Sunday, October 29, 2006

Cut Every Corner

Every Saturday was the same for me growing up. Every Saturday was Cleaning Day. The Mormons have a whole song about it, even. The only lyrics I still remember:

Saturday is a special day
It's the day we get ready for Sunday
We clean the house
And we shop at the store
So we don't have to work until Monday

Like all Mormon songs, it's sung with a forced cheeriness few people singing the song actually feel.

Saturdays were a special day in my house. They were the days I got ready for the divorce of my parents and the annihilation of my family that was surely imminent. People can't actually scream at each other this much and survive it, can they?

People can survive all kinds of things.

When my mom went back to work she tried to turn Friday nights into Cleaning Day. It was a disaster. All my dad wanted to do was watch TV. This was all he'd ever wanted to do on Saturday Cleaning Days, too, but at least on Saturdays he could mow the lawn or be useful out in the yard somewhere. I'd want to go to the mall with a friend or to a movie, or sometimes I'd have a babysitting gig lined up. I don't remember how my brother felt about it except that I figure it was about the same as he always felt about Cleaning Day: Worst day of the week ever.

My mom was the only one into having Cleaning Day on Friday nights, because it meant she could relax on Saturday and Sunday. My mom's big on Getting Things Over With.

My mom thought it was rotten her kids didn't volunteer to help more on Cleaning Day. "Kids do the chores" was just how she'd been brought up. Why weren't we more helpful? Why did we moan and groan through the dusting when she was the one doing all the hard stuff? The kitchen, the vacuuming, the bathrooms?

I never cleaned a bathroom in my life until I had my first apartment. My mother did all the hard things, all the big chores, because no one else could do them up to her standards.

"If you do it I'll just have to come behind you and do it all over again. That doesn't help me. You just dust."

As I explained in item #44 here, I really, really loathed dusting. I still do. I manage to do some about every three weeks, or sometimes my boyfriend does it--okay, half the time, my boyfriend does it--because, shit, here you just have to. Plus, two cats: You have to dust with a couple of cats in the house.

But the lasting legacy of Cleaning Day is that I can't enjoy my first day off, ever. I lead a life of shitty Sundays.

When I was about 20 my then-boyfriend and I went to see a counselor on account of what all had happened to us. He quit going after a couple of sessions, angry that this counselor had the nerve to expect him to work on his problems. He'd thought he'd just go and blame me for everything. But I kept going. I needed someone to talk to.

I told her how I spent every Saturday too depressed to do anything. She asked why I thought that was. I told her, "I get up, I want to clean the house all nice before I go shopping or do anything fun and all, but then I get overwhelmed by how much there is to do and I get depressed and I don't do any of it. Then, I'm depressed that I didn't do anything all day. I'm depressed that my whole day's been wasted."

I told her about Cleaning Day, a day punctuated by screaming and recrimination and arguing, a day awash in guilt, guilt, guilt.

"My mom gets up every Saturday morning of her life and gets right to work," I complained. "I can't seem to make myself do that."

The counselor made me promise that the next Saturday I'd get right up and go someplace. Any place. Browsing at the bookstore, feeding ducks in the park, anything.

"Just get out of the house and go do something for yourself," she said.

"I can't do that."

"Why not?"

"Nothing will get done!"

"Nothing's getting done anyway."

"I can't just give up like that. I have to try harder."

"What you're trying isn't working. I want you to try this instead."

The next week I went back and reported that I had got right up, full of plans to clean the house, been derailed by a dumbass argument with my boyfriend, thrown up my hands in hopelessness, wondered why God was doing this to me, failed to clean anything, and felt depressed about all of it.

"What did we agree last week?"

"That I'd leave the house . . . ."

"Why didn't you?"

"The first thing my boyfriend said to me was 'Jesus Christ, this place is starting to look like my mother's.'"

"Is that a bad thing?"

"His mom never cleans anything, not even the kitchen countertops, and when you go over for a visit, she has to move stack after stack of books, magazines, and newspapers off the couch before you can sit down. So, yes."

"Does she seem happy to you, living that way?"

"Well . . . yeah, actually, kind of . . . ."

"Then why do you care?"

Why did I care? Because it's a MORAL FAILING to keep a dirty house. Didn't this woman know anything? Had she been raised in a BARN?

I quit going to the counselor. She just didn't get it.

One of these days I need to get over this. One of these days I need to shut the door on Cleaning Day and, especially, on the myth of Cleaning Day that I have in my head. The myth that says, "I'm going to get right up, put on my rattiest clothes, tie my hair back with a handerkchief, put on some nice music, and flit around the house making things spotless and Godly with a hymn in my heart and a smile on my face. Thus will I be redeemed."

It's not going to happen. Cleaning Day is a dream I hold onto for no good reason at all.

You'd think after all these years I could let it go.

Friday, October 27, 2006

And Now for Catblogging

1. Yes, he is really that size.

2. Yes, I know he is overweight.

3. Yes, I think his weight contributed to his development of diabetes two years ago.

4. Yes, I have tried your favorite brand of weight-management cat food.

5. No, it did not lead to any loss of weight. He just ate twice as much of it when I free-fed and howled at me all day long when I tried scheduling and portioning his meals.

6. No, I have not tried BARF.

7. Because it's a little out of my price range, ya fuckin' yuppie.

8. He's like 13 years old, you know. Get off his chubby senior citizen ass already.

9. No, we don't use the loveseat a whole lot at my house.

10. Yes, people who do pet-owner drivebys DO suck.

Which Is Pretty Funny, Considering I Hate Fruit

It's Friday. That means it's ego-stroking quiz time.

The Peach
Random Gentle Love Master (RGLMf)

Playful, kind, and well-loved, you are The Peach.

For such a warm-hearted, generous person, you're surprisingly experienced in both love and sex. We credit your spontaneous side; you tend to live in the moment, and you don't get bogged down by inhibitions like most women your age. If you see something wonderful, you confidently embrace it.

Your exact opposite:
The Nymph

Deliberate Brutal Sex Dreamer
You are a fun flirt and an instant sweetheart, but our guess is you're becoming more selective about long-term love. It's getting tougher for you to become permanently attached; and a guy who's in a different place emotionally might misunderstand your early enthusiasm. You can wreck someone simply by enjoying him.

Your ideal mate is adventurous and giving, like you. But not overly intense.

DREAD: The False Messiah

CONSIDER: The Loverboy, The Playboy, or The Boy Next Door

Link: The 32-Type Dating Test by OkCupid - Free Online Dating.
My profile name: Oh, I don't think so.

You know, even though she's in a strapless dress, the girl in that picture is so flippin' Mormon I can't stand it.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's that time of year again when my boyfriend and I have this argument:

Him: It's freezing in here.

Me: I know! Isn't it wonderful!

"Couldn't we close the screen door?"

"In an hour, maybe. I want it nice and cold in here before I go to bed."

"But I'm freezing."

"You're fine! You're not freezing. A commenter at Feministe said it was -1 today in Maine. People in MAINE are freezing. You're just a little cold. Maybe if you put on--"

"I already have on 2 t-shirts and a sweatshirt. My heaviest sweatshirt."

"Oh. Maybe we should close the screen door."

Meanwhile, I'm scampering around in a light flannel shirt like it's a holiday--which, if you're me, it kind of is. I hear "overnight low of 39 degrees," and I definitely translate that to "holiday."

I can't wait 'til tomorrow. Tomorrow I'm going to turn on the oven FOR HOURS while I do us up a roast chicken.

I didn't run the oven more than a handful of times this summer. We grilled a lot. Ate a lot of pasta and salads. I did not consume a single baked potato.

"I don't understand," I chide him, "why you have to begrudge me my paltry four months of the year in which the weather is how I like it."

"I don't understand," he returns, "why you have to keep the house the same temperature as a morgue."

"You're only cold because you are a frigid Kraut bastard who does not understand that this weather is for hugging. And snuggling. And cuddling."

"I can't hug you if I'm dead."

"This weather is COZY."

"This weather is FREEZING."

He's wrong, right? Of course he's wrong.

This weather's not freezing. This weather is awesome.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I keep forgetting to mention, probably because I figure most of you know, that if things are a little slower'n usual around here it's because I've got this other gig for the time being.

DO check it out for the killer contributions by evil fizz, La Lubu, Vanessa, and Sheezlebub. We're all there to cover for zuzu's blog break, and while there can be only one zuzu, I know I'm having a lot of fun with the opportunity to be an actual Feministe blogger for a time. W00t!

This One Goes Out to the Guy Who Rammed His Shopping Cart into Me Last Week

And then, yuppie-fashion, gave me the dirty look over it: Next time, consider paying less attention to your phone, stud.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Drip Drip Drip

Dripping_Springs_Oct_2006_10, originally uploaded by ilyka_damen.

I attempt to cheer up Hottie McNaturepants and family in the wake of this dog-threatening bullshit with bad photography from a hike in the Organs.

Come back soon, Creek Running North.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

That's Not Bruschetta!

Just a fluff post piggybacking off this thread at, in which the reader is introduced to a LiveJournaler with strong and passionate opinions about the true nature of bruschetta. Because people, even and especially me, have been a bit prickly about things lately, let me issue the disclaimers right now:

1. I am not belittling the real suffering of people afflicted with multiple sclerosis.
2. I am not belittling vegetarians or vegans.
3. I'm for sure not belittling transsexuals.
4. Or authentic bruschetta, for that matter.

That said--whoa. If I ever get so riled about the authenticity of what I eat and post about it here, feel free to mock me with all you've got. I can get pretty pissy about culinary authenticity (ask me whether this restaurant isn't a complete house of lies--go on, ask me!), but there's a time to rein in the food snobbery, and sometimes that time is called "dinner."

All Right, Even I Can't Look at That Name Anymore

(For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, see here.)

You know, that was an interesting goof-off for me. I started out with (do I have to type this again? Yeah, I guess I do) "Fartles von Biscuitbrain" sounding no different than I do normally, except "less sweary," because my first thought was to send up the idea--the wrong idea, I thought--that personality isn't identifiable without a name.

"Bullshit," I thought (Fartles would have said "Fiddlesticks"), "I've actually tried to sound like someone else, and it's damned tough to do*. You go slower, you have to think about everything more, you have to ask yourself, 'Does this read too much like me, not enough like them? Would they punctuate it this way? Would they use this word or another one? Do they like italics as much as I do? What distinctive features of this other person's style am I forgetting?'"

So I figured the whole gag would be this ridiculously-named poster insisting on being addressed as "Fartles von Biscuitbrain," even as I made it clear that hey, it's me, Ilyka, and if you think "Ilyka Damen" is a stupid name (and you do, because everyone does), just consider how much MORE embarrassing I could make it. That's the idea I held through the first post and the second.

But then I left comments as "Fartles" here and elsewhere, and in doing so, I found myself adopting this very lame, faux-stuffed-shirt style that really doesn't make for even half a joke, much less a whole one--but afterwards, without really meaning to, I found myself writing Fartles' stuff the way I figured Fartles would write it, as though Fartles were really a separate, if clichéd, identity.

And even dumber than that, I started deciding things about Fartles: Fartles would not identify as any specific gender, and whether Fartles preferred women or men or both or neither would be left open to speculation. Fartles would prefer fancier drinks than I do. (By the way, I can't answer your whiskey questions because I wouldn't know loamy or whatever the other choice was, or single malt from, hell, I don't know, Canadian Club? Is that a brand of whiskey? Blended though, right? And also Canadian. Anyway, I don't drink whiskey, because I hate to, but also because Grocery Chain keeps putting brandy on sale.)

Fartles would be fussier, wealthier, snobbier, preachier, more aesthetically conservative, and radically less sweary than I am. Fartles would be a pathetic one-note caricature, sure, but it still became important to me to make certain that caricature was not me--not out of vanity, or at least not much out of vanity, but because it was a billion times more fun that way.

I think the whole pseudonymity-begets-irresponsible-behavior-online thing still doesn't wash, for the most part, because Fartles experiment aside, what I write here is what I have to say, and what I would say in a perfect world, one in which employers did not Google the names of prospective employees. It is in fact what I do say to my friends, my family, and the coupla bloggers I talk on the phone with. It is honestly no damn different, except that I don't let everyone I communicate with online have my real name.

To me, giving everyone my real name would be like broadcasting my banking information during the next Super Bowl: Sure, most people wouldn't care or wouldn't know what to do with it, but is that still a good idea? Would you like to do it? I don't know--maybe you would, or maybe you just always have done, and you're cool with it. Maybe for me it's that I'm not using this blog to establish or maintain a professional reputation. I'm using it to entertain myself. I'm a shitty actress, and I don't have too many reasons to lie to myself, and I'm tragically in love with myself, so if I'm writing to entertain myself, it shouldn't be surprising that what you get when you read it is ME.

You just don't get my real name, because I'm not altogether sure where you've been.

The only perk of my pseudonymity is that Ilyka Damen can post a picture of her boobs online without getting a call from her employer, while [myrealfirstname][myreallastname] can't risk that. I suppose that's irresponsible in a sense, but you know what else it is? FUN.

That's the other thing: Someone who's on the internet mainly for fun, or mainly for research, or mainly for dialogue, but mainly for harmless pursuits, is on there for those reasons no matter what that person goes by, real name or fake one, and that someone's motivations for being online are going to become clear to you through your repeated interactions with that person, no matter whether that person uses a real name or fake one; and so the only point I can see to ferreting out the real names of people using fake ones is to punish the people with bad motivations. People with bad motivations certainly exist online, but unless you think a particular person is among their number, why have any curiosity at all about what his or her real name is?

I don't understand it. I've actually had some pseudonymous bloggers tell me their real names and you know what happens? I have to remind myself that they're not really called whatever their pseudonyms are. If I talk to my boyfriend about Helen, I tend to still say "Helen," even though I know that's not actually Helen's name. I got to know her online as "Helen," though, and it's a hard habit to kick sometimes. But Helen doesn't become a completely different person depending on what I call her. Helen's still Helen, even if her name isn't actually "Helen." Did I just take an entire paragraph to say "a rose by any other name" . . . ? Well, fine then.

I'm not as certain that names don't affect online behavior to any extent as I was before this Fartles nonsense was born, though. I'm just not sure you can predict what the effect is going to be, because if you went by this experiment, about all you could conclude is that the civility of my behavior online is directly proportional to the absurdity of the name I go by. It might be nice if that phenomenon held for everyone. I doubt that it does, but if you want to test it, slip Malkin a tab and try to convince her to retitle her website "The Official Strawberry Shortcake Fanclub." And be sure to report back to me with your results.

*Which is not to say I can't do it at all, just that it requires more effort.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Q and A with Fartles

Q: Fartles, will you read my blog?

A: Fartles will read your blog if it is written with appropriate gravitas and designed in sober, traditional colors. Be advised that Fartles is partial neither to blinking text, nor to bright backgrounds, nor to weather pixies.

Q: Will you read my blog even if I disagree with you about whether outing is ever the right course of action?

A: No. Outing is never the right course of action.

Q: But--

A: No.

Q: But then maybe you should read my blog just to keep an eye on me? To see if I'm scratching that outing itch I have?

A: Fartles may indeed do that, but only because Fartles knows about proxy servers.

Q: What are proxy servers?

A: It is not the business of Fartles to educate you about proxy servers, but you may avail yourself of the definitions here. Fartles particularly recommends the one on this page (scroll down) and this one.

Q: What does knowing about proxy servers enable you to do?

A: It enables me to conceal my internet protocol address.

Q: Huh?

A: Please address Fartles with dignity.

Q: I mean, why would you want to do that, Fartles?

A: Fartles would want to do that if, for example, Fartles desired to visit a blog whose proprietor were deemed by Fartles to have questionable ethics with regards to outing. (Not that I can be outed myself, of course, as I take the courageous stance of using my real name in all internet discourse in which I engage.) But, ah, theoretically, Fartles might desire anonymity in Fartles' web-surfing.

Q: How does this relate to your IP address?

A: See here, and also.

Q: Yikes.

A: Yes.

Q: So people can find out things about you using your IP address?

A: Very possibly, yes.

Q: Okay. How do I use a proxy server?

A: First, you must find one that is free. Begin here just for practice.

Q: Anonymouse! Isn't that the cutest name?

A: Fartles considers your silliness an affront to Fartles' world-famous dignity.

Q: Sorry. Now what should I do?

A: First click here.

Q: It says my IP is this and I'm surfing in from that.

A: Yes, it is indeed like this and like that. Now click here.

Q: Why does it say something completely different?

A: Because now you're being routed through an proxy server to the CGI script that reveals your IP address, instead of connecting to that CGI script directly.

Q: Ohhhhhhhh!

A: Yes.

Q: It's like a condom for my IP address!

A: Fartles would prefer a different simile, frankly, but admits you are not far off with this one.

Q: Geez, why didn't Glenn Greenwald do this?

A: Forgive him, for he is a lawyer, and lawyers are not often well-versed in the ways of the internet. One assumes he has since been brought up to speed, as it were.

Q: Are there other free proxy servers available on the internet?

A: Oh my stars and garters, yes.

Q: What if I want to use a proxy server like, a lot? I don't want to go to all the time. Besides, it looks as though they are trying to give me adware.

A: Fartles heartily recommends Tor, and a net-savvy friend (who is either NOT FARTLES, or is a Fartles who has first been bribed with expensive single malt) to help you set it up. Fartles finds it works best with Firefox.

Q: Is it good practice to surf the net from my work connection, Fartles?

A: No, it is extremely foolish practice to do so; however, Fartles understands the temptation, for it is true that most jobs are not at all diverting to the intellect. Fartles therefore recommends that where possible, the bored employee make use of a free internet proxy server, bearing in mind that any company with a decent IT department will, of course, have prohibited access by employees to any known free internet proxy servers.

Q: But Fartles, that isn't fair!

A: That was not a question, but actually, yes, it is. It is not your internet connection and you are not paying the bills. Your company is.

Q: So I should get back to work then?

A: Sadly, Fartles thinks that might be best, even though a mass return to work activities by employees the world over would have a most deleterious effect upon Fartles' weekday traffic.

Q: What is your traffic like, Fartles?

A: Fartles bids you good day.

Friday Video

Thanks, Kyle! I'd "BOO YA!" right back but, please: Fartles would never stoop to saying "boo ya" to anyone. Fartles has dignity. Always, dignity.

The List

People I, Fartles von Biscuitbrain, am totally going to sue just as soon as I complete my undergraduate degree, take and ace the LSAT, get accepted to a good law school, complete my Juris Doctor, pass the bar exam, and begin my eminent practice of Teh Law:

1. The Glimmer Twins. Fartles has never cared for "Under My Thumb" or "Brown Sugar," if you must know. Also, they use a pseudonym.

2. The Walrus. What's that? He's dead, you say? Think again, for I have discovered his true identity, plus I know where he lives.

3. That Jon Swift smartass. Who do you think you're fooling, Jon? That is only the most unserious and undignified handle in all of blogdom. Really.

4. Is George Eliot still alive?--Well, fiddlesticks. J.T. Leroy, then.

5. Forksplit. I'm going to wait until her book comes out and then sue her for not living up to my expectations.

6. TBogg. Sure, he gave up his real name already, eventually, but he shouldn't have ought to have made it so difficult, is what I say. Plus, Fartles isn't really a dog person.

7. Gerald McBoing. While it certainly is a very convincing-sounding name, I'm just not pleased with Gerald's Brangelina obsession. Fartles finds Brangelina totally lacking in dignity.

8. Whoever wrote Primary Colors. Again, even though he's out, Fartles really resents having to wonder about the true identities of others, even for a second. Fartles has better things to do, like bring the Lexus in for detailing. It's overdue.

9. Deep Throat. Again-again, it just took too long for him to come out. Wait, he's dead too? Well, see? This is what happens when YOU DON'T USE YOUR REAL NAME, kids.

10. Sting. Do I even have to state a reason? He's Sting.

Stay in my good books, people: Use your real names. Remember, I'm only about 20 years away from being able to sue you into the ground.

UPDATE: Fartles has just been informed by Fartles' life partner (sorry, antiprincess :( ) that one need not be a practicing attorney in order to sue people! So Fartles is suing all of you who did not divulge this information to Fartles, thus enabling Fartles to look foolish in public.

And You Will Know Me by My Real Name at Last

Henceforth the name of this blog is Fartles von Biscuitbrain. Now take me seriously. That's all Fartles von Biscuitbrain wants, is to be taken seriously. Heed well the words of Fartles von Biscuitbrain! Fartles von Bicscuitbrain has many important things to impart--like, for example, how Fartles von Biscuitbrain feels about the outing.

I, Fartles von Biscuitbrain, should perhaps mention to you how I feel about the outing, though to do that I must borrow the words of an entirely different person (I swear) with the much less serious name of Ilyka Damen. But I'll warn you: She's a little sweary! I, Fartles von Biscuitbrain, am never sweary. I, Fartles von Biscuitbrain, have a reputation to protect, because I blog under my real name. Nevertheless:

And fuck all to hell you petty-minded pseudoacademics who actually believe that what some 12-year-olds say about you ONLINE is, in fact, Potentially Damaging to Your Intellectual Reputations--and that, therefore, outing is sometimes JUSTIFIED, because why should someone be able to hide behind a cowardly pseudonym and be able to say mean, mean, awful things about you without suffering any consequences, oh my sweet savior, it is so unfair, that these anonymous cowards never suffer the CONSEQUENCES?

Because you don't have a fucking coddled precious privileged clue what "consequences" are, that's why. Now grow up. Sticks and stones, etc.--if a child on the playground can learn to live with a little name-calling, so can you, you fucking douchebags.

And the next time you dare to invoke "liberty" in defense of your idiotic "Everyone Should Use His Real Name, It's Only Fair" agenda, kindly at least remember that the people who founded this country didn't always promote liberty under their own names because they had this little problem, see, this little problem where they LIKED LIVING.

And while I'm borrowing from this clearly deranged (and very uncouth) "Ilyka" person I might as well excerpt some of her remarks from Mr. Schwyzer's comment thread on pseudonymity and anonymity yesterday:

I use a pseudonym, as you probably know. My main reason for doing this is to protect myself from online harassers, and I learned last fall that even with a pseudonym, I hadn't done it well enough: Just by virtue of my naming, on my blog, the city to which I'd moved, I attracted the attention of a belligerent and threatening guy who emailed me several demands (they certainly weren't requests) to meet up. And he'd name locations with which I was familiar, which were nearby. It was frightening, but I can only imagine how much more frightened I would have been had he had my real name.

Secondary reasons for my use of a pseudonym: It protects my family's privacy; just because I want to "share" online doesn't mean they do (I also try not to write about 'em too much). Using a handle also keeps me from getting too bigheaded about myself, because my pseudonym's really just a dumb, dumb joke. It's absurd. I don't mind if my handle projects a little absurdity to others, or if others are inclined to take me less seriously because of it, because that attitude's healthy for me and maybe healthier for them, too.

I love Ann Bartow and I don't want to revive, even inadvertently, any bashing on her--but I'm really glad you provided this thread and ASKED people why they do whatever they do (use a real name, a fake one, comment anonymously), rather than assuming anything about the reasons.

Now you may be thinking, isn't it really the worst sort of vanity to blockquote yourself, Fartles? But you're only thinking that because you are confused! See, Ilyka Damen and I are distinct and separate individuals. I scarcely even know the lady! Honest!

Why's everybody looking at me like that? Can't you tell by the way we write so differently? The completely different "voice?" The way I, Fartles, unlike Ilyka, do not need to have my mouth washed out with soap? The dignity my real name projects to you, the reader?

Where Fartles (that's me!) and Ilyka (that's someone else entirely!) differ is that I am not so sure I feel so warmly towards Ann Bartow right now:

I have been made aware that Ann Bartow considers the comments I made here and here to be defamatory, and she’s asked Jill for my mailing address so that the First Amendment specialist she planned to consult could contact me.

Well, unless I apologize. Though for what, I’m not entirely sure. Because she’s not asking me for an apology, she’s asking Jill to tell me that she wants an apology.

She’s asking Jill, mind you, because she refuses to contact me directly, even though Jill has made it clear that she does not want to be the go-between. This is the same way she informed me that she’d figured out who I was.

And she has. Congratulations, Ann, you guessed right. You know who I am, and where I work. And you’ve been very clear that you don’t like pseudonymity, and you’ve been just as clear that you don’t care for me. You’ve also made it clear that you’re not above threatening to out people you don’t care for when you’re angry.

See, Fartles kinda thought all this time that outing was the sport of chumps--right-wing chumps particularly. Fartles isn't real pleased to discover that it appears to be enjoying a little more, shall we say, equal opportunity. That's no kind of progress at all, say I, Fartles von Biscuitbrain.

Fartles suggests everyone kick back with a mimosa and reflect on whether this is a good trend to reinforce, because Fartles believes that some knives cut both ways. Hey! See, that's another way you can tell Fartles and Ilyka are different: Ilyka doesn't drink mimosas. Ilyka drinks paint thinner. But I, Fartles, am a great deal more sophisticated than Ilyka. That's why she asked me to take over her blog. At least, I think she asked me. At first it sounded like "Whatta hell y'thinker doin'," but I swear I totally heard "Please take over my blog, Fartles, because it couldn't possibly sink to any lower quality, and you may even be able to improve it. Here's the login and the password; by all means, feel free to change them."

Fartles von Biscuitbrain OUT. Peace!

A Serious Followup

The problem I have with hitting "Publish" on my more vituperative posts is that the minute I do that, I lose a good deal of the anger that fueled them in the first place. The coals still glow, but the flames have gone out. I can see why some people liken blogging to therapy, or at least acknowledge that blogging can serve a therapeutic purpose. It is certainly cathartic to get it all out in public.

That said, fuck my catharsis. There's a little bit more going on in the world right now than my precious, sacred feelings, although you'd never know that if you had to live with me. But I am not, for example, sitting here feeling grief and rage for the loss of my loved ones, or my friends, or the life I once knew*. I am sitting here feeling disgusted at myself, maybe, but we should all have such problems as middle-class white girl self-disgust.

I mean, if you really want to talk justice, justice would be that I trade places with an Iraqi woman, and then I can worry about who to fear more, the local insurgents or the people who say they're there to help, and she can have my cozy apartment and worry about when, when are they going to fix the other treadmill in the workout room? It's been months! And she can start a blog and chide me not to do anything silly like get myself raped and murdered because, damn, don't I know there's a war on? That shit makes America look bad. And when America looks bad, it's never the fault of Americans. It's the fault of all the haters out there who are just jealous that we have Brangelina and they don't.

So even though I have this nasty habit of shouting at people and then hiding from my own comments section when people follow my lead and start throwing down (don't they know how much I value civility?), I think under the extraordinarily shitty circumstances the rock-bottom least I can do is address some of it. From a longtime friend, a typically intelligent question**:

How could anyone have ever supported A WAR that was motivated by a desire to "experiment"?

Hey, don't ask me--ask the man I got the phrase from:

"What is the worst thing that can happen in our country?" Franks asked rhetorically. "Two steps. The first step would be a nexus between weapons of mass destruction . . . and terrorism." The second step would be "the western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we've seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy."

Franks suggested that a "massive casualty-producing event" might cause "our population to question our own Constitution and begin to militarize our country."

The irony--that we've managed to question (boy howdy!) our own Constitution regardless--has of course been noted.

Anyway, I'd been reading that last link and the phrase had stuck in my head and I popped it in ironically.

More earnestly, though: The problem, generally, when Americans speak of "experiments in democracy," is how often they forget what the fuck experiments actually are. There's no guarantee than any "experiment" will produce a predicted or desired outcome, unless you were me in freshman physics lab, hastily copying the smart table's data to make things "come out right." Then you've got yourself a guarantee. But here it should be noted that (1) I got solid C's in physics, which is certainly nothing to aspire to, and (2) there are whole galaxies of difference between finagling the data to achieve the hoped-for outcome in a friction experiment, and finagling the data to achieve the hoped-for outcome in a foreign country. And the chief difference is, you can do the first and who cares anyway, we already know that Friction Is; but you cannot do the second, and you damned well better care about that, because otherwise you're saying you don't care about humanity and, hint for the slow out there, that isn't hyperbole.

When you say, as Jonah Goldberg recently did, that even though the experiment was a failure it was still worth performing, even though in this particular experiment your lab rats were other human beings, you can't count yourself a fan of humanity. I'm sorry. I might forgive a delayed realization of exactly what democracy-as-experiment requires you to believe about human beings (it is unpleasantly similar to what communism under Stalin required you to believe about human beings; Google "walter duranty omelet eggs," or just see here), but that delay is very, very short, and I'm only granting any at all because I can afford to, what with no one having bombed the shit outta me today or even lately or actually at all, ever, and because I am in poor position to point fingers and call Iraq-war-supporting Americans fools, when like half my stuff's still littered all over that neighborhood. Most of it's at the corner of Purple Fingers Mean Freedom Boulevard and Sorry About Your Cousin Zeyad Street.

By the way, to anyone who's doing something so silly as to give me props for the last post, let me point out that I read about Zeyad's cousin nearly three years ago now, and while I felt tremendous anger at the fucking morons Zeyad described plaguing his comments, it nonetheless never occurred to me that as go the party faithful, so goes the party. Thus, that there could ever be any connection between the "ur lying d00d Americans dont kill peopul!" commenters at Zeyad's, and the bloodyminded denialist attitude of, say, the White House, went right over my fulla-air head. So for perspective, there you go, and don't throw me any parties, I'm agoraphobic anyhow.

*I don't know what you'll get when you click Raghda's blog, but I got a pop-under window from that was all like--well, here:

. . . which, there, that'll make you hate spammers, huh? OF ALL THINGS, in ALL PLACES, some hump had to stick that on the blog of a preteen girl whose family recently fled Iraq.

**Seriously very smart guy, and obviously smarter than me, though that is no kind of standard. Plus wicked hot, naturally.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Meryl's Cat (not a typo; see this link for explanation) Gracie has surgery tomorrow.

Please humor me with a quick visit and some kind words for them both. You know how my heart bleeds for hurt animals, so go. Thank you.

I Can't Seem to Make My Blog a Safe Space for Men's Rights Activists*

Something that's tiring me out in various comments threads across the feminist blogosphere: Complaints that Hugo Schwyzer allows, even encourages, too much activity from men's rights activists (MRAs), at his blog.

These comments can't merely be made ON Hugo's blog, because he just doesn't get it!!! Maybe if we tell him on 3 or 10 or even 20 other blogs!!! Maybe then he'll listen to agree with us!!!

I have this little idea: Maybe, if you feel that way, you should read another blog.

I know what you're thinking: You're a feminist! And Hugo's a pro-feminist ostensibly writing a pro-feminist blog! Therefore, Hugo's blog should be a safe space for feminists and pro-feminists! NOT MRAs!


Maybe I just don't get it either, but here's what I'm thinking. I'm thinking the internet is enormous and vast and has plenty of room for blogs that range all over the spectrum of tolerance. There are blogs that are password-protected and don't tolerate anything but fawning comments from a handful of trusted friends. There are sites like Slashdot that let their users set thresholds to filter out comments they don't want to see--fully customized tolerance of opposing opinions right there at your finger tips. There is a blog that exists to advance the radical feminist views of Twisty Faster. There is this blog, which exists to help me postpone chores and errands. It is called the world wide web for a reason.

Me personally, I don't want the kinds of guys who haunt Hugo's to come over here, and I probably wouldn't tolerate them to the extent that he does. But I'm glad someone draws these goofballs out of their safe spaces for men, holds them up to the light, and lets the rest of us recoil in disgust from their true natures. That's right: I'm making the "it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it" argument. Because someone does, in my view, indeed have to do it. In a few minutes I'm going to sit down and transcribe dictation by women and men whose jobs include hot-biopsying polyps out of people's colons, because the alternative is to risk that they** grow. It really makes me angry. Here these polyps thought they had finally made themselves a Safe Space for Suspicious Growths but those gastroenterologists, I don't know, it's like they just don't get it!!!

So look, outraged internet feminists, a petite suggestion: Suppose you try laying off Hugo and making YOUR OWN BLOG a sooper-safe place for feminists. I won't complain. Hell, I'll probably read it. I probably already do.

*Sorry, The Onion.

**The polyps, I mean--not people's colons. Now wouldn't that be something!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How to Disrespect Wal-Mart

As I tried to explain here, some people get in over their heads disrespecting Wal-Mart and should really not bother.

There is no need for these mistakes to be made! Disrespecting Wal-Mart is in fact almost too easy. Steve Gilliard gets it perfectly in his response to (behind the Times Select wall) columnist John Tierney:

Wal-Mart doesn't alliviate poverty, it spreads it like a virus.

How? In China and the developing world, it demands greater and greater price savings on factory owners, who have to use repressive methods to keep their employees. It's so bad, the Chinese government has allowed Wal Mart workers to unionize.

In the US, Wal Mart' s predatory pricing forced Rubbermaid to close, and forces other suppliers to ship work overseas to meet Wal Mart's pricing demands.

Every contract, Wal Mart demands greater savings from producers, demanding cost cutting. Most of the brand names sold in Wal Mart are substandard products with the same brand name. Snapper refused to sell to Wal Mart because of that practice.

Wal Mart's low wage policy is the worst in the retail industy, they spend more on commercials than actual health care for their workers. Certainly people in Chicago and Maryland didn't feel that Wal Mart was lifting people out of poverty, having passed bills concerning health care and wages.

See also Echidne of the Snakes, from which blog I got the Gilliard link. Rebutting Tierney's asinine, purely rhetorical question about whether Sam Walton has done more for poor people than recent Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Echidne says:

Wal-Mart makes its owners very rich, true. But it doesn't encourage the type of moral and spiritual growth in them as the microlending schemes do to their participants. Think about the way the poor have no collateral to offer for these loans, so the need for it is replaced by personal reputation and honor. And almost all loans are paid back! This is because the loans are evaluated in a group of locals who already have had microloans themselves, and the social knowledge, support and perhaps pressure, too, are used in place of money as a collateral. I can see problems in this system but compared to the traditional banking system those problems are nothing. It's important to remember that microlending schemes have largely helped women who have no access to traditional credit in most developing countries.

You can refer, over and over if need be, to the above two examples of how to criticize Wal-Mart without sounding like an elitist asshole. But what if life's got you down, things are crazy at work, the family's all up in your business, and you need just a quick, simple reference? Where's Bashing Wal-Mart for Dummies?

Well, one brain-dead person to another, and at the risk of sounding pompous, here's at least a chapter of Bashing Wal-Mart for Dummies. It's free and worth about as much. And you're welcome!

Chapter 5: Summing up What We've Learned as "Dos" and "Don'ts"

DO criticize Wal-Mart's morally repugnant labor practices.

Example: "I cannot believe Wal-Mart prevents its employees from working full-time just to save on benefits costs. That is despicable."
Example: "Did you see that on the news about Wal-Mart encouraging its employees to 'explore' public assistance? Welfare: It's not just for people without jobs anymore."

DON'T criticize Wal-Mart's employees.

Example: "Gag me; if I had to wear such a sad-ass uniform I would DIE."
Example: "WHY are these checkout people so SLOW? They get PAID, don't they?"

DO criticize Wal-Mart's soul-crushing ambience.

Example: "Why is every Wal-Mart even uglier than the last Wal-Mart I was in?"
Example: "Tell me why I shop here again. Is it the ugliness? Is there something mesmerizing to a very dark part of my soul about the ugliness?"

DON'T tell your fellow Wal-Mart shoppers how much better Target is (this goes double if you are James Lileks).

Example: "I mean, here they just throw everything everywhere, but at Target it's like organized."
Example: "Here it's all so grim and sterile, with blue accents. But in Target it's all grim and sterile with RED accents. And red is kind of a peppier color, don't you think?"
Example: "At least at Target they speak-a da English, you know? This is America."

DO mourn the deaths of "Mom-n-Pop" stores.

Example: "Right across from here, catty-corner like, used to be the best lil' camera shop."

DON'T blame the deaths of "Mom-n-Pop" stores on Wal-Mart shoppers.

Example: "I guess these yokels just don't care that my partner and I have nowhere to go antiquing anymore." (P.S.: No, they totally don't.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Link While I'm Sorting Out Thoughts on Something Else

To jump into the trainwreck, or not to jump into the trainwreck? And, am I being dismissive and insulting by referring to it as a trainwreck? What if it really, really, really looks like one? These questions are the instruments of my torment.

Knowing myself I will probably jump in. What's life without a little risk, or something.

In the meantime, though, here's something from a woman who can actually get her shit together long enough to write well about it:

I wanted to comment on this post of Helen's back when it first appeared, but then I got distracted (see above). She's discussing On Beauty by Zadie Smith (which I haven't read myself) and, more generally, self-loathing in women.

Part of the reason I hesitated to comment at the time was because I got hung up wondering what factors enabled me to . . . well, I don't know that I should say escape the self-loathing thing, but I do think it's less an issue for me than it is for some, at least with regards to looks and appearance. Now that I think about it, I certainly do loathe myself for other things from time to time, some having to do with meeting the bullshit standards of traditional femininity ("Oh no, there's a ball of cat fur rolling around the kitchen floor like a tumbleweed across the plain; what would my mother say?") and some of the ordinary variety all human beings experience now and then, which in my own case usually goes something like, "Did I really knock back that much vodka last night? Did I knock back that much vodka and then get on the internet? Fuck, did I post anything? Please tell me I emailed no one, commented nowhere, and posted nothing. PLEASE."

But what's bugging me is that I feel like I should apologize, in a way, for NOT hating my body. Or: The line I had originally right after ". . . less an issue for me than it is for some" in this post was, "Keep in mind that it could just be that I am enormously conceited." I think I feel compelled to be self-effacing about it because deep down I recognize that I, me-myself-I, probably have jack-diddly to do with this fortunate circumstance. I got lucky and had some good role models, or my love of food just outweighs (ho, HO!) my love of chic size-6 clothing. I have no idea; I just doubt I can personally take any credit for it, and I don't want to imply to any of y'all that I think I deserve some.

Anyway, read Helen's thoughts about beauty and loathing, 'cause mine are clearly in a mess, just like the kitchen floor.

While I am recommending you some Helen, let me add that this is one of my favorite pictures of hers. That wig! How much do I want that wig? It is awesome, just like Helen.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Few Unserious Remarks About This Deeply Unserious War

My Wicked-Unserious Reasons for Supporting the War in Iraq in the First Place:

I never did buy the WMD argument, and I'm not even sure how the idea that Saddam Hussein had some direct connection to September 11 got out there, but that wasn't it either. No, mostly I had it figured this way: We're a country hooked on oil. For years, decades, we'd been trying to placate the Middle East out of fear of losing that oil. Of course, we'd also done a few really fucked-up things to it in the course of trying to hang onto that oil, but, well, we're America! We've only been at this country business for 230 years! We make mistakes sometimes! We're still learning! Think of us as the bumbling fuckups toddlers of the world and chuckle at our playful antics.

And meanwhile you had this region of the world where we were hated and part of that hatred, I believed (and still believe, to some extent) came from scapegoating by some of the leaders in that region. I knew that Wahabbism grew unchecked in Saudi Arabia because it kept young people--young men, I should say--from turning against their own kleptocracy. Can't topple the House of Saud when you're busy plotting the fall of Western civilization. (I also knew, but ignored, that the U.S. had traditionally turned a blind eye towards this because the Saudis are our friends, meaning, they have oil.) I knew that rank anti-Semitism, blaming the Jews for everything, was another way people in power in the Middle East held onto that power.

And I thought, what would tamp down this America-hating furor in the Middle East would be if things were better for the people who live there. People don't talk murder when they're comfortable. They don't plot suicide missions when they're enjoying their lives.

And I thought, well, isn't it convenient, then, that we've got this sanctions-defying despot in Iraq just sitting there, all but begging us to overthrow him, and wouldn't it be a Grand Experiment in Democracy if we gave Iraq a little makeover? Besides, that one son of his is really an asshole to women.

In other words, most of the neocon arguments made at the time, I agreed with. Because I was a total fucking idiot, and also an optimist. Little kids are often optimists, too--always looking forward to things--holidays and weekends and trips to the park and candy.

What I Think Now:

I think Donald Rumsfeld's an ill-tempered, overbearing, incompetent ass who shouldn't be allowed to plan invasions of Barbie's Dream House with units of Transformers. When you can't take criticism, any criticism, of your efforts, you can't fix problems resulting from your efforts. You're too busy pretending those problems don't exist.

I think the only way you can pretend Iraq is "working" or that violence is occurring in "minor" incidences or that any of this was a "good idea," for the U.S. or for Iraq, is if you ignore the people paying the price for this project. You have to ignore how many of them there have been and you have to ignore the decline in the quality of life and you have to ignore (and I think this administration finds it awfully easy to ignore) the violence and brutality against Iraq's women:

'Of course rape is going on,' says Aida Ussayaran, former deputy Human Rights Minister and now one of the women on the Council of Representatives. 'We blame the militias. But when we talk about the militias, many are members of the police. Any family now that has a good-looking young woman in it does not want to send her out to school or university, and does not send her out without a veil. This is the worst time ever in Iraqi women's lives. In the name of religion and sectarian conflict they are being kidnapped and killed and raped. And no one is mentioning it.'

No, why would they? Women aren't people.

Women activists are convinced there is substantial under-reporting of crimes against women in some areas, particularly involving 'honour killing' - there is a massive increase against a background of pervasive violence - and that families often seek death certificates that will hide the cause. In regions such as the violent Anbar province, the country's largest, which borders Jordan and Syria, there is little reporting of the causes of any death. And activists complain, in any case, that they have been blocked from examining bodies at the Medical Forensic Institute in Baghdad, or collecting their own figures to build up an accurate picture of what is happening to women.

Remember how enraged everyone on the right was about honor killings? And how feminists don't talk about them enough? Those were the days, huh?

While attacks on women have long been the dirty secret of Iraq's war, the sheer levels of the violence is now pushing it into the open. Last week in Samawah, 246 kilometres (153 miles) south of Baghdad, three women and a toddler were killed when gunmen stormed their home in an unexplained mass murder. Like Dr al-Tallal in Najaf, they were Shia Muslims in a Shia city. The three women were shot. The 18-month-old baby had her throat slit.

Those of you who care more about Teh Babeez than you do about women? THERE'S YOUR BEAUTIFUL MARTYRED ANGEL BABY.

I want to go back to something: This--

We blame the militias. But when we talk about the militias, many are members of the police.

And who trained the police? Who had to do a quick-and-dirty job of it because there wasn't enough time and weren't enough troops to do it properly? Who architected this lean-n-mean invasion that was bound not to leave enough time or enough warm bodies? Furthermore, which country's men still have such downright shitty attitudes about women, attitudes encouraged and nurtured everywhere, from church to media, from government to pop culture, that it is highly unlikely that even if there had been hundreds of thousands more warm bodies to train the Iraqi police with, things would have worked out any differently?

Right, that'd be my country.

Meanwhile, the internet's self-appointed Keepers of the Seriously Fucking Serious are seriously brainstorming about how to fix this fucking mess, right? Right?

Glenn Reynolds: "Border security doubleplus ungood . . . Bob Ney took money . . . Harry Reid takes money too . . . please, quit silencing Peggy Noonan . . . Air America bankrupt . . . uh, podcast . . . Sandy Berger . . . got a book about other wars I didn't serve in, either, here . . . ."

Pajamas Media: "There's that podcast again . . . vote on what label to use for the useful idiots who, despite their professed hatred of both major political parties, are nonetheless duped into voting for one or the other of them again and again and again . . . major hot stories: the November election, Foley, North Korean crisis, 'the Mideast.'" In fairness, "the Mideast" does contain a couple of links to stories about a BRITISH commander calling for the withdrawal of troops. I am sure this is a very silly and utterly unserious commander, because how else could this be possible? You simply have to love the British sense of humor, haven't you?

"The Mideast" is also your go-to source for an interview with Lynndie Englund titled, I'm so not fucking kidding about this, "A Soldier's Tale." It's like a great big "fuck you" to non-prisoner-abusing soldiers everywhere!

Hot Air: "Here's today's Vent, featuring Hot Air Gals Mary Katherine Ham, LaShawn Barber, Michelle Malkin, and Kirsten Powers, just like The View, but with more crazy . . . North Korea . . . Air America . . . tax-and-spend liberals--no, really, LIBERALS . . . ooh, I just hate Keith Olbermann . . . WAIT! What's this?

Both option papers would compel America to open dialogue with Syria and Iran, two rogue states that Iraqi leaders and American military commanders say are providing arms and funds to Iraq’s insurgents.

Bush isn’t going to do any of this, of course. Middle East democracy is the core of his foreign policy; it’d be like FDR repudiating the New Deal on the advice of a panel of economists.

So, what now?


The Corner: "Air America . . . Air America . . . send money to Aleuts . . . press passivity . . . press passivity . . . AIR AMERICA!"

Darleen Click: "Supreme Court buttons question . . . TREASON . . . video of the podcast referenced above and EVERWHAR . . . children need unstructured play time (note: I agree)."

So see, here's the deal: Of course a discussion on the pros and cons of feminine drag and its place, if any, in feminism, must seem "unserious" to people who are better at advocating fuckups than fixing them. Of course! I do indeed get that lip gloss is unserious. Do you get that pretending our fuckup in Iraq is going to do anything but haunt and threaten this country, our country, for years if we're lucky, decades if we aren't, is also rather unserious? Do you get that, in hindsight, maybe focusing on who's bashing the Bush Administration instead of focusing on who's driving around Iraq in Opels, shooting women and slitting children's throats, was perhaps unserious? Do you get that you are never to step to me with this "unserious" shit again? Of course I focus on the unserious; to do otherwise would require I face up to the fact that I helped create the intensely serious mess we are in today. I am unserious, but I do not pretend to be otherwise. It is the seriously unserious, the professionally unserious, the punditaciously unserious (AIR AMERICA!) with whom you should have perhaps one or two words.

Do you get that I am oh-so-fucking serious about this? Because I am, deeply.

UPDATE: The Committee for the Furtherance of Serious and Civil Discourse regrets the necessity of linking Mr. Clarke twice in one week, as it is a most unseemly and unserious act of the sort likely to inspire all manner of wild rumor-mongering upon the internets; nevertheless, this Committee is, by its mission, compelled to request that Mr. Clarke quit goofing around already and get serious.

Oh, wait.

UPDATE 10/20/2006: I can't shut up.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This Is How I Do It

To Chris Clarke's excellent blog policy, which I am co-opting in full as of right fucking now and retroactively, I append only one item:

I am not a role model: You'd think people would have wrapped their heads around this back when Charles Barkley first said it, but no. Some people still think that if your audience is large enough, you're a role model regardless of your own wishes in that regard, and you'd better behave in accordance with the bylaws of Rolemodelville, population You.

This blog is small. And something I've realized over the past couple of weeks is that I unconsciously work to keep it small. I do this in one way I can't help and in one way that I can. The way I can't help is, I'm not very good at this. The way I can help is, when my traffic levels get beyond my comfort zone--and that zone is tiny, I mean under 100 visitors a day if you strip out the search engines, because I basically relate to other human beings from a position of terror*--I stop posting. I tell myself I don't have anything to say, even though I usually have TONS of things I'd like to post about at the time, and I just fuck off for a week or two or, as has been rather acidly observed by readers in the past, months.

And I do this because too many people, myself included, have begun to treat the internet like their televisions. I don't care what you want to blame for this; the point is, it happens, and I contribute to it myself. I ripped into a woman blogger on another site recently in a way that I am ashamed of and appalled by. And I did this because I had stopped seeing her as a fallible human being with a weblog and started seeing her as That One Actress (Character?) on That One Show Who Really, Really Pisses Me Off.

That's dehumanizing. It is also unfeminist.

So I write this as much to remind myself as anyone that blogging is not my prime-time drama, or yours, but there is good news: It turns off almost as easily. Do that before you start putting people who write for free on pedestals just for the fun of knocking them off of them whenever they fail to satisfy you. Because if I ever overcome my meager abilities and my fear of being widely read, I can promise you one thing: I will not be a role model. If I have 1000, 10,000, or 100,000 visitors a day, I will not be a role model. And I will have nothing but contempt for anyone who tries to force me into being one.

As usual, this has all been said better already, here and here.

*Feel free to discuss how this vantage point might or might not contribute to my putting off posting my five things feminism has done for me, for example. I am scared that my five things are going to suck all kinds of ass in relation to everyone else's five things. Or I am just lazy. Or both.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Equality means Thou Shalt Not Reduce Thy Coworker To A Collection Of Body Parts. Here endeth the lesson.

Ginger at Diary of a Freak Magnet explains sexual harassment to the dumb while the rest of us point and laugh at the coworker she identifies only as "El Estúpido Inappropriate Male Colleague." It is, in other words, awesome.

(Via Ego! Ego! Ego!, and make sure you hit that link because it's a roundup of other good stuff, and I'm not even saying that because it includes something of mine, honest.)

Silly Online Generator Forced Into Overtime

Aw, look, the internet's gone crazy. That almost never happens.

Excuses That Weren't Valid When You Were Six and Aren't Valid Now, Either:

* "Well, but they did it too, kind of."

* "You're only mad because [preposterous canard such as 'you secretly hate gay people']."

* "You should be happy! I thought your side loved [group erroneously conflated with subject under discussion, i.e. 'gay people' with 'creepy old predators']."

* "Now you're just being partisan." (Said with feigned innocence, as though you wouldn't be all over this if the affiliations were reversed, which is of course an enormous WHOPPER, and not the kind that comes between two saggy-assed steamed bun halves, either.)

* "Technically, it wasn't x, it was some-y-only-marginally-less-than-x."

And a Simple Test:

1. I am defending actions I wouldn't want taken against my own children:

Score 100 points for every "FALSE" answer; have yourself sterilized for every "TRUE" answer.

Bonus Followup Questions:

1. If I am appalled by the behavior of one individual, I should out a completely different individual, because that individual shares web space with the individual I really have my problems with:

2. I answered "TRUE," above, because it's totally okay to do this to anyone I deem to be a shitbag lying liar Rethuglican.

3. I answered "TRUE," above. I do not comprehend the meaning of the phrase, "compounding the problem." Also, I am an asshole.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Neat. Via Pandagon. As for "Frisco Independent School District," that refers to this, which is via Feministe.

Say, that reminds me: I've been meaning to write a letter to the white-flight ex-burbs of Dallas for some time now. Lemme just dash that off right quick:

Dear Frisco, Plano, Allen, McKinney, and any and all of your future offspring:

No matter how far away you move from the city, "minorities" will always catch up with you. It turns out they also are fond of nice houses, nice neighborhoods, and good school districts. Who knew?

While you remain shitting yourselves in terror of that eventuality, may I ask that you please refrain from using your cellphones while careening down 190, aka the President George Bush Turnpike, in your motherfucking SUVs. Thank you.

You know something? I don't miss you assclowns a bit.



P.S. I still owe the North Texas Tollway Authority money and I don't care.

There, that's over with. Well, back to bed.

This Post Could Save a Life

My troll's, anyway. I fear Gower may be on the verge of aneurysm:

what's that the sound of again, oh yes hypocrisy

when a conservative female blogger makes a snide remark about a female liberal blogger there's a ton of outrage

when a liberal male blogger calls a conservative female blogger a slut and brandishes what he calls a half-naked photo of her to prove his point that turns out to be a photoshop, there's a yawning silence... because that of course is not about the male patriarchy putting a woman in her place

as usual feminist ideals only apply to women on your side of aisle, and like all the other liberal ideals that claim to defend any minority...that only applies to minorities on the liberal side of the aisle, the women, blacks, gays who aren't, there's open season on them

My! And all this because no one's figured out a way to deport Nick Denton yet!

It pains me to have to explain concepts to conservatives that they should already know--indeed, that are central to conservatism--but for Gower's health I'll do it anyhow: Gower, there is no free lunch. Also, mugging people is wrong.

And what antifeminist conservatives do when they demand--DEMAND!--that a feminist get their backs the one fucking time they're willing to acknowledge that, well, all right okay, I guess sexism maybe sort of kinda is still a problem, is the equivalent of a mugging, because what's supposed to happen is, I give them my support as a feminist and in return I get nothing. If anything I get less than nothing, because my support does not immunize me from being attacked later on by that very antifeminist.

There actually are people who will give you something for nothing. A Mormon missionary will happily hand you a free Book of Mormon. A Scientology drone would be delighted to give you a free personality test. Feminism, however, is not religion, and I am not its missionary. I don't have to do a damn thing to help someone stab me in the back later.

Here is what I think about what happened to Michelle Malkin: Exactly what you'd expect me to think (if you were anyone but Gower). I think it was abhorrent of one of Denton's boobs to steal another woman's photos, paste Michelle's head onto one of them, and then go "ha, ha, hypocrite" at her. I wish some people who are still referring to the photos as though they might be real would get off the fence about that because, please, they clearly, verifiably aren't, and using modifiers like "allegedly" to describe them just makes me think you're hedging because you wish they were real, because wouldn't it be so cool if Michelle Malkin really had been a Girl Gone Wild? And I say to you, no, no it wouldn't. It would be terrifying.

So with any luck my troll has learned something. Here is a short list of concepts I hope he has learned:

*** Feminists can say "sexism is bad, even when it happens to other sexists," without being obligated to hop in their Feministmobiles and peel out to rescue a sexist victim of sexism.

*** I do not wish to party with Michelle Malkin under any circumstances.

*** Nick Denton is a very embarrassing person.

*** Ken Layne is a sad and mentally ill hack (I hadn't actually got to this part, but just pretend that I had).

*** I hadn't got to this part either, but:

I don't consider it pointless to hold up a mirror to liberals who think racist ping-pong ball jokes are respectable discourse. The Wonkette editors slimed me with that in response to a light-hearted Vent episode I did on the lack of conservative speakers at commencement addresses. For not laughing along with their senseless abuse, I'm considered a prude.

I don't consider it pointless to note that the hate-filled cowards at Gawker Media have a pattern of repeatedly smearing and attempting to humiliate me. I have ignored most of their petty, pointless jibes. But I would not let Friday's attack go unanswered. For responding to their idiocy, Wonkette guest Ken Layne accuses me of being a publicity seeker.

You posted the picture. You engaged in gratuitous insults. You had nothing better to write about.

But how dare I respond.

--Michelle is absolutely right about all the above. I don't blame her for having "cyclonic indignation" over this at all. Incidents such as this one are why I don't and will never post a photo of myself online. And I would urge anyone still snickering and whispering that well, maybe it isn't a Photoshop (seriously?--please cease being stupid) to consider that what goes around, comes around.