Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oh joy, just what we all needed: PUMA 2.0




aka: "Shut up, Hamster."

Srsly okai.

Or, I guess, I had a long sit, as my partner drove. I read Deoliver47's post about 'Ms. Hamsher' and it rather annoyed me. I've lived for most of my life amongst those people who now go by "tea baggers" (their own moniker) and I knew that no matter what happened in politics, I could never accept an alliance with such hate-filled individuals and I couldn't understand a progressive that might advocate such a move. Then I read a diary that said Ms. Hamsher had gone on Faux and Friends to appeal to their audience to 'kill the bill'. It wasn't much of a diary (sorry diarist!), so I checked the Fox site itself and damned if it wasn't true. Not only had she gone on Faux, she'd not even asserted herself to decry what the party of "no" had done to decimate the hcr bill. She talked about how the bill would increase costs to the middle class and would effect your current coverage and "causes it to be worse"; it sounded like right-wing talking points.

So, despite my struggle to remain objective, I was getting a lil subjective. When I logged on tonight, the first diary I saw was about Ms. Hamsher joining forces with Grover Norquist to force Rahm Emmanuel to resign. Grover Norquist? Really? I'm sure readers here know who Norquist is...founder, supported by President Reagan, of American's For Tax Reform; opposition of President Clinton's attempt at health care reform; Contra and North supporter; co-author, with Messr. Gingrich, of the "Contract with America; Abramoff aficionado; supporter and promoter of President G. W. Bush. Need I say more? That sort of perked my ears.

But it wasn't until a poster noted that Ms. Hamsher had tweeted about Senator Bernie Sanders losing his seat unless he killed the bill. Losing his seat. The only self-professed socialist in the political spectrum. Losing his seat because he wasn't progressive enough? Bernie Sanders, promoter of single-payer health care? That guy who passionately argued for, and offered an amendment that would provide health care and dental coverage for every American? I almost couldn't believe it. But I clicked the linky, and sure enough...there it was, in all its glory...


moar:

Grover Norquist is a lifelong Right-Wing warrior. Destroying all progressives and any progressive/liberal agenda is his life’s work. He is very good at and has been finding useful idiots to help him divide and conquer progressives for over thirty years.

Norquist started this work with Jack Abramoff at his side. One party rule has always been their goal and Democrats and liberals have always been their blood enemies. Destroying progressives and everything we believe is their life's work. It is what they do.

Grover is deeply connected to Abramoff. Perhaps nobody goes back as far with Jack as Norquist...

...These two created Ralph Reed and inflicted him upon the world and they spawned a host of other lobbyists, activists, media whores, think tankers, staffers and politicians that make up the extreme conservative movement in America. Jack Abramoff’s ability to lobby and be successful as the point of the spear for the K Street Project depended upon Norquist and his weekly gathering of DC conservatives (Jack’s in jail, but these weekly meetings go on—perhaps Ms. Hamsher will be Grover’s featured guest at a future meeting). The sweatshops, sexshops, human trafficking and systematic labor abuse on the Marianas Islands have Grover Norquist to thank for their protection by Republicans just as much as they have Abramoff to thank (and Jack kicked back funds to Grover as part of the circle of "thank yous"). Norquist should be in jail, but he was protected by McCain, Rove, Bush and Congress. Now he is still out on the streets of DC and making fresh "alliances" with gullible and foolish people within the progressive movement. Sadly, Jane Hamsher is one of those foolish people.

...And the heart of her alliance with Norquist is the fact that she is lending her support and credibility to the conservative conspiracy theory that the financial meltdown was caused by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae lending money to poor people through the Community Investment Act and Community Banks. It is an article of faith among conservatives that Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama forced Freddie and Fannie to engaged in risky loans and that these two mortgage giants forced the big banks to do the same. And then the system crashed. See, in wing-nut world everything bad that happened to the economy was caused by poor people taking advantage of the system. This is a scandal that the wing-nuts want exposed just like they want that whole birth certificate thing exposed, and the ACORN thing exposed, and the death panel thing exposed, and the government’s dirty hands on your Medicare thing exposed, and the socialist takeover of America exposed, and the...

...If you want to fight with Rahm Emanuel, fine. If you want to pretend that he is your chosen personification of evil on this earth, go ahead. Whatever. But, if you decide that your hatred of Rahm is stronger than common sense, if you decide that you must join Jane Hamsher in making common cause with a shitbag like Norquist to attack Democrats, the President and his agenda, well then—and I mean this in the most civil way possible—go to hell. You have let your anger and your desire to piss farther and harder than you think Rahm can piss cloud your judgment.


Honestly? I'm listening to people on the left who are against the hcr bill as it stands now, even though I'm leaning toward the "hold your nose and support it, after making it as good as possible till the very end, because whatever that is is as good as we're going to get." But, joining up with Grover "drown the vulnerable anyone who gets in my way the government in a bathtub" Norquist to try to unseat Bernie Sanders because Sanders isn't progressive or aggressive enough in upholding progressive values. Because the guy who's been actually doing work, even brought up a bill for single-payer, has said this bill is worth supporting; and you think you know better, so you're gonna go side with the people who don't think we should have health care (reform) *at all*. Ooooookayy.

As for Obama and (some of) the Congresscritters supporting this bill (Lieberman can also be devoured by roving wolverines, yes, that goes without saying):

Listen, if I'm going to be supporting actual moderate-to-conservatives/self-aggrandizing cynical corporate sellouts going under the progressive flag whose "help" in this case not only doesn't much but may (*may*) even make things worse, I'm at least going to stick with the ones who aren't complete fucking boneheaded losers. That would be the ones who got elected into office, have some proven ability to find their ass with both hands, and are at least *trying* to make some kind of useful policy that will *help* *some* actual people be better able to not, you know, die. Hint: P.R. disasters like the Lieberman blackface stunt do not count as "progressive activism." They do count as "boneheaded loser moves."

p.s. how the hell did I get on Hamster's mailing list, anyway? No, I'm not signing your stupid petition. GOE AWAY.

Damn.

p.p.s. This, dammit.

If anyone thought that Obama's language about bipartisanship and compromise were just a ploy to get elected, and the fierce passionate liberal would then pull away the mask, they were deluded.

To me, Obama's open, bipartisan and cross-ideological tone was never just a pose. It was how he intended to govern, defining a mild, modified liberalism as centrism and putting the opposition on the defensive. A fierce, aggressive liberalism, the counterpart to the high point of conservative exercise of institutional power in the middle of this decade, was not going to succeed. Recall, that such an approach ultimately failed conservatism.

However, Republican senators' refusal to participate in any meaningful way in the health-care conversation, with the small and notable exception of Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe's single, hesitating vote when the bill was before the Finance Committee, is a painful revelation that Obama can't govern the way he campaigned. And that revelation is in itself a kind of cost, a useful illusion now lost. As recently as a few weeks ago, every savvy Hill insider would tell you that health reform might get 58 votes and fail, or it might get 61 or 62 votes. But it wouldn't, couldn't get exactly 60 votes, just because some Democrats -- Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu -- would insist on Republican cover. The biggest surprise of the last week is that health reform had to hit that target 60-vote target exactly, and that it did.

Health care's passage shows exactly how small the target is for any future Obama initiative, from cap-and-trade to financial reform. With no room for bipartisan compromise, and also no room to tell Joe Lieberman what everyone surely wants to tell Lieberman, the path forward is hard to see. As long as Republican opposition holds, even with the occasional press-release exception such as Sen. Lindsay Graham on cap-and-trade, there will be no room to the right and even less room to the left..





Friday, December 11, 2009

Yes, that'll work.



Maggie Gallagher of NOM! sez conservatives should have Moar Babeez in order to stave off gay marriage.

Which will totally work, because if there's one thing that never happens, it's the children of right wing conservative homophobes growing up to be Teh Gay. Trufax.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with any -other- right wing Population Anxiety...

Oh.

See what The Nation had to say about this, two years ago:

“The real root of racial tensions in the Netherlands and France, America’s culture warriors tell anxious Europeans, isn’t ineffective methods of assimilating new citizens but, rather, decades of “antifamily” permissiveness–contraception, abortion, divorce, population control, women’s liberation and careers, “selfish” secularism and gay rights–enabling “decadent” white couples to neglect their reproductive duties. Defying the biblical command to “be fruitful and multiply,” Europeans have failed to produce the magic number of 2.1 children per couple, the estimated “replacement-level fertility” for developed nations (and a figure repeated so frequently it becomes a near incantation). The white Christian West, in this telling, is in danger of forfeiting itself through sheer lack of numbers to an onslaught of Muslim immigrants and their purportedly numerous offspring.”

"'No' to the notion of Bilerico"






On edit: You may want to start here. Or, for a more charitable view, here.*

*a follow-up, less charitable view by the same author

Otherwise, here's the direct link:

http://www.bilerico.com/2009/12/transgender_a_disease_that_doesnt_exist.php

And no, Bil, it's not good because it's (ffs) "controversial," already. You get a modest increase of hits now, because people rubberneck at the transphobic fail. You -lose- readers after the initial flurry of outrage, because, well, see above re: fail. And any readers you -gain- from this are not people any self-respecting "LGBT" advocate, no matter how notional the "T", wants to have.

p.s.



p.p.s. THIS. **

Q: What are the sources of transphobia? Is it best combatted by telling it to go away?

A: Its source is not mere prejudice, but old and complex power relations that must be changed, a task that is neither quick nor easy, and is not accomplished by adding a letter to an organization's name. It is based in heterosexism and heteronormativity masked as "radical" critique...This needs to be called out and addressed by the gay community. It should not be up to the transgender community to battle alone, thus furthering the divide.

...By arguing that those born male must retain identification with maleness, even if not with masculinity, his critique lags well behind the radical curve, and begins to merge with the opinions of conservative traditionalists. At one time the use of bronze tools was the latest in technology. To advocate their use today would be silly.

Gold's opinion isn't silly, however, because it is still held by many. It is a hateful ideology. It is alive and well today and often deployed against the trans community. We may yet see it rear its ugly head in the ENDA wars of 2010. I pray that we do not.


**yes, it's also on Bilerico. I appreciate not wanting to give the blog as a whole any more traffic. I felt a bit weird-since I was already sending them traffic-not even at least linking to one of the follow-ups by trans contributors, not to let Bilerico off the hook but because this is a much better post, and honestly I don't think it necessitates Gold's bilge for posts like this to be on their front page in the first place, especially AT Bilerico, which seems to be one semi-apologetic argument ("it's an ill wind..."). That said, I'm resuming my policy of not reading/linking to them after this. I like a lot of the individual contributors there, but it just doesn't even feel like Bil sees what the damn problem is, even now. The suggestion of having trans editors would help, I expect...then again I apparently missed a bunch of other fail as well (Polanski apologism, too? -LeVay- apologism? Seriously? Argh)



ETA Better. (removed Gold as well as the O.P.) It'd be nice to believe that this is happening because it's really understood why and to what degree this was problematic, not just because the wheel finally squeaked enough to get some grease and the bottom line looked like it might be in danger from this one, after all.

ETA again: if you missed the original fail, a lot of it is cached in fisk form at Autumn's post at PHB. Wherein it is also speculated (not the only place by any means) that it is by the way rather interesting timing considering ENDA is up again and apparently so is the possibility of once again throwing trans folk under the bus.

Also, via a commenter from one of the above-linked posts (Angela Brightfeather):

...We need to be on the offensive with Mr. Gold and tonight while driving home and listenting to Michaelangelo Signoreli's radio show on OutQ radio, he announced that due to all this fuss on Bilerico, he will be talking about Mr. gold's post next week on his show. I immediately called him and told him that I object to giving Mr. Gold any airtime on his show and would consider it an insult to myself to let his kind of non-thinking comments be given any air time at all.

So be ready folks. This isn't over yet and I fully expect that while Mr. Gold will not make a personal appearance on the show, I am sure that there will be any number of gay men calling in about those whinning Trans folks who are such a problem to deal with.




Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Quote of the day, 12/9/09

Speaking of love, one problem that recurs more and more frequently these days, in books and plays and movies, is the inability of people to communicate with the people they love: husbands and wives who can't communicate, children who can't communicate with their parents, and so on. And the characters in these books and plays and so on, and in real life, I might add, spend hours bemoaning the fact that they can't communicate. I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up.


—Tom Lehrer, That Was The Year That Was


Sunday, December 06, 2009

On female socialization and grimly logical conclusions



Read this post by fugitivus.


If women are raised being told by parents, teachers, media, peers, and all surrounding social strata that:

it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed (“mean bitch”)
it is not okay to appear distraught or emotional (“crazy bitch”)
it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others (“stuck-up bitch”)
it is not okay to refuse to agree with somebody, over and over and over again (“angry bitch”)
it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (“bitch got daddy issues”)
it is not okay to use your physical strength (if you have it) to set physical boundaries (“dyke bitch”)
it is not okay to raise your voice (“shrill bitch”)
it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you (“mean dyke/frigid bitch”)
If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.

And we should not be surprised when they behave these ways during attempted or completed rapes.

Women who are taught not to speak up too loudly or too forcefully or too adamantly or too demandingly are not going to shout “NO” at the top of their goddamn lungs just because some guy is getting uncomfortably close.

Women who are taught not to keep arguing are not going to keep saying “NO.”

Women who are taught that their needs and desires are not to be trusted, are fickle and wrong and are not to be interpreted by the woman herself, are not going to know how to argue with “but you liked kissing, I just thought…”

Women who are taught that physical confrontations make them look crazy will not start hitting, kicking, and screaming until it’s too late, if they do at all.

Women who are taught that a display of their emotional state will have them labeled hysterical and crazy (which is how their perception of events will be discounted) will not be willing to run from a room disheveled and screaming and crying.

Women who are taught that certain established boundaries are frowned upon as too rigid and unnecessary are going to find themselves in situations that move further faster before they realize that their first impression was right, and they are in a dangerous room with a dangerous person.

Women who are taught that refusing to flirt back results in an immediately hostile environment will continue to unwillingly and unhappily flirt with somebody who is invading their space and giving them creep alerts.

People wonder why women don’t “fight back,” but they don’t wonder about it when women back down in arguments, are interrupted, purposefully lower and modulate their voices to express less emotion, make obvious signals that they are uninterested in conversation or being in closer physical proximity and are ignored. They don’t wonder about all those daily social interactions in which women are quieter, ignored, or invisible, because those social interactions seem normal. They seem normal to women, and they seem normal to men, because we were all raised in the same cultural pond, drinking the same Kool-Aid.

And then, all of a sudden, when women are raped, all these natural and invisible social interactions become evidence that the woman wasn’t truly raped. Because she didn’t fight back, or yell loudly, or run, or kick, or punch. She let him into her room when it was obvious what he wanted. She flirted with him, she kissed him. She stopped saying no, after a while.

...Women are taught both that these rules will protect them, and that disobeying these rules results in punishment.


read the rest

Also see.

Off that latter, and the "how hard this also makes dating/hooking up," which should not be the first consideration but is still a consideration, I just wanted to add:

As someone who got more or less the standard female socialization + introvert + no real incentive to go after men in any case (usually):

Fucksake, it's not like I don't fucking get how hard it is to meet people, -women-, hello. Women who "just want to be friends;" women who stand you up; women who huddle together with cliques of their friends in the bar all night, all with their backs turned outward; women who give you the runaround because they, too, have the socialization that you recognize oh so well of "never say no directly, because that would be too confrontational, and smile harder to make up for it." And yes, the mixers and such can be extremely forced feeling and dorky. I KNOW.

Yes, I sometimes talk to strangers, the ones -I- want to talk to (and who want to talk back). Yes, I don't live in a hole, thank you, and believe me, it's damn hard to drag myself out of one a lot of the time, what with the chronic depression/anxiety and shit. Yes, it's frustrating as all hell.

And somehow, I do all this -without- all of media and social/cultural expectations drumming it in that my desires -should- be catered to, that they're normal and appropriate, even necessary to grease the wheels of society.

Top that off with the het men in question continuing to pull the same bullshit on me as any other woman because no one is exempt, really, and it's not like the assholes listen to what you want anyway, and it's generally safer to -not- go "actually I'm a dyke" to such people because hey! whole new level of potential shit! and you know something? My sympathy, it is limited.



Thursday, December 03, 2009

And now, a spoonful of kitteh




to make the ughsome go down.



(h/t Ethyl)

WANT KITTENNNNNNNNN


Sure thing, Joan Kelly, will do.



Re this post and the preceding ones.

Yeah, enabling Howly Blog does put you beyond the pale. I'm afraid so. I mean, truthfully, personally, I never cottoned to you much anyway, so no great loss. But, seriously? You are sucking up to a couple of vile trolls who would basically be Fred Phelps with a couple of small adjustments. Glad to see you've found a "spine" of some sort, though. It does take guts to "agree to disagree" about blatant hatemongering, fuck knows.

And, for the record, the tu quoqueing you've been doing? Yeah, those women (yes, women) are *also* toxic hateful assholes. Amazingly enough, the existence of some assholes doesn't excuse vile bigotry, which is, let me repeat, exactly what you are oh so magnanimously choosing to ignore as "disagreement." Let's not even get into the "what? I'm not saying I -like- infanticide, I'm just saying it beats the alternatives."

So, yeah, posting this will no doubt feed the martyrdom complex as well as the vomit monster machine, and, yeah, I keep swearing I'm giving up the dwama, but you know, I can live with it. Because, wrt the whole "if you don't like them, just don't read them?" You're full of shit. They post flaming gauntlets like that and especially leave hatespoor trackbacks to any trans blogger post they find for a reason. They wanted a reaction. They got it. And now, so have you.

Enjoy.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Voracious hunger is a sign of manliness"

Footnoote to two preceding posts, off a snippet from one of the links.

That line, "voracious hunger is a sign of manliness:" Whopper commercials and certain sportsy or fratly subcultures aside, you may not have seen that as being particularly true these days, even though its converse clearly still is. Ever since at least the 80's and the spawn of yuppie culture there's been an uneasy coexistence between the ol' "real men EAT, make strong like OX" and at least a nod or so to the idea of being relatively "healthy," "cut," drinking protein shakes and running on treadmills and shit. There are obviously other factors at work here, class not least of them. Masculinity is still as associated with power as it ever was, but the sleeker and faster advanced technocracy gets, the more likely you are to see power reflected by efficient eating habits and fat-free bodies: the straightforward opulence of a Diamond Jim Brady becomes replaced by the more ascetic ostentation of personal trainers and individually tailored "special" diets, the better to achieve that lean, mean, hard look.

If you -really- want to see hilariously over the top odes to the Manly Appetite, though...well, let's take a trip in the wayback machine, shall we?

I'm reading this anthology called Endless Feasts, a collection of essays from the soon-to-be-defunct magazine Gourmet. (One thing I may or may not have talked about here is: I read food porn. A lot of food porn. While I'm eating, specifically. I have my little habits, which...some other post).

Anyway, in this compilation, there are several essays by one Robert P. Coffin, each more exuberantly masculine than the last. The first two have to do with huntin' and fishin' with one's brothers in the wild, having dispensed with such "suave and civilized meats" as sweetbreads on toast: ripping apart hunks of lobster with one's bare hands, scarfing down deer limbs washed down with whiskey from the bottle, that sort of thing. Very proto-Iron John, very...woodsy.

The third piece, "Down East Breakfast"-- I'll just give you a taste, okay.

The Maine morning meal is like a tune on the bagpipes which calls the stouthearted Scot to war. It is something that must strengthen him deep to his marrow, and only the masculine and downright victuals will do. The ordinary American breakfast, with its precooked and predigested cereals, its hummingbird nectar of citrus, butterflies of bacon, and anemias of eggs, is as much out of place in Maine as...a French breakfast of a dry roll and chocolat chaud... It would be an insult to his oily manhood. Fat is the foe of weather, and fat is the making of Maine's first meal...

...The Maine breakfast is a hefty meal for hefty he-men.

...It begins with a seething and bubbling of pork fat in the skillet or spider. Fat salt pork in chunks, not lean and feminine bacon rashers, is its base.

...The Down East flapjack is the outdoors, masculine, New World crepe Suzette. It is about as much like its relative in Paris, in London, or in our own Sunny South, as an All-American tackle is like a boy in pants six inches long playing with a ten-cent-store football.

...In any case, there must be the cheese. And when I say cheese, I don't mean something that starts out as a mollycoddle of a food for babies, like milk. I mean...calf's head cheese or pig's head cheese. I mean meat...This is strenuous and fine eating, and it makes a "stick-by-the-ribs-Billy" dish that dish that will take a man straight through three cords of beechwood...without a rest and with a song in the heart.

...Naturally--and this breakfast is all nature and good-natured eating--there is a liquid constantly drunk to float all these ships of heavy meats and fish and wheat or buckwheat on. It is tea...It is as black as your hat. It is about as near to the tea drunk as tea parties by women and womanish men as the male in three-cornered pants is to the adult one in overalls that can stand by themselves...

...Some of the older men a bit past their full bloom, or some younger ones not yet come to theirs and having peach fuzz instead of whiskers on their cheeks, dilute this tea with sugar or milk. But the middle and powerful males take its tannin into themselves neat. It galvanizes their "innerds," they say, against the damp and cold...[A] wise saying is that tea is tea only when it puts whiskers on the bottom of the soles of your feet. Maine men's feet have hair on their bottoms so they can cling to their dories and rolling logs...

...The Down East breakfast is the strong meal of strong men.


At the conclusion of a meal like this--or more accurately, writing up the vicarious experience of it, as the actual Maine he-men are already lumbering off to put in a hard day's work stacking cords in the bitter cold-- presumably one lights up not an effeminate cigarette but a foot-long, thick, masculine cigar with a fine strong honest smell. None of your Cuban imports either, but a plain straightforward -American- cigar, completely free of foreign impurities and effete insinuating subtext.

The gentleman, perhaps, protests too much. But what exactly is it that he's protesting?

At first glance it's not a "protest" at all; it's a celebration of, well, bigness. Male bigness, but also American bigness. Clearly the particular cultural myth the author is appealing to goes back a long way, at least as far as, say, Paul Bunyan, Giant in a Great Land,. This piece was written shortly after WWII, when America was on top of the world, and Gourmet, along with the idea that fancy eating is a legitimate American pasttime, was in its early years.

And yet one could argue that there's a hint of...anxiety, here. The author, remember, is writing for Gourmet readers, which from the onset was decidedly on the upscale, not-very-likely-to-be-doing-much-cordwood-chopping side. "The Magazine of Good Living." The Song Of Masculinity is all entangled with class: it's basically romanticization of Hard Work And Simple Living, Like Our Pioneer Forefathers (and Their Helpmeets) Practiced. And which, one gathers from the Huck-Finn like paens to escaping the study and running wild in the woods with his pals, doesn't much resemble the life of the author or his audience; otherwise, it probably wouldn't seem that romantic.

This is all decades before the "wealth gap" widened dramatically. Second Wave feminism's still in its nascency, but Rosie the Riveter now has to be considered as competition for the men returning from the war. We're still a long way from the analysis of, say, Stiffed, or Stuffed and Starved; ironically, the era Coffin is writing from is one that's now viewed nostalgically itself. Traditional Families, Hard Work In The Heartland, Father Knows Best. As the ulcerated CEO's on their treadmills can attest, perhaps, even the simple joys of gorging oneself aren't that simple anymore.

Whatever the men are hungry for-along with the rest of us- it's probably not going be satisfied with a big breakfast, if indeed it ever was.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"The flip side of this charming worldview..."



(riffing off the same SP post that inspired this one)

I hadn't even gotten into fillyjonk's other point, the one that started me commenting on this piece, before I got distracted by what felt like the main point. Said other point being:

The flip side of this charming worldview, of course, is male anger at women who don’t make themselves available — see many of our friends in that now-closed thread — or women who have the gall to have a body they find unattractive. That’s the real problem with feminism, with fatness, with (for some pseudo-enlightened guys) the extremely thin beauty ideal: it’s a boner-killer, and boner primacy is a paramount law of the dude cabal. You don’t have to read very far between the lines of most troll comments to see that’s what it boils down to: how dare you possess a womanly body I can’t or don’t want to fuck.


One of the -other- charming Tucker Max slogans, by the way, (not sure if it made it to an actual bus ad or not; I wouldn't be surprised) was "Fat girls aren't people." A motto he, like so many of his fellow yrch, upholds faithfully by the same kind of invasive in-your-space crap as goes to the "lucky" "hot girls," except instead of aggressive and hostile come-ons often laced with insults, you get...insults, often laced with aggressive and hostile-come-ons. e.g. (via the same Schmucker-related comment thread, I can't be arsed linking back to the original again):

Hey Sara Lee, I was only kidding! COME BACK HERE--MY FRIEND LIKES TO GO HOGGIN. MORE CUSHION FOR THE PUSHIN! IT'S LIKE RIDING A MOPED!!

Of course, this is the same attraction/disgust other "undesirable" women get: the exotically fetishized racial "Other," particularly those whose stereotypes don't map to "hyperfeminine" (i.e. the Asian "Lotus Blossom"); trans women; women with disabilities (viz Fuckhead's charming "I'm two thirds of the way to a Helen Keller"), women who are -too- "slutty" or "low-class," including sex workers; and so forth.

And yes, of course, in this "charming worldview," women are never entirely "people," not -really- (nor for that matter are quite a lot of men, but that's not the subject of this particular post) . Women who're "friends" or "girlfriends" or otherwise "special" may be (sort of) excepted, as long as they don't step out of line or lose their attractiveness and/or utility or make too many demands, like decent treatment. **

But the women deemed "unfuckable" (except, of course, when it's in the name of supposed desperation, or in the interest of gathering exotic/disgusting stories to tell one's friends, or in the dudely bonding activity of attempting to degrade via fucking, or even that the dude in question is secretly attracted but of course can't admit to any such thing in front of his dudebros)--well, those women get to be, shall we say, more -overtly- "not real people." Further objectified. Further dehumanized. Further to fall. Ain't it the way.

One could examine -how- each of these particular ways of being "unpersoned" starts with being "unwomaned." As noted in previous posts and elsewhere, the way trans women are treated perhaps most sharply illuminates this curious phenomenon (i.e. [cis] women aren't -really- people, but compared to people and especially women who get cast outside either the favored or disfavored gender boxes, it's still a lot more "personed"). The "unwomaning"/"desexing" (and/or fetishizing) of women of color and women with disabilities each respectively happens in its own way, within its own context(s), but in service of roughly the same ends.

Fat-bashing and especially fat-woman-bashing is an interesting one, and one I realize I haven't talked about much in this blog, curiously enough, because I am fat. As for the etiology of "fat is a feminist issue," today is my day for quoting Shapely Prose, I guess, because this here is a really good breakdown:

(summarizing themes from feminist philosopher Susan Bordo's book Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body):

-Voracious hunger is considered a sign of manliness.

-Hunger for food and desire for sexuality are constructed as analogous, but this is a gendered analogy. When women are targeted, “their hunger for food is employed solely as a metaphor for their sexual appetite.” When men are targeted, the metaphor goes in reverse: eating delicious food is depicted as a sexual conquest. (The examples for this include hilariously awful ads of men whispering sweet nothings to their Betty Crocker desserts.)

-Female hunger is represented in terms of misogynistic fear: sex is imagined as a form of eating in which the woman consumes and destroys a male object of desire.

...The connection between hunger and desire, especially, can be subterranean: the ideal of thinness, of course, depends on you having the goal of a certain kind of fuckability — but even eating itself is depicted as an act of sensual abandon instead of a necessity for every living thing on earth. As such, men are commended for having hearty appetites — boys will be boys — and women are told to keep their mouths (and their knees) shut.

The quote I highlighted above is the one that was most illuminating to me, because it says (in my non-theory translation) that dieting is the ultimate act of repressive femininity. Essentially, what Bordo argues is that not eating when your body needs food is participating in your own marginalization — but it’s marginalization dressed up as a sexual ideal. This, I think, is why trolls and anti-FA jerkwads are so obsessed with the idea that we want them all to have sex with fatties: fat is, on some unacknowledged level, about sex in our culture.


And of course, while these days women aren't supposed to keep their knees shut, "sluttiness" is still considered degrading, even monstrous, particularly if it's the woman's idea/desire. Also see.

This is all even before we get to: what if the woman desires women rather than men.

Let's skip over the relatively obvious trope of "any woman who doesn't desire the misogynist is a dyke (and probably fat and ugly to boot, and nobody wants those grapes -anyway-), whether she actually is one or not."

Let's start with "yes I am, and especially seeing you represented as the alternative, THANK THE SWEET WEEPING JESUS, because annoying as tolerating your existence is -now-, I can't even imagine what it'd be like to -want- attention from a shitbag like you, which is of course assuming not only straight but either with really low self-esteem or a taste for smug often-not-exactly-gorgeous-themselves mediocrities with more beer than brains."

Not that I am saying that the latter is a small population: hey, it was good enough for Laura Bush.

But the truth is, as much as the political lesbian and other such might like to romanticize the notion, being Sapphically inclined is not actually all that much of an opt-out from being on the receiving end of this sort of bullshit. For one thing, as noted here recently, women, dykes included, can be appalling assholes too. In eerily similar-sounding ways those of the brodudes, even, amazingly enough.

Mostly, though, what happens is, as with any other woman, you're going along your way, minding your own business, and some hairbag or frathole or other form of arrested male development decides to inform you that He Would Not Fuck You Anyway, He Does Not Like You, Spam He Am.

This happens in a variety of contexts, online or off. Occasionally it's completely out of the blue; you just happen to be unfortunate enough to occupy the same airspace (or bandwidth) as the meatsack, and, more to the point, his buddies; you are merely the means to the end of scoring a laugh/bonding moment.

Other times it (also) turns out to be, however obscurely, the meatsack's way of expressing that you have Stepped Beyond Your Place, whatever that entails. A political opinion he does not care for, say; or your not smiling when urged to do so; or laughing too loudly in public (what if it were at him!)

The implication that being adjudged "fuckable"*** by some random wet fart is something one should aspire to in the first place should be as obvious and pathetic as its rough equivalent, the small child changing from "You're pretty!" to "You're ugly! I hate you!" when one tells her firmly that it is past her bedtime (actual experience and Click Moment when I was a young woman of babysitting age).

And yet, as has been the thesis here, grown men resort to this devastating retort all the bloody time. More to the point, they feel comfortable referring to an implicit, sometimes explicit, authority in doing so. "Every straight man with a set of eyes." It's true because it's true, because it's true. Obviously the chode in question is being ridiculously self-absorbed; yes, attraction is subjective, but it's more than that. He's comfortable believing he's the center of the universe because he's -used- to that impression being reinforced. Of -course- he doesn't find you fuckable, unworthy woman; and of -course- this should be something you should worry about. What, you thought your life had nothing to do with the whims and demands of Average Entitled Dudebro? Think again. Attention, attention must be paid.

And sooner or later, the old "just ignore them, dear" bromide being as ineffectual to address the root of the problem--i.e. the misogynistic entitled assholes are being misogynistic entitled assholes, and it's their own damn choice to do so, which is unsurprising because they're only being rewarded for it, by and large--one sighs, and cracks one's knuckles, and puts down one's copy of Fun Home or whatever else was a hell of a lot more interesting than the overgrown fratholes who still run way too much of the planet, and -gives- them some attention.

One trusts the recipients of said troll food attention are suitably appreciative.


**If you're depressed enough already after reading that Gawker piece, you might as well skip the comments, a good chunk of which boil down to,

"I don't believe it, and even if it's true that's not really that big a deal anyway, not like -real- abuse, and also it's her own damn fault for taking so much horrific crap from anyone. No sympathy."

The ex ("Bunny") herself would appear to be largely in agreement with the sentiment that she has/had her own reasons for dating a knob like Tucker, and so forth. And no, the repeated labeling of other women as "whores" and so on isn't exactly endearing, that is true. That said, I find her a hell of a lot more sympathetic than him. For one thing, she's actually a much more interesting writer.

***p.s. in case you didn't get your full share of ugly: not just fuckable, but rapeable.


"Nothing interferes with a man’s ability to score like a woman who doesn’t think his ego trumps her safety."


Via guerrillamamamedicine, over at Shapely Prose hits all the points that -should- be obvious, but apparently still aren't, to any number of dudes like o f'r instance this one.

We’ve recently had a number of dudes dropping in to complain that asking them to be sensitive to women’s boundaries is essentially cock-blocking them. Sure, they say, if they don’t talk to us when we clearly don’t want them to, they’ll be making us feel less threatened in a world where one in six women is the victim of sexual assault — but on the other hand, they won’t get to talk to us, and how is that fair? Nothing interferes with a man’s ability to score like a woman who doesn’t think his ego trumps her safety. Underlying this argument, along with a host of other scuzzy notions, is the same idea Saletan spikes and the Navy wives catch: that taking a “womanly body” out in public is an a priori invitation for male attention...

Then there were the guys who were clutching their pearls (if you know what I mean) in the epic thread, horrified that women might think they were a danger. After all, it’s not their fault that women feel threatened — they’re decent, humane guys. Maybe some men are dangerous, but not them, and aren’t we really creating the problem by not letting them prove how decent they are all over us?

Those guys are right, sort of. There are lots of great men out there — you can tell who they are because when they read that thread, or Saletan’s piece, they go “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?” And it really isn’t fair that sometimes their wives also think they can’t be trusted in a sub with 138 other guys and a lady. That’s not their fault. But it’s also not their wives’ fault, or the ladies’ fault. It’s the fault of a culture that tells all of us, over and over, that men just don’t have the ability to resist. A culture that assumes it’s women’s responsibility to keep themselves armored and invisible, because sexual violence is a direct result of temptation.

In other words, the same cultural bullshit that asserts men’s right to invade women’s personal space and/or fuck 13-year-olds also perpetuates the notion that men are more dick than brain. That’s why they just have to talk to women, when they can see the women don’t want to! That’s why they get addled by a womanly body when they know it comes with a pubescent mind! They don’t have the willpower or intelligence to not act like cavemen, at least not when faced with feminine wiles.

Fuck that noise! The real decent guys sure don’t deserve that. And the pearl-clutchers, the ones who were horrified by our insistence that rape doesn’t occur in the passive voice… well, who says they deserve it either?

...But what if that’s not good enough for you? What if you’re the kind of self-styled decent guy who still doesn’t feel like it’s fundamentally worthwhile to contribute to a culture where women don’t feel threatened because they aren’t threatened? What reason do you have to forego the rape-joke T-shirts, notice body language signals, object to misogyny, back off when asked to, maintain a comfortable distance, or any of the other little things you can do to bring rape culture down by degrees?

If the well-being of women isn’t enough for you, consider this: patriarchy thinks you’re fucking stupid. It thinks you’re a penis without a brain that’s worthwhile and powerful only because women are vaginas without brains and that’s somehow worse. It thinks you’re untrustworthy, that you can’t be left alone with a woman, that you can’t be left alone with a child. Feminists didn’t make that shit up — they’re just noting it and passing it on.


Anyone who wants to lump this in with "victim feminism" or whatever the current moniker is isn't paying attention. Yes, women have agency. And responsibility. Same as any other human. But what's conveniently left out of the equation a lot of the time, or at least underemphasized, is not only that men have responsibility (also! too!), but what that responsibility consists of. It's not about being "good." It's not about not overpowering delicate wimmins with your brute masculinity or however that incredibly tedious and ubiquitous cultural fetish/trope goes.

It's about have some fucking empathy. It's about, there -is- such a thing as community, no matter what Maggie Thatcher said. And while you're trumpeting about your rights, your individual autonomy, your -free speech-, all those terrific American concepts that are the very same ones we invoke with such handy catchphrases as "my body belongs to me" (nifty little one, there, applies to a lot more than reproductive rights), you might consider that other cliche wherein "your right to swing your fist ends at my nose."

And, further:

When a whole bunch of swinging dickheads are swinging like all get out and getting into womens' space, at minimum, your responsibility is to not -unsee it-, because it makes you uncomfortable. At -minimum-, you don't go: "Well, yes, he's a jerk, but hey, freedom of expression!" even as someone's standing there clutching her nose. At minimum, you don't go, "yes, okay, there's a lot of fist-swinging going on, (although not as much as you say there is, because -I- don't experience it), but it doesn't add up to anything; it doesn't signify; one and one and one and one do not add up to four, because I will it so."

A side note about the latter phenomenon:

How often do people-the "male pearl clutchers" alluded to above, for instance- not believe that things aren't as shitty as someone else says they are, not just because they wish to perpetuate said shittiness themselves or at least passively profit off it, but because they don't -want- to believe that shittiness exists? Because, that might fuck with their entire worldview as well as their self-image?

(part two to follow)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ZOMG BABY PANDAS





("and now for something completely different")



Moar! :D


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy National Coming Out Day, y'all.




For all that I wasn't all that sold on the National Equality March, reading the twitstream kind of makes me wish i were there. Somewhat.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

On the other hand, I postively love the Moon Dancers compared with the Misogynist Ratfuckers


Between this charming piece of "art"
**

and the revolting ads for the motherfucking Tucker Max piece of shit all over -my- city (can't we have a ban?)

and the upcoming Roman Polanski nauseafest about to take over the media for the next ever...

among way too many others

i am not feeling the love today

**the "rape tunnel" would appear to be a hoax. to be honest I hadn't even gotten as far as someone was suggesting he was actually going to -do- it. It pisses me off enough that someone--like, o I don't know, Tucker Max? and the people putting ads like "Blind Girls Can't See You Coming" all over the goddam walls (unpeelable, I tried) not only think such things are hilarious and clever and "art" but get paid fuckloads to spray that shit all over everyone?

Enough.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Have I mentioned lately that I execrate Cultural Feminists of the FluffyBunny Wicca-y type?


Well, I do.

Sadly, I can't recount the entire story here, as it involves a listserve whose email isn't really for public consumption.

Suffice it to say that I firmly believe that if you anthropomorphize the moon to the point where this story drives you into a state of utter panic and mourning WHAT HAVE WE BECOME, sending out calls for a mass protest and vigil against the "insane" "dudes" of NASA who would DARE to harm our sister-goddess' body like this? to the point where you say you can't "bear" to do the research to confirm the details of the story?

And then, when someone snarks her dissent -very mildly- at you, you are "driven to tears?" and then -separately-, after that, after an (admittedly not very heartfelt) apology from said snarker, said snarker then posts a snark-free link to the story for public interest, and you email back that y'all already KNOW "these facts" but the snarker needs to let it go because you're "grieving" anyway?

This + this = you are driving me to increasing levels of sadism, Fluffy Dianic Too Sensitive To Live Person.

and I mean. a -graduate- student. wtf critical thinking skills...? oh, right, those are from the Patriarchy, never mind.

nyargh.

EDIT In fact, I feel compelled to burst into Song. and so I shall.




Friday, September 18, 2009

L¹Shanah Tovah Tikatevu, by the way



As my Irish lapsed Catholic best friend just reminded me. Me, I was all like: Huh? Oh, um, yeah. You, too.

"bad Jew, no matzoh"

Seriously, the closest thing I know from Jewish tradition is the ancient ritual of Chinese Food And A Movie at Christmas. I mean I did use some of the holidays to stay out of school when I was a kid, but I would've used Arbor Day if I could've gotten away with it. We certainly didn't go to synagogue or anything like that-well, for a year or so when it seemed like a good structured way to get me out of the house, we did, as a social thing. No one in my family's been observant on either side as far back as I've known anyone (i.e. grandparents and one great-grandparent).

Which, in itself, is actually sort of a tradition among the Ashkenazim, I suppose.

Truthfully I find the God of the Old Testament hard to connect to; canon-speaking, I prefer that Jesus dude (less crazy about the books/dudes who came after him). It's just, culturally, well, I've tried to go to church, even the most progressive ones, and there's...something...about the culture of it that just doesn't land. Like, at all. MCC, Unitarians-admire the idea, like the sermons, still not feelin' it.

Whereas I can go to synagogue and generally feel more connected with the general vibe/people, especially after the service, but the service itself tends to leave me cold.

and neo-paganism, I have determined, is probably not for me either.

I guess I'm sort of an agnostic mystic at this point. I like the idea of having a regular practice of some sort, not to mention a community, but, well. We'll see.

Indeed.



(h/t Ilyka)

"YOU'RE NOT LISTENNNNNNINNNNNNNNG!!!! I DON'T WANT IT NOW!"

It's the PRINCIPLE of the thing, and DON'T YOU FORGET IT, BUB.



Monday, August 24, 2009

Watching this about six times a day




Its simple profundity of obseration and commentary makes me weep.

and lest we forget:


The Internets IS Srs Bzns. As is Life, the Universe, and Everything. And where better to go for a healthy reminder of this Truth than the fanwank community. Maud bless us, every one.

p.s. my ponies hate you, too.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Flying while transgendered: no match, no flight.


And this, friends and neighbors, is a terrific example of how -systemic- transphobia works. Via Helen of Bird of Paradox:

The fixation that every citizen is a potential terrorist has gained so much ground in recent years that any concerns about implications for international travellers whose documentation might not match their gender presentation have been swept aside.

Now, via The Wall Street Journal Online (link here) I see that the paranoia about “suspected terrorists” has been extended to domestic air travel too:

Airlines this week will begin requiring some people making reservations for domestic flights to submit their dates of birth and genders as part of a screening process aimed at keeping boarding passes out of the hands of suspected terrorists, the Transportation Security Administration said.

[...]

The government’s goal is to vet all passengers on domestic commercial flights by early next year.


Of concern is that the TSA appears to be relying on the judgement of commercial airlines to make these decisions; and these decisions can also be applied to people who aren’t actually flying, but just accompanying a passenger to the boarding gate:

The TSA said it would be up to individual airlines or travel agents to decide how to collect the required information at the time a reservation is made.

[...]

People who receive gate passes, which allow them to proceed into secure areas of airports without boarding passes so they can assist other passengers, also could be required to furnish the additional data.


In other words, if the airline staff don’t like the look of you – or the friend who’s come to wave you off – you may well find that you miss your flight simply because you wore that comfy dress, even though the gender marker in your official documentation dictates that you should have been wearing a collar and tie. It’s absolute nonsense, of course – and trans-misogynistic nonsense, to boot.

...[M]y y point is that being required to provide information about one’s date of birth and gender seems unlikely to deter a committed attacker from hir objective.

It’s hard to see how this measure would have prevented, for instance, the attackers on 9/11 from boarding their planes – and, once again, the people most likely to be adversely affected are trans and gender variant people...


No-match has other implications too, of course, for being hired and fired, for medical care, for being arrested, for any number of situations where "your papers, please:" unless there are specific legal protections for trans folk in place (which there aren't in most states and cities, and even then, what's on the books is not exactly stringently enforced when it comes to civil rights, particularly if you're talking about already-very disenfranchised people), for not presenting or identifying according to your legally identified sex. And if there's a situation where you need to disrobe and your body either doesn't match what the "M" or the "F' on your paper is supposed to represent, or doesn't fully resemble what "M" or "F" is supposed to look like regardless of paperwork, well...you're not supposed to exist, and can be treated accordingly with no recourse.

See, the papers represent more than national citizenship, date of birth, basic stats: it's a way of declaring -personhood-. Which boundaries hold you? What nation, what sex? Are you a citizen of Manland or Womanland? Are you where we think you belong? Are you God forbid attempting to straddle a line that's supposed to be a wall? Are you "real?" Prove to us that you deserve to get on this airplane, work in this job, get that emergency medical care, step on this land, breathe this air. That box you need to check tells us whether you're human or not. Your papers, please.

This is of course not unrelated to the paranoia over "illegal" immigrants, or even American citizens suspected of being such: no papers? Too foreign? Too brown? Wrong time, wrong place? You, too, are a non-citizen, guilty until proven innocent. You're in the wrong box, and we don't have space. You fall in the crevice between the box outlines. Too bad, so sad; just trying to keep the rest of us safe from our formless, nameless terror; we need names, we need faces, and if yours doesn't match any of the acceptable ones, why, we'll stamp it with our fears and lock you away, overtly or covertly. Denied, delayed, detained, deported. De-legitimized. Your papers, please.

This under-the-radar scapegoating is not anything like "hope and change." This is not keeping anyone safe. This is, in fact, killing people. This is wrong, and it needs to stop.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Not with FDR's bright red atomic strapon, Squealer.


Limbaugh is having sadly Freudian fantasies about what he (fondly, secretly) imagines Obama and/or other Democrats would like to do to him.

And I say again: Not with Rosie the Riveter's brass-knuckled fist wrapped in ten tons of latex and rolled in a kegger of anti-fascist Icy-Hot flavored Crisco. Not if you -begged- on bended trotters. Not for every penny you've made from your noisome effusions lo these past 800 years or so you've been fouling up the zeitgeist. I may be a pervert, I may be a sadist, but goddam, there are STANDARDS.

and now, i must rinse. ick ack ugh.

Actually, we already -have- "death panels."


They're called, "the curtain on the window available for you to get any kind of health care under your insurance plan, even when you have one." And, don't hold back, Progressive Nation:

In your free market wonderland every one some how manages to get health care, even those who are poor or live in isolated areas, though the poor and isolated in your own state required assis­tance from the federal government.

And despite all of this, you appear blithely unaware that the free market health care system we have now does, indeed, have “death panels.” I’ve been part of a death panel conversation. I know about death panels.

You have no idea what it’s like to be called into a sterile conference room with a hospital adminis­trator you’ve never met before and be told that your mother’s insurance policy will only pay for 30 days in ICU. You can’t imagine what it’s like to be advised that you need to “make some deci­sions,” like whether your mother should be released “HTD” which is hospital parlance for “home to die,” or if you want to pay out of pocket to keep her in the ICU another week. And when you ask how much that would cost you are given a number so impossibly large that you realize there really are no decisions to make. The decision has been made for you. “Living will” or no, it doesn’t mat­ter. The bank account and the insurance policy have trumped any legal document.

If this isn’t a “death panel” I don’t know what is.

So don’t talk to me about “death panels” you heartless, cruel, greedy sons of bitches, who are only too happy to keep the profits rolling in to the big insurance companies while you spout your mealy-mouthed bumper sticker slogans about the evils of socialism. You don’t even know what socialism is. You don’t know what government health care is. You have no fucking clue about any­thing except that you lost the last election and you’re pissed off.


And, by the way, guess where the "kill Grandma" shit originated? Surprise, surprise:

When reporters asked former Alaska Gov. and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin where she got the misinformation she posted to her Facebook page about the health care reform bill creating a "death panel" to promote euthanizing the elderly and people with disabilities, her spokesperson pointed to the section in the House Democrats' legislation that begins on page 425.

If Palin or her staff had actually read the bill, they would have realized this section simply promotes advance care planning, which in fact puts the power to make decisions about end-of-life care in the hands of individuals -- not government panels.

So where did Palin get that bad information? It appears she pulled it from a set of talking points that has been making its way around the internet in recent weeks -- talking points assembled by the Liberty Counsel, a far-right religious group that's part of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University empire based in Lynchburg, Va...


Good old Unca Jerry, fouling up the zeitgeist even from beyond the grave. Well, him among many others. But yeah, these are the oleaginous fuckers that would've been thrown out of the temple in the gorram first place; it's no surprise that they're in bed with Big Insurance, all supposedly in the equally improbably names of Free Market Freedom, Jesus Christ, and Tender Loving Care For The Most Vulnerable. Compassionate as a canker.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Here, just look at this.


Because I can't seem to find it in me to comment coherently right now:

Maddow on the whipped-up right wing "lynch mob" (quite literally, apparently, at least in effigy) doing its best to kill health care reform. (Watch the next two segments too, while you're at it)

Right on schedule, violence breaks out at a Tampa town hall on health care reform. Surprise surprise, the angry crowd was spurred on by local Republican HQ and Glenn Beck.

No violence, but freakouts over "socialism" and "evil" and demands for Obama to be deported in Bristol, VA.

Unions are gearing up to rumble with the conservamobs at the town halls.

Meanwhile, Feministe on yet another angry white dude (sensing some themes here?) who went on a shooting spree targeting women in a gym."

Nolite Irritare Leones and Hoyden About Town have more.

Oh, and the founder of Blackwater, who "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life," is being investigated for murder of federal authorities attempting to inspect the company. Story at The Nation.

I'll just be over here reading some Transmetropolitan. You know, popcult, to calm myself, cheer up a bit, get some perspective...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

William F. Buckley must be so proud


Positively stationary in his grave, I'll bet. Smiling down with austere benevolence from the Great Country Club In The Sky, safe in the assurance that young conservatives are carrying his torch of intellect and high standards.

Oh, you remember the Young Cons, don't you?





So, Mike Stark of firedoglake got a chance to chat with them a bit:





Scintillating, I think you'll agree.

And thank the Lord that these fine young men, our nation's best and brightest, were not forced to give up their spaces at Dartmouth to some undeserving "affirmative action baby" minority person. Thank the Lord for -standards.-

I particularly enjoy "Stiltz;" he exhibits an almost Proustian display of existentialist conservative rap. And has not fallen off his chair once.


Friday, July 31, 2009

There is a special place in hell for people blocking meaningful health care reform in this country



Particularly for the profiteers off the current system and the politicians who are ranting about socialism and so on whilst comfortably partaking of government funded health care (the best there is!) for their very own worthless caracasses.

In it, this spot in hell, they all get infected with each and every one of the diseases that they deemed not worthy of coverage for someone, and are chained Tantalus-like inches away from someone holding out the required meds/ treatment.

Then they're told they can have the treatment if they fill out all the paperwork...in blood. Except by the time they finish one form
they're told that form is now obsolete and they have to start over from scratch.

I'm just saying. You know, in case the threats of political stonewalling and marches and petitions and shit don't work out.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The ultimate in Asshat Thunderdome



is David Frum, Bay Buchanan and Ann Coulter bickering over Sarah Palin. It's compelling like the shower of maggots scene in whatever horror movie I've mostly blocked from my brain that was.

i'm just posting this because I already had the tag ready to go, really

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

GET! OFF!! MY! PHONE!!!!!



Glenn "Ask Me About My Crawlspace" Beck's latest meltdown doesn't exactly help to inspire...confidence.

But it did at least inspire some tasty beats.










Monday, July 20, 2009

Damn. Does it -hurt?-



I never really took the time before to read Pamela Whosis of Atlas Shrugs before, I don't think. Not sure how much influence she has these days, or if she ever even really was more than a novelty act; after all, there's -so much- competition among the foaming classes. And that's before even taking Fox News Channel into account.

Surfing from Twitter just now, though, landed on this moonversation (moonologue?) on Obama's speech to the NAACP. I guess it's probably just boilerplate, standard levels of racism and stoopid from the World Nads Daily (and suchlike) set at this point, nothing new to see here, but. Actually stopped to read this one for some reason. Life on another (small, hostile, noxious) planet:

The speech proves, yet again, that he does not (nor does he want to) represent all Americans. He is the most racist, divisive official we have ever elected to any high office, let alone the most powerful office in the world. The speech was scandalous. Listen to the African American president of the United States rail against discrimination in the country that elected him. Obama deceives and demagogues when he castigates the economy (which he is destroying) as being racist. The economy targets blacks - got that? The US has the highest standard of living for African Americans anywhere in the world, but to the left, facts are irrelevant. He preaches to us that AIDS devastates the African American community here in the US with disproportionate force. Whose fault is that? Sex and drugs is the problem. The culture in the Black community promotes the riskiest behavior...


Oh, there's more. The Muslims are coming ooh ahh etc. More screeching Buchananesque spittle at the Black! President! of the! United! States! focusing on African Americans. In a speech to the NAACP. I mean, how inflammatory and radical can you get?

[Obama]: The first thing we need to do is make real the words of the NAACP charter and eradicate prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination among citizens of the United States. (Applause.) I understand there may be a temptation among some to think that discrimination is no longer a problem in 2009. And I believe that overall, there probably has never been less discrimination in America than there is today. I think we can say that.

But make no mistake: The pain of discrimination is still felt in America. (Applause.) By 2African American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and a different gender. (Laughter.) By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country. (Applause.) 3 By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion simply because they kneel down to pray to their God. (Applause.) By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights. (Applause.)

On the 45th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, discrimination cannot stand -- not on account of color or gender; how you worship or who you love. Prejudice has no place in the United States of America. That's what the NAACP stands for. That's what the NAACP will continue to fight for as long as it takes. (Applause.)

I think all of us understand that our task of reducing these structural inequalities has been made more difficult by the state and structure of our broader economy; an economy that for the last decade has been fueled by a cycle of boom and bust; an economy where the rich got really, really rich, but ordinary folks didn't see their incomes or their wages go up; an economy built on credit cards, shady mortgage loans; an economy built not on a rock, but on sand...

...So, yes, government must be a force for opportunity. Yes, government must be a force for equality. But ultimately, if we are to be true to our past, then we also have to seize our own destiny, each and every day.

That is what the NAACP is all about. The NAACP was not founded in search of a handout. The NAACP was not founded in search of favors. The NAACP was founded on a firm notion of justice; to cash the promissory note of America that says all our children, all God's children, deserve a fair chance in the race of life.

It is a simple dream, and yet one that has been denied - one still being denied - to so many Americans.


Quoth the Pam:

When Obama speaks of children who don't "have a fair chance in life", he victimizes them before they have had a shot at grabbing the brass ring. Keep telling someone he's/she's a loser and pretty soon they believe you. Everyone is this great country has a fair chance in life.


It is, I suppose, an interesting twist on the "what happens to a dream deferred" question. Angry White Left Behind Version: What happens to a fantasy based in privilege and denial, challenged? I don't know what the verb is, but judging from the output of folks like Ms. Geller, Pat "Sunshine" Buchanan and Glenn "The Alien Probe Was Too Cold Again" Beck, the result rather closely resembles the end of a very long night with severe stomach flu, no meds, and a stopped up toilet.

The comments are...remarkable only it that their ilk is relatively unremarkable in right wing circles by now: Obama is an Indonesian pretender without a REAL birth certificate and will soon be removed from office, Obama was a Black Panther, W.E.B. Dubois was a commie, and the requisite cry to "arm yourselves." Hey ho, let's go.

Ultimately spending too much time around this sort of thing leaves me feeling strangely...inert. Because, you really -can't- argue with this logic, can you:

The US has the highest standard of living for African Americans anywhere in the world


ETA: DUDE!

I have asked the Netherlands Justice Ministry to issue an exclusion order, barring Pamela Geller Oshry from the Netherlands, and I have asked the British Home Secretary to issue an exclusion order, barring her from the United Kingdom. Better known as Pamela Geller, she is the sole author of the xenophobic, racist, right-wing blog 'Atlas Shrugs'. (For coverage of the blog by others, see LGF Watch and GOVVS).

In general, I believe that the American right is America's problem. However,the US 'counter-jihadist' movement has begun building links with the xenophobic-populist parties in Europe, united by the fear of 'Eurabia'. They have adopted Geert Wilders in particular, and Pamela Geller is his strongest supporter in the US blogosphere. Like some other supporters there (e.g. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch) she has now begun fundraising for him...

She supported the recent anti-Islam rally organised by Pro-Köln, a regional xenophobic-populist party which is active in building contacts among European right-wing parties. The meeting signals the shift to pro-Israel, pro-Jewish, anti-Islam positions, among xenophobic-populist and nationalist parties in Europe.

...Geller promotes in the United States the activities of the German xenophobic-populist party Pro-Köln. She has regularly written in support of their anti-Islam meetings, at which neo-fascist and right-populist parties are represented: among others, Vlaams Belang, the Czech Národní Strana, the French Front National, and the Austrian FPÖ.

Through her activities, Geller contributes to the emergence of a transatlantic xenophobic movement, and to increasing co-operation among xenophobic right-wing parties.

...Geller openly advocates the use of torture, inside and outside the United States. In combination with her support for racial profiling - classification as a terrorist suspect on the basis of ethnic origin - this constitutes a physical threat to immigrant minorities in the EU member states.

...she describes other Jews who don't share her hard-line right-wing views on Israel and the Palestinians, as "Jewicidal" or "jihadi".


Why, yes, yes it does hurt, apparently. -clutches head and wanders away, muttering about converting to Druidism and changing my name out of vicarious shame-

Saturday, July 18, 2009

113 year old WWI vet (world's current oldest man) just died



In Britain.

Apparently quite lucid and passionate about peace up to the very end.

I'm always fascinated by stories like this; these are the real time travelers, you know? He lived in three centuries; he was around when airplanes were first being invented and cars were just starting to edge out the horse and buggy.

ETA: My favorite stories are the world's oldest verified person ever, Jeanne Chalment, who lived to be 122.

In 1965, aged 90, with no living heirs, Jeanne Calment signed a deal to sell her former apartment to lawyer André-François Raffray, on a contingency contract. Raffray, then aged 47, agreed to pay her a monthly sum of 2,500 francs until she died, an agreement sometimes called a "reverse mortgage". Raffray ended up paying Calment more than the equivalent of $180,000, which was more than double the apartment's value. After Raffray's death from cancer at the age of 77, in 1995, his widow continued the payments until Calment's death.

...In 1985, Calment moved into a nursing home, having lived on her own until age 110.[1] Nevertheless, she did not gain international fame until 1988, when the centenary of Vincent van Gogh's visit to Arles provided an occasion to meet reporters. She said at the time that she had met Van Gogh 100 years before, i.e. in 1888, as a thirteen-year-old girl in her uncle's fabric shop, where he wanted to buy some canvas, later describing him as "dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable", and "very ugly, ungracious, impolite, sick".

...Calment's remarkable health presaged her later record. At age 85, she took up fencing, and at 100, she was still riding a bicycle.

She gave up smoking at the age of 117, only five years before her death.[11] Though she relapsed for a year she finally gave up smoking at the age of 119 years (blindness made it difficult for her to light a cigarette, and she was reluctant to ask others for help).[citation needed] When asked on one occasion for her prescription for a long life, she mentioned garlic, vegetables, cigarettes, red wine, and avoiding brawls[citation needed] On another occasion, she ascribed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance for her age to olive oil, which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed onto her skin, as well as a diet of port wine, and nearly 1 kilo of chocolate eaten every week.


I can't find the interview I thought I remembered of her at 120, where the interviewer asks her what she thinks the future will be like and she answers, "Court" ("short").

Also, Gertrude Baines, the world's current oldest living documented person. Her father was born into slavery, and she voted for Obama last year.

Aside from her arthritis and inability to walk, Baines is very healthy.

...Baines currently lives at the Western Convalescent Home in Jefferson Park, Los Angeles.[2] She lived on her own until she was 105. According to MSNBC.com, she enjoys "simple pleasures" of eating a diet of bacon and eggs, and watches shows like The Price Is Right and Jerry Springer.

Baines is a daughter of a man born into slavery and granddaughter of Peter and Avey (or Avie) Ann Bains, former slaves.

Baines cast a vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The only time she voted before was for John F. Kennedy.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Good old Uncle P[F]a[scis]t



So Rachel Maddow, bless her, allowed Pat Buchanan to display some of his true white starched colors on her show.




ETA 7/20: and now Maddow has a follow-up post-mortem of that discussion, correcting some of his erm creative "facts."

As per the level of his sheer paleolithic racism, the only surprise is why anyone is surprised. Here's a sampling of Unca Pat's most shining moments over the years, okay:

After Sen. Carol Moseley Braun blocked a federal patent for a Confederate flag insignia, Buchanan wrote that she was "putting on an act" by associating the Confederacy with slavery: "The War Between the States was about independence, about self-determination, about the right of a people to break free of a government to which they could no longer give allegiance," Buchanan asserted. "How long is this endless groveling before every cry of 'racism' going to continue before the whole country collectively throws up?" (syndicated column, 7/28/93)

On race relations in the late 1940s and early 1950s: "There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The 'negroes' of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours." (Right from the Beginning, Buchanan's 1988 autobiography, p. 131)

Buchanan, who opposed virtually every civil rights law and court decision of the last 30 years, published FBI smears of Martin Luther King Jr. as his own editorials in the St. Louis Globe Democrat in the mid-1960s. "We were among Hoover's conduits to the American people," he boasted (Right from the Beginning, p. 283).

...In a memo to President Nixon, Buchanan suggested that "integration of blacks and whites -- but even more so, poor and well-to-do -- is less likely to result in accommodation than it is in perpetual friction, as the incapable are placed consciously by government side by side with the capable." (Washington Post, 1/5/92)

...In a column sympathetic to ex-Klansman David Duke, Buchanan chided the Republican Party for overreacting to Duke and his Nazi "costume": "Take a hard look at Duke's portfolio of winning issues and expropriate those not in conflict with GOP principles, [such as] reverse discrimination against white folks." (syndicated column, 2/25/89)

Trying to justify apartheid in South Africa, he denounced the notion that "white rule of a black majority is inherently wrong. Where did we get that idea? The Founding Fathers did not believe this." (syndicated column, 2/7/90) He referred admiringly to the apartheid regime as the "Boer Republic": "Why are Americans collaborating in a U.N. conspiracy to ruin her with sanctions?" (syndicated column, 9/17/89)

...In a 1977 column, Buchanan said that despite Hitler's anti-Semitic and genocidal tendencies, he was "an individual of great courage.... Hitler's success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path." (Guardian, 1/14/92) ...


...and so on.

Oh yeah, about that earnest fist pumping for the white working class:


Given his attacks on scapegoated minorities, his sympathy for fascist heroes like Francisco Franco and his striking distaste for democracy as a system of government--he once described "democratism" as an idolatry that "substitutes a false god for the real, a love of process for a love of country" (Patrick J. Buchanan: From the Right newsletter, Spring/90)--Buchanan could justifiably be seen as a descendant of the political tradition of fascism. But that's not a term that was often applied to Buchanan: While supporters frequently complained about people labeling Buchanan a "fascist," no prominent commentator seems to have actually done so.

Instead, the political philosophy that Buchanan was most often associated with was "populism"--a designation that uncritically accepts Buchanan's self-portrayal as the friend of the working class....

On examination, Buchanan's "populist" agenda doesn't go much beyond "It's the Mexicans, stupid." ...

While his economic nationalism and ties to trade- threatened industrialists like Milliken may lead him to oppose trade agreements like NAFTA and GATT, Buchanan has done little to demonstrate any real concern for workers themselves. In fact, back when he was a regular host of CNN's Crossfire, Buchanan used to argue that it was high union wages, not trade pacts, that were weakening U.S. industry (Crossfire, 7/3/91).

As Crossfire co-host (7/3/91), Buchanan vehemently opposed workers' right to strike. "Listen, the job does not belong to the guy who walks out of it," he argued. On the same show he celebrated the 1981 firing of the striking air traffic control workers, gloating that "Ronald Reagan's approval rating soared."

Of course, even if Buchanan did support a broad economic program that would benefit workers, his bigotry would disqualify him as a true representative of all the people. But many of the same elite media who were utterly distressed at the idea that someone like Buchanan might lead a major party seemed quite happy to let him play the role of the leading workers' spokesperson. In many ways, Patrick Buchanan is the perfect "populist" for the corporate press: a charismatic reactionary who channels workers' grievances into the dead end of xenophobia and scapegoating.


There is, of course, a term for this kind of extreme right-wing appeal to the white lumpenproletariat via nationalism and racist scapegoating; and, despite fatuous asses like Jonah Goldberg attempting to Humpty Dumpty the term, it still makes a lot more sense to apply it to a man who praises Franco and apologizes for Nazi war criminals and Klan leaders than to any liberal:

Fascist.

Attacking what he considers the "democratist temptation, the worship of democracy as a form of governance," Buchanan commented: "Like all idolatries, democratism substitutes a false god for the real, a love of process for a love of country." (Patrick J. Buchanan: From the Right, newsletter, Spring/90)

In a January, 1991 column, Buchanan suggested that "quasi-dictatorial rule" might be the solution to the problems of big municipalities and the federal fiscal crisis: "If the people are corrupt, the more democracy, the worse the government." (Washington Times, 1/9/91) He has written disparagingly of the "one man, one vote Earl Warren system."

...Buchanan, shortly before he announced he was running for president in 1995: "You just wait until 1996, then you'll see a real right-wing tyrant." (The Nation, 6/26/95)


So, he didn't make it as a presidential contender. Instead, he's got a comfy position on MSNBC, influential as he's been for at least the past 30 years or so. Lovable old Unca Pat. Yeah. By the way, here's one of several online petitions for MSNBC to at least stop paying him and giving him a soapbox.

ETA: All About Race does a quick debunk of some of Pat's more risible claims from the Maddow clip.

Meanwhile, on the same day Maddow lets him display himself in all his paleolithic but ultimately impotent (at least as regards opposing Sotomayor's inevitable confirmation) splendor in front of a mass audience, the nation's first black president addresses the NAACP:



As Obama noted, there's still work to be done. And no, Obama himself is far from perfect. Still, it is worth looking at the two videos side by side if one needs a reminder of...perspective.