Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I Blame the Goyim

Yet another angle on Why The World Is Sick Sick Sick, I Long Passionately If Incoherently For A Whopping Great Upheaval (and yes, surprise, once again it boils down to the slutty way women dress these day). "FrumTeens."

This world is getting sicker by the minute! It seems like the goyim have no shame! In the summer, they prance around in tank tops and worse. The whole point is that you should see the body. What's the point of that? Why do they want the guys to sin? And their lives, tv shows, books, revolves around one word, i would say it but i can't, ecspecially on these boards , if you know what i mean. They are so corrupt, it make me sick. They don't know what purity means. Even the kids, all they care about is getting new toys and clothes 'cuz that's all they teach their kids to care abou. And as soon as the kids come home from school, they rush to the tv like they can't live without it. Okay, i'm not saying i'm so perfect either. i listen to goyish music so i'm not saying they are the only ones who sin but if you would just look around and see the IMMORALITY this world is bathed in, I mean, even on the city bus, the advertisements have to have unclothed dirty people on it. We are all on such a low madraigah, the world can't get much worse before mashiach comes, can it?!

I know they're just kids, and are about as far from my own decidedly secular upbringing as possible; still, I find myself vicariously cringing a bit. A shonda, yes, I suppose. Just not the way they think it is. Particularly when the mods get around to explaining, why no, "goyim" is not at all derogatory, and for that matter neither is "schvartze."
By the standards they're using, neither is "kike;" hey, "kikeleh" (probably) just meant "little circle," right?


I'll bite: what -are- the drawbacks of masturbation?

(izzat a new technique, or...? "oh.")

From our old friend NoPoBoJoSchloMo (link: http://nopornnorthampton.org/, don't feel like giving him the boosted stats) via the blog of pro-porn activism: What Every Young Boy Should Know, handily updated for the 21st century. Or something.

By now even most Catholics have freed themselves from the nonsensical notion that masturbation is sinful. But, as the saying goes, "there is no free lunch." Masturbation, like all fertilization-driven sexual behavior, has unsuspected costs.

Masturbation appears to decrease sexual magnetism. The more you retreat into your own private (emotionally "safe," readily available) world of self-gratification the less likely you are to attract a partner of the opposite sex for intercourse.

In fact, frequent, casual orgasm actually can actually cause you to repel the opposite sex subconsciously (or attract partners who also believe that the point of having genitals is "getting off," not union). At an energy level you send out messages like "I don't need you. I can take care of my sexuality by myself - thank you very much," "Relationships are just too much trouble; I can't be bothered," "Sex is just a physical thing, so getting off is all there is." or "It’s hopeless….I’ll never have a loving relationship." In doing so you repel what you most need to sustain a sense of well-being: healthy intimacy.

Not to mention, hairy palms: Not Attractive To The Opposite Sex. Just imagine, there you are handing her a nice corsage or opening the car door for her, and: d'oh! embarrassment! Even if you shave 'em, the stubble's bound to raise Dad's eyebrows when you go in for the hearty handshake before promising to return his little pumpkin at a reasonable hour.

Also, it would be Wrong.

Anyway, he's bang on with this: there's nothing more repellent than a guy who can actually take care of his own needs (sexually or otherwise) -all by himself.- What's -really- attractive to the Opposite Sex: the needy, whiny tone of the dude who -knows- that only the soft hands or orifices of his lovely date can successfully relieve his aching manhood.

What say you, Opposite Sex-loving women? Am I right or am I right? (I mean, -besides- tops who're into teasing and denial...)

(Of course, he could always burn off all that excess energy with a nice sweaty rugby game with the lads beforehand)

I'm not really quite sure what to say about the accompanying photos on that page, to be honest...

Oh, and Peace Between the Sheets (which is a lovely, reassuring title, not at all suggestive of a shroud) is recommended as a companion piece with a new oeuvre by Dr. Dean "A Single Drop Of Any Fat Will KILL You!! Yes, YOU TOO!!" Ornish.

Unsurprisingly, it would seem that hunger shouldn't be indulged too readily either.

Suppose you're really hungry, but it's almost time to leave for your basketball game. What are you going to do? Answer: you're going to listen to either the old part of your brain or the new part. The old brain is saying, “You're hungry, go eat.” But the new brain is saying, “Sure you're hungry, but it would be smarter to eat after the game so you don't throw up.”

Now, I don't play basketball, admittedly. Generally speaking, though, I find if I'm -really- hungry before I'm about to do something intensely physical, it's probably a good idea to eat -something-, if not, you know, something super heavy. Then again, perhaps that lightheaded, "I may pass out at any minute" feeling is part of the "new brain." Well, I've always been a bit of a luddite about upgrading. And, I don't know if I can afford a whole new brain.

And, that salesman doesn't inspire confidence -at all.-

On power and responsibility

just a thought I've had on numerous occasions, and yes, inspired by Certain People more often than others, but it's actually a phenomenon that's not limited to any one group. It is a certain type, though, usually among fringey idealistic groups of various bents, most likely "radical" political ones, more likely ime on the leftier side of the dial, although that could just be my relative familiarity. although the "no, really, we don't believe in Authority" thing is important, i expect.

anyway, it goes like this:

You can't have it both ways. Either you're a teeny tiny miniscule little insignificant po' l'il marginalized oppressed group with no power, don't even -want- any power (and/or you're just playing around, really); or you're an unstoppable juggeranut o'Righteousness cruising toward Revolution; but, you -really can't be both at once.-

And, frankly, the inability to see that is, well, kind of creepy, even if the former self-description ("teeny tiny insignificant etc.") is probably more true than the latter. -Everyone- has -some- power, and I don't trust people who try to disown it, particularly when they're clearly ambitious as all hell. What they really mean isn't that they aren't authoritarian, because they -are-. They just don't want to accept that they have any responsibility toward the people who are saying "hey, you're hurting me, there."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A bit more on modesty: the Divine Miss Ros

Amanda McKittrick, that is, bless her, fervently.

The Old Home.

Don't I see the old home over there at the base
Of a triangle not overcrowded with space:
'Twas there I first breathed on the eighth of December,
In the year of Our Lord the month after November.

I've been told it was snowy and blowy and wild
When I entered the home as a newly-born child,
There wasn't much fuss, nor was there much joy
For sorrow was poignant I wasn't a boy.

I felt quite contented as years flitted on
That I to the coarser sex did not belong
Little dreaming that ever the time would arrive
That of female attire I would be deprived.

By a freak of the lustful that spreads like disease
Which demanded that females wear pants if you please,
But I stuck to the decentest style of attire
And to alter my " gender " I'll never aspire.

During that hallowed century now dead and gone
In which good Queen Victoria claimed to be born
From childhood her modesty ever was seen
Her exalted position demanded when Queen.

She set an example of decency rare,
That no English Queen before her you'd compare
Neither nude knee nor ankle, nude bosom nor arm
Dare be seen in her presence this Queen to alarm.

She believed in her sex being loving and kind,
And modesty never to march out of line
By exposing those members unrest to achieve,
Which pointed to morals immorally grave.

But sad to relate when she bade " Adieu "
To earth and its vanities tainted with " rue,"
That centre of fashion, so French in its style,
Did its utmost to vilify decency's smile

And mock at these garments which proved in their day,
At a glance-who was who-and wherein gender lay,
But alas ! Since the death of our great and good Queen
That attribute " Modesty " 's ne'er to be seen.

It wasn't long after till modesty grew
A thing of the past for me and for you;
Last century's fashions were blown quite aside,
The ill-advised folk of this age now deride.

The petticoat faded away as we do
In circumference it covered not one leg but two,
Its successor exposes the arms, breasts and necks,
Legs, knees and thighs and too often-the ---.

Anyone interested in a book club?

I've been thinking, you know, I've got just a shitload of books that I've either been meaning to read, have gotten partway through and then abandoned, or wouldn't mind rereading. Most of 'em political/feminist, but really I'm up for just about anything, and would love to trade suggestions and then, like, actually have a motivation to finish and TALK about 'em. What say? If you're interested, drop me an email at bel4 AT earthlink DOT com.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

"Clowns to the left of me! Reptiles to the right!..."

Yet another angle on the Top Secret Great Sinister Plot What We Are Ensnared In.

i was willing to believe the reptillian thing because you could really say i am part of the 1% that is willing to buy such a far out theory

but i strongly believe this reptilian theory is mis-direction. i think it trys to take the spotlight and take the focus off the fact that most of the presidents in history do share similiar genes. that is something that is not a co-incidence. same thing with the "royals" in europe. i think (seriously now) and it is a belief that's strength has been building, that there was a group of beings that about 100,000 years ago came down to earth, and fused there genetic makeup with that of homo-erectus to produce modern man (homo-sapiens) in an effort simulataniously satisfy the Annunaki (the ruling class of the beings) and give the Nephilim a break (same thing as Annunkai but the "working class of these beings") from having to mine the gold on the planet and create a sort of slave race to do so for them. I beleive the nephilim noticed the daughters of the homo sapiens were attractive and directly had intercourse with them ( as opposed to the invitro fertilization of 100,000 years ago) where the fertilized nephilim sperm was fused with a homo erectus egg and carried by the nephilim women ("the virgin who gave birth"). I beleive this group of hybrid homo sapiens (who have more annunaki genes than the regular homo sapiens) felt themselves "superior" and "privilaged" and that the origianal annunaki may have left and allowed these hybrids to over see things for them. i beleive this group were the rulers of the ancient civilizations in mesopetania, and egypt and there descendants have carefully intermarried to carry on the genes which they believe are privaliged and that the whole group may have a agenda if not a loosely laid out (order out of chaos) plan to bring about a One World Gov't in the near future through a co-ordinated effort that causes a world financial collapse, and is remedied thru a cashless society without national boundaries and subject to stricter rules. i think the reptilian story's are mis-direction and a "sexy" topic to many open-minded people. I think david icke's mind became too open and was manipulated into beleiving the reptilian story's because he was put into contact by intelligence agency's with a seemingly "anonomous" group of people collaborating a reptillian story and he bought it hook line and sinker. if you read his earlier books , they are quite good and give a good look at the big picture, before i beleive he was side tracked and fooled by the agency's that had been trying to lead him astray for years.

The first commenter out of the block elucidates the poignant dilemma of the dedicated Them! fighter:

Perhaps this thread you have begun here is mis-direction to make us stop looking into the reptilian theory.

The problem with all of this is that it is hard to decipher what is being put out by the propogandists, what is being put out by the whistle-blowers, what is being put out by educated conspiracy theorists, and what is being put out by crazy wacko conspiracy theorists. I like to use the advice from a great movie called "The Princess Bride." I can't remember the exact wording, as it's been a few years, but the prince or whatever said something to the effect of, "I always assume everything is a trap - which is why I'm still alive."

In other words, we should assume everything is mis-direction, and try and trace it back to its roots. Then, we will either find out it was mis-direction, or we will find out it was truth.

I suddenly feel as if this reply is not really saying anything much, but I'm going to post it anyway.

h/t Herd Watching

Friday, July 27, 2007

"Culture of Life;" or, "From the shoulders to the knees, nobody touches, nobody sees."

Via People for the American Way, the Modesty Movement, with a Focus on one Colleen Hammond.

“It’s fine to follow some of the fashions just as long as we realize that you don’t want anything too tight, nothing too clingy, nothing too sheer and just make sure that ‘from the shoulder to the knees, nobody touches, nobody sees,’” author Colleen Hammond told Family News in Focus.

She said girls need to understand that their choices can influence others.

“We’ve learned from history that as the morality of women declines, the culture follows with it,” Hammond said.

Pure Fashion attempts to help girls with modest choices and has hosted 13 modest fashion shows around the country this year.

“We’re not necessarily afraid of the body. God created the body, and it is good and it is holy, and it is sacred,” said Brenda Sharman, national director of Pure Fashion. “It’s just that we want to have a reverence and a respect for the human body.”

more from Hammond, or "Dressing With Dignity:"

Don’t be mistaken: being 'modest' doesn't mean dressing 'frumpy'. Colleen shows you how to create a tasteful style that accentuates the grace and beauty of your femininity. There is a difference between dressing attractively, and dressing to attract, and with Colleen’s help, you’ll be able to dress fashionable while still maintaining your dignity!

And Colleen should know. Not only is she an award-winning writer, comedienne, radio and television talk show host, but she is also a former model, actress and beauty queen!

But today, Colleen has one of the most treacherous and grueling jobs in the world…

She is a Catholic mother with four children! And what Colleen has discovered will give you the tools and answers you need to protect the ladies in your life from the onslaught of the Culture of Death.

Oh, the "Culture of Death" thing. Yeah. Well...it's a Monolith, apparently, that is responsible for all the evil in this our degenerate modern woild, here primarily manifested through unacceptable sexual practices, degrading fashions for women, porn, violent video games. Oh, and abortion, and contraception, and cloning, and euthanasia, maybe some other stuff, like capital punishment, and suicide bombing. (not war, though. well, not all war). You may be familiar with the general idea. Specifically, though, it is the opposite of the "culture of life," as defined by the Pope (both this one and the last one), but which is now being picked up by non-Catholic social/religious reationaries as well. For instance, Bush has invoked the term:

The same George W. Bush who cut his vacation short to fly back to Washington to sign a bill forcing the Florida state courts to review their decision regarding Terri Schiavo also signed the Texas law that allows hospitals to pull life support for patients without the means to pay for their care if there is no hope of recovery. Furthermore, Bush accepted the "no hope for recovery" standard to justify ending life support for indigent patients, but rejected that same premise in the case of Terri Schiavo. Indeed, his underling, Bill Frist, ignored medical common sense and the judgments of Terri Schiavo's personal physicians, and made long-distance diagnoses without having seen or examined Schiavo, to buttress his and Bush's insistence that there is always hope for recovery, no matter what the doctors say. Clearly, this same conviction does not come into play when the patient is poor and African, even though terminal cancer patients have also been known to go into remission....

YucatanMan makes another point, which Landsburg ignores as well. Tirhas Habtegiris knew she was going to die, and soon. She did not have any false hopes of recovery. Her major reason for wanting to stay on life support was so she could see her mother once more, and say goodbye to her. The 10 days that Baylor gave Habtegiris's family to make alternative plans for her, were not enough time to get her mother from Africa to Texas...

That author's point is that the Culture of Life is really the Culture of Money, which is of course just silly.

But so anyway, back to the whole "sluttiness=death" thing, well--again, there are a number of facets to this.

Here we learn how safe sex education is part of the Culture of Death:

The Death Peddlers would have you believe that "SEX EDUCATION" for children, since they are likely to "do it" anyway, will lead them to practice "SAFE SEX." What most people are unaware of is that most sex-ed programs are designed and written by Planned Parenthood, who just may have a motivating interest in what the sexual practices of young people are. When you consider that while they make tens of millions in the surgical killing of babies by abortion, their primary source of income comes from the selling of birth control (roughly 70% of their profits). They give the birth control out to the children in the schools, and should that fail they are there in the ready to direct your daughter to the local abortion "clinic" (abortuary). When the preventive measure (birth control) fails, the remedy is abortion. Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of both. They have a problem, though, and that is each year they lose 50% of their birth control users because of the side effects from it. Thus, they must find a way to make up for that loss. Hence, the sex-ed programs targeting the younger and younger girls...

and, further

The practice of contraception leads to the fading of the perception that the sexual act has anything to do with the procreation of children. The act is deliberately manipulated to exclude the possibility. When contraception fails, the resulting baby is likely to be aborted. This is particularly true when conception takes place outside of marriage, in which case there is no proper provision for the upbringing of the child.

Attitude to Sexuality

The perception that sexuality is not connected to reproduction gives rise to the concept of "recreational sex." Sexual intercourse is regarded primarily as a source of pleasure. Since "nothing can happen," i.e. no baby can be conceived, sexual activity is not confined to marriage. This leads to increased promiscuity, adultery and prostitution, and to perverse sexual practices, including homosexual practices, which are even proclaimed as ideal because they are 100% sterile. All these practices lead to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.

Artificial Reproduction

If there can be sex without babies, there can be babies without sex. The separation of the procreative from the unitive aspects of the sexual act through contraception has prepared the way for artificial reproduction. The first step was IVF (in-vitro fertilization). Further steps followed quickly - selective reduction (the selective killing of embryos when IVF is more successful than expected and the mother is carrying several children at once), the implantation of embryos from third-person, surrogate motherhood, experimentation with surplus or deliberately produced embryos, pre-implantation diagnostics and cloning.

Abortion and artificial reproduction leads to contempt for life, which opens the way for euthanasia.

In the practice of contraception the spouses do violence to one another in that they tend to regard each other merely as a source of pleasure. The mutual rejection of fertility implies a (subconscious) personal rejection of each other. This burdens the marriage and often leads to divorce, which in its turn means suffering for the children. Society becomes dysfunctional and violence proliferates. Non-traditional "families," such as single and divorced women with children, families with children from two or even three sets of parents, and same-sex unions with children, become acceptable, hence weakening the traditional family.

So you see, it IS all connected. The modesty thing? Well, it tends to encourage premarital sex, which, quite apart from all the other ways in which one can go astray, sexually speaking, is wrong because

Premarital sexual activity, especially when it is engaged in with blind ignorance or rebellious rejection of the known moral law (by contrast with failures through weakness), most often amounts to a profound solipsistic choice resulting in the reduction of the human person to quasi-animality. It may, however, involve adherence to the more diabolical, pantheistic conceptions characteristic of the tradition of militant atheism so dominant today which propose ultimate cosmic unification through sex of any sort (as long as there are no children.) Since sexuality is such a core value oriented to the very purpose of creation and it is by premarital activity that it is transformed, in the best of cases, into a mere private solipsistic choice (or, following the second phenomenon described above, a more direct diabolical rebellion), the disorder it causes in persons, especially young people, is enormous. Besides blinding the participants to the essential spiritual reality of themselves founded in the spiritual reality of God (or, worse, substituting a false "spiritualism" for true spirituality and the true God), it blinds them to the final purpose of life.

It is easy to understand, then, that if a child were to ensue from pre-marital sexual activity, an abortion would appear to be as much an option as not. Having rejected one of the most fundamental principles (the limitation on the exercise of sexuality to marriage), easily rejected as well is any other principle, especially when the situation is difficult. Premarital sexual activity constitutes a fundamental disruption of the truth of the human person as a spiritual creature created for union with God now and eternally. It amounts to either a blind, animal-like pursuit of pleasure unaware of the spiritual and eternal dignity of self and others, or to a diabolical rebellion against everything.

IOW, having nice normal heterosex before marriage makes you more likely to have an abortion, AND it kills your soul. Hence: more Culture of Death.

and where modesty ties in, besides the obvious that dressin' sexy (which is only and always about the woman, natch) leads to premarital sex and hence, DEATH:

Modesty is a pre-condition for chastity, and chastity is the pre-condition for the culture of life.

but wait! it's -not- just about sex!

All modesty, by definition, is meant to be attractive. In fact that is its purpose to draw attention to oneself with a view to attracting other people's attention to oneself. Indiscriminate self-assertion; selfish display of one's gifts of body or soul; inordinate self-display of one's intelligence or will power; showing off one's talents or skills; exhibiting one's possession of knowledge or of ability in any field of human achievement - are all examples of what modesty is not. Common sense tells us that flaunting one's natural gifts or abilities is, to say the least, imprudent and in open contradiction to what Christian modesty should be.

...Why is Christian modesty so attractive? Because a modest person is a reflection of what Christ wants His followers to be. There is one lesson that He taught us to learn from Him, and that was to be meek and humble of heart. We are only as meek and gentle in our external behavior, in a word, only as modest in our conduct, as our hearts are conformed to the humility of a God who lowered Himself to become a man as an expression of His love.

There is nothing that so repels other people than to witness the proud exhibition of a man's gifts of nature or of grace. Humility attracts, pride repels; reserve is appealing, pride is always on display.

...Christian Modesty is the Precondition for Restoring Christianity

We now come closer to the central theme of our conference. We begin by making a positive assertion. There would be no pro-life movement in the world without Christianity. There would be no murder of the unborn and the aged and the handicapped and the infirmed and the unwanted - if Christianity were dominant in the modern world.

...We shall be only as successful in restoring the sanity which protects innocent human life only in the measure that we exercise our interior humility by the practice of exterior modesty.

No one should doubt that this will take, as I keep repeating, heroism among us Christians to resist the demonic pressures brought on by a world that laughs at Christian modesty and despises those who will not conform to the pagan sexual exhibitionism of our press and our dress, of our books and magazines, of our system of education and our business world of economics.

Without modesty there can be no chastity; without chastity there cannot be respect for human life; and without respect for human life there can be no civilization that can survive.


So, to recap:

*Once upon a time things may have been better, but now, caught in the grip of a corrupt and sinister Monolith, society is FUBAR.

*You can see this reflected in the tide of meaningless, unnatural, degrading, dehumanizing sex that has swamped the world. And womens' fashions. Oh yeah, and violence, too. Although, come to think of it, Wrong Sex IS violence, all by itself, and/or it leads to more literal murderdeathkill, which is why we must keep the focus relentlessly on it.

*Yer so SELFISH, you bunch of hedonists.

*Don't openly flaunt yourself or ask directly for what you want, because people will resent you. Be modest and unassuming and fade into the background, and then the world will beat a path to your door: this is good spirituality as well as good politics.

*It is up to us, and ONLY us, a small, near-powerless, oft-mocked group of humble, humble people to save the world. We will do it by relentlessly focusing on our personal adornment, comportment, and sex lives; and then, after having thoroughly gotten control of ourselves, we will share the Good News.

*No, don't thank us, really.


Questions? Comments? Did I leave anything out? I know this is all TOTALLY unfamiliar for everyone reading along here...

Not a cult, so -stop saying that.- Or, we'll GET you.

Veronica reminds me of the wonderfulness that is Lyndon La Rouche, with a link to this article.

LaRouche "leads what may well be one of the strangest political groups in American history," the conservative Heritage Foundation said in a report. "LaRouche has managed to attract a small but fanatical following to his conspiratorial view of the world."


The LaRouche organization has "taken on the characteristics more of a political cult than a political party," said a March report by Information Digest, a biweekly publication written by journalist John Rees. LaRouche's followers have "afforded him blind obedience," wrote Rees, a longtime specialist in LaRouche.

LaRouche said the notion that he is the head of a cult is "garbage . . . . I don't have any control." He denies playing a leadership role in any of the organizations identified with him.

... Former members interviewed had varying reasons for quitting, including disagreements with the group's ideology and distaste for LaRouche. All the "defectors," as they call themselves, said they are trying to reconstruct their personal and professional lives. Several said they are embarrassed about their years with the group.

The organization's ideology is hard to pin down. The NCLC started in the late 1960s as a left-wing Marxist sect and then shifted to the far right in the mid-1970s. Its philosophy now is a thick stew of political ingredients. Some people have publicly expressed doubts that the shift to the right was authentic and believe LaRouche is secretly still a Marxist.

With the move from left to right, the group's perceived enemies shifted as well. But one fear remained constant: that LaRouche is branded for assassination.

Supporters think they are acting defensively and appropriately when they telephone critics of the group and threaten them, or follow them on the street, published reports and former members said...

Juicy details LIES, terrible LIES about the inner workings of the group follow.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Triple heh.

if a rueful one: this woman is made of win. Go read. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll learn all kinds of interesting shit about fencing and fantasy fiction and fetish and fuckheads. the latter, for example:

I know previously people have disbelieved my stories about Mr. Ho, my epee coach. Things like how “You so stupid!” was a favorite phrase (translated: I want you to do something else). Yesterday, he saw me in the wheelchair for the second time. The first time his wife had told me “Don’t listen to anything he says.” Okay!

This time he looks at me and says, “Why don’t you get up and walk!?” Followed by, “Are you lazy?” and “You don’t want to sit in a wheelchair all your life do you?”

Wow, and I thought only villains in Dicken’s novels actually were so insensitive. Actually, thinking about it later, I realized that Mr. Ho was treading the path of Jesus and Paul with his more verbally abusive version of “Rise and walk.” However, since Mr. Ho’s higher power is….Mr. Ho. I did not receive a miraculous transformation. Perhaps my faith is weak.

Other strange events in the last 18 hours:

*While on oxygen and unable to talk, a woman coming to the wheelchair, laying her hands on my head and praying out loud.

...*Having a guy tell me that most guys would rather be hit in the groin than wear a cup (the guy installing my wheelchair bars explaining to me why guys in epee fencing don’t wear cups) – also said that some guys can get kicked/hit in the groin and not react for several hours. I didn’t tell him that made me want to do some experimenting (Ad in paper: “Males needed for impact test, $20”)

Go read more.




h/t cheshire-bitten

Got in email, thought I'd share...

"Make It Your Own Awards"

We recognize that improving our communities takes ongoing commitment and persistent action. That's why we're funding people who join together to create innovative ideas and solutions that can lay the groundwork for long-term social change. We want to lift up these efforts to show that they're not happening in isolation -- they're part of a growing movement that is transforming our communities.

Still, great ideas need resources behind them. So, we're giving grants, tools, and recognition to everyday people who come together to create a vision and work toward the common good.


The Make It Your Own Awards are a direct response to research showing that many people feel disconnected from public leaders and institutions and don't believe they have the power to make a lasting difference in their community. These findings were the spark for a paper we released last fall, Citizens at the Center: A New Approach to Civic Engagement, which suggests that if people are actually going to get engaged and stay engaged in their communities, one thing has to happen first -- they must be given more chances to connect with one another (including those they might disagree with) and figure out how they can work together for the common good.

Who Can Apply

We're looking for passionate individuals, or individuals working with small, local organizations or groups, who reside in one of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico, to submit an idea for one of these same locations (no international projects). Applicants must be 14 years of age or older.
What You Get

Twenty finalists will receive a $10,000 grant to help make their idea a reality. The final four (chosen by the votes of our online community) will get an additional $25,000 grant -- for a total of $35,000. Everyone who applies will receive GOOD Magazine and online tools to help them share their idea with others and raise funds online. The top 100 finalists will get $100 from the Case Foundation to jump-start their idea.
How It Works

* YOU HAVE A VOICE: This new grant program is part of an exciting trend--a "citizen-centered" approach to making the world a better place that is more open and more inclusive. That's why, from developing the grant guidelines to voting on the final grant recipients, we have been and will continue to involve the public in nearly every aspect of the program.
* APPLY: Brief applications will be accepted online June 26-August 8. A group of people from diverse backgrounds and communities will review all the applications and select the top 100 semifinalists. These 100 semifinalists will then be invited to pitch their ideas as a full proposal starting in early September.
* FINALISTS: A smaller group of reviewers will then choose the Top 20 finalists in early November with each finalist receiving a grant of $10,000.
* YOU VOTE: In November, the online community will select four $25,000 grant recipients from the top 20 finalists.

What the hell, right?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

"Big Sodomy"

"...big sodomy, talk about mudflaps, my gal's...got 'em...'e...
...beats a frontal lobotomy..."

What? Oh, yeah, speaking of the gaping-open Back Door to Evil (now you REALLY know what "narrow is the way and strait is the gate" is all about, eh?) the latest Threat to Civilization. Thanks to WorldNutDaily staying so on top of things, as is their wont.

Will ex-gays bring down 'Big Sodomy'?

Now "alternative" sexual lifestyles are all the rage. They, too, are killing people. And again, it's the "intellectual" cool, liberal, worldly, suave thing to do. The usual suspects are involved. All the big name colleges have special programs for promoting "alternative" sex. Businesses promote the Gay Olympics. Politicians like Barney Frank think they can foist alternative sex on people through their power positions. Hollywood uses its influence to turn the Marlboro Man into a spokesman for today's popular deadly activity, and major companies like Ford contribute funds from the shareholders' meager coffers to promote same-sex marriage. It's just like the bad old days of Big Tobacco, and the Grim Reaper is having a gay old time.

Even school boards, like that in Montgomery County, Md., are urging young students to accept this deadly habit and plying them with the message that anyone who perceives himself/herself as being of a certain sexual orientation is in fact stuck with that orientation and cannot escape. That's tantamount to a group of educators telling smokers that they were born to smoke, can't quit and shouldn't even try.

Of course, the promulgation of knowledge and data concerning the link between alternative sex and disease is hampered by the bullying tactics of the elite. . Thus, only a few facts are known at all to some of the public (such as the results of a study in Scandinavia showing that men in same-sex marriages die 24 years earlier than their counterparts in the general population), and these facts aren't mainstream, thanks to the media blackout on this issue and the muzzling of opponents under color of law. And that, in turn, is thanks to the activists.

So what will turn this movement around? Again, as in the case of smoking, I believe it will be the victims themselves. As soon as they smell the money.

After all, the biggest losers aren't the Christian right or grass-roots Americans, who have voted overwhelmingly against "alternative" definitions of marriage. The biggest losers are those who gaily fling themselves into the arms of the deadly beast that devours them whole.

Note the remarkable parallels with the smoking craze: In both cases, the promoters of the respective dangerous habits had been or are withholding evidence that undoubtedly would have led people not to indulge or to quit. Today, public elementary and secondary schools are doing just that, and in addition, some are teaching, as part of "sex education," methods for carrying out harmful sexual perversions, including "fisting."

Oh, merry merry me. Anyway, ex-gay spokespersons like this dude, or maybe this one, (or this one, or these guys)are "the first major chink in the ramparts of Big Sodomy."

huh huh huh, he said "ramparts."
Shh. Sorry about that. It's very serious. It is. Damn all of you anal sex apologists, anyway.** See, this is what you get for trying to bring about the Fall of Civilization. You'll fall, first. And skin your knees. And won't you be sorry.

**("Dear Asshole,

Fuck you. I'm sorry. But fuck you.")

--Don't you know that these practices, which everyone knew were Bad as far back as Sodom and were invented in a secular humanist hippie queer pomo gay heteropatriarchal laboratory in 1963 by "Dr." Magnus Flynt-Hefner Kinsey of Foucault U, are filthy and disgusting and painful and everybody knows it, which is why they're so dangerously attractive and we must put a stop to them at once and certainly mustn't ever stop talking about them in lurid detail? What's wrong with you, anyway?

h/t Republic of T

Quote of the day, 7/21/07

The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race, or his holy cause.

--Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

And now, a touching little ballad

...Ren reminds me of one of me favorite tooms:

and as long as we're at it, an assortment of other delights by The Wet Spots:

a three minute highlights reel

and a Christmas carol that ought to put the roses back in ORly's and all the other Christmas warriors' cheeks. Ho! ho! ho!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Quote of the day, 7/20/07

The broadcasts changed...as soon as it had been discovered by spies that the other nest had a good store of seeds.

Mammy-mammy-mammy- gave place to Antland, Antland Over All, and the stream of orders were discontinued in favor of lectures about war, patriotism, or the economic situation. The fruity voice said that their beloved country was being encircled by a filthy horde of Other-Nesters- at which the wireless chorus sang:

When Other blood spurts from the knife,
Then everything is fine.

It also explained that Ant the Father had ordained in his wisdom that Othernest pismires should always be the slaves of Thisnest ones. Their beloved country had only one feeding tray at the moment--a disgraceful state of affairs if the dear race were not to perish. A third statement was that the national property of Thisnest was being threatened. Their boundaries were to be violated, their domestic animals, the beetles, were to be kidnapped, and their communal stomach would be starved.

...This is how the second [broadcast] went:

A. We are more numerous than they are, therefore we have a right to their mash.

B. They are more numerous than we are, therefore they are wickedly trying to steal our mash.

C. We are a mighty race and have a natural right to subjugate their puny one.

D. They are a mighty race and are unnaturally trying to subjugate our inoffensive one.

E. We must attack them in self-defense.

F. They are attacking us by defending themselves.

G. If we do not attack them today, they will attack us tomorrow.

H. In any case we are not attacking them at all. We are offering them incalculable benefits.

--T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

*sigh* and once again i am roused from my torpor most easily by something that pissed me the hell off.

and, I'm sick of that TOO; meanwhile, however, my response to some commenter over at Renegades's:

...actually, first read the OP and the links at trin's, because I think the following comment is a textbook example of exactly the thing they're talking about. Basic thesis of all three posts: trying to squish your sexuality into someone else's mold is not good for women and other living things. Particularly if you're doing it primarily because someone's trying to shame you into renouncing or at least being very, very quiet about, your sexuality; because, in some way that's yet to be satisfactorily defined, but with much passion and spittle, you have been reassured that it -hurts- other people, your sexuality, and oh by the way: it makes you disgusting and sick and selfish and and and.

Yeah, I'm a bit familiar with that one.

Even though--surprise! neither trin nor Ren has -the same- sexuality as me (nor each other). We all seem to have that experience in common. Curious.

So, onward:

Not Ok said...

Renegade Evolution:

There’s no other way for me to say this. I hate you. I don’t even know you and I hate you. I keep coming back here hoping you’ve changed some how, that something’s clicked in that Machiavellian head of yours and you’ve figured out that so much of what you stand for, defend, do, and make light of is built on the broken souls and bodies of other humans and instead, you get more and more vicious every time. No, it can’t all be blamed on you, that’s not the point. You do however propagate real harm to other humans, and not even for something that is necessary for people to survive. People don’t need porn. They don’t need strippers. These are not needs, they are destructive diversions both to those who make and consume them. You just flat out don’t care.

I know you do charity work, I know you donate money, but that’s like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. I know you're rabid about being seen as a woman who has made her own choices, crafted her own destiny so to speak, and guess what, I think you are. “Victim” is never a word I'd associate with you, even though you've been one. You’re a hard, calculating businesswoman who has parlayed good looks and personal lust into a career, a profitable career, with all the cutthroat efficiency of CEO.

But Goddess, look at what you’re selling! Look at what you’re promoting and defending and advocating! Meaningless, violent, degrading sexuality where little is out of bounds, respect means nothing, and achievement is a perfected, ideally sexual body and extreme acts are common place- bodies most women will never have, sex that most women will never want. No, it’s not all on you. But it is on your industry, the industry that you defend, even while mentioning its faults (generally in passing). YOU may have claimed your true sexuality and power in the world of raunch and the Patriarchy, it may suit you to a T and fit like a second skin, but you and every other hardcore supporter of your industry force that on other women and girls, and men too when it most certainly does not fit, does not give us power, and I hate to say this but it’s true: Hearing a pro-porn agenda and defense out of a woman most of us will never be and have no desire to be is a hundred times worse than hearing it out of a man. You help legitimize the stereotypes. You help insure that men think this sort of thing is okay and women do really want it. Your personal kinks and sexual quirks, when put on film or out there in other ways, normalize them and desensitize men to them. Your “good sex and good paying job” are many women’s ideas of torture and hell. You know that, you admit it, yet you support it anyway. Vehemently.

Fantastic that it’s worked for you, RE. In this patriarchal world you’ve managed to own your sexuality, profit from it handsomely, and probably even parlay it into real power: financial security, an impressive education, happiness, and even moderate amounts of prestige, respect and notoriety, and I have no doubt you’ve used your brains and charisma as well as your body to do it. That’s great for you, but how you manage to smile and enjoy it when you damn well know what it costs other people is beyond me. You can’t claim ignorance; you’ve had people tell you time and time again how they’ve been hurt.

You even pretend to listen, but you don’t change, and you don’t care.

You've made jokes about being a bit of a mercenary? Well, the term is accurate. You profit on death and destruction, you just don’t use a gun to do it.

And you know it.

Righteous, innit?

The bit that really stuck out for me, I mean besides the very sisterly "I hate you, woman whom I do not know:"

You help insure that men think this sort of thing is okay and women do really want it. Your personal kinks and sexual quirks, when put on film or out there in other ways, normalize them and desensitize men to them. Your “good sex and good paying job” are many women’s ideas of torture and hell.

Well, there are a couple of things there.

One, blame the Other Woman for the mens' behavior; this is, of course -totally feminist.- Because we can't can't can't expect men to change, much less understand the difference between fantasy and reality; and we have no power to say "no, I don't want to do that," of course. It's all about the Men, always; they're the only ones with any agency here (except when it comes to completely overhauling your career and personal sexuality, I guess). Don't show -that-; the Men might get ideas. Let's yell at the Bad Woman so that the Men don't get ideas. Because Men, well, they're just too powerful to talk to. And also too stupid. They're like...wild beasts, really: they watch things, they make their women do things, and all we can do is wring our hands, yell at the women, maybe act out on the street a couple of times, and continue to purge our ranks of impurities, of course. Terrific. Well, this is not news.

But then, there is this, and this is what -really- sends me into overboil:

Your personal kinks and sexual quirks, when put on film or out there in other ways, normalize them and desensitize men to them.

Yes, Christina Diana forbid she ever get the idea she might be in any way shape or form normal. Same with the other, o, two or three women in the entire world (right) who share her proclivities. I mean, I -guess- we can tolerate your existence; but better not EVER forget what a total freak you are, it's too threatening to the rest of us. No, so, she can have her filthy sexuality, she just, what is it now? Shouldn't flaunt it. Not PARADE it. Stay in...the closet. Innocent women and children and puppies (and the Bad Villains who want to harm them but otherwise would have no template for it) might get ideas. Even though it's sick and disgusting and no sane person would want to do it.

Gee, where have I heard THAT one before think think think.

Well. I suppose it's somewhat different in this case in that we're assuming that teh Menz are a different species and it's them we're worried about: getting ideas. Because of course the women whose idea of hell it is, why, goshes, they just don't have to watch it, do they? I know that's how I feel about Nora Ephron movies. Certainly, as we've just been reminded, women--excuse me, NORMAL women are far too pure to come up with this shit all on their very ownsome. Our. Wait, -am- I a woman, I mean a -real- woman? I forget, see. I forget these things, sometimes.

Because, according to just an awful lot of people, one way or another, my own desires really shouldn't exist at all, either. And really, neither should I. At minimum I should have the good grace to know my place. No one NEEDS sexual things, after all; not THAT kind of sexual thing, anyway. Your shit is of central importance, necessary and natural. My shit is frivolous at best, dangerous at worst. Got it.

And...yeah. In a way, you know, this isn't really THAT different from the fundie line, either. In content as -well- as principle. Not this particular comment, at any rate. Here it is, the bottom line, as bald as it gets:

Won't someone please think of the heterosexuals?

The NORMAL ones, that is. The straight ones. Not the kinky and poly ones, not the gender-bending ones, not the freaks who flaunt it in public or sell it on a weekend. The nice girls. And their...men. Who in this case, apparently are the root of all evil; but somehow or another, it all boils down to the same goddam thing: blame the deviant for harshing the nice straight folks' mellow.

Yes, I first and foremost mean the reactionary religious Right, and I mean the ignorant fuckhead division of the General Public; BUT, here, too, I mean this commenter, too, and any number of "feminists" I've heard taking similar lines over the past x months.

Because, that's what this is really about, isn't it? Why can't you think of all the nice normal straight partnered women out there. It's not like the argument is that men will see Ren's movies and leap out of the bushes at strangers; no, they see this and think that's how they can treat their girlfriends, right? Their wives, even. It's a rather astonishingly consistent argument across the ideological spectrum when it comes to the anti-porn movement. At least when the religious right blames the scarlet woman/homewrecker for the dissolution of all that's good and safe and pure, it's a bit more ideologically consistent.

And yeah, sometimes, you do come across lesbians, self-declared, who also spout this line, more or less. Not many, these days, but there are a few holdouts, and a few newcomers to what is frankly a very anachronistic but once pretty popular (as these things go) worldview. Sometimes they also have shit to say about how other lesbians run their sex lives. Mainly though it comes back to the Men, the Men, the Men. Why can't you help us rein in the Men. You're not cooperating! Stop focusing on your selfish objectifying sexuality, stop putting those other freaks and men and male-identified people (the pervs, the queers, the whores, the sissies, the trannies,) who have nothing to do with us as lesbians, as WOMEN, that is, because that comes first, ALWAYS (remembering always) that Some Women are More Women than Others). Help us concentrate on what's really important ! the Bad Men! and the traces of bad Manliness that we must purge ourselves of! Odd, that, I find.

So, of course, of course, it's -ridiculous- for me to be calling homo-bigotry on feminists like our commenter friend here, because real! live! lesbians! might back her up, hell, she -might- even be one herself for all we know In fact, these are the PURE, the REAL lesbians, really: it's not about desire, it's not about sex, certainly not -that- kind, it's about -womens' culture.- Or rather, heh, -loving- women, yes, without necessarily bringing all that icky, objectifying sex into . Putting women FIRST. (p.s. and some women are more women than others).

I've wasted far more energy on these anachronisms than I should already, and I have other shit to do, but what the fuck, I guess it's cathartic or some shit like that.

So, let me just make a Statement on this once and for all:

Maybe for you lesbianism (if such you are, I have no further patience with straight women spouting this crap, "feminist" or otherwise, much less forfuckssake men) is a loving gentle thing, totally utterly different from the world of men and that's what's so wonderful about it, freedom from, not freedom to, well--mazel tov, good for you. And hey, I won't even tell you how abnormal you are.

But that's NEVER been what it's about for me, and, in my experience, it's not what it's about for most queer people, frankly. (And yes, goddamit, the men count, here. I -do- have more in common with gay men -in this regard- than i do with straight women, and you can sit on a tack if you have a problem with it).

It's about DESIRE.

It's about LUST.

It's got fuckall to do with Sisterly Solidarity. I don't care what Adrienne Rich said. That was a -long time ago,- in a particular milieu. More to the point, she's not me. I'll bet she's not even you, either.

Look, call yourselves whatever you want. But the buck stops when you start trying to police my and others' seuxality, sister. Some of us are all too familiar with that.

If you're not, well--gee, that's a different experience to mine, and--in that sense, if not others? Lucky you. Seriously.

If you are, well: aren't you an asshole for turning around and doing unto others what you hated being done unto yourself.

I really can't make it any plainer.

"Eight random things" meme

I know at least a few different people have tagged me with this one a zillion years ago, so, okay. while my brain is still on *ffssssssssss*

1) When I was a kid, I wanted to be, variously, Big Bird, a ballerina, a figure skater, a fairy princess, a paleontologist (for about five minutes, after a field trip) and--I shit you not--a "master baker."

2) The above came from a fairy tale I was particularly fond of, some 19th century or earlier Irish folktale. I told this to some adults and didn't figure out for -years- why this was funny, even though I knew what the Other Thing was. just didn't make the connection till..."Oh."

3) As a matter of fact, I spent so much time reading fairy tales and folktales and all that kind of shit that I talked like an Andrew Lang book, all archaic slang and Victorian purple. My second grade teacher asked my parents, "Do you...talk like this at home?"

4) I grew up with two little dogs, a West Highland White Terrier and a little white mutt. She was a lot more butch than he was.

5) I love swimming: pools, lakes, the ocean, water in general. Nothing feels more freeing, somehow.

6) My grandmother once told me she was "afraid of my big toe." I still don't know what it means.

7) (Although these days I'm not so fond of it myself; some horrible nail fungus you really don't need to know the details of. that wasn't true at the time, though).

8) I LOVE making lists, but for some reason I'm having real trouble with this one. and I don't think I'm terribly organized in general, just weird fits of compulsive compiling every so often.

I tag whomever the spirit moves.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

"Strange bedfellows"

So, an interesting tangent developed toward the end of the comments in this thread. I can't really sum it up here and do it justice, I don't think, but I wanted to open it up to a wider question, as it relates both to that side conversation and the original post. This is particularly for the activists: How far does realpolitik go, for you? Who, if anyone, are you -not- willing to work together with under -any- circumstances, even if it's a question of "the enemy of my enemy"? Under what circumstances -are- you willing to work with...well, name your line in the sand. What's up for compromise and what's non-negotiable, for you? What are your most important goals? How do you determine whether a given group or individual is not merely really alien to your own cause/worldview but actually inimical at the very root?

And: how do you go about building coalitions?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Existential question of the day:

Why are some people such utter, utter fuckwits?

No, I mean: I KNOW why, or as well as anyone else; you know, I can riff off the nature and nurture and society crap as well as anyone else. Psych of all stripes, sociology, religion, U-Name-It. I KNOW some people are raised by wolverines, and some of those don't get better. I KNOW some people just, some combination of factors, synapse A doesn't quite synch up with synapse B or however that goes, haven't had a fair shake...for whatever reason, however it plays out, won't or can't act like a human being, the end result is: they don't, and that's just how it is.

and yes, obviously, we're ALL fuckwits some of the time, no one is saying otherwise.

But in my observation, SOME, not many, but too many, SOME people ARE fuckwits ALL of the time, or at least pretty damn close, and what I want to know is why?

And, I'm not even sure -why- I want to know why, you know? I mean, it's not like it's going to make any difference. It's not like you can go to the person and go, aha! I have pinpointed EXACTLY WHY you are such a fuckwit, and the person will go, my god! i never thought of that, but you're right! i SEE it now! i AM a fuckwit! this changes everything. as God as my witness, I will never be a fuckwit again. It's not like they'll take -any- responsibility for what they're doing or saying at -all.-

Because if they DID, if they WERE capable of and/or willing to do that, why, they WOULDN'T BE FUCKWITS IN THE FIRST PLACE, NOW WOULD THEY.


Belated blog-against theocracy/Independence Day mullings

Apart from the obvious issues that concern most progressives (or however you want to define it), i.e. the people who get left out and left behind of the general principles of "freedom" and "democracy" (however you want to define it);

Maybe the real divide isn’t between “Republicans” and “Democrats,” or even Whigs and Tories. It’s between the people who actually respect the Constitution as more than another symbol to surreptitiously wipe their ass with when they’ve finished the football rally--you know, "liberty, equality, fraternity," all that good Enlightenment jazz--and the spiritual descendants of the people who really believe in the idea of -some- sort of Shining City on the Hill. God's chosen people. or, -someone's- Chosen People. We're special because we're virtuous.

And--that's the problem: "we are the Elect" and "democracy" really aren't compatible.

The only reason it's confusing is because a fair number of people who really believe the former use the language of the latter.

But...I think it becomes important for people who have ears to hear to learn to listen for the music, because some people, they know all the words, but not the tune.

Action alert: another woman in danger of being stoned to death

Via Thorne's World and tenpercent:

You may remember a few weeks back an Iranian couple were sentenced to be stoned to death and after some publicity the stoning was cancelled. Well it turns out they simply waited until no-one was watching, they stoned the man Jafar Kiani to death thursday 5th July. His partner Mokarrameh Ebrahimi is now awaiting the same fate unless another wave of attention forces them to stop. So full details and contact details on Women’s field here.

And details for UK and US contacts here:-

Email to: info@iran-embassy.org.uk

Ambassador Rasoul Movahedian,
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince´s Gate
London SW7 1PT

Also the UN Ambassador is Javad Zarif email-

There is not an Iranian embassy in the US, but the Pakistan embassy handles their interests so you could email to ask for clemency to this address-

If this gets the attention the stoning video of Du’a Khalil Aswad got, if you were disgusted at that, if you read about it or read Joss Whedon’s article, well now you can actually do something this time, not just be revolted after the fact.

and here's the Stop Stoning Forever campaign site.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hot town, summer in the city

the air is heavy and the stench is shitty
pollution's blowin' and my eyes are all gritty
can't concentrate so i'm writing this ditty
i gotta eat something but i don't want a bit 'e
my brain is in meltdown and it sure ain't pretty

...eh, sod off.

My hero. :-) <3

Wee Beastie just swatted a giant fly for me.

Monday, July 09, 2007

While on the general subject of cognitive dissonance, btw...

I want to thank Azundris for the link to the experiment i couldn't remember how or where the hell to find the reference, and it was driving me nuts. Yeah, file under the general subject of dissonance, cognitive:

In Festinger and Carlsmith's classic 1959 experiment, students were made to perform tedious and meaningless tasks, consisting of turning pegs quarter-turns and, another one, putting spools onto a tray, emptying the tray, refilling it with spools, and so on. Participants rated these tasks very negatively. After a long period of doing this, students were told the experiment was over and they could leave. This is an example of an induced compliance study.

However, the experimenter then asked the subject for a small favor. They were told that a needed research assistant was not able to make it to the experiment, and the participant was asked to fill in and try to persuade another subject (who was actually a confederate) that the dull, boring tasks the subject had just completed were actually interesting and engaging. Some participants were paid $20 for the favor, another group was paid $1, and a control group was not requested to perform the favor.

When asked to rate the peg-turning tasks later, those in the $1 group rated them more positively than those in the $20 group and control group. This was explained by Festinger and Carlsmith as evidence for cognitive dissonance. Experimenters theorized that people experienced dissonance between the conflicting cognitions "I told someone that the task was interesting", and "I actually found it boring". When paid only $1, students were forced to internalize the attitude they were induced to express, because they had no other justification. Those in the $20 condition, it is argued, had an obvious external justification for their behavior. Behavior internalization is only one way to explain the subject's ratings of the task. The research has been extended in later years. It is now believed that there is a conflict between the belief that "I am not a liar", and the recognition that "I lied". Therefore, the truth is brought closer to the lie, so to speak, and the rating of the task goes up.

The researchers further speculated that with only $1, subjects faced insufficient justification and therefore "cognitive dissonance", so when they were asked to lie about the tasks, they sought to relieve this hypothetical stress by changing their attitude. This process allows the subject to genuinely believe that the tasks were enjoyable.

Put simply, the experimenters concluded that many human beings, when persuaded to lie without being given sufficient justification, will carry out the task by convincing themselves of the falsehood, rather than telling a bald lie.

It goes on to talk about how that particular study's been criticized for faulty design (which is the sort of shit I should be able to grasp a lot more easily and quickly if/when I ever finish this fucking research methods/stats course. in theory)

But, I think the general principle does hold up.

"Oh dearie dearie me, this is none of I!..."

tangentially, I think that actually also nails part of what was freaking me out about the Battlestar Galactica season-ender. hell, the entire damn show, come to that.

Off my back and out my ass.

So, there's this new anti-porn activism blog, apparently. I am only mentioning it here because, well, in case you were ever looking for places where some feminists are apparently okey-fine with the Religious Right: le voila. Plugs and blogroll listings for Diana Russell and Robert Jensen and "off our backs" nestle cozily alongside gems like this, also in the blogroll: National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families.

"Moving the People of God to embrace, live out, preserve, and advance the truth of biblical sexuality.

Gee, I wonder what -that- means. Oh, wait, here's the sidebar, "Hot topics:"

According to a recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), some comprehensive sex-education curricula taught in the nation's schools has essentially no impact on behavior. The HHS study found abstinence education programs to be nearly 100 percent accurate.

and--why, yes! It's a hotlink to a Focus on the Family Action!

Two Democratic and two Republican lawmakers in Massachusetts – whose election platforms included preserving traditional marriage – voted against a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.


Mineau said lawmakers are supposed to do just that: represent the interests of the people who elected them. But these four did not.

"They're going to have to answer to their constituents for that – plain and simple," he said.

Uh huh. Oh, wait, look, there's a disclaimer on the anti-porn activist blog, she doesn't necessarily support everything everyone says on the roll. Decide for yourself, okay. Be -open minded-, right?

Yeah. About people--organizations, rather-- who support motherfucking James Dobson and Beverly LaHaye. I mean, they're -nice- about it; there's nothing right on the front page about how they'd like to feed HOmosexshuls to the wolverines. They just, what, support traditional marriage. Well, sure, we can agree to disagree on that. As long as we agree on the IMPORTANT shit: to wit, porn is like heroin and is bad for women-children and other living things.

Later, we can sort out the little differences like o i don't know between the agendas of radical feminists like the editors of "off our backs," you know, against patriarchy, and people who support THE MOST PATRIARCHAL AND CLOUT WIELDING FUCKING INSTITUTIONS AND INDIVIDUALS IN THE DAMN COUNTRY.

Believe in the "traditional family" as a one-size-fits all, and whomp up laws and campiangs to make it so, go to prayer breakfasts with the President and the Congress to talk about getting rid of abortion and available birth control, let's all party like it's 1955 or maybe 1655, okay, that might be a bit problematic for a feminist but we can gloss over that because, hey, look, at least in 1655 THEY DIDN'T HAVE SO MUCH POOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRN.

o, whatever. No, I don't know this person, and so will refrain from trying to engage further (like, ask, "are you high?"), but: are there even as I type bloggers who are joyfully heralding this newcomer to the feminist Team? Does the Pope shit in the woods?

well, hey, just as long as no one -films- it.

Yeah, I know, I shouldn't even bother. goddam, though. Yeah, I'll be sure to pledge not to -wank- to nekkid pictures, that'll totally bring about the Feminist Revolution.

foods that are tempting in miserable hot bloody weather.

name some.

i'm running low on inspiration here.

"Sicko," addendum, or: it's the end of the U.S. dominated world as we know it, and I don't feel so good myself.

A few what-I-thought-were-disparate ideas sort of congealing, then:

First of all, Jill is right, "Sicko" is well worth seeing. I agree with most of the post, including the critiques (altho', look, no one ever claimed the man was "fair and balanced;" he's a polemicist, it's what he does. But, yeah). And, particularly, this is astute, and important:

the film so thoroughly challenges our deeply-held assumptions that I wonder how receptive American audiences will be to it, and to the fact that we’re ranked very, very low in terms of health care compared to the rest of the developed world. American cultural pride is very much tied to our superiority; questioning that can not only feel like anti-Americanism (which Moore does address), but is so far outside of what we’re used to hearing that I worry too many audience members will simply refuse to believe it. I’m a decently-traveled coastal liberal, and I had a hard time swallowing some of it.

Yeah. I was there for the preview (Moore himself showed up to take a bow at the beginning, to raucous applause--as a friend dryly noted, "This is like a Trekkie convention for leftists), and--we all did get that same vibe from the audience. (Audience member, as we exited: "France is the shit! We should all be in Paris, yo") The really groundbreaking thing about that flick isn't so much "dude, our health care system sucks"--although that in itself isn't talked about nearly enough--but

Oh my God, this may not actually be the greatest place in the world to live after all.

There are a couple of components to that, the BOO YA AMERICA! thing. Yea, basic kneejerk patriotism/nationalism, we all get that. But specifically: well. One thing is, there's this (gropes irritatedly) it's a psych term, or a phenomenon: basically, there's this instinctive human response to go into denial mode when confronted with evidence that we've been screwed over real bad. The more we've been screwed, the more the denial drive kicks in overtime, in what seems at first like a counterintuitive move.*

*(I forget exactly how the experiment I'm thinking of went: something like, the supposed test was this dull-as-paint questionnaire the participants were supposed to fill out; the -real- test was monitoring the reaction of the participants afterward, when the testers told them to out and tell the people in the waiting room how the experience was. Some of these exiting participants were given twenty bucks; some, this is the part I can't remember the exact mechanics, were either given a much smaller amount of money, or nothing at all; or maybe some of each. Anyway, point being: curiously enough, the ones who'd been compensated with money were the most candid: yeah, it's really boring, but they'll give you twenty bucks for it. I think maybe the ones who got no money and were promised no money were also pretty honest: boring. But the ones who only got a piddling amount, were all like, oh, it's really interesting! Yeah, it's worth your time.)

So, ego. After all, we really WERE Number One! in many ways for a while there; not to mention the commonly acknowledged Good Guys after WWII, which is heady stuff. Heroes. World saviors. Top of the world, Ma, and rightfully so. No one wants to be reminded that they're slipping, that their glory days are over (isn't that a good chunk of what the War in Iraq is -really- all about? I think so). But, instead of adknowledging that circumstances have changed, and we can either adapt or, well, decline and fall, we stick our fingers in our ears and pretend it's not happening. Lalala.

But even besides that: I think, o my fellow Americans, honestly: we just really don't have much of a clue what else is going on out there, period.

Maybe it's related to the Number One! thing: we're not that curious about the rest of the world because we didn't have to be. Or maybe it's partly because, well, we're big, and compared to say a country in the E.U., relatively geographically isolated. Canada's...different, (not least in, as Moore reminds us, in their health care system), but close enough in many ways. And Mexico, well...that's a whole subject to itself, isn't it, that particular relationship. ("Something there is that doesn't love a wall...")

But so, and then meanwhile, this week, right here, there was this little dust-up in the comments of one of Aishwarya's posts.

I got into it there, and I don't want to go into the specifics again--I don't particularly want to rag on anyone here. I'm just noting it because, well, as I made this (cranky) response:

Oh fer crying out loud. It’s not really necessary to go into paroxysms of GO USA! on one of the rare occasions when someone from somewhere -else- starts talking honestly from her POV, -is- it? Would it be possible to just -listen- for once? Because it’s this sort of thing that makes people retreat into “you know what, I am now going to be silent over the things I find fucked up about my own country/culture and Represent as an ambassador, because clearly nobody here has the faintest clue and I feel like I’m selling out.”

I mean, tell you what: go over to a Eurocentric board, okay, and start trying to explain to them about our health care system, or the religiosity permeating the culture at every step. See what kind of reaction you get (”those barbaric Americans.”) See how you feel like responding.

and yeah, newsflash: a lot of people do shit -better- than we do, too. It doesn’t mean you still can’t get irritated when people go, o my, -we- don’t have -anything- like that over -here-, thank goodness; how on earth can They stand it? what’s wrong with you Yanks, anyway?

...of course, I was also connecting back, again, to Sicko, and that sort of bristling Jill alludes to when confronted with...well, what?

I just think, you know, it's a really common reaction in the U.S., that, and yeah, even among the "left," a lot of it, that, well, jingoism, but even when it's not that, this sort of weird...myopia. Like, Scott Adams (Dilbert) talking about his "Elbonia" strips, that basically this is what "we" tend to think of when we think of Other Places, especially those that aren't immediately identifiable as "Western," (whatever that actually means): a sort of vague impression of odd little people wearing fur hats and wallowing around in waist-deep mud, with airlines that basically consist of giant rubber bands. Oh, and rampant poverty and outrageous sexism, of the sort we -never- encounter in the U.S., flawed as it is, thank God. None of "us," that is, all three hundred million and change of "us," especially the one with the trick knee.

Oh, but of course, we're not surprised that the Elbonians speak flawless English. Who doesn't, really?

So anyway, I'm thinking these thoughts, and making some long overdue blog rounds. And immediately run into two posts at Mera Terrha Pakistan that seem to tie into this inchoate...theme.


Last week I met a woman researching queer women’s lives in Pakistan. She’s American, half-Indian and very nice. And did not cause me to vomit up my lunch in any way.

I’m not sure why. First of all, she understood bisexuality. Secondly, she wasn’t patronizing and didn’t assume that all Pakistan women are oppressed and all queer women must be dying of suffocation. And finally, since queer women are pretty much suffocating in a way that queer men are not, I didn’t feel particularly defensive, apologetic or untruthful about talking about that.

So I spoke about my own experience and how it may well be exceptional in that I’m not answerable to my family for everything in my life. And how my girlfriend lives a life of compromise and is more answerable than I am. How it’s all about autonomy. It was pretty good.

But then she said, “I feel like I’ll go do this research, or this article, and show to folks in the West and it doesn’t do anything for the women it’s about.”

“Yeah,” I said. “It doesn’t help much.”

And it doesn’t. What good does it do a woman here who has been interviewed for a paper or radio? What does it do for discussion here? Nothing. Just makes us more defensive because now, in addition to being Islamic fundamentalist third world shits who beat their women, we’re also queer haters.

And then, (riffing off one of my own posts):

So I read the above-linked blog post today and I thought, speaking (in my head) to the strange woman quoted by belledame, that sure, lady, marriage is the place where values come from and gay marriage means a change in values, and that scares the kack out of you and that’s fine. But talk to someone for whom the whole gay marriage conversation is a luxury or, more accurately, irrelevant. And your smooth-as-silk cool may be disturbed a bit when you find out that in both India and Pakistan, sodomy is punishable by life imprisonment under India and Pakistan Penal Codes Section 377 (thank you, Britannia, for that shit) and that in fact any “unnatural act” that involves penetration is so treated. So it’s not even a moral or ethical choice at this point. Being queer is illegal, flat-out.

So what use for marriage?

I guess all I’m saying is that the global discourse in gay rights is defined by, primarily, the US. And while, sitting here in what, for the purposes of gay rights work, really is a backwater, I get great support from the US gay rights movement, but its issues aren’t my issues. Which means I can’t ride on its coat tails anymore. I’ve never been to a pride parade and there was a time that I said I wasn’t interested in marching. Now I wouldn’t mind. But it’s also just a side thing, a distraction. Or a PR exercise, I don’t know. “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it?” That’s not quite what our motto is. “We’re here, we’re queer, and we won’t get punished for it.” That’s more what we’re looking at. We’re here, we’re queer, do you know what that means? We’re here, we’re queer, just leave us the fuck alone. That sort of thing.

So, I could look at that and take a number of different points from that. "Thank God I live in the U.S.A., where at least marriage is (NOW) on the table at all; where we HAD Stonewall, where the theocrats aren't quite as powerful as some places." Sure.

I can do that, and I can ALSO note, as one of the commenters** at the originating thread wrote,

Europe and the rest of the western world marches on: civil unions are present in most EU countries in some form, and are likely to become mandatory under the new human rights acts - indeed this is all old news when several years ago Spain, a prodominately catholic country passed a gay marriage law - which the pope demanded they not do - to which the president of Spain said that he was responsible for the secular equality of the population, regardless of religious belief (and went on to pass a T-rights bill almost as sweeping - Italy HAS at one point 2 Trans members of parliment (the US has the worst representation of females in houses of power in the western world). In Canada, legal marriages are hitting the 6 and 7 year mark, Mexico itself, with the Mexico city law has moved farther ahead of the US per capita in gay rights (though perhaps not culturally - a bit tied there)

(**if you read this commenter's blog, which i can't recommend enough, actually, among other things, there's a somewhat less rosy picture of the Canadian health service to be found therein).

And yeah, not to wander too much farther off into the weeds, which I could easily do as, hoo, queer rights/queer marriage on an international scale, talk about oh I could go on, but I won't here, except to note: yes indeed, thank FUCK I live in a country where two of my friends who've been in eight/ten year relationships respectively are in constant danger of being broken up on account of one member of each couple is from Elsewhere, -none- of the countries in question recognize same-sex marriage, not least of which this here Land of Opportunity, Number One Go USA; and, well, ze green cards, zey are just not all that easy to get these days.

...but, we DO have the freedom to make zany, yet Message-filled, comedies like this. God bless.


As I also said in the Nudity is Not a Solution thread:

...and no, ftr, “thank God I live here” probably wasn’t meant to be offensive, I wouldn’t expect, and no, it also isn’t necessary to go into “boo yah, Amerikka SUCKS!” either.

Partly because that's kind of egocentric in its own way; but mostly because, well, it's true.

Which brings me back to Sicko.

It's particularly ironic that Michael Moore gets slapped with the broad brush applied to all on the "far left" (i.e. anyone to the left of Joe Lieberman, pretty much), you know, "Why do you hate America so much, you Islamicist-loving Commie." Because actually, whatever his flaws, I think Moore is about as American as they come, in many ways. Good ways, for the most part. You really see it toward the end of "Sicko:," that old-school all-American populism and optimism: why, he asks, can we not fix this? Look, other people are doing it better. That's not meant as a shaming club, that should be a -hopeful- thing, dammit. Because it means that it's possible. And: we CAN do this, if we really want to. We're good enough, we're smart enough, and gosh darn it...well, we're rich enough, collectively. And if people don't like us (anymore)? Well, maybe time to suck it up and just -deal- with it. Start cleaning up the messes we made, acknowledge that we might not, in fact, be Number ONE!!11!!ELEVEN in EVERYTHING, FOREVER...and that that is potentially a good thing.

We can learn from other people, and--for once--follow, gracefully.

And maybe even, you know, we could dump some of this collective ego shit, which is exhausting to maintain and isn't really working anyway, and maybe, you know, just try to live better.

And at the same time:

Yeah, there are reasons why we were Number One! for a while, and no, they're not all bad ones. They're not all great ones either, but some, I think, still serve, if we want them to.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal...

Well, on this board of all places, I think we can already spot one basic honking flaw with that. As have others, before us. Along with many other...problems. Some are more equal than others, always have been, it's built right in.

Yeah, it was flawed from the git-go.

Aren't we all.

And yet, I think, there's something fundamentally good about it, that -idea-, that's worth saving.

Aren't we all.

And with that:

Happy Independendence Day, a day late and a dollar short.

Maybe that's my personal-shit-is-possibly-political Thought For The Day. Better late than never.

And: It's not a once-a-year thing, really.

And: It isn't about being perfect, or being on top all the time.

It's about the work. It's about change. It's about keep going.

Keep going.

x-posted at feministe.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Who is Lily Allen?

A rhetorical question, really, because I can put my fingers together and Google as well as anyone else, natch. I just hadn't heard of her till recently stumbling on these on Youtube, and, well: kind of intrigued.

Fragment of a street scene

Last night, around dusk, my little Queens neighborhood briefly turned into a Keystone Kops montage.

I'm walking down the street, past the little Turkish grocery, past the new Tui-Na bodywork/manicure place, past the 99 cent store and the weirdly depersonalized automated video-rental place and any number of pubs and delis and laundromats. Suddenly the comfortable ambient noise of corner chat and hollering kids becomes much more sharply focused: footsteps pounding up behind me. A kid, maybe about thirteen or fourteen, small, lithe, and scared-looking, darts past, followed hard upon by several uniformed cops. Sadly, the pedestrian variety doesn't have sirens. They thunder down the block, cross the street, and momentarily disappear out of view. Some of the other locals and i make eye contact, quizzical: wha who? Shrug, keep going.

Shortly afterward there are other runners jogging after the cops-n-robbers scene: an older man, who has the trifecta of balding, long grey ponytail, AND a combover; and his younger female companion.

When I get to the corner there is a Scene in process. Across the street, the cops have converged on the lad and have him pinned and surrounded on the ground.

Over here, though, the drama's just getting started, as Ponytail and his irate female companion are trying to...well, it's not really clear -what- they're trying to do, but anyway they're talking in very, very angry and scoldy tones to two young girls, who look both sullen-defiant and scared.

Ponytail: (gesturing to scene across street) You see? You see that? If it wasn't for you, this wouldn'ta happen.

Girl: We didn't do anything.

IFC: The hell you didn't. You saw it. You protected him (them?). Now your parents are gonna find out, how you like that, huh? Maybe you'll go to JAIL.

Girl: We didn't DO anything, we don't even KNOW him--

IFC: (overlap) I don't give a damn! --Yes, you DO. We SAW you. You covered up for him. That's a crime. I'ma tell those cops. You'll see. You're in so much trouble.

Girl: (pause, then) Yeah well, I'll just tell them you were stalking us, cause that's a crime too.

Ponytail: (angrily bellows something or other, everyone's yelling by now)

I missed the next bits as i was openly rubbernecking with the rest of the gathering crowd at the saga across the street. Next thing, though, I catch Ponytail lunge and hold out his arms as if to block the girls from leaving, as they try to do just that.

Random neighbors, variously: Hey, what are you...? Man, you can't do that.

Girl: (overlap) See, you can't DO that...

In the confusion, the girls manage to feint past the guy and run for it.

(continuing through and over this)

Someone: You can't just threaten kids like that, if you think they did something go tell THEM (points at cops).

Everyone's shouting and kibitzing by now. I leave shortly after the newcomers who've just trotted up and tuned in go, Wha hoppened? and it becomes clear that no one actually has any better idea than I do. Ponytail and Irate are still there, but they're not talking. Just glaring ferociously, still.

So, sorry, no button on this scene; your guess is as good as mine.

p.s. Happy Independence (Week): one way to honor it, go check out the Blog Against Theocracy, a post for which is yet another thing that I had planned and didn't get to. As always, I am with y'all in spirit.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Revolution Will Not Be Crocheted, Preserved, or Canned. Or, Hey, Maybe It Will, But If So...

some of us may be shit out of luck.

Basically, Kim of Bastante Already! has this piece ruminating about her lack of affinity for the traditional womanly arts.

Amid her notes that she hates gardening and cooking and simply doesn't have the wherewithal for making a beautiful "nest" right now, she asks,

In damn near every feminist periodical (Bitch, Bust) and on many feminist blogs, there's this big, trendy push to get all Knitty and Crafty and Womanly Arts with our bad selves.
What is up with that?

Well, a few different things are up with that.

The most immediate answer to that particular question, at the Bitch, Bust, popcultetc. level, I think it's just the same thing that's been true of any number of other "trends:" stuff like knitting groups and gardening clubs become popular for more or less the same reason that stuff like sex toy parties or pole dancing classes becomes popular. Because, well, they involve activities that a lot of people find--dreaded word--"fun." And yeah, one could file preferences for such things into "patriarchal conditioning" (as opposed to, say, a womens' auto-mechanic club, I guess); truth is, I think it's more, "we maybe eschewed these things because we were concerned about what it all Means, or it wasn't available in our neck of the woods, or it simply never occured to us before; when we let that go some of us realized, hey, I kind of like this, it's not what I thought it would be, and actually there are various benefits to this (mentally and physically engaging, develops various skills, social, relaxing, possibly good ol' fashioned small-business venture capitalism in some cases). Personally, I think: hey, and if men want to enjoy these "traditional womanly arts" too, more power to 'em.

None of this is probably "radical" in any sense of the word (not that there's anything wrong with that); for a start, here we are probably mostly talking about how you say, "hobbies," which in itself comes with a lot of assumptions about the hobbiest's resources, spare time, general position in the grand scheme of things. More to the point, it's probably not going to fundamentally overhaul one's total way of life and being, much less the greater society; it's not meant to do so.

What's more overarching is the vision of, well for one, cultural feminism

Many cultural feminists support their arguments by examining the behavior of women in both the distant past and the present. Bachoffen's groundbreaking work on early matriarchal societies is often used as evidence that women were the earliest and most important members of society. [3] In societies led by women, or "matriarchies," there are vastly different rules governing sexuality and marriage, property inheritance, and the distribution of power than those rules operative in societies led by men, or "patriarchies." When women have greater social control than men, less stringent social sanctions are imposed on female sexual activities and choice of partners. Illegitimacy is absent, and inheritance and descent are organized through female ancestors. Matriarchal societies are generally nonmilitaristic, with the dramatic exception of Amazons. Religion, arts, and crafts are organized around female symbols of fertility and anatomy. Engels took the archaeological evidence developed by Bachofen and Morgan and extended their analyses to include changing economic conditions as a cause for the transition from matriarchal societies to patriarchal ones. [4] Succinctly, Engels' argument is that as men accumulated capital, because of technological and social inventions, they altered the norms controlling sexuality, the family, and government. Women became a commodity of exchange who supplied men with both status and heirs. Recent anthropological evidence largely supports the existence of early societies where women had significantly greater power than they do today.

In short, what it boils down to, roughly, is a belief that matriarchy is the once and future Way to Go. It also is the basic premise behind such things as the "back to the land" movement within feminism(s) (there are and have been many "back to the land" movements, of course. We'll get to that).

And you know, in theory, I have to say, I always had a soft spot for this, the basic idea. There's a fair strain of it within neo-paganism, for instance, in which stream I paddle and occasionally do a few laps, although I lean more Phyllis Curott than Z. Budapest. I've been moved byJudy Grahn. I dig Riane Eisler. I dunno how literally to take the herstory/prehistory, but at a certain level, I think, provided one is -not- a fundamentalist, it doesn't much matter: the importance of myth is not that it's literally true, it's. Point being: if one both believes that one is living in an overarching System, i.e. the Patriarchy, and that further this system is inimical and cannot be salvaged, well, what's the alternative? Well--Matriarchy, I suppose, for one. Which could mean any number of things; in my fondly vague imaginings, I had always pictured something more like the bonobos than, say, a beehive.

On the other hand..

Well, to bring us back to the whole, "traditional womanly arts" thing.

See, if you are adamant that these traditional womanly arts are "traditionally womens'" and should STAY such, on account of men and women are different and that's really really important,

to me, it kind of doesn't matter so much that, in this particular framing, those neglected "womanly" values--hearth, home, gentleness, peace was a big one--are in fact superior, which sets this worldview apart from the more right-wing movements that put such emphasis on men and women are really different, 'twas ever thus, shall always be. Because, once you have that essential...essentialism, well...sooner or later, inevitably, it's going to mean that someone ends up in a (yes, this IS was "gender" means) gendered box that sie doesn't feel comfortable in. Also it keeps this sort of endless binary war-of-the-sexes going, which personally I've always found sort of tedious.

But also, all of which, to me, kind of goes against the whole, "liberty, equality...fraternity." Sorority, even. It's one thing to buy (I do) that certain values and behaviors that have been coded as "female" or "feminine" or "yin" or whatever you like are, by and large, looked down upon, in this culture, and that this is a problem. It's another to insist that those values, behaviors, etc. are the -sole property- of female-chromosomed/genital'd/even identified persons.

Curiously enough, fundamentalist Christian women can sound some familiar notes amid the o-my-Lord-what-are-things-coming-to-why-does-no-one-respect-Godly-AUTHORITAH:

According to this plan, who was to teach the womanly arts? Who was to teach the young women how to love and be subject to their husbands, how to love their children, how to be sensible, how to be pure, how to be a worker at home, how to be kind within the home and to extend kindness from the home? It was the older women. The womanly arts were to be transmitted from the older women to the younger women.

Please note that no male was assigned this task...

... Beyond the obvious impropriety of male involvement one must question the value of male instruction in the womanly arts. The simple question is: What do men really know about the womanly arts anyway?

What man has ever birthed a baby? What man has ever nursed a child? What man has ever related as mother to a child for even one day, let alone twenty years? What man has ever or will ever fathom the intricate complexity of God's design in woman, and the urges and emotions, unique to us, which God has built into our very beings that we might naturally and easily and yet with a profound skill which defies textbook description or explanation, nurture the next generation for Him?

Is it not obvious that men do now know, and that they cannot know? Is it not clear that they are not even equipped biologically to know in any experiential way what they would pretend to teach as experts?

Apart from the "teach the young women to love and be subject to their husbands" riff, (and -maybe- the bit about "impropriety," there's nothing here that wouldn't fit comfortably into a cultural feminist narrative. She is, in fact, making a case for a "womens' culture,"* albeit a womens' culture that is framed very specifically within the precepts of her (Father(s)-headed) Church, yes.

What makes all the difference, according to some, is the presence or absence of that Father-headed System. Get rid of the Fathers, the husbands, the priests, the God, and we'll be free.

Which, well, perhaps. But besides the very real "so, what about the Men?" question that arises in that scenario (i mean, if we're peaceful-loving we can't just -kill- them all, fun as it sounds; and, well, they're still there, at best wondering what the hell to do with themselves now that they can't be Patriarchs anymore and all the women are off having Birthing parties and frolicking on the land and such)...well, I'm not so convinced that that WOULD be enough to bring about utopia, as opposed to, well, just another communitarian experiment, subject to human (which women, lest we forget, are) failing as much as any other.

So that's one thing.

The other consideration is, getting back to the more practical side...well, first of all, of course there are other reasons beside grand sweeping Visions of the End Goal to buy into a cultural/separatist/communitarian set-up, feminist or otherwise. There are a -lot- of back-to-the-land movements these days, have been ever since the advent of Industrialization, really; the ideology behind far left to far right, but one of the basic principles is self-sufficiency (as opposed to Owing your Soul to the Company Sto', or Big Brother, neither). An antidote to the alienation of modern life: get your hands dirty, Do It Yourself, and probably bond in loving fellowship with like-minded peoples.

Which all sounds great, you know, and I've been a guest, at least, at a couple of "intentional communities" which I might talk about at some point. I admire it all, again, in theory.

There's just one small problem:

I live in the city.

Well. I live in the city, and my idea of foraging in the wilderness is finding a decent takeout joint, AND, due to a combination of 'burb-based relative privilege, urban/cultural family background (my NYC-derived grandmother, once, sitting on her Sun City astroturf porch, shooing away the quail: "Yeah, cute, but those fucking birds crap all over the place. I don't like nature. I'd rather have an ice cream soda"), and general murky Fears of my own ineptitude/which I'm not going to get into right now, suffice it to say that I am a Compleat Klutz when it comes to -most- of this Traditional Womanly Arts shit.

And no, I am no good at the traditional "masculine" arts either (changing oil, fixing plumbing). I am the first to admit that I am a bougie genX slacker who thinks finally learning to tie her shoes at some advanced age (six? seven? twenty-two?) is "working with her hands."

Essentially, I'm fairly certain that when the Revolution comes, the people who've been canning and preserving and making sweaters out of sheep all this time will be doing great, and i'll be scavenging the subways and fallout-laden streets and eating roaches and grubs out of my fellow useless urbanites' hair, assuming we all just don't kill each other first in a blind panic.

"But I'm good company."

*Margaret Atwood nails this irony pretty astutely in "The Handmaid's Tale," at the end of the scene where Janine, one of the Handmaids, is giving birth in the company of her sisters and the Wives and the Marthas and the Aunts (no men allowed):

The womens' voices rise around me, a soft chant that is still too loud for me, after the days and days of silence. In the corner of the room there's a bloodstained sheet, bundled and tossed there, from where the waters broke...

The room smells too, the air is close, they should open a window. The smell is of our own flesh, an organic smell, sweat and a tinge of iron, from the blood on the sheet, and another smell, more animal, that's coming, it must be, from Janine: a smell of dens, of inhabited caves, the smell of the plaid blanket on the bed when the cat gave birth on it, once, before she was spayed. Smell of matrix.

"Breathe, breathe," we chant, as we have been taught. "Hold, hold. Expel, expel, expel." ...Janine, her eyes closed, tries to slow her breathing. Aunt Elizabeth feels for the contractions...

...She's grunting now, with the effort. "Push, push, push," we whisper....We're with her, we're the same as her, we're drunk. Aunt Elizabeth kneels, with an outspread towel to catch the baby, ...Oh praise.

We hold our breath as Aunt Elizabeth inspects it: a girl, poor thing, but at least there's nothing wrong with it...We are one smile, tears run down our cheeks, we are so happy.

...The Commander's Wife looks down at the baby as if it's a bouquet of flowers: something she won, a tribute.

The Wives are here to bear witness to the naming. It's the Wives who do the naming, around here.

"Angela," says the Commander's Wife.

"Angela, Angela," the Wives repeat, twittering. "What a sweet name! Oh, she's perfect! Oh, she's wonderful!..."

By now I'm wrung out, exhausted. My breasts are painful, they're leaking a little. Fake milk, it happens this way with some of us. We sit on our benches, facing one another...we might be bundles of red cloth. We ache. Each of us holds in her lap a phantom, a ghost baby. What confronts us, now the excitement's over, is our own failure. Mother, I think. Wherever you may be. Can you hear me? You wanted a women's culture. Well, now there is one. It isn't what you meant, but it exists. Be thankful for small mercies.

x-posted at feministe