Saturday, June 18, 2011

When you use shitty, oppressive language you make us trust you less

I've been having little ongoing bits of discussion about this lately, so lemme see if I can sum up.

It's not about being PC. PC is a term, uttered with a sneer, by shitheads who are peeved that they can't go around being offensive without consequences.

It's about not being one of those shitheads to begin with. You may not know it, you may not get called on it, you may get an uncomfortable laugh or a stunned nod from someone who just made the connection in their head that you are not a good guy because you use language that shows some little hateful side of you.

And I get that removing those old, relied on phrases and terms is a hassle. I get that the extra seconds it takes (in the beginning) to find a non-shitty way to say what you're trying to say makes you feel a little stupid. Hell, about every 6 months I do another "I need a new insult" post just for that reason. But I do it because I don't ever want someone around me to think I'm not someone they can trust simply because I'm too lazy to use my words carefully.

I never want to wound someone with my words on accident (though I am more than happy to do it on purpose). I never want to accidentally insult a whole group of people when what I am really trying to do is convey the awfulness of one person. I never want someone to trust me less because I can't be bothered to use words that don't hurt them.

Not using oppressive language is something I try to do because I don't want to be an asshole, an accidental asshole. That's all there is to it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Music

(yes yes yes, Jack White is still a jerk. But I like this song. I like most of his songs. Fucker)

This is what I mean when I say Obama hates women

When your mouthpiece can't come up with ANYTHING your administration is doing/or going to do to stop the War on Women, your contempt becomes painfully, blatantly obvious. And it has been, to me at least, since the fucking primaries.

Obama, you may have had "99 problems but a bitch ain't one" in 2008. That's not true anymore.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What If My Hurty Body Is ALL From Vitamin Deficiancy

I stopped taking Vitamin D a little less than 2 weeks ago. My doctor wanted to take some blood levels to see if I still need to take it or if I can be done.

For the last week I've been hunched over like an 90 year old. Everything hurts from my neck to my toes. I even got an hour and a half long massage (gently) and that helped for a few hours. But the next day I was right back to cramping and aching.

I've got a bottle of over the counter Vitamin D. My prescription was for 50,000 IUs 3 times a week. The over the counter stuff is just 5,000. I took 2. I should take 4. We'll see how I do.

I can't decide if I should be super happy that (maybe) all that is wrong with me is malnutrition (technically malabsorpbtion, I think) and anemia. I know that sounds weird.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's a small (Facebook) world after all

So I have these cousins on my dad's side of the family that I have never met (or met when I was so young I don't remember- that's the joy of deadbeat parenting) that have become Facebook "friends" by virtue of sharing some DNA with me. No biggie.

Then there is this guy who I had a brief (couple of) flings with a few years ago. We are not Facebook friends. He keeps popping up in my "people you may know" thing because he is friends with one of the above mentioned cousins.

And that is probably the only time in the last 5 years that someone I know has actually met a member of my family.

Fucking Facebook, blurring all my steadfast social boundaries. Grrrrrrr.

Yes, Virginia there are people who don't believe in adoption

Jezebel oh fucking Jezebel. When all I want is to get some trashy gossip with a funfeminist spin, you go and pull some stupid ass shit. There is a reason that I have to put warning labels up every time I link to you.

Tracy Egan Morrisey, writing at the above mentioned Jezebel is SHOCKED OMG GRAB THE SMELLING SALTS that someone might not believe in adoption.

I don't. Well, I believe that adoption happens. It's not the same as not believing in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. And I am pro-to my bones and the depth of my (crooked) uterus- choice. But I think that adoption is the last possible option that should be considered. I think that it is the worst kind of betrayal, to know that the person(s) that were supposed love you most in the world, don't want you at all (while I was not adopted, I can tell y'all about what an awful feeling that is for a kid. Lived it.) But I am a pragmatist, and I understand that there needs to be a way for children with no parents (or with awful parents) to have a loving family. So I am not all "burn down social services and protest adoption organizations" about it.

That there are people, like me, who don't think adoption is the universal good it's made out to be should not come as a great big fucking surprise. There are people who don't think abortion is all the great either and would never choose it for themselves, yet still think abortion should be accessible and legal for those who would choose it. There are also lots of interracial adoptees who aren't so keen on the whole adoption thing either.

Now as for what Tracy is describing regarding the show 16 and Pregnant, that's probably closer to reproductive coercion. From the description, the teenage father seems to be a complete and utter asshat who has no interest in raising his own kid but "doesn't believe in adoption". So his teenage girlfriend sits at home, struggling to raise a baby with the help of her mom, while he cheats and is verbally abusive.

(And for the record, 35% of teenage pregnancies end in abortion. Yet almost all the teens on 16 and Pregnant choose to either parent or give their babies up for adoption. There was one special about abortion that MTV did regarding this show. It's this kind of skewing that makes it easier for forced pregnancy blowhards to get laws passed.)

I gotta get me a jobby job

And as much as I love this here blog, it does keep me from looking for less fulfilling but more regularly paid work. So posting and responding may be a bit thinner than normal. There's only so many years a girl can go without dental work and buying new undies and I've reached that limit (I probably reached that limit 2 years ago, but I'm a trooper).

I'm not going away, though. I just thought you all should know. And if any of you all have resume skills, I think I need them. I mean, I've been the person reading other people's resumes for years and have helped people get jobs that way, but I am just at kind of a mental block when it comes to my own. Argh. I hate this part.

Also, if you want to do guest posting NOW IS THE TIME! Get something off your chest! Bitch here!

Social Programming is Really Hard to Break

I've been calling myself and agnostic for years, which gave me a little pass on having to scrub my language clean of all the tiny religious references we make every single day. Think of the ubiquitous OMG! Or "Jesus Christ" said in response to something awful. Or the more happily uttered (moaned, occasionally screamed) "oh god!" pre and mid orgasm. And then there's all the co-opted non-Christian (or non-monotheist) "Kharma's a bitch" or talk about luck, or my general go to- "the universe has a sick sense of humor". (No, it really fucking does. After years of owning queen size beds so that overnight guests wouldn't be uncomfortable, I decided I only needed a full size bed in the new apartment because 1) My room is fucking tiny. 8' by 11' and the 11' wall has the heater on it so it's more like 9'. 2) I pretty much decided that I was just going to go back to my slutty ways and having a full size bed makes it easier to kick people out of it at 4am. Then whamo, the second person I go on a date with after coming out of hermitage turns out to be the kind of awesome person that I want to sleep over all the time.)

But the truth is, I'm an atheist. Bad things happen to people sometimes because they are just in the wrong place, and sometimes they happen because the human created systems we live under are rigged to fuck you up if you don't belong to the elite. Things don't happen for a (impossible to divine) reason. There is no divine plan, just us humans trying to find meaning in a world that can be hard sometimes.

But I still have all these leftover bits of language. What the fuck do I do with that? How do you explain the currently unexplainable without the use of religious phrasing? How do you retrain your brain to stop going for the immediate "OMG" and what do you use in it's place? OMFSM (Oh my flying spaghetti monster) is cute but cumbersome and sometimes I don't want to be cute. OMFSM does not work when a friend is telling you that their much loved dog has incurable cancer or that their birth control failed.

So my fellow atheists, what do we do with the leftovers (hangovers) of religious speech. Continuing to use them feels more than a bit like a sell-out to me. Every time the word "god" comes out of my mouth I feel dirty. But it's a habit and I don't know what to break it with.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I fucking love the Blue Scholars

Seriously, how rad are these guys? I once played a video of theirs on here that made crusty old Deek tear up.

I've had this discussion, more than once, with "progressive" types who are all "Oh I like all music but rap and country" which usually means they've got some unchecked class and race privilege they need to deal with, but also shows that (with some exceptions) the only time someone who is either non-white or non-middling middle class can get played on the radio is if they are following the dominant kyriarchial paradigm. Rap that is violent and misogynist, country that is ignorant (and violent and misogynist) is what gets mass promotion because it doesn't challenge the status quo. (See my recent post about Odd Future, for example)

This does challenge that shit. He's not rapping about bitches and hoes. He's not talking about how tough he is or how violent he can be. He's just telling us about life when you're poor and non-white and riding the bus with a whole fuck ton of politics thrown in. (And it's a wee bit dated, it ain't 6 quarters anymore. It's 10)

FTR, the 48 is my old bus route. Goes from way down in the brown Columbia City, past the U District to lily white Greenlake. I lived in the brown half of the route.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gushy Thanks To Teh Other Elizabeth

Who sent me a box o' awesome from Paris including:

A ginormous movie poster of James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause. I actually have a bit of a thing for movie posters from foreign places and used to have some very cool Italian posters for Fritz Lang's Metropolis. How E picked up on this, I have no idea. But James Dean is now occupying one full wall in my bedroom. Thankfully Boyfriend is not the jealous type.

A cloth map of Paris. I haven't figured out where to put it yet, but I can point to where I stayed in the 13th on the map. (Near the Guy Moquet metro station!)

Shopping bags, including one covered in pictures of fromage. It's fromage Grommit! Already put to use, btw.

A couple of French feminism pins that now live on the flap of my Guatemalan Hupjil purse. I'm so international it hurts, baby.

And a copy of the French feminism mag Causette which my language skills are not good enough to translate so I am reading bits online. Must read the article about the Hollywood of Nigeria next.

I am easily bribed, by the way. Send me presents and I write more. And gush profusely about your awesomeness.

Link farming! It's a Hit! All the Cool Kids are Doing It!

Via The Other Elizabeth- the best damn response to the Tracy Morgan homophobia-fest you'll read.

Public banking- we've got a model for success. (Actually I have thought for a long damn time that credit for some things, like homes, should be universal. A well regulated public banking system is a damn good start though).

Davidly on how we respond to tyranny.

What does it mean that Poland and the Czech Republic outrank us when it comes to fundamental rights? (Full report is linked at the bottom)

War! In Libya! Not actually for humanitarian reasons! You don't say. Well knock me over with a feather because I would never have suspected President Anti-War to go killing people for commercial reasons.

"Walking out into this world everyday is very horrific and strange"

Voting is only common sense in an elite way

Cultural hegemony, it's a big scary sounding term, right? If you break it down by word definitions it's the dominance of one section over all of the shared values of a society. That still sounds wordy. Lemme sum up.

Cultural hegemony, in the simplest of terms, is the idea that the best interests of the elite become the basis for "common sense".

Ladies who drink in bars are setting themselves up for rape. It's common sense that we should be careful to not drink near people. Except that the only thing that turns a drunk girl (or a sober one) into a rape victim is the presence of a rapist. So "common sense" in this case just serves to keep rape culture thriving by shifting the blame onto the victim and ignoring the (mostly) elite men who commit the crime.

It's also "common sense" that you are better able to determine how to spend your dollars individually than the government is, and therefore taxes are bad. Except most of us can't afford to buy a road, or have the equipment and education to check our food for ecoli and salmonella. We understand that bulk buying is a good thing (do you have a costco card? Then you understand the value of bulk buying) but "common sense" tells us that the same economic principles don't work when applied to the government. Can't imagine why the elites would be in favor of lower taxes? Can you?

So voting. We've all heard the schtick, from elementary school on, about how our little votes make a difference. It's "common sense" to vote and be counted, have your voice heard, right? Can't complain if you didn't vote (though complaining even if you did vote doesn't get you anywhere either).

But over and fucking over we end up with a government that ignores what the people want, even though we keep voting. Polls have been done for literally decades putting things like jobs, healthcare, education at the top of the list of things voters are concerned about while pols keep talking about MOAR WAR and deficits.
And it's not just recently. How fucking long were we in Vietnam?

So what happens when we stop voting? What kind of legitimacy do you think a government could claim if only 20% of the population votes and barely more than half of that 20% votes for the ruling party? None, close to none? Can you rule with the approval of just 11% of the populace? I don't think so (and wouldn't it be cool if there was a mathy type out there who wanted to figure out at just what voting level does a government lose legitimacy?)But don't take my blathering hypotheticals as proof, just think about any totalitarian state where voting is mandatory and not voting is punishable. Voting, even when there is NO CHOICE TO MAKE provides a veneer of legitimacy.

And it is the veneer of legitimacy that the elites want. It's in their best interest that we think we have a say in who has power, that we think "being counted" means something. It doesn't, not now. It could, but we are a long damn way from a time when voting means anything other than rubber stamping our own demise.

But decide for yourselves whether you are ready to give up on "common sense" by not voting at all, or maybe test the waters with voting third party (that's what I did, and may still do. But you can be damn sure that neither ruling party will ever get my vote again). "But do try", as my favorite prof used to say, "to use a little more Cartesian common sense and think for yourselves" rather than following along with the what the elites think we should be doing. Being counted is for cattle. Being heard is for humans.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It's the Economy, Duh

Why, oh why, might people, even after being bombarded with shit like Michelle Obama's "Let's (steal money from the food stamp program) Move" campaign and, I dunno, every single form of media beating us over the head about how we don't eat enough fruits and veggies or exercise enough, why might people be eating fewer veggies and doing less exercise?

Perhaps declining standards of living, disemployment, skyrocketing food costs all combine to make it harder for people to do things like eat salads and join a fucking gym.

Health, healthy foods, safe and affordable places to exercise (for those physically able to do so) are all social justice issues. Just like telling women to be less bitchy, but not too timid, doesn't actually close the wage gap, telling poor people to eat more fruits and vegetables doesn't actually make them affordable.

So how about if the shitheads responsible for the new food non-pyramid and all those craptastic PSAs shut the fuck up and use the money to give folks the ability to actually buy healthy groceries or pay for an exercise activity. Not only would people eat better and be healthier, but since every dollar spent on food stamps actually puts a buck sixty-something back into the economy imagine the bump that small businesses would get if people could use a voucher to take a pilates or karate class?

But what the fuck do I know? I'm just your average poor person. The government's only interest in me is using me as an example of what not to do to scare all the rest of y'all into behaving.

Damn my kinky uterus

After I got my ultrasound back, I made a panicked (couple of) call(s) to my awesome doctor's medical assistant. After reviewing the results, Awesome Doc asked MA to pass on that "No, (my fucked up) uterus would not make getting an IUD difficult, but here's a couple of valium (because I was obviously freaked out about the whole thing)".

Cut to Friday afternoon. Valium taken, legs in stirrups, scary pokey medical instruments jacking open my bits like they need a flat tire changed. And the doctor says "huhmm, there's just no obvious path in there". 

So my kinky uterus is, in fact, an impediment to getting an IUD. All hope is not lost, however. Next month I get to take a dose of misoprostol, one of the drugs used for medical abortions, the night before my appointment to open up my bits. Fun huh?

WWFDRD (What would Franklin Delano Roosevelt do)?

Bear with, cause it's about to get rambly up in here.

I've heard, hell I've said, that what we need right now is an FDR, not a BHO. We need a new New Deal, a new WPA, a new social contract to break the strangle hold Big Money has on us in every single aspect of life. But if we look at things with a cold, hard, historical eye then we'd have to admit to ourselves that just having an FDR wouldn't bring about the changes we desperately need.

We've all heard the Gandhi quote "Be the change you want to see in the world". Sometimes that seems a bit trite when such powerful forces are using every effort to keep squashed. But if we think back to what kind of push back the elites were receiving when FDR was president, then we can see concrete examples of what be the change means.

FDR was able to get his progressive policies passed because in the world at the time there was a MASSIVE push from the underclass. There were socialists and communists and anarchists on every corner. There were strikes and pickets and rallies and speeches. There were average people making the elites afraid.

And the elites ONLY EVER ACT IN THEIR OWN BEST INTEREST. FDR could be a progressive capitalist because to the elites progressive capitalism was preferential to straight up socialism, or god forbid, communism and state seizure of property and capital. But, and this is a big, questionable but, part of the fear the elites were feeling was physical. I love Emma Goldman and all her big, bold ideas, but she was a proponent of actual physical violence.

It is long past time that us progressives started acting offensively instead responding defensively to the increasing levels of state violence. I'm not a pacifist, I do firmly believe in the right of people to defend themselves. But I also know that when we let revolution come at the hands of violent uprising, the philosophy of the winning elites may change in tone but the violent tools used to contain the populace do not change. And quite frankly I am tired of the prison industrial complex and the military industrial complex and economic blackmail of us peasantry. I don't want those things to be part of my world anymore.

So how do we make the elites afraid enough to let change happen without becoming brutal hooligans? The first step is to strip the system of it's veneer of legitimacy. Legitimacy is a huge part of political theory. It is the main tool used for distributing power, political and economic. Legitimacy has been established through the divine right of kings, or the brute force of military dictatorships, or through the simple act of voting. When we vote, we grant the political class legitimacy to govern us. For decades we've been told to vote based on defensive fear. Vote for one side of the binary or the other out of fear of what the other side will do if they win the horse race. But politics, like many things, is not a simple binary system. There are more, many many more, ways to distribute power and resources in a society than just Neoliberal and Neoconservative. By voting for the lesser evil, we guarantee a system that is still evil and we give that system legitimacy. We put our actual mark of legitimacy on things that we abhor. 

The first step to creating fear in the elites is to stop giving them legitimacy through elections. Vote for anyone other than a legacy party politician (even the so-called good ones) or don't vote at all.  It doesn't matter if you vote Green or Socialist or even for the damn Libertarians. Just don't give either of the two big parties the legitimacy they need to keep stealing from us. Be the change by being the person who commits the single, radical act of not voting for your own demise.

Without that kind of change, the powers that be will continue to have the permission of the populace to squash and crush us. Without that kind of change, there is no mechanism for creating the fear that the elites need to allow positive change to happen. Not voting for evil is simple, cheap and non-violent. It doesn't even require us to risk jail time for protesting. It can be done by just about every citizen (excluding, of course, those citizens and residents that the state has already decreed dangerous to the system by purging them from voting rolls). It was fear of lost legitimacy that made a rich man like Roosevelt the champion of the poor and disemployed. We have to put that same fear in the heart of every democrat and republican, every banker and insurance exec. Once they realize that we no longer consider them legitimate, change can happen. But not before then.