Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Them Black Folks

You've probably heard this one already, but in case you're watching the snow instead of cruising the sphere, Joe Biden's an idiot.

Re Barack Obama, Biden tells us this:

Barack Obama is "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."

Over on Unfogged, a lively discussion ensues:

(Links are down again. What is up here? They work when I post from my University computer, and not when I post from home. The home computer is a Mac Mini, and the University is some sort of PC, Windows whatever. I bet Mouse knows what it is. Any ideas?).


Snowing here.

Gonna snow all day, gonna snow all night.

I think I'll take to bed and read fat novels.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

You Know...

I'm not all that fond of Hillary Clinton as a potential democratic candidate either, but over there on Ann Althouse's site (and no, I am not giving that loser a link) the essential gist of Althouse's objection seems to be that Clinton is (a) a woman and (b) a woman and (c) a woman, so how dare she run for President? How annoying of her!

And her commentors agree, except for the one who thinks better Hillary than Obama,who is, after all, you know, eck, worse, being not-white. Better a girl that a you-know!

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Q: How long does it take George Bush to screw in a light bulb?

A: There's nothing wrong with the light bulb!!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Time To Get In Line!

The Kid has been invited to a "Spa Party! Hair! Nails! Face!" for this Saturday, at a "Community Bible Church!"

It's for the 8th birthday party of one of her classmates.

Not her best friend, mind you, but given that there are only four kids in her class, well, they're all friends, aren't they, more or less? And they all are -- all of them are nice kids, all of them are good kids, I like them all.

But what in shit is this, I would like to know?

Spa day? For eight year olds?

Hair? Face? Nails? For eight year olds?

Here's how you can learn to be an object? Eight year olds?

Yes! Time to be subsumed by the patriarchy! You're never too young! And in case you didn't get the message! We're holding it at the Community Bible Church!

I considered saying no -- the kid is eight, after all. Hasn't got her own car, couldn't find the Community Bible Church on her own if she did have one -- and I still might.

But she does have to learn what the patriarchy looks like sometime.

I might say yes and then lecture against it afterwards. That might be even more evil.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blog For Choice Day

It's National Blog For Choice Day!

I used to get this comment in my student evaluations – “dr. delagar needs to stop using the classroom as a platform for her feminist agendas” – that comment or some variation on it, nearly every semester, which was a puzzle to me, because, you know, I didn’t use the classroom to push my feminist agenda, even though I was a feminist, and so wanted the feminist revolution, and how I longed to smack the patriarchy in the head, oh sisters, what did I want? JUSTICE! And when did I want it? NOW!

But that would be wrong, I believed, in those days, because the classroom was not mine. It belonged, I thought, to the students, and I should keep my agenda from it, I should leave the student to speak, and let his issue be the issue, and I should not direct…

Well, you see the problem, I’m guessing. Shows up in that pronoun as clearly as it appeared in my evaluations.

When I made myself invisible, I made myself an object of scorn. Did I make my anti-woman students (the ones who hated women, who wrote those evaluations) happy? No, I did not. I only showed them I was an object they could safely hate. And they knew I was a feminist – how did they know it? Well, I was a woman standing up and speaking. Ergo! And since I was a woman standing and speaking who seemed weak, they could safely cut me down to size, couldn’t they?

By not speaking, all I did was give them the room.

Who else was in that room? Who did not get to speak, because I gave the room to the haters? Because I shut up and ceded the room to the patriarchy?

What voices did not get heard?

Now I speak. Now I say, on day one, or close to it, “I’m a big old feminist, in case you haven’t noticed that yet.”

I remind them, “Here are my biases. Here is where I stand. This is my ground.”

I also say, “Your ground might be that. Or it might be there. Our job is to find common ground, a place where we can hear each other. That’s what this room is about.” I make it my business to build a room where we can hear. I do that by speaking, and by shutting up.

This is what choice is about: giving people choices.

This is what the anti-choice people won’t do – don’t want. They claim to be pro-life, but read what they actually say. They want to take away choice – all choice, not just our ability to choose an abortion. They’re after our ability to choose birth control, too, and how we live, and even what we wear – even what name we call ourselves. Women, they say, are this. Must be this. Have to be this. If you don’t like it, they say, take it up with God, not me. No room for choice in (their) God’s world.

That leaves no common ground, no place to build a common ground, no room for compromise or speech.

I have about fifty reasons why I am pro-choice, but the main one is this one: the ability to control our own bodies, which is the main target of the anti-choicers, is what has allowed women to be in the classroom. It has allowed us to be educated. Education gets us through the gate to power. Without power, we have no voice.

I’m pro-choice because women need to be able to speak or we can never have a just world.

And what do we want?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Murray Supports the Patriarchy

Ezra shoots him down.

Over here:

My links are busted again -- sorry.

But you'll remember Charles Murray, he of The Bell Curve fame. He's hot again, for once again claiming that some of us (oddly, mostly the poor and disenfranchised and female us -- who would have guessed?) just can't be helped through the gate into the power structure. Sorry, son. No way to do it. No use wasting precious resources trying. Not when we have an expensive war to run and tax cuts to finance.

Ezra has many, many links to show the why Murray's work is shoddy (and always has been). Don't skip the comments either.

This whole IQ/No Child's Behind/BushCo/Murray thing -- whether or not IQ tests are valid, or GRE tests are, or SATs, you know, whatever. I know they aren't predictive, which is the key point, or ought to be.

That is: take ACT exams. White males do better on them than women did, by some percentage, on the average. But take that same woman and that same man and put them in the university classroom, and the woman will, on the average, do better her freshman year than the male will. So while the test predicts that the male will do better, the test is wrong. Why? because, on the average, the woman has better study habits, the woman works harder, the woman listens better.

Not always, of course, which is why college acceptance committees ought to look at letters and grades and essays.

But IQ tests also don't predict success either, frankly, or MENSA members would be ruling the world.

O'Reilly the Idiot

If you've seen that Shawn Hornbeck story, the Missouri kid who was taken four years ago and just recovered, this will make you sick.

Bill O'Reilly has decided Shawn's own fault -- kid wanted it. Nice life he had there, didn't he? Got to lie about all day, no school, no parents making him act right, riding bikes around town all day. What eleven-year-old kid wouldn't that life? Bill knows he would have grabbed it up at eleven!

What's that you say? Stockholm syndrome? Bill doesn't buy it! Kid was SPOILED ROTTEN! BORED WITH HIS SOFT LIFE! Grabbed the first chance at EXCITEMENT that came along! These rotten kids today, that's HOW THEY ARE!

You wait. When the FACTS COME OUT, Bill's gone be proved right! He ALWAYS IS!

Link to the transcript is here

if you can take it.

This kid is fifteen. He has been through the worst kind of hell for the past four years. Bill has no soul, does he?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Warming Up

I'm warming up to my blogging for choice post on the 22nd, but meanwhile, Amanda's post over here

a reveiw of the book How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America has plenty good bits you should not miss.

Likewise the comments.

(Fixed the stinking links! Go read!)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Blogging For Choice

This post by Bardiac

reminded me that I signed up to blog about choice on January 22, National Blog For Choice Day.

I'm meant to put the graphic on my blog, too, but given that I'm a Techncal Ijit, I'm just linking to Bardiac, which figured out how to do it.

Yay, Bardiac!

By the way, you too can blog for choice! Just follow the links.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Kid Writes Again

Here is the Kid's poem. It's been raining here for three days. She went out in her pink rubber shoes and her rain coat in the freezing rain on Saurday and came back in with this poem.

And Down They Fall

Flops drops the size
Of bowling balls are
Falling down

Where the squirrels
Once played in all their trees
I'm the only one who dares to
Go outside.

The only refuge from
The rain a piece of moss which overlooks
a river on which bank I step.

The only way to cross without the moss
A bridge of acorns and of sticks.

As I look upon my own driveway
I imagine a land where
It is not raining, where clouds are
not exploding down
upon us and
down they fall and
down they fall.

She tells me that her influence was "that guy you read me, you know, wrestling with my God, my god?"

Hopkins. She's writing in the style of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

A Tip for Comp Teachers

You want a topic for day one?

Tell them they can write about snakes or English teachers they have known.

Don't ask me why, but this always works.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Our semester starts back up tomorrow. We've been doing the pre-semester meetings and workshops and crap I mean useful sessions this week so far, so I'm worn out before we even begin, as usual. I start off at nine a.m. tomorrow with 3 classes in a row -- Comp II, History of the English Language (HEL, as we call it), and Chaucer.

I also have Thursdays off this semester. Thursdays for writing. All day all writing. Well, yay.

By the way:

The kid, as we were driving home (she and mr. delagar picked me up from my workshops)told me that they had studied Afghanistan at her school today.

"Women are oppressed there!" she told me. "They have to wear burqas! Sometimes they can't learn to read!"

"You know why that is, don't you?" I asked.

"The patriarchy!" she yelled.

Well, all right then.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Book Review -- Sort Of

Driving back from New Orleans, we listened to Donna Tartt reading True Grit, enjoying it immensely, can I just put that first? True Grit has been one of my favorite books, and one of mr. delagar's favorite books, too, for years. Long before we ended up living in Pork Smith. mr. delagar likes the movie, and I can put up with it, though long stretches of it irk me because they aren't the book.

Where was I?

Okay -- so we listened to the book on CD coming back from New Orleans and now the kid is reading it, and she took the bookjacket off, as she always does (we have an old hardcopy bought out of some used bookstore somewhere) and she was reading the blurbs on the back. "Huckleberry Finn," she said. "How is Mattie like Huckleberry Finn?"

"Ha," mr. delagar. "Huckleberry Finn my ass. Captain Ahab more like."

Which led to a 30 minute critical theory rant, which is why the kid has learned not to ask literary questions in *our* house, but to get to the point of this post, near the end of the rant, mr. delagar claimed that Mattie had "burned her life down," in her quest for vengeance.

Now while I agreed that she was as single-minded as Ahab in her determination, I could not see this. How do you figure, I asked.

Did she ever marry? he responded.

Well, good shit, I said, you fucking member of the patriarchy, are you kidding me? Are you messing? Are you telling me if a woman doesn't marry and breed her life is pointless? Is that what you're saying?

No, but --

No, but that's what you're saying. She built her bank. She owns all that land. She has a good life -- she tells us so herself. But you know better? Why?

What kind of a life is that?

The one she wanted?

But I don't blame him entirely. I think Charles Portis also inclines us to see Mattie as broken -- despite the fact that she and Rooster are essentially alike. He wouldn't have crippled her if he didn't want her read that way.

Nevertheless, I never did read her that way. I *liked* that ending. I *liked* that she did not marry, that she made her own life, that she didn't settle down and give in, that to the very last paragraph she was still a tough chick. ("Keep your seat, trash!" she says to Frank James.) It was nearly the only book in my childhood *with* such a tough chick in it. Even Francie, in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, even Laura, they give in as they grow up. Not Mattie.

So I was a little annoyed to have mr. delagar reading this as broken, let me tell you.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Movi Review

So I watched Broken Flowers on DVD last night and can I say, the fuck?

First off, who thought that was a plot?

Who thought those were characters?

All right, the neighbor, Winston, he was *sort* of interesting. I *kind* of grew interested when he came on screen. And the woman who was an animal communicator -- vaguely interesting, in a marginal way.

But everyone else? First of all, not real human beings. Second, boring.

This reminded me, more than anything, of workshop fiction. The main character has to be surprised! We must have reversals! He must be on a Journey!

And, of course, always written (almost always written) by twenty-nine year old males who have never spent a solid week with an actual woman, so they write about MEN who FUCK women non-stop and leave them behind and women who LOVE this behavior in REAL MEN (as of course REAL WOMEN would...on planet REAL MEN...), well, good shit.

I knew when we met Lolita, bouncing about offering Bill Murray a popsicle -- and ten seconds later parading back into the living room stark naked -- because, yes, fifteen year old girls ALWAYS do this when they meet fifty year old ex-boyfriends of their mothers --- that the movie was fucked. Nor was I wrong.

The main problem, though, beyond the hideous misogyny of the movie, was the utter emptiness of the main character. Someone tell me why we're supposed to care about this guy? Why was I meant to watch this movie? Toward the end he squeaks out a tiny bit of Buddhist philosophy, but, come on. Buddhism doesn't make you an empty horndog, which is what this boy is. This is a depressive loser, not a Buddhist.

Give me Howl's Moving Castle any day.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tiny Graduate Student

The kid has suddenly taken to living on Ramen noodles. Nothing but.

Zup with this?

Well, at least she is cheap now.

More book money!

Monday, January 01, 2007


Here is how severely uncool mr. delagar and I have become:

Last night, we are piled up in bed together. I am reading one of my new books, Marcia Bjornerud's Reading the Rocks, which, btw, is excellent; he is rereading one of Wouk's giant fat efforts. Between us the kid has finally gone to sleep. I have taken away her book -- one of the Harry Potters. Number five, I think she is up to. It has a deep blue cover, that's all I know.

Anyway, mr. delagar looks up and frowns. "What the hell is that?" he demands.

I listen too. Across the hall in the TV room Big Dog says bwoof in a warning way. I glance over at the alarm clock on the bedstand. 12.03. I give mr. delagar a small grin. "That," I inform him, "is fireworks. Happy New Year, you."

"Oh." He returns to Herman Wouk. "Happy New Year yourself."

Happy 2007 y'all.

Here's hoping things get better.