Friday, March 30, 2007

A Note About Scheduling

As most of my long-time readers know, I work nights--Tuesday through Saturday, 6 p.m. Eastern to 2:00 a.m. the following morning. This is Thing One to recall when you're wondering why I didn't participate in Blog Against This, That, or the Other Day, or why I didn't cover a topic close to your heart, even though just last week I wrote like all this stuff about a topic that interested me.

Thing Two to recall, which many of you may not know, is that I'm on a schedule at Pandagon. My posting slot is 2:00 p.m. Eastern. If you want me to link to something or write about something there, I need, I regret to say, at least 24 hours' notice.

I used to write just after waking up, before logging in for work (again: 6:00 p.m. Eastern, 4:00 p.m. my time), but that doesn't work with a noon-my-time "deadline." I just don't get up that early, and you wouldn't either if you hadn't even clocked out until midnight, on the nights you weren't working overtime.

So the only way I've found to make my posting slot is to write after I finish work, in the middle of the damn night. This works out to be kind of cool because then, by the time I get up the next day, it's all posted and usually already getting good comments. It's a fun way to start the day.

But it does mean I need to know about Your Very Special and Super-Important Blogger Action Alert the night before if you want to see it from me at Pandagon (of course, you can always try some of the other bloggers there, who have different time slots). And I don't mean to sound bitchy, but I really, really need people to grow up and deal with the fact that I'm doing this for free and for fun, and to quit trying to run the guilt trip on me because they've got some fucked-up idea in their heads that I'm just lazing around all day, stuffing bon-bons into my perfectly made-up face with my immaculately manicured fingers, moaning about how oppressive my White Feminist Lifestyle(TM) is.

In other words: I am going to be taking my own advice more often. Get ready to hear a lot more "no's" from me if you can't even acknowledge the constraints I'm under, as outlined above.

Treat me with a little respect and understanding and I'll happily return the favor. It's that simple.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I Am Tired of my Youth Coming Back to Haunt Me

In the course of researching an entirely different post, a post in which I lead off with an almost irrelevant tangent (so I should say, in the course of researching my irrelevant tangent) I ran across Google images of an old classmate of mine from Joaquin Miller Junior High School, Cupertino School District, 1980-1981.

He is an actor now, fairly famous, and I used to sit catty-corner from him in seventh grade graphic arts, and I hated him, skin to bone and back on up again. No role I have seen him in since, no interview I have read of his, has done a whole lot to change my mind about my initial preteen character assessment of him.

Fuck you, Sharon Beckhart. You were cute, but there were cuter in your peer group who were neither assholes nor rank anti-Semites.

Not like you.

UPDATE: This is what I was working on. It's garnering fairly good discussion, although of course there's a troll. There's always a troll, isn't there?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spoiler Alert

The Titanic? It sinks.

UPDATE: We just watched The Departed a couple days ago. Had I but known this existed, I could have watched it instead, and I'd have those hours of my life back.

Guaranteed argument-starter: King Missile to the contrary, Martin Scorsese does NOT make the best fucking films. Discuss.

Friday, March 23, 2007

People Who Are NOT Helping Me Get Any Work Done

You! And you! With your freak love! I just typed that a patient was a "59-year-old freakazoid," damn you!

I'll show you freak love!

UPDATE: Tell 'em what I am!

That . . . that is . . . that is A LOT of 80s hair. Damn.

Time for something smoother.


Which is just another way of saying you're all getting a couple Morris Day & The Time videos.

Viewers are hereby instructed to boggle at the band's introduction by George Steinbrenner (television is so weird sometimes), giggle at the way Morris works George into a joke mid-song, and, if so inclined, drool a little (or even a lot) over Jesse Johnson.

But the most important thing to do here is stick with it to the very end, when Jerome does the splits perfectly while wearing a three-piece suit.

Can you do that? I know I can't do that.

The Time could use better representation on the ol' YouTube. For example: While there are three live versions of 777-9311 available, sadly, two of them kind of suck. This is the one that does not suck:

Vaguely Time-related aside: If anyone ever sees "Can You Help Me?" by Jesse Johnson's Revue pop up on YouTube, holler at me. (For now you can hear it here by clicking the "Old School Wednesday" link. Disable pop-up blocking and scroll to track 9.)

OBVIOUS OBSERVATION OF THE YEAR AWARD: Well, duh, missy! I suppose the better thing for me to do would be to clutch desperately at the last remaining shreds of my hipster cred* by posting a Beck video? See, I thought not.

*Technically, this swipe at Roxanne fails on the grounds that I have never had any hipster cred to retain.

Dear Jackass Commenters Who Use Various Fake Email Addresses at a Certain Blog

I am SO TIRED of rescuing you from the moderation queue or the near-certain-death spam queue because you could not decide which fake email address was the best to use at the time. Did you know switching it around trips the spam filter on most blogs? Well, you do NOW.

Email me, and I will send you one of my 90-something Gmail invites still remaining, and you can use that address strictly to comment, and then never check it for any other purpose. I'm talking to YOU, Phoenician in a Time of Romans; "" or "xxx@yyy.zzz" were marginally clever email addresses in 2000, but we have since moved the fuck on, son.


Seriously? From now on I delete your precious comments, until or unless Amanda issues me a sharp reprimand for doing so, because in addition to tripping the Pandagon spam filter, you are tripping my nerd filter, and that's worse. Playing games with the spam filters because you're a privacy freak (and I say this as a confirmed privacy freak myself) is stupid; that is, mailinator exists for a reason.

Incidentally, I still consider you a rape apologist, and fuck your safe word. So I am not inclined to be merciful, you irritating dumbass.

There's a Reason I've Stayed Out of Music Discussions Since About 1994

Because it was about then that I decided I didn't hate my childhood so much, after all.

I don't claim it has redeeming value, except maybe to me.

UPDATE: Ooh! This is better:

That it's the three-minute-and-change version is criminal, but it's what's available, so I'll take it.

So Glad I Moved Here, Part 23

A lingering effect of my parents' decision to move the family to Phoenix when I was 12: I love the smell of wet dust in the air when it rains in the desert. It's kind of . . . you know.

I will leave it at that, as this is Not That Kind of Blog; plus it's Lent, and I've already been to confession once and I don't want to have to go again.

On the other hand, I have to go again anyway as part of my penance. Every three weeks! Ai yi yi. (For the same sin, my boyfriend had to say three Our Fathers. But remember: There's no such thing as patriarchy!)

Plus, it's Celebration of Female Desire week.

And I'm not a very good Catholic.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Curse You, Internet!

Working mandatory overtime sure is fun! I love the way it doesn't leave me any time to write or think.

But I must throw out some links real quick because the internet doesn't slow down or wait for no grunt worker like myself. These are all topics I would like to write a little bit about if I had the time, which I don't:

The Unapologetic Mexican: The White Lens (The White Idea)

Some of you may have noticed the reaction to Nezua's recent 2006 Colonizers of the Year Award post over at Jesus' General. It's more or less the same reaction this post at Punkassblog got: "Isn't adopting children out of poverty and into A Better Life a good thing? I don't understand! Why are you so mad at Angelina? You're making too much of this race business!" And so on, and so on. I even got the same go-round from the boyfriend and the best I could come up with at the time was to tell him to go watch this again and THEN tell me Angelina's completely above criticism. There's more going on here than just Kindly Celebrity Heals the World, One Impoverished Child at a Time. If you still don't get that, keep reading the unapologetic one until it sinks in.

Hugo Schwyzer: "Dukes Don't Emigrate:" More OKOP/NOKOP Reflections, and Wincing at the Use of the Term "Upper-Class"

This actually works in conjunction with Nezua's post above (I hope neither author is offended by my saying that): The whole concept of privilege depends upon the complicity of the privileged in never acknowledging that privilege exists. (Ditto "whiteness.") Or:

. . . here’s the thing: if there’s one maxim “our kind of people” all agreed on, it was that talking explicitly and publicly about class was prima facie evidence that you lacked it. Nothing could be more more NOKOP than to describe anything, be it a social gesture or a fashion accessory, as “classy.” Once, while at a family luncheon, I used the term “classy” to describe the play of one of John McEnroe’s opponents (we had just watched a Wimbleedon match on television.) From the reaction of a few of my older relatives, you would think I had dropped the f-bomb. “I think you want to say that his behavior was ‘gentlemanly’, dear” one of my elders advised me. Another suggested that “sporting” would have been an even more appropriate choice. I was about 14, and just starting to get the picture: we don’t talk about class.

I am tempted here to get into a whole thing about my maternal grandfather's funeral a couple years ago that illustrates this also. But no time! No time! We must press on!

The Anti-Essentialist Conundrum: About Shaquanda Cotton

Sylvia's updated this a couple times since I initially read it, so make sure to read the whole thing. My likely-inadequate short version: Shaquanda Cotton, a 14-year-old girl in Paris, Texas, has been sentenced to serve up to seven years for shoving a hall monitor. Shaquanda's mother says it's discrimination. The school and the judge say they're only trying to protect Shaquanda from the bad influence of her mother, to which I say, "Hey, look, I thought my own mother was a bad influence once upon a time, but I sure didn't aspire to have a judge send me to juvie to be protected from her." Anyway, I favor the mother's viewpoint on this one:

“Shaquanda came from a very structured home. She didn’t run around; she didn’t get out in the street; she didn’t do drugs; she didn’t drink alcohol; she didn’t do any of those things because I didn’t let her,” Creola Cotton said. “The only reason that they could give that Shaquanda should be removed from my home is that I filed complaints against the school and the police department. So how does that make me an unfit parent?”

Because you're teaching her to play the race card, Ms. Cotton! Don't you know how upsetting that is?

I can't shake the feeling that what the school would really like to do is to lock up Creola. Your mileage may vary, but check out all the links Sylvia's got before you make up your mind.

Punkassblog: On Trolling and Punkassblog

I am adopting this as my official comments policy right now. The whole thing with trolls is, they want to pretend that it's so hard to tell when they're trolling. It is NOT so hard to tell; it's fairly easy, in fact. Marc lays out why.

And that's it. These colonoscopy reports aren't going to type themselves, you know.

Monday, March 19, 2007

But Enough of my Petty Problems

Do I worry, when I clock in for work, whether I will be arrested mid shift? No.

If I were a parent, would I need to fear being forcibly separated from my children while I worked? Would I fear not being able to find them, not being able to pick them up from day care, not knowing where they were or how they were being treated? No.

When I'm working and I get thirsty, I get up and get a glass of water from the pretty filtering pitcher in the refrigerator. I don't beg for a drink from a stranger, only to be told I must share one little water bottle among a dozen equally thirsty coworkers.

Usually I put fresh ice in my water, too. "Ice" for me means "frozen water." It is not a word of power or fear for me. It is not an acronym in my life. I attach no negative connotations to it.

I have an apartment full of cheap crap, yes. But I never worry, when there is a knock on the door, that someone has come to separate me from any of it, to separate me from those I love, to separate me from the home I have made here.

I am permitted to stay here and surround myself with cheap crap. I am allowed to clock in and out, to work, to earn money in relative peace and air-conditioned comfort. I am permitted to do all these things through no special skill or ability (beyond that needed to do my job, of course) of my own. I am able to do these things because of an accident of birth, because of where I was born and because of where the woman to whom I was born was born.

Best of all, I am able to go my whole life never seeing any of it. If I don't want to look, I don't have to. If I don't want to listen, no one will make me. If I don't want to do anything about it, I will not be punished for failure to act. No penance is imposed because, with all due respect, sir, I'm a white lady. I can do anything.

Did I say that was the best part of all? I lied. The best part of all is that if I do open my eyes, clean out my ears, and get off my ass, I'm totally entitled to a cookie for being one of the good white ladies. Or I think I'm entitled to one; anyway, it's all the same to me, and I'm going to whine for that cookie all the louder the more you suggest I don't deserve it.

Because you're wrong. I'm what matters. Meeeeeeeee. And my food processor, of course. When are we going to focus on the important shit, like getting me a food processor?

I mean, these people were in the country illegally, right? So what if they wear themselves out making our military vests and our Rockports and our Coach bags. Besides, they all took those jobs from the real Americans. The real Americans are those Americans who cleverly arranged for their ancestors to come to the United States the right way, from the good countries across the Atlantic, instead of the wrong way, from the bad countries south of us.

No, they've got to go. Back where they came from. Or Texas, close enough.

Do you disagree?

Then do something. Write your Congressional representatives (here's a sample letter). Spread the word. If you are in Boston, get involved locally.

If the New Bedford raids had been something the Iraqi government whipped on hundreds of Kurdish workers, we'd care. If it were the English against the Irish, we'd care. If it were the Thai versus the Hmong, we'd care.

Instead, this happened in our country. We have no excuse not to care.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I Need Money

Sorry I've been slacking off here and at Pandagon. It's just, I realized tax day's coming up. Guess who can't afford to have money taken out during the year? So guess who always owes, even though she's lucky to clear $15,000 a year?

Take that, all you "oh the poor don't pay taxes" assholes. Yes, they do. I do.

Anyway, I haven't saved anything for tax day. Luckily, there's been plenty of work available at my job, and when I absolutely must, I can take advantage of that. They pay me by line rate at my job--it's something like eight cents per 65-character line, including spaces. This last week I've kept my nose to the grindstone and have been averaging around 240 lines an hour. You work out what that is in dollars and cents; I'm too tired, and my wrists hurt from all this typing.

Other things requiring me to focus more on work-for-pay than work-for-free:

* My food processor broke in December. It's a funny thing about that: I know I sound like a spoiled brat for saying I have a hard time making do without a food processor. But guess what? I'm a spoiled brat, and I have a hard time making do without a food processor. Without a food processor, there's no buy-the-cheese-in-bulk and grate-it-your-damn-self savings (I am not this patient--although, doesn't that look pretty? Besides, I haven't got a microplane zester, which is a whole other tragedy). Without a food processor, there is no homemade hummus.

Most importantly, however: Without a food processor, I . . . okay, look: You know how you'll see some guy barreling down the road in the biggest, ugliest Hummer money can buy? And you know how you'll be all like, "Ha, ha, that guy must have the smallest penis in the world?" Well, without a food processor, I feel like that guy, only, five minutes after you repossessed his Hummer. That food processor, in addition to being a fantastically handy appliance, was a SYMBOL. It was a proud, defiant symbol of the fact that I cook--despite never really having been taught to, despite living in a country where the temptation not to cook never really lets up. I would have to go into a whole bunch of boring stuff here about my stupid issues with my mother to explain this properly. I'm not going to do that, so please accept the short version: That food processor was part of my identity, and I miss it. I am currently saving up for this one.

* Remember the day I got that call from my boyfriend's parents and they said they were going to land on my doorstep in about 4 hours? Remember how I did all this cleaning to get ready for their arrival? What I didn't tell you was that in the course of all that cleaning, I removed the glass top insert to my dining room table and then, what with one thing and another, but mostly thanks to my own clumsy ass, IT BROKE. I mean shattered, all over the entryway. So now I have no table. I need a dining room table. Right now the boyfriend eats at the desk and I eat over the kitchen counters, or vice versa, and it sucks. What with the missing table and the missing food processor, why cook at all? Hey, did you know Jack in the Box serves breakfast all day? Somehow it doesn't feel so wrong to eat bachelor-fashion if I'm just wolfing down some crappy breakfast sandwich anyhow.

* I hate, hate, hate my duvet cover, and I know where I can get an 800-thread-count one that will fit better than the one I have for SIXTY DOLLARS, ONLY, but when I am tempted I remember that (1) we can't go on eating Jack in the Box forever and (2) it's about time to retire the goose down comforter for the summer anyway.

* I'm not even going to tell you I will tell you also a little bit about my broken-down dresser that I inherited from the furniture that used to be in my (then-little) brother's room. It is thirty years old; it looks twice that. An entire drawer is missing. It is all busted up and cheap and ugly and ready to fall down on one or two of the cats or, with my luck, my fat head.

So I need money, and rather than beg you for it, I'd just as soon work.

Some spring break I am having! Well, it beats being dead.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Misogyny: It's elementary

So last week, a friend of mine goes to some springtime event at her oldest children's elementary school, and while she's there, she observes a man in a Harley-Davidson t-shirt. Which was no big deal, until he turned around. The back of the shirt had this to say:

If you can read this, the bitch fell off.

This is wrong on so very many levels, that it leaves one almost sputtering with rage.

The fact that this "gentleman" thought it an appropriate shirt to wear to an elementary school event is actually the least offensive aspect of the shirt. The basic misogyny, the disrespect of women as a whole, and the utter tastelessness and lack of humor involved in wearing this shirt--there are just so many levels of offensiveness.

Overall, I think the wearer of that shirt was utterly unaware of the subtitle that most people probably thought once the shock of the shirt wore off:

I'm not with stupid. I am stupid.

At least, that's what the shirt says to me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Women Should Be Pedestals; Barring That, Tables

How many times do I say that women are not objects? How many clever new ways do people find to insist otherwise?

But you can't saaaaayyy anything, because it's aaaaarrrt.


(Via Feministe.)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Stealth sexism

I just want to say, that I'm watching Return of the Jedi because HBO has been running it ad nauseum, and it's the speeder chase, and Leia stays about twenty feet away from the Storm Trooper and he shoots her and she falls off the speeder (at a speed which should have killed her, but let's not be picky about that), and her Storm Trooper looks back to gloat and then crashes into a tree stump and dies—a very passive way to kill a man.

Meantime, Luke is going neck-and-neck and speeder-to-speeder with his Storm Trooper, all manly and macho, and he causes the death of his Storm Trooper by old-fashioned, well, manliness. Luke crashes into the guy until he goes off course and crashes, while Luke, of course, misses the tree through his superior piloting skills. Nothing passive, all aggressive.

And so, the stealth sexism affects yet another generation, at least until Lara Croft shows up in all of her full-breasted glory.

Yeah, that last was sarcasm.

The Beatings Will Continue, Etc.

It has come to my attention that some commenters are not being very kind to each other! This is a kind blog. It exists so that people have somewhere to visit online and be nice to each other.

Okay, no it doesn't. But pretend it does, or I'm going to post more stuff like this:

With undying thanks to Daddyslittlegirl, who knows what it takes to make a commentariat behave itself. Trust me, that ain't the only doomsday weapon she has lying around. She has a whole arsenal, and I feel confident she'll be happy to share parts of it with me if I ask real nice.

Now be excellent to each other! It's my day off and I get enough fun moderating comments at Pandagon. I don't need this strife here, see?

Friday, March 09, 2007

The C-word


Do you feel the difference?

Women do.

Do you feel the contempt?

Women do.

Do you feel the hatred?

Women do.

Most women call it “the c-word.” Most of us can’t bear the sound of it. Most women think it is the single most devastating word you can use against us.

There is no equivalent insult to a man. None. When you say that the three words shown above are equivalent to “cunt,” you are lying, and what’s more, we all know you’re lying—and you know you’re lying.

When a man calls a woman a cunt, he is calling her nothing more than an object that he can thrust his dick into. "You're a cunt" means "I can fuck you." And when a man calls a woman a cunt in a certain way, he is also telling her that he can fuck her—whether or not she wants it. We hear it. We feel it. We know it. The message is received.

“Dick” has become synonymous with "jerk." Nobody ever uses “cunt” to mean “jerk.” It was a great laugh-line in the first X-Men movie: Wolverine hated Cyclops, Cyclops hated Wolverine, and when Wolverine was asked to prove he was himself and not the [female] shape-shifter, he said, “You’re a dick,” to Cyclops, who grinned and walked away. The audience laughed.

Picture that scene with the word “cunt” substituted. You can’t. Substitute two women in the scene, and then picture it with the word “cunt” used. You still can’t. That is not the way the word is used. The word "cunt" is used explicitly, exclusively, to reduce a woman's entire worth to her vagina, and to make her think that because she is a woman, and has a vagina, she is less than a man.

The purpose of calling a man a dick, a prick, even a cock? Not the same. The power is still there. He is still a man’s man, and what’s more, he is now the instrument that gets thrust into the cunt.

When a man wants to truly insult another man, these are the words he uses:

Cocksucker. Pussy. Faggot. Homo. Queer. Wuss.

All of these words mean: You are less than full male. And one of them is a synonym for—of course—“cunt.”

When a man wants to go for the big insult, this is what he says:

“Eat me.”
“Suck my dick.”
“Suck my cock.”

There is no reverse for a woman. It doesn’t work that way. It’s a power thing. These phrases are so much more than mere insult. When used against a woman, they are threats.

"Eat me." Translation: You are my inferior. Service me.
"Suck my dick." Translation: Get down on your knees and service me, bitch.
"Suck my cock." Translation: I can make you get down on your knees and service me. Bitch.

There is nothing—nothing—in the English language that converts these threats to the feminine form.

The tangents that men go on to prove that cunt is not really that much of an insult are smoke and mirrors. You can talk about etymology. You can talk about the commonality of the c-word in the U.K. You can talk about modern usage changing its meaning. You can talk about other hurtful words, and pretend that people are overreacting about their use, too. And we still know that when you call us cunt, you say it with contempt, and you use it with hate, and your only purpose is to




Spare us the bullshit. Spare us the lectures on getting over it. Spare us the discussion on taking back the word for ourselves. It was never ours to begin with. It was always yours, and it will always remain yours. We don't want it. The hurt, now—that will remain ours, for as long as that word is in use.


Do you feel the difference?

We do.

I'd Rather Be Dead

Do you feel like watching a video? I kind of feel like watching a video.

Well, that was certainly educational. Now get the hell out of my house.


Please follow these instructions:

1. Click to read this post.

2. Recoil in horror.

3. BEFORE CLICKING AWAY, mouse over a few of the hyperlinks. Feeling brave? Click one!

4. Fall hopelessly in love with magickitty 4EVER.

5. Put magickitty in the Bloglines to replace one of the assholes you unsubscribed from recently.

I do not exaggerate: This is the most awesome thing I have seen on the internet in a long time.

Unintended consequences

So I was talking to Ilyka about the Jeff Goldstein post that discusses the outing of Matt Sanchez (here, with some hot pictures of naked gay (sigh) men), which I found via Instapundit, and I mentioned to her that when I first read both posts, neither of them had a NSFW warning. Which didn't really bother me, as I wasn't at work when I found those pictures. But later, both of them added the warning, and all I could think of was all the really pissed-off emails from men who encountered the horror that is the full-on, full-up male member nudity that is not their own. (Men really do seem to get very uncomfortable when they see someone else's dick staring them in the face.) I don't think too many women complained. I sure didn't.

I would comment on the issue at hand, but I'm sorry, once I saw all the pictures of those hot naked guys on the page, I sorta lost track of what anyone else was talking about.

There was a topic?

Oooh, that's a cute one. Big, too. Too bad he's gay.

It went clean out of my head for some reason.

The other thing? I couldn't shake the feeling while on that site that the gay guys would be slightly annoyed that a straight woman was enjoying looking at them. I especially got that feeling from the author, who seems a right angry fellah. (Left angry, not right, really.) Paranoid? Me? Um. Sometimes.

Oh. I won't be talking about naked gay men as a habit. But this is the post I told Ilyka I wanted to write, and she's a generous person, that one. I will be posting sporadically about, hm, let's think, on this blog? Duh.

Early Registration

I learn a TON from Genni's posts here. Yesterday, I learned something I suspected anyhow, but which nevertheless made me sad:

We get this socialization about how not-the-same we all are (and somehow that's always explained to us in terms of what we can't, oughtn't, or mustn't do) EARLY.

Bean got it sometime in elementary school. Genni got it in the third grade. Lesley got it at seven. BBrugger, around the same time. Meryl is something of a late bloomer, not getting it until the sixth grade. But Bitey got it at five, and--me for the win!--I got it at four.


But, you know, fuck all that. There are other click moments, click moments when you go, wait a second: You mean it doesn't have to be this way? And that's the kind of moment I want to talk about.

Some of us seemingly slide out of the womb feminists--read Amanda's story and marvel at how early she figured it out. Sure, she notes that in a town like the one she grew up in, it could hardly have been any other way; but I was going to church every Sunday for three hours at a stretch, plus an hour every weekday once I got into high school, in a religion that taught (unofficially, but nonetheless all the time) that in heaven, men would have multiple wives--and I STILL didn't get it.

I was at the opposite end of the spectrum. I was real slow. I had a dozen or more this-could-be-a-clue moments that I just never followed up on. For example:

I was about 17 or 18 and I was working at McDonald's and I remember I was in the women's room, touching up my makeup. I have no idea how makeup works these days because I mostly don't buy the shit, but back then the thing to do was to get a little trio of eyeshadow colors, and I remember the one I had, the one I was using that day to touch up, one of my favorite ones, was made by Cover Girl. It had a beautiful rich bronze for the lid color, dark coffee bean for the contour color, and pale sandy beige for the highlighting color.

(Let me just interrupt myself for a second. If you do not know what I mean by lid, contour, and highlight, congratulate yourself: You are the proud owner of some pretty awesome male privilege.)

I was always in the women's room touching up my makeup, or back in the break room touching up my makeup, because working at McDonald's, especially a McDonald's in a suburb of Phoenix, was HELL on makeup. All that grease, all that heat--my makeup was always either smearing or fading or both. Plus, it was the 80s; makeup wasn't optional and the natural look was o-u-t OUT. I don't remember any of us girls ever saying to the other, "You're wearing too much makeup," any more than we'd ever have said, "You have too much mousse in your hair." There was no such thing. Or rather, there was, and here's how you could tell: You were wearing too much mousse in your hair when the nasty shit started flaking off all over your shoulders like dandruff.

You compensated for this tendency of mousse to self-destruct by combining it with hairspray and gel.

So I spent a lot of time "doing facial repair," as I too-cutesily referred to it back then--and when I think too much about this, I nearly cry. I was 18. I had been blessed with very little true acne in my teen years. I probably looked FABULOUS without all that shit on my face. Instead, there I was, doing facial repair every 15 minutes.

And that day in the restroom at McDonald's, as I raised the applicator to my eyelid crease to touch up the contour, for some reason, I suddenly stopped, and I looked at myself.

And I thought, "Ilyka, what the fuck are you doing?"

It just hit me like a train how many hours I was spending on it. And not just how many hours I spent doing it, but how many hours I spent WORRYING about doing it, about being able to do it: Would there be a restroom? Would it have good lighting? Had I remembered my powder, my concealer, my lipstick, my mascara? I never left the house without my makeup. No one I knew did. It would have been unthinkable. I rode a bicycle often back then, and I still made sure I had my makeup with me to touch up along the ride. You understand? I was wearing and maintaining and fussing over and worrying about makeup on BIKE RIDES.

Although, then again, I always have been a little on the obsessive side.

But, you know, I had that moment, and all I really did about it was back off the eyeshadow a little bit. And then a little bit more, and then a little bit more, until finally it was the 90s and eyeshadow went o-u-t OUT, just like the 70s natural look had done in the 80s, and I breathed a sigh of relief that I had gotten away with kissing off eyeshadow.

And then I set about earnestly buying lipsticks with that new enhanced staying power, 8-hour long-lasting, virtually all-day color--so you see, I really learned a lot from that moment in the restroom.

That is how it has usually gone for me. I am not kidding about being slow on the uptake.

(Of course, some people wear makeup like their face is a canvas and makeup is the paint. I love that. But I am not talking about that. I am talking about feeling like I wasn't enough without it. I am talking about being a makeup junkie. I am talking about not being able to accept my own face without makeup on it. That is not healthy.)

I really gave up makeup about three years later, when I was living with a guy who liked to belt me one now and again. As my wearing makeup or not didn't seem to affect the likelihood of his belting me one or not, I quit bothering, except to cover up the occasional black eye or bruised cheek.

It was about that time I started working with Kathie. Kathie was a counselor at the county AIDS clinic where I worked. I was a secretary--oh, excuse me, administrative assistant. It wasn't a bad job, actually. I had a boss who liked to delegate and who accepted that his grammar was lousy. He let me edit all his correspondence. Hell, he let me draft the contracts and the grant proposals. To this day I give good abstract. He was a good guy, as bosses go. And perhaps it sounds bad to say it, but working at the AIDS clinic was a lot of fun.

I got to know Kathie about three weeks into the job, when she asked me if I would mind giving her a ride home. On the way out to my car, she explained that not only had her girlfriend failed to pick her up--

(Her girlfriend?)

--but, but, her trauma didn't end there, because once she got home she would have to figure out some way to meet her girlfriend at the bar, and she really hoped her girlfriend would not be too drunk by the time she got there because her ex-girlfriend was also going to be there, performing for open mic, and--gack, it was just going to be so awkward--

I dunno how I kept walking, to be honest. I remember my voice went into auto-polite mode: "Oh, really? Oh, how terrible for you--" but like every paranoid hetero what I was thinking was, "Fuck, fuck--is she hitting on me? No, come on--she has a girlfriend and an ex-girlfriend, she's clearly got her hands full--okay, just don't freak out. DON'T FREAK OUT. Act normal. This is normal. NORMAL."

Because the thing was, another lesbian had hit on me a few years back and it had really freaked me out; I worried ever after that I had done something. Somehow or other, without my knowing it, I must have given off that lesbian vibe. When, really, I was lucky to be getting any attention from anybody, considering I was walking around with half of Drug Emporium's cosmetics section on my face. But I didn't look at things like that back then.

It took me awhile to get over my initial freakout at finding out Kathie was One Of Those. Initially, figuring I had to go along to get along, I mentally substituted "boyfriend" whenever she said "girlfriend;" but after awhile, even my dumb ass realized this was a pointless substitution, because it made no damn difference. Relationship problems are relationship problems. Her girlfriend wouldn't ever clean the cat box?--My boyfriend wouldn't ever clean the cat box! Her girlfriend was emotionally abusive?--My boyfriend was emotionally abusive! (And then some!) In fact, we were basically dating the same person, except Kathie's girlfriend looked better in men's dress shirts than my boyfriend did.

It turned out the weirdest, oddest, strangest thing about Kathie was not that she was a lesbian. The weirdest, oddest, strangest thing was that she was a feminist, a vocal feminist. She didn't think men were shit, but she thought you were probably safer so assuming. She had a Scandinavian last name that she'd had legally changed to end in -syn, instead of its original -sen. She had me type up her resume (on the sly, of course), and I boggled at the seminars she had attended: Who the hell was Starhawk and what the fuck were womyn? "Hoo, boy," I thought, "this is some wild shit."

But, you know, I was paid to type, so I typed. And formatted. And printed multiple copies on the good heavyweight cream-colored stock, after my boss had gone home. Your tax dollars at work.

Kathie read a lot. I had used to read a lot, but I had stopped, because my boyfriend didn't like it. He had grown up with a bookworm mother, and he told story after story about all the times she had failed to pay any attention to him because she was in the middle of a book.

"Oh, fuck him," said Kathie. "Grow UP."

And out loud I made excuses for him. But inside I thought, yeah, you know what? Fuck him. Had my childhood been all roses? No, it had not. But I wasn't telling him not to do the things he loved as a result of it, now, was I?

I broke up with my boyfriend and got my own apartment. It wasn't a real breakup; I still went over to his place every other night (he needed me! Besides, getting used to sleeping alone after sleeping next to someone can be tough.). But I had some space. I had 500 square feet for $365 a month and I could read books again, so Kathie started lending me some.

Actually, she lent me a lot of books.

The first one she lent me was Mists of Avalon. I objected when she made her pitch for it.

"Kathie," I said, "I don't LIKE King Arthur. My MOM likes King Arthur. She's totally into that shit. I grew up with Camelot on HBO every six hours. She loves Camelot. But I HATE IT."

"That's why you need to read this book."

"I don't even want to like King Arthur!"

"Honey," Kathie said, "this book isn't about King Arthur. It's nominally about King Arthur, but what it's really about is the women surrounding King Arthur."

"I don't know anything about them. I never read this stuff. I never made it through a full showing of Camelot, even. Look, it's just fantasy. Chivalry and knights and magic spelled with a 'k.' I don't CARE. I am not into that shit."

"Look: Just take it home, read a few pages. If you don't like it, bring it back tomorrow."

I didn't bring it back "tomorrow." I brought it back three days later, puffy-eyed and red-lidded from staying up all night to read just a little bit more, and then I didn't shut up about the damn book for roughly the next 10 years.

I recommended Mists of Avalon to everybody. It was unsafe to begin a conversation with me. Grocery clerks kept their distance. Given any opening at all, including "Hello! How are you today?" I would start in:

"Have you read Mists of Avalon?"


"Mists of Avalon! Marion Zimmer Bradley. Oh, man, you NEED to read that. It will change your LIFE."

"Uh-huh. That'll be $46.83, ma'am. Cash or check?"

I bought a copy for my mother, the King Arthur fan. She unwrapped it, examined the back cover critically, and expressed skepticism that she might enjoy a book about the women of the King Arthur tales.

"Just read a few pages," I said, "and then, if you don't like it . . . ."

A week later she called me up sobbing.

"This is the best book! But it's so SAD! Oh, I can't stop crying, it's just so unfair--"

"I KNOW!" I said. "And it's so frustrating because all the time you're like, 'Morgaine, go HOME. Go back to Avalon. Viviane NEEDS you.'"

"Oh, Viviane, what they DID to her--"

"I know!"

Other books followed rapidly after that: The Stories of Eva Luna. The Bean Trees. (She kept telling me Pigs in Heaven was better, but years later I read it and I got so mad I threw it across the room. It is not good when I throw books across the room.) Summer People and Woman on the Edge of Time (remind me to write about Woman on the Edge of Time some day). Stone Butch Blues, which, again, I initially balked at, but: "Just read a few pages. And then, if you don't like it . . . ."

I didn't send Stone Butch Blues to my mother. I had my limits, and she had hers. Instead I cried my eyes out over it, and tried vainly to repent. Oh, how stupid we high school girls had been! "Poor Coach Adams, never gonna get a man looking like that"--yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh, we'd been idiots. Coach Adams had the worse life for all the reasons in Stone Butch Blues and then some. But Coach Adams also had what we didn't: The ability to not give a fuck. You can't forget your makeup if you don't wear makeup. You can't bitch about a run in your new stockings if you don't wear stockings. And you can't worry that no man is ever going to love you if that's not how you're built to love in the first place.

None of which is to say that reading Stone Butch Blues will fill you full of envy for butch lesbians. If it does THAT, odds are you can't read. But it sure as hell did make me think a lot, and feel a lot.

I owe Kathie more than I can ever repay. Until I met Kathie I thought there were exactly two novelists who wrote about women: L.M. Montgomery and Betty Smith. The rest were all romance novelists, because that's what paid and who could blame them. That's how I had it figured.

But through all those books, the world got bigger and wider and it started to make a teeny bit of room for me. I started to think I could fit in it somehow, even without a bitchin' Cover Girl eyeshadow trio.

And it was at some point in the middle of all this relentless feminist indoctrination that I bought myself a book, a book I took a lot of shit about from my not-quite-ex-boyfriend, a book I tried to give to his mother, the bookworm, as a present: A book she sneered at, muttering something about how women were never going to get anywhere if they kept miring themselves in victimhood like that.

And that, my dear lurking Republican women, is why most of what you say is not only so familiar, but too familiar. And that is why I don't care to respond to most of it: You are raising old objections, objections that go back centuries, objections that are not new or provocative or innovative but simply old, old, old. You can work those objections out your own self, same as I did: Slowly.

Or, you can read your history. There is more to it than you think. Just read a few pages. And then, if you don't like it . . . .

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I Will Quit Beating This Dead Horse When You Pry the Club from my Cold, Dead Fingers

Yes, it's more language nerdery!

I was gonna post this at Pandagon but, honestly, I think I've done enough to drive its traffic into the gutter for awhile. Let me nurse my obsessiveness here, instead.

In this post, I said:

Do you really need to talk about how Ann Coulter looks? It doesn’t actually hurt Ann–you know, Ann, bestselling author, fabulously successful (if repulsive) media personality, that Ann?–if you type on your blahg that she’s Mann Coulter. She doesn’t read your stupid blog. She doesn’t CARE. The transgendered person who settles in for a fun evening of Coulter-bashing at your stupid blog, however, who discovers hirself being used as the chief weapon against Ann–that person cares. Ditto the liberal women who have to read about what a skank she is. WE care.

And we remember that there yet exist men who can criticize conservative women without going there, and we read them instead. So, really, fuck you and your eighth-grade drag queen jokes.

And I was pretty tickled when this earned a response from Roy Edroso, the blogger linked in the excerpt above. Roy said, in part:

Also, I still say "cunt" and "pussy" a lot. Now, when used in reference to the female pudend, these terms should be unobjectionable to any thinking person. But sometimes I use them in unflattering reference to human behaviors, and that can raise -- and has raised, in my comments -- objections that I am saying something bad about women by using female genital referents as negatives.

My only answer is this: language is my metier, and I try to use it to my best advantage. One of the best tools toward that end is the unexpected choice. Sometimes I put academic, literary, or other elevated types of language into situations that do not seem to call for them. (George Plimpton was a pro at this schtick. I remember him writing about Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre, and saying of an act that was about to emphatically get the hook, "The crowd desired that he would be silent.")

Sometimes I go another way and use crude language as a crotch-kick against pretension -- as when I called this thick-necked Men's Rights blowhard a pussy. As for "cunt," well, it's just a fun word.

Pass over that last bit for a second because it's the part about "the unexpected choice" I want to talk about first--or rather, I want to say that the unexpected choice, the change-up, the decision to go vulgar against pretension and pretentious against vulgarity--none of that is at all what anyone was objecting to in any of the myriad discussions that sprung up in the wake of this post. At least, I don't think anyone was doing that; it was, after all, a very long thread.

But the funny thing about Roy saying "Sometimes I go another way and use crude language as a crotch-kick against pretension" is that I'd had just such an example of his cited in an attempted gotcha-you're-a-hypocrite maneuver by someone in the Feministe thread. The question:

*What* do you guys read around here in the way of other liberal blogs? Roy just said ‘cunt’ a bunch of times today, so plainly he hates all women and should be blacklisted.

My response:

Roy’s cunt thing: I wasn’t too bothered by that, since one of the points was to use as many of the seven dirties as possible to show how ridiculous a standard for moral rightness “no cussing” is when the ideas you’re espousing are reprehensible. I wince every time I see the c-word, and Roy’s post was no exception to that, but I saw the joke, and Roy’s too hilarious for me to quit.

And now, NOW we can talk about "cunt" being "just a fun word to say:" Sure it is, when you're a guy. When you've had it directed at you personally, not to refer to your parts but to reduce you to them, it's not such a blast. Roy gets this, I think, but the kinds of guys who want a cookie for being bravely Politically Incorrect(TM) never do.

But beyond that bit of obviousness, there is the further obviousness--or so I considered it to be, before the thread that ate the internet--that the way the word is being used, what it means in a particular context, affects how people react to it. That's why I could give a halfhearted pass to the use of "cunt" in Roy's post mocking the idea that it's only dirty words that make a thing uncivil: It's used once to insult Instapundit as a "stupid cunt," and then a second time to refer to the female pudend (Michelle Malkin's, as it happens). In fact, if I were inclined to target that post as an example of hate speech, I'd be far more likely to go after "stanky-ass cum buckets" and "twinky-ass bitch" than the instances of the c-word.

But I'm not inclined to target that post, because the point of that post isn't to tell women to shut up and make Roy a sandwich, or to tell 'em to wipe the ejaculate off their chins, or to shame fatty into a fad diet or onto the treadmill. The point of that post is to make plain that reprehensible ideas are reprehensible no matter how you word 'em, civilly or uncivilly. Or to give you the thesis:

If some stupid cunt says we're "not anti-war, just on the other side," why the fuck shouldn't we call the motherfucker out?

Exactly. But again, addressing the bravely Politically Incorrect(TM) who refuse to see the difference:

Call 'em uptight, call 'em oversensitive, call 'em whatever you like, but it turns out most feminists, and more'n a few just plain women, find being reduced to a hot-or-not fuckhole, rather than being treated like the human beings they actually are, reprehensible. And THAT is the idea behind 99.95% of the usage of "cunt." That's its most popular meaning: A woman scarcely worth the organ she's providing a life-support system for. That's what's vile, not the word itself. We are not being language police when we say "please quit calling us cunts;" we are being worse than that. We are being idea police, and we'd like the idea that you cockslaps have any right to dehumanize us, any of us, to die, now. It is past time.

And as I've been round and round and round again about this enough times to know what's coming, here's my response:

The reason you shouldn't call out that motherfucker Dafydd ab Hugh for being too fat to serve in the military, despite his being the best thing that ever happened to war porn, is that it misses the fucking point, which is that whether he weighed 98 pounds or 298 pounds he was never going to serve anyway, because that type never does; and in between the real point and the dumb point you chose to make was an area wide enough (ho, ho!) to accommodate a gaggle of halfwits who couldn't even follow the dumb point all the way through--and thus was "too fat to serve in the military he claims to adore" abbreviated to "too fat."

And thus were innocent large persons annoyed, and thus did they complain, and here I must observe for only the 473rd time that "complain" is not synonymous with "blacklist," "police," or "prohibit." So quit pitching a fit about the PC-police at Feministe already, ya fuckin' douchebags, because last I checked the Piny Campaign for Language Dictator had run into fundraising difficulties, so I really don't think you need to worry about having your rights infringed upon from that quarter. Maybe take your own advice and fight the real enemy? I don't know.

And with that, I am done. Call me if the horse gets up again, but I think he's done too.

UPDATE: Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

A cursory read of the comments at alicublog makes it pretty plain that the commenters are reading Roy as agreeing with their position that it's totally okay to use "cunt" whenever you want to, because the problem always lies with the silly-ass cunts who get offended when you do so; just like the problem with "nigger" isn't its oppressive usage history, but rather the rampant-running PC Police who stir up those temperamental black folk to raise a needless fuss about it. This, for example, is fairly typical:

Here's another way to look at it: The staggering diversity of opinion on what cunt means just on this thread makes its intent cloudy no? Could mean a lot of things -- thus, like in MOST THINGS, context matters. And the context of nigger does too -- obviously.

But that doesn't even address the fact that blacks can choose all by themselves what they consider offensive, just as everyone else can.

The "staggering diversity of opinion on what cunt means," it will not surprise you to learn, is achieved almost entirely from members of the class who have traditionally used the term, and scarcely at all from members of the class against whom it has been used. Pardon my incivility, but fuck your fake diversity, you bubbling leg-dribbles of choleric shit.

So what'm I getting out of this? Chiefly, that there are more ostensible progressives out there than I thought who want to have it both ways. On the one hand, they want to dissociate themselves from assholes like these, feign shock and horror that similar-such behavior could be occuring in our most elite halls of learning, and congratulate themselves on not being one bit like that themselves* because they appreciate and understand context, see.

On the other hand, they want to throw a motherfucking neverending tantrum, weeping and wailing and gnashing teeth all over the internet, anytime someone points out that their understanding of the context is incomplete due to the unavoidable limitations of their own lived experiences--a point which should be obvious, and which any of these jackboot-licking nerds could easily prove or disprove merely by walking up to any large man of African-American descent and explaining to him why he shouldn't choose to find the n-word offensive. But these whiny-ass tittybabies aren't going to do that, because deep down they know that's going to end in an ass-kicking, with the probability of the ass getting kicked being theirs approaching 1.

So let's take swipes at the dumb cunt feminazis, instead. What can they possibly do about it?

*No slam meant against junk science; just noting that the closing lines:

We need to spend time shaking our heads that such people exist and congratulating ourselves for being better than them. We don’t need to be above pointing out that we’re better than them.

--reflect perfectly the attitude of the guys who told us they could take whichever cheap shots they wanted to because they're on the side of the angels. You aren't, but you could be, though until you are, I hope you choke. The End.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Let's Talk About the Important Issues of the Day (or: It Never Fucking Ends)

I want to be taken seriously as a serious blogger, blogging only about serious things, so let's open up the floor for discussion of what is inarguably the most important issue facing the United States right now:

Dinesh D'Souza: Would you fuck him?

What if he were still wearing the sweater? Would you then?

Serious answers only, please. All nonserious respondents will be expelled from the Party for attempting to fracture our carefully crafted political coalition. I am utterly serious about this.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Silly-Ass Shit for my Night Off Work

Sarah Brown once said that AC/DC's "Back in Black" was the tune that should play every time she walked into a room. Despite my cranky persona online, there are actually very few things written on the internet that make me steaming mad--but this was one of them, because I wished to hell I'd come up with it first.

(And now I cannot for the life of me find it. But I know she said it. I know because she also listed as a turn-off "people who cannot get past the fact that they were once gifted children," and that was ANOTHER thing I wished to hell I'd said first, and I was able to turn that up, so I'm probably right about "Back in Black," don't you think?)

Anyway, thanks to Sarah Brown getting there first, I lost all claim to "Back in Black" as a theme song, which is probably just as well, as that would have been a stretch for me to pull off even in my imagination, and my imagination is wild. So I have had to find a substitute, and the best I have been able to do is still way awkward. That is: Were it not for the cultural-appropriation and vaguely misogynist* issues apparent in my selection, this would be the song I would choose to have play whenever I entered a room commandeered a space with my inimitable presence:

So. What's yours?

*Regarding misogyny and hip-hop, you could do worse than this one. Witness my favorite couplet:

I cook, I clean, I swear that mami,
Just as long as you don't go off and tell nobody

See? He's a good guy at heart. Just keep your mouth shut that he's a good guy at heart, lest you trash his rep with tha boyz. Man, the lengths a fella will go to in order to keep people from thinking he's in any way womanly.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

And a Perfect Example of What NOT to Do

In the last post I tried to explain how one goes about not being a dickhead at a feminist blog, thus sparing oneself the painful and humiliating foot-in-ass treatment.

And because I am not just clever, talented, and charming, but full of helpfulness for my fellow man besides, I shared that advice with Margalis, one of the eloquent young men who wandered over to I Blame the Patriarchy from Sadly, No!

Margalis had questions, so many questions, about the reception his fellow SNer mikey had received upon making his patriarchy-blaming debut. Questions like:

Can I point out a few things in as non-antagonistic tone as I can?

Which was immediately followed by this non-antagonistic gem:

First, adding a comment at the top of Mikey’s first post is beyond lame.

I hate beginning sentences with "As a blogger," but let me tell you anyway: As a blogger, the one thing I guaranfuckingtee you is that just as there is no Santa Claus, there is also no such thing as the blogger who wants your worthless opinion about how to blog. That blogger does not exist. That doesn't stop Margalis in his quest to be non-antagonizing, though:

Second, I don’t see anyone addressing his point.

I Blame the Patriarchy, like so many other blogs, exists solely to address the points of first-time commenters who will not or cannot read the FAQ.

I think many of you simply read what you wanted to read and looked for an excuse to attack him.

He is right: There haven't been enough flame wars on feminist blogs lately. We must make more.

What I love here is the form Margalis uses in his comment, because it's classic feminist blog-trolling:

Begin from an all-I-want-is-peace-and-maybe-a-pony posture, then lurch headlong into all the reasons the damn feminists are making this peace IMPOSSIBLE. It would be like conducting negotiations with a foreign power this way*:

Us: May I just say one thing as non-antagonistically as possible?

Them: Why, of course.

Us: Okay. We're going to invade your country, kill all your leaders, and convert you to Christianity.

Them: You asshole!

Us: Huh? What are you getting all bent out of shape about? Don't you want our help? How are we ever going to come to terms if you won't let us help?**

You doubt me? Don't doubt me:

There are plenty of us ‘liberal dudes’ that agree with you - why make it so difficult for us? Why pile on someone who agrees with you?

Because you are being an ass who will not or cannot read the FAQ, Margalis.

That said, why do I feel like I am being attacked? Can someone point out what I, as a liberal dude, have done wrong exactly?

Hmm, it's not getting through for some reason. I'll try putting it in all-caps this time: YOU ARE BEING AN ASS, MARGALIS.

It goes downhill from there. Eventually the perpetually hurt-feelinged Margalis expresses befuddlement at all the hostility:

It just seems silly that it would be so easy to defuse the situation and maybe inform someone and turn them to your point of view, but instead you run them out of town.

That tugged my pity strings, so I explained it to him:

I understand your point, but that goes both ways. For example: It would be so easy for commenters to read the comment instructions atop each comment entry field:

“New to I Blame The Patriarchy? Cast your jaundiced eye upon this before commenting.”

. . .

More importantly, however, it actually would not be “so easy to defuse the situation.” It is actually a lot of work, work I am doing right now, work women do a hugely disproportionate share of in patriarchy, and so maybe you can understand why there must exist some places where we may unburden ourselves of that obligation for a few minutes. This blog is one of those places. It does not exist to persuade or debate. It exists (and again I refer you to the FAQ) “to advance the radical feminist views of Twisty Faster.”

Finally: I don’t think myself that you are a troll, but consider what you’re doing here and see why some blamers might think otherwise. You aren’t discussing the post; you’re defending your pal, and now I’m complicit in thread-drift by responding to you. Mikey, however, is not the topic. I am pretty sure Twisty didn’t write this to generate discussion of how we can all work harder to be nicer to mikey.

Now I will give you two guesses as to what happened next, plus a hint: It's number 2, all right?

1. Margalis read, considered, and replied to what I wrote.

2. Margalis completely ignored what I wrote, replying instead to another commenter in order to repeat the exact same brickheadedly stupid shit he'd tried to lay on me earlier.

Did you guess number 2? If you guessed number 1, can you check something for me?--Are you breathing?

It’s just the age old tale of boy stumbles across website, boy posts without understanding culture, boy gets beat down. Only with added drama.

It seems strange to make an enemy when you can make a friend.

Yes, that's all it is: The age-old tale of boy stumbles (innocently!) across website, boy posts without understanding culture (or reading a single fucking word by anyone eager to explain the culture to him), boy gets beat down (but not nearly enough). It certainly can't be that boy is being a dissembling, arrogant, passive-aggressive jackass, because you just know the real problem is feminist hostility. It seems so strange to make an enemy when you can make a friend.

Anyway, the feminists: What do you suppose could have happened to make them all so bitchy like that? Please tell me, so I can ignore your response and repeat my question another fifty fucking times, like a flambéed Tickle Me Elmo whose circuits aren't melting quite fast enough.

*More or less as we have been, in other words.
**I was tempted to add here, "How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?" I got over it.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Occasionally Conversations with my Man Are Instructive

He came home from the store this afternoon and asked, "So, what's new with the thread that never ends?"

"Oh, that's dead finally," I told him. "Turns out all I hadda do to kill it was talk about the topic in great wonky and laborious detail. I wish I'd realized that 600 comments ago."

"I thought the topic was how mean you all are."

"That's what they say . . . hey, there has been one new development: Pinko Punko dropped a link to I Blame the Patriarchy at Sadly, No!"

"Oh dear God."

"Pretty much, man, pretty much."

So later I had him read the thread at Twisty's, and he said, "I have a question."


"Okay . . . I get that there's a culture on feminist blogs, and you read them all the time, you understand that culture, most of the time I'm even okay with it, but then sometimes . . . do you guys not realize how you sound?"


"I mean, if someone who'd never really read Feministe just went over and all they read was that post of piny's--well, no, not so much that post, or even Feministe necessarily, but like, I can see how some of these guys get the idea that you all hate men. Because you're talking to the regulars, and the regulars know you don't hate men, but some new guy reading some of this stuff, he's going to be all, wait, what did I do? I didn't rape anybody, I never beat up a transsexual--"

"No, I get that," I interrupted him. "That's a lot like--like, I used to have the same reaction reading blogs by people of color. I'd see something like 'white people sure suck sometimes,' and I'd be all, 'Hey! Wait! Not all of us! Not me!' Even though I probably do suck as a white person sometimes--but I mean, I'd take it too personally."

"It's hard not to take it personally."

"It's not as hard if you move yourself out of the center of everything, though. That's what I finally got through my thick skull. It's not ABOUT me, always. And even if it is about me, so what? I'm not perfect. Why shouldn't I have to take some shit once in awhile? Heaven knows I dish enough out in a day. Would it kill me to get an attitude adjustment? Would it kill me to listen to someone unlike me for five minutes?"

"But if you aren't the problem," he argued, "It sucks to be treated like you're the problem. It's like being accused of something you didn't do."

"If I'm not the problem," I explained, "then why should I get invested in identifying with the problem? If the problem is some particular batch of white people, doing or saying shit I'd never in a million years do myself, why should I feel the need to put myself in their shoes? Just because they're white and I'm white? That's stupid. Like all the idiot white dudes who identify with the Duke lacrosse players--they don't even comprehend that unless they're just as wealthy and elite, which you know 95% of them aren't, the fucking lacrosse players would SPIT on them. They're ID-ing with the players, but I guarantee you the players aren't ID-ing with them."

"A lot of the guys written about on feminist blogs do things I would never do."

"Then don't identify with them. It's not about you! You stand to pee, they stand to pee, beyond that, what's the commonality?"

"That's why the argument you guys make that I like the best is that patriarchy screws men too."

"Well, it does," I agreed with him, "but I think why you like that argument so much is because then it's about you again. All's right with the universe. Man the sun, woman the earth."

"No, I've figured out that you guys don't like that, and I'm trying not to do that, I swear, but the way you express things sometimes, isn't it just making it easier for men to get defensive?"

"No," I said firmly, "What we aren't doing is taking care of them. Nurturing them. Putting their feelings first. Looking out for them, making things safe for them. We aren't making them the center. We're talking just the way we'd talk, the way we do talk, when y'all aren't around."

"And you know sometimes that gets ugly," I continued, "but the thing to do then is to remember: Everything else IS centered around y'all. Everything else--you guys got the talk radio to take care of you, the ESPN, the CNN, the New York Times, the advertising industry--you can't bask in all that adoration day in and day out and then pitch a fit because a handful of blogs on the internet don't recognize your awesomeness. Or I mean, you can pitch a fit, go right ahead, but it's not going to end with me bringing you your binky and kissing your forehead. It's going to end with my foot in your ass."

"But for a new guy--"

"For a new guy the best policy is to lurk, read, get a feel for the place, and just keep chanting: 'It's not about me. It's not about me. It is not about me.' Twisty even has an FAQ to help people out, but does anyone ever read it? Not the guys. They figure they already know everything important and no spinster aunt is going to tell THEM."

"I don't think I Blame the Patriarchy is where they should start out."

"Word. It says 'for advanced blamers only' on it for a reason. Twisty has the S.C.U.M. manifesto posted there, for crying out loud. I don't know what Pinko was thinking."

"You should have a beginner's blog."

"Periodically someone says as much, but that's a lot of work and boring to slog through if you already have some idea. I used to think a feminism 101 blog would be great, but anymore I'm like, 'No, you can take your ass to the library. Or take a women's studies class.' But you say that last one, it's like you suggested the dude go castrate himself."

"That's what I think I figured out--I shouldn't expect one of you to walk me through everything."

"Right. You don't get a tour guide. That costs extra."

"So now you know: This is why I mostly read sports blogs. I'm lazy, and I have enough homework as it is."

"To be honest with you," I confessed to him, "There are days I think sports blogs might be the way to go myself."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

We'll See How Long This Lasts

Resolution of the day:

I will not return to that timesucking Feministe thread. I will not return to that timesucking Feministe thread. I will NOT return to that timesucking Feministe thread.

You should read the post, though. The post is very good.

Just don't get sucked into the comments. I mean, don't let ME get sucked into the comments. Because, you know, sometimes? In the comments? I get a little hysterical.

I can't help it. It's the vagina. And the fat. The fat vagina, that's what it is. Making me all hysterical.

And the political correctness. Can't forget the political correctness. I hate political correctness; it makes it harder for people who are not that funny to get away with being not that funny.