate my first ones the other day, and they were delicious! So sweet, right off the vine, amazing.

25 May 2010

and sometimes chihuahuas . . .

I know this is not political, nor is it about feminism, but when I saw this image I couldn't believe how stunningly beautiful this little chihuahua is, wrapped in a lovely scarf, impersonating Kim Novak. The image is available from Etsy seller Lucy Snow.

17 May 2010

you just have to be scared . . .

Pretty hilarious critique of those osteoporosis drug advertisements. I actually never thought about them as being gendered in a sexist way, but they sure are. Just goes to show what a good parody can do for critical thinking!

p.s. Feministing mentions that Sarah Haskins is no longer doing her lady advertising spoofs--oh no! What will we do without her?

08 May 2010

stuff christian people like . . .

I found this really great, snarky blog called Stuff Christian Culture Likes. It's pretty funny and actually enlightening. Most of the posts are kind of silly, but I actually learned a few things about contemporary christianity that I didn't know. Check it out--it's interesting! Being a semi-fan of 24, I really like this Jack Bauer post. Hilarious!

02 May 2010

Lemon-Blueberry Coffee Cake semi-disaster

This morning I made a delicious coffee cake that I've made before. It's a lemon-blueberry coffee cake, made with bisquick, lemon, sugar, eggs, milk, and fresh blueberries. I mixed it up, baked it, then took it out of the oven. Then, like a doorknob, I didn't test it for "doneness."

So of course when I tried to flip it out of the pan, it kind of fell out in a saggy heap. So sad! So I put it on a pizza pan and baked it for another 15 minutes. It looked ridiculous, but tasted very good.

I learned my lesson: always measure the bluberries, and always always test for doneness. Duh.

01 May 2010

Jaan Pehechaan Ho!

I love the novel Ghost World by Daniel Clowes. In the movie version there is this incredibly groovy song, and my very stylish and cool friend Nikki posted this video of the very cool song on FaceBook. I decided it was so awesome I wanted it on my blog.


27 April 2010

Oklahoma not okay!

From The Daily Beast:
The Oklahoma Legislature has voted to override two vetoes to pass two strict measures restricting abortion. One requires a doctor to set up an ultrasound in the woman’s room, show her the fetus, and describe its organs and limbs (there is no exemption for rape or incest). The other says doctors are not liable for malpractice if they elect to not tell a pregnant woman that the fetus she’s carrying has birth defects—the intent is to prevent parents from suing a doctor who hid the information to prevent an abortion. Democratic Gov. Brad Henry vetoed both measures, calling the second “unconscionable” in allowing a physician to mislead a patient. Another measure in the legislature requires a woman to fill out a questionnaire about why she’s seeking the procedure; the statistics based on answers would be posted online.

You can read more about this idiocy at the New York Times.

bitch, complain, appreciate . . .

I've been wanting to complain lately. Not for any particular reason, just because I'm getting irritated at certain things in life that continue to plague me when perhaps I should just let them go . . .

So I thought I'd first appreciate a few things.

1. I love this piece of art by Jennifer Davis. Sublime.
2. I love the spring in Des Moines. Nothing better.
3. I really truly love my family and friends.
4. I like it when strangers wave at me.
5. My sister can make me laugh harder than anyone else. (sorry, Bob.)
6. The semester is almost over! Summer awaits!
7. I love the new word for redheads: Gingers!

Now here are my complaints:

1. It really bugs me when people call California "Cali."
2. I'm sick of people texting and talking on their cell phones ALL THE TIME.
3. I'm really, truly tired of anti-feminist bullshit and unexamined male privilege.
4. If those Tea-partiers don't go away soon I might scream.

So, now that this is all out of my system, I can go on about my life and perhaps finish all the work I should have been doing as I wrote this diatribe.

23 April 2010

Too Fat for Television?

Here we go again. Apparently, ABC did not want to show this advertisement for Lane Bryant lingerie because there was "too much cleavage" showing. The ad was supposed to air during some show called Dancing With the Stars or something like that.

I'm not a big fan of lingerie ads, especially the Victoria's Secret commercials, since they perpetuate the objectification of women's bodies, and they uphold a ridiculous standard of beauty.

The Victoria's Secret images, in particular, reinscribe the idea that women need to have big boobs and be ridiculously skinny in order to be beautiful. That said, I like this Lane Bryant ad simply because the model is NOT stick-thin and has curves. But really, ABC, are you objecting to cleavage or to the fact that the model is more than a size 2?

Come clean, you scumbags.

UPDATE: Of course, Sociological images has a truly excellent and much more nuanced analysis. Check it out here.

29 March 2010

You should call it black-span???

Unbelievable. Really, truly, what a fucking jerk. The host was way too nice to him--should have called him out.

27 March 2010

Vintage Franciscan china is sublime . . .

and I'm weirdly obsessed with these beautiful Franciscan china patterns. I don't know why I've got this jones for these particular patterns, but for the last few years I've been slowly collecting various pieces (only when they're reasonably priced) on Etsy and Ebay.

Also, I thought I'd take a needed break from ranting and raving about politics and add a little homage to design.

These patterns are, from top to bottom, Fern Dell, Sycamore, and Moondance. Love these vintage patterns.

26 March 2010

Stupid People Scare Me!

Another astounding video from the smart and sassy folks at New Left Media. If you can bear it, this video is truly worth watching.

23 March 2010

Women Deserve Better Than Feminists For Life

Last night I attended a talk given by Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life. This talk was sponsored by the pro-life student group at Drake. I decided to attend because I was very curious how such a group would present their ideas and ideology. To me, feminist and pro-life don't really go together. I do accept that many feminists disagree about many things, but I also feel very strongly that feminism must accept female autonomy in terms of reproductive rights. That said, I was very disturbed by the group's message last night.

Serrin Foster is a dynamic speaker and very personable. She is also smart, knowledgeable, and seems to care about women. But, and this but is a big one, despite all of the rhetoric of her organization, I have to argue that they don't care about women. They care about birth. And what I mean by that is that they don't really care about preventing unwanted pregnancy, or unplanned pregnancy, or helping women avoid pregnancy--they care about the woman once she is pregnant. Or really, they care about the pregnancy itself.

This organization actually does some really positive things for women. They try to make it possible for women who become pregnant while still in college or grad school to stay in school and complete their educations. They help with housing, childcare, breastfeeding issues, and healthcare. But they also only help a woman who wants to keep or adopt her baby. They are profoundly against abortion--no matter what. So in other words, they care about helping women give birth, and uniquely, they actually give a shit about her life once she gives birth. My objection to all of this is that there is no room in their ideology for anything but reproduction--no abortion, no birth control, no family planning.

When I asked Ms. Foster about if her group helps young women prevent pregnancy by providing sex education and access to contraception, she told me that they only really get involved once the woman is pregnant, partially becasue there is "so much controversy" about the various methods of birth control. This stance tells me that they really don't care about women--they care about the pregnancy. Pro-life? No. Pro-birth is more like it.

I could go on and on about the problems and inconsistencies of this group and their twisted ideology, but I've got real work to do. Some of my work involves helping actual women with all kinds of issues. But I have to mention one thing in particular--I liked Serrin Foster. She was smart and seemed kind. She actually spoke the truth about many things, although she did make a few important factual errors--like saying that any woman can get an abortion any time during a pregnancy, even during the ninth month. This is patently wrong--abortion is illegal in the third trimester. Anyway, when one particularly smug woman in the audience asked a question about women who have abortions cavalierly, Foster backed me up when I argued that this woman was dead wrong.

My other favorite moment was when another woman in the audience made a comment about how birth control messes up a woman's body by subverting a system that is meant for reproduction. Aha! I asked her if she realized that what she was saying was that women should only have heterosexual intercourse in order to reproduce. A bunch of people in the audience spoke up, challenging my interpretation of what the woman meant. So I asked her, are women allowed to have sex for pleasure? She said yes, in marriage. So then I asked, so not outside of marriage? She said, no--that's what the Lord wants.

Once that came out, to me, the real purpose of Feminists For Life and their vision for women was crystal clear. Their mission is an end-run around reproductive rights. Their goal, although not explicitly stated as such, is to convince women that it is not feminist to have an abortion, and that their true purpose on earth is to give birth. In other words, their slogan "women deserve better than abortion" means nothing more than abortion is wrong and women who have an abortion are also wrong. Birth control is wrong. Family planning is wrong.

I wish I had the time to more thoroughly analyze the talk and this group. If you're interested, you can visit their website and read for yourself how they have appropriated the language of feminism to further their decidedly anti-feminist goal of controlling women's bodies.

17 March 2010

Why are we afraid of the word vagina?

Here's a funny advertisement for a new line of period control products. Er, rather, tampons and pads!

Although I like the humor of this ad that really makes fun of our cultural cover-up of bloody menstruation, I wonder why we still can't say vagina on television?

14 March 2010

Headline I'd LOVE to See . . .

I just read a headline about the most recent teacher student sex scandal to hit the news. This incident was especially upsetting because it took place between a teacher and a student at my former middle school (which was called junior high back then) David Starr Jordan Middle School, in Burbank, California. Very sad.

I appreciate very much the headline which reads: Teacher-Student Sex 'Never the Kid's Fault.' Of course that is a laudable and excellent ideology to assert in cases like this. I agree. But what is bugging me is how I have never, ever, read a headline about rape where anyone states a similar sentiment.

I would love to see a headline that read: Rape is Never the Woman's Fault. Or, Rape is Never the Survivor's Fault. Let's work on that, shall we?

We need to work very hard to destroy this hideous rape culture that we tolerate and participate in each and every day.

13 March 2010

Ignorance is not bliss . . .

Well, the State Board of Education in Texas has gone and done something really stupid and willfully wrongheaded. They have decided to revise their curriculum in social studies to more purposefully reflect the conservative, reactionary, and just plain incorrect views of certain members of the Board.

Here are a few of the highlights:

•Religious conservatives on the board killed a proposed standard that would have required high school government students to “examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others.” That means the board rejected teaching students about the most fundamental constitutional protection for religious freedom in America. (3/11/10)

•Religious conservatives stripped from the high school sociology course a standard having students “differentiate between sex and gender as social constructs and determine how gender and socialization interact.” Board member Barbara Cargill argued that the standard would lead students to learn about “transexuals, transvestites and who knows what else.” She told board members she had conducted a “Google search” to support her argument. Board member Ken Mercer complained that the amendment was about “sex.” The board consulted no sociologists during the debate. (3/11/10)

•Board conservatives succeeded in censoring the word “capitalism” in the standards, requiring that the term for that economic system be called “free enterprise” throughout all social studies courses. Board members such as Terri Leo and Ken Mercer charged that “capitalism” is a negative term used by “liberal professors in academia.” (3/11/10)

•The board removed the concepts of “justice” and “responsibility for the common good” from a list of characteristics of good citizenship for Grades 1-3. (The proposal to remove “equality” failed.) (1/14/10)

I've always tried not to marginalize Texas because both of my parents were born there--but this is not a good sign. If you want to read more about it, there is a good article about this fiasco at the New York Times.

11 March 2010

Husbands and Husbands

Came across this video on FacePage this morning. I have to say it is one of the best things I've seen in a long time. Perhaps there is hope for the world!

05 March 2010

Looks Like Pants!

This cover article in Life & Style magazine deserves some kind of award for ridiculousness and sheer stupidity. Apparently, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (daughter of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt) recently got a short haircut and frequently wears pants.

Holy Shit! A little girl is wearing pants! What does it mean?

Well, apparently, to the critical-thinking challenged folks over at Life & Style, this wardrobe and hairstyle choice may be dangerous to little Shiloh. Because, you know, she is wearing pants.

I have some news for you idiots at Life and Style: women have been wearing pants for many years. We also frequently get short haircuts. This is not 1940. Wake up, ya morons! Clothing choices are irrelevant . Haircuts are NOT that important. Gender identity is fluid! Females can wear whatever we want, and cut our hair, and even change our names. The world will not end. We are not "damaged" by this gender liminality.

04 March 2010


I'm not even sure what this is, what it means, what it's from, when it's from, or why I like it. But here it is: your few minutes of joy and silliness.

23 February 2010

I'm betting on number 9.

Okay, so I know this is mean-spirited and cruel and all of that, but I can't help myself. Dick Cheney has had yet ANOTHER heart attack this week. That makes five. How many fucking heart attacks can a person have before he dies? Especially when said person doesn't even really have a heart, since he is pure evil. Just saying.

So which one is going to kill him? Let's start a pool.

20 February 2010

Double Plus Ungood

Well, this is not a good sign. The Justice Department, after years of wrangling, has cleared John Yoo and Jay Bybee (Bush Administration lawyers) of misconduct in the "torture memos" scandal. In other words, the two lawyers who crafted the memos that gave the Bushies permission to use waterboarding and other methods of "enhanced interrogation" are not going to be prosecuted. They did show "poor judgment" but will not be sanctioned or tried.

This is not only sad, but dangerous and misguided. We need to prosecute the people who were and are responsible for denigrating the constitution and the people of the United States.

16 February 2010

Yes, it does exist.

A few months ago I had a post on "teenage spinach." Some of you did not believe that such a thing existed.

Well, I finally have photographic evidence. It's actually not a bag of the adolescent leafy green, but rather a sign that says there is the stuff. Here it is!

13 February 2010

Damn, I forgot to remain pure!

Apparently tomorrow, Valentine's day, is being called the Day of Purity by the Liberty Counsel. Wow--what a great idea to have this day on Valentine's Day, so that everyone can stop and think a minute or so about how to remain "sexually pure in mind and action." What a wonderful way to show how much you love someone!

Although I think Valentine's day is a crock, I certainly think people should celebrate or not in any way they choose. I always send my Mom a valentine, because I love her so much! But really, a day of purity? They're just begging for me to make fun of them. Check out their lovely web site --you can buy a shirt! You can print out, sign, and carry around your own personal purity pledge card!

12 February 2010

Dodge: you suck!

Okay, so I was very glad to see that the Focus on the Family Ad during the Superbowl was a big old waste of money for them. Ha.

But what I was not pleased with was this really stupid and offensive Dodge advertisement that essentially blames women for "making" men be decent humans. Assholes! Anyway, here's the stupid Dodge ad, plus a beautiful response from the folks at Washington City Paper. The response ad was created by Mackenzie Fegan and Paul Yee.

04 February 2010

I trust women . . .

. . . to take care of themselves. That's part of the message this wonderful video Planned Parenthood has produced in response to the Focus on the Family anti-choice ad that will air on CBS during the Superbowl.

02 February 2010

Congratulations, Kathryn Bigelow!

I'm very excited that Kathryn Bigelow has won the Director's Guild of America award for best director. She also directed one of the best vampire movies ever, Near Dark. She kicks ass as a director, and I love that she is the first female to ever win this award. I know, awards are stupid, but finally a female has won. This is important, especially since so many articles insist upon referring to her as James Cameron's ex-wife.

Yes, she is is ex-wife. Who cares? How is this relevant? Maybe they see it is significant because she is competing against him for the best directing Oscar, but I think the way their former relationship is characterized is interesting. Or stupid. Why not refer to him as her ex-husband? That is equally accurate. I think the reason they keep calling Bigelow his ex-wife is that they are unconsciously reminding women that our true value in life is to whom we are married (or owned by).

Here's a few examples: admittedly not all use this formulation!

Village Voice: James Cameron's biggest mission these days should be to beat his ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow, for a slew of awards!

Publicola: Bigelow is competing in Best Director and Best Film categories with her ex-husband, James Cameron, in a cinematic David-and-Goliath story with a gendered twist.

Daily Mail: James Cameron may be among the favourites for Oscar glory, but he has some tough competition from none other than his ex-wife.

The Times Online: And now only one thing stands between James Cameron and his chance to win the Oscar for Best Director at this year’s Academy Awards: his former wife.

29 January 2010

So much happened this week . . .

Well, this week we lost two great old white guys. Both were authors, both also very important to American culture, each in his own way. Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States, died, leaving a big old gap in the rabble-rouser section. Who will fill his able and subversive shoes?

Then, J. D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey, died at 91. Salinger's death was a bit of a shock to me, somehow despite his advanced age, because for most of my life he was just always there, in the background, being solitary. I think many of us who loved his work were always waiting for him in one way or another, for something, anything to happen. Well, I guess it finally did.

If I could thank Mr. Salinger, I would tell him that reading The Catcher in the Rye changed my life. My father bought me the novel when I was 12 or 13, I think. I had never before read a book whose protagonist was so angst ridden, so much the way I thought I was at the time. Holden seemed to me to be so deeply sad and yet somehow such a keen observer of adult life and phoniness and society that I was bowled over by him. In my mind, Holden was a real person. I still have much of the language of that book in my brain. I still say things like "Sleep tight, ya morons!" to myself when I'm in the right mood. Anyway, I love you, Holden Caulfield, and Phoebe Weatherfield Caulfield. I hope this means that J.D. will finally get to find out where the ducks in Central Park go when the lake is frozen.

25 January 2010

Crisis? What Crisis?

I know I've seen many of these so-called "crisis" pregnancy centers in the various cities in which I have lived. In Baton Rouge they had another name, something like "Pregnancy Help" Center, or something equally innocuous and misleading. But what these centers really do is nothing less than lie to and manipulate young women who may be having difficulty with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.

Truly, these "centers" are nothing but anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-freedom centers. I have always suspected that they use outright bullshit to scare women--and Feministing has put up a video that reveals some of their methods.

Brought to you by the fine folks at NARAL Virginia .

23 January 2010

Bristol, Sarah, and Oprah talk sex!

I still don't get why Bristol Palin even tries to promote abstinence, except that she is perhaps as clueless and as useless as her mother. In this video Oprah skewers (sort of, not enough) the young woman's position on abstinence. I would have been a bit more forceful, but you know. I'm no Oprah. Enjoy!

20 January 2010

"I feel very plastic . . . "

I'm not going to make fun of this woman, because she is so sad and pathetic at this point. Let this be a lesson to us: the pressures to conform to some unbelievable standard of physical perfection lead to this. She actually says "I feel very plastic." Amen.

James Dobson wears a sweater

Well, if they didn't already create enough misery in the world, James Dobson and the merry band of nutjobs at Focus on the Family are trying to spread their lovely message of hate and misogyny by purchasing time to air an anti-choice commercial during the superbowl.

I don't watch the superbowl, or any football festivities, but I know tons of people do watch and LOTS of attention gets paid to the ads. Of course there is freedom of speech and they should be able to buy ad space to promote their fucked up ideology; but I can still hate their guts.

19 January 2010

Wintry beauty . . .

I know I'm mostly new to winter and it's permutations, but still, I have never seen anything like these crystalline formations that are everywhere this morning. So beautiful!

14 January 2010

Charming pro-birth magazine cover!

Have I ever in my life read InTouch Weekly? No, I don't think so. Do I give a flying fuck what they publish? Yes, when the blatantly anti-choice cover features celebrity-faux-politician Sarah Palin and her fecund offspring Bristol.

Considering the omnipresent and annoying obsession with all things celebrity, with women's bodies, and especially with celebrities who manage to reproduce, these magazines are completely valueless. It is no small feat to piss me off and valorize reproduction at the same time. Jeez--get over it! Sarah Palin is slightly more intelligent than a doorknob, and her daughter Bristol is a hypocritical spokesperson for abstinence only education. How'd that work for you, Bristol?

There is a good article at Salon on this very cover. Check it out.

13 January 2010

War Criminals on TV!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show: Exclusive - John Yoo Extended Interview Pt. 1
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Fascinating interview by the ever amazing Jon Stewart. He takes on John Yoo, he of the torture memo fame, with wit, grace and insight. John Yoo is a very slippery interviewee. As far as I'm concerned, he and Dick Cheney (along with George W. Bush) should be prosecuted as war criminals.

11 January 2010

Is it April Fool's Day by any chance?

Sarah Palin is joining Fox News. Really.

The Los Angeles Times has a brief article on this development in the entertainment section!

David Rees has a few pithy remarks on the subject.

My favorite is: What did the ghost of William F. Buckley, Jr. say when he saw Sarah Palin on Fox News? I wish I was still alive, so I could call a press conference and blow my head off.

10 January 2010

6.5 earthquake in Eureka, California

There was a big old earthquake in Eureka yesterday afternoon. Here's a picture from the Los Angeles Times showing some of the damage--this is Eureka Natural Foods.

My sister lives in beautiful Eureka with her four cats and her husband. They're okay, but boy, what a scary thing to experience. According to Berkeley seismologist Richard Allen, this quake occurred on the Mendocino triple junction, which is a meeting of three tectonic plates: North American, Pacific, and Juan de Fuca.

You can also read about the quake at the local paper, my former employer, The Times-Standard.

09 January 2010

Best Daily Show clip EVER

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Even Better Than the Real Thing
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Gumby creator Art Clokey dies:

Gotta love Gumby. I was sad to learn this morning that Gumby's creator, Art Clokey, died in his sleep yesterday. He was 88. Art Clokey also created the very often satirized Christian show Davey and Goliath. I used to watch Davey and Goliath--I loved Goliath!

But truly, Art Clokey, thank you for Gumby and Pokey.

p.s. we should all be lucky enough to die in our sleep.

08 January 2010

Fabulous Lady Gaga medley

I'm not really a fan of Lady Gaga (although I do love her big nose) but here is an amazing medley sung by Yale student Sam Tsui accompanied by his pal KurtHugo Schneider.

Charming and wonderful!

07 January 2010

Marcy Keeton Younger enjoys her vacation.

Marcy and I thoroughly enjoyed our time in Southern California. I think Marcy especially enjoyed trying on this lovely winter santa coat!

Marcy always makes the most of every situation--she is truly a comfort seeking creature, and I do my best to make it so!

Marcy likes to occupy the laps of people she wants to possess: to wit, Marcy in Seth's lap!

06 January 2010

fuck you, japanese whaling ships!

I'm furious with the ongoing bullshit that is the presence of Japanese whaling ships. They are challenged each year by the brave and amazing folks of The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society who try to disrupt the inhumane and totally needless hunting of whales each year by the Japanese.

Well, now they've gone too fucking far. Japanese vessel Shonan Maru 2 rammed the Sea Shepherd vessel Ady Gil in an unprovoked attack. You can read about this at the L. A. Times.

Fuck you and your heinous whaling bullshit. Just stop it.