Saturday, January 05, 2008


To the fabulous Bianca Reagan of Steve The Penguin! She's published her novel (also called Steve the Penguin). I get to review it and I am just dying to read it.

Bianca writes sharp, funny commentary about life and pop culture and everything in between. I shoulda blog rolled her ages ago, but I am nothing if not lazy.

Roll on over and tell her congrats. Or better yet- buy her book.

(Crossposted at the pink place)

Imaginary Pet Blogging- Ruby goes to Peru

Ruby sometimes feels like she has a split personality. She grew up exceedingly poor in a litter of 12. She started working as a hotel maid when she was very young to help support all of her brothers and sisters after her dad ran out. But still, she was an exceptionally bright and adventurous hamster. And she was cute. We all know that cute will get you further in this world than we like to admit.

The success of Furry Little Bitchez caught Ruby off guard. She suddenly had money and fame, and she liked the creature comforts they provided. Her band mates had all come from much more privileged backgrounds and were less awed by the fancy hotel rooms and never having to worry about food or shelter. They liked to think they were true punk rock radicals, when in reality they were spoiled girls who knew little of how hard the lives of the poor and downtrodden were, though they claimed to want to free these people from their struggles. When they started planning the Petco bombing, Ruby felt her world shift. When she pointed out that there was a high possibility of the security guard dying in the blast, her band mates said that the sacrifice was deserved because he was keeping them down. Ruby knew that he probably was just doing the only job he could get that would put food on the table, and she left.
Her time in Argentina had felt the same way. She started dancing in a brothel full of other tough, salty dames who knew how cruel the world could be, and ended up as the caffeinated pet of a tycoon. At the coffee rehab in Peru, she had been reading about the Shining Path. The idea of liberating peasants from an oppressive system seemed like a way to redeem herself after all the gluttony of Buenos Aires. She wanted be part of something bigger than herself.

She set off from Lima through the mountains to Ayacucho in order to throw her lot in with the rebels. They weren't as hard to find as she thought they would be. She thought she would have to spend weeks trying to find someone who might eventually trust her enough to introduce her to the rebels, but instead she found them lounging around the first cafe she she stepped into.

She was immediately enthralled. The thrill of adventure and rebellion coupled with the lofty ideals of freeing the peasants made her giddy. She was willing to do anything to help and she did. But, in the way of many revolutionary movements, the females were usually kept to the dull and mundane tasks. Their ideas and input were only respected as far as what meals were cooked. (If you ever read any biographies of Che Guevara, you know what I mean. He only included women in his thoughts if those thoughts involved cooking, cleaning or fucking).

Still Ruby wanted to help and her fearless devotion to the cause didn't go unnoticed. By nature of being and adorable American hamster, she could get away with a lot more mischief under the eyes of the authorities. She simply played the dumb tourist card if she got caught. She was given more dangerous tasks, like shutting down electrical plants and helping with the kangaroo trials of cattle rustlers (a huge offense in the country, cattle rustlers were literally stealing the food and livelihoods of the peasants who owned the cattle) and corrupt government officials.

But something was itching at the back of her mind. Something was not quite right. It wasn't until the Shining Path came out against the idea of human rights and started planning attacks on the peasants who disagreed with the party that Ruby knew what it was. She had become the privileged rebel without a clue, like her Furry Little Bitchez bandmates. She looked around at the other rebels and realized that none of them had ever known what it was like to work your whole life for nothing. They were college kids who were inflicting their ideas on the struggling masses, and they were no better than the government they were fighting against.

Disillusioned once more, Ruby knew she had to escape. But this time, leaving would not be so simple. She knew too much about the Shining Path to be allowed to leave. She started to make her plans, but she knew it would be dangerous.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Ok- I'll bite

Echidne has a great post up about choice feminism (I feel like I should be using scare quotes around choice).

Another was the idea that feminism somehow made all choices any woman made into feminist ones or at least immune from feminist criticism. If a woman chose to stay at home, that was a feminist choice. If a woman chose to be employed, that was a feminist choice. If a woman chose to relinquish all her rights and to subject herself to her husband's authority, well, even that was a feminist choice! (No, I'm not making that last one up.) The very definition of "feminist" became identical with "some woman has chosen it" and that "some woman had chosen it" became identical with "feminist." This is circular thinking, but what is worse is the usual addition that these choices cannot therefore be criticized or discussed. After all, wasn't feminism all about giving women more choices?
Women are humans, and as humans, we sometimes make stupid choices. Somehow, feminism has become tied to unconditional support of women's choices no matter what. But how is that any better than the old thinking that women shouldn't get into politics because they were too good for it? Both cases make us into things that are not quite human, on one hand we shouldn't get involved in politics because we're too ethical and pure, on the other hand our choices should not be questioned because we are women. If a man made a choice to do something stupid that drastically impacted the welfare of himself and his family, we would have no problem calling him a tool. If we really want equality, we need to stop patting ourselves on the head for making any choice, regardless of how stupid it is.

Echidne also goes on to say that:

My own observations suggest that feminists criticizing housewives or strippers for their occupational choices are less common than non-feminists criticizing employed mothers, say. But in any case feminism never promised the total lack of any questioning about the choices people make.
Here's where I bite. I'm one of those feminists who will criticize women for choosing to be housewives. By choosing to be housewives, women choose to do a very difficult job for no pay, and by not getting paid for it, they devalue the work that they do (and that the rest of us have to do even if we work full time outside of the house).

The work of caring for children and the home is no less difficult than being a garbage man, yet garbage men are paid reasonably well and generally receive benefits and retirement packages. And they get time off, housewives don't. But because of how we idealize motherhood, mothers do not receive payment for their services. They are expected to satisfied with being paid in kisses and love and their children's accomplishments.

Yet all the services that housewives provide are vital to the continuation of society. If no one ever cooked a meal or did laundry or read bedtime stories or even just had babies, society would literally end. And we have ways of paying for these services. Even housewives use dry cleaners and restaurants. There are nannies and daycares that will read to children and house cleaning services that will scrub your toilets. Hell, you can now even outsource your pregnancy to an Indian surrogate. All of these things are jobs that pay you for your time and effort.

By doing all of these jobs for no pay, housewives set the bar very low for the wages of the people who do those jobs for pay. The job of the housewife is idealized so that we can continue to get vital services without paying for them. And they should be paid for. All we need to do is look at Germany to see what happens when women realize that the costs of having children outweigh the benefits. Birthrates drop, drastically.

So I will criticize women for being SAHMs. You're bringing us all down. Either get work or start demanding to be compensated for your time and energy in something more tangible than sentimental fluff.

It's Obama and Huckabee

And all I can muster is one giant "meh".

If Huck continues on to win the rethuglikan nom, it will be fun watching him squirm out excuses about why he let a convicted rapist out of prison, despite letters from his victims begging him not too, because the rape victim was one of Bill Clinton's cousins. The rapist then went on to rape and kill 2 women before he was caught. I think his new slogan should be "Huckabee- soft on crime, softer on rapists"

Now for the Obama problem. I can't put my finger on it, but I have the same ookey feeling about him that I always had for Kucinich. See Kucinich looked for all intents and purposes like the only hard left prog in the race for a long time (including the entire 2004 race) but something about him just seemed wrong. Then he had the great wife search, which was creepy. Then he showed some love to Ron Paul, and I knew he was just a creepy little man who was desperate for both love and votes and willing to sell out women to get both.

When I first heard Obama speak, I was impressed. I was hopeful. But shortly after the ookey feeling started. Part of it was how he slammed people for voting for the Iraq war. I've been against the war since long before it started. Hell, the official start date of the war is my birthday and I take it as a personal affront that thinking people somehow thought it was a good idea to invade Iraq.

But Obama likes to run on the fact that he never voted for the war. Of course, he never had too, state governments don't vote on foreign policy. So it's not like he's some Russ Feingold tested holdout. He also likes to use conservative framing for explaining his weak health care policy, and as a president you need to be able to frame the debate yourself, not sell out to the other side. Edwards is good at reframing the debate, Clinton has got some skills too (learned after spending years watching and helping her hubby teflon sidestep rethuglikan framing)

But, like I said before, I will vote for whomever is driving the machine that will get less people killed. That means Obama if he gets the nom. But don't be surprised if he gets the nom and then runs farther to the right than any dem in recent history in order to prove that he can unify the country. He already likes using conservative framing, it's not a far leap from just using the framing to using the ideas behind it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Words Mean Things

Over my little break from the world, I found myself watching WAY more network news than is healthy. One of the stories was about a creepy guy on an airplane who kept groping a woman against her will.

The newsreaders on the TV were describing it as "inappropriate sexual touching" that caused the plane to be diverted to Pittsburgh. Inappropriate sexual touching sounds like they either caught someone trying to join the mile high club or or doing a solo hand puppet performance. The reality is that a man kept trying to touch and grope a woman (in front of her small child) and refused to stop despite repeated no's and eventual screams from the woman. That is not inappropriate sexual contact, that is attempted rape.

If all I did was watch the TV news, I would have thought that this was a case that was totally blown out of proportion by hyperactive airline crews. But I think an attempted rape on a plane is a damn good reason to land and cart the future rapist off to jail. I think most people would be okay with that, if they knew what the fuck the TV people meant by inappropriate touching.

I'm Baaaaaackk

Did you miss me? Are you still reading this?

I'm back at work and hopefully on the road to being less depressed. Either that or I've just gone fully delusional.

Last night I shopped off about 8 inches of my hair. I'm now sporting a very shaggy bob. I hope the choppy unevenness looks more postmodern hipster than broke ass welfare mom. Nobody has commented on it yet- which could be really bad or it could be that I work with a whole shitload of men who don't see that stuff.

What else is there going on in the world. Let's see......

The more I hear Obama speak, the more annoyed I am. Does he seem to anyone else like the whiny overachieving hand raiser in class who will throw an absolute freaking tantrum if anyone else gets called on? I don't want another president who throws tantrums. I really don't.

Mike Huckabee scares the shit out of me, but how funny would it be if he ran against Hillary. It would be a win for Arkansas either way (ok, Arkansas by proxy if Hil wins. ) At what point does Arkansas get banned for turning out too many presidential candidates?

What else am I missing? Have we started a war with Iran yet? Will we ever admit the Musharref is an asshole who we shouldn't be doing business with (same thing goes for Putin, btw). Has Preznit Asshole Mc Fuckwad embarrassed us internationally again?

Have any of you peeps noticed the R word popping up in news broadcasts? You know- recession? Recessions always look like they are shorter than they really are because by the time the press and the pols admit we are in one, it's damn near close to over.

That is all.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The only neutral thing about me

Is my accent.

What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)


You're not Northern, Southern, or Western, you're just plain -American-. Your national identity is more important than your local identity, because you don't really have a local identity. You might be from the region in that map, which is defined by this kind of accent, but you could easily not be. Or maybe you just moved around a lot growing up.

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