Monday, December 31, 2007

Obsolescence and a Wish for the New Year

All right, we certainly cannot call this a comeback. I have not been able to get into the swing of things, into the groove of regular posting, and the more I try to wail and whine about that, the more I realize . . . it's for the best.

So many people say it better and earlier.

I will have to use something Theriomorph said as a jumping-off point, but please, do read her whole post. It is one of those lovely posts you can look at with the narrow view and say, "This is about just this one thing, about which I do not care," and brush it off.

Or, OR, if you have any sense at all, you read it and you say, "Oh, this is initially prompted by this one thing, but then it becomes about so many other things, I cannot take them all in."

That is, it is my very favorite kind of post: One you can think over slowly. But to return to my point, this:

One of the largest tools I came away with was an understanding of the notion of ‘gatekeeping’ I mentioned earlier. The notion that as a white woman, I have basic opportunities others do not.

I have less privilege than many people, and more than most; and the privilege I do have I can use - to put it in comic book terms - for good or evil.

If I have power (to hire, fire, incorporate the ideas of others, supervise, train, teach, support, mentor, speak in public, disseminate ideas), I can use that power to challenge racism and create opportunities for people of color who were not asked to speak or lead, as I was.

If I am given the opportunity to be the gatekeeper, I can, very simply, hold that gate open instead of closed.

I can do this without loss of personal benefit.

Everyone gains if I do this. Everyone.

Right and exactly. My feeling (and I'm betting Theriomorph's, too) is that ideally the time comes, sooner rather than later, when privileged white women don't have to hold open that gate because we have any number of cisgendered/"disabled"/of-color/queer/working class women clamoring to hold open that gate themselves. And my hope is that it goes exactly this simply:

"Hey, let me hold that open for a few."

"Sure thing!"


I am thinking that will be the best day of all.

Yes, hold it open while you have the power to do so! That is better than slamming it in another woman's face. But if someone else steps up to say "Here, let me get that," then me personally, I'm more than happy to get out of the way. And lately I've been feeling as though I may as well just get out of the way.

Now DON'T, for the love of humanity, feed me a bunch of reassurance that my voice is still important or any such crap. It will not have the intended effect, because (1) I selfishly do still think my voice is important, or at least, important enough to spit onto a free blog (and how important is that relatively, mmm?), and (2) I am not feeling sorry for myself, honest I'm not, and you would know if I were, because of all the ear-splitting WHINING that would be going on.

Listen: I am pleased as punch to have my sense of self put into perspective--and here I didn't even have to pay for it! Who can complain about free? My sense of self is something I struggle with and something I often inflate. I get into more trouble thinking that I am very important, or that people depend on me, than I ever get into from thinking "Eh, maybe I'm not all that," or "Someone else will handle it, and probably do a better job of it besides." I realize that can sound like a beautiful excuse for plain laziness, but all I can say there is, if you've ever known an obsessive-compulsive, you know all too well how relieving and peacemaking it can be to hear one say, "Maybe I don't have to do this job."

Maybe I can do a different job: Maybe I can play a supporting role, maybe I can simply cheer on those who say it better.

There is something else Theriomorph said in her post that speaks to the post I thought I would write at year's end. That is:

. . . to practice the simple, simple solution of shutting up and LISTENING to what people are saying, and incorporating that feedback into the work.

Ai ai ai OUCH! Ow! There!

Why do we, feminists and pro-feminist allies, not DO this?

Because I had this whole ramble stored up in my head about how abstraction is going to kill us all--or rather, misuse of abstraction is. But the idea that one can--

--read a book about

--read several studies about

--watch a film about

--attend a seminar about

--take a class about

--and know, really know in one's bones, how life is for those whose lives are not ours--well, it's offensive. Don't get me wrong: Books, films, classes, these all help. These are all necessary. We'd never have any idea what any of us were going on about without tools like those. Shared symbols, shared languages, shared concepts all ideally lead to shared understanding. But it's ultimately incomplete, and this is the question I asked myself for all of 2007:

"Why don't we believe each other?"

That is THE question I'm left with: Why the fuck don't we listen to each other? Why the fuck don't we believe what we each have to say about our own lives? If this woman says "I had a bad day at work," why do we have to go into all the ways her story proves that her work itself is wrong? Why can't we say, "Oh, that's horrible! I'm glad you're okay?" Why does there have to be this whole "See, I told you! I told you no good would ever come of stripping--" why's there got to be the same useless shit I used to get from Mormons twenty years ago? Why? Why, exactly? What purpose does this serve?

And if women of color say, "This is my experience trying to participate in discussions on mainstream white feminist blogs," why's any white feminist got to argue with her that--

--no, wait! White feminists don't even do women of color the courtesy of arguing! In fact, the hard ugly truth is that, as a group and in general, white feminists pay more respect and more attention to wingnuts, men's rights activists, Christian fundamentalists, and other avowed antifeminists than we do to women of color. Oh but YES, yes we do. And there's no other word for that besides sickening.

I know the name of the guy who founded AutoAdmit, I know the names (or at least the handles of) the guys behind 4chan. But the women of color you disagree with, the women of color who speak up because they care about women's rights, because they share a handful of beliefs and principles with you, because they actually think you might listen?--They get labeled "some critics." Or they're referenced obliquely with "it has come to my attention." Or they're alluded to with a billion shitty little dodges you wield like so much internet Wite-Out, brand-name reference intentional.

My meager hope for 2008 is that we will learn to trust each other to speak the truth about our own experiences. My meager hope is that we will listen to each other the same way we demand men listen to us. My meager hope is that we will model the change we want to see in the world. If we can't do that, we can't do anything. I don't CARE how many states have anti-abortion laws on the books just waiting for the repeeal of Roe v. Wade; if we can't even trust each other to tell the truth about how life is for us, we can't do shit.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I Also Don't Give Lectures on Particle Physics, If You Were Wondering

I've known people, dead and alive, with alcoholism.

The dead ones are dead because they believed what all the nonalcoholic drinking people in their lives told them about alcohol: That having one or two drinks after dinner was as simple as having one or two drinks after dinner, and then not having any more. But this was not true for them. For them, having one or two drinks after dinner meant having all the available drinks in the house after dinner. And the next morning. And the next evening. And hey, screw dinner.

They're dead because the people around them trying to help were ignorant. The people around them told them various things: Just pray. Use willpower. Shame yourself out of excessive drinking. I know one case of a nonalcoholic trying to help an alcoholic in which the nonalcoholic's brilliant solution to the alcoholic's drinking problem was to send that alcoholic over $300 worth of megavitamins.

Ignorance kills.

The alcoholics I know who are alive are alive because they found other alcoholics who understood what they were going through and were able to talk to them and reach them in ways that nonalcoholics were incapable of doing.

I don't understand the uncontrollable urge to drink. For me drinking is very controllable--I may do more of it than I ought to, but there's never been any question for me about who decides when and how much I drink; I decide that. Sometimes I set out to drink a lot, have a glass of wine, realize it doesn't taste good to me for whatever reason, and then, check this out, I don't drink anymore wine that night. For the alcoholics I have known, it doesn't work that way. If I understand what the alcoholics I have known are saying to me correctly, it's more like a compulsion, an itch to be scratched: Must have more alcohol. I feel that way about cigarettes, and I can dimly remember jonesing a few times for pot when I was out, but booze? No. I don't get that one.

So guess what I normally do on the subject of alcoholism? I SHUT THE FUCK UP.

I don't understand people with depression issues, either. I don't understand why they can't just be happy, or at least be happy more often than they are depressed. I don't understand what's so hard about getting out of bed. I don't understand what it's like to feel flattened by life--except one day out of the month when whatever combination of hormones my body cocktails up turns me into a morose motherfucker. But you know, that's one day a month only. I can stiff-upper-lip my way through one day a month.

What I'm fairly certain I could not do is stiff-upper-lip my way through all the days of the month feeling like I do on that one day. I'd kill myself, if I could find the energy to bother, which I probably couldn't. I'd probably just drift along feeling miserable until I quit bothering to clock in for work . . . drift along until I was evicted . . . drift along on the streets until God knows. I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it would be bad.

But my limited ability to imagine what it must be like to deal with depression is not the same thing as my actually having depression, so generally, on the subject of depression, I SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Don't read books about how medicating depression is all one huge scam from Big Pharma, and then lecture people with depression about the best way to treat their depression.


Don't read .PDFs on the internet about depression and then lecture people with depression about what you learned in thirty minutes with Acrobat Reader.


Really, really don't then condescend to people with depression that what they put into their bodies is their business, really, but you don't have to approve of it. No, you sure don't! But if what people put into their bodies is truly their business, why are you still talking?


Ignorance kills people every day, but you're still talking, because no one's going to tell you what to approve or disapprove of!

I for one am not telling you what to approve or disapprove of. I'm only telling you to




Personally, I'd Skip This One If I Were You

My beef with the "list n things about yourself" blog meme is that it forces me to the uncomfortable realization that I am not nearly as fascinating as I think I am. And no way do I have a story to top this one:

The part of the dance where we were all grounded, dancing on the floor: that part went well. Then we slowly built up to the section where I had to stand on the chair. I was hoping that if I found the right spot to stand on, just the right spot, I would be able to balance and support my partner while she stood on her chair…

So we took each other’s hands, and I glanced down cautiously as we both stepped up–

And the chair wobbled so violently I let go of her hand and stepped right back down.

Okay, I didn’t quite step; I more tripped down and luckily landed on my feet. The rest of the dancers snickered as they continued the dance. I’m sure that somehow my very brown face found a way to turn very red as all the 8th graders in the gymnasium EXPLODED in laughter. (We didn’t have an auditorium.) My partner, rather than do her part of the dance without me, decided to point and laugh at me while she was up in the chair. At that point I wanted to knock over her chair, but there was a dance to finish. So once that portion was over, I danced in tears while I realized people kept laughing and laughing, and I couldn’t figure out why until we finished our number and began taking our chairs offstage.

Read to find out the why. I have to say that if I were Sylvia's age, tactfully stated here as simply Much Much Younger Than I Am, I would NOT have the nerve to post that. I may still be sulking over events from junior high, actually. Woman has courage to spare.

And now, the rules:

1) Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2) Share 7 facts about yourself.
3) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4) Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Hoo boy:

1. Growing up I had such a Pollyanna view of the world (I know, I know, massive privilege) that when I first heard these lyrics from The Clash:

Kick over the wall
Cause governments to fall
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour
Anger can be power
D'ya know that you can use it?

--I thought they were being sarcastic. They couldn't be serious! Everyone knew that only flowers and puppies and rainbows and hemp could ever bring whirled peas. Anger was for fat old white men. This was what growing up in the 1970s as a Mormon could do to a person; also, let's not forget that I was very stupid. OH HAI, BRAINROT.

2. I learned about sex in the second grade from a girl I'll just call Dirty Daphne. You know every elementary school had That One Kid; Dirty Daphne was That One Kid, the one your mom told you to stay away from.

Anyway, she told me and my friend Magdala all about how adults Did It. And Magdala and I were skeptical. The next day we confessed to each other that we'd each gone home and poked around and . . . and Dirty Daphne just had to be wrong about the mechanics of it all. She just had to be. Because yeah, there was sort of an entry down there but OMG, NO WAY, because neither of us could admit so much as a fingertip into it. I don't think it ever occurred to either of us that maybe that was because we were all of seven years old.

Dirty Daphne's early tip-off made things awkward for me three years later, when my mother determined that I should have all the facts. By then I'd had three years of scouring encylopedias and medical books and anything else I could get my hands on, so if there was one thing I was in possession of by then, it was the facts. And not just the basic facts; I knew all about sexually transmitted infections and could explain everything from ectopic pregnancies to premature ejaculation. But there was no stopping my mother, who had determined that this was her responsibility to explain to me, no matter what all I thought I knew.

What she ought to have told me was how powerfully all those nerve endings could mess a person up. Which brings me to:

3. The only time I got heavy into using PGP encryption was when I was conducting an affair in an office in which it was widely known that the boss of the mail server snooped. And I only used PGP because I knew it drove this guy NUTS.

The guy I was carrying on with--the two of us weren't saying anything that outrageous to each other in these emails because duh, company email? So there wasn't anything in these emails the snoopy admin guy shouldn't have seen, and it would have done me no harm for him to have read them, but I used PGP anyway because it was so satisfying to see him stomp into my office, open his mouth to ask why the PGP, shut it again, go red in the face, mutter something unintelligible by way of excuse, and stomp right back out. He couldn't say anything, see, because then he would have had to admit to reading emails, and the head guy at this office frowned on that, even though every admin with access to the mail server does it.

My advice: If you're going to fuck someone you work with, use PGP. It's fun for the whole dysfunctional office family! They'll know you're fucking, but they'll never be able to prove it!

4. I sometimes reference on this blog an abusive ex-boyfriend, but I'll give the guy one thing: He taught me to cook. That's a life skill. I could have done without all the other shit that came with that, but at least I can feed myself stuff besides burritos and ramen now. So thanks for that, asshole.

5. There's not one commercially produced CD in my (admittedly meager) collection that I can play all the way through; there's at least one song I loathe on every single disc. I love iTunes for letting me get around that problem, but I wish it had been available 20 years ago, back when I had the time and the inclination to be obsessive about music, because now I don't care. I like plain old silence better than any music.

6. When I first moved to Arizona from California, around the age of 12, I was so freaked out by the whole thing that I developed horrible insomnia, and damn if I don't still have it. I used to crawl into bed and go right out before that. I can still fall asleep fast if I go to bed when the sun's coming up, but that's no way to live, believe me.

7. I have no ambition and (discounting a phase in my teenage years when I had the usual embarrassing teenager dreams of being a rock star) I never have had. I don't see why I have to be anything special, I don't have the talent to be anything special, and as for materialism, there's no point to my acquiring lots of stuff when I'll only lose most of it (and I will). I just want enough money to keep afloat, and I have the nerve to think that achieving this shouldn't be as tricky for people to do as it is.

And now for seven fresh victims! This is the fun part:


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I Know I'm Not the Only One Ready to Kiss off 2007

All y'all in the southern hemisphere: Don't forget your sunscreen! All y'all in the northern hemisphere: Stay cozy. This might help:

Now you, 2007: I don't ever want to see your face again. And thank goodness, in another week or so I won't have to.

Happy week of relative peace and quiet, everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Damn, I don't feel like working today. I should be glad to have a job at all, I know, but sometimes this one gets to me all the same. Like:

--I'm sick of reading complaints by xenophobic transcriptionists about health care providers for whom English is a second language. In my experience those health care providers dictate waaaaayyy better than most native speakers. An ESL provider, if I may generalize a moment, is more likely to enunciate carefully, speak more slowly, and have better grammar. They make my job easier in every way. Meanwhile, I have some surfer-dude-turned-physical-therapist for whom English is supposedly his first language, and I can't understand a fuckin' word he says BECAUSE HE MUMBLES. Native speakers are careless with the language is what I say. I'll take that nurse practitioner from Pakistan any DAY over a native fum-fuh'er. California, you may know how to party, but the speaking NEEDS WORK.

--How come when everyone's bitching about rising health care costs, and how universal health care would bankrupt us all and screw the economy, and just DAMN those smokers, DAMN those fat people, DAMN those single mamas, damn damn damn all the sick and the injured--how come when all that's going on, no one ever mentions the apparently OVERinsured yuppies who present to the ERs and urgent care clinics for--well, here's a brief list: Blisters, bruises, paper cuts (I jest not!), runny noses (not a cold, mind you), superficial scrapes, and all manner of other shit my mom used to just spray some Bactine on and/or hand me a bottle of Neo-Synephrine for? I'm not talking complicated shit either, where the patient is a diabetic or otherwise immunocompromised. I'm talking about "Ashley was running and she tripped and scraped her knee" and the wound is smaller than a dime in circumference. I seriously just did a 3-1/2 minute report on a teenager with a blister. No, that's all. Just a blister. Are Band-Aids that hard to come by? Why aren't we bitching about these people? WHY? By God, I'm going to start!

* Please, please, please, health care providers, learn this and love it and most especially live it: MOAR WORDZ != MOAR SMARTER. Saying shit like "lungs are clear to auscultation bilaterally, without the presence of wheezes, rales, or rhonchi," just makes you sound like a dimwit bureaucrat, especially when you get so you like the sound of "the presence of" so much that it becomes a verbal tic you start using in every other sentence. Omit needless words! "No evidence of" or "no evidence for" is okay. I have word expander entries for those. Every medical transcriptionist does, because that phrase actually MEANS something--it means "this could exist, but I can't say so definitely right now and I don't want to get sued if I'm wrong." It's the malpractice-suit version of a cross to a vampire. But I will cut off my own fingers before I submit to making an expander entry for "without the presence of." THAT'S ENOUGH WORDS NOW. You go sit by the ESL providers until your English improves.

* White women health care providers! Most of you, the ones I transcribe, are between the ages of 30 and 60. WHY DO YOU STILL SOUND LIKE ALICIA SILVERSTONE IN CLUELESS? Knock that shit off! It wasn't cute for you to affect that Valley Girl speech pattern back when you were rushing sororities in college, and it truly is not cute now, when you're supposed to sound like a competent professional who knows her shit, rather than like a bimbo who "doesn't speak Mexican." If I'm in a clinic with chest pain, BELIEVE ME, I don't want Cher Horowitz hooking me up to the heart monitor.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

In This Vale of Tears

Personal shit going on. Can't blog. Can barely function. DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT, so let's don't.

Here, read this. Partly thanks to the aforementioned personal shit, it made me melancholy. Nothing wrong with that--I won't say anything puerile about laughter and tears being two sides of the same coin, but, well, let's just say I love this post with all my heart and Sylvia/M, you should freewrite more often:

Sometimes it’s easy to take yourself way too seriously while having sex. I dread waking up next to someone who’s thinking “circle left, forward right, and this is how I make an orgasm” when I really want to be close to them. To wake up spooning. To feel them exploring my body — I mean, sometimes it’s not important if I get off. If I get off many times but don’t feel close enough to give an expression of mirth, then that’s my cue to leave. Laughter’s not mandatory for all sexual encounters, but it’s required for intimacy.

I can’t imagine a great sexual experience without laughter having something to do with its execution. Because being able to laugh with someone, at someone, to someone — that’s a hell of a connection.

You'll go read the whole thing now if you know what's good for you. Don't cross me today! Or next week. Or the week after that one, either.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Email Blues

Both BFP and Nezua have admitted to struggling with email. Brownfemipower:

6. I have a profound inability to manage my email. I currently have over 700 unopened emails in my inbox. People often wonder why I have so many email accounts–that is why. I get up to about 500 unopened emails–and I get beyond overwhelmed, and say fuck it. The account is lost, there’s nothing I can do about it, time to get a new one. A friend promised to help me figure out the email thing during the upcoming break–we’ll see how that goes. Hopefully, this time, i won’t need to switch email accounts.


i am really hating email lately. it should cost money to send an email. maybe that would cut this nonsense down. we send far to many and far too much. made communicating easier? hell no. it makes it a nightmare. in a day i can get three important emails and they can be drowned by a billion. i flag juicy ones, i highlight them, i perm their hair and paint their toes red and still they get buried. and it just depresses me to think of leaping in after them and digging through all the rinds n shit. but i’m feeling bad for all these forgotten or delayed connections.

I might as well pile on. I realized last year that the last time I could truly say I loved email was about ten years ago, when I knew all of six other people who had it. I could handle six email correspondents, especially when a couple of them were flaky about writing back. I used to go days and days and even weeks at a time with no new email. Of course, because I was stupid, I checked my email obsessively and complained about the lack of it.

"No one loves me! No one wrote me back!"

When I first met my boyfriend in 1999, I remember him voicing another complaint I had back then: Some people just aren't letter-writers, so they aren't good email correspondents, either. He told me he'd lost touch with all his friends from high school and college because they'd send him this type of email. Hands up who remembers receiving this type of email:

Hey bro, what's up? got a job interview next Mon., pretty psyched! well not much else is new. write me back!!!

That's not an email, that's . . . okay, I don't know what that is. My attitude towards those kinds of emails was always, "write you back? You didn't give me much to write you back ABOUT."

I had no idea what was coming. NO idea.

In fact, from about 2000-2005 I begged my recalcitrant parents to just send me emails. Please! SEND EMAILS. No more phone calls. Oh, I hated the phone. I always felt trapped on it. Didn't I say as much once upon a time? Yes! Yes, I did:

49.···I can't stress this enough: I hate the telephone. The way you can be my best friend is never to call me on the telephone. I lost a programming job because they wanted me to code up a "soft phone," and I just hated it too much to want to work on it, so I didn't. The ringer on my phone was once turned off for a week because one Saturday, while trying to take a nap, people kept calling me and waking me up, and even though I knew eventually I would have to turn it back on before someone got hostile about not being able to reach me, every time I reached for the ringer switch I thought, "Nah, let 'em wait awhile yet." I tell people that if I had invented the phone, it would only dial out, and it would only dial one number: 911. They think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

(Rereading that now, it occurs to me that I left out 95% of the story on that programming job, like the part where my boss got me drunk in an attempt to convince me to stay with the company instead of accepting a better-compensated position elsewhere [it came with such perks, too], or the part where in my subsequent state of drunkenness I explained TO MY BOSS that I had to leave the company because my wanting to sleep with him was fucking up my ability to do good work there, or the part where he said he wanted to sleep with me, too, or the part where within two months of my stupidly turning down the offer from the other company BUT ALSO refusing to deliver on the whole sleeping-with-the-boss thing, I was let go.

BUT, ANYWAY, it is also true that I did not enjoy working on the softphone. Remember, kids: If you find yourself wanting to sleep with your boss, change jobs immediately, and keep your fucking mouth shut until you're safely out the door. Accept no alcohol from the object of your affections in the meantime. Also, if he's married, just don't do it. That toad is on his third wife now, with hefty alimony and child support payments, which of course he bitches about constantly, going out to wives 1 and 2. I'm GLAD I didn't sleep with him. I'm only sorry I ever thought I wanted to.)

Oh, but we were talking about the phone versus email. Pardon me! I am not bitter. Back to Nezua:

i used to hate the fone. but i’m different now. now that i have a headset. ever since i got a headset in 2001, i dont mind the fone at all. i can walk around and do all kinds of junk and still be on the fone. fone is one of those things, like going to the bathroom that bores the living hell out of me. things that need to be combined with other actions because they just require too little brainpower and you dont feel like zombieing out that many times in a week.

My situation is obviously different from Nezua's. I'm NOT hugely popular. My situation is different from Brownfemipower's, too: I'm not signed up on hundreds of activist lists.

It isn't really that I get so very many emails; it's that I type for a living. Forty hours a week. Okay, 37.5. This week only thirty, because doctors are bailing for their Caribbean holidays and work is slow. But I don't just type, I transcribe. I turn the spoken into the written. And here's the first thing you learn doing that: No one can type as fast as humans can speak. On a good day I can knock out a 5-minute dictation in 8 minutes, but there are a lot of health care providers who dictate rapidly enough, or badly enough, that it can take 10 or 12. It's inefficient, and I'm not growing in patience as I get older--quite the opposite, really.

Guess whether I want to sit down and type more once I've finished a shift of that?

Nez, how much for a headset these days? I might have to look into that, even if I would feel like a huge dork wearing one (and I would). But it is time for me to renew my relationship with the telephone. I'm going to buy it flowers and send it a nice note:

Dear telephone,

Baby, I'm sorry. I treated you bad and you went away and that fling I had with the email, it didn't work out. I'm not asking you to feel sorry for me. I know I don't deserve your pity. I just want to know whether you could find it in your heart to give me a second chance.

I miss you,


See Also, 'Discomforting'

Aw, HELL. Between Kactus being a regular contributor and Donna Darko being this week's guestblogger, I've had to put Feministe in the subscriptions again.

I missed having it there, so I don't know why I'm cussing like it's a huge problem.

Here is my "why Feministe mattered" statement: Reading it always made me uncomfortable. I blame Lauren, a discomforting person if ever there was one. (I mean that in the nicest possible way, Lauren, so don't even start with me.)

Uncomfortable; no more, no less. Had Feministe annoyed hell out of me, I simply wouldn't have read it (see also: how I spent my summer vacation). Had it soothed me like a pacifier to a teething baby, I would have read it but not remarked upon it.

"Ah, Feministe, like a snifter of brandy on a cold winter's day"--I mean? How many times can you write that post before declaring yourself a hopeless fangirl? "Dear Feministe, I wrote you some slash. I hope you are not offended." Uh, no.

No, uncomfortable. Just exactly that word. Just enough irritation to where I'd have to get to wondering: What the hell is bothering me about this? And then I'd spend a few hours figuring that out.

And then I'd wonder, "why the hell is that particular thing bothering me this much?" And then I'd have to question myself.

UNCOMFORTABLE. Scratch that itch. No, lower--okay, a little to the right. No, higher . . . okay, back down . . . to the left a bit . . . oh, there. I am an antisocial person. If I have to leave the house more than twice a week I'm a wreck, but even I'll admit it: To have someone around to help you scratch that itch is a blessing.

What reading Feministe used to make me think was, maybe having that itch in the first place is the real blessing. My reading should ultimately make neither a cheerleader nor a critic out of me. It should make me uncomfortable, just enough itchy that I have to scratch, just enough messed up that I have to sort things out and maybe figure out a better way to deal.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Housing on my Mind

Several years ago--"sometime in the late 90s" is about as specific as I can get--my aunt and I were sitting in my grandmother's kitchen somewhere in Orange County having an argument about Guiliani. My grandmother and aunt are both lifelong Democrats, for the record, but that didn't stop my aunt from taking the he's-been-good-for-crime-control position in this debate.

"You have to admit though, Ma, he's cleaned up the city."

"Oh, would you give me a break?" No one can put quite as much into an expression from the "oh, please," family as my grandmother can. "Gimme a break, _____."

"He HAS, Ma," my aunt insisted. "I don't like him either, but he HAS."

"Yeah, Grandma," I jumped in, "it says right here in the paper [I'm pretty sure I was reading my more-conservative grandfather's New York Post at the time] that in [some neighborhood] alone, crime's gone down 57% since he's been in."

My grandmother had been having this conversation with her back to my aunt and me. She'd been futzing around at the kitchen counter, but she whipped around to face me at that. She got right to work:

"Yeah, _____, that's what it says in the Post, right? That crime is down 57%."

"That's what--"

"Do they say why crime is down 57%?"

I knew I was about to lose this argument. I could tell by the tone of voice, I could tell because she was still making her "oh, please," face, all comically raised eyebrows with the mouth in a grimace. But what could I do?

"No," I admitted. "They just say it's been since Guil--"

"Well, I watch the news, darling. I watch it every night. I can tell you why crime is down so much. You wanna know why crime is down in that neighborhood?"


"Crime is down because," my grandmother sensibly interrupted, drawing out each syllable for emphasis, "they demolished all the old buildings in that neightborhood. Whole blocks, kaboom! That's why crime is down. But leave it to the Post not to tell you that."

She turned back to the counter.

"Of course crime went down! How can you have any crime in a place nobody lives anymore?" she asked of no one in particular. I think it was what you call a rhetorical question.

And I think what that question really was asking was, "How is that my own flesh and blood doesn't know you can't believe everything you read?"

My aunt tactfully changed the subject.


I have to quit watching "My House Is Worth What?" on HGTV when I work out. If you're looking for the most obnoxious people on all of planet Earth, that is the show where you can see 'em all. They're all there fretting over whether the $10, $15, $20 thousand dollars they sunk into the kitchen remodel is going to translate into $$$MEGABUCKS$$$ of profit when they sell.

Every show is the same: Some yuppie couple with 0-1 kids decides it's time to head for the suburbs but first, but first, could a real estate expert (they are NEVER just realtors on this show, never EVER) please tell them what their hipster haven in the city is worth, so they can figure out whether to buy the 4-bedroom ranch or the 5-bedroom?

I don't know why I watch it, I really don't, except that there's not a lot else on.

Today's couple was obnoxious enough to stand out, which is saying something. "We won this place in a lottery," beamed the blonde woman.

"A lottery for first-time home buyers just starting out. There were income restrictions, you know, you couldn't make too much, but you had to make at least this--"

"We really needed the help because we're stand-up comics," interjected the even-blonder man.

"We're not wealthy," agreed the woman. "Four years ago, when we bought this place, this neighborhood wasn't as nice as it is now. I really feel like we're pioneers in a sense, because--"

You know why, "because?"

Because they'd paid $182,000 for an apartment in Harlem. That's what this little shit wanted her Pioneer Award for. For bravery in the face of all that--and you bet this phrase was said during the show, oh, many times--"ethnic diversity."

By the time the real estate expert had finished giving the couple the sad news that although Harlem had "come a long way" in those four years, it "still isn't quite where it needs to be," I'd pretty much made up my mind never to watch this show again. But I guess she wasn't all wrong, that lottery-winning lady: Pioneers also displaced people to follow their dreams. Sure, pioneer dreams were more like "practice polygamy" than "fart around pretending to be stand-up comics so we don't have to get regular jobs," but close enough, right?

The show's narrator kept reminding viewers what was really important: If the country's least-funny stand-up comics couldn't sell the apartment at a profit, their twin boys wouldn't get to have a backyard.

I know!!!


I think it was only a couple years ago that libertarians and conservatives went frothy over Kelo v. City of New London. But that was different. Decisions like Kelo could really fuck up a dude's real estate investment strategies:

Some of the luster attached to dirt has been severely diminished for the small investor class. I've made a few dollars in real estate and now I'm gong to have to look elsewhere. Having the capriciousness of government looming over my property takes all the safety out of the equation. On an even more serious note, the three pillars of prosperity for emerging nations are free markets, rule of law, and private property rights. We just got busted down to third world status.

You know what's "third world?" This is "third world:"

Last week, the city housing authority approved the demolition of 4,000 public housing units at five projects damaged by the storm. In their place, the authority plans to build mixed-income projects, large parts of which will not be affordable to previous residents.

This is "third world:"

One of the more striking changes to appear lately in New Orleans is the highly visible number of homeless men and women living under bridges and in parks. Social service groups say about 12,000 homeless people are living in the city, about double the number before the storm.

This is "third world:"

Time has already run out for some. Ms. Bernard, 40, and her two daughters got the final word on Friday that they were evicted, cast out of the only home they have had since the storm to whereabouts unknown. And they were not alone.

“I don’t know what’s going to become of us,” said Tiffany Farbe, who lives in a trailer park near the Mississippi River in the Uptown part of New Orleans with her son and mother. “They said get out. I’ve explained to them over and over again our situation. FEMA just makes you feel like dirt.”

But a conservative says what again?--I don't know. Searches aren't turning up much. I guess nobody's sweet blond boys need a backyard to play in. Likely no one's real estate investments are at risk. Maybe they're afraid their "authority" will be called into question the way this guy's was.

All I know is that I'm running out of cute ways to direct people to Brownfemipower.

Monday, December 10, 2007

No-Win Situations

Damn, am I ever glad piny's back. Piny's nearly unsurpassed for seeing and exposing the no-win:

The problem isn’t so much–or isn’t only–that some women are taught to hate their bodies and fixate on official bodily imperfection. That situation can’t exist until all women are taught to think of their bodies as the most important thing about them. That’s why it isn’t exactly a privilege to have big tits or to get fake tits. A buxom girl isn’t only subjected to all sorts of virgin/whore conflicts because of her chest size. She’s also receiving the message that she is her big breasts, that her y’know actual personality is negligible, that she can’t escape those judgments because they aren’t only pervasive but paramount. Any reaction, adoration or disgust, will be toxic so long as that belief underlies it.

Bingo! This isn't about whether it's better to conform or not conform to patriarchal standards. This is about there being such a reductionist standard in the first place--one that says, "You are your body."

Think of grading (I'll use the U.S. system here because it's what I'm most familiar with): Anything above and including a C is passing, and anything below that is failing. Whether I pass or fail matters if I'm trying to take calculus. But if the teacher grades solely on the attractiveness of the students, is the problem that some students are passing while others are failing, or is the problem that the grading system is for shit?

I'll just add that from what I've seen of the comments, I may need to finally get around to a post on the dreadful circular firing squads that are out to Ruin Feminism, Like, Totally. Another day! Remind me.


Anyone who sparkles this much on the YouTube ought really to be lighting up a Broadway stage. It's ALL gorgeous, but Sudy's reading of the infamously ignorant "hee hee, Tabasco!" comment damn near killed me.

(Hey, guess which Mexican state my part of the world borders? OMG they named it after teh Taco Bell dog! LOLNACHOS!!!)

I'll have more to say about this later--lots more. For now, I'm just content to be in awe.

(Thank you, Problem Chylde and Egotistical Whining.)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Subvert the Dominant [headdesk][headdesk][headdesk]

Important feminist news briefs!!!

Item! Claire Danes is under attack, y'all! Here's what you can do about it.

(Oh, wait: That link doesn't go to anything about Claire Danes. I think it's because I don't give a fuck about celebrities!)

Item! Feminist author needs money to build community! Here's where you can donate.

(Oh, wait: That donations page probably isn't for the author you were expecting it to be for, is it? I think it's because I like the author I linked so much better!)

Item! Magazines perpetuate a lot of sexist stereotypes! Here's where you can write the publishers.

(Oh, wait: That link doesn't go to anything about magazines. I think it's because it's so hugely fucking wrong to incarcerate children! Link via Brownfemipower!)

Item! I miss the Christmas specials of my childhood. I am immature and being silly now. I think it's because I've been banging my head against the desk a lot!

(Stupid desk!)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

We'll Never Get That Elephant out of the Room Until We Admit There's an Elephant in the Room

I have this branch of my family that's about filled with masters of crawling under, edging by, and catapulting over elephants in the room. Whether we're avoiding talking about that one time my aunt ran away from my uncle, or that other time we lost that one cousin to heroin addiction, or--look, you get the idea. We're always avoiding, never dealing. It is crowded and smelly in those elephant-filled rooms and I always feel as if I'm about to pass out in them. I can't deal with this branch of my family at all.

I feel a little guilty about this, because they aren't bad people. They just have one rule I cannot for the life of me keep:


Which would be fine and a noble ideal and all that, except that life is so often unpleasant, and then only when it isn't outright horrible. I'm not trying to be cynical; that's just facts. I have a relatively pleasant life, you bet, but my life isn't typical of the lives in this world and (this is important to get) if you have a secure roof over your head, nourishing food on your table, and relative health in your body, your life isn't typical either. I can't possibly proceed with this unless we're agreed on that much first of all.

There, that's one elephant of unpleasantness down: The unpleasant fact is that avoiding unpleasantness is a luxury most people don't have and as such, the desire to avoid unpleasantness is fairly reliable indicator of relative privilege. See, most people can't avoid unpleasantness because unpleasantness is SITTING ON THEM.


It's amazing how much damage you can do in the course of avoiding unpleasantness; the classic example is the parent who says "this hurts me more than it hurts you" while spanking a child. Spanking is unpleasant and the parent feels guilty for doing it, but hurts MORE? Could we put that to a vote, actually? We'll just get a dozen people together jury fashion and hit 'em with this survey:

Given the choice, I would rather:
1. Hit someone.
2. Be hit by someone.

I believe this option would cause me the LEAST pain:
1. Hitting someone.
2. Being hit by someone.

It hurts when you hit me.
1. I'll bet it does, but you deserve it.
2. Actually, it hurts me more than it hurts you.

I don't want to hear it from parents who spank, because you know something? If it really hurt you more than it hurt the kid, you wouldn't do it. Period. End of discussion.


There's this guy out there who likes to crab that I mention my boyfriend too much on this blog. Of course if I didn't have a boyfriend, or if I were lesbian, or if I had a boyfriend but never mentioned him, he'd be crabbing that I'm underappreciative of teh menz. You gotta know when you're in a no-win, is what I figure there.

Anyway, that fellow should look away now, because I'm about to credit my boyfriend with the astute observation that this whole "Elephant? What elephant?" business is usually called concern trolling when it appears on the internet.

Oh, duh!

Rather than talk about the unpleasantness honestly, a concern troll shifts the conversation to how concerned s/he is about the unpleasantness. Given even a smidge of an opening, a concern troll will then usually continue with a lot of nonsense about how concerned s/he is that all this unpleasantness could be avoided, or maybe even eliminated entirely, with more and better effort by all those other people, over there, who just won't stop being so unpleasant, for some reason?!?

I could do a whole flow chart up of this process, and with access to some flow-charting software I would do up a whole flow chart, because I'm obsessive and I really like flow charts. Luckily for all of us, though, an actual chart isn't necessary here. The concern troll flow chart can be effectively condensed to one main loop:

1. I am concern-trolling:
YES: Shut the fuck up.

2. I'm NOT concern-trolling. I'm just very concerned, as a member of Group M, that certain members of Group K are acting in a way that will ultimately prove detrimental to their interests. I am concerned about this, and I am going to keep sharing my concerns about this until you acknowledge the vast depth of my concern and pat me on the head for having it:
NO: GOTO 1 anyway, because I'm pretty sure you're really saying #2, even if you can't bring yourself to acknowledge it yet. I'm pretty sure of this because I have never even once seen a concern troll admit to concern trolling on the internet.


Sometimes if I'm partially awakened from sleep I curse at people, and never remember it the next day. "I was asleep," I say when it's brought up in the morning. "I didn't mean it."

"You told me to go fuck myself with a chainsaw!"


Then I get hurt feelings because I can't get the curse-ee to quit hassling me. Doesn't that person understand that I was unconscious? I can't be held responsible for what I do when I'm asleep! If this person could just understand that, then maybe we could proceed to a reconciliation of sorts--but how can I ever make amends if the curse-ee won't try to understand where I'm coming from here? Hint: I am coming from a state of previously BLISSFUL UNCONSCIOUSNESS. I literally did not know what I was doing.

You know what?--It's hopeless! You can't accept that I didn't mean any harm? You want to hold me responsible for causing you harm unintentionally? You think this is fair? Well, I think it's a no-win situation for me, that's what I think, so go fuck yourself with a chainsaw! And quit hassling me!

What do you mean, "blackmail?" Now you aren't even making any sense. I can't deal with you if you insist on being so irrational.

I was well into my 30s before I figured out that the only thing the person I cussed out wanted to hear was an abject apology.

"Really? I said that? That's horrible! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean it, not even subconsciously. I guess I'm just way overprotective of my sleep. But still--oh, I am so sorry! What an asshole thing to have said."

Funny thing: When I do that? When I take responsibility for the hurt I caused even though I never meant to cause it, was never even conscious that I was causing it?

BOOM! Suddenly, there's a huge drop in unpleasantness.


Here's the unpleasantness I'm avoiding right now: I am avoiding saying that I think someone is being either dishonest or dumb. I wish I could find a pleasant third way out of that dichotomy, so people would think I was a benevolent and compassionate person full of courage, someone with an ardent commitment to celebrating life, one who enriched all humanity with tender love and sweet knowledge. That would be much more pleasant than being a bitch.

Maybe if I said something vague, like, "Oh, well, so-and-so is just rationalizing unpleasant behavior, it's a natural human tendency, we all rationalize our actions to ourselves, it's how we make sense of the insensible--but mercy, that doesn't mean we're stupid and don't know better, and it doesn't necessarily make us dishonest. We're all just human! We're all learning and growing like weeds in the night, only smarter. Ah, that's all that's going on here: Just a few growing pains, just a few bends in the learning curve. Yes. So, so, tragically, beautifully human!"

But you know something?

If you post the same tired old crap I've been reading for at least a year now, it doesn't matter how you dress it up. It doesn't matter how many remarks along the lines of "I'm a little confused" or "I'm just thinking out loud" or "Perhaps I'm missing something (but here's four more paragraphs explaining why I'm not missing anything, really)"--it does not matter how many Uriah Heep "pay no mind to humble ol' me"-type concern troll disclaimers and disarmers and gee-golly-whiz obfuscations you shove into the same tired old crap. It does not matter; it's still the same tired old crap, and I can't be pleasant about it. I just can't--not when that same tired old crap hurts people I love.

This is crap. It's crap, and it stinks, and furthermore, the precise nature of the crap, as well as how to stop leaving it everywhere, and how to clean it up when you do leave it everywhere--everything there is that can possibly be said about this crap has been said and is normally ONE GOOGLE SEARCH or ONE BLOGROLL CLICK or ONE TRIP TO THE LIBRARY away from you.

So that's enough justifying the endless reposting of crap! Enough! I find it unpleasant that you are standing there wringing your hands over all this crap while protesting that you never meant to crap on anyone, honest; but oh, p.s., could the people you crapped on please try asking you to clean up your crap a little more nicely?

Okay. Here is the nice version:

It's like, fuck, just listen. Don't fill the air with your assumptions, just listen. Look for the answers, don't dominate discourse with your questions, and listen.

"But I think by talking!" Yeah, I've used that defense myself, often. But you can't listen as well when you're talking, and it's the listening that needs to be done now, desperately.

Not the thinking.

Not the wondering aloud.

Definitely not the crapping.



I seem to have gone from an elephant motif to a sewage one. Well, elephants poop mass quantities. That's how I'm rationalizing THAT.


The elephant I want to shoot next is the big one:

We, white feminists, do NOT treat women of color the same way we treat other white feminists. We treat them demonstrably, provably worse--and don't make me fill this post with links to prove it, because I can do that, but it's going to look simply awful all collected in one spot like that. Talk about unpleasantness! But I can if I have to. I am obsessive enough and angry enough to dredge up 90% of the ugliness that's gone down online between white feminists and women of color (and nearly all of that unidirectional; guess which direction?) THIS YEAR ALONE.

In fact, a project of roughly that sort is already in the works. Tell me: Is that project happening because white feminists treat women of color the same way we treat other white feminists? I don't think so.

We do NOT treat women of color the way we treat other white feminists, and no WOC blogger I've read has ever "made the mistake" of failing to understand that we do, because we don't.

We recenter every issue women of color raise onto ourselves. We talk about how important it is to interact with women of color--not for their benefit, but for our personal growth. Hell, I do that one too much, which is probably why this makes me wince right down to my toes.

We play the Nice White Lady who can Do Anything, including finding novel ways to "stop hurting each other"--as though the hurts experienced on both sides of the white-feminist/women-of-color divide were in any way near to equivalent, or as though we as white feminists were in any way capable of being neutral, objective, fair or balanced in that pursuit. But we have to try! We have to fix what women of color keep breaking! We have to have this dialogue. If you deny us this dialogue, that's silencing.

We say we're all in this together, and then we gripe that it seems SOME of us are more "in this together" than others. Coincidentally, I mean totally coincidentally, the some of us who are more "in this together" tend to share a common skin color, while the some of us who are less inclined to be "in this together"--well, like I said, it's just a coincidence. I mean, gosh, we'd love to all be in this together, but for some reason, Those Other People just won't join up.

And then we ask (and we're just thinking out loud here; please pay no mind to grant us complete absolution for our innocent befuddlement our stinking disingenuousness): What's up with Those People? Except we don't actually ask Those People, we ask each other--as if we had any fucking clue at all (from what I've seen, we don't) and could possibly come within a continent of the answers (doubtful).

And I do mean answerS, because the other thing we do is say "women of color" while appearing to address one undifferentiated great brown bloc. If we could just penetrate the mystery of that great brown bloc, we'd have The Answer to The Race Problem. But how can we penetrate the mystery when the bloc won't stop hollering at us? Never mind that we're the ones actually doing the hollering:

"Teach us, O Great Brown Bloc!"

"Excuse me? Were you talking to me? To whom was that addressed?"

"It was addressed to WOMEN OF COLOR! WOC for short!"

"Uh, which woman of color? Did you mean me, or were you talking to--"

"Why do you refuse us knowledge, Great Brown Bloc? We seek enlightenment! We come in peace!"

We talk about rather than to. We plead ignorance where ignorance is (again, demonstrably and provably) no excuse. We strive to include--but in our club, and we still chair the board, oh, you bet.

Listen, it's quite an honor that we even invited you at all, okay? We can't have you just storming in here and taking over. That would be too chaotic.

Hey, but my friends and I were just admiring your pet issues, how cute they are? No, really, they are so cool. So REAL, you know? Like in the 70s, when everyone was wearing ponchos and Afros? That was in the era BI, Before Irony. Ha! I LOVE the 70s. Everyone was so earnest back then. Earnestness is going to be the next big thing, seriously. It's like my friends and I are always saying: We have irony burnout.

Listen, though, we would be so stoked for you to teach us about your issues. We are so supportive of your--huh? 'Sat now?

Books? Oh honey, books are so whatevs. I mean, by the time you're done with grad school you're just over the book thing, am I right?

--Oh, I'm sorry! I always forget that your people were educated on the mean streets. You're probably super annoyed with all my fancy academic rhetoric, huh? God, I wish I could get my education on the streets. Or in the fields. I just think it would be so much more REAL to learn that way. I had no choice, though. In my family, in my culture, it was kind of expected that I would put myself $75,000 in debt to fight patriarchy? God, I know! The things we do for this movement, huh?

What was I saying before? Oh, yah, books: Books are finito, hermana. It's ALL digital media now, except when it isn't. Like, if we wrote books, that would not be whatevs; that would be MAJOR. You would support that, right? It's so important to support feminist authors! We have to make feminism accessible again, like it was in the 70s, but minus the ponchos this time.

So we can count on you? I hope so. We need to present a united front. A diverse united front, though--not like the Christian Coalition or anything fascist like that. See, I don't know if you can understand this, but it's like, right now, there are a LOT of young women out there who think feminism is so whatevs, and it totally isn't. That's just books. Oh, and herpes.

--All right, now I'm just ripping off that dude at Gawker who does the Underminer posts. But listen, when are we going to stop undermining women in this so-called women's movement? Can it be soon, please?


Things I find undermining in this post:

1. It begins by classifying its remarks as "meta-feminist." Puzzlingly, then,

2. It frames the debate around a point that has never, to my knowledge, been seriously contested on any feminist or womanist blog: Shouldn't feminists retain their humanity (and thus the respect we owe fellow human beings) as they become better known and more successful? (Yes, they should, and nice strawman.)

3. It references "for some background" a thread largely dominated by white women arguing about breast implants (not that that thread wasn't as entertaining as a hammer to the skull), all in order to

4. Express ostensible confusion about "what some WOC and their allies are upset about."

You have got to be fucking kidding me. But it doesn't stop there. Does it ever?

5. The post then proceeds to explain that mistakes were made--

6. By "those WOC bloggers and their allies."

7. These "mistakes," by those WOC bloggers and their allies, included
a. Assuming, or OVER-estimating, the ability of white women to "get something deep about what it means to be a WOC in our society."
b. "The second crucial mistake they made was to not recognize how female white blogging rhetoric works."

Get. The fuck. OUT.

This is how white feminists treat other white feminists in general, which IS not very nicely, I'll agree, but still jarringly different from how we treat women of color:

* We assume good faith initially. We assume that in time any trolls, like murder, will out; until then, we generally begin by treating each other as reasonable, good-faith opponents. We assume women of color who disagree with us are just jealous, just expect too much of us, or just have trouble comprehending our grossly overeducated rhetoric.

* We acknowledge, name, and link to specific posts by specific people with whom we disagree. We excerpt specific parts of those posts. Our opponents have names. We don't say "some white feminists;" we say "Molly" or "The Happy Feminist" or "Natalia." We LINK. We QUOTE. We NAME. We substitute links to white women, or just the shorthand "WOC," or maybe if we're really being careful the shorthand "some WOC and their allies," where links and quotes and names of women of color should go.

* When one white feminist makes a particularly good point, other white feminists don't go run it by a man to get his stamp of approval on it. When a woman of color makes a particularly good point, we run it by other white feminists or, worse, our sympathetic friends of color, to get a stamp of approval on it.

* When one white feminist makes a particularly stupid point, other white feminists don't go run it by a man to check whether he'll agree that this makes us stupid as a group. When a woman of color makes a particularly stupid point, she turns out to be a white woman we've assumed was a woman of color, and then we blame all women of color for her stupidity anyhow, because close enough..

* When a men's rights activist, an antifeminist, a misogynist, or Ann Althouse says something (or several things) silly, we do not use their remarks as a launching pad to critique other white feminists. We do not, in general, blame each other for the words of those known to be hostile to feminism, nor do we stress to each other the importance of stifling intrafeminist debate because The Man is watching. But we tell women of color to shut up and be team players so reflexively, we might as well make a macro for it.

Aunt B., you can't tell me you treated women of color "the way we treat other white people" in those two posts. You just can't. This has got fuck-all to do with academic rhetoric, or class loyalties, or any of that other elephant shit you're flinging around like a meth-loaded circus roadie, albeit an awfully pleasant one. I can't believe you're this dense and I won't believe you're this inured to the stink. Kai is right about what this has to do with.

I may not be treating you very nicely--I definitely am not--but I'm linking you, I'm quoting you, I'm NAMING you. I'm addressing YOU, Aunt B. the human being with whom I'm personally a lot disgusted right now, but thanks to whom there are perhaps larger points to make, so maybe I should try making them. I am addressing Aunt B. who blogs at Tiny Cat Pants, which I earlier tonight referred to as "Tiny Cat Piss" because you know what, I may have cried over the way you disappeared me here (that thread was so mean to whom now? I'll ask it again: That thread was so mean to whom? Can you read?), but that hurt I could mostly keep private.

That Blackamazon is shit-talked at least every month and sometimes every week by one white feminist or another, and that she's mainly known among white feminists for her responses to those outrages, instead of for the sparks that fly out of her head and thankfully onto the internet, as would be right and just--that all this goes on and yet she is never named or linked or quoted, NEVER has her humanity acknowledged, even as you fret over the supposedly, in-what-universe-is-this-happening, threatened humanity of two white women--THAT I can't suck up. THAT I can't bitch about privately in email and resolve to "move on" from. That injury, heaped upon hundreds of other similar injuries, is not mine to forgive.

I wasn't sure whether I was going to post this. I'm not convinced you're worth the bother, and I know you aren't worth the shit I'll get. But then I read this:

I am angry because no matter what I write now, it has to be written in a defense. I’m sick of defending who I am. I’m sick of defending why I write, I’m sick of rehashing what I write because people can’t be bothered to try to see what I’ve done (and I understand blowing up my last blog kind of negates this point for me, but I’ve seen it with other bloggers too and they probably feel the same way), and I’m sick of being angry and sick from doing something I enjoy.

--and that's heartbreaking enough all on its own, but she also wrote that she isn't angry at you. Maybe your thoughtlessness has already begun to blur into the other 8900 times she's been smacked in the face with the brutal truth about how she's seen through the white lens (that would include: indistinctly, peripherally, and reductively, to name just a few). Probably she is better than I am at recognizing the "systemic" in "systemic racism:" Why single out any one mole in a game of Whac-a-Mole? They all need a good whacking. So many moles, so little time. So many dumb white folks, so few mallets. I don't know.

But I'M angry at you, because your precious need to think out loud was so much more important to you than maybe taking a few minutes to click around and CHECK whether your out-loud thinking was really as necessary to get out there as you thought it might be, or whether it was simply the same tired old crap that's been hurting people all year long plus infinity. Sure, you keep going on and on about how important it is that we all stop hurting each other. You keep going on about that, and while you do, I'll be over here making that smarmy little jack-off gesture while muttering "[cough]bullshit![cough]" under my breath.

I am distinctly unpleasant that way, in part because I learned this summer that you really DON'T fuck with the pink mafia, they really WILL fucking cut you, they really DO consider that horrible pack mentality a selling point (!) of whatever-wave-this-is feminism--and frankly, it's nitwits like you who enable them to keep on cutting without the least pang of conscience. It's nitwits like you always looking for some shiny new speck of intellectual whimsy that will finally, finally make it clear to everyone that our whitefeminist It Girls are actually right even when it looks as though they could just possibly be wrong.

You're always looking for a fresh way to "humanize" them, but you idiot, they HAVE their humanity. They are linked, they are quoted, they are named, they are engaged, they are respected, they are published and they are read. Meanwhile all you have to offer "WOC and their allies" (no names! No names, please!) is worthless advice about how to get into a worthless whitefeminists club, and they never asked for that, PLUS they've seen it already and know that it sucks. But Sylvia never asked for that. Blackamazon never asked for that. They're not even interested in that! They do other things. They have other projects. They write other posts. They have interests beyond white people, can you believe???

No, they never asked you or your precious darlings for a fucking thing except their due, and that they didn't ask for so much as insist upon--but you, you'd rather humanize those who refuse it to them. Oh, good JOB. Oh me, oh my, if only there were some New and Exciting way we could all learn to stop hurting each other! Well, I'm sorry, Great Healer, but there are only Old and Boring ways we could all stop hurting each other, such as (1) not hurting each other, (2) apologizing when we hurt each other, (3) apologizing even and especially when we never meant to hurt someone. Really, it's basic. Not much call for thinking outside the box with this one.

No. No, no, no. No more erasing my friends. No more bedazzled baffling bullshit. You cram that right back where it came from. Then maybe we can talk about stopping the hurt, but it won't be pleasant. It will be worth it a thousand times over, yes, yes, yes, but it will not be pleasant.

It is worth it to me to be unpleasant if even one white feminist who was thinking of posting, "What is the damn deal with women of color? What are they so upset about? You know, this is where I think they screwed up," stops for a second, just long enough to take this advice to heart:

Shut the fuck up and listen. Shut the fuck up and read. Shut the fuck up and think--quietly, to yourself.

That is as pleasant as I can possibly be about this under the circumstances.