Tuesday, November 28, 2006

radfem blogging commentators: consider the bonobo

I love I Blame the Patriarchy, I really do. I read it almost daily and always enjoy Twisty's point of view. Do I agree with her 100%? As a matter of fact, I do not. More like 85%, probably. I still enjoy hearing her take on things. Go figure.

What is bugging me right now is the comment section, which I used to blissfully ignore. But now that I know it's there, it's hard to ignore. Especially when there are 150 comments. So I read, I am amused, I learn a few things, I get irritated, sometimes I comment, but lately, not so much. Why? Because yahoos will eternally plop themselves down into someone else's blogspace and be predictably tiresome. Commenters on feminist blogs seem to get mired in the same conversations over and over and it's really getting on my nerves.

There are the people who complain that the Blogger or Commentors are too strident, too militant, not "nice enough," and proceed to explain in a patronizing tone that more people would pay attention if only they would tone it down a bit. Because, you know, asking nicely for an end to patriarchy would surely work; if only we had thought of it before! Use a soft, well-modulated voice, passive tense, wear lip gloss, and tilt your head. It'll work, sweetie! Go ahead, try it!!

These same folks often get their knickers in a twist because somebody disagreed with them, vehemently, perhaps impolitely even (shocking!), and suddenly the commentor feels that everyone is picking on them. Wah, wah, and wah. You walk into someone's house and act an ass or say something disagreeable, someone is going to call you on it. Same with someone else's blog. If people disagree with you and you don't like it, don't go there. Attendance is optional.

Then there are the straight girls who think they're being disagreed with just because they're straight. At every feminist blog I've visited, this is not true. They're being disagreed with because they're wrong. Or misguided. Or ignorant. Or whatever. But it is a convenient distraction from the substance of one's opinion: "You hate me because I'm not a lesbian!" Jeez, could you get any more stereotypical? Absurd. I'm a straight girl and have never had my opinion discounted for that reason, so far as I know. Now, if I started making ignorant unqualified assertions on behalf of the lesbians of the world, I'd deservedly take some flak, since I'd have no right to that. Likewise, I sure as hell wish other hetero commenters wouldn't decide to make comments on behalf of all the other man-fuckers in the house. I didn't elect a Speaker of the Hetero Female Population, so leave me out of your pronouncements, dig?

Then there are the people who don't understand why their rhetorical or universal questions about feminism, patriarchy, capitalism, why the sky is blue, and why a frog aren't answered immediately, with footnotes, by everyone in sight. They need to shut up and read a book instead of expecting the world to drop everything and explain it all to them on demand.

Finally, what's with the CONSTANT FUCKING FLOW OF PERSONAL ANECDOTES? Yes, I know I'm shouting. I know it. Why, oh why, must any pronouncement of one person's opinion on any feminist-inflected topic open a floodgate of personal testimonies about the joys of blowjobs, housework, childbirth, high heels, corsetry, BDSM, bonobos, cats vs. dogs, macs vs. pcs, etc.? Jeebus. It's almost like there's an outside agitator at every blog whose job it is to shout into the midst of any fruitful feminist conversation "blowjob"!! or "high heels"!!! (or both) ...and thereby distract, befuddle, and irritate every participant, thereby resulting in no conversational progress AT ALL. God. Why does it all come down to shoes and makeup and hair and sex in these conversations? Sweetie, I don't care what kind of shoes you wear. I really don't. Do you care what kind of shoes I wear? I didn't think so. So quit it. Seriously. (Unless you want to write a shoeblog, in which case, go see Manolo's Shoe Blog for lessons on how to do it. But let me reiterate: do it on your own time, on your own blog, mmmkay?)

The best part is when, after someone has threadjacked a comment section in one of the aforementioned directions, someone else says, stentoriously: "Don't you people have anything more important to talk about? Shouldn't you be worrying about Darfur or China or world peace instead of something so silly and petty as clothes and fellatio?" Bog, I love that. Because, you know, anyone who talks about sex or clothes or makeup is clearly incapable of thinking about anything else, ever, at all.

I'm trying to quit reading comments, really I am, but I am powerless to resist the comment count. 125 comments! 175! 200! How can I resist such lively discourse?

internet friend of an internet friend, sort of


I read Bitch PhD's blog fairly often, and she's doing a favor for a friend, who wants to track the speed of a meme. He says:

"What is the speed of meme? People write in general (typically truimphant) terms about how swiftly a single voice can travel from one side of the internet to the other and back again, but how often does that actually happen? Of those instances, how often is it organic?

Most memes, I'd wager, are only superficially organic: beginning small, they acquire minor prominence among low-traffic blogs before being picked up by a high-traffic one, from which many more low-traffic blogs snatch them. Contra blog-triumphal models of memetic bootstrapping, I believe most memes are—to borrow a term from Daniel Dennett's rebuttal of punctuated equilibrium—"skyhooked" into prominence by high-traffic blogs."

So I thought I'd play along. Go visit Acephalous' blog and link to it. If you're going to MLA and go to his talk on memes, you can be proud knowing you've contributed to Knowledge and Wisdom.

Or something.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

oh and by the way

Nola Darling is indeed correct: Drunk people will sing to damn near anything. In fact, they WANT to sing to damn near anything. My Thanksgiving evening concluded with many hours of hilarious karaoke. I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard.

cruelty-free shoes?

I was googling images of "winkle-pickers" just now because someone mentioned her "purple winkle-pickers" in a thread on I Blame the Patriarchy that was sort of about shoes, but not really. Turns out winkle-pickers look like the boot you see here. Twisty's post is actually about alien shoes that would change the world and then rocks would inherit the earth, and maybe a few bacteria, so I really figured a conversation about winkle-pickers might in fact count as thread-hijacking. Thanks to google, I didn't need to pester the winkle-pickers' owner. (it's a fine turn of phrase, isn't it? Winkle Pickers. I want to say it out loud, as much as possible. I vow, yes vow, I will find a way to work it into conversation at some time in the next seven days).

So I'm pleased to have found a picture, curiosity sated, but then I realize something: I've landed in fetish-boot territory. Even better, in VEGAN FETISH SHOE territory. Who knew you could buy vegan fetish boots? This would make more sense if shoes that look like this:

.... were not being advertised as "cruelty free." (I know, it's not a boot, but it's on the same page as the boots, and no, I won't be linking to the website, so find it yourself).

You know, just because a shoe isn't made from dead animals, doesn't mean it's not cruel. Because that, my internet friends, is a cruel shoe. It hurts my eyes, my aesthetics, my fashion sensibility, and my feminist sensibility. Those are shoes about submission, designed to keep a woman from walking, running, or even standing upright. So how does your tool of the patriarchy, your submissive fetishist, collate her own "willing" submission with her opposition to the dominance & torture of wee animals? How does that work? Because I don't get it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

interesting developments

1. First of all, it's cold here. So that means my cat is actually sitting ON MY LEFT HAND as I attempt to type. He wants me to think it's because he loooves me, but really, he's trying to suck up my body heat. You try typing with a fifteen-pound Siamese in the way. It ain't easy, is all I'm saying. Later this evening, I get to try to sleep under a blanket of cats. There's only two of them, but somehow they manage to take up the entire queen-sized bed all by themselves.

2. Thanksgiving. I can already feel the inevitable metamorphosis into a pissed-off teenager which results when my mother starts talking to me as if I'm twelve. Basically, during the holidays, everything I do is wrong. It's infuriating.

3. The pathological liar mentioned in a post - a long ago post - was apparently, pathetically, Googling himself late last Thursday night, rather than spending time with his loved ones, or, you know, sleeping or doing something non-pathetic. Turns out, if you google "his name + blog," you find me. I confess it threw me for rather a loop when his name appeared in my comment alert from Blogger but now: Baaaa haaa haa! I say. Ba ha and ha. It's so nice to know that some things never change, like, say, unrepentant liars.

4. Because my best friend since 7th grade is now married, she has two families to meet, eat, greet with for the holidays. It hadn't occurred to me that this would be the case, and it totally interferes with my own personal agenda. Dagnabbit. Now I don't get to hang with her until I'm home for Christmas.

5. A Yankee I had a fling with like four years ago emailed me last week to say he was going to be in Pensacola & Mobile on business, did I want to get together? I hadn't heard from him in the 2+ years I've been dating the poet, so it was quite a surprise. Ironic that he was going to be in Pensacola, which is where the poet lives, which of course is what I told him, after I let him hang for a couple of days. Had to figure out a nice way to say "bugger off, got a boyfriend," don't you know.

6. Have been ignoring my Netflix movies to watch Alias: Season Four, my birthday present from the poet. I don't love any show that's on now nearly as much as I loved Alias. There aren't any kickass girl shows on right now. It's all procedural crime dramas, poking dead bodies, reality bullshit, and lame sitcoms. You'd think I'd be all up in Lost but it just hasn't held my attention.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Frank O'Hara

once asked in a poem for the

"grace to be born and live as variously as possible"

i hope so.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Never learning their lessons

Trent Lott wins back leadership slot - Yahoo! News

Want evidence that the Republicans are completely unapologetic, unhumbled, and downright determined to be the same racist assholes they've always been? Check it: Trent Lott is back in Senate leadership, after a secret ballot that voted him in 25-24. Secret so that none of the senators that voted for him can be held accountable.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

On Losing Edges and Winning Senate Seats at I Blame The Patriarchy

On Losing Edges and Winning Senate Seats at I Blame The Patriarchy

Sometimes, I find myself blathering on too long on someone else's blog, and I think: why am I littering her comment section with my only-slightly-related musings? So then I come to my senses and just respond over here, littering my own personal space with said ramblings. So.

Look, I live in Mississippi, so I take my political joy where I can, right? So I have this shit-eating grin on my face all day yesterday, despite Trent Effin Lott's re-election. (and because Gene Taylor, my beloved democratic representative, got re-elected).

Then I go to the gym after work, in my continuing good mood, and mid-workout I look up at the monitors and see the quote in which Shrub says he can recommend a good interior decorator to Nancy Pelosi to help her change the drapes. I damn near fall off the elliptical trainer, I'm pretty sure I cussed out loud, and my heart rate went up directly. BOG, he just can't let up for a minute, can he? And I can see his frat-boy grin, shrugging shoulders, "what? what'd I say? heh heh" if someone were to say, what the fuck? What the fuckity fuck are you doing making snide suggestions to Nancy Pelosi about hiring a decorator?

In other news, red state chatter is incorrectly passing the word that Pelosi intends to immediately send more troops overseas, which is not even truthy, it's the exact opposite of the truth, according to her press releases, which I googled this morning. Google 'em yourself, though, because frankly I'm too lazy to run the search again. Try this one: Nancy Pelosi more troops to Iraq

squidophile sent this to me

and it was too good not to share:

To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door - nose height.

Dear Dogs and Cats,

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years -- canine or feline attendance is not required.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough!

To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets:

1. They live here. You don't.
2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"niture.)
3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

Remember: In many ways, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:
1. Eat less
2. Don't ask for money all the time
3 Are easier to train
4. Normally come when called
5. Never ask to drive the car
6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends
7. Don't smoke or drink
8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions
9. Don't want to wear your clothes
10. Don't need a "gazillion" dollars for college.

And finally,

11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children

Monday, November 06, 2006

I confess: I have too much stuff

So I'm attempting to institute a daily policy of "One Less Thing". One thing goes in the garbage, the goodwill bag, onto eBay, or onto Bookmooch. Which, by the way, anyone with too many books should check out:


It's a book swap website. Get a point for giving a book away, use it to mooch a book off someone. The cost of media mail shipping is low, and you're basically getting a book for the cost of shipping another one to someone else. You can specify mailing within the US only if you don't want to deal with international shipping, which I certainly don't. Dig it.

How is this legal??

Corpse for sale

So I'm flipping through the Autumn issue of Tribal Art magazine, and lo, what do I find but an ad for a mummy. Unwrapped, Nazca/Huari, c. 600-1000 AD. With "extreme cranial elongation," the result of head-wrapping during infancy and early childhood, practiced primarily by cultural elites. It's been on display since the late 19th century, so at least I know the mummy was dug out of its grave before UNESCO and other international laws prohibiting grave robbing. Price available upon request. Jamieson's website also has a mummy of an Egyptian child for sale, including x-rays so you can be sure you have a REAL mummy, not a fake.

But "legal" doesn't make it okay. I'm surprised it's STILL legal to trade in human remains. The dealer is in Canada, and I'm not familiar with Canadian law, but he is advertising in a magazine with a strong American readership. I've always gotten the heebie-jeebies at museums with human remains on display. The peat bog mummy at the British National Museum bothered me. The Metropolitan's show of late Egyptian mummy portraits, also disturbing. Depressing.

Displaying dead bodies, the bodies of people lovingly wrapped, interred, or mummified, seems wrong to me. Distasteful. Disrespectful. And wrapped up, deeply entwined, with the racist history of Western anthropology and ethnology. These bodies on display are almost always of people of color, not Europeans. They are Indians or Egyptians or Africans or South Americans, not whitey. They are someone else's grandmother, not yours.

There are people who think NAGPRA (the Native American Graves Protection & Repatriation Act) is bollocks, that museums should be entitled to keep what they have no matter what. But then I say to them: "Mainly, they just want their grandmother's bones back." This way of looking at things never fails to stop a whiner in their tracks.

They just want Grandmother's bones back.

Is that so hard to understand? So why are we as an industry - museum/collector/gallery - still dealing in human remains? I don't have answers. I don't mean to demonize this particular dealer because he's one of many in the trade dealing in sacred things, in human remains, in things stolen and looted from tribal cultures. Because some of these goods have been legitimately sold or traded by their rightful owners. Museums, anthropologists, researchers, all benefit from the study of material culture of ancient civilizations, whether mummies or pot sherds. But there comes a point where the line is crossed, and corpses on display is definitely on the other side of that line.

[that contemporary body art show where people donated their bodies to the artist to be flayed & artistically embalmed, that's a whole other story, because the participants were willing]

Friday, November 03, 2006

Why I hated Catholic school

I won't quit, says sheik - National - smh.com.au

The sheik says women who expose themselves are at fault for sexual assaults.

The nun who taught my tenth grade history class - Sister Mary Henry - called me up to her desk one day. I was wearing "civilian" clothes for an off-campus event instead of my uniform. It was the early 1980s, and I was wearing pink corduroy jeans and a buttoned-to-the-neck ruffled pink & white striped shirt of the duran duran pirates via Esprit sort (look, it was the EIGHTIES, okay?), and penny loafers. Sister Henry looks me over and says "Clothes like that are the reason so many young girls get raped."

Seriously. I was wearing LONG PANTS and my shirt was buttoned up to the NECK. The pants were probably form-fitting but not obscenely so, or mom wouldn't have let me out of the house. Damn, I thought I was pretty cute in that outfit. And here she is, this bitch nun, telling a 13 or 14-year-old girl that it's MY FAULT if I get raped. I hated that woman, I swear to bog, and I don't see any difference between her and Sheik Asshole calling women "uncovered meat."

Fucking Catholic school. It would've actually been easier to rape a girl in the uniform - a skirt - than in that civilian outfit. Which, by the way, 90% of the men I meet, when they find out I went to Catholic school, want to know if I "still have the uniform" because apparently, it's a near-universal fantasy to fuck an underage catholic school girl, or a grown woman pretending to be one. Oh, HELL NO. I do not have the uniform. I still can't wear houndstooth, won't wear houndstooth, will not even consider purchasing houndstooth. Three years in black& white houndstooth was enough.

You know what was the only good thing about it? No boys. No daily sexual harassment from my classmates, as I had endured all through co-ed junior high. No favoritism of boys in science and math classes. No worrying about how I looked or whether the boys in my class wouldn't like me because I was too smart. I think the only reason I dated in high school is that the boys I dated assumed they were smarter than me, having no in-class evidence to the contrary.

But at what cost? Having nuns tell me I'm at fault if I'm assaulted. Knowing my peers got thrown out when they got pregnant but their boyfriends didn't get kicked out of their own Catholic school. Bog, and religion class! Jeebus. Religion class and our annual "discussions" about abortion and birth control. And no AP classes because we had to take Home Ec, and Religion, and Study Hall. What girl needs AP classes, or Latin, or Calculus?

And this at the "college prep" top girls school in the city. The boys schools started in the 8th grade with freshman-level courses, so their senior year could be almost entirely AP or college-credit courses. Five years of Latin and Greek, calculus, AP physics, english, math, language.... they got all of that. All girls schools started in the 9th grade and none of them offered those opportunities. It could've been worse: we could've been Holy Angels, the wife-in-training school, but still, we didn't get the education our male peers did.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

samhain in hooterville

My usual Halloween party hostess has decamped to Flagstaff, and besides I was driving home from Nashville until 8:30 Saturday night, so no Halloween party for me. However, I did end up donning a 15-minute costume and drinking with some coworkers til midnight on Tuesday. What do you get when you add together:

one black skirt
one pair overly tall lace-up boots
one Morrissey t-shirt
a lot of black eyeliner and some really dark red lipstick
and a freakin enormous purple wig?

I'm not sure, but I'm leaning towards saying I was a Goth Winona Judd.

Did I mention that the wig is FREAKIN ENORMOUS? I bought it for a few bucks at an after-Halloween sale at Kroger's a few years ago, and only just now busted it out. It's large. And purple.