Friday, June 24, 2011

It's still Friday

I'm in a music searching mood, what with the cheese wars (seriously, is there NOTHING to make the boy's ears bleed?)

So have some Stevie Wonder, who is not cheesy. (And hey boyfriend, it's got horns)

And the best baseline in music history, plus it's a song for skeptics.

"Non-violence is a piece of theatre. You need an audience. What can you do when you have no audience? People have the right to resist annihilation.”

That's a quote from Arundhati Roy that up at The Crow's Eye, go read the whole thing.

I once saw this brilliant, wrinkled old man give a lecture. He had escaped from some horrible regime, I can't remember if it was communist or facist. He was a pacifist, but when asked about it his response was amazing. "I would never chastise a person for acting in self-defense against an oppressive state. People have the right to decide for themselves how to respond to violence". I wish I could remember his name.

I'm not a pacifist, but I do waver, back and forth, on non-violence and it's effectiveness. And honestly, on violence and it's effectiveness. There is no question, violence works. If it didn't we wouldn't be bombing Libya. But violence is like chemotherapy, pumping toxins into society to kill the tumorous elites. What's left afterwards isn't always a healthy body.

And people keep offering me these false constructs, "Isn't A preferable to B?" and getting peeved when I refuse to let that kind of framing be the basis for an argument. No, neither is preferable. Think bigger, think better, demand more! So maybe I need to think bigger, think better, demand more of myself when wavering on the violent/non-violent ideas. Never let it be said that I don't look inwards first, since the only thing we really can change is ourselves.

It's Friday!

I was going to write a post about colonialism movies, having just watched an awesome one (Even the Rain, in Spanish on Netflix) but it's been a long week (of obvious light posting). I'm using today as a "Girl Friday" which, when I used to work 4 days a week, meant spending the day painting my nails and lounging in a tub of sudsy water before going out and partying like a rockstar. In the case of this weekend, that means swimming tonight, Gay Pride tomorrow day and a friend's birthday party tomorrow night. Rockstar!

And since I was reminded of their awesomeness this morning in the ongoing musical cheese wars being waged by the Boyfriend, here's some Crowded House.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Discovered Last Night

After many alcoholic beverages, by Sylviaaaaaaaaa.

You all know I have a perverse love of the literal music video genre, right? I mean I can't think of Aha now without singing "I'm gonna kill this guy with my own pipe wrench".

But today it's a nice day for a goth wedding.

The Only Good Poor Person is A Straw (Wo)Man

Womanist Musings has a couple of great posts up about poverty from Dan and Brittany-Ann and the comments on both are telling in what we expect from poor people. Dan gets shit for dying his hair blue and stealing toothpaste. Brittany-Ann gets a bunch of people telling her that she's wrong(ish) when it comes to religion helping poor people.

Much like feminists understand that there is no 'good enough woman' to escape sexism, there is no 'good enough' poor person to escape poverty. Trust me, I've tried to be both kinds of good enough and it is an exercise in failure, created specifically to keep us running on a hamster wheel thinking there is some mythical finish line ahead.

Most of you readers will be familiar with the perfect woman traps. We have to be thin, but not too thin. Sexy but not too sexy. Smart but not smart enough to intimidate the boys. We're supposed to perform femininity like it's a drag queen act but it we go too far into stereotyped femininity then we are Paris Hilton and worthy of mockery. We're supposed to support ourselves so as to not be gold diggers but we're also not supposed to pick up a check? There is no winning and we are always checking the calculus in our head to make sure we're finding that tiny line of acceptability that we are forced to walk.

Same shit is true of being poor. We aren't allowed to let our religious views (or serious non-religious views) take precedence and must accept help from churches that we have serious issues with (The Salvation Army's virulent anti-gay stance, Catholics general anti-woman stance, etc. etc.). We don't have the option of voting with our feet (and with the whole faith-based bullshit passed by Bush and cemented by Obama- the options for assistance when poor are now decidedly skewed to religious organizations).

We also walk a fine line when it comes to personal style. Don't look too poor. god forbid you send your child to school in pants too short or a dirty shirt when you've run out of quarters for the laundry. Not only are you a bad poor person in that moment, but a neglectful parent. But if you dress too well, or flashy, or have blue hair or expensive taste in perfume (my own little vanity- I just used the last hiccupy spray yesterday from a bottle I've managed to ration for 2 fucking years) then you must be lying about how poor you are. If you spend appropriately for your budget on food then you just end up eating ramen and mac and cheese, where you end up getting shit for your unhealthy eating habits and the inevitable "why don't you budget better, shop at farmers markets, blah blah blah" but if you blow your entire monthly income to eat the required fresh fruits and veggies at the calorie amounts required to sustain life then you get shit for spending too much money on food.

There is NO winning when you are a member of a (or more likely, several) oppressed groups. You can never be good enough to be accepted by the dominant class, except as a token of exceptionalism. That is the point. We keep running, trying to make ourselves over in an attempt to be seen as worthy, but the finish line keeps changing. And we are kept too distracted by the running to see that it's rigged from the beginning.

(Note the same thing applies to POC, PWD, LGBTQQ, etc etc. We are never good enough just as we are or just as we want to be.)

So WHY do women get paid less?

(RQ, hope you don't mind. I woke up to this news and it's sort of like finding out that hell DID freeze over.)

For those of you who ever had a connection to Boston, the news that gangster Whitey Bulger was arrested in Santa Monica, California last night after 16 years on the lam is a big deal. Shocking, even. The guy fled in 1995 on the eve of being arrested for a bunch of charges. In his absence, he was charged with as many as 19 murders. (He was also an FBI informant who played the FBI far better than they played him.)

What's not shocking to me: it was a tip generated from the outreach to women. After 16 years of screw-up after screw-up from the FBI, they finally decided to start a PR outreach to women in the hopes of finding his girlfriend, who fled with him.

THREE DAYS after the campaign started on TV in 14 cities, they caught him. Based on a tip generated from that campaign. In other words, it took civilian women of a certain age a few days to clean up the mess that a male-dominated subculture screwed up for nearly two decades.

In light of this, the SCOTUS decision letting Walmart skate on a humongous sex-discrimination suit is even more offensive, but hey, that's me.

Women in the Santa Monica area, rock on. Rock on.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's Time For BINGO

Dilbert creating dillhole, Scott Adams, is still trying to defend his all men are rapists theory by interviewing Jezebel's Irin Carmon.

His responses to her answers are classic douchenoodlery, deserving of a BINGO card (look, I made Obot bingo during the primaries and I've got a mess of people coming over for Carnitas! tonight, so I can't make the card. Someone make the card!)

So Imma gonna shorthand it a bit.

"Whew, wordy" = you women sure do talk a lot. It's like my ears shut down when you just go on and on and on.

"Can you try again, in simpler terms, and without the history lesson, to explain your objection to my post?" = I am too lazy to know actual history or to use a dictionary, explain yourself in tiny words female, or I can't be bothered to comprehend you (He actually pulls this shit 2x)

"The men who complained imagined I was saying all men are repressed rapists. That's a simple case of bad reading comprehension" = Just because I said all men have to repress the urge to rape doesn't mean I meant all men have to repress the urge to rape.o

How many spot across do I have to get to have bingo again? And what's the free space? And seriously, it's not feminists who think all men are repressing their rapey urges in order to function in society.

A Tale of Two Abortion Movies

Since we are well into the War on Women and Planned Parenthood in Indiana now has to turn away medicaid recipients, I thought I should watch Vera Drake. A few months ago I watched Story of Women with the incomparable Isabelle Huppert. One of these stories is fiction, the other is based on a real woman. The differences are telling.

Vera Drake is a saint. She's poor but she loves and cares for her family and neighbors. She "helps women" (and never says abortion) out of the kindness of her heart and not for any money. The first third of the movie is all about her moving through space doing kind acts and making tea for everyone she comes across.

In contrast, Huppert's Marie is a bit vain, also poor but decidedly more materialistic than Vera Drake. She cheats on her husband. She's friends with prostitutes. We're made to see her as human, flawed, but still providing a service desperately needed in Nazi occupied France and providing for her family better than her husband can. (Oh the feminism, it burns the little men).

Spoiler alerts

Marie is the real story, and it's based on the life and death of Marie-Louise Geraud who was the last woman guillotined in France. She was sentenced to death for performing abortions.

Vera, a fictional saint pulled from the mind of Mike Leigh, gets 2 years and meets a bunch of other women in prison for the same thing. And she never ever stands up for herself or the women she has helped. She just whimpers and snivels and accepts her fate and apologizes.

Here's the thing, we don't need straw saints, anymore than we need straw people in general. Vera Drake is an okay movie. You'd only see it if you were already pro-choice anyways. Story of Women is a fantastic movie. Sit through the subtitles, it's worth it to watch a fully fleshed out human being portrayed.

(yes I used that title as a Dickens reference to another story, set in both England and France, about a miscarriage of justice)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Excuse me while rant for a second

Stupid fucking Microsoft Word and your shitastic formatting! I'm a fucking Office Pro. I got that shit down inside, outside, backwards forwards and twisted up like a tornado. And still you're utter shittiness makes doing anything take longer than it should. I don't need you to autoformat. YOU NEVER AUTOFORMAT IT RIGHT!!!! And heaven forbid I try working in something that isn't fucking Word, because everyone and their dog uses fucking Word and I'm gonna have to convert it anyways. And it NEVER converts right.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I am now on my millionth attempt to get my perfectly formatted google docs resume to look right in Word. I have wasted hours trying to fix shit. And what's really fucking funny is that the resume was originally written in Word and uploaded to docs so that I could move around the country without having to worry if I lost the usb drive the original was on (which I did). Google doesn't seem to have a problem understanding the formatting. Why does Word?

Hate, hate hate you, Microsoft Word. Hate.

Put in much simpler terms by someone more elegant than I

Arthur Silber on Stockholm Syndrome when the captor is the State.

Most "dissenting" writers exhibit the characteristics of Stockholm Syndrome, even if to a somewhat lesser degree than reflexive supporters of the status quo. Consider the deeply awful Sam Smith article that I analyzed the other day. Smith identifies a number of reasons for his strong criticisms of Obama -- and then proceeds to offer transparently unconvincing rationalizations for voting for Obama next year (because, as Smith says, Obama will "do us the least harm," ignoring that Obama, too, is committed to your complete destruction).

Which is all just a much more concise way of saying that common sense isn't actually common sense for us plebeians. Which is, I freely grant, just a convoluted and appropriated way of saying "You can't bring down the master's house with the master's tools".

There is no fixing a system that's lone function is to oppress by using mechanisms designed by the masters specifically to obfuscate the oppression.

(It's so clear and simple, I often feel like I've been banging my head on a wall to write about it. But then I have to remember that it took me a really fucking long time to see it and that others have probably felt like they had been banging their heads while I rah-rah the voting apparatus. So I owe some people apologies and some people some patience. I'm good at the first and bad at the last).

H/T to Blue Lyon.

So now internet scammers are working the disemployed

Ugh, I just got a response back to one of the resumes I sent out last week asking me to submit to a credit check through a seedy looking site. Actually everything about it looked seedy. But you can't check these things out before you email your resume when all you've got is an anonymous craigslist email.

I am creeped out because these people have my name, address and employment history already. Now they want to scam me out of my social security number and birthday. Fuckers. Not. Gonna. Happen. (actually I sent all the info to the WA state AG's office. Once upon a time this office used to do awesome things, but I have very low expectations of our second term Republifucker AG).

But this is all to be expected in an economy with the highest level of sustained unemployment since The Great Depression. It's also expected that the poor and desperate are most likely to be the targets of these scams. Rich people don't have to do things like log every employment contact and accept any job, no matter how awful, that comes along or suffer more consequences than being merely unemployed.

Ugh. People suck.

Linkfarming cause Mama's got a sick bug

I'm all stuffy nosed and raspy voiced and not at all happy about it. So here's a lazy bloggers post. There will be lots of shit to piss you the fuck off in these links. Trigger warnings everywhere.

Scott Adams, creator of the super crappy Dilbert who has gotten himself in trouble before for writing some shitty stuff and then sock-puppeting to his own defense, now writes about how rape is one of mens' natural instincts. Does anyone remember that study that showed that rapists and/or wife beaters were more likely to think that all men acted like they did? I think Scott Adams may have just outed himself as a creepy rapist if those stats are true. How else do you explain a man who thinks rape is something all men want? (This is the tactic I think I will take with all rape apologists in the future. They have all ready told us who they are, we should give them the respect they deserve.

From (one of) the fauxgressives on my Facebook (ugh, why?) comes a link to this post about how a whiny, self-involved asswipe of a woman blames feminism, and not her abysmal taste in men and/or her own selfishness for making her a single, middle aged mother. Boo fucking hoo. I am also a single (almost) middle aged mother and feminism is one of the things that has kept me from going all Sylvia Plath, but perhaps that's because I don't think feminism means license to be a douchenoodle.

I'm not a big one for poetry, but White Women Laughed is amazing. Thank you Anishinaabekwe.

Dan over at Womanist Musings writes about minor incidents of stealing in order to get by while poor. Pearl-clutching ensues in comments. Let's all remember what I think about "common sense" and ask ourselves how starving is more sensible than eating while poor?

There is officially no branch of government fighting against the War on Women. Not the Legislative, not the Executive, and not the Judicial. I would suggest that the wives of the tacky men in their tacky blue suits (or polyester black robes) go all lysistrata. I all ready make it a policy not to sleep with men who hate women, or I'd go lysistrata too. (ETA fuck that link to Jezebel. Read this link at The Crow's Eye instead )

So peeps, since I am laid up all- gimme something good to read. Leave me a link in comments and I will love you forever.