when the status quo frustrates.

What We Teach Our Kids

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

I have an adorable little nephew. Kid sister has spawned with her husband, and the random result was a little boy that has my sister’s nose and chin, and my brother-in-law’s everything else, only in miniature form. He’s cute, even though he also cements my desire to never have children*. Since it’s not my rugrat, no pictures will be forthcoming (sorry guys).

This kid has been interesting to watch, though. Not that he’s done anything especially newsworthy to anyone who isn’t his family (ah, look how he smiles, and gurgles and coos!), but how people react and change because of him. Kid sister has always been a little flighty- she never really was capable of focusing for more than ten minutes, she was bubbly and she had a sort of laissez-fare attitude towards safety**. Now, she seems to have become extremely cautious. She wouldn’t leave her kid with our mom for an evening out, she’s apparently memorized a whole host of books on child development, and she runs and worries over every little bump and fuss. I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, especially the research and effort she put in the kid, just weird. I never believed that “Having children makes you more mature” – I’ve seen too many really immature parents- but apparently there is an anecdata point in my little sister.

Also, I find it interesting how at three months the kid has already been exposed to demonstrating that he is a “boy”. They dress him up in tough little clothes, and I hear how “strong” he is, even though he’s actually adorable more than strong. His parents don’t know what to make of me, I coo to him “Who’s going to grow up to be a radical feminist- you are, you are. Yes, you’ll respect women and I’ll let you cry” and they start freaking out (despite the fact that what the kid most likely hears is “abada da da da auntie’s playing with me *giggle*). I keep telling them I’m going to send him a pink onesie, though they know it’s a false threat (I hate pink- it’s more likely going to be purple).

Finally, the parents are not raising him any particular faith (yet- my guess is they’ll probably cave and end up taking them to church when he’s older) but my mom’s already singing him Bible songs. So far, he’s one of the random babies that hates being song to***, but my kept trying to with songs like “Jesus Loves You”. After listening to this song again, I wonder why we teach this song to anyone.

For those not familiar, this song reads as follows:

Jesus loves me! this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
they are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

There are more lyrics, but like most songs, it’s the first verse and chorus everyone remembers. Simple lyrics, simple melody, a staple of most churches to brainwash little children. Kids, believe this because we repeat it four times! What’s that you say? Generally when someone loves you they demonstrate it by being there for you and not being imaginary? Yeah, but, look- repetition! And, a book says it! What’s that? You have a book that also says that trains can talk and that sky is falling? Those books are just fiction. My book is right (despite having no evidence backing that one up) and also, remember, you’re really weak so you better cozy up to the strong guy. Seriously, this is actually a pretty twisted thing to teach young children. My only hope is, hey, my sisters and I all heard and sang the song and we came out okay- probably the little rugrat will too.

*Eww, eww, fluids. Yuck. Also, it was a hard pregnancy on Kid Sister and I like my sleep too much. Oh, and money.
** For example, jumping out of the barn on to the trampoline, lighting tons of stuff on fire, cutting everything she could get mother’s scissors around, you get the idea.
*** Though for whatever reason, seemed to enjoy my unique song “Eating Various Baby Body Parts”. The lyrics were pretty much as follows: “Look at little baby toes. Yummy, yummy baby toes. I’m going to gobble them up!” This was accompanied by me grabbing onto the body part in question, and then during the “gobble them up” part fake-eating them. Repeat for other parts like fingers, belly, knees and ears. The kid thought it was hilarious, judging by the way he giggled and moved around. So I guess my songs are only actively more disturbing.

Depression and Weird Moments

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

A friend of mine, the other day, told me, “You know, except for a few weird moments, I’d never know you were depressed.”

Of course, those “weird moments” are probably the one in which they catch me looking longingly at the point of a knife or a phone call in the middle of the night where I sob out all of my existential angst.

But, if anything, that about sums up what depression is for everyone around me- a few weird moments. I still go out, I still go to work, I still smile and laugh and joke. When other people see me, I make sure that I do all of the hygiene that’s appropriate for a human being. I’m still logical (or as much as any one human being is). I still care about the world around me, even as it continues to baffle me. Depression doesn’t make you less intelligent. Or, for that matter, more intelligent. The “tortured genius” stereotype is wrong on so many levels.

I only have a mild case of depression. What this means is when I went to visit my shrinks, they didn’t put me under surveillance when I told them that I was suicidal. When I got frustrated with having to talk to them, it meant that I could say some pretty little lies about finding the value of living and I could stop seeing them without any trouble from the university* or the hospital.

But, what it means to me is inside my head I have a torture device. I have a brain that likes to say, on an endless loop, about how much better everyone would be if I were dead. It likes to say about how stupid I am, how arrogant I am, how cruel, ugly, clumsy, useless, talentless, and disgusting I am. And as evidence it brings up every memory for every embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me, from the tiny to the huge. Then it tells me I’m selfish and weak for wanting to die. This loop is powered by my energy and desire, so every time it goes around in my head, I have a little less of each to go about and do the day-to-day life.
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It’s Banned Books Week!

Monday, September 28th, 2009

I love Banned Books Week! Some of my favorite books of all time are banned books…I mean, check out this list of classics! Admittedly, a lot of the banning action took place decades ago, but lest anyone think we’ve relaxed our deathgrip on the minds of our children in this new millenium, here are a nice collection of more recent incidents to sneer at:

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Sallinger: Removed by a Dorchester District 2 school board member in Summerville, SC (2001) because it “is a filthy, filthy book.”

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck*: Banned from the George County, Miss. schools (2002) because of profanity.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: Challenged in Foley, Alabama (2000) because of the depictions of “orgies, self-flogging, suicide” and characters who show “contempt for religion, marriage, and the family.” The book was removed from the library, pending review.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: Burned in Alamagordo, N. Mex. (2001) outside Christ Community Church along with other Tolkien novels as satanic.

If you’re interested in the most up-to-date reporting on the 2008 open season on communication of unapproved ideas, the American Library Association puts out a yearly list of the books that are challenged, restricted, removed or banned–see if your favorites are on there too!

Leaving you with the bittersweet taste of irony, from January of this year. Enjoy!

*I might sympathize with an attempt to ban it from required reading lists–yes, it was on mine in high school–based on the fact that it sucks ass and there are at least one hundred more interesting and compelling novels that could immediately and happily replace it…but no, I have to defend John Steinbeck’s biggest load of crap evar based on principle. A shame, but there you have it.

Whackjobs

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Really.

About 12 people were carrying guns, including at least one semi-automatic assault rifle, outside a building where President Obama was speaking today.

CNN’s Ed Henry reported seeing a second man with an assault rifle, but that has not been confirmed.

These reports come less than a week after two people brought guns to a presidential event in Portsmouth, N.H.

Another man in Portsmouth was spotted carrying a gun in a leg holster outside the school. The unconcealed weapon was legal under New Hampshire law and he was not arrested. Later, when asked why he brought the gun, he replied, “That’s not even a relevant question. The question is, why don’t people bear arms these days?”

“These days..?” What days, exactly, were those in which people routinely walked around town with a gun (or two) hanging out of their trous? Um, yeah, if you guessed that for at least the past 100 years that would be never, you are correct. As a matter of fact, the last time this was a phenomenon that could be routinely seen anywhere in the United States was in the late 1800s in the western territories, and even then, it wasn’t your standard everyday citizen who carted an arsenal along with him as part of his daily routine–it was, well, the criminals. Ie, those who intended to terrify the standard everyday citizens into doing what they wanted them to do, which generally consisted of activities that were directly in opposition to those standard, everyday citizens’ best interests.

Pathetic. Lame. And yes, scary, because there’s nothing scarier than a deadly weapon in the hands of a total flaming moron, I admit. It’s bad enough that those types are allowed to operate motor vehicles, frankly. However, scary is not the same as intimidating–intimidation only comes into play if the persons generating the scary are not simultaneously inspiring a generous helping of contempt in the bosoms of their targets. As the law enforcement personnel present on the scenes consistently say: “If we need to intervene, we will intervene at that time.” (The Y-A-W-N! accompanying those statements is unspoken, but pretty damn hard to miss.)

Oh, well. These types are prime candidates for acquiring themselves Darwin Awards at a much higher rate than the rest of the population; I think we can just sit around and wait for natural selection to take its course. And hopefully they won’t accidentally blow off anyone else’s foot before inevitability catches up with them.

How I Grew Up Without Health Insurance, or Emergency Rooms Don’t Do Chemotherapy

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

“Wow,” said the doctor.

That’s not what I expect a doctor to say while peering into my ear, of all places. “What?” I asked.

“You have really heavy scarring in there,” she said cheerily. “You must have had a ton of untreated ear infections as a child!”

Had I? I remembered being sick a lot, and there had been times of excruciating ear pain—“Oh?”

“Oh yeah,” she said. “I’m surprised you don’t have any hearing loss, or balance or vertigo issues. The scarring’s so bad, the cilia in your inner ear, you know—probably not too many of those left.”

Goodness, that explained a lot…I left the doctor’s office feeling kind of dazed. All my life I’ve suffered awful, debilitating motion sickness—even as an adult, after most other people I knew outgrew getting carsick in the back seat on the way to Grandma’s house, I never did. Over the years I’d become the master of what little I could do to mitigate it and also of hiding it from others (to a point—my face turning greenish-white wasn’t something I could ever manage to hide, but luckily that degree of nausea takes hours of continuous motion to achieve and I avoid hours of it whenever possible). My first husband was remarkably unkind about it, insisting it was all in my head and cutting me no slack whatsoever over it in the apparent belief that if it wasn’t coddled, I’d snap out of it.

(Needless to say, that never did work…all it did was make me feel unloved and violently nauseated, as opposed to just violently nauseated. Oh, well.)

When I started junior high, we had a gymnastics section in PE class. How it worked out for the boys I don’t know, but it was a real class divider for the girls. See, girls from nice families got gymnastics classes and gymnastics camps as a matter of course, usually for several years in earlier childhood—us poor girls? Not so much. And there it was, laid out for all to see. And for me, it’d always been even worse—your average poor girl had usually figured out on her own how to do a simple cartwheel as part of the normal childhood process. Sadly, not I—I could never manage one; not because I lacked athleticism, I was always a fast runner and a good catcher, for instance—but because I lacked balance. The very worst, most humiliating part of the gymnastics section, of course, was the balance beam. I couldn’t even get up on the goddamn thing. I mean it—as part of even the simplest routine, we had to do a running mount of some description. I could jump up to it, but I couldn’t catch my balance once up there. I fell off. Immediately and inevitably, every single time. I wasn’t normally a laughingstock—at that time I was generally considered a nice, quiet, smart girl in the semi-official peer rankings—but even the kindest of the other girls couldn’t help letting a few giggles escape whenever it was my turn to give it a try.

Years later, during my first Army physical, the medic informed me that I had significant high-frequency hearing loss. I remember staring at him in surprise and saying, Huh? I hadn’t noticed—“Well, you’re probably used to it,” he said. “You’ve probably had it for years. But it does prevent you from being qualified for some military jobs, so I gotta make a note of it in your records—sorry!”

Well, at least I finally knew why…

…and, about four years ago, one of my best friend’s sisters died from a brain tumor. She died because, among other things, she couldn’t afford chemotherapy to the tune of $5000 a month, and neither could the rest of her extended family, though everyone chipped in for as long as they could. She died because the tumor made it impossible for her to work (it first made itself known by giving her a seizure in her boss’s office), so she lost her job and the health insurance that came with it, and was unable to get any other health insurance because her tumor was a “pre-existing condition.” She wasn’t able to get Medicaid because her husband was employed. But if he quit his job so she could get it, then he and she and their three children wouldn’t have been able to live at all—no money, no home, no food, no clothing—

So she died, literally in my friend’s arms, weighing about 70 pounds, suffering from senile dementia at the age of 39, incontinent and in agony. She left two daughters and a son, ages 18, 16 and 13, behind, and a husband who became a widower at 45.

So these reasons, among others, are why I think it’s really hysterical when people start shrieking about how the government is trying to take away your health care choices! and shouldn’t it be between your doctor and you..!? This is not to pooh-pooh all their concerns; some of them are legitimate—it’s impossible not to be continually horrified at the ever-increasing monster that is the federal budget deficit, for instance. But there seems to be an amazing ignorance of the fact that many of their fellow Americans currently have only the choice of permanent physical disability or death, and the only decision their doctor is willing to make is to refuse them treatment of any description. Or perhaps it’s only indifference—which doesn’t incline me towards extending any sympathy in return, eh? I do wonder which one it is, at times. I hope it’s not the latter.

Uh-oh…

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

…I was hoping this wouldn’t happen for a LOT longer…

…yes, it’s true. I actually feel the faintest of desires to have sex.

(Warning: TMI)

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Why I’m Really Sorry To Hear You’re Having a Girl

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Seriously, I do not understand these type of women. It’s like they were never girls themselves, they have such a horror of them–I would really understand a man writing some crap like this much better, because at least one could stretch one’s imagination to encompass the idea that females might seem like a dreaded alien species to a man. It’s really hard to understand why a female might seem like one to another female.

Let the pukefest begin!

Why I didn’t want a girl
by some twit named Amy Wilson

In an elevator, in line at the grocery store, waiting for the bus, it always goes like this: Strangers’ eyes zero in on my belly first. Then they dart furtively to my face, as if to make sure I’m not a mutant, just visibly pregnant.

After this, they ask, “Is this your first?”

“My third,” I answer. “I have two boys at home.”

And for the kicker, they unfailingly give me a sideways grin, and say: “Going for your girl?”

“Nooo, just going for a baby,” I reply, gritting my teeth a little. “Another boy would be fine with us.”

I know these people are just making conversation. But this constant assumption leaves me a little offended. What’s wrong with boys? Why wouldn’t I want another one? It bothers me that people assume I feel incomplete without a daughter, let alone that it’s my motivation for being pregnant with a third child in the first place.

In spite of the ick-inspiring title, you see that the article itself didn’t start out too badly. I have two boys myself, and I’m quite happy with them–as I’ve told them several times in the past, if I could have gone back in time and picked my two babies out of a designer baby catalogue, I’d have picked exactly them, down to the last little detail. (It’s true, I swear. They’re so awesome. Excuse me while I go goo over their pictures for a sec–okay, back on task!) I would be annoyed if people harassed me about one of ‘em not being a girl. (It hasn’t happened, to be honest. But it would be annoying if it ever did.)

But yeah, anybody that whipped up that title can’t possibly continue down such a reasonable path.

To these people, I say, “I actually hope it’s another boy. I like boys better.”

She seriously likes some people better than others based solely on gender, without having any other information about them. She specifically applies this to her own children. Gahhh!

And lest you think she’s exaggerating a wee trifle–oh, no. She’s not, and she’s quite happy to tell you why.

I love what I have, and I have what I love: boys. I understand them. I understand the clothes, the toys, and the Matchbox-car skids on my wallpaper.

Not that having two boys is easy — their physical interaction can be, shall we say, overwhelming. But I love even that, because when I say I am the mother of two boys less than two years apart, I get a respectful nod or even a big thumbs-up for having that much testosterone in my daily life.

The night we found out I was pregnant again, my husband, David, said, “Odds are it’s another boy. How do you feel about that?”

I thought for a moment, and answered honestly, “I feel good about that.” He patted my hand. “That’s how I feel, too,” he replied, and we both drifted off to sleep. It was more than good; we were relieved.

Girls’ clothes–ugh! Clearly wildly different from boys’ clothes, so different that it would take seriously thought and practice to even get the little bitch dressed at all that first time. Girls’ toys–ugh! SO different from boys’ toys that never the twain shall meet, much less overlap in the slightest, especially in babyhood–doesn’t everyone know that’s the case, huh? And baby girls don’t destroy wallpaper and she loves her destroyed wallpap–yeah, I know, at this point I was so weirded out I almost quit reading any further. The question begins to arise…has the author ever been around, on the most casual basis, anything other than a male child? Was the author herself actually a male child…? Given that she is pregnant as an adult, it seems unlikely, but it would help explain her bizarre, fantastic ideas about female children.

Then, two weeks later, I called to schedule my next appointment. “Hi, Amy! Your amnio looked great, and it’s a girl! How nice for you,” the receptionist blurted.

For a moment I didn’t know what she was talking about. Then I realized what she had just revealed and I almost dropped the phone. “Wha-what? ” I said. The receptionist heard the bewilderment in my voice. “You knew, right?” she said. “The doctor told me you knew.”

“I didn’t know,” I said, my head spinning. “I’m sorry…I’ll have to call back.”

I sat there in a daze. This child I was just starting to feel stir inside me was a girl? I waited for the excitement to wash over me. It didn’t come. Not only was I not thrilled — I was disappointed.

Mostly, I just hope her daughter never stumbles across this, and wow, do I already feel sorry for that poor kid. And I only got sorrier–

I could handle boys, with their cut-and-dried needs, but girls were so much more complicated. Girls have elaborate hairstyling requirements. They whine and mope, manipulate and triangulate. How was I going to deal with that?

Girls don’t have hairstyle requirements any more than boys do, not for more than a decade really, unless you deliberately choose to inject them into your girl’s life and you don’t even get the option to do that til they’ve actually grown some hair to style, which takes a couple of years after birth. And I’m sorry, I can’t swallow the notion that her sons did not regularly whine, mope, and manipulate as babies, toddlers and small children. Whining, moping and manipulating are what babies and kids do, regardless of gender. Let me repeat–I am the mother of two of that glorious Y-marked gender–and I had a sister who was younger than me–and I’ve babysat enough kids to fill up a small school–yes, all kids, even the Sacred Male brand! whine. And mope. And manipulate. All the time. Is she even raising her own current kids..? Are they drugged to the gills or something?

My sons sneer at all things princess, and so do I. We love to pore over the Birthday Express catalog so the boys can plan the themes of their parties through 2013. My role in this is to gasp, “Oh, I think you should have a pink-poodle party!” “YUCK!! That’s for GIRLS!!” they shriek, and I laugh along with them. What will I do when I have someone who wants a pink-poodle party?

…having already had two children, I’ve learned that you can’t control their hardwiring. If she wants to be a princess, that’s what she’ll be.

Was your misogyny hardwired, lady? Was your sons’ misogyny hardwired, or have you spent years gleefully teaching it to them? What a way to bond with your sons–to put down your own gender! Or have you made it clear that MAMA is special, not like all those other disgusting, creepy females? And yes, I agree–what will you do when your daughter is born, since you’ve taught your sons so thoroughly to despise girls..? God, your poor, poor, poor daughter.

I was hoping that my husband’s reaction to the news would make me feel better about all of this. When I got him alone, I told him that the receptionist had screwed up, and that I knew. He hid his face in his hands. “Well, don’t tell me!” he said. “I don’t want to know!”

That was four months ago. I’ve got three weeks left, and two of my closest friends know I’m having a girl, but my husband still doesn’t.

“Will you be happy either way?” I ask David. “Of course, honey,” he says, and I can tell by his voice he thinks I’m carrying the third boy he wants more anyway. “Three sons would be amazing.”

It’s enough to make you want to cry for that poor little girl. That poor, despised, unwanted little girl–already.

My best friend took her father out to dinner for Father’s Day a few years ago. She’s the fourth of four girls, and of five children–her parents had her brother about five years after she was born. Her father was reminiscing about the past with her, and mentioned in passing that he and my friend’s mother had never really intended to have five children–they had originally meant to only have two. My friend knew this already–it was a long-standing family joke. However, she wasn’t too prepared for what followed:

“Yeah, but we didn’t,” her father commented. “If I could go back and only pick two of you–well, I’d pick my son, of course–I don’t know which of you girls I’d choose.”

My friend was in her early thirties when she got to hear this, but it still made her cry after she got home. But who cares–? She was probably just using her tears to whine, mope and manipulate–! Or at least practice those feminine techniques, since her father wasn’t around to see her tears.

One of my friends who knows the secret thinks a girl will be great for me. “You deserve a girl!” she said, after watching me separate my two fighting boys. “Just think, she’ll be quiet. Calm. Easy.” It’s true: Even inside me, she’s different. When my boys would kick, I’d press against their little feet, and they’d kick back, harder. This baby? If she kicks and I press back, she goes completely still.

Oh, well, that’s all there is to it then! The fact that my older son, as a fetus, was quiet and lazy in utero must have meant that he was really a female fetus. And when my sister and I used to regularly duke it out? Clearly we were really boys! That goes double for my best friend and her three sisters, who spent a large portion of their childhood in intersibling brawls complete with screaming, limbs and handy objects flying. How we all magically managed to change gender once these behaviors ended has got to be the medical mystery of the century.

Maybe this broad is just so stupid that her daughter won’t take her mother’s inanity and senseless cruelty to heart, realizing early on that one must always consider the source. Unfortunately, that isn’t usually how it works out with kids. I wish she’d been sterilized after kid no. 2, and I’m really sorry that she’s even raising the boys she has–they’re either going to grow up to be flaming sexist assholes or they’re going to have a rough row to hoe weeding that bullshit out of themselves as adults. Most of all, I’m sorry I ever stumbled across this article at all.

Hailing From the Planet “Hydrocodone,” Maybe?

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

That’s my best guess as to why what’s coming out of Rush Limbaugh’s mouth bears absolutely no relationship to the reality that the rest of us citizens of the United States are currently living.

Jumping into the Wayback Machine–picture it: 1994. Yours Truly is a 21-year-old married mother of an eighteen-month-old, just about to start her first semester of college. She has no computer and only watches TV when forced to do so by either her equally young husband or small son (some things sure haven’t changed)–she gets all her information on what’s going on in the wide world outside her small apartment from, get this, newspapers and magazines! (Wow, does that seem Neolithic, though.) Anyway, one day she picks up one or the other of the latter, and sees a large, smirking, suited Conservadroid adorning the front with headlines screaming beneath–“Oh, That Rush Sensation!”

Mildly curious, she flips through the pages til she gets to the relevant article–”The new face of fear for liberals everywhere!” it breathlessly proclaims (or something like that–this was fifteen years ago, people). While she did not, at that time, particularly consider herself a “liberal,” she was interested to discover more about this man who supposedly had them all quaking in their boots–! Further perusal revealed that this Rush Limbaugh person had a radio talk show, so she resolved upon giving it a shot–she herself thought there were some real issues with the standard set of “liberal” beliefs as she knew them, and she wanted to hear somebody really tackle them in a populist fashion.

Heh. Well, she listened to him. And he was…well, stupid. As in, unintelligent. Clearly unintelligent. Objectionable too, yeah, sure–but she didn’t really care about that–she cared that he was D-U-M-B. This was the terror of the libs..? but he wasn’t even BRIGHT! Hadn’t stupid people opposed to liberal ideals already abounded for generations..? What was so special about THIS one..?

Jumping forward in time to the present day, no, I still haven’t figured out his peculiar draw. Much like with Ann Coulter, I admit I don’t and have not, since way back when, spent any real time trying to figure them out–lack of interest. It’s hard to respect an opponent, even one who clearly has a great deal of power and influence, who says things that really underscore the fact that the possessor, if not actually in the barely-100′s IQ range, is of an intellectual laziness that ends up producing the same result as if he or she were.

Mostly when I think of Rush Limbaugh (which as I said, is seldom), I remember something I saw him say on TV sometime during the nineties. He was looking at the camera–directly at it–and smiling; and he said, “I’m just a harmless, lovable little fuzzball!” (Now that I think of it, it might have been some kind of infomercial for a book or TV show or even his radio talk show. But I’m really can’t recall anymore.) I remember, though, listening to him say that, and watching his eyes as he said it–he had the smallest, deadest eyes–I’d seen plenty of eyes like that, growing up, on the most vicious of the wife-and-son-beating, daughter-raping backcountry crowd–the ones with fingernails black deep under the quick, years-old stench emanating from every possible bodily orifice, and always ready with a joke to underscore their hatred of women, minorities, gays, and God forbid, fuurreigners. I remember wondering if his devoted listeners actually felt that he WAS harmless and/or lovable, or if they got the joke–he was about as harmless and lovable as the men I described in the previous sentence, but also just as fuckin’ scary–the kind of man nobody messed with if they could avoid it.

But no matter how much I ignore him, Rush Limbaugh does not go away. Here he is again, happy to demonstrate as always that his perception of what’s really happening in the US is the same whether he is actually tripping on something at that particular moment or not.

Rush Limbaugh calls on conservatives to take back nation

Scary. They’ve had it for eight years, and we can all see what they’ve done with it. I mean, this is not me making some kind of brilliant and insightful point. This is common knowledge. This is a lot like the president of NAMBLA demanding that the cops give him back all the little boys they removed from his home.

Rush:

“We conservatives have not done a good enough job of just laying out basically who we are, because we make the mistake of assuming that people know. What they know is largely incorrect, based on the way we’re portrayed in pop culture, in the drive-by media, by the Democrat party,” the conservative talk show host told a mostly young crowd of energized supporters.

Again…what we know of who they are we have learned in the past eight years of watching our civil liberties gutted, our nation go to war and our economy collapse.

And another thing about that “mostly young” crowd. Was it, by any chance…a mostly male young crowd? The article doesn’t say, but I wonder.

Limbaugh’s impassioned keynote speech, punctuated by chest-thumping, fist-pumping and chants of “USA” from the crowd, capped off three days of talk at CPAC focusing on rebuilding the Republican Party.

“He played to his crowd here,” CNN political editor Mark Preston said. “And this crowd is now energized, something we haven’t seen from Republicans, certainly not conservatives, since the November election.”

Mmm…”Sarah Palin.” And we all saw how well that worked out for the Republican party, didn’t it? What is it about the Republican party that attracts these, well, televangelical showman types..?

Limbaugh used his self-described “first national address,” which ran more than an hour longer than his allotted 20 minutes,

These really massive and flamboyant egos…

to accuse President Obama of inspiring fear in Americans in order to push a liberal agenda of “big government.”

“He wants people in fear, angst and crisis, fearing the worst each and every day, because that clears the decks for President Obama and his pals to come in with the answers, which are abject failures, historically shown and demonstrated.

For the third time…the abject failure, historically–recent history, the past eight years!–shown and demonstrated, was the answers provided to us and implemented by the socially conservative, internationally Neocon, utterly unregulated “free market” government that I believe Rush Limbaugh has been masturbating to, loudly and on air, for the past eight years.

Well…if Rush Limbaugh really is the “new” face and leadership of the twenty-first century Republican party…one of two things will happen. His stupidity and insanity will come to its natural limits of a quarter or less of the population that are similarly stupid and/or insane enough to drink his up like Jonestown Kool-Aid, and that’ll be that–he’ll become yet another one of America’s quirky political sideshows that give the rest of the world so much fodder for their comedians. OR…he’ll galvanize a sufficient majority of the nation, the one that wholeheartedly embraced the “Patriot Act” and the war in Iraq, that we’ll find ourselves, in four years or so, tumbling back in the morass that was created by the Bush administration. If that occurs, certainly, the majority will get what they deserve. It will be rather hard on the minority that didn’t, but that’s one of the built-in flaws of a democracy.

As distasteful as it is, I suppose I had better keep an eye out…just so I’m not entirely taken by surprise however it turns out.

I Haz Tiny Little Gurlz Feet

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

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My new job is at a construction site, and my old steel-toed non-slip workboots had finally given up the ghost after seven years of hard use. Now, I got those old boots via my first company out of college, which simply passed around a mail-order catalogue to its new hires with the allowed makes and models circled; we just picked out our own size in our preferred color or style and voila! two weeks later–workboots. The set of workboots I owned prior to that had been issued to me by the Army…you see a trend here..? In short, I did not realize what an ordeal buying my own steel-toed, non-slip workboots was going to be.

Now, I am not an unusually small woman. I am five feet eight inches tall, with a medium build and average bone structure. My feet are a very generic women’s standard width American size 8. I rarely to never have real trouble finding shoes I want or need that fit my feet, regardless of whether we are talking athletic shoes, dress shoes, casual shoes–you name it. The picture captioning this blog? I had no trouble at all finding a pair of those kind of boots that fit, as you can see.

After having spent the afternoon shopping for a new pair of steel-toed non-slip workboots, I am being forced to come to one of the following conclusions:

1. Women do not work on construction sites.
2. Men are vetted for construction jobs based on shoe size.
3. Gender stereotyping by the retail industry is alive and well.

I found exactly one line of steel-toed non-slip footgear for women, charmingly referred to as the “Amy” line; however, they are not boots. They are what is known as “factory shoes,” which are fine for manufacturing floors but not for construction sites–essentially, they’re not boots; they look like running shoes.

So, I was finally forced to buy the absolute smallest size workboot I could find, which is a men’s size 7. Whatever my foot size is in men’s boots, it is shorter by at least an inch than a men’s size 7–but I can keep the damn things on, at least, and that’s clearly the best I am going to be able to do on short notice. I’ve put in an e-mail to a friend of mine who works in the safety department of a previous job, who will hopefully provide me with some links to online ordering companies specializing in steel-toed non-slip workboots like whatever company it was that provided the boots for my first job out of college. But since I need these boots next week, for now, I am stuck with boots that do not fit and will probably rub my feet raw and fail to contribute to my gracefulness in navigating trip hazards on the construction site.

<—-pissed OFF!

Helping Me Understand the Fearful Contempt Towards Brainpower

Monday, October 13th, 2008

This is a really great article. A while back I wrote a post about how blatantly ludicrous (it’s always seemed to me) but wildly effective (nobody can deny) tactic Republicans have of painting Democrats as “elitists.” I figured out (I figured it out right then–I suspect many other people already had it figured out–I can be slow on the uptake when it comes to things that appear to defy logic and reason sometimes) that “elitism” is at least in part the code word for “really smart.” The article that so impressed me today, “Will ‘intellectual’ label hurt Obama?” really clued me in on how Obama is managing to pull past all that. The writer, Julian E. Zelizer, says (in paraphrase):

1. Bill Clinton. Rhodes scholar that he was, somehow he neatly evaded ever seriously being characterized as a braniac–how? (a) Acted cool (b) spoke with a country accent using country syntax and (c) had great personal charisma as a speaker. Obama is able to capitalize on this because he also has great personal charisma as a speaker, which the last few Democratic candidates did not, and like the sax-playing Bill has the cool persona. (Apparently we psychologically never quite do leave high school; some part of our brains is still basing who we vote for as politicians on who we used to vote for as Homecoming King.) See, that’s part of what I didn’t catch the last time I wrote about this–I forgot that nerds are not feared in high school, but sneered at…the fear comes later, when the nerds sometimes suddenly shoot up the socioeconomic scale, leaving the salt of the earth behind.

Zelizer doesn’t tie Clinton’s country-style speech to anything Obama does, but I think I can. Obama sounds in no way like a good ol’ country boy, but he manages to compensate for this by simultaneously being black (as Americans subconsciously associate a folksy speaker with somebody who understands strugglin’ to make a dime, they also associate a black person with this mindset) and by speaking with the canned regionless American accent exemplified by newscasters and actors (a black face cues Americans in that they’re looking at a person who knows what it is to struggle, but a stereotypical patois subconsciously cues them towards either inner-city gang members or inner-city welfare recipients.)

2. George W. Bush. I’m quite happy to see that people have now been forced out of their state of making mindless decisions based upon their own subconscious comfort level in terms of domination and superiority with various others, but it still wasn’t worth what’s happened to America, both domestically and abroad, in the last eight years. We had to nearly destroy ourselves to get to this point..? Jesus. But what’s happened, happened–you can’t change the past. So, as Zelizer says:

For many Americans, including a number of Republicans, Bush has lived up to…his [lack of] intelligence, as well as competence. He has not managed to handle the policy challenges that confronted him and in many cases, such as his address to the nation on the financial crisis, seems unable to master the key facts.

3. George W. Bush. Well, that really is the substance of Zelizer’s third point–our economy’s Dive of Death (hat tip: The Daily Show) and the apparent responses of the candidates, only one of whom reminded us of Mr. Substanceless Sound and Fury (or maybe “Shock and Awe” would be a more pertinent phrase…sigh).

More enlightenment for me! I’m always looking for it.

LOL your ugly*

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Just for fun, I compiled a set of pics of several women, some anti-feminist and some feminist, mixed ‘em up and threw ‘em up here in the randomest of all possible orders. In an attempt to make the situation as fair as possible I tried to keep the age range somewhat constant between erm, beauty contestants. Yes, I did say “beauty contestants,” ’cause as it turns out, a woman’s feminism can be directly correlated to how smokin’ hot she is**. Yeah, you know you knew that already. Confess.

Can you separate out the hairy-legged feminist yetis from the far more attractive ladies who know what being a woman is really all about? Normally I’d be offering a fabulous prize to the first person who scores 100% kee-rect! but it should just be so obvious, it’d be just like giving the prize away.

*Shamelessly stolen from Shakesville.
**Via Amanda.

Fallout from the Edwards Affair: Part One!

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

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For anyone who thinks that “feminism” as a practiced theory is narrow in either scope or defintion and that “feminists” are pretty much six-of-one-half-a-dozen-of-the-other—not even clooooose. F’rinstance, recently on our very own PunkAssBlog, one of our feminist posters (violet) told off (in a kinder and gentler fashion, of course) one of our other feminist posters (yours truly):

…I don’t think in the context of feminist blogging and critique that shaming these individuals is either valuable or appropriate…I also tend to believe there isn’t a lot of room for shaming in feminist ethical critique in general, particularly when we’re talking about women who are already shamed by society. It’s just incredibly easy for that sort of criticism to support the patriarchal narrative, even unintentionally.

I blame punkass marc, who instead of emailing me Teh Feminist Blogger Rulebook upon my acceptance of his kind invitation to become a PunkAssBlogger, just tossed off some line about “write about anything you want–I mean anything!” and then abandoned me to my own sorry devices. I hope you’re reading this, Marc, and are hanging your head in shame and possibly even sobbing into your beer ’cause this is ALL! YOUR! FAULT!

Well, til Marc gets around to setting me straight, I am just going to have to keep forging ahead into the troubled waters of feminism, blogging and morality all on my own.

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