Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Blog!

I've started a new blog, a cooking blog.

It's called, with stunning originality, delagar cooks.

In fact, though, I'm hoping all y'all will all send me cool recipes.  This is my ploy to find great new things for dinner.  I am tired of eating tacos and corned beef and macaroni.  What in shit can I cook for dinner tonight, I was grumbling yet again, and the answer came to me: ask the blogospehere!

Y'all know everything, after all.

So we'll make a bank, and then we'll always have something for dinner that isn't tacos.

How will that be? 

Ow! Ow!

So we're driving down the street and from the back seat comes this horrendously loud SMACK! and my kid yells, "Ow!" and then, "Box car!"

The thing is, she's all by herself in the backseat.  Who is hitting her, you wonder?

Yeah, herself.

When she's with her BFF, it's worse -- then they hit each other.  

"Box car!" (Smack! Whack!) (You hit yourself in the head when you see one of those box-shaped cars -- why?  Jesus M. Julliard, don't I wish I knew.)

"Jeep!" (Free-for-all! Everyone smacks everyone!)

"Slug-bug! No hits back!" (Whoever sees a VW and didn't yell it gets hit.  And if you leave off the second bit, all bets are off.)

"Pickup Poke!" (But this one has been cancelled lately, because we have too many pickups in Fort Smith.)

What about vans and Hummers, you wonder?  I wondered, because of course I must INQUIRE about anthropological habits of the natives.  Nope, no rules for these yet.

Coming soon, though, I am sure.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Some time ago I had a commenter take me to task because I seemed to be implying, with my tea bag posts, that many Republicans were racist and sexist.

And last night, on Bill Maher, I don't know if you saw this one: John Bolton claiming that Sotomayor violated her oath -- she says, after all, that her life and her history and her ethnic background has an influence on what she thinks, how she decides things.  The oath, Bolton tells us, pompously reading it aloud for the ignorant masses who don't know what the oath says, clearly says one does not distinguish between rich and poor, one class or the other: Justice must be blind!

Hill Harper took exception to this interpretation of the circumstances; as did Maher, who pointed out, reading from a citation he had ready, that Justice John Roberts had, in his decisions, sided with the corporations, with the prosecutors, with the state -- in other words, with the patriarchial, white male side, his culture's side -- in every single decision he had made.

Zoomed right over Bolton's head.  See, that's not cultural bias, because white guys don't have cultural bias.  White guys are the culture.  Only people that aren't white guys have cultural bias.

It's like the white hegemonic argument that is getting made over there at RaceFail: we don't want to read SF where the story/characters are all concerned with race or sex, the (white hegemonic male straight) folk are saying.  We just want a good story!

A good story about a white male hegemonic straight culture, doing things of interest to white male hegemonic straight people -- because that's the real culture, those are real people.  That's the only unmarked state, that's the only real POV, to someone like Bolton, and the other Republican, Heather Wilson, who was much more polite, but was saying the same thing.

This came out when Maher brought up Proposition Eight.

Why, he asked, should the religion be involved the business part of marriage at all?  It should, he said, obvious be a civil matter.  The religious part should be entirely separate.  

Heather Wilson came up with a sweet little Right-Wing talking point, which she had obviously used before: "Because," she said, "though we are not all a faithful people, we are all people of faith."

She was going to go on, but Maher, and this is why I keep watching him even though he gets on my nerves sometimes, cut her off: "I'm not," he said.

This unnerved her.  "Well," she said, and was quiet.  Obviously, this line had always worked before -- what to do when it didn't.  After a second she said, "Most of..."

"I'm not," he repeated, "and plenty of America is like me.  More and more."

(I can't find a transcript -- here's his page, maybe you can -- so I'm working from memory.)

"Well," she said again.  "Most Americans--"

"I just don't think you can say we all are," he said.  "We aren't all."

"I am," she said, sweetly, bravely, standing up to the infidel.  "And I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman."

"All right," Maher said, and moved on -- nicely, I thought, instead of pointing out to her, as he might have, that that was all very well, but the country was founded precisely so that she could believe what she wanted, and do what she wanted in her own personal life, not so that she could impose her religious beliefs on the rest of us.

I mean, I'm an atheist.  I don't insist she raise her kids as atheists, do I?  Even though I do think they'd be better off that way?  (And I do, in fact.)

My point -- and I do have one -- is that Wilson and Bolton both have been marked by their culture and their race.  That they don't recognize that flat truth does, in fact, make them less wise as well as less able to make good decisions than Sotomayor, or any other person, of color or otherwise, who is minimally self-aware and introspective.

Sorry.  It just does.

PS/Update: Oh, I forgot the funniest bit of Bill Maher last night: how neither John Bolton nor Wilson would speak against the Sainted Rush Limbaugh when Maher asked them to!  Maher, citing how looney Limbaugh's side of the Republican Party had become, and then mentioning what Colin Powell was trying to do -- create a more sane branch for balance -- asked Bolton and Wilson whether they thought Limbaugh or Powell was the better approach, and neither would say a word against the Great and Powerful Limbaugh.  No! No! One does not take the Name of Rush in Vain!

Hee!  These people are such tools.

Friday, May 29, 2009


I don't know if this is frightening or poetry or utterly cool.

why am i so tired
why am i always tired
why am i always cold
why am i not losing weight
why am i always hungry
why am i here
why am i tired all the time
why am i still single
why am i single
why am i depressed

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More on Sotomayor

Matt Y points out more succinctly and politely than I did why the Right is full of shit, as usual.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This wins!

The stupidest thing said on the 'sphere about Sotomayor (said by the charming Althouse, BTW):

What does it MEAN that she touches her shoulder when she talks?  What is the DEEP MEANING of that gesture?

Um...that you're an idiot?  Wait, we knew that...I give up.  What does it mean?

One of the commenters on LGM says maybe it means Sotomayor misses her parrot.  Hee.  I kind of like that one.

See Also

Xtian Teeshirt: Just for you!

Jesus is about Torture (No Wisdom Wanted)

History?  Research?  Too dangerous!  Disinformation is cooler!

Xtians: the Real Victims!

(Via Fred at Slacktivist, who has a fine post on the sort of WV this culture is creating.)

But That's Racist!

See, in the Whackawing world, nominating anyone other than the white guy is both racist and sexist.

Why, you wonder?  Why can't they think for one minute that Sotomayor might be the best candidate for the job?

Well, duh.  That's easy.  Girls and brown people are never the best people for the job.  If they were, God would have made them white and male.  

Also, as everyone knows, brown women are racist and stupid.

Silly questions!

(See an analysis of the validity of the Right's talking points here.)

(See also: ABW on the issue.  Don't miss Paul in comments!  What a treat! The Angry White Male of Privilege Explains the World to Us!)

(And for further rebuttal see this too.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Seen at the Reagan Library

I would suspect this sign of irony, except, as we know, Republicans don't actually know what irony is.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Really, Really Tough

I was really, really trying hard not to get political about Memorial Day.

I've got members of my family who served; I've got students who were in the first Bush's stupid war, and ones who have fought and have returned from W's idiot war; I have students who have been called up; I have students who are hoping against hope that Obama can end it before they get deployed.

So my approach is to say yes, this war sucks; Bushco fucked up; the troops still do their job. Honor that.

I planned to leave it at there, this day.

Only: ONLY.

Here at RedState, Whackawits had to -- they had to!

They're published the number killed in battle (because that's more worthy of being honored, see, than a solider who signs up to fight and his troop ship is swamped with influenza and he dies) -- screw you, soldier!  No honor for you!  Or the soldier killed in a crash getting to the battlefield.  Fuck you, soldier!  Loser!

Which, okay, let that go.

It's the count in the Indian Wars that gets me.  1000 deaths in battle.

Now what now?

Lest you think they're only counting, you know, Real Americans, don't miss how the count under the Civil War.  Treasonous Motherfucking Racists count; but Native American soldiers, defending their homes and families?  Fuck y'all!  You ain't Americans!

God, the Right.  They wear me out.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pro What Now?

You'll remember those polls a few weeks (The Whack Right went whack over them*) that seemed to show the country had suddenly experienced a radical shift and decided it was Pro-Life after all?

I did not comment then, because I reckoned they were flawed polls (Nate Silver's blog analyzed them as likely to be so) and what else was there to say?

But yes, obviously they were: here's another poll, less mendaciously constructed, showing no such shift at all.  Imagine that. 

Turns out the first poll was, apparently, slanted: pollsters asking only if people were pro-life.  No clarification given, no attempt was made to allow for situations in which people might be saying, well, yes, in theory I'm pro-life, but if the woman's life is in danger; or, yes, I'm pro-life myself, but really, isn't that up to the individual woman?  Or, I'm pro-life, except when it's a nine-year-old and she's pregnant with twins and her step-daddy has been raping her since she was six and she weighs 66 pounds and she'll die if she gives birth.  Or, I'm pro-life, but what if the fetus is doomed anyway and the woman's life is at risk if she proceeds with the pregnancy?

Or -- and frankly, this is my position -- I'm pro-how-is-this-the-state's-fucking-business, again?  Last time I checked, this was the woman's body, she owned it, she gets to decide what to do with it.  How about we keep the state and your church out of my uterus?  How would that be?

Not that any of this will stop the Whackawits.  Little bits like making their datastreams match up to reality never mattered to them anyway -- how else could they believe in a 6000 year old planet in a world that has pottery older than that?

*If you want to be made ill, read the comments at the second post.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Re: The idiocy that is Don't Ask Don't Tell:

My Hero, Rachel Maddow, continues to be great.

Also, Anna Marie Cox, may I add.  Now I have two heroes!


Finally seeing some bees in my yard.

I was starting to fret.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cap & Trade

Here's why I like Nate Silver's Blog FiveThirtyEight: ( though this post is actually written by Robert Frank): one of the best and clearest explanations of Cap & Trade and why it's a good plan I have seen yet.

Right-Wing Whining

Okay, I like Cheerios as much as the next Leftist Mama; I like them mainly because they are one of the few breakfast cereals on the shelf in your mainstream market which do not contain high fructose  corn syrup (as regular readers know, the kid has a corn syrup allergy).

But the FDA sending them a warning letter concerning their practice of placing claims on the box about how eating their cereal for six weeks would lower someone's cholesterol level, given that no scientific study exists to back that claim?  Well, that's the FDA's job.

So this conservative outrage over the incident? (Rush Limbaugh called it "irritating, intrusive nonsense," and claimed Obama was behind the letter, since he knew babies loved Cheerios more than they loved the President.)  More anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-reality -- well, yeah, I am being redundant, I suppose: more conservative behavior, that's all I need to say.

Which brings me to what I've been doing over the past week or so: reading about Charles Darwin, who, I have to tell you, is so cool.

This started because the kid is doing a project at school on Natural Selection.  We made a trip to the public library, hunting resources, somewhat dispiritedly -- we'd been there last year, when the kid was first interested in evolution, so I knew not much was available.

But! Surprise!  Darwin Day had, apparently, made a difference: half dozen new books had been added, which is quite a few for this library, including an excellent short biography, Tim Berra's Charles Darwin; and a couple new kids' books, including a graphic novel about Darwin's life.  I also found a big fat biography on Darwin, from the 80s, which I hadn't noticed before.

Anyway, the kid did her research, but I've also been reading quite happily.   The Berra book, though short, was quite good; the big fat biography, Ronald Clark's The Survival of Charles Darwin, though old, is also entrancing.  My favorite bits include Darwin and Captain FitzRoy's row while in Brazil.  You'll remember that FitzRoy was the captain of the Beagle.  Anyway, they had visited a plantation in Brazil, and the FitzRoy asked a slave, in front of his owner, if he was happy as a slave.  The slave said indeed, he loved being a slave.  (FitzRoy, a conservative, supported slavery, thought black people were natural slaves, and white people natural owners, due to their superior natures.)  There, he told Darwin, see?  Darwin scoffed at this "evidence," pointing out that what a slave said in front of his owner could hardly be taken at face value; FitzRoy flew into a rage and banished him from the Captain's mess.

But the gunroom officers let him eat with them until FitzRoy got over his snit and apologized.

(This is from Berra's text: When Huxley and Wilberforce held their famous debate over Darwin's Theory at Oxford, Captain FitzRoy was in the audience.  Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, demanded to know, if Darwin's theory was true, which of Huxley's grandparents was an ape, his grandfather or his grandmother.  Huxley replied that, given a choice between having an ape for an anscestor or having someone like Wilberforce, who would introduce mockery into a scientific debate, he would certainly choose an ape.  The audience erupted, with students shouting "Monkey, monkey!" and women, so the story goes, fainting.  My favorite bit, though, is how FitzRoy stalked from the room, brandishing a Bible and shouting, "The Book! the Book!")

(30 years after the voyage of the Beagle, while governor of New Zealand, FitzRoy would shoot himself.)

Also: seeking evidence to back up his theory of evolution (as most people know, Darwin wasn't the first to come up with the notion; however, he was determined not to publish without plenty of evidence) Darwin studied barnacles, both fossil barnacles and actual barnacles, for nine years, amassing details for change through the eons and centuries.  At one point during these nine years, he wrote in his famous notebooks the line, "I hate a barnacle as no man ever did before."

He also hated slavery, people who hurt animals, that he had to send his children off to boarding school, and rudeness to servants.

He was bad at math, and did not do well in the 19th century equivalent of grammar school.

He was an atheist (though he called himself an agnostic) and said he did not see why anyone would even wish to be a Christian, calling it a "damnable doctrine."  This distressed his wife Emma (herself a Christian) so much that she edited it out of his autobiography, though some years after her death it was edited back in.

He discovered the role earthworms play in creating soil, and established the method of scientific controls.

On the occasions when he got things wrong - which did happen -- he admitted it.  Right up front and straight out.

The more I read, the more I like this guy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More on Maddow & Torture

Here's another link to a segment last night on Rachel Maddow, with Col. Wilkerson, the fella who has been investigating torture over the past years.  He's put together an impressive case (which the Right, predictably, dismisses as "fantasy," since, after all, facts or the use of evidence to create an argument have never interested them) that he explains succinctly in this segment, showing that Cheney and his crew tortured prisoners into giving the answers they wanted, to justify the war they were determined to have.

It's a vile story of a vile regime, and no post hoc claims of how they have kept America safe (which they did not -- they've very nearly destroyed this nation, in case no one has looked around lately) can change that truth.

Further, even if they had, which they did not, if you destroy what America is in some attempt to protect it -- which I deny utterly is what any of these men were doing -- what have you gained?

Those Women!

The NYTimes published many annoying bits today, including one I nearly blogged about, a crap front page piece above the fold in which they let the Credit Card companies make entirely unveiled threats about creating new interest rates on those who are paying off their entire balances each month if Congress dares to pass any legislation limiting their right to rape consumers just as much as they like -- and there was David Brooks' usual idiocy, of course.  Gack.

Oh my, the Times notes: the CDC says those wommins are having babies and they aren't locked into wedlock and some of those wommins are BROWN wommins!  Ooo civilization is failin! What's we gonna do?

Some observations: Poorer states have higher rates of unwed motherhood.  The rate did increase recently -- but we're talking, if you look at the actual numbers, at not that large an increase.  And someone might look at the economy, dude.  People might not be marrying for what looks to them like good reasons. (I know, I know, imagine that, wommins acting rationally?  How could that be?)  

(Update: The increase is less than half a million babies; by contrast, you might look at this link, which shows we have 16 million Southern Baptists in the country, not to mention nearly five million Evangelicals.  Now just who do you think is doing more damage?)

The CDC notes, also, that lots of these women are cohabiting with the guys, they just aren't marrying them.  Well, dude, not everyone wants to marry.  What is that to you?  Have a look at the people who do marry -- yeah, not all of them.  I'm married myself and I kind of like it.  But I don't insist everyone like it. And I'l admit the attitudes of the Family Values people kinda put me off occasionally.

Also, importantly, teen pregnancy has dropped, and is at its lowest rate since 1970.  That's good news.  So why's the Times not fucking well leading with that?  Instead of OOOO the (brown) wommins are destroying our country?

That's my question for you.


TNX to Global Climate change, we're having an interesting spring here in the Ozarks -- first it rained for what must have been a solid month, so every field is solid bog, but green like you would not believe, as it has not been since I moved here in 2002, at the start of a 4 year drought.

Now we're having a cool sunny spell, very pretty, with nights in the 50s and days in the 70s, which goes nicely with all the green.

Pollen, too, which is very sad for those with allergies.  Zelda is down for the count, for instance, and the kid's art teacher could not stop sneezing the other night.

Also! Frogs, toads, possums, mosquitos, squirrels, hawks, blue herons, other critters, more than I have ever seen.  A possum trotted across the road in front of me when I was out for my nightly stroll the other evening, and we spot the hawk that hunts the patch of field on the way to the kid's school almost daily (hunting mice, I suppose -- it's always cruising that field, low and golden in the morning sun).

In about two weeks, I know, we'll have the evil blasting furnace heat of an Arkansas summer here again.  I'm enjoying it while I can.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Writing And Race

My Essay for the RaceFail Protest:

I teach in NW Arkansas, tucked up against the border of Oklahoma.  We've got lots of Asians from post-Viet Nam years, when refugees got sent to Fort Chaffee; we've got lots of Latino/a folk, first, second, and third generation, now, come to work in Tyson's massive chicken slaughter and packing houses.  Here in the River Valley, we only have a few African-Americans, mainly shipped in to try to make our University's various sporting teams more competitive.  

We mostly have generation upon generation of white American Protestant and the Other here, which used to be Catholics -- though now that they have "Mexicans" to hate, they're going to it.  (True story: Zelda's grandson, who can count to fifty in German, Spanish, and English, went to preschool this year, where his teacher sent him home with a note for being mouthy because he wouldn't count to ten "right."  She interrogated him.  Well, he said, all the other kids were counting in English, he thought he would count in Spanish, since English was getting boring.  Zelda called up the teacher, whose mama she knows, since everyone knows everyone's mama around here, and says like WTF is your issue?  "I'm not teaching in Mexican," the teacher said, not nicely, either.)

Here's my point, and I do have one:

When I'm teaching, whatever I'm teaching, somehow I frequently find myself also teaching about race and/or feminism.

My students sort of expect this by now.  

I do live in a Red State.  The bookstore where I buy most of my books, sadly, has on the checkout counter, right where I check out, little racks with jars of Jesus coins, little silver things like the 30 silver coins Judas sold Christ for, maybe?  I don't know, they've got a cross on one side and a fish on the other, I guess you're meant to buy a handful and give them to evil atheists like me; it's got bookmarks with kittens and other bookmarks with Bible verses; it's got a sticker to stick on your car with ALL the states colored in bright red that says MY COUNTRY: THE REDDER THE BETTER that just make me want to giggle.  It's got teeshirts, with the Monopoloy card showing that guy hopping out of jail, only it says JESUS: THE GET OUT OF HELL FREE CARD.  And it has 5 rows of Christian fiction and various flavors of Bibles, but only one (yes one) book explaining evolution to children (though that was a good one).

Anyway: my point: when I talk about race, and woman, and how being some color other than white, or some sex other than male, hampers your ability to be published in certain fields, this makes some of my students furious.

"Actually," some white guy (usually a young white guy, but not always -- sometimes it's a 40 year old white guy, and often it's a 40 year old white woman), "the truth is,  black people (or women, or Asians) just aren't interested in writing comics (or Science Fiction, or mystery novels, or history scholarship, or being in IT, or whatever it is we're discussing -- black guys and women just don't want to be engineers or write code!  They don't like SF!)"

They know this is true, you see, because, well, they read comics, and everyone they know reads comics, and they've never seen any black people reading comics, so, QED!

As everyone knows, your experience is the universe.

And the fact that you don't see something means it isn't there.

And my experience?  Well, it doesn't count.  Nor do all those other people who are claiming something else.

Plus?  If this is how it has been, this is how it should stay.

In 1960, very few PoC or women were in law school or medical school.

Obviously, this means no women or PoC wanted to be there.

Wonder what changed between then and now?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Race Fail

I don't know how much those who are outside the SF 'Sphere have heard about the Race Fail storm of a few months back, but it got fairly ugly, as we say here in the South, with the White Guys and their Allies coming down hard on the PoC, essentially saying, in the end, that the PoC were making a lot of noise over nothing much (as usual), because what racism? (Like what patriarchy?) and should shut up when the big important white guys (and their wives, the honorary white guys) were talking.

A few bloggers, notably John Scalzi, backed off this position later on, but many continued to assert that those raising the objection were just being touchy, or overreacting, or playing the race card: typical behavior, they said.  (See here for further.)

Via Angry Black Woman, I hear a protest is planned for tomorrow.  PoC and white folk who want to write in support.

Update: A blog with MORE on RaceFail!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

War Criminals

If you haven't seen this Rachel Maddow Segment (it's been linked everywhere), you need to.

She lays out, in clear detail, timelines and evidence showing that the Bush administration did not only torture a few bad people a few times; and that they did not simply use torture to prevent attacks in "ticking bomb" situations.  In fact, they were using torture to try to save their political careers; and Cheney is the engine that powered these criminal acts.

She ends with an interview with Jane Mayer.  It's powerful stuff.

And another reason why everyone should be watching Rachel every night, as rough as it sometimes gets.

Friday, May 15, 2009


So I'm watching Hardball last night, and yet another Republican yak was on claiming yet again that "We never tortured!" and that releasing photographs of those people we didn't torture, but only interrogated really, really seriously, would put our troops in danger, so we've got to suppress those photographs, and why does the ACLU hate American Troops so much that they want those photographs released before the War on Terra is Over?

Because this, apparently, is the new Line on the Right.

(1) No one ever got Tortured
(2) It was just Really Serious Interrogation
(3) Which was Necessary Back then in 2001-2002 to Keep Us Safe
(4) And if those Evil Terraists Find out What We Did (which Isn't Torture, no matter how many bruises or bloody wounds the victims have) They'll Kill us all!!!  Because THEY are EVIL!
(5) So anyone whining about law or rights should just shut up!  We don't need no stinking rights!  This is about Terra!

This misses the essential point, as anyone except a fascist could see: rights are not rights when they can be stripped from classes of people based on who that class of people might be.  If you can strip a right from a person because he is brown or he is foreign or he is of some religion you don't like this year, then neither he nor (guess what) you actually have anything like a right: you only have a privilege.

And if a privilege can be stripped from that class, or that guy, guess what: then it can be stripped from you and yours too, any time someone decides to do that.

So you might think it's a nifty think to torture the Muslim terrorists now, but wait until they come for the Fundamentalist Christians tomorrow, or the gun-toting Abortion Rights Activists, or the Feminists Vegetarians next time.

And if you don't want that world?  Send a check to the ACLU, because they're the ones who are standing between you and it, and as far as I can see, they are the only ones standing between us and that, right now.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hack Gack

The end of the semester crash seems to have combined with what I hope is only a cold (the swine flu is supposed to have missed us, right?) to lay me low.  I am huddled under quilts while thunderstorms rage overhead, wishing I had the energy to check the blogs, or even read.  I'm in the middle of two excellent books right now, also: Dennis Lehane's The Given Day and Tony Kushner'sAngels in America, which I know it's like what 20 years old but I never did read that one.  Anyway, both are great and if you haven't read them and don't have a fever of 102 go for it.

Update: Just checked at the CDC and there are no confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in AR.  But man, do I feel awful.  Trying to decide whether to seek medical help.  All the $$ I already owe to medical guys around town is making me think I should just stay in bed and drink more Nyquil.

Yeah, Nyquil.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Arkansas, yeah

Went by the liquor store for my bottle of Black Strap Rum, so I could get through grading these fucking exams.  

This sign was posted on the door:

All Minors Must Be Accompanied by Parent or Spouse

Well, yeah, okay, then.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Wait, Wait

Or: yeah, those tools.

Over here, Amanda at Three Rivers Fog and Holly at Feministe discuss the the ten top techniques used to avoid dealing with racism.

Stop me if you've heard this one before, I always say.

See also this and this.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

But There's No Patriarchy!

This was about five months ago -- I was sitting at Aikido, prepping for Chaucer, which is often how I spend the hour and forty minutes of the kid's Aikido session, half-studying Chaucer or History of the English Language, half-watching the sensei put the tiny students through their paces -- anyway, this fellow and his wife and their two sons came into the viewing area.

The guy is your typical Fuck Smith male: yellow polo shirt, too much aftershave, tennis tan.  Upper middle class tool.  The woman is that guy's woman: khaki capri trousers, neat makeup, sleek hair just below her ears, anxious eyes.

The kids are pricks-in-training.  One is about nine, the other is maybe eleven. I can tell from the get-go that they have not been doing Aikido previously -- Aikido is a defensive martial arts, we have no contests, it's not about winning.  The sensei says at least twice a session, usually to the little boys, "If you're getting there first, you're probably doing it wrong.  I want it right, not fast."

These kids started snarling and whining, at once: "There's girls out there," the older one said.  "What kind of martial arts has girls?  I'm not doing anything with girls."

I looked up at the parents, pointedly.  I was the only parent in the observing area that day.

The father: oblivious.  I don't mean he pretended -- I mean, he really did not know I was there.  Probably, for him, I was not there -- a woman in jeans and a thermal shirt, no make up, battered tennis shoes?  Obviously I did not actually exist.  The mother kind of winced her eyes and huddled further down in her chair.

"Let's go," the older son demanded.  Mind you, they had been in the observing area about twenty seconds at this point.  Also, the observing area is about two feet from the dojo, and this kid is not speaking quietly. "We're not doing this.  This is stupid.  Girls?"

The father said nothing.

The mother, without looking at the father, said, "We're here to think about it.  Just--"

Speaking to her like she was -- I really can't describe the contempt in his voice -- the kid said, "It's stupid.  Look how stupid it is!  That's not a martial art!"

(Out on the mat, the students were doing throws and pins, pretty good ones too.  I saw the sensei glance over.  He is famously difficult to fluster.)

The mother, not looking at the father, not looking at her children, said, "Just sit down and watch.  If--"

The father walked out.  Not a word.  Walked out.

Jeering, the older son said, "We're not doing this crap.  Girls?"

He walked out, too.  The second son hesitated, and the mother got him by the arm and made him sit down.  "Just watch," she said.  "Just think about it."

"I don't want to," he said, desperately, furiously, whining.  "I want to go out with Dad."

"Just for ten minutes," she said, her voice muted and flat.

I was biting so hard on my tongue my ears were ringing.

They stayed ten minutes.  And here is what happened next: the kids joined the dojo.  Mom brings them to class.  Dad never appears.  Mom never speaks to anyone.  Older kid and younger kid make sexist comments on a regular basis, which, if sensei hears them, he calls them on it.  But he's not always around.  My kid gets exposed to this crap.

Why am I thinking about this now? 

This, at punkassblog, which brought it back -- that event, and hundreds of others.

There's no patriarchy, the tools tell us.

What oppression, they tell us.

Women have it lucky, they say.  Even Gin and Tacos, and you know I love Ed at Gin and Tacos, even he made that crack, joking, oh, he was joking, but you know, it ain't fucking funny.  Being told, every day of your life, okay, maybe not every single day, but over and over, that you can't do it, that you don't belong in the room, that you made it to the room because you have nice tits, that no one wants you around (Christ, no girls, please), that it's discrimination if someone happens to choose you (White Males Need Not Apply), that everyone knows you ruined the economy or you ruined the country or you ruined the school system or you wanted to be raped or you want to be beat up or you want to wreck some guy's life, that's why you got pregnant with his child, just so you could steal his money --

And you walk in a room, and half the guys there, they aren't thinking you're a human being.  You're tits on a stick to them.  You're something they might want to fuck.  Or, you know, not worth fucking, and therefore worthless.

And you can't get healthcare for vital issues, and you can't get paid the same as any guy, and you can't do the jobs that pay the most, and any job you can do immediately becomes a girl job and stops being worth much, and before you ever, ever, ever leave the house you know you better check yourself, bitch: is it late at night? Are you dressed right?  Have you been drinking?  Don't you go wandering around this world like you own your own body, slut.  You're just asking for it.  Manipulating, triangulating, scheming girl.

But there's no patriarchy.


Saturday, May 02, 2009

Oh, well, okay

Bush is the Law.  Glad to have that cleared up!

Over here, Condi Rice explains to a student (whom she spends some time lecturing about his ignorance -- do your homework, do some reading, dear, she says, before you come talking to me) that anything George W. says goes.

You see, Ms. Rice explains to us peons who have not done our homework and have no idea what the pressure was there at the top during all those rough days after 9-11 (shit am I sick of hearing them play the 9-11 card): You see, if George W. says it isn't torture?  Well, then it ain't torture.

So just sit down and shut up.

Hard Times

In the mail today I got

  • a chain letter from some woman in Montana, urging me not to break the chain: mail two dollars to each of these addresses, she said (ten addresses listed below) and add my address to the bottom, and we'd all make some gignormous amount of money some gignormous time in the future
  • an advertisement from a lawyer, advising me that if I had been in a wreck or had been injured at work I could probably sue for big bucks
  • An offer from a company in South Dakota, offering me a pre-approved loan, from five hundred to fifteen hundred dollars, at -- get this -- 96% interest.  WTMFF.  36 months to pay back a thousand dollars, at 96% interest.  And this shit is legal?
  • Two separate threatening notices from two different medical clinics -- one of whom I owe $236 dollars to, one of whom I owe just under $800 dollars to, both threatening to turn me over to collections.  Again, WTF?  I note, for those who are interested, that I have been paying both of these institutions at a steady rate of $50/month, and that both were paid 80% of their fees by my insurance company.  (This is what's left on the bill for my shoulder surgery, done in December -- one is the anesthesia bill, the other is the surgeon's bill.)  Did I consider taking the $1000 dollars from the loan shark in SD, paying off my medical bills, and defaulting on the loan shark?  Ooo, did I ever.  What's the SD loan shark going to do?  Come break my legs?  Threaten to ruin my already ruined credit? But no, I will not do that.  That would be unethical.  (Unlike loaning money to desperate people at 96% interest, which, as we know, is entirely fucking ethical.)
My country: ready for a socialist revolution?  You make the call.

Friday, May 01, 2009