Sunday, July 30, 2006

Spiritual activism--passing this on

A message from Phyllis Curott of Temple of Ara; this is from their quarterly newsletter. Reposting because I support Ara's and Phyllis' work, and because I figured it'd make a nice change of tone 'round these parts.

"One person can make a difference."

With each passing day I have rewritten this letter, moving from joyful personal and Temple news to a deepening concern about the conflict in the Middle East.

By the time this email reaches you, I'm sure circumstances will
have changed yet again. But I'm not optimistic that they will have
changed for the better. You're probably having the same
conversations I've been having--wondering how bad things will get
and what the solutions might be.

To find a solution, you need to understand the origin of the
problem, and that is no easy matter--history both ancient and
modern, land, money, and poverty, egotism and the hunger for power,
and of course religion and fundamentalism. Where does one start?

Believing that one person can make a difference, I've been very
involved with the Network of Spiritual Progressives lately, serving
on the Clergy and National Advisory Boards and speaking frequently
with the organization's founder, Rabbi Michael Lerner. The other day
we were talking about the contents of an ad to be run in major
newspapers, calling for peace. I joked to Michael that this war is
what happens when God doesn't get laid, and Michael laughed, saying
that I should put that in an ad in the NYTimes. Some people would be
offended, some would laugh, but how many would really understand the
sorrowful truth behind the humor?

God is alone, and so are we. The world is out of balance. In the
beginning, the Bible says that: "We created humanity in our image,
man and woman we created them." WE in OUR image. In the beginning
there was God *and* Goddess, El as God is referred to early in the
Bible, *and* Asherah as the Canaanites (Uritic) *and* the early
Israelites both called their Mother Goddess. In the beginning, there
was unity, there was balance, and there was love. But over the years
that balance, the essential wholeness that is divine love was lost.

It seems to me that that is the real but hidden force driving
this world-threatening dispute. That is the source of the wound at
the center of Western Civilization. It is a wound that grew out of
three compounding cosmologies where "we" became "He"--a solitary,
often angry, punishing and absent Father God, a wound shared by all
three religions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. When God exists
without Goddess, masculine without feminine, when the world exists
without the presence of the Sacred, humanity without divinity,
confusion, pain and violence are the consequences. When religions
justify killing because they have the "One True Way," they have no
way at all. They are no longer religions; they are nothing but
depraved politics.

When we cannot see the Divine in one another, we give ourselves
license to kill. Were we to recognize the Divine in one another, we
would be empowered to love.

Sounds like utopia, especially given the current conditions. Is
there time to bring about such a radical shift in perceptions, in
culture, in religions? I don't know. But I know that we must act as
if it is possible--because the Divine comes into the world through
each and every one of us. With that realization comes profound
responsibility: we have no choice but to respond from the full
measure, power and beauty of this truth.

Understanding the core origins of the current explosion of fear
and fundamentalism, violence and suffering is the starting point to
finding the genuine, long-term solutions that everyone instinctually
knows are vital. But it's not enough to analyze intellectually, or
respond emotionally. We must counter the bloody politics of
fundamentalism with the spirituality of immanent divinity.

And we must restore balance with a contribution of feminine
energy, moving around the full circle--from idea to courage and
determination, then to compassion and love, and finally to hard work
in cultivating the seeds of a new vision, honoring God *and*
Goddess. This path always returns us to the center of that circle,
the point where heaven and earth are one. The place where and the
moment when humanity and Divinity recognize one another, where *you*
stand, seeing clearly, responding courageously, feeling deeply, and
acting purposefully. The center is where you can look at yourself,
and the Other, and declare from your heart "You are God/dess."

One person can make a difference. I hope you continue to thrive
and grow. And in this time of violence perversely justified by false
religiosity, I also hope that you will join us in cultivating a new
spiritual reality to heal a wounded world.

Peace, love and blessings,
Phyllis Curott


Yeah, I know--referring to wikipedia is getting to the point where it's almost equivalent to handing someone a dictionary.

And yet, you know: if one is wondering about any particular sub-branch or just plain where to get started, Wiki's feminism section isn't bad. Especially once you start surfing the links within.

Clarify the difference between post-feminism and postmodern feminism. Use their list to track down anyone from Sor Juana to Ana Castillo. Learn a brief history of birth control (mmm, crocodile dung and catgut condoms); and why Margaret Sanger remains controversial; and where, in fact, the term "Ms." originated...or, for that matter, the term feminism.

"And much much more!"

Anyway, happy exploring.

On the raising of boychildren, who, inexplicably, often grow up to be men

Riffing off a conversation here: "Breaking the Cycle."

I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed a scene like this:

little boy, well under ten years old, crying; parent (sometimes dad but, I gotta say it, also sometimes mom) dragging him along by the arm, all the while scolding:

"Stop crying! What are you, some kind of -girl-?"

...or words to that effect.


In a bookstore. Older woman browsing the kids' section, catty-corner to where I'm browsing. picks up, I think it was, "Olivia Saves The Circus." cartoon, right? the woman's clearly torn by doubt; as people sometimes do, she starts sharing her thought processes with me, the stranger: basically, she needs to get a present for a little boy, but, oh dear, she can't get this, can she; it's for girls.

I say, no, just because it's got a girl as the hero doesn't mean it can't be for boys. that's supposed to be a good one. get it for him, why not?

more nervous laughs, sets it aside, heads away, no doubt in the section for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Testeroblobs Kill The Bad Guys" or something.

more recently, a similar encounter, Dad and little boy; little boy wants some book, Dad is adamantly (and rather harshly) trying to talk the kid out of even wanting it; that's "for girls."

i mean jesus fuck, you people. yes, we all know that too much tenderness or pink or sparkly things or (heaven-forbid) girl-positive stuff can make a boy a big ol' homo ("if I give yer mum the wool, will she make me one too?"); and, as we know, this is a fate worse than death.

but I mean. shame your boy for having any feelings except anger. refuse to get him anything that might allow him to identify with a girl. repeatedly say things that lead him to believe that being a girl is really shameful and icky, treat him harshly and even violently when he cries or shows weakness, thus showing that being vulnerable just gets you smacked, and deserved, too...

and then, when Sonny Boy grows up and is being hauled to court for abuse of the girlfriend, wring your hands, cast your eyes to the sky and wonder, why o why? where could he possibly have learned such behavior? he was such a good boy.


And yet another useful concept:

Ambient abuse

Ambient abuse penetrates and permeates everything – but is difficult to pinpoint and identify. It is ambiguous, atmospheric, diffuse. Hence its insidious and pernicious effects. It is by far the most dangerous kind of abuse there is.

It is the outcome of fear – fear of violence, fear of the unknown, fear of the unpredictable, the capricious, and the arbitrary. It is perpetrated by dropping subtle hints, by disorienting, by constant – and unnecessary – lying, by persistent doubting and demeaning, and by inspiring an air of unmitigated gloom and doom ("gaslighting").

Ambient abuse, therefore, is the fostering, propagation, and enhancement of an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, instability, unpredictability and irritation. There are no acts of traceable explicit abuse, nor any manipulative settings of control. Yet, the irksome feeling remains, a disagreeable foreboding, a premonition, a bad omen.

In the long term, such an environment erodes the victim's sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Self-confidence is shaken badly. Often, the victim adopts a paranoid or schizoid stance and thus renders himself or herself exposed even more to criticism and judgment. The roles are thus reversed: the victim is considered mentally deranged and the abuser – the suffering soul.

Anyone else feeling this, particularly for oh say the last five and a half years?

Selfish: addendum

Via a board I've been lurking at (,
a link I'm liking at the moment. On the concept of reciprocity:

There is an element of altruism in healthy love that mingles self-centeredness with self-sacrifice, and a genuine concern for the loved one’s feelings and well-being. For the narcissist, however, there are only two kinds of people of any use. Those that can pump them up and those they can put down. The ones who can pump them up will continually admire them. The ones they can put down allow narcissists to feel superior by comparison.

Intimate partners of narcissists often serve both functions. If you’re hooked on a narcissist, prepare to tolerate regular doses of contempt—while offering unending admiration, which the narcissist is far more interested in than your love...

While we all want to be valued by those we love, the narcissist really needs the intimate partner to be a constant mirror of his/her worth. Any one of us might feel disappointed, hurt or even angry when those we love ignore or criticize us, but the narcissist will become enraged. The loved one is not allowed to express feelings or opinions that contradict the needs or opinions of the narcissist.

Sadly, treatment is often not effective in these cases, because the more narcissistic people are, the more defensive, rigid and resistant they are to recommendations and suggestions from others.

It is the nature of narcissist entitlement to see the situation from only one very subjective point of view that says “My feelings and needs are what matter, and whatever I want, I should get.” Mutuality and reciprocity are entirely alien concepts. Others exist only to agree, obey, flatter and comfort—in short, to anticipate and meet my every need. And if you defy my will, prepare to feel my wrath.

In personal relationships, their sense of entitlement means that you must attend to your partner’s needs—but your partner is under no obligation to listen to, understand or empathize with you. This tends to make narcissists exploitive of others. The offense can be as mild as a one-sided friendship in which ones gives and the other takes, or as commonplace as a selfish lover or a demanding boss...

Another handy concept: projection.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

How fitting, somehow.

"The rise of slime:" "A Primeval Tide of Toxins"

In many places — the atolls of the Pacific, the shrimp beds of the Eastern Seaboard, the fiords of Norway — some of the most advanced forms of ocean life are struggling to survive while the most primitive are thriving and spreading.

Fish, corals and marine mammals are dying while algae, bacteria and jellyfish are growing unchecked.

Where this pattern is most pronounced, scientists evoke a scenario of evolution running in reverse, returning to the primeval seas of hundreds of millions of years ago.

Jeremy B.C. Jackson, a marine ecologist and paleontologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, says we are witnessing "the rise of slime."

For many years, it was assumed that the oceans were too vast for humanity to damage in any lasting way. "Man marks the Earth with ruin," wrote the 19th century poet Lord Byron. "His control stops with the shore."

Even in modern times, when oil spills, chemical discharges and other industrial accidents heightened awareness of man's capacity to injure sea life, the damage was often regarded as temporary.

But over time, the accumulation of environmental pressures has altered the basic chemistry of the seas...

Many of the same forces have wiped out 80% of the corals in the Caribbean, despoiled two-thirds of the estuaries in the United States and destroyed 75% of California's kelp forests, once prime habitat for fish.

Jackson uses a homespun analogy to illustrate what is happening. The world's 6 billion inhabitants, he says, have failed to follow a homeowner's rule of thumb: Be careful what you dump in the swimming pool, and make sure the filter is working.

"We're pushing the oceans back to the dawn of evolution," Jackson said, "a half-billion years ago when the oceans were ruled by jellyfish and bacteria."


And this just in: Mel Gibson is an anti-semitic fanatic and has springs coming out'n his head

I know, I'm shocked, too.

Via Ilyka Damen, in turn via Pam at Pandagon.

According to the report, Gibson became agitated after he was stopped on Pacific Coast Highway and told he was to be detained for drunk driving Friday morning in Malibu. The actor began swearing uncontrollably. Gibson repeatedly said, "My life is f****d." ...

Once inside the car, a source directly connected with the case says Gibson began banging himself against the seat. The report says Gibson told the deputy, "You mother f****r. I'm going to f*** you." The report also says "Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he 'owns Malibu' and will spend all of his money to 'get even' with me."

The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?"

The deputy became alarmed as Gibson's tirade escalated, and called ahead for a sergeant to meet them when they arrived at the station. When they arrived, a sergeant began videotaping Gibson, who noticed the camera and then said, "What the f*** do you think you're doing?"

A law enforcement source says Gibson then noticed another female sergeant and yelled, "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?"


Those f*****rs!

But don't worry, he's already on the road to recovery/penance.

On Saturday, Gibson released the following statement:

"After drinking alcohol on Thursday night, I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed...


Oh, Mel. Mel, Mel, Mel...I'm afraid that after this little outburst the Comfy Chair just won't suffice. Wait here while I fetch the razored cat o'nine; the Iron Maiden that doubles as an over-voltaged tanning bed/grilled cheese press; and the ducking-stool-and-piranha-tank. Yes. Wait right here. Don't move a muscle.

And try not to drool on the carpet, darling.

Selfish. Selfish, selfish, selfish.

So I've been getting this one tossed my way from a couple different directions lately--oh, in a collective, general sort of way, of course. But it goes something like this:

"You can't possibly understand the pain the pain the PAIN I'm talking about. Why don't you listen?! You know what?? i don't care about your trifling problems; why should I? What about MY/OUR problems, huh? HUH??? YOU are selfish. Selfish selfish selfish. (insert some sort of sociopolitical reason why; unless--oops!--it's a familial one, but that is a whole 'nother subject; or is it?)...and furthermore you are (insert labels of various meant-to-be-demeaning sorts), and OBVIOUSLY you will never EVER understand what I'm talking about because you JUST DON'T WANT TO, and I am SO DONE with you, except for I'm just gonna foam in your general direction for another six paragraphs/twenty minutes, and..."

Okay. Bored now.

You know why? Because invariably this sort of blow-up/lash-out comes as a direct response to some sort of disagreement with the blower-upper. A trigger, perhaps. A hot button, no doubt. We've all got 'em. Sure.

And you know what: the blower-upper may well be perfectly right. A-100% absotively incontrovertibly right, right, RIGHT; just as sie would appear to be insisting is the only possible interpretation. It could well be. Sure. Stranger things have happened. And:

I don't care. Either. At this point.

That's right.

Because I'm selfish. Selfish selfish selfish. It's quite true.

But YOU, see, are a flaming asshole.

Oh yeah: and a control freak.

And no, I don't care what your sociopolitical/inner moppet/biochemical justification is. Either.

I am selfish.

In this instance, that means I care more about my feelings than I do about yours.

You in particular, I mean. Because, I don't know you. I don't want to know you. And/or, back to my point: you're being an insufferable asshole.

Now piss off.


Cool idea.

Hat tip to v at resisterance for the link.

My own fave thus far:

Thursday, July 27, 2006


More ridiculously adorable pics at baaaaaaabyanimals!

And now for something completely different:

Via fastlad: In which Fred Phelps Jr. has a closer encounter with hommasexshul'ty than he perhaps was bargaining for.

You know, I bet if every reporter who was confronted with a vicious homophobic fuckstick did the same, the sun would shine just a little bit brighter.

A good sum-up article here:

from the Daily Star:

Bush and Olmert deserve their fate because it is largely self-inflicted. The US government has acted too duplicitously and too myopically for too long to expect that anyone in this part of the world still trusts American promises. The Israelis should understand by now that blowing things up is not a suitable substitute for talking things out. In addition, those Arab regimes that long ago sold their political souls in exchange for American protection are speeding toward irrelevancy.

But what of Siniora? He has struggled mightily to keep Lebanon on an even keel, only to see his hopes dashed by Hizbullah's poor judgment, Israel's devastating riposte, and America's heartless intransigence. He deserves better.

In all fairness, what of the Israeli people? No one expects them to choose new leaders who will grovel and cower like those who accepted abuse in Europe until the Holocaust forged a very different attitude, but most of the policies pursued by Israeli governments since 1948 have served only to maintain the enmity of the Jewish state's Arab neighbors. Parents should not have to fear for their children's lives because their leaders are obsessed with proving how tough they are.

And what of the long-suffering Lebanese people? They asked for none of this, and yet their lives are being ended, ruined or thrown into turmoil. No one should be surprised if a substantial number of the children who survive this latest nightmare grow up determined to exact revenge against those who inflicted gratuitous violence on their loved ones, those who helped them do it, and those who remained silent. Who could blame them? And who could be so naive as to ask the world's most obtuse question: "Why do they hate us?"


More hearts and minds. Oh yeah, and bodies, and injuries, and ruined livelihoods. Thank fuck for precise destruction.

Al Qaeda sabre-rattles, Israel decides not to expand (god save us, what else did they have in mind?) even though there's no let-up in Lebanon. Or Iraq. Or even (where, again?) Afghanistan.

Bush picks his nose and plays video games. A bunch of miserable inbred fucktards decide that the solution to this is to scapegoat gay people and give still more breaks to billionaires.

Plagues, famines, record heat, hurricane season. Pakistan expands its nuclear capacities.

That glittering cloud above? Plague of locusts. Pay no heed.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Another brief trip down Memory Lane

This website, Diary of Barbie's Worst Enemy, inspired me here, so reposting:

When I was a kid, for a while, they had Barbie heads. just the heads. like, life-size heads, on a white tray; you were supposed to style the waxy dishwater hair and paint the plastic face with the noxiously sweet-smelling cosmetics they provided.

of course i begged and begged until i got one; i was a ridiculously femmey child and loved all things makeup and so on.

in retrospect it must have been an unnerving sight. like, serial killer/John the Baptist, but--perky!!

anyway i could never get the hair to look like the little booklet said, so eventually i got frustrated and dumped it into the darkest corner of my closet.

and there it stayed for a while, a disembodied flaxen head, smiling blankly at the ceiling.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Prada, Schmada: The Devil wears your soul as an overcoat

...and then mocks you for your nakedness, and blames you for the cold.

Yeah, I saw the movie. Twice, as it happens, even though I thought it sucked the first time through. Why? 1) desperate need of air conditioning 2) the only other option, the one I'd paid to go into, was The Watery Vaguely New Age Tart by M Nachas Ramalamadingdong or whoever it is; twenty minutes of that and Devil Wears Prada was lookin' positively Felliniesque. Orson Welles and Billy Wilder all wrapped into one, dude.

and it did have Meryl Streep, who is, as she often is, worth the price of admission all by herself. The actor who plays the British assistant is funny, too.

All in all I tend to agree with this Pajiba review That is, to wit: the book (which I also read this week, sitting in the air conditioned Barnes and Noble; if you are detecting a subtext here, Gentle Reader, you are not wrong) was good bitchy fun; the movie watered it down and poured treacle all over it. The end, especially...

Well, without giving it away. Let's just say that my experience of pathological fucking narcissists and their enabling toadies is rather different.

Paradoxically, I realized afterward, this is one of the few instances where giving a character more depth and layers than she had in the book actually made the story less realistic and compelling. Some people really are completely two-dimensional; there is no there there; that's the whole point. That's what makes them so frigging deadly.

Although. The methods "Miranda" used in both the book and the movie were actually pretty dead-on. As were the ways in which people tend to respond to them.

It goes something like this:

1) Act completely unpredictably. People naturally respond in a certain way to what's called "intermittent reinforcement;" it's the same transaction that keeps gamblers and addicts hooked. And lab mice. Push the button, get a food pellet; predictable, you'll only push the button when you're hungry. Push the button, nothing ever happens; pretty quickly you'll stop pushing it and try something else. Push the button and every once in a blue moon, at random times, you get a pellet; you'll keep pressing that sucker till you drop dead from exhaustion.* Not even because you're that hungry, necessarily; because you're now convinced that you must have done something right (ahhh) to get that special payoff; and clearly it is a very special payoff, simply because it is so rare. Now if only you can just figure out what it is you did, so you can do it again.

*Which comes in really handy during those sixteen hour days.

1a) Sooner or later, hunger and exhaustion will become self-reinforcing tools in themselves, as they tend to make you weak and suggestible and put you in something of an altered state.

2) Be so unspeakably vile and abusive that even the faintest sign of a glimmer of a nod of humanity seems like an immense payoff.

2a) Scare the crap out of people; your goal is not to get them to "like" you; your goal is to get them to do whatever you want because anything is preferable to your awesome, terrible wrath.

2b) (this is actually one of the few places where i thought the movie got it more right than the book): If you can convince your victim erm target erm...well, anyway...that they're "special," that you only treat them so badly because you see something in them, they'll be yours for life. Fear alone will only get you so far. Fear plus the promise, however faint, of approval, even love...ahhh. Kingdoms are built on that.

3) Have some sort of talent; act in such a way that all but convinces people that nobody else can do what you can. Sell yourself as an amazingly precious and rare commodity.

(Tag line throughout: "A million girls would kill for this job.")

This is how abusive relationships of all sorts work; this is how cults work. And incidentally it maaayyyy just have something to do with advanced capitalism...of which the fashion industry, at least as presented here (and there seems to be a consensus that this is not an exaggeration), is one of the more bluntly raw examples.

Or, well. A million girls would kill for this job. Jobs are scarce, and this one is SPECIAL. And most people couldn't hack working for such a tough boss. But you might just be one in a million; doesn't that feel good? Everybody wants to look like that. Most people can't afford those clothes, that degree of thinness. But, ahhh, the splendid splendid warm glow of specialness to know that YOU can.

Or, in the words of Eve Harrington:

Imagine... to know, every night, that different hundreds of people love you... They smile, their eyes shine - you've pleased them, they want you, you belong. Anything's worth that.

Including your soul.

And the devil may not wear Prada, after all.

You might find the devil in academia. In finance, wearing a bowtie. Or, well...

But however the devil clothes hirself, rest assured:

It came off your back.

That's how you know it's the devil.

When you feel the chill.

And there you have it, folks.

I'll let her speak for herself, but Renegade Evolution, a "pornstitution" worker, makes it clear just how much mainstream "patriarchal" society and/or other women (feminists, too, yes) support her with a long list of some charming, typical things that get said to her. Some highlights:

That you're pro-porn suggests to me that your mind revels in society's distracting, blinding, mind-fucks...well, yes. Idiot.”

On top of feminist reasons for opposing pornography, there is a greater humanitarian reason that stands for the sexuality of humans being treated as in-depth and whole, not just objectified jerk-off material. As for female pornographers, I would go as far as to say that they are more to blame and be held accountable, since they are traitors to their own sex and gender when they capitalize off of the objectification of feminine sexuality, homosexual or heterosexual.

“You make me ill. Everything about you is just wrong. You have this great mind & skill at writing and you choose to be a slut? Why? Do you have antisocial personality disorder or something? It sounds like it. You have an education, could work wherever you want, make good money, but you would rather take off your clothes for a bunch of idiots or let people fuck and objectify you on film? Not normal. Even your friends on your blogs are shocked and somewhat disgusted by you. They may not say it outright, but you can tell. They may be pro-sex or okay with sexually eager women, but you are beyond that. You’re a whore. You’re not strung out on drugs or short on money, you have things other people wish they had, except a soul and ANY sense of decency.”

“I would guess that pretty-much all women in porn have psychological issues of one sort or another that need to be worked on.”

“By the way, this may be common knowledge, but I suspect that you're a man hiding behind a woman's given name...

You might as well be an animal, since the basis of sex work is an animalistic behavior.”


I can't imagine why more self-identified sex workers don't "come out" and participate in the endless porn, etc. wars. Can you?

Oh, that's right: it's got nothing to do with being treated supremely shittily, including by many of the people who're supposedly fighting on their behalf. No; it must be because they're deep-down ashamed of doing what they know in their patriarchy/sin-corrupted little hearts is wrong.

And if they aren't ashamed, in the words of yet another personality contest winner, they should be: shamed and hated.

At best, is the implication, pitied. If that.

They "deserve it."

Probably this is all a bunch of lies made up by the pornographers (tm Catherine MacKinnon), anyway. Or some guy. Or the decadent degenerate perverts who're determined to bring down the nuclear family. Or all of the above.

Nobody who REALLY cared about a woman's welfare would talk like that. Everybody knows that.

And hey. You can buy Playboy anywhere you like! Pole dancing classes! Porn everywhere! "We" "won."

but y'all who are carrying on the righteous, doomed fight against this scourge can feel consoled in this, at least: mirror mirror on the wall, you are The Most Oppressedest Of All.

What a fucking prize, eh?

Grimly worthwhile

"Only read this if you're prepared to face The End Of The World As We Know It In Eight Short Steps."


How to Suppress Discussions of Racism six easy steps, with handy illustrations.

via a comment in a rather illuminating thread at Feministe.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Whatever happened to the word "sexism?"

Remember? It's a perfectly fine and useful word, is sexism.

Sexism is commonly considered to be discrimination and/or hatred against people based on their sex rather than their individual merits, but can also refer to any and all systemic differentiations based on the sex of the individuals.

Also see: "sexist," both noun and adjective.

Whereas patriarchy means, as I have understood it:

pa·tri·ar·chy (pā'trē-är'kē) pronunciation
n., pl. -chies. In both senses also called patriarchate.

1. A social system in which the father is the head of the family and men have authority over women and children.
2. A family, community, or society based on this system or governed by men.

Which, if you're gonna talk about oh say for example the "patriarchal" influences inherent in any society as derived from the Bible, esp. Old Testament, well and good: that makes sense, to me.

If you're gonna call oh i don't know the cultural pressure to wear lipstick "patriarchal," well, honestly, I'm not seeing it, so much. Sexist, arguably. Patriarchal? Only if you can point to a clear place where the "rule of the fathers" dictates the wearing of lipstick.

As I have understood it, traditional patriarchy, at least in this culture, tends rather to be against the whole face-painting business.

Whereas the face-painting itself has a number of origins, not least of which having to do with theatre and religious ritual and other things that really (in my opinion) have very little to do with the "rule of the fathers."

For that matter, personally I don't even see it as necessarily having to do with "discrimination based on sex."

Sure, it can be used that way; or at any rate the pressure for one sex to wear it and the other, not, certainly can be contrued that way.

But that doesn't mean it has to be that way, see.

How to Win Friends and Influence People, NOT

1) Say, in so many words, "you're not a feminist if you don't blahblah."

2) Back it up with heavy-handed shaming tactics and going LALALALALALA or -crickets- whenever someone else tries to actually explain her own position, often with a good deal of thought and care

3) When other person finally throws her hands up and goes, "nu, so all right, I'm not a feminist,"

4) Wring hands, cast eyes to the heavens and wonder,

Where O Where have all the feminists gone???

head. desk. bang.

Here's a hint for all y'all making this sort of argument out there who still might be reading:

At this point, even if you did have sole possession of The Truth, the One Way and One Way Only: it doesn't matter.

That's right.

Because your communication skills--as in, listening and actual dialogue, not just making Pronouncements and whacking people over the head when they don't fall in line quickly enough--frankly, suck.

If all you want is the deep tingly satisfaction of waving the bloody martyr shirt, then by all means continue doing what you're doing.

If you actually want to change any minds? At least, in your favor? You are seriously doing a piss-poor job.

Or: pull the "my way or the highway" shit if you want to; just don't be surprised when a bunch of people take the highway, if only because they think it might be more likely to actually get them where they want to go.

This public service announcement was brought to you from the Department Of Huge, Honking Clues.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

By the way: two questions

1) If you think "my body, my choice" is sacrosanct and must not be interrogated when it comes to reproductive rights? But when it comes to having sex in various unorthodox ways, wearing heels, working in the sex industry, or (for some people, apparently) having sexual reassignment surgery: now "choice" and "consent" actually aren't all they're cracked up to be? Explain to me how that works, again?

2) What exactly is the difference between "sexbot" and "bimbo?" or, for that matter, "slut?"

I Am Not A Sex Radical


because, truthfully? i don't really know what people are talking about with the facial this and de-rigeur deep throat that. i don't watch het pr0n! i don't (usually) fuck men!

and you know what that means, right?

that's wight, wabbit!


or, no, more accurately: their genitalia repulse me deeply. boy, do male genitalia repulse me! not to mention the substances they emit! let me tell you JUST HOW MUCH THEY REPULSE ME.

(four encyclopediac volumes later)


that said, i know nozzing about penetration, or power games. or exhibitionism, or fetishes, or dancin' sexy, or threesomes or moresomes, or liking to suck, or reading/writing lusty stories, or lookin' at naughty pictures, or anal sex!

(not to mention abusive behavior, of any sort)

i probably never even would have IMAGINED such things, were it not for the MENZ and their pr0n (which i don't look at, but apparently some of the women i had sex with did at some point; where else could they possibly have gotten those ideas?)

excuse me, did i say "had sex with?" i meant, "soulfully gazed into each other's eyes and communed with a gaze of lovingkindness and keening high-pitched sounds inaudible to all but ears purified of all patriarchal taint, dolphins, and bats.

and touched pinkies, once.

and then processed the experience over a nice hot fucking cup of lapsang soochong. for six days.

and then went to marches. and boy was that ever a powerful experience! march, march, march! chant, chant, chant! boy, if there's anything more satisfying than shouting in righteous anger and perfect harmony with one's sisters, I sure can't think of it.

well, maybe the oolong, extra-steeped.

but really that's only for special occasions.

anyway i'm trying to cut back. it interferes with my innate wisdom, and also makes me have to piss every five minutes. still, we can't all be perfect, obviously. the important thing is that we try to purge all the negative, external influences from our lives, and regularly confess in a public place how we're not measuring up. i know that. otherwise how could i possibly critique my sisters? if i weren't at least three times as critical of myself? why, i couldn't. and then god only knows what would happen.

now if you'll excuse me, i'm off to howl at the moon and compost myself, not necessarily in that order.


Reduced power in this building, if not the whole goddam neighborhood. Pat whosis on Channel 1 telling us to turn off the A.C.! may be a moot point since mine doesn't seem to have enough power to actually bring the room temp down significantly. microwave "works" but doesn't cook anything. most lights and elevator in main building not. working.

it's going to be 102 today, plus humidity.

didn't i say something just yesterday about the contribution of heat w/out A.C. contributing to insane homicidal behavior in Other Regions?

just put me out of my misery now please.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Quote to live by

Via Making Light

I’m a fuzzy-headed warm-hearted liberal, and I think fuzzy-headed warm-hearted liberalism is an ideological stance that needs defending—if necessary, with a hob-nailed boot-kick to the bollocks of budding totalitarianism.

--Charles Stross

Another worthy read:

"Stabbed in the Back!" from Harper's. (damn, i really need to subscribe to Harper's. them's good writin's).

If the power of the stab-in-the-back narrative from Vietnam is beyond question, it still raises the question of why. Why should we wish to maintain a narrative of horrendous national betrayal, one in which our own democratically elected government, and a large portion of our fellow citizens, are guilty of horribly betraying our fighting men?

The answer, I think, lies in Richard Nixon’s ability to expand the Siegfried myth from the halls of power out into the streets. Government conspiracies are still culpable, of course; ironically, it was Nixon’s own administration that first “left behind” American POWs in North Vietnam. Yet this makes little difference to the American right, which never considered Nixon ideologically pure enough to be a member in good standing, and which has always made hay by railing against government, even now that they are it. What Nixon and a few of his contemporaries did for the right was to make culture war the permanent condition of American politics.

On domestic issues as well as ones of foreign policy, from Ronald Reagan’s mythical “welfare queens” through George Wallace’s “pointy-headed intellectuals”; from Lee Atwater’s characterization of Democrats as anti-family, anti-life, anti-God, down through the open, deliberate attempts of Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove to constantly describe opponents in words that made them seem bizarre, deviant, and “out of the mainstream,” the entire vernacular of American politics has been altered since Vietnam. Culture war has become the organizing principle of the right, unalterably convinced as it is that conservatives are an embattled majority, one that must stand ever vigilant against its unnatural enemies—from the “gay agenda,” to the advocates of Darwinism, to the “war against Christmas” last year.

This has become such an ingrained part of the right wing’s belief system that the Bush Administration has now become the first government in our nation’s history to fight a major war without seeking any sort of national solidarity. Far from it. The whole purpose of the war in Iraq—and the “war on terrorism”—seems to have been to foment division and to win elections by forcing Americans to choose between starkly different visions of what their country should be...

Yet still, somehow, Bush’s numbers continued to plunge. What went wrong? How could such an infallible Republican strategy, conducted with all of the right wing’s vast media resources at his command, have failed so utterly? How was it that the story of the stab in the back had lost its power to hold us spellbound?

* * *

What has really robbed the conspiracy theories of their effectiveness is how the war in Iraq has been conducted. Bush and his advisers have sought to use the war not only to punish their enemies but also to reward their supporters, a bit of political juggling that led them to demand nothing from the American public as a whole. Those of us who are not actively fighting in Iraq, or who do not have close friends and family members who are doing so, have not been asked to sacrifice in any way. The richest among us have even been showered with tax cuts.

Yet in demanding so little, Bush has finally uncoupled the state from its heroic status...

Interesting op-ed by John Dean

Promoting a new book, I guess. "How Conservatives Have Become Authoritarians and What it Means"

Authoritarianism is not well understood and seldom discussed in the context of American government and politics, yet it now constitutes the prevailing thinking and behavior among conservatives. Regrettably, empirical studies reveal, however, that authoritarians are frequently enemies of freedom, antidemocratic, antiequality, highly prejudiced, mean-spirited, power hungry, Machiavellian, and amoral. They are also often conservatives without conscience who are capable of plunging this nation into disasters the likes of which we have never known.

Although I have only recently learned the correct term for describing this type of behavior, and come to understand the implications of such authoritarian thinking, I was familiar with the personality type from my years in the Nixon White House. We had plenty of authoritarians in the Nixon administration, from the president on down. In fact, authoritarian thinking was the principal force behind almost everything that went wrong with Nixon's presidency. I had had little contact with my former colleagues, or with their new authoritarian friends and associates, until the early 1990s, when they decided to attack my wife and me in an effort to rewrite history at our expense. By then I had left public life for a very comfortable and private existence in the world of business, but they forced me back into the public square to defend myself and my wife from their false charges. In returning, I discovered how contemptible and dangerous their brand of "conservatism" had become, and how low they were prepared to stoop for their cause...

The rest is mostly a set-the-record-straight account of his own story.

I have no real opinion wrt Dean himself. It does make sense to me to differentiate between "conservative" and "authoritarian."

I like conservatives, real conservatives, even if I often disagree with them. Conservatives actually want to, well, conserve some stuff. Besides their own o'erswollen egos, that is.

They do seem to be a rare breed these days.

In other news: woke up around 4:30 ayem last night and had something of a panic attack. Ostensibly it was about the devolving situation in the Middle East. I suspect it also wasn't totally unrelated to the wretched, bonecrushing heat and humidity. Whatever it is: I don't like it. You'd think one would be, should be, even, used to feeling this way ever, especially if you've been living in New York since before 9/11 and have been paying any attention to world events and trends for, well. Quite some time.

All's I know is that I simply can't go to the sources I'm most familiar with for comfort or wisdom. Don't want to hear the talking heads, professional or amateur, poking around the spilled guts of the body politic and hazarding guesses about What It All Means, Dear. don't want to go to the family and compound the worries with personal shit about health and finances and "gee, I'm really Not Okay At All." Can't go to the "spiritual leader" I'd wanted to be a sort of mentor/group leader and instead turned out to be another garden-variety narcissist, even less emotionally evolved than a lot of not particularly "spiritual" folk I know. don't want to get into another pointless fight about stupid shit with people I don't know to take my mind off the larger pointless fights about (I suspect) stupid shit that have more weight simply because they're backed up with weapons of mass destruction (seriously, aren't *all* weapons pretty much by definition "of mass destruction?"

I went back to sleep saying a sort of prayer/mantra: "Please, please, please, please. Please calm down. Please let it go. Please cool off. Please. Calm. Listen: please, please, please..."

eventually the cat came and sat on my chest and purred, as he is wont to do, and that certainly helped.

I don't know. I suspect that what you put out does indeed return to you one way or another. I also suspect that there is a collective way in which this works and that the individual karma, or whatever you want to call it, can get swept away with the larger...motion.

At the same time: it couldn't hoit.

and if i can't get the world to calm down, at least maybe i can get myself to calm down enough to get some rest.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

"I for one welcome our coming freemarket lesbian overlords"

Goddam but I think I just fell in love with R. Mildred.

[quote from dumbass commenter]

Hey… I’m a Libertarian… do what you want with your own life and body… but don’t ask me to pay the bills for someone else’s stupidity.

Want to a ride a motorcycle without a helmet? Go ahead… you’ll make a fine poster for ‘helmet safety’ as a cripple in a wheelchair…

Want to lots of meth? Feel free to ruin your health?

Wamt to have anal sex? Hey… have fun with AIDS, syph, herpes, and the rest. The anus was design to push things ‘out’ not take them ‘in.’ Anal sex is very physically traumatic on the old ‘poop shoot.’

[/quote from dumbass commenter]

So let me get this straight, the libertarian homophobe, who is not a homophobe because he doesn’t object to homosexuals just “their” methods of sexual intercourse, thinks that anal sex is bad (and only performed by homosexuals, along with blowjobs, handjobs and having an intellect greater than that of a stunned moose) because it ups the insurance costs for heterosexuals?


Seeing as Lesbians have the safest form of sex, what with no chance of pregnancy and there’s basically fuck all STDs that are readily passed through most lesbian sexual encounters, they should thusly expect to pay less than anyone else because they don’t engage in any of that highly dangerous and therefore, obviously satanic, penile based sex (regardless of whether you beleive your god is YHW or The Freemarket, because either lucifer created penile based sex to tempt good women from the holy clitoral (look it up in the dictionary eric) action which It rewards people for appropriately, or Teh Gubmint has unfairly weighted health insurance so that it unjustly favors heterosexuals over lesbians, who, according to basic economics, deserve lower premiums for their Clitorii based lifestyle). it is only logical that any libertarian who really did believe in that big ol’ Freemarket Godhead libertarians are so fond of, would gladly let it be as it wants, instead of messing around trying to game the system so that, not only is their icky, disgusting and disease ridden heterosexuality paid for primarily by the poor lesbians who have no doubt paid more than enough with a single annual insurance payment to cover every single operation chuffy mcwanker there will ever have to have because of the inexplicable objects taht get magically stuffed up his rectum and need hasty removal. AND that’d probably still leave some cash over for several dozen treatments from his local eye & wrist doctor for his more common ailments...[much more]

Now there's some quality rantage.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

O for a muse of Gouda

This post from midwesterntransport reminded me of James McIntyre. My favorite Awful Poet, I think. I know fastlad will vouch for Amanda McKittrick Ros, and it is true that it is hard to compete with the sheer genius of, for instance, "On Visiting Westminster Abbey:"

Holy Moses! Have a look!
Flesh decayed in every nook!
Some rare bits of brain lie here,
Mortal loads of beef and beer,
Some of whom are turned to dust,
Every one bids lost to lust;
Royal flesh so tinged with 'blue'
Undergoes the same as you.

All the same. You have to admire a poet who picks a theme, a leitmotif, if you will, and sticks with it. For many poets it is love; for others, it is death; for Amanda McKittrick Ros, it was, among other things, her intense hatred for her critics. For James McIntyre, it was cheese.

For example, this classic piece, in which the author transcends mere prosaic curds and whey to find a near-mystical note. "Prophecy of a Ten Ton Cheese:"

In presenting this delicate, dainty morsel to the imagination of the people, I believed that it could be realized. I viewed the machine that turned and raised the mamoth cheese, and saw the powerful machine invented by James Ireland at the West Oxford companies factory to turn the great and fine cheese he was making there. This company with but little assistance could produce a ten ton cheese.

Who hath prophetic vision sees
In future times a ten ton cheese,
Several companies could join
To furnish curd for great combine
More honor far than making gun
Of mighty size and many a ton.

Machine it could be made with ease
That could turn this monster cheese,
The greatest honour to our land
Would be this orb of finest brand,
Three hundred curd they would need squeeze
For to make this mammoth cheese.

So British lands could confederate
Three hundred provinces in one state,
When all in harmony agrees
To be pressed in one like this cheese,
Then one skillful hand could acquire
Power to move British empire.

But various curds must be combined
And each factory their curd must grind,
To blend harmonious in one
This great cheese of mighty span,
And uniform in quality
A glorious reality.

But it will need a powerful press
This cheese queen to caress,
And a large extent of charms
Hoop will encircle in its arms,
And we do not now despair,
But we shall see it at world's fair.

And view the people all agog, so
Excited o'er it in Chicago,
To seek fresh conquests queen of cheese
She may sail across the seas,
Where she would meet reception grand
From the warm hearts in old England.

Yes, indeed, Blessed Are The Cheesemakers. Or indeed all makers of dairy products:

The milk it floats in great spring flood
Though it is not so rich and good,
Let us be thankful for this stream
Of milk and also curds and cream.

...And so we see that there is room for infinite subtlety and variation even within the narrow strictures of a particular form or subject. From the single inspiration of fermented and pasteurized cow-juice, the poet produces a plethora of small masterpieces. "Father Ranney, the Cheese Pioneer." "Oxford Cheese Ode." "Fertile Lands and Mammoth Cheese." And others still. In his own way, Mssr. McIntyre proved to be as unexpectedly fertile and bounteous as the frozen Canadian tundra, flowing with milk and...milk, which was his muse. Truly, we shall not see his like again soon.**

So I say to you, midwesterntransport and all whose significant others have ever uttered the moving lines "I love you more than cheddar," consider: you're in fine company. Truly, is cheese not, in fact, a worthy metaphor for love? Might not the dairy-besotted poet in fact see profound symbolism in the delicate, delicious substance which only grows finer as it ages? And besides, consider: it could have been worse.

It could have been Limburger.


**While it is true that I am not familiar enough with contemporary poetry to name a worthy successor to Ros or McIntyre, if we can expand the criteria to include prose fiction, I for one put in a vote for one Pastor G. Edwin Lint, a number of whose works, including two full-length novels, can be read in full online.

From "Gone: A Novel About the Rapture.

Chapter 22: Demons?

Ronni turned pale and rose from her chair to stare out the window at the frozen, snow-covered Susquehanna River. "You're right about the cat, Dan. What you saw and heard was not ordinary and you folks have a right to know the truth about that, too. There's no telling what's ahead for all of us and the more information we all have, the better off we'll be. Remember that movie, the Exorcist?"

The Marlows had read the book and seen the movie.

"Well, my cat was demon-possessed tonight when he was shot."

Dan looked surprised but Karen laughed harshly. "All right, Ronni! You've reached my breaking point now. My twins are gone, your husband and two children are missing. Mark tells us the entire population of his institution is wiped out. And maybe, just maybe I can accept this business of what you call a rapture with a God of judgment and Jesus Christ with his marriage feast or whatever. But no demon possession!. No way demon possession. That's nothing but the invention of primitive and superstitious minds in an incorrect diagnosis of a seizure disorder or insanity or both. But definitely not demon possession. The only thing evil in that cat was a can of spoiled cat food!"


Chapter 25: Demons!

Dan faced the dresser from his position in the doorway and he had a perfect shot at the back of a down-covered baby-shaped head. His finger tensed on the trigger and then he paused. It isn't easy to shoot the image of a 6-month-old baby, even when the target is most likely not a baby at all but some sort of demonic entity. The action of the creature on the left in scooping up a globule of congealed bilge and flinging it at Karen's face erased his hesitation, however...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Musing on this

While still in browse-the-fundamentalist mode, I came across this website, Modest Clothing for Women and Girls. No, I'm not gonna start snarking about the outfits. I just wanted to note that I'm struck by this:

What caused the attitude to change from "au naturel"? What caused the need to cover up? The answer is rooted in an understanding of the sin of Adam and Eve.

According to commentators, through the eating of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, the tendency to do evil was internalized within the human psyche. Previously, man and woman had an intellectual choice between good and evil, but evil was outside of the body, a philosophical issue, not an inner pull or an emotional desire.

Before the sin, a person's soul expressed itself through its body. Body and soul were in consonance with each other. For example, when the soul wanted to pray to God, the body rose early and prayed. When the soul wanted to study and grow most effectively, the body ate healthy foods and took care of itself to provide the necessary fuel and energy for the demanding task. Now, post-sin, a dichotomy exists. Almost a schizophrenia. One's soul wants to pray, his body groans, turns over and shuts off the alarm clock. The soul strives to perfect itself, the body wants to eat chocolate cake, watch television and lie on the beach!

The body is no longer in the service of the soul, it no longer runs to do its bidding. Not only is the body not a reflection of the soul, but they are now working at cross-purposes.

What does all this have to do with clothing, modesty and covering up?

When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, their bodies were a mirror of their souls, there was no need to cover up such a pure innocent expression of a person's spirituality, of God's image within a human being.

However, once evil was integrated into man, the body came to represent something antithetical to the soul. Looking at the body could now distract the observer from focusing on his or her internal being and instead focus only on the physical, the external and the superficial.

It became necessary to de-emphasize the physical in order to emphasize the spiritual, to cover up the body in order to let the soul shine through.


It strikes me because, among other things, it is reminding me irresistibly of the argument, as I have seen in various places over the last few months, to one degree or another, that erotica/sex/what have you is irrecovably tainted because we live in a Patriarchal culture.

It reminds me of it in more ways than one, point of fact.

But particularly, the solution: so, okay, our body and soul are at cross purposes. We're tainted. The solution? Load on more shame; reject emphasis on the body and/or various sexual expressions even more. Purify, purify; so shall we reach the Promised Land. Or not. But points for trying. Maybe.

Does it never occur to some people that maybe an attempt at integration, here and now, not in some magical past or future utopia, might be a more useful way to go? Guess not. But why?

I'm so goddam weak

Apologies to White Bear, who is understandably feeling oogy at the recent spate of her blogpals' linking to assorted reactionaries who, besides espousing completely horrifying positions, would seem to have the collective IQ of a small, unripe radish.

She's right. It's wrong to indulge in this sort of sport too often. It's depressing, ultimately. It's not helpful to reasoned discourse. And, frankly, it's cheap and tacky.


i mean:

THIS GUY just glorious.

He was outraged, you see, at an article written by a conscienceless young woman talking all about her abortion. Source of the article: The Onion.

There is something perversely uplifting about the uniting effect this level of stupidity can have. 870 comments and counting. And all of them, pro-life and pro-choice alike, can agree, if on nothing else in this life, on this one sentiment:

"GodDAM, boy, you're dumber than a truck fulla chickens goin' to town."

(A real example, one of many which just made my day:

I'm pro life, but sweet Jesus you're an idiot. For your next post, how about a passionate speech on the need to immediately free Prince Albert from the can?)

And now, bless his ears and whiskers, he's gone and posted a follow-up. Which has 667 replies (and counting). And why not?

Needless to say, a few people wanted to let me know that I was a dolt for thinking that her article was real. As a matter of fact, call me a dolt, because in the beginning I really did think it was real. Why? because I meet women like her in the field all the time...

Satire? Was the article aiming at the women who have the abortions or the people who believe it is better to save lives than kill them?

Hmm, let's look up the term satire:

“witty language used to convey insults or scorn; "he used sarcasm to upset his opponent"”

Either way, I think I did a good job of turning the “satire” right back at them, don’t you?

It is a gift. A GIFT.

On edit: Aw crap, Pete pulled the plug on the comments. I managed to snag a few of the choicer ones while the window was still open. For posterity:

But Pete, the Onion article is from 1999. Don't you think you should
try to track her down and see if her views have changed in the last
seven years? That should be easy to do, except for how she's completely


I just wanted to participate in this special moment, when people from
all over the internet came together and joyously mocked the blinkered
oaf who wrote this.
I look forward in years to come to telling my children that, yes, I
was there on THAT day. If I don't decide to abort them first, that is.
Oh, and in the case of the first two the abortion will have to be


Dear sir,

While I am uncertain that you have a central nervous system of
sufficient complexity to register high-level emotions such as
embarrassment or shame, I still must implore you: please, please,
please... no matter how many people on this comment thread cast doubt
on your mental capacities or call you "asshat" it is imperitive that
you never delete this entry. You have accidentally written the funniest
thing in history.

Johnathan Swift and Voltaire working together for a hundred years
could not surpass you.

This must be preserved for posterity.


Dude, you put the "E" in "Stupid"


You tell 'em Pete!

Don't listen to these liberal pinko shmucks telling you that this is
some sort of 'satire'. You've done a thorough and impressive job of
debunking this Miss Weber bitch and those communist babykilling faggots
know they don't have one single idea or argument that can stand up to
your rigorous intellectual scrutiny. Their only hope now is to whine
'But we were only joking' like the crybabies they are and try to make
you look like some sort of dumbass. Pay no attention! Real Americans
can spot the truth a mile away, you mark my words.

These unChristian fucks pulled the same shit on us when we used an
Onion article to expose Harry Potter for the Satanist cult it was. One
minute we had a grassroots campaign bandwagon going, the next minute
this 'satire' tag gets laid on it, and every punk-ass motherfucker on
the internet starts laughing at us. It took us MONTHS to live that shit

Well I say enough! To hell with this liberal satire bullcrap. I'm
armed, I'm a christian and I'm not afraid to defend my way of life with
extreme prejudice! The next time one of you babykilling terrorist
faggots wants to debase MY goddamn country and MY goddamn religion with
this so-called "satire" shit, I'm going to grab the first
motherfucking liberal abortionist I come across and ram my bible and a
copy of the Bill of Rights up the bastard's ass. See how you'd like
THAT, you satirical internet motherfuckers!


Pete and Repeat were out in a boat, Pete fell out; who was left in the
boat? Pete and Repeat were out in a boat, Pete fell out; who was left
in the boat? Pete and Repeat were out in a boat, Pete fell out; who was
left in the boat? Pete and Repeat were out in a boat, Pete fell out;
who was left in the boat? Pete and Repeat were out in a boat, Pete fell
out; who was left in the boat? I don't get it, signed, Pete


Even *I* knew that was satire.

--Terri Schiavo


Don't let 'em get you down. so what if hundreds of people around the
country (maybe the world) know you as 'that dipshit who can't
understand a joke'. Your heart was in the right place. You didn't
insult Miss Caroline Weber, and instead said you would pray for her.
Thats big of you, and if she existed, i'm sure she'd appreciate it. And
you're standing up for what you believe in, and thats honorable too.
Next time just go after something real. AND you genuinely feel that
abortion is murder and you're doing all this because you care. Good for
you I say. Oh and incidentally this isn't one of those things that
just goes away. I totally showed all my friends.

--Ovary Omelette


One you might have missed from this week's Onion is "Just Wait 'Til I
Get These Fucking Rubber Bands Off" by Freddie the Lobster.

Judging by his photo, Freddie is indeed a real live lobster, so he
*must* have written the accompanying column. Apparently, we are all in
for it if somebody pulls the rubber bands off Freddie's claws, because
he is seriously pissed.


Hi Pete,

Thanks for posting my story on your site. I really appreciate the free
publicity you're giving us abortionists. Its through supporters like
you that our quest to kill as many babies as we can continues to

As a show of gratitude, I invite you to my next abortion, which is
scheduled for next October 27th at Planned Parenthood. Afterwards we're
having another abortion party, and will be drinking the fetus' blood!
Its gonna be so much fun, and we'd all love to have you.

Thanks again for the plug,

Caroline Weber


I can't believe how cruel everybody here is being. A post like this is
a gift. You're supposed to make fun of people like this behind their
backs, mostly so they won't stop what they're doing.

Seriously, fuck you guys for being so nasty. Now I'm feeling sympathy
for an addled loon who'd just as soon see me dead.


Wow. I almost find no need to post here after seeing everybody cover
every base. But I thought I would just make it known, because of this
article, because of your stupidity, and because even after you made
such an enormous mistake and STILL tried to defend yourself, I have
decided I am pro-choice. It was a choice I'd been trying to make for a
while now, I'm a very thoughtful person. But I will not be assosciated
with people like you. So for all it might be worth, Thank you.


although i prefer fingering, i will engage in deep and vigorous
penetration with the man who maintains this site. maybe he will
impregnate me. maybe he will make me into his female slave.


We need your help protesting against! They kill


i can't add a thing to the discussion.
i just can't pile on.
nope not gonna do it.
as much as i would like to, not gonna happen.
uh uhh.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

What movie were *you* watching, lady?

As noted previously, by me and by others, there is this outfit styling itself Ladies Against Feminism. It is chock full of twee fundanazi goodness; but I am especially fond of Lady Lydia's take on the Stepford Wives:

The first thing that attracted me to the original movies was the beautiful Victorian style clothing of the women in the film and their clean houses. Right away, I was drawn in! I absolutely love looking at show homes and home decorating sites with beautiful colors and arrangements. I have a favorite antique store that is located in an old house, where the proprietor has created a dining room, bedrooms, living room, kitchen, and bathroom, with everything in them for sale. Each room is a different color theme, and each room feels like home. I jokingly tell her that I love coming there, because there are no dirty dishes piled in the kitchen and no laundry to be done. The original "Stepford" film had all the elements I admired in home living. Everything was neat and clean, dinners were served on time, and happy, contented wives loved and honored their husband--and the husbands were courteous of them, also.

The first time I read this piece, I confess, I skimmed. I was wondering exactly what she meant by "and the husbands were courteous to them, also." It is a very interesting definition of "courteous." If you've seen the original (not the godawful remake), you know what I'm talking about. Particularly if you, you know, watch all the way to the end.

But so Amber reminds me of this site's existence and I go back and--screee! Waitaminute!

Eventually, the viewer discovers that when a bell rings in the neighborhood, these perfect wives take a pill, which regulates their perfect behavior. They are all brainwashed, subjugated, and programmed to do all the laundry, meals, and other things. The bell rings, and the ladies start cooking and cleaning!

A liberated reporter comes into town and begins to investigate. She discovers that there is a central control station where a man rings the bell at a certain time. The husbands are all in on the plan--husbands who are tired of the way things are going "in real life" where the women are independent, wear pants, and cut their hair.

The reporter exposes the whole sham, and the culprits are made to own up to the terrible thing they've done to their wives. The wives are then taken off the program and the pills to live in freedom once again.

So! Wrong!

The godawful remake does indeed have a different, defanged ending from the original; but it's not that, either. And anyway, she said she saw the original. Like a fool, I believed her.

Oh, Lady Lydia. How can I ever trust you again?

On edit: Excuse me. The reviewer here was not, in fact, Lady Lydia; it was Mrs. Stanley Sherman.

I guess I can't ever trust me again, either.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

See, kids, this is how it's done.

Little as I like Adam Carolla, there are times when a garden-variety obnoxious (bigoted, too, yes) shock-jerk can come in handy. For instance, here, wherein he deals with a certain ubiquitous Toxic Blob of Ectoplasm in the manner she deserves.

Now if only the rest of the media would follow his example.

It'd be a start.

The definitive reading of Angry White Boy Music

Weird Al Yankovic (yep, he's still around) brings the pain with the Angry White Boy Polka.

"We were flat, but we were 'appy!"

Shootin' the breeze with fastlad and his partner yesterday; musing on the reactionary conservative mindset. Somehow it came to this:

"You should be thankful to be able to work in a cube! In my day we didn't have cubes! We didn't have floors! We didn't have ceilings! We had walls, and we were grateful for them! And we didn't go in for this newfangled 'third dimension.'" Two dimensions were good enough for my parents' generation, and they were good enough for mine! We were flat, but we were happy! In my grandfather's day they didn't even have that! All they had was lines! If they were lucky. My father's parents were infinitesimal points! You spend your childhood raised by an infinitesimal point, you'll be deeply appreciative of any parameters within a conceptual space that you can get!"

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Open question #?: spirituality

What does that word mean to you, "spirituality?" What about "religion?" What place, if any, do either have in your life?

No agenda here, just curious.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Everything you ever wanted to know about feminism(s) (but didn't know where to start looking)

Great research clearinghouse, subdivided into: fields/schools of feminism; different national or ethnic feminisms; and individual feminists. The Feminist Theory Website.

Just a note: added permalink to introductions thread

that is, the "But enough about me..." post of a coupla weeks ago, asking about parental politics and so forth. It's now in the sidebar as "Introduce yourself here, if you like." It's hard to keep archived posts alive, but that one I wouldn't mind seeing continue.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lesbian sheep, lesbian bunny boilers

(okay i admit i am mostly posting this because BL HARSHED MY MELLOW by informing me that i am NOT at the top of Google after all AT ALL, and want to drive up my stats. lesbian! lesbian!! LESBIAN!!!!!)

No, but yeah, but no but yeah, okay, it was about this:

In another post (which ALSO has the word LESBIAN in it, BY THE WAY), a tangent in the comments led me to remember this little ditty: "The Problem of Lesbian Sheep"

When sheep, in the mountains, are wanting to breed,
there's not very much that the sheep up there need.
For they've got quite a system when it's time to mate:
the rams nose around, and the ewes stand and wait.

Yes, the female sheep don't have to do anything,
when the rams (in the mountains) go crazy in spring,
but give off special smells from their feminine places
which those sex-hungry rams can detect - with their faces.

Yep those rams stick their noses in each ewe's behind
to detect if to mating she might be inclined,
and if so he mounts her - they both have their fun -
and that's how the process of mating is done.

And so, to sum up, there's a system in place
to ensure that the sheep can continue their race,
and it works like a charm. So, no cause to lose sleep.
... but consider the problem of lesbian sheep ...

Yes, a lesbian sheep hopes and prays she can find
a lesbian ewe who's of similar mind
but she doesn't know how! She was brought up to think
that to find a good mate, you just stand there and stink.

And alas, her true love, just a few yards away,
tries the very same thing in the very same way,
and though they both want to be loved and be held,
they just stand around, and wait to be smelled...

Which of course rang a familiar bell to several of us who have spent a fair amount of time hanging around ewe bars and/or pastures, and we shared a hearty good laugh, and I felt validated in that no, it wasn't just my imagination, or even due to the fact that i have to play "There Is Life Outside Your Apartment" at least five times before going to the corner store to buy chocolate soymilk.

But then I encountered Maggie Bitter, aka the Bad Lesbian. Who is extremely funny in her bitterness, and apparently lives in some strange Bizarro Lesbian Universe where psychotic women keep throwing themselves at her.

You’d think that by now I wouldn’t be surprised at just how bold some women are when it comes to flirtation – more so when they are attempting to flirt with me. I mean, come on, I am not exactly the flirtable type. I am perpetually cranky and my public face tends to be one of a focused scowl. Hey, I don’t like people much and if I can project a vibe that says “Really, you don’t even want to begin to try” then, dammit, I will.

Yet women always attempt to breach it.

I am standing in the food section of Cost Plus and I don’t twitch in the slightest when I hear a female voice next to me say, “Is that you?” I am in full-on Surly Maggie mode - cranky body language, scowl, head wrapped in a bad-ass bandana,(OK, maybe not bad-ass but it was keeping my damn hair out of my face.) and clothes that had seen better days. I can tell the question is directed at me since there is nobody in the aisle but me and the owner of the voice. I ignore the question but can see out of the corner of my eye that the woman who is asking is looking directly at me. Damn.

“Excuse me.”

...“Pardon me?”

“Is that you who smells so good?”

Oh, that mother fucking patchouli oil.

‘Uh, yeah.”

“It smells nice.”

“Um, thank you.”

Then she does the unheard of - she steps forward so she is well-within my no-fly zone of personal space. Her body is so close to mine that I am trapped against the shelving that is at my back. I am shocked beyond comprehension – my mind races as I try to anticipate just what the fuck she is going to do and figure out how to get away without seeming too weird or freaked out. Then she moves her head towards my neck and…sniffs.


“It smells really nice. I love patchouli.”

You have got to be kidding me.

Then she reaches up with her left hand and takes a lock of my hair that is resting on my shoulder and twists it around her finger.

“ I really like your hair, too.”

She releases my hair, steps back, pauses, and then walks away. And I mean walks away- moving her ass in that way women do when they know you are watching them. And, boy, do I watch. Then I check to make sure that my wallet is still in my jacket pocket.

Now, this happened to her at 10:30 in the morning at Cost Plus.

So i can't even say "ah, but this is what happens to women who lead the Glamorous Life, who keep putting themselves Out There and don't limit their social interactions on a given day to the chocolate-soymilk selling guy at the corner deli."

I'm not saying I want this to happen, necessarily, mind. It all sounds rather hot as a fantasy, but in real life? Look, Glenn Close had cute blonde corkscrew curls and a fetching manner too, I know; but it hardly made up for her adventures in impromptu hassenpfeffer. And I'm not saying I don't believe her: frankly if one can believe that anyone'd come on to Michael Frigging Douglas, one can believe anything.

But, I mean, damn. I guess somewhere out there there must be a field where the sheep have broken free from their placid stand-and-wait conditioning and mutated into some strange aggressive strain. Somewhere I haven't yet encountered. Some secret ingredient i haven't tweaked. Some new strain in the stinky sheepy pheromones.

Maybe it is patchouli.


Checking my stats; I notice that someone has gotten here via the keyword search "lesbian" (no more no less). Well, no big surprise; it's in my last post.

but so i follow the link and apparently right now at least, this little site comes up number one out of something like 1.5 million on Google.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Nunberg nails it

...specifically about the toxic blob of ectoplasm that is known as Ann Coulter (yes, that was an insult. yes), but more generally about exactly what's wrong with her style of "provocation:"

"Political Taunting"

Is Coulter sincere about the things she says? That's a silly question, like asking whether schoolchildren are sincere in the taunts they throw at each other across the school yard. But that doesn't make her a satirist, as her defenders like to claim -- usually with the implication that her literal-minded liberal critics don't get the joke.

Satire depicts things as grotesque in order to make them seem ridiculous -- what Stephen Colbert does in his Bill O'Reilly persona or Christopher Buckley does with the pointed caricatures of ``Thank You for Smoking.'' But Coulter isn't actually sending anybody up -- not herself, certainly, and not the targets of her remarks.

Her fans may enjoy hearing her talk about poisoning Justice Stevens or say that it's a pity Timothy McVeigh didn't park his truck next to the New York Times building. But that's not because the remarks make either Stevens or the New York Times seem particularly ridiculous. It's because Coulter seems to be able to get away with unbridled aggression by presenting it as mere mischief, leaving her critics looking prim and humorless. (``Perhaps her book should have been called `Heartless,' '' said Hillary Clinton after Coulter's remarks about the widows, inviting the response, ``Oh lighten up, girl.'')

That rhetorical maneuver doesn't really have a name, but it's a close relative of what we think of as smut. In the strict sense, of course, smut is the leering innuendo that veils sexual aggression. But in a broader sense, smut can be any kind of malice that pretends to be mere naughtiness. It might be a leering vulgarity, a racial epithet, or simply a venomous insult -- what makes it smut is that it's tricked out as humor, so that if anyone claims to be offended you can answer indignantly, ``Can't you take a joke?'

Happy Fucking Independence Day

For all its authors' flaws, for all its glaring omissions, for all that it's a product of its era, for all that it's been flagrantly misused and abused over the last two hundred and thirty years. It's still worth preserving. In letter, and especially, in spirit.

The Declaration of Independence

Monday, July 03, 2006

heat. exhaustion.

legs rubbery, appetite erratic, concentration all shot to hell. particularly that last bit. even inside with the A.C. on.

anyone else feeling this?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Narcissism and sustainability

Linking to this as part of a riff from thinking about something that came up in an earlier post and in the comments: to wit, the notion that in fact, besides ordinary human failings, poor communication, the System as being more inhuman than the sum of its human parts; also, that a hefty percentage of the world's human-caused problems might just be

that more than half (I'd say 80% in terms of totality) of the major problems in the world i.e. poverty, pollution, availability of water, war, anarchy, corruption, etc. are due to fucknuts like [asshead fuckstain in question] spread liberally throughout financial and governmental institutions throughout the world. --eponymous (no, not eponymously the subject of the post!...anyway)

So, the link:

NARCISSISM is distinguished from true leadership (which shares attention) by narcissism’s use, abuse and exploitation of people, as opposed to enhancing and facilitating the value of others. Sustainability is dependent on collaborative, mutually complementary group efforts that seek to maximize benefits for the largest amount of people without exploiting each other or the integrity of the environment. This is offensive to narcissism because it is in direct contradiction to narcissism’s values of dominance, exploitation and control.

So what does narcissism do in the presence of sustainability proponents? It resists. It resists in a methodical, calculated way toward the end of either distracting, derailing, or simply stopping whatever program the sustainability contingent is seeking to implement. Character assassination, misinformation, and blocking access to funding and other resources are commonly employed methods.

Before we discuss how narcissism can be detected and engaged effectively, it is important to review factors which contribute to narcissism being able to effectively control situations and relationships. First, if a person or a group is unaware of his or its narcissism, they will often be unable to recognize the presence of a narcissistic force. It is a well known dynamic in most psychological circles that if one is denying or cut off from an aspect of the self, it is very difficult position to recognize this aspect in others.

Second, many people have the fantasy that if they try hard, "do it right," be reasonable, logical, and have goodwill and a team approach, these factors will generate a positive outcome in interpersonal or group settings. This is about as deep a fantasy as one could possibly have, as it is not based in reality. Why is this? It is not based in reality because a narcissist survival is dependent on having control, or the perception of control. When a narcissist's control is challenged (and this is what efforts toward sustainability do by definition), he becomes threatened, and responds like his survival is at stake, transforming the environment into a veritable jungle. This is not the friendly environment of Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood! In addition narcissism is disdainful of such attitudes (fantasies).

A third factor which reinforces the stranglehold narcissism can have is when people are committed to being "nice" or fair, and as a result are unwilling or unprepared to hold the narcissist accountable for positions or behaviors. Finally, an unwillingness to "go for the throat," as champions do in sporting events, only allows narcissism to recycle and feed off its commitment to domination...

I think it's that last part that's anathema to a lot of goodhearted people. Don't you become the thing you fight? they wonder. Isn't it best to assume everyone means well, deep down? Where will it all end?

My own answers to that, tentatively:

1) Sometimes, yes, and it's important to watch out for that

2) Yes, at first; but when certain specific people repeatedly prove that assumption wrong, it's best to assume that those people do not, in fact, mean well, or at least don't mean you well

3) Don't know.

All I do know is that for whatever reasons buried in my own psyche and past, it is a particular grievance of mine when I see fuckheads getting away with all kinds of exploitive shit because people not only are (justifiably, often) afraid of pissing them off, but for reasons of their own (ideological, personal, whatever) can't or won't see that some people, hermetically sealed as they are, simply can't be reached by love or logic.

You can't get blood from a stone; instead what happens is a transaction where everyone else provides the blood, and thus the illusion is maintained that the stone is a heart, not a drain.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A question:

Does talking about sex make you uncomfortable? Partly, in some contexts, at all?

If so, what is that experience like, for you, and where do you think it comes from?

i don't mean necessarily "now talk about the things that make you uncomfortable." I mean, I guess: (going into therapy mode) can you say more about "being uncomfortable?" Like, uncomfortable in what way? How does it feel; how do you act? when you're uncomfortable.

just throwing it out there, curious.

Quick update and plug

Just posted about a fab so-what-do-lesbians-DO-anyway? comic called "Girlfuck 2005" on the other blog; but thought it's also worth mentioning that there are some other great strips at the site as well. Comics by Erika Moen, at Project Kooky. Some sweet coming-out strips ("When We Hold Hands," "I Like Girls," and I liked her piece on Examining My Racism.

Romancing the lesbian

(and dismissing and/or scapegoating the gay man, transfolk, and genderqueer)

Winter puts her finger on something I've been trying to articulate for a while now (thanks):

Am I correct to discern a tendency within areas of heterosexual, and some lesbian, feminist discourse to romanticize lesbianism? In the case of heterosexual feminists, I rather wish they would do more research before they make assumptions about what lesbians do, and do not do, in bed, and actually find out something about lesbian culture and history, because the things we do and say have a context. I am particularly tired of seeing lesbianism constructed as a version of feminism or as some kind of feminist utopia...

Perhaps what pisses me off most about the feminist appropriation and romanticization of lesbianism is the fact that lesbians have very real and serious problems which need to be addressed urgently. Thanks to the stress of living in a violently homophobic world, we have inordinate mental health problems, many of us self harm, many of us have substance abuse problems and in the UK the statistics for domestic violence are the same as for heterosexual women: 1 in 4 of us will be physically attacked by our female partner. Every time a young woman tells me how her girlfriend gave her a black eye or emotionally abused her, I think the line "Feminism is the theory, lesbianism is the practice" is some kind of sick joke. (Who actually said that? Does anyone know?)

We are afraid of talking about these problems outside the community because we are afraid doing so will fuel the homophobia which caused them in the first place. We are often afraid of talking about it to heterosexual feminists because we might be called tools of the patriarchy, or something.

Lesbians were incredibly important in second wave feminism, but now the majority of younger lesbians I know do not identify as feminists at all. Mind the Gap has a few of us, but I have spent years as the token dyke in feminist groups. I have even had that lovely experience of suddenly finding myself invisible and muted when I raise the issue of lesbian and gay pornography and sex work, if what I say doesn't fit the dominant narrative being constructed in the room at the time.

I think we need a new kind of lesbian or queer feminism, or perhaps a new kind of alliance with heterosexual feminism, one which doesn't tend to elide the difficult realities and sexual complexities of life for many lesbian, bisexual and queer women, or regard such complexities as some kind of betrayal of feminism, but I'm just not sure what it should look like yet.

I'll just add that I know/have known plenty of young activist queergrrls who, if they don't ID as feminist (I rather think they must) certainly care about all the same issues. (I'm sure there are plenty of lesbians who don't give a crap about politics; but I think that's pretty much always been true). And who also naturally make connections to gay boys and TG folks, and have a distinct identity from hetero feminists. Certainly that's the milieu I knew. And Christ knows that wasn't free of dwama and all sorts of shibboleths and internal policing and processing and general headfuckery; I'm just saying the "sex wars" business wasn't part of it, that I knew of, anyway.

I mean, I left Dyke Drama Collective partly because I just couldn't take the dwama (as opposed to the kind of drama that correctly belonged on the stage) anymore: infighting over whether TG folk belonged, whether straight women belonged, to what degree men should or could be part of the productions, whether sliding scale ticket prices were oppressive, how to make it a more WOC-friendly/involved space (oh yeah, I'd say racism and classism were still big elephants in the aisles); just plain ridiculous blow-ups that went on and on and on account of the most ridiculous trifling shit had been given sociopolitical Import and no one seemed to think direct confrontation was okay except the frootbats...on and on. But I mean: we had erotica fests that were sponsored by Toys in Babeland. We constantly had flyers in the hall for Babeland, as well as all kinds of nightlife and sexy queer and/or women-only parties. We had burlesque, we had strip shows, we had drag king shows; some of us would go enmasse to the SM play party down the road after striking, and thought nothing of it wrt feminism, at least.

All of which is a good part of the source of the jarring sense of disconnect I had when I started to get into the feminist blogosphere; I honestly didn't know this was still going on. Particularly among young women.

It's ironic to me that in the wake of the recent BJ blowup there's been a sentiment (most directly expressed by R. Mildred of Punkass Blog) that lesbians and/or asexuals (who out there is actually claiming the ID "asexual?" seems to me that that's one closet that might be worth exploring a little more directly and empathetically, all-round) were dominating the discourse, because it's kind of a funhouse mirror of my own experience: to wit, an overwhelming sense of heteronormativity.

Which was even weirder when I realized that it's coming from spaces moderated by self-ID'd lesbians and nother non-het women (mostly IBTP, okay, but some others as well).

I've said this before, several times, albeit perhaps not as kindly or clearly as might have been ideal:

If one keeps talking and talking and talking about the almighty Penis (and its straight, oppressive owners), one is implicitly suggesting that it is, in fact, more important than anything else. Even if one does it in exclusively negative ways.

It's not just a question of, hey, some straight womens' and men's feelings might be hurt by this (although, you know, at a certain point one might want to consider to what degree and in what contexts one cares about making friends and influencing people, as opposed to simply engaging in much-needed venting; and, if any, what might be the best way to go about it).

It's also: hey, you know what? Other people and sexualities and dynamics exist, too, and the way you're talkin', one might never guess.

Which strikes me as odd (not to mention deeply annoying), when it's in the context of an ideology that purports to be some sort of Grand Unified Theory Of Everything.

Particularly when it comes to talk about sex work and porn (I refuse to use the odious portmanteau "pornstitution," now or ever; its cutesy-dismissiveness makes my teeth ache. although not as much as the frankly sexist "sexbot").

Yeah, okay, lesbian porn, the real deal, is vanishingly small in the context of mainstream pr0n. That doesn't mean it's not worth talking about; the assumptions and contexts are different, often.

More interesting, to me, sometimes, is the way gay men seem to simply not exist in these discussions. Because there's no doubt that M/M prostitution and porn do make up a decent percentage of what's out there; and definitely there are specific context and dynamics and conventions to consider.

Which, okay, you say, feminist space; maybe we don't want to talk about men at all, okay.

But my point is uh, in many cases, yer already talking about menmenmen. Like, all the time. Straight men. I don't even know if y'all realize it, some of yez. So why not broaden the discussion a tad?

And then, too, there is the way TG folk have been treated in some lesbian-feminist discourses, even now. Which, frankly, is disgraceful.

Amp put it well, a couple of months ago:

1) Nothing about transitioning necessarily challenges the idea of gender as a binary. Nor does not transitioning challenge the idea of gender as a binary. Challenging gender as a binary is something we do with advocacy, not by being transgendered or not.

2) However, it should be noted that “male to female or vice versa” with “only two genders at work,” while perfectly valid, is not a complete list of how people are transgendered. Some people have explicitly fluid gender identities, or in some other way refuse to identify as simply “male” or simply “female.” Insofar as their “fluid” gender identities are made public, these folks implicitly challenge the idea of gender as a simple binary.

3) Furthermore, as Piny points out in YL’s comments, transitioning from one sex to the other implicitly “challenges the gender divider that this society seems most invested in: sex assigned at birth defines your gender position, full stop.”

4) In a sense, transsexuals who move from one sex to the other “entrench the system” of gender as a binary, because they are willing to dress and be identified in society as one gender and not the other. But that’s true of the vast majority of us, transsexual or not.

All of us make compromises with the patriarchal society around us, whether it’s getting married to someone of the opposite sex, or shaving (for women), or shopping only in the “men’s” section of the clothing store (for men), or wearing a low ponytail (for me). There are a thousand ways to compromise with patriarchy - no, ten thousand - and I doubt anyone fights against them all. And all of these decisions and actions could be said to help entrench the gender-binary system.

We all do what we have to do - to survive, to express ourselves, and to feel comfortable with what we see in the mirror. It’s illogical to single out transsexuals for criticism on this score - and yet, transsexuals are constantly singled out for this criticism. I call that discrimination.

5) Regarding “after all, could being a woman be so bad if some people choose to become women?” You might as well say that being gay isn’t so bad if some are out of the closet, or that transphobia isn’t so bad if some people choose to be openly transgendered, or that racism isn’t so bad if some POC who could “pass” for white choose not to. (Piny made this argument, as well).

Bottom line: Patriarchy is a huge edifice. We should welcome a lot of different approaches to challenging it. And virtually everyone has to compromise with patriarchy sometimes.

Finally, in my opinion, feminism has never been at its best or strongest when saying “keep out” to oppressed minorities.

On edit, tangentially (or not): Bitch PhD has a talk-about-sex-thread specifically for the sapphically inclined.

personally i think a free-for-all would be just fine too, but props to her for starting these threads at all.