Tuesday, November 28, 2006

...fuck it.

Hypocrite, yes? "Not my Nigel," was it?

Okay.

The family patriarch buzzed down from Dallas today to have lunch with me. I met him, as is our habit on these occasions, at the Four Seasons Café downtown.

The old man’s a captain of industry, used to getting his way, and although he’d never admit it, he likes to strap on the feedbag at the Four because the staff unflinchingly treat him like a big-shot. Which, I suppose, he sort of is. I do not begrudge him this small conceit. He was born to a single mother in a Detroit hellhole during the Depression, and worked his ass off his whole life. If anyone deserves a little big-shot treatment in his declining years, he does.


"I blame the patriarchy, except for my actual extremely patriarchal father."

-He deserves it.- The bowing, the scraping.

Oh yes. No doubt. Because the Horatio Alger story is -so compatible- with y'know RADICAL FEMINISM. As is the notion that some old white guy is entitled to being treated like a big shot.

Just as long as it isn't -sexual,- mind you.

But sure: have 'em bow and scrape and perform like grinning monkeys in a four-star restaurant.

He deserves it.

It's beautiful. I mean, I'm weeping here, really.

As veteran readers may recall, I am a fat-ass epicurean first and a patriarchy-blamer second.

You know something, Twisty? If you'd stuck to the fat-ass epicureanism, I'd have probably liked you a whole lot better.

Because at least that part's honest. At least that's, well, how might you have put it? -Not- anhedonic, perhaps. And:

You see, delectation is antithetical to my family’s belief system. It is their custom to avoid pleasure like the plague, to eschew any and all enjoyment. They decline the invitation to life’s rich pageant. They consider they have gone for the gusto when they put a slice of lemon in their tap water. Their only joy is feeling bad about feeling good. Whenever they inadvertently have a delightful experience, they self-flagellate with a self-righteous turkey sandwich. Not only that, if they see anyone else having a delightful experience, they do not hesitate to tut-tut. As in, “Do you really think it’s wise to eat all those excellent ribs/ buy that fabulous sports car/ drink that glass of delicious port? Shouldn’t you have a turkey sandwich instead?”

(Incredibly, they do not view the tut-tut as a sanctimonious and judgmental expression of either their own self-hatred or their neurotic obsession with compulsory global conformity to their peculiar standards of decency. No they do not. They view it as their Christian duty. Despite the fact that throughout all recorded history there is not a single shred of evidence to support their belief, they are under the impression that the disapproving tut-tut literally saves lives. Of course studies show that, in reality, recipients of 5 or more tut-tuts weekly are 68 times more likely than regular people to develop homicidal manias.)

Anyway, my family’s anhedonia is no surprise. They are descended from assorted Spartans and Stoics and Calvinists. This virulent miscegenation of dogmas--inclusive of the charming Doctrine of Total Depravity--appears to produce a race of people for whom a certain ubiquity of pallid turkey sandwiches provides tangible evidence of a pious aversion to worldly gratification. Turkliness is next to godliness and man is but a lump of vanity, composed of sin and misery.

I am delighted to report that the sandwich pictured above was a fluke; a recent blood test has revealed that I possess 100% Epicurean DNA. I was adopted!


******

Let's just play this one back in slow motion, shall we?

(Incredibly, they do not view the tut-tut as a sanctimonious and judgmental expression of either their own self-hatred or their neurotic obsession with compulsory global conformity to their peculiar standards of decency. No they do not. They view it as their Christian duty. Despite the fact that throughout all recorded history there is not a single shred of evidence to support their belief, they are under the impression that the disapproving tut-tut literally saves lives. Of course studies show that, in reality, recipients of 5 or more tut-tuts weekly are 68 times more likely than regular people to develop homicidal manias.)


Unless, of course...unless, unless. Unless we're now not talking about your own, gastronomic pleasure; but -other peoples'- pleasure, derived in ways which are apparently incomprehensible to you, personally; even as are your own (laudable) epicurean pleasures incomprehensible to your family of origin. Like oh say f'r instance blowjobs. Or, well, a whole lot of things, really. We'll get to that.

Then it's perfectly okay to tut-tut. Now it'll work for sure! Tut-tutting -really does save lives.-

Especially if we're calling it -feminism.-

Or, a couple of years ago, when you hadn't patented this particular persona quite as solidly, not so much with the feminism; then it was about...well, what -is- this about, really?

Taste, however, is actually a matter of vital importance. Of the few perceptible traits that distinguish humans from chimpanzees, taste--the ability to discern whether or not a thing is crummy--is the only one that's worth a damn. Let's face it: if a species can't tell a Kinkade from a Constable or a Cheez-Whiz from a Camembert, it can hardly be expected, come election day, to differentiate between a lying, illiterate, dry-drunk corporate monkey and an actual statesman.

So, is taste created by money? Does it exist as a sovereign universal force, like gravity, or porn? Does it erupt, a geyser of subjective whim, from within? Or are these questions less urgent than asking "where the heck has all the taste gone?"

I revisit the notion of the erosion of taste whenever pop culture makes Truth and Beauty its bitch. I do not speak simply of fashion (although would it kill people to quit wearing capri pants?), or of politics (even Cheez-Whiz does not present a more vulgar affront than W) but of an overall cultural capitulation to ugliness.*


So, wait, are capri pants on the anti-feminist list, too? Or are they just -so last year?-

And I'm afraid I really don't see what this has to do with radical revolutionary feminism, at all:

My God, those Wal-Mart ads are depressing.

You know the ones, where some slightly overweight, self-described "stay-at-home mom" with a hick accent throws into a shopping cart lots of cheap crap made by indentured slaves in China while stating that she'd rather star in a Muslim fundamentalist decapitation video than live without Wal-Mart?

Shopping--the minivan-enhanced corollary to stay-at-home mommery--is performed exclusively by women in real life. In Wal-Mart commercials these women shoppers are represented by vapid middle-class hillbilly broodmares, selflessly budgeting away the best years of their lives for their redneck husbands and unruly spawn, their worth as human beings measured by their ability to sniff out a bargain. They teach the girl children to shop (they take the boy children "to the lake"). Their frantic stay-at-home lives are crammed with good-natured sacrifice, and they couldn't be happier than when they're shopping for cheap crap in Wal-Mart.


Well, whatever; I'm sure I'd understand if I were only, like, -advanced- enough.

Tangentially, you know what I really loved? not too long ago? How one of your loopier hangers-on once flung "classist" at a woman who was basically just saying, "well, I like lipstick, what's wrong with it?" Said woman as I recall went on to defend herself, quite unnecessarily but understandably, with explanations about how actually, she works two jobs and has been homeless once. But lipstick, see, unlike four-star dining or non-femmey luxury goods or leisure time or I don't know -snobbery- is oppressive of women (the little tube leaps out of its own volition and conks women over the head, then quite literally paints her into a corner!); hence, classist. And anti-feminist, and probably anti-American as well.

"Wearing lipstick supports the terrorists! Why do you hate America so much?"

There; there's a nice-knock-down argument for you. What? It makes at least as much sense as any number of other arguments I've seen at your place and elsewhere among the supposed feminist blogosphere these past few months.

Oh well. Taste is what matters. Right. You and John Ruskin.

Actually, you know what I think really matters?

Love.

Everything else, fun as it is for a while--the dog and pony show, the "realness" debates, the mocking as a team sport, the endless fapping, the good-sized dents in the desk, the agitation and foment and shouting VIVA!...that's all just window dressing.

That's not what it's about. Feminism. Any of it.

Never has been.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see a friend about a kitten.

137 comments:

Lucy said...

Fantastic.

Vanessa said...

**applauds, waves lighter**

Vanessa said...

Oh, and I join you in the perplexedness at the "classist" remark by you-know-who. It was such a total non-sequitor I had to read over my post a few times to figure out what she was getting it from.

And I'm still not sure.

belledame222 said...

to be perfectly fair, She Who Shall Not is a force in her own right, and would be even if Twisty didn't exist, unlike the sad sacks naming themselves after her and worshipping at her comfily-shod feet.

and no, ours is not to reason why, with her; considering that this is a person who thinks that "you're that professional virgin who had her hymen embalmed [and so your opinion about this completely unrelated matter is irrelevant]" is a perfectly reasonable, nay, -feminist- argument...yeah.

i'd sooner try to argue with the Mad Hatter, myself.

belledame222 said...

what was more maddening was how practically no one there seemed to have a problem with this line of reasoning.

well, Bitch Lab has gone into headdessking frenzies whenever this kind of "class analysis" comes up in the blogosphere; and tho' i'm hardly Miz Socialist Theory myself, I can't say I blame her. i mean, surely -this- much isn't rocket science?...oh, well, egh, whatever.

god, I can't wait for National Drunk Blogging Day.

Vanessa said...

Every day is National Drunk Blogging Day!

JackGoff said...

Puh-shah! Drunk-a-lunk-a-lunk.

Amber said...

The Wal-Mart post was particularly disgusting.

Tom Nolan said...

Now be fair, TF is merely saying that the moral censure she brings to bear on certain pleasures which she happens not to indulge in, should on no account be brought to bear on the pleasures she does indulge in.

What's so hypocritical about that?

Anonymous said...

...AND SHE'S BORN INTO A MONEYED FAMILY!?

Pfft! *splutter*, the hell? At the very least Amanda earned her bourgieness to some degree

She's actually the feminist equivalent to Vox Day then, basically, except with better hair.

belledame222 said...

For the record, I was born into a moneyed family as well, or on one side, at least. not quite as patrician as TF's; but, well, who's counting. I'm well aware of my privilege. We've all got our shit.

but for a that and a that, I genuinely do not understand how anyone can talk about -any- sort of radical change without even -addressing,- you know, the whole money and class thing. much less apparently wholesale swallowing of frankly elitist, reactionary values while simultaneously beating other people over the head for their compliance with The Patriarchal System, or whatever the fuck it's supposed to be. like as if it's -only- about hetsex and femmey bits and bobs; which is you know rather convenient if one has decided not to partake oneself, on account of one personally finds such things icky.

I mean, jesus, you've preached enjoyment; nu, so enjoy. write about food. hell, I love MFK Fisher, WASP-y privileged background and all. then again, Fisher actually had empathy and insight into other people; it was never -just- about food.

mostly, i just can't stand solipsists. particularly solipsists who position themselves as "for the PEOPLE." seems to me if you're for the PEOPLE then at some point you ought to actually like, like, actual, you know, people.

which, last i checked, includes actual women, yes.

belledame222 said...

Vox Day?

Renegade Evolution said...

that was one of the single most wonderful things I have ever read.

Tom Nolan said...

Well, TF has always been hiding in plain sight, hasn't she? All that stuff about being a gentleman farmer ("I bet she's one of nature's democrats!") and a spinster aunt ("gosh, I wonder what her attitude to sexual permissiveness is likely to be?") puts it up front for all to see. Not to mention the endless dining out, the big property, the relentless hobbying. If anyone believed that TF was to be numbered amongst the donwtrodden, then they can't have been paying much attention.

And the radical feminism she espouses, with its insistence that nothing can be changed until the patriarchy is brought down (because every other form of oppression is nothing more than a side-effect of the essential one suffered by women at the hands of men) is actually just a self-indulgent and very noisy form of quietism. "The Revolution is coming - God or Goddess or History has it in hand, so there's no need to do any actual planning - but till that glorious day comes it's up to us true believers to keep our souls clean and worthy of salvation. That means: NO KINKY STUFF. But tacos are fine. And so's my Dad."

Tom Nolan said...

Oh, and with reference to she who must on no account be named: TF has her faults, but at least she can write with a certain verve. Bride of Chucky, on the other hand, despite the fact that she seems to do nothing *but* rat-tat-tat into her weblog all day, has the style of an overcaffeinated, underbrained 12 year old.

belledame222 said...

Bride of Chucky!

well, yes, there's that, and also her tendency to clamp onto one's ankle like some deranged chihuahua-pitbull hybrid if you so much as cross your eyes at her.

eh, i dunno. as for personality (boiling versus icy) i think: stylistic differences, mostly. as for writing ability: actually She Who Has Not has turned out some nice pieces on Iraq, which is why she's as popular as she is in the first place. on the whole i actually value those more, in that unlike TF's eloquent sneerages, they tell me something i -don't- know.

On the whole, though, as I go on I'm less and less impressed by sheer intellect (technical prowess, even wit) for its own sake. That and a buck fifty, you know? What's the content? Where's the soul?

Veronica said...

Vox Day. Good Ol' Fish Head.

belledame222 said...

and yes, you're dab-on about the quietism. Nihilism, I would say. Well, it goes with the territory.

It's a type. I've been burned by them before. It's got very little to do with ideology, gender, creed, none-a-that, at the end of the day. what they have in common is...well, i tend to use the DSM; others might use other sorts of language. all i know is that i know when i see it; and i have developed a visceral loathing for it.

and yes, i have examined the roots of that fixation as well, but i'm not much in the vein to go into it at the moment, and i doubt it'd be of much interest anyway, really.

belledame222 said...

AAAHHHHHH!!!!

wtf? no seriously, the hell? whatever, i can't even look at that shit.

belledame222 said...

>But tacos are fine. And so's my Dad.>

*snort*

I wonder if I can take credit for her changing her banner after lo so many months. possibly it had nothing to do with my saying stuff like,

"Say! Anyone wanna look at my taco? It's tender and super-delicious!

My ta-co brings all the wank to the yard
I can teachya, but i'd have to charge..."

and probably the formerly known as Dim Undercellar was going to change his moniker anyway, even if i hadn't taken to calling him "Creepy Basement" hither and yon.

Veronica said...

Oh, he's a hoot. In my darkest nighmares, he and that Jaqueline Mackey Passey Pulley woman get together and breed an army of Sci-Fi reading, convention loving, trust-funded Randriod-facists.

belledame222 said...

wait, who, now? i'm so out of the loop. you mean that wacky chick in the Superwoman outfit?

Veronica said...

Er, Randroid.

belledame222 said...

The thing about World Net Daily is, I've seen it before, but in my mind it is inextricably intertwined with "Weekly World News," you know, the one tabloid that hasn't gone over to celebrity gossip, but still has black and white photos and headlines like,

"MINI-MERMAID FOUND IN TUNA SANDWICH"

("I asked for extra mayo, and instead I got THIS")

Veronica said...

No, no, no. The "High Quality" Libertarian blogger.

belledame222 said...

oh, right, i remember that one. wacky shit.

so, V-for-Vendetta-Or-Maybe-Vulcan-Hair Boy is High Quality, also? groovy! hail to the ubermentschen!

say, when you bring about the Superior World and are installed as Head Honchos or whatever it is, d'you think you could somehow arrange to have my bathroom ceiling fixed? i really think that's the least a High Quality Person could do, in the interest of you know High Quality.

Veronica said...

They don't think you deserve a fixed ceiling. If you did, you'd obviously already have one.

Kim said...

Wow.
"Hypocrite" and KNEW what you were up to!
Well done -- I'll not fuck with YOU in a dark alley.
Thanks for coming to see MY kitten :)

Unsane said...

Heyho, we all fall down. Why are people groupies anyway?

KH said...

Are these items atypical – exceptionally revealing of something that’s usually hidden, or wickedly somehow quoted out of ‘context’ – or does this kind of sensibility run straight through the whole thing? Wait, I think I know.

The passing mention of the Unblamed Patriarch’s enthusiasm for (his own Madison Grant-ish interpretation of) Levitt & Dubner’s abortion-&-crime argument, which she lets drop w/o the least hint of disapprobation or comment of any kind, is just a bit creepy. The book had just come out at the time, so the popular mediation that it occasioned on the value of abortion from the point of view racist eugenics was still developing. Which makes the old man ahead of the curve. Non-readers of IBTP had to wait 5 months for Wm Bennett’s celebrated intervention:

http://mediamatters.org/items/200509280006

It’s not for me to say how far certain apples fall from certain trees, but there’s a weird blindness to what he’s actually saying. It’s just so cool that dad’s supporting one of my issues, never mind that he comes to it from a pretty strange place.

There’s a sorta poignant personal drama. Old man drives 200 miles for (potentially fraught?) meeting w/ troubled daughter, makes conciliatory gesture in the direction of ideological meeting-of-the-minds (with the noted caveat), & all she can talk about is the proper subordination of (ungendered) servants & what’s on her fucking plate. The ride home from Austin to Dallas can be very long.

belledame222 said...

mhm.

yeah, i noticed that little bit about the abortion, too; hadn't read the book, but my first thought was, okay, given what we know about this guy, -why- would he be enthusiastic about the idea that more abortion=lower cime rates, again?...

yeah, that one would've gone down a treat with the RWOC, had she been on the radar at the time. it was bad enough when the whole "cute kids now dead" thing blew up.

as per him being one of the good Republicans, per her, well, hell, Nancy Reagan went on record with,

"I don't give a damn about those right-to-lifers."

why would she? grubby, distastefully passionate. and probably shop at (shudder) Walmart. tacky, really. like lawn flamingos. lawn flamingos who still vote for you, that is, on account of yoy say all the right things at the right time and -somehow- convince people that you're -on their side.-

and yeah, the dramatist (as well as armchair shrink of course) in me was reading all sorts of possible subtext there; right or wrong, frankly it's more interesting than, as you say, the proper subordination and what's on the fucking plate (which sounded pretty awful anyway. and what's wrong with a damn sandwich for lunch, for heaven's sake?)

KH said...

We’ve all had or will have aging parents & awkward restaurant experiences. I was struck mostly, I imagine, because of a parallel: lately, while reading the history of sexual harassment law (fun fun fun), I've been bumping up against another, more consequential case of the ironies of a problem child’s relationship with her powerful reactionary father.

Much of the law of sexual harassment came out of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. (It’s the 2nd most important US court, much more influential than the other Courts of Appeals; among other things, cases involving the federal government go through it.) Although it had a strong conservative wing, the DC Circuit managed to concert a surprisingly unified, forward-looking view of the subject in the late 1970s & early 1980s, & part of that story was George MacKinnon, a very powerful, very reactionary Republican politician & close crony of Nixon, who’d appointed him to the Court almost immediately after his election.

As a US Attorney, MacKinnon had by his own account had a peculiar zeal for white slavery cases. (The word “white” really is to the point here; he gave an amazing oral history in which he's casually explicit about the intersection of sex with race in his account of these cases.) See (pp. 25-28):

http://www.dcchs.org/GeorgeEMacKinnon/georgeemackinnon_complete.pdf

This wasn’t an egalitarian man. He was one of the most reactionary jurists of his time, but he was positively disposed toward the regulation of sexual misconduct, & he took a keen legal & paternal interest in the development of his daughter’s work. (Ever the proud father, he sent offprints of her papers to friends on the Supreme Court.) Beyond the aspect of personal-cum-ideological weirdness, their relationship holds real interest for legal history, & whoever succeeded in unpacking it would have a good story.

belledame222 said...

ahhhhhhh.

thanks for that. i'd always wondered about MacKinnon's background.

although TF is really more of a Sheila Jeffreys woman (whose background i know nozzing about).

Blartow reminds me a lot more of MacK.

belledame222 said...

...it took me forever to figure out that the "gentleman farmer" business actually was referring to the ranch. at the beginning, i thought, oh, how witty! a lesbian who's a "gentleman farmer!" and that's pretty much it.

then again, i also thought that picture of the sixties' woman was (yes, i'm naive) supposed to be a picture of -her,- in camp drag.

clearly i had a -very- different idea of her when i first started reading her than what she actually is.

i just thought, hey! witty lesbian! who writes about feminist and political issues! and food! she must be all right.

maybe a lot of her other readers still think something like that, i don't know.

belledame222 said...

both Dworkin and MacKinnon--MacK especially--have always made me think very strongly of Athena types: born from their father's foreheads.

me own mam is rather of that type, albeit of a rather different background (grandpa was a social worker and old-school Commie, or so he liked to think).

make of that what you will.

as you say: we're all bringing our own shit to the table, here.

hedonistic said...

Fascinating. I never found the time or energy to go through TFs archives.

EVERYONE has their blind spots. TFs don't work me into a lather. Perhaps because her blind spots are MY blind spots? I relate to her experiences so well, from the Franciscan china down to the crispy bean casseroles.

Also, I don't blame Twisty for the unsympathetic things other feminists type into her comment threads. Granted, she lets them run amok, but she lets us ALL the women run amok, and just because some commenters run roughshod over other women's experiences doesn't necessarily mean TF agrees with them.

Perhaps it's because I'm only rarely in a lather about anything.

Still it's fascinating. Both of us with repressed, Calvinistic, NO FUN ALLOWED upper-middle WASPy families of origin. She reacted against the dry turkey sandwiches and became a food aesthete. She reacted against the repressed, oxford-shirted NO FUN aesthetic by becoming a punky musician (and perhaps a lesbian? jury's out on the choice thing with me).

Since the women in my family were chained to their kitchen sinks, a chef and food aesthete was the LAST THING IN THE WORLD I would have done to react against my own family of origin. I was forced to wear sensible shoes and homespun underwear, not allowed to cut my hair, wear makeup or pierce my ears (or work or even drive a car, for that matter). So forgive me if sensible shoes, no makeup and homespun clothes DON'T represent the pinnacle of feminist achievment for me. My upbringing was patriarchal to the core. My surface aesthetic didn't mean shit.

So what did I do to run away from my family of origin issues? I became the "bad girl" - - I chose the hetero-"sexbot" path. High heels, pencil skirts, makeup and kissing boys were my horrific transgressions. Oh dear! In my family, "hedonistic pleasureseeker" is an insult!

Granted, no matter what we do Team Patriarchy still wins in the end: For me, and for Twisty too. If it were not for Teh Patriarchy she'd be DEAD (and she knows it).

belledame222 said...

you're kinder than i.

it's not just her ideological blind spots that work me into a lather. although as i've said, her "representing" as an ambiguously gay "spinster aunt" makes me kind of crazy, particularly in conjunction with some of the rest of them.

but you know, i don't buy it, that she's not responsible for the assiness of her commenters. and i'm not just talking "mean;" sure, lots of places let flamewars run amok. that's not the dynamic there, though. it's a ritualized dogpile, and it always runs the same way.

also:

you know how sometimes people who seem all mild-mannered have incredibly vicious, out of control dogs? that's never a coincidence, either.

mostly she's just said some -breathtakingly- nasty shit to a couple of people. she's smart enough that it tends to pass under all but the intended target's radar, which is exactly how it's supposed to work. i fucking hate that shit. HATE. i'd far sooner out and out "fuck YOU, motherfucker."

look, i know a lot of people like her and like reading her. hell, i did myself for a while. i can't blame anyone for not seeing it the way i do now, i expect. all i can say is how i -do- see it: she's absolutely toxic.

and actually you know, i don't often do such complete 180's wrt my feelings about people, or dismiss them so completely wholeheartedly. i like to flame along with the worst of them, but at the end of the day, there aren't actually many people that end up on my permanent shitlist. but when they do, they -really- do, and i have my reasons for it.

belledame222 said...

>Granted, no matter what we do Team Patriarchy still wins in the end: >

And see, this, too, i really dislike that about her, too. The nihilism. I mean, yes, you are correct (and most of them do not see it): there is very much a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't thing in play, and some of us get the "don't" pressure far more than the "do," and they're both legitimate, like the blind men and the elephant: parts of the whole.

But the whole "the System always wins in the end--"

I find her worldview not only -not- radical but incredibly reactionary; as someone else, Tom i think said, it's "quietist". To me, it's not a sign of how the world does or doesn't actually work; to me it's a sign of her -own- background which imo she has not taken her own advice and "examined" -nearly- enough. The Calvinism, iow. Big Daddy in the sky (and/or in the house for that matter) Uber All. You can take the Daddy out of the ideology, but apparently you can't take the...okay that syllogism isn't making sense.

anyway.

point being: simply reacting and going, i reject the Sky-God, I reject the "patriarchy," is not enough. Now it's just replacing the affirmative with a negative; it's still, you notice, only centered around the hole where the Daddy used to be.

I keep thinking of this Gloria Anzaldua quote, which i ganked from Kevin at Slant Truth:

"But it is not enough to stand on the opposite river bank, shouting questions, challenging patriarchal, white conventions. A counterstance locks one into a duel of oppressor and oppressed; locked in mortal combat, like the cop and the criminal, both are reduced to a common denominator of violence. The counterstance refutes the dominant culture’s views and beliefs, and, for this, it is proudly defiant. All reaction is limited by, and dependent on, what it is reacting against. Because the counterstance stems from a problem with authority–outer as well as inner–it’s a step towards liberation from cultural domination. But it is not a way of life. At some point, on our way to a new consciousness, we will have to leave the opposite bank, the split between the two mortal combatants somehow healed so that we are on both shores at once and, at once, see through serpent and eagle eyes. or perhaps we will decide to disengage from the dominant culture, write it off altogether as a lost cause, and cross the border into a wholly new and seperate territory. Or we might go another route. The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react."

***

and then, too, as noticed, she actually has quite a bit invested in maintaining the status quo, "i long for revolution" talk notwithstanding.

KH said...

I’m not sure it’s really hypocrisy is there’s no longer any real pretense (or even memory) of egalitarian affinity. And of course it’s not just a matter of renegade commenters who have nothing to do with the Principal.

You & we’ve been circling around a compact set of problems for a while now. This specific case has special valence for you because it’s always so jarring to have found an voice, outlook sympathetic, & then to be disabused. (I envy your ability to be disappointed.) It has an almost personal aspect, but it’s not just that. It has a wider resonance for a view of the world, sexual politics, a way of being in your skin. I don’t think this is just a case of some woman who happens individually to be toxic, or an illustration of humanity’s universal tropism toward toxicity. Like the rest of us, she’s of a type, & I think that the things that you rightly don’t like are present more widely & have something to do with the degeneration of a way of thinking & being, ideological project, POV, whatever you call it. I say we’ve been circling around this. I can’t describe it, but I’m sure there’s something there.

belledame222 said...

No you're right; you made some remarkably astute remarks to this effect last time we've been to this rodeo.

as i've said, by this point i have no expectations of TF herself, at all; thus, am not disappointed by her. it does anger me when i see other people go through the same process i went through, which is why i get back into it; if she's not brought up elsewhere, i don't read her. ditto the others, the supposed liberals we were wrangling with a while back. that was a bit more dismaying, i guess, on account of it was fresher, or maybe because they were even closer to styling themselves "allies" and seemed to be actually interested in engaging, unlike TF in her Olympian indifference.

but at the end of the day, what really pushes my buttons is the narcissism. The lack of empathy; and the sheer down-the-rabbit-hole quality of the dynamic when interacting with uhm certain people, in certain milieus. And yes, i have explored this in therapy. But it's this, again, at the core (i really resonate to this site). The rest is commentary.

i mean, it's a personal mishegos, yes, as is everything; but i'm pretty clear that that doesn't also mean there's "objective" truth to it as well: this is a quality which wreaks havoc with sustainability, much less any sort of genuinely small d-democracy. it's political, it's psychological, it's ethical, possibly it's even spiritual. you can go at the analysis any number of ways, and probably should, all of them.

my question is, though: what do you -do- about it?

and i guess i don't have any better answer than "find your own voice; learn to recognize this bullshit when it comes up."

and find a positive alternative way of going about things, once the unwanted pattern has been established.

cf: Eric Fromm, Robert Jay Lifton, a few other people who think along similar lines.

belledame222 said...

btw, what about starting your own blog? not to nag, but that's a really good theme to start one off with.

belledame222 said...

i ask also because some of us are/have been batting around a rather ambitious project, sort of a mecha-Carnival, inclusive of one particular carnival idea piny'd had, but not limited to it; i think this, too, is a part of the greater scope of it, at least in my own mind. what Kevin has been calling "transformative politics."

belledame222 said...

but anyway, yes, it does have far far greater resonance for me than this stupid crap online. it's the same quality that makes the current administration so damn deadly. and obviously it's widely present or they wouldn't be in office at all. and yes, the issues, the politics, the positions, they're often on opposite ends of the spectrum from this lot:

doesn't matter.

imo.

two principles.

1) "By their deeds you shall know them"

2) "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling bell."

and charity meaning of course not "donate to the Salvation Army" but its deeper meaning: love.

the rest is gravy.

belledame222 said...

and a third principle, which is the same as the one this country was based on: the "self-evident truths" (which aren't, or they wouldn't need to be spoken, would they) are what's important, not Fearless Leader, and not the doctrine...

...which where it gets tricky, because of course as we see, this itself is a doctrine; and it too can become corrupted into cultlike thinking.

and while reliance on messiah/ hero-worship isn't a great thing, it's also unarguable that who's speaking when and to whom matters a great deal: where they're coming from, how the individual quirks plays into the symphony of the whole.

i think maybe....what i'm dancing around at least, is a, yes, what everyone and their damn dog has been talking about, each in their own respective tradition: a return to core values;

but for me, what that means, what's -part- of those core values, is...well, yes, liberalism, in the real sense. tolerance of ambiguity, as Kevin has noted. a generosity of spirit. a commitment to fairness. a belief in the basic worth of humanity as it is now, not some idealized pre-Fall or future Utopian self (this is of course the Enlightenment base).

and then, I guess, a renewal, an examination of what fits and what doesn't, in this our modern woild.

so yeah. Founding Fathers (and Mothers). i think that's really it. or a big part of it. for me, anyway. right now.

but i mean: not just politically, the crap about the wars and the tea party and this and that, the stuff that gets fetishized; but what's -behind- it. The philosophy. What it was reacting to. What it envisioned. And where we are now.

and of course in that we reconsider the dark side of all of that: the fact that this doctrine of fairness was in fact built on the backs and corpses of some people and deliberately exclusive of others;

and also, the shadow side of the Enlightenment, the whole idea of "rationality" and inevitable progress, itself.

and of individualism; which i would say is -part- (not all, at all, but) of what some have called "cultural narcissism."

And yes, of course feminism is a part of this, because feminism as we know it is ultimately rooted in the Enlightenment as well, as indeed are most of the best-known political ideologies in the U.S. at least, "right" and "left" alike.

which is not to say that a lot of them don't take serious detours through other sources, for better and for worse.

which is also something to examine, i would say.

belledame222 said...

oh, and another core value, i guess:

"checks and balances."

which i would say has a much broader application than the three branches of federal government (it's the root of the whole Church/State thing, of course, which is what people tend to forget);

but also it's as good a broad-based counter to fundamentalism (of any stripe) as you're going to find. that i know of.

Amber said...

Granted, no matter what we do Team Patriarchy still wins in the end

If you say so. I prefer to believe otherwise.

To me, that sounds defeatist and depressing. If it's true, then what the fuck are any of us doing, anyway? Why don't we all just roll over and die?

hedonistic said...

Amber, I believe so long as we "stand on the opposite bank and shout" Team Patriarchy wins. I could throw out so many pithy quotes here -

- - you become what you fight
- - wherever you go there you are
- - out of the frying pan and into the fire
- - blahbitty blah bla blah

Wait, I just threw out a bunch of pithy quotes.

Is there a way to "win?" Sure - - transcendence. To be "in the world but not of it" (Bible? I forget) brings freedom.

However, it requires that one set oneself COMPLETELY beyond the paradigm, and that's HARD. Perhaps only a handful of folks in this world have managed to crack THAT code.

I find the works of Carlos Casteneda helpful when it comes to code-cracking. It's Toltec sorcery, but the whole part about sorcerers "destroying the world" (in the metaphorical sense, not the literal) rings true. The ordinary world still exists, but the sorcerers move beyond it, and are thus able to achieve the impossible.

Problem is, they are only able to function in so-called "normal" society for brief spates of time (in an acting capacity). For the most part they keep their own company or hang with other sorcerers, in the wilderness for the most part.

ah! that was a clue.

Amber said...

Is there a way to "win?" Sure - - transcendence. To be "in the world but not of it" (Bible? I forget) brings freedom.

Well, I don't buy THAT either.

I believe that the best any of us can do is to be true to ourselves. We have to realize that we CANNOT change anyone but ourselves. That old adage, "Be the change you want to see in the world" is huge to me. I truly believe that living ina way that is true to ourselves, we DO effect positive change.

I know that sounds all hippy-dippy, and I'm waiting for someone to come along and ask how that helps the woman in Oaxaca (or however it's spelled) or what if being true to yourself involves buying a bunch of crap made in sweatshops or raping children...

- ah, fuck it. I know what I mean. I just can't convey it.

belledame222 said...

it's like the blind men and the elephants.

one who had gotten a hold of the tail, said, "The elephant is long and fringey, like a rope."

one who had gotten a hold of an ear said, "Nonsense. The elephant is like an enormous fan."

one who had put her hands on the trunk said, "You've both got it wrong. The elephant is solid and massive, like a wall."

and they argued and argued, and eventually came to blows, until they had laid each other out prone on the ground.

Now the elephant, who was also blind, called his elephant friends, who were also blind, to figure out what the hell was wrong with these creatures; what were they -like?-

And after they'd walked around and made a thorough inspection, the first one said,

"It would appear that humans are flat, like a pancake."

The second said, "Yes. Man (he was a sexist Elephant, but he was kind to puppies and good at bridge) is flat."

The third concurred. "Yup. Flat..."

***

thank you, i'll be here all week, try the veal.

belledame222 said...

hey, hedonistic? can you do me, us, a favor? Next time you're on IBTP, and you see millie or maggiethewolf, can you tell 'em some of us on the Dark Side have taken an interest, and we have cookies? amber & lucy & i were all remarking we'd like to've said something supportive, but feel insufficiently masochistic at this time; and neither of 'em seems to have a home base to be reached at.

cheers.

hedonistic said...

Otay!

belledame222 said...

thx

word verification: "uulnt."

Rootietoot said...

"Shopping--the minivan-enhanced corollary to stay-at-home mommery--is performed exclusively by women in real life. In Wal-Mart commercials these women shoppers are represented by vapid middle-class hillbilly broodmares, selflessly budgeting away the best years of their lives for their redneck husbands and unruly spawn"

Charming.

Rootietoot said...

You know, I was fine up until reading that little bit. I had a great day, my beloved took the day off and we went Christmas shopping. Then I read that Walmart bit. And realized, I am a minivan driving suburban breeder, overweight with a redneck husband and unruly spawn. Thanks chicky whatever-your-name is. Next time I try to defend your right to your own opinions I'll just keep my mouth shut and let folk badmouth you.

(and you know what? I come from a long line of hardworkers and millionaires, and have a pedigree that would make you wince...but I CHOSE to give it up for the love of a wonderful man. Chicky.)

*not you Belledame...that other person.

Maureen said...

If you're talking about the same "lipstick is classist" person that I saw during the "fun feminist" blogwars on Feministe--she's actually starting to turn on The Blamer(TM) and she's realizing that The Blamer(TM) is actually rather classist.

And I'm still not sure how lipstick is any more classist than any other piece of clothing or cosmetic; I'd argue its one of the less classist things you can buy in America, as it's possible to get it for less than two bucks. I can see how lipstick may be indicative of societal racism (limited color palette) and sexism, but where's classism coming... Well, maybe for people in third-world countries, and the poorest of the poor here. But how is that any different than most other consumer goods?

OTOH, the perceptions of lipstick may be dependent on class, but I don't believe that's what the commenter in question was getting at.

Tom Nolan said...

"However, it requires that one set oneself COMPLETELY beyond the paradigm, and that's HARD. Perhaps only a handful of folks in this world have managed to crack THAT code,"

That's not *even* quietism. It's a search for feminist Nirvana.

One of the things that has always troubled me about a certain variety of feminism is an unwillingness to applaud women who manage to make a mark in society as it is: never a word of recognition, not to say celebration, for women who become Prime Ministers and Presidents and Judges and what have you (there have been plenty, after all). Instead, the suggestion is always that to succeed in society as presently constituted is a kind of failure - it means only that women have been "co-opted by the patriarchy" (though it's not the poor befuddled darlings' fault you understand). Society, according to this view (it appears to be TF's), cannot be changed by degrees, but must somehow just disappear - a conjuring trick that is referred to as "revolution", and which the briefest moment of clear thinking would expose. So there's a conspiracy of the willfully obtuse. Nobody explains how the revolution is to be brought about or what it might be like, and nobody asks.

But now, it seems, we don't even have to cite "revolution" as our excuse for refusing to engage with the state of affairs as it actually obtains. We can shift to the position that keeping our precious souls clean is what matters, and the fate of the unenlightened be damned.

belledame222 said...

yeah, sorry, rootietoot. sometimes spreading that shit around actually makes it worse. still, it seemed worth highlighting, finally, given...well, given a number of things.

but yeah, exactly: feel the love! the love of Womanity!

she's an ass, is all. at the end of the day.

--hey, howdy, maureen. as per She Who Shall Not: well, it doesn't surprise me that her 'dar is picking up Betrayal here, too, actually; i swear that woman must need a rolodex to keep track of all her Enemies.

o well, pass the popcorn.

(i cannot BELIEVE that mandos is missing out on all this. he must be indisposed or something...)

belledame222 said...

TN: well, to play devil's advocate for a moment, i do actually understand that position in so far as the existence of a Maggie Thatcher does not in fact signify a great stride forward for Womankind. (Caryl Churchill's plays are particularly blistering about this, for one).

how i do see it, though: well yes, the greater truth is that this worldview ends up painting itself into an ideological corner. BL had a name for it; something to do with structuralism, but i'm blanking.

simple version: "you can't win for losing."

I mean yeah, if you focus so relentlessly on what you want to destroy, without giving much thought as to what you might actually want to put in its place (Nature abhors a vacuum); AND you ALSO insist that the System always wins...

well, shit, that doesn't give much to go on, does it?

belledame222 said...

>Instead, the suggestion is always that to succeed in society as presently constituted is a kind of failure -

Well, and this is also something BL was talking about; and it's endemic to the left in general, not just feminism. She traces it back to Hegel; the idea that the slave must need know more (and hence in a way be more powerful) than the master, in that the slave has to know both worlds, whereas the master only has to know his own.

which, and i'd never put it in quite those terms. but then i was reading this (as i've said) astonishingly annoying little book called "The Sexual Liberals and the War on Feminism," and in one essay by a Sonia Johnson, yep, there it is:

"There are many reasons for our being in the only position, historically speaking, to change things. One of these is the basic paradox of tyranny that the oppressors are always less free than the oppressed. Another is that as women, we are truly outside men's system. Virgina Woolf said that, you know. She said in "Three Guineas" that women are the Society of the Outsiders, that that's where we have our power..."

...and you know, Virginia Woolf is exactly who i want as a role model for, like, revolutionary change.

hey while we're at it, what about Charlotte Perkins Gilman? no, not "Herland;" let's all, like, be driven insane by our oppression and crawl around our hideous wallpaper! that'll learn 'em!

belledame222 said...

>We can shift to the position that keeping our precious souls clean is what matters, and the fate of the unenlightened be damned.>

and there's that premillenialism again.

which dovetails nicely with the aforementioned dour Calvinism.

belledame222 said...

>And I'm still not sure how lipstick is any more classist than any other piece of clothing or cosmetic; I'd argue its one of the less classist things you can buy in America, as it's possible to get it for less than two bucks. I can see how lipstick may be indicative of societal racism (limited color palette) and sexism, but where's classism coming... Well, maybe for people in third-world countries, and the poorest of the poor here. But how is that any different than most other consumer goods?

OTOH, the perceptions of lipstick may be dependent on class, but I don't believe that's what the commenter in question was getting at.>

couldn't have said it better. THANK you.

Rootietoot said...

ok, so folk may not like Margaret Thatcher and her policies, but her getting elected PM in an of itself speaks of the willingness to consider a person based on something other than gender. Societal change is an evolutionary process brought on by revolutionary thinking. (2 points to the person who can identify the quote)

I'm over what's her names little sociological commentary. I cannot fathom how anyone that condescending could live with themselves, ultimately.

FoolishOwl said...

The trouble with
One of these is the basic paradox of tyranny that the oppressors are always less free than the oppressed.
is that the oppressors are less free than the oppressed *could be*. It's only in the process of fighting back that the oppressed learn how free they could be.

What bothered me most about TF, and some of her like thinkers, is that they're opposed to fighting back, and (TF actually says this once in a while) they're opposed to gaining freedom.

Tom Nolan said...

well, to play devil's advocate for a moment, i do actually understand that position in so far as the existence of a Maggie Thatcher does not in fact signify a great stride forward for Womankind. (Caryl Churchill's plays are particularly blistering about this, for one). - BD

I'd better put my cards on the table. I vote Labour, generally, and have never voted Conservative in my life. And Thatcher put my teeth on edge like no other politician before or since.

BUT...her example was a better warrant for the young women of England that supreme political power was theirs if they wanted it than all the assurances from well-meaning people like me. After her advent they knew it was possible because it had been done.

Now, the female leaders who came to the fore in the twentieth century may not have been angels, but there seem to have been no monsters among them: no Stalins, Pohl Pots or Hitlers. And I get the impression that women politicians in the west are less likely to be accused of corruption and the like than their male colleagues. So it is puzzling that women who do "get on" impressively and honestly in society as presently constituted and who are effective, too, in changing it for the better, seem to get so little attention from a movement whose main concern, once upon a time, was that women achieve more power.

What you say about the popularity of the slaves-know-more-than-masters-meme is true, of course, but it really sucks. The masters themselves must be laughing their boots off: "The slaves have apparently convinced themselves that their servitude is a spiritual and intellectual boon - they do all that they're asked to do, just like before, but insist on smirking supercilliously while they're at it. Who cares, as long as they obey?"

FoolishOwl said...

Well, the master/slave dialectic is from Hegel, who was an idealist, in the philosophical sense -- he believed ideas mattered more than concrete facts. So the know-it-all slave was in the catbird's seat, as far as Hegel was concerned.

It's different with Marx.

And this is also why I get concerned about all the talk of theory without reference to practical questions. Theory is terribly important -- but it has to be grounded in reality.

belledame222 said...

>BUT...her example was a better warrant for the young women of England that supreme political power was theirs if they wanted it than all the assurances from well-meaning people like me. After her advent they knew it was possible because it had been done.

Now, the female leaders who came to the fore in the twentieth century may not have been angels, but there seem to have been no monsters among them: no Stalins, Pohl Pots or Hitlers. And I get the impression that women politicians in the west are less likely to be accused of corruption and the like than their male colleagues. So it is puzzling that women who do "get on" impressively and honestly in society as presently constituted and who are effective, too, in changing it for the better, seem to get so little attention from a movement whose main concern, once upon a time, was that women achieve more power.>

Mmm...

I'm trying to tease this out. I know what i want to argue, i know what i'm generally arguing it against;this isn't what you're saying; but there's an assumption...

well, when you say "monster."

in a way i think that strikes at the heart of the problem here.

I certainly believe in the -possibility- of a female Hitler, Mao, Stalin. hell, you can see it in micro form every day.

female Thatcher was bad enough.

but y'see, there are a couple of ways of dealing with the existence of a Thatcher, if you're a left-oriented feminist, depending on your core ideology, mkay.

One is, as many have said: she's awful, and that's all there is to it. And: she upholds a patriarchal system, if you like. A "butch" ideal, certainly. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, is what it boils down to.

and that's where people start to part ways, depending on how much one has invested in this notion of...cultural feminism, say?

Basically, either we're inherently (or by dint of our collective conditioning, our "seasoning," so thoroughly indoctrinated since birth that we may as well be) outsiders, the oppressed, Class Woman, and thus...more virtuous;

or, we're just as -capable- as men of -everything- they do.

That means, -everything.-

Scary thought, isn't it.

What happens often is, you get into fights with MRA types or whatnot who would like to argue that in fact women have as much or more real-world power -right now.-

which is shouted down as the crap it is;

but there's a grain of truth in that we -could- be.

and the question is, well, why?

and if the implicit answer is, because there is virtue in being the underdog, because we haven't had the opportunity -and that's a good thing,- well...

Yeah. Nothing's gonna change.

Now, the whole "patriarchy" business is interesting because i think it's right and it's not. Yes, it represents a real model in many ways, an old pattern, which is influential and is manifested in xyz ways. Yes, there are specific fundamental problems with it, which need to be addressed at the root level for genuine change. (the argument over what that root problem -is- is another place where the faultline runs, of course).

But really what we're dealing with is the same old trap: oh, the ideology will save us, the saving grace is in the dogma, that is enough.

OR: the problem is in the Evildoers. Specific bad People who ought to be taken out.

Bzzzt.

I mean yes, yes...and, also, no, and no.

and appropriately enough, as i was googling for something else, this popped up:

"The Real Axis of Evil: Removing the World's Remaining Dictators Through Diplomacy."

Sounds good on the face of it, right?

...yeah. Still reading it.

"as my old boss, Henry Kissinger used to say..."

yes indeedy.

belledame222 said...

>And this is also why I get concerned about all the talk of theory without reference to practical questions. Theory is terribly important -- but it has to be grounded in reality.>

Word.

"How many Patriarchs can dance on the head of a pin?" or, give head while dancing, i suppose. something.

Tom Nolan said...

You know, I shouldn't be doing this. I have a whopping great essay to finish before Friday and there's a lot riding on it; but I just can't seem to leave this thread alone.

Feminism is almost alone amongst the west's liberatory political movements in that it has achieved its goals almost exclusively through having the right arguments and promoting them in open debate. No threat of a women's general strike, no threat of women's inner-city rioting. Instead, feminists have pointed to the huge sacrifices that women make in war and peace, to their manifest intellectual equality with men etc. and by force of argument and moral rectitude alone achieved everything on their initial agenda.

But how many internet rads have you come across who simply refuse to engage not just with MRAs but also with that most despised of species, liberal men, and even with other women of good feminist credentials, but rather proclaim a duty to state their position with the maximum of intransigence while denouncing and denigrating their opponents. They want, apparently to convince by conviction, not to persuade by persuasion. And, when told that they are unlikely to make many converts by such a policy, they answer that such is not their intention anyway, and that a revolution is coming which will make all discussion redundant.

That wouldn't be so bad as a call to arms. But it isn't: it's a wendy-house conspiracy which is of no concern whatever to those presently in power. More importantly, it's an excuse for not undertaking the onerous task of changing hearts and minds - onerous because, if we are to persuade intelligent people of our case we must argue fairly and abide by the same rules of reason which, as we believe, support our arguments. In other words, if we are to be persuasive, then we must allow for the possibility of being persuaded in our turn. It is this possibility, I think, that makes genuine discussion an insupportable prospect for the idealogues.

belledame222 said...

>You know, I shouldn't be doing this. I have a whopping great essay to finish before Friday and there's a lot riding on it; but I just can't seem to leave this thread alone.>

Insidious, ain't it?

yeah, i know. i need to be looking at schools and signing up for the UG classes i need next term, much less getting started on actual applications.

"wendy-house?"

word verification: "ftptt"

belledame222 said...

>Feminism is almost alone amongst the west's liberatory political movements in that it has achieved its goals almost exclusively through having the right arguments and promoting them in open debate. No threat of a women's general strike, no threat of women's inner-city rioting. Instead, feminists have pointed to the huge sacrifices that women make in war and peace, to their manifest intellectual equality with men etc. and by force of argument and moral rectitude alone achieved everything on their initial agend>

...hmmm.

I have a lot of thoughts and feelings on that. i think actually the clearest way to sum it up at the moment, I'm just gonna point you to a piece i wrote earlier, "The Secretaries," for now. i'll answer more directly later or tomorrow.

belledame222 said...

...that one, and this one, i think.

belledame222 said...

...whoops, sorry, it was actually more this one,, the prequel to the latter.

Mandos said...

Mandos was, for a few days, completely hosed with work. Then he was travelling through southwestern Ontario. Seeing friends, relatives, and living the life of a Twistian epicure. No time for writing interminable essays to his rapt internet followers. He could probably write a few Toronto restaurant reviews too, but they wouldn't be much use to most of his followers.

Now Mandos is back but he may yet become hosed again. We'll see.

belledame222 said...

hey, you don't know that. go ahead and write them. i have pals who may end up expatriated in Toronto pretty soon (yet another casualty of the no-gay-marriage-your-relationship-doesn't-count-so-sorry-go-home good times).

did they involve poutine?

Amber said...

Instead, the suggestion is always that to succeed in society as presently constituted is a kind of failure - it means only that women have been "co-opted by the patriarchy" (though it's not the poor befuddled darlings' fault you understand).

I've never understand, nor agreed with, that sentiment either. But fortunately I don't think it's the majority feminist view. At least, in my experience it hasn't been.

A few months back, the Feminist Women's Health Center here in Atlanta did a series on powerful women of color in the US. They included Condoleeza Rice and Li'l Kim, among others. I thought that was kinda awesome.

belledame222 said...

now there's a pairing!

stroll said...

This post and comment thread is great...I haven't read IBTP in a while but I always thought it was, like, 99% meant to be serious and 1% intentional parody of itself.

But the important question here is, did you get the kitten?

belledame222 said...

Not my kitten! blogfriend Kim's kitten. (soon-to-be).

i'd love a kitten. i dunno how my older cat would take to it. more to the point, probably, i don't know how well that'd work given that the bathroom's already a tad small for both me and the litter box, you know...

Carpenter said...

I never thought of this before, but much is made on IBTP of high heels and how *bad they are for you*, instruments of torture infact, and women have developed a taste for them, which only means they are brainwashed cuz what would induce you you develope a taste for something bad for you. But then much is made of smoking on that blog-also handed down by the man, also an evil industry no fun for tobaaco pickers-also an aquired tase whic is *bad for you*.

Rootietoot said...

"I certainly believe in the -possibility- of a female Hitler, Mao, Stalin. hell, you can see it in micro form every day.

female Thatcher was bad enough."

Are you comparing Thatcher with Hitler? What ethnicity did she murder 6 million of?

What is with the liberal propensity for comparing conservatives with dictators? Please tell me I misunderstood this statement.

belledame222 said...

We were already talking about Thatcher.

and believe me, liberals hardly have a patent on comparing disliked figures to Hitler; hell, there's a whole contingent who thinks "Hitlery Clinton" is just the funniest thing ever. Godwin's Law exists for a reason.

why I -strongly dislike- Thatcher, think she was corrosive: it's too early for all of it.

i'll start with the summary wrt her famous quote:

"There is no such thing as society."

if Tom who lives there wants to get into it more, he's welcome.

belledame222 said...

specifically, we were talking about strong (and not necessarily warm and fuzzy or particularly good for Women or small-d democracy) female figures; if i'd meant to say that Thatcher -was- *just like* Hitler, Mao, etc., i'd have simply included her in that list instead of giving her a separate line for "was bad enough."

belledame222 said...

and no, she or any politician was not what i meant with "in micro form." the impulse...

it's too early.

Rootietoot said...

awright.

It just seems like every time I turn around I am hearing "Hitler and (insert conservative politician) in the same statement. It makes me whiney.

Sometimes I forget that one is allowed to say what one wants without causing a philosophical stink on one's own blog. Or should be, anyway.

Go drink your (insert caffienated beverage of choice). Have a bagel, NY bagels are the best I've ever eaten.

Rootietoot said...

And another thing. I'm over my pique about Panties-in-a-Twisty's walmart crack.

If she can't see that those folk are the ones who keep this nation functioning, it's her loss. Going to a Lowland Boil with a few redneck families is fun like never before.

Her loss.

antiprincess said...

what's a lowland boil?

Anonymous said...

What is with the liberal propensity for comparing conservatives with dictators?

Uh, well conservative policies by proxy kill millions across the globe, between the arm industry horrific working conditions in the third world which are exploited by american business, their use of religion to justify their hideous and very literal mass murder of oppressed people (because, do excuse, what exactly is the quantum leap between "mass murdering dictator" and "hitler", at what point did hitler become PURE EVIIIL, and groups like the contras were only really really vicious mass murderers? Do you have a metric (with regards to the number of people killed and utilised as slave labor i mean) or is it more of a "I know when I see it" sort of thing?) and, well, if thatcher isn't comparable to hitler, if only for retorical and political policies and habits, let alone the fact that she is pretty much knee deep in the blood of the hundreds of irish people and miners who she used military and police violence against, not to mention the argentinians she started a war with for the sake of political gain. She's killed people, lots of people, and ruined their families and tortured them too, really.

I was a bit taken aback by the slightly transphobic and misogynistic nature of saying she's a man though (hence someone else who is like is a "female thatcher") as though obviously a woman could never have been thatcher. She was a femme woman, not a man, not a ladyboy, a femme woman, and she was still evil.
I hate frank herbert's assertion(later rebutted by himself in the later dune novels) that women dictors and soldiers and policewomen, would be some how better "more nurturing" or some such bullshit.

But back to Godwin's violations, they're always apt, hyperbolic yes, but still apt with any conservative politician - especially those related to george bush's grandfather, who very literally funded the german nazi party - because hitler just took conservativism to it's logical conclusion more than anything else, it's wasn't a sudden jump in viciousness, Stalin after all achieved a greater number of dead over a longer preiod of time through the use of work camps (which should make americans shitty doubley so because we were using prison labor for public work projects in the south during the same period that stalin was in power, and that was also racially tagetted, just like many of hitler and stalin's work camps) Also, at the point you've got people talking like ann coutler does - and coulter is the retorical vanguard for conservative thought and action btw, she says something about genocide and, WMPH, we're demolishing whole cities a month or so later and letting haliburton and iraqi led death squads - trained and funded and armed by our politicians remember (and I think death squads are the point at which Hitler/stalin comparisons become apt, rather than when they finally directly murder several million people, because they won't directly do it, not the next time the holocaust comes along, proxy wars with proxy soldiers raping proxy women, that's the spirit of the 21st century, clean hands, dirty souls the only true conservative maxim) run loose around baghdad and taking people off from their beds to be "executed" before dawn breaks.

The point at which you've got ann coutler saying stuff like that, and her conservative masters making her words into deeds, and you've got armed militias run and funded by people tied up with the KKK and neo-nazi groups at the border shooting mexicans, that's the point when the distinction between "stalin" and "joe lieberman" begins to blur.

And if there's blurring of that moral line - the moral line relating to the mass use of military force to suppress people who you're exloiting in a foreign country - and FDR and JFK are just as bad you realise, just not as bad to american workers as the rest have been, they're true patriots in other words, unlike the conservative politicos of the 20th century - and suppress those people through mass murder, rape and brutality (and we've always used torture also (we used it in the phillipines, and we used it in both wars, and in every conflict since pretty much, that's why the school of the americas exists, to teach foreign countries our secret torture methods and how to organise death squads), the bush admin just admitted as much and started using it systematically rather than sporadically).

I find it hard not to point out that this other person, who we demonise, who we hold up as a platonic ideal of evil, is not different enough from us that we cannot make the comparison.

Also remember that the nuremburg laws' legal framework was largely based on the jim crow laws of the segregation era, which we were only got rid of in the 70's - 30 years ago we were as bad a hitler's germany until hitler one upped us by gassing and shooting 10 million jews, homosexuals, assorted "untermenschen", aryan women who used contraceptives (the flip side of the motherhood medals, as though those weren't freaky enough), communists and other political dissidents and anyone else who got in his narcissitic little way.

In 1939, nazi germany was only equivalent to america in horribleness.

This is R. Mildred, sorry if it seems like I'm always shouting at you rootietoot, did I apolagise for having a go at you in another thread here already? because I meant to and forgot.

I do draw the line at comparing the IDF to the nazis, if only because that frames hezbollah and HAMAS as akin to ZOB or something, and they're not.

belledame222 said...

>ok, so folk may not like Margaret Thatcher and her policies, but her getting elected PM in an of itself speaks of the willingness to consider a person based on something other than gender.>

Well, sure. And yes, that's something. No doubt. That's a very mainline, Betty-Friedan feminist perspective, i would say: women are equally capable, in the career field in particular. And I have no argument with this in itself; sure, that's -a- goal. And yes, "we" have come, well, anyway, some good distance, baby.

I just personally don't think it -stops- there, though, with the representation; and part of that reason is, well, a powerful woman can (and i'd argue did, with Thatcher) still implement policies that are not only detrimental but are specifically detrimental -to women.- That is, -most- women. This is where a socialist feminist (among others) would start talking about say the intersections of -class- and sexism. Among other things.

But I think Tom is also saying something else, here, wrt the feminist movement; I...want to tease that out a bit, because i'm not -entirely- sure where you're coming from.

I mean, I don't get the feeling that you're (Tom) saying what let's call them "cultural feminists" say, sometimes overtly, more often implicitly: essentially...well, essentially. Essentialism. Maybe not biological essentialism, but cultural essentialism (ultimately it boils down to the same thing, i think, de facto):

in English:

that women are as a "class" more peaceful, less aggressive or inclined to killin', at least, than men.

which is of course a very Victorian (and earlier) stance; it's just that some people take it as it had been used traditionally (therefore, women should stay home and do peaceful type things and generally keep the household moral, whilst the men go out and fight, like they're s'posed to) and turn it on its head (therefore, women should be the ones in charge, so there won't -be- any more fighting).

That's a gross oversimplification of course.

the "biological" vs. "cultural" just means that -most- feminists who more or less are of this school (i'd put Heart among them) claim not to believe that this is due to any mysterious essential quality that comes from womens' special chromosomes and naughty bits, but rather is due to our social conditioning.

but the way someone like Heart (Twisty too, in her way) frames it is, that the conditioning is -so- overwhelming, from the very moment "we're" (all women, see) born, in every culture, in every way, that effective it might as well be (as far as i'm concerned; they'd probably argue) inborn.

More to the point, I do think that in fact there is often a kind of romanticization of this whatever-it-is, this...yin, female nature, whatever;

and further, that this school of feminism (Heart certainly does) tends to locate it exclusively in biologically female-bodied people.

All of this is a -very- convoluted way--because the way they argue -is- convoluted--to what *I think* (until someone can demonstrate to me otherwise) boils down to,

Wimmin R Morally Superior.

...you see.

Now, Tom, I don't think that's what you're arguing here, based on what you've said so far and what I know of you.

But when you say that

>Feminism is almost alone amongst the west's liberatory political movements in that it has achieved its goals almost exclusively through having the right arguments and promoting them in open debate. No threat of a women's general strike, no threat of women's inner-city rioting. Instead, feminists have pointed to the huge sacrifices that women make in war and peace, to their manifest intellectual equality with men etc. and by force of argument and moral rectitude alone achieved everything on their initial agenda>

...well, okay, so, assuming that this is the case, how do you explain that, then?

Because, as I was trying to get at with the earlier posts i pointed you toward, what I think a lot of people--men, okay, i'm generalizing too, but as an "outsider," understand--don't see is what Lisa Kron described as *emotional violence.*

In other words, when you talk about "reason" (and that goes back to the Enlightenment thing, and that's a whole 'nother line of discussion), i think there's something you're not seeing.

Bottom line: the ineffectuality we were talking about, the whole autocannibalism thing, the internecine wars...yes, it's due to what we were talking about, the Hegelian business, that ideological trap;

but it's -also-, i would say? coming from the same place that makes other people start wars, go on serial rape and killing sprees, and so on, and so on.

It's just, the conditioning (yes i do believe in that) means that we tend to express it in different ways.

Now, one can argue that well, hey! less literal murder, at least! that's a good!

...and i dunno as i'd argue with that;

but that still doesn't mean that we've got everything all under control; or even that, -if- "we" decide, okay, screw Hegel, let's be Winners! (or "Top Girls" as Churchill would put it), achieve power in equal numbers to the menz (i.e. instead of the odd lone figure like Thatcher or hell Golda Meir, Benazir Bhutto, in equal or greater numbers to the men currently ruling)...that we would, in fact, do it any better.

We might (or might not) do it -differently;-

but that doesn't mean we'd do it any better.

Because there's still that tamped-down icky stuff, -tons- of it. actually, huge fuckoff backloads of it.

And, as we've seen, as i say, in micro form--yes, even in these stupid-as-shit little talky-talky "wars;" often times? the people who -you'd think- would be more empathetic to -other people/groups- on account of their own suffering? Sometimes, yes; more often though: naw.

No connection.

We're selfish little bastards, iow, just like everyone else.

The difference between my saying that and someone like a i don't know social darwinist, or someone who'd say,

"There is no such thing as society,"

is that i don't think we're -only- selfish little bastards. And I don't think being a selfish little bastard is particularly laudable; i don't believe in "survival of the fittest;" i don't believe "greed is good."

I think we're--collectively, as a species--capable of being sublimely altruistic and loving as well as deeply horrible, murderous, worse than "animals." and that that's probably true to greater or lesser degrees for each of us individually--gender, creed, color, whatever--as well.

For most of the peanut gallery reading here, i suspect that's probably a "well, duh?" I could be wrong.

but so the reason i bother to say it at all is, I do think that within -certain strains- of feminism (as indeed with other oppressed groups; although i think that the peculiar nature of sexism arguably makes it stronger in this case) buy into the notion that oh, clearly, since we -are- on the outside, -are- being oppressed...we're not as bad as "they" are.

Some people do say this pretty explicitly (i'd have to hunt around for the ones who do; generally it's the "crazy" ones, but the funny thing is that ofttimes the "crazy" ones are the ones who make implicit and murky ideas that are already floating around, explicit and concrete); more often, i think, it's just sort of -there.,- half-hidden.

but it's implicit in certain arguments, and in certain ways of going about one's activism, and...other things.

and i say: it's a trap.

That it starts with acknowledging:

We're all capable of it.

Which is not the same as saying we're all equally culpable of -things that were actually literally done- (i.e. murder). No, you're not a murderer. Let's be clear.

You just don't get a cookie for it. And it's not enough to base a movement on.

belledame222 said...

slip. heh, RM, i thought that was you.

wasn't there some thread at Punkass, Marc's (sorry), "Everyone in the world is like Hitler?" That was a collation of right-wing folks doin' the Godwin like there was no tomorrow, if i recall.

i don't eat bagels nearly as often as i ought, considering. i just had a brownie. breakfast of champions.

belledame222 said...

the "you" in that penultimate paragraph, btw ("not a murderer, don't get a cookie") was a general "you," just to be clear.

belledame222 said...

>I do draw the line at comparing the IDF to the nazis

well and of course THAT particular comparison is guaranteed to send people into an incandescent rage like nothing else, because, hello, irony alert.

i -don't- want to get into the Israel Palestine thing (please god no); just, it has occurred to me to wonder just how many living Israelis are either Holocaust survivors or had same for parents?

because you know, i rather think that that, that wold have to have an effect.

personal's political, and vice versa.

Tom Nolan said...

Puddingboy to Rootie

I think you might have got hold of the wrong end of the stick: I was pointing out that despite the considerable number of women national leaders etc in the twentieth century, none of them were comparable to Stalin, Hitler, Pot and the others in terms of barbarity. And BD didn't disagree, she merely said that Thatcher was bad enough.

I just think it's bizarre that certain feminists (not all by a long shot, pace Amber) - given that the movement strived so hard and so long to legitimize women's access to power - should take such little interest in those women who actually achieve it. It's like scrimping and saving your whole life to send your children to a good school and then ignoring their progress when they get there.

I think the problem lies in the ways feminism is conceived. On the one hand, a movement to redress a particular social injustice, ie the exclusion of people on the grounds of gender from the opportunities of education and power that should be theirs by right. On the other hand a movement which, instead of seeking to allow the disadvantaged sex equal access to such possibilities, dreams instead of destroying the social and political structures through which those possibilities are currently to be realized. Women, as it were, as the last best hope.

If we take the first view, then we will not be disappointed if women in power turn out to be fanatical, dogmatic, corrupt, brutal etc: the idea was to correct a particular social injustice, not to reform the world through the benign influence of women.

If we take the second view, then the participation of women in an evil system can only help legitimize it, for the more women who have a stake in its survival the fewer will be left as its uncompromising enemies.

On the whole, internet rads take the latter view, I think. I would take the former, while adding that there is also a pragmatic reason for ensuring (and encouraging) women's access to power: society suffers if half its intellectual, leadership, visionary potential is arbitrarily refused fulfillment.

A last word on the "coopted by the patriarchy" stuff. I think it's largely self-serving. The radfem bloggers who are anxious to qualify success in society as it stands as the ultimate failure do so because they want their own failure in society as it stands to look like success.

Tom Nolan said...

BD - we cross posted. I'll be back with an anser before long - but I really have to crack on with this frigging essay!

belledame222 said...

muhahahahaha! part of my Dastardly Plan to subvert the Patriarchah! preventing you from doing your work so that I, She-Ra the Saber-Toothed Vagina, can usurp your place and TAKE OVER THE WORLD, PINKY!!

...oh, sorry, what a giveaway. i mean, yes. do your essay. good luck!

>I just think it's bizarre that certain feminists (not all by a long shot, pace Amber) - given that the movement strived so hard and so long to legitimize women's access to power - should take such little interest in those women who actually achieve it. It's like scrimping and saving your whole life to send your children to a good school and then ignoring their progress when they get there.>

which is also "the perfect is the enemy of the good," or however that goes.

what i -really- hate is where that translates into stuff like, anti-prostitution feminists being against unionization and similar protections on account of it'll only encourage 'em (seriously, i've seen this argument). Hello, harm reduction? No; no dice. bastards.

belledame222 said...

>If we take the first view, then we will not be disappointed if women in power turn out to be fanatical, dogmatic, corrupt, brutal etc: the idea was to correct a particular social injustice, not to reform the world through the benign influence of women.>

exactly. or well, i'm "disappointed" in the same way i'm disappointed by any such person in power; i.e. not so much "disappointed" (unless this was a particular person whom i'd had reason to think would be one of the good guys, pre-coming to power) as "enraged."

Amber said...

Uh, well conservative policies by proxy kill millions across the globe

I know it'll probably make me look like some kind of hippy wacko, but y'know... I actually agree quite vehemently with that statement.

I will refrain from rambling about the whys and wherefores at the moment.

belledame222 said...

well, and people outside the mainstream Dem faction argue, correctly (often), that in point of fact in many ways Clinton and Blair (for instance) were no better in that regard. (and either did or did not hold their nose and vote for 'em anyway, depending on to what degree one believed that in -some- regards they -were- better).

ultimately there is no such thing as a world leader who -isn't- responsible for untold deaths, i should say, indirectly if not directly.

which does not mean i think therefore they're all equivalent, no.

belledame222 said...

i suppose one could also quibble about to what degree for example the Bush administration is actually "conservative" in any real sense of the word.

certainly people from all over the ideological map seem to think otherwise, albeit for wildly different reasons.

and, in some cases, surprisingly enough, the same reasons.

Rootietoot said...

I am so totally in over my head. I think I'll eat some toast and listen to Dean Martin.

hedonistic pleasureseeker said...

Belledame, the Bush administration is not REALLY conservative. Ask any real one! (Not me, I'm a progressive.) Real conservatives have a more "leave everybody the hell alone" approach to law and politics.

I would say Bush is more . . . fascist.

belledame222 said...

yeh, i'd always been under the impression that a -real- conservative would be interested in, you know, -conserving- things.

i love how some people are still convinced that it's tax-and-spend LIBERALS, bless 'em. taken a good look at the national deficit lately?...

yeah, we're still taxing and spending; it's just the money's coming out of the pockets of the people who can less afford to pay, and the spending is going...well, gee, now, where -is- it going?

they're like people who keep the fire going by throwing the furniture on it.

Mandos said...

"Wimmin R Morally Superior."

Speaking of which, did you see this thread?

http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2006/11/29/i-name-the-patriarchsi-name-and-blame-the-patriarchs-part-2-fallacies-about-the-full-quiver-movement/

Some of it is quite interesting indeed. However, apropos of women and power, Heart says,

"The men are able to harness women’s desires to be pregnant and have babies and all of that, to their own theological/political agenda, effectively taking what belongs to women and making it all about them, all about men, and war, and their plans for conquest (as men generally always have and do). I think, I guess I’m saying, that the FQ movement is a variation on an ancient theme, going back to the beginnings of patriarchy, when men’s interest, or one of them, was in controlling and dominating those who could bring forth life from their bodies, because men couldn’t and were hence disposable."

And later Branjor says,

"Imagine a woman who gave birth to children and then was the head of her family, making decisions for herself, her children and her family as a whole, but with her husband still in control of his own life. Would she be “corrupted” by the power? No. The reason men are so “corrupted by power” is that their power is illegitimate. It is natural for women to take charge of the young ‘uns they birth until those young ‘uns grow up and take charge of themselves, but men have no such natural authority. So their (unnatural) power and authority has to be imposed by force, by violence, and it therefore corrupts them. Women, on the other hand are not “corrupted” by taking up natural authority. "

belledame222 said...

yup. or rather, i saw antip's fisking of it. i'll get to the whole thing eventually i expect.

Mandos said...

And as for Toronto restaurants, I didn't really eat anywhere that wouldn't already have a dozen reviews on teh interwebs. The first meal I had on arriving in Toronto was at Spring Rolls at The Atrium On Bay (a well-known landmark mall/office tower in downtown). This is a trendy local-chain restaurant that serves various forms of Asian cuisine and is quite affordable. The spring rolls themselves left something to be desired, but the ho fun noodles in satay sauce was pretty good.

Then I had dessert at the (again well-known) Future Bakery on Bloor and Bathurst. By "bakery" they mean cheesecakes. Of all kinds.

Next day I ate at a forgettable Japanese homestyle restaurant. OK sushi.

A few days later, I ate at "New Hot Spot", a Chinese hot pot restaurant on Dundas (and Bay, I think, middle of downtown) that served a very good chicken and ginger hot pot. Service was prompt but strangely sullen.

Finally I ate lunch at the Kensington Kitchen in the trendy-historic Annex neighbourhood next to the beautiful giant cancerous downtown tumour that is the University of Toronto. Very good for vegetarians who want to take meat-eaters out. All the dishes are veggie friendly and teh meat-eaters can order skewers of dead animals. Mediterranean cafe style.

belledame222 said...

who is Branjor? anyway, yah, i rest my case. biological essentialism.

as someone, RM maybe, pointed out way upthread: yah, you and (surprise! Godwin!) the Nazis: mystical special Wimminhood, the power of the wooooomb. Is what keeps us from being tyrannical dictators.

ffs.

maybe instead we'd give -ourselves- medals.

so yeah: you do see the points where the far left and far right bend around and meet; this is one of 'em. let's isolate ourselves in a compound i mean collective and sing hymns to our own moral superiority whilst simultaneously alternately raging against and living in terror of Them! that always works out -so well.-

belledame222 said...

Hot Pot sounds good.

i was only in Toronto once; and i have a rather skewed perspective of the place since i was fifteen and staying with an insane Hungarian woman for two weeks. i'm sure it's more pleasant than my memory's filter is permitting me.

Mandos said...

If I remember correctly, Branjor recently identified herself as having once been Quine from the Ms. boards. I never really read the Ms. boards.

Don't you love the word "womb"? Wooooomb! Wooooooooomb! Almost as funny as "uterus". Yuuuuuuuterus.

belledame222 said...

I wrote mine a poeme, onc't!

yeh, i never read the Ms. boards either. apparently i rilly missed out.

Mandos said...

Do women actually experience a noticeable sloshing? Wow. I can't imagine having sloshy bits other than my digestion.

Women: the sloshy sex.

As for Toronto, I don't know when you were 15, but it was once (I'm told) very very different from what it is now. The stereotype and jokes about it are still held to be funny and true in the rest of the country.

Here's the lyrics to the song "I don't want to go to Toronto" by the Canadian comedians, The Vestibules (who are, I believe, Montrealers):

"I don't want to go to toronto. I don't want to go. All of the blocks are square. None of the streets are twisted. None of the streets are paved with bricks. There's too many elevators in Toronto, not enough stairs in Toronto. Not enough stairs! All of the food in Toronto is made of edible oil products. They don't have bagels in Toronto - they have donuts! Donuts made of edible oil! I don't like donuts. They don't have bagels. I don't want to go to Toronto. People don't have faces in Toronto - they have cigarette ads instead. They listen to your phone calls. There's a tower in Toronto that controls people's minds!! It's illegal to possess brightly coloured balloons in Toronto! Illegal to own brightly coloured balloons! All of the children in Toronto must wear suits. Even the girls, three-piece suits! The buildings in Toronto have no windows! I don't want to go!! Everyone lives in subterranean caverns filled with donuts made of edible oil. I don't want to go!! Nobody goes to the bathroom in Toronto - they have a special operation, they have it removed surgically. There's a tax on all wicker goods in Toronto. There's huge buildings with no windows on streets with no curves and inside you find little girls in suits running around with black balloons and muching on edible oil products. The kids don't have names, they have numbers which are assigned to them at birth! They're called.. 387.7! 412.9! And they all have cigarette ads instead of faces! I dont't want to go to Toronto!! I don't want to go! I have plenty of wicker goods, I don't want a tax on my wicker goods! I like going to the bathroom, I don't want to go to the hospital! I don't want to go to Toronto! I don't want to go! Do I have to go to Toronto? Do I? Do I have to go? I don't want to go!"

Tom Nolan said...

OK, essay finished, 4500 words of scintillating prose to ruin some supervisor's vacation.

Now, where were we?

Ah yes, you were wondering if I was implying the inherent moral superiority of women. Perhaps you had an "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" scenario in mind, whereby I'd been taken over and replicated by a Seelhoffian Pod while momentarily off line.

Well, I do think that women are generally less prone to physical violence than men are, especially during the years when men are at their most agressive. And women are, surely, far less given to sexual assault than men at any age.

Now some of that can be attributed to women's position of social and political inferiority: underdogs do less damage. And it may be that as women get more politically and socially powerful they will become more abusive and violent too. But I'm hoping that some of the lessons that they've learned through being the underdogs will last long enough in their collective memories to make them, for a while at least, better leaders and organizors than men generally are. Isn't that what we try to think about any oppressed group when it finally achieves power? Perhaps I'm being sentimental.

But I share your disgust for "virtue feminism". I particularly loath the way that the term "patriarchy" is invoked to incriminate men and exonerate women. All men benefit from the patriarchy, so they can legitmately be blamed for the acts of individual men (rapists and the murderers of schoolgirls for instance) who, so it is claimed, act to promote the patriarchy's interests. On the other hand, women who behave badly are just "replicating patriarchal behaviour"; and since the patriarchy disadvantages *all women* the female wrongdoer is actually working against her own interests - so obviously she can't be responsible for her actions. She's a sister under the skin!

Re: Seelhoff. She claims to have rejected the patriarchy, but it would be far truer to say that it rejected her. Read all about it at her blog.

belledame222 said...

do you have a direct link to her history? i bin interested.

belledame222 said...

oh yeah, and: what's a "wendy-house?"

i keep thinking of Peter Pan, but that -can't- be it.

belledame222 said...

...& congrats on finishing the essay!

Tom Nolan said...

No, I don't have a direct link, except to her weblog, which I'm sure you know how to get to. But just read the article Mandos was referring to, and the comments, and follow the links, and you'll get the picture.

"Wendy House" - one of those little tent-like structures in the shape of a house that children have in their nurseries: where they go to serve lemonade out of teapots to one another and to do a little make believe bossing around.

belledame222 said...

ha! never heard that. that's excellent.

I know the basic details of her saintly past; was never clear on how she got from there to here, though. she was thrown out? sorry to be lazy, but can you give a TV guide summary? i'll go spelunking later, i haven't the time now, but i Must Know Immediately.

Tom Nolan said...

The short version is that she was a big-shot in her reactionary church - a charismatic preacher, too - and that she was "taken in adultery" and publicly humiliated. If that hadn't happened I have no doubt she would have continued as before. She has a new congregation now and a new gospel and she has changed her saints and her mind on all sorts of essential matters. But she hasn't changed her mind with regard to her own infallibility. Nor has she ever apologized for leading her sisters astray through her previous sermonizing.

But to be fair she is constant in her hatred of many of her old ideological enemies. She continues to be more sympathetic to right-wing clergymen than liberals of either sex. And she still enjoys free and open debate like a slug enjoys salt.

belledame222 said...

that's very well put.

taken in adultery, hey? my.

so it wasn't actually a road to Damascus so much as cast out from the Garden and finding a new one.

and yeah, she sure does like to sermonize, doesn't she.

Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, anyone?

belledame222 said...

and then TF with her "Calvinist" background.

i wonder how many of this type of "radical" actually comes from a fundamentalist (no, TF & family wasn't a fundamentalist, i'm sure, but it's the same dour root) background?

and if not that, i am suspecting, either some other form of very authoritarian background, or one that's "permissive" (i.e. neglectful) enough that the reaction would be to need really airtight structure.

i think the really toxic ones probably all were always authoritarian in one way or another, though.

this is something i'm always interested in: the personal/micro, psychological roots of small-d democracy (and of authoritarianism); and to a lesser degree, the opposite: the "trickle-down" effects of popular ideology on individuals at a personal and micro level.

Mandos said...

She herself recently noted that she cannot get the Christian out of her, try as she might---although that's a common enough phenomenon on all sides of this discussion. Also note her series of sympathetic posts about Ted Haggard---in whose position she once was and with whom she sympathizes, although she repeated tries to assert that it's really his wife with whom she sympathizes. I'm sure that's true, but it's also unmistakably obvious that she identifies with Haggard far more than his wife, especially since he's going to go through a lengthy a torturous programme of reform imposed on him by evangelical leaders.

piny said...

Now some of that can be attributed to women's position of social and political inferiority: underdogs do less damage. And it may be that as women get more politically and socially powerful they will become more abusive and violent too.

It's also important to point out that things like sexual assault aren't only acts but ritual, and that they often happen not because they're inherently enjoyable (like in Camille Paglia's rhapsodies about the giddiness of gang rape), but because they communicate one thing or another. In other words, it's a language that doesn't translate into the position that most women hold, not just power that women cannot arrogate. Not that you're missing any of that; I just didn't want this debate to seem limited to inheritance/entitlement.

piny said...

taken in adultery, hey? my.

so it wasn't actually a road to Damascus so much as cast out from the Garden and finding a new one.


Maybe both or neither. I know less about this than Tom, and no more than you, but I'm not sure it's possible to say one way or another at what point radical feminism started to make sense to her, or whether radfem or banishment was the effect and not the cause. Haggaresque bennies are complicated when you're a woman in a fundamentalist hierarchy. Her success and consequent self-esteem could have been problems before any conscious affinity with radfem on her part, and they could have been read as leaning toward teh radfem even while she still saw herself as the faithful Christian wife and mother.

piny said...

Also note her series of sympathetic posts about Ted Haggard

I did. And I was kinda pissed off about the way she described LGBT people who are not closet fundamentalist hatemongers.

belledame222 said...

>Also note her series of sympathetic posts about Ted Haggard

GYAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH

do i even want to know?

...goddamit. -has- Miz Political Lesbian ever sullied herself with the flesh of another woman? does she even think that's a part of y'know -lesbianism?-

yeah yeah, show me your creds, but come. ON. Haggard.

or you know, maybe empathetic on account of he was also a hypocritical, oleaginous--

sorry, sorry, i shouldn't go off before even seeing the thing.

still,

GGAAAHHHHHHHHHHH

belledame222 said...

>It's also important to point out that things like sexual assault aren't only acts but ritual, and that they often happen not because they're inherently enjoyable (like in Camille Paglia's rhapsodies about the giddiness of gang rape), but because they communicate one thing or another. In other words, it's a language that doesn't translate into the position that most women hold, not just power that women cannot arrogate. Not that you're missing any of that; I just didn't want this debate to seem limited to inheritance/entitlement.>

No, you're totally right;

and that's the -other- thing i think they keep missing, the hetnorm radfems.

How much that ritual is about -male bonding.-

Which is, too, an expression of the fucked up System (i REFUSE to say "patriarchy") wherein men are not supposed to have tender or erotic feelings toward each other, -and- women are Othered to the point where they're effectively homosocial, AND the emphasis on aggression...what to do, what to do.

it makes a ghastly sense.

someone, Bark/Bites was it? put it in terms like, well he was talking about "trains," which i guess one could distinguish or at least put on a continuum with gang rape, o i don't know, but anyway:

something like, how many other situations are there where a straight man is putting his dick where another's just was?


"Hey, man, can I wear your jockstrap?"

"Sure, man."

"Thanks. Hey! It's still warm! Sweet."

But so yeah; and the thing is, no in fact, at bottom, it's not about "woman-hating."

It's actually -worse.-

The women don't even matter at all.

It's about -men with men-; the woman is, as BL puts it in less literal contexts, "pivot babe for the circle jerk."

Which is obviously not to say that women shouldn't put their own experience at the center of their consciousness. So why bring it up? Why would this make a difference to women, to feminism?

Well, i think because, again, it's the hetnorm thing; and it leads to a certain...locked pattern. i mean, you get this kind of--yes, I'm gonna say it--eroticized hatred going on between the extreme radical feminist separatists (some of them) and the MRA's. they both project their own shit onto the Other; they don't, i think, have a very clear view of...other people. you know. just busy nursing their own respective hurts, for whatever reason too much so to be able to focus on anything else.

which is not to say, "should" or "shouldn't" or that objectively/systemically speaking, blahblah's hurts are equivalent to the other (or not); just...that's what i see.

Tom Nolan said...

I know less about this than Tom - Piny

And I only know what she's published on her website, where she is fairly open about these matters. Of course, nobody at "Women's Space" is going to tug her surplice and say, "er...Cheryl".

Tom Nolan said...

Message in a bottle: if anybody's still reading this thread then they ought to go to Women's Space immediately and read the latest "light Hearted" post from Cheryl with its amusing pun on "crotch". I can't stand being alone with this knowledge. And if I try to tell other people what I've seen, they won't believe me. I'll be the ancient mariner ("there was a blog, quoth he").

belledame222 said...

"Huh."

piny said...

Was "Goddesses on Parade" the don't-gore-my-ox post about how that Britney Spears birthing sculpture was not repulsive in the slightest?

OT: Does she _ever_ credit any of the artwork she uses to head her posts? Petty, I know, but it's starting to irk. I believe the picture she's got in the second latest is from a book on female pirates illustrated by Susan Synarski.

belledame222 said...

>Was "Goddesses on Parade" the don't-gore-my-ox post about how that Britney Spears birthing sculpture was not repulsive in the slightest? >

oh, you're -kidding.-

Tom Nolan said...

"Huh" - BD

Sorry not making myself clear. Some of the things that made the post a zanier experience than usual for me were:

The light Hearted tone. It's like hearing Mr Spok try to tell a joke. Surreal to the point of being upsetting.

This idea: men like to wack off to pictures of powerful women because they know that such are indomitable in real life. So *that's* why they are always buying photographs in specialist shops of Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher - under the counter, of course, and in brown paper envelopes. (I hope I don't sound like I know too much about this).

This injunction: to "listen to them (men), pay attention, you will find that they often turn to pornography when they are angry at the women in their lives or at women in general."
Yes, I'm sure that's what Delphyne and the rest of the gang are going to do, listen attentively to a man talking about what motivates his interest in porn. I can see it now, just like I can see myself as the next President of the United States.

The post's unseemly interest in men. Cheryl's sense of triumph at how offended and chastened they'll be when they discover her anti-heteronormative screeds and not the porn they were looking for. And how other feminist bloggers should participate in her scam to attract, under false pretences, as many porn-fiends as possible to their sites. It will be interesting to see how many take her up on the suggestion, and how many regard the split second of irritation experienced by X-thousand porn-fiends (before they move on to another link) as an utter irrelevance.

piny said...

oh, you're -kidding.-

Nope! Search it on her blog.

belledame222 said...

>The light Hearted tone. It's like hearing Mr Spok try to tell a joke. Surreal to the point of being upsetting.>

*snort* there is that. um, yeah, i guess i missed that this was a, how you say, "joke."

"There vere five peanuts, valking down der Strasse, and vun vus Assaulted! Oh, ho ho, ho..."

>Nope! Search it on her blog.

Don't wanna.

Mandos said...

Well, it wasn't *quite* like that. Heart was saying that

1. for sure, the sculptor's motives are suspect.

2. however, we shouldn't take it at face value, ie, what the sculptor might have intended.

3. much of the feminist hangwringing about it is misguided because, according to Heart, it's a reasonable birthing position and Objectively Beautiful in the way that birthing women are beautiful and powerful.

4. it's only in our perverted patriarchal world that the sculpture is not an object of worship to feminists but instead a symbol of the viciousness of the male gaze that it should sully an honourable birthing position so.

http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2006/04/15/goddesses-on-parade-birth-pornography-the-britney-spears-birthing-statue/

Mandos said...

Oh, and technically NSFW, although Heart would wonder why that is so.

belledame222 said...

...you know, among the other things i can blame her for, fuelling the "humorless feminist" one deserves a nod at this juncture. seriously, did she have her sense of irony surgically removed, or what?

Amber said...

well he was talking about "trains," which i guess one could distinguish or at least put on a continuum with gang rape, o i don't know, but anyway

Sorry to nit-pick, but I just hafta hafta talk back on this one...

I felt uncomfortable when someone at Veronica's blog said "pulling a train" (not fond of that term but idk what else to use) was always non-consensual; well, not in so many words, but damn near it. I said I didn't like that bc it takes away individual women's autonomy if that's the kind of thing she WANTS to do. (And yes, as hard as it may be for osme people to believe, some women DO want to do that kind of thing - or at least fantasize about it, even if not planning ot actually do it in real life. *raises hand* - as if you couldn't guess by now anyway.) So sayin git's on a continuum w/ gang rape bothers me for the same reason. I don't like the blurring of the lines between consensual group sex and rape.

Just my personal... issue, I guess.

piny said...

1. for sure, the sculptor's motives are suspect.

2. however, we shouldn't take it at face value, ie, what the sculptor might have intended.

3. much of the feminist hangwringing about it is misguided because, according to Heart, it's a reasonable birthing position and Objectively Beautiful in the way that birthing women are beautiful and powerful.

4. it's only in our perverted patriarchal world that the sculpture is not an object of worship to feminists but instead a symbol of the viciousness of the male gaze that it should sully an honourable birthing position so.


Yes, but no. The "reasonable birthing position" completely ignored the fact that other feminists weren't commenting on the basic cow-pose posture the ceramic Brit was sorta holding, but in the details that made the sculpture pornographic. Details that were thrown into even sharper relief by the pictures Heart provided, the ones that depicted completely different things. It's like the difference between a representation of a woman in standard lithotomy position and a naughty-nurse-in-stirrups cheesecake photo. They knew that. They were talking about the latter.

And she ignored that difference in order to bash these other feminists as anti-mother and anti-woman, as well as completely ignorant about what childbirth involves. She used them to indulge her persecution complex, and in doing so nullified their complaints.

And then she provided a couple of other photos (for example, the JCrew pregnant lady with the skinny Caucasian body, perfect cheekbones, and Pantene hair) and interpreted them in a perversely generous way that made it pretty fucking obvious where her blindspots were.