Saturday, July 30, 2005
When I use the word problematic I’m using it in my ex-academic brown girl/UCLA activist kind of way. What this means is that one or more of the following triggers was pushed: race, class, gender, sexuality. My brain doesn’t necessarily go there all the time (you gotta choose your battles) but sometimes something pushes the buttons.
The lame-ass opening act Waiting Game already had me at a slow simmer when, because we all hated them, they forced a young woman to bare her breasts onstage to distract everyone from how fucking craptacular they were.
And when the Dan Band came on, I was enjoying it. They were funny – they’re like that wedding cover band that already seems to be drunk, so you either go with it or you hang out in the lounge and wait for them to be over. So I went with it. The Dan Band sings girl songs: Shoop, Whatta Man, No More Drama, Genie in a Bottle, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Get your Freak On, Nasty, Tyrone, Milkshake. Generally it’s like a huge frat party.
Not being a fan of the frat party I sort of detached. The crowd was into it, though: those there for the nostalgia factor of 80s songs and the frat kids there for the beery, accelerated, fun of three white guys doing bad choreography onstage to girl karaoke. I can appreciate that – his version of ‘Genie in a Bottle’? Fucking funny.
But there was a point when I thought, This is a moment of white male appropriation of the female voice (especially the black female voice) at its best. For example, Badu’s ‘Tyrone’ is so good because every black woman recognizes it as a song of empowerment; the black woman tells the truth, draws the line, asserts her power and that last line – ‘but you can’t use my phone.’ – this is the payoff. This is the knockout, the Amen moment. But take that song, strip it of context, speed it up, put flashing lights behind it and get the Dan Band to cover it for a bunch of kids and suburbanites who don’t get it, then it’s stripped of anything vital and just becomes another thing for a consumerist privileged audience.
(see, i'm rereading what i just wrote and i'm thinking, oh some folks aren't gonna get this and just think i pick on everything...maybe i should tone it down...maybe i'm thinking too hard about the dan band...they're just a fun band...maybe i should lay off for a bit...maybe i'm sounding too militant...
but no. i'm letting it stand.)
Friday, July 29, 2005
but i think i've found the problem. clearly, this someone is a sea cucumber and, feeling endangered, is expelling themselves through the ass.
it's a theory.
[via smart bitches]
Thursday, July 28, 2005
i have a pair of jeans that i love love love. they're cut generously through the thigh and leg with a slight flare at the bottom; they have a good cuff and pockets that lay flat; they're the trouser equivalent of jeans and when i wear them to work, they look best with a mule or a shoe with a distinctive low heel.
i've had lincoln park trixies come up to me and say they love my pants. this NEVER happens to me unless i'm wearing these jeans.
and i want more. they fit perfectly and make me feel tall, sexy and action-oriented (i could run for a taxi!). i want another pair of jeans made like them and a pair of black pants cut just like them so i can wear office pants without looking like a postal office worker. (not that there's anything wrong with being a postal worker...just dressing like one.)
so take that, new york.
call me crazy but the zaftique site mentioned in the article still has stomach shuddering ugly clothes for big soft girls. grr. a cute boot cut yoga pant! how hard is that??
oh, the boots. i love the boots. ever since i was a kid, boots have been my friend - cowboy, lace up, ankle. bootie. motocicleta. love them all.
they're butch, they're hardy, they're femme.
they also don't get stuck in street grates and wack out your sciatica.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
i shouldn't laugh. really.
but i can't help it.
Monday, July 25, 2005
i no longer work for the Man so i'm all out of corporate bitchiness (it would be rude for me to be bitchy about my new gig) but thank god my roomie, still stuck in the corporate skinner box, has enough bile for us all:
I have been assigned three studies, one of which is headed by a Brazilian with a large head and very short legs. I was distracted thinking he may be a jockey, but decided that his parents must be cousins.
heh. i miss sharing an office with my roomie.
And then I [censored] [censored] [censored] [censored] with my [censored] [censored] [censored] [censored] [censored] and couldn't feel [censored] [censored] [censored] tuna salad.'
Those who occasionally stop by here know that, occasionally, I mention the fact that I, in fact, do have sex. Not always with the same person but the dry spells have been so far in between, the matter is pretty moot. (Or 'moo' as Joey would say.) So it's no wonder that I heartily disagree with the advice from Nathan at WebPronews.com (who can't seem to spell 'embarrassment' correctly.)
The nanny story from last week was pretty horrific; I don't think I can recall reading anything quite so self-righteous, self-indulgent and faux-thoughtful than Olen's piece about why she fired her nanny. I found her wide-eyed dismay in the face of her nanny's brief mentions of sex bourgeois (not 'seeming bourgeois' as Olen says in her essay but actually bourgeois). Olen can't be much older than I am and so she's surprised when a healthy woman in her mid-twenties has sex? She's shocked when a young woman mentions (again, briefly) that she's attracted to both men and women? Sweetie, please. I think the words you're actually looking for here are titillated and aroused.
Most of the response has been supportive of the nanny, who's off to grad school for her lit degree where she will undoubtedly encounter the same kind of 19th century squeamishness and prudery (there is nothing more hetero-coersively normative than graduate school), but always with a bit of avuncular advice thrown in: tut, tut, you should have known better than to write about your sex life.
Really? Why? How should women write and talk about sex? Where is the appropriate place to write about sex?
We're free to rant on about politics - just as long as it's not about sex. We're free to spew forth about religion - but, hey, nix the sex. We could rail about pop culture, current events, our latest recipes and even our job (whoops, maybe not that) but never ever about (shh) sex. Is it too embarrassing? To whom? The sexer or the person who reads about the sex? Who blushes when you read that the last time me and a certain someone got naked we experienced a total prophylactic malfunction and a condom got stuck inside my girly parts and it took me FOREVER to remove it, contorted in a funky yoga position in the bathroom while the boy knocked hesitantly on the door offering help and I, through gritted teeth, told him to fuck off?
Something happens when you write in/for the public. I daresay the same thing happens when you go onstage. A transformation takes place. The truth becomes Story. The truth becomes a narrative, one chunk of story set in place next to other chunks of narrative. My Prophylactic Malfunction becomes part of the dubious collection of stories about misplaced rubbers, emergency room disasters, broken off cucumbers and other such tales of modern sex. [This is not to say that feelings (especially for those intimately involved) should not be watched over; but that is an ethical issue with which all writers who write memoir or creative non-fiction struggle.]
So why the squeamishness? Some whisper that sex should not be spoken of in public, but I think that if you hang out with the average office worker on a Wednesday evening at a bar in the Loop, near the trading houses, you'll hear just about the same thing. Or during a girls' night over wine. No one's throwing up their handkerchiefs about that. In other words, it's already floating in our public discourse. Some whisper that it's indecent but I think that's a matter of taste and degree - there's a difference between writing like Washingtonienne and writing that you have sex, like it, and look forward to having it again soon.
Enough with the titters about sex. Enough with the horrified gasps that someone, especially a woman, writes about her sex life. Enough with the bullshit patriarchal words of advice to women about protecting ourselves when we mention our sexuality. Sex isn't a crime. It's not a shame.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Saturday, July 23, 2005
i dedicate this blog to my roomie. it's fabulous.
why i'm spending sleep time responding to this, i don't know. but this burns me up.
a lot of people don't know what VAWA or VOCA is (VOCA=Victim of Crime Act). VAWA is up for reauthorization in the fall; if this act is unauthorized, how women and families who are victims of violence (often domestic) are treated in the legal system will change. and not in a good way.
what VAWA has accomplished:
- between 1993 to 2001 there was virtually a 50% drop in incidents of nonfatal domestic violence and from 1993 to 2000 there was a 20% drop in women killed by current or former intimate partners.
- between 1993 and 2001 there was a 50% decrease in the number of sexual assaults and rape perpetrated against individuals 12 years old and older.
- and in 2003, after being in existence for only seven years, the National Domestic Violence Hotline answered its one-millionth call for assistance. Today, the National Domestic Violence Hotline answers over 16,000 calls a month and provides access to translators in 139 languages.
phyllis may enjoy licking the blood off some man's knuckles but i don't think most women are down with that.
read up on the act and contact your rep to encourage them to reauthorize the bill. it's important.
inning after inning of three quick outs, your side/their side. back and forth.
but then, one team hits two triples and changes everything.
ah, the white sox. roomie and i sat in some not-so-bad seats at comiskey (it's comiskey, not u.s. cellular field) and watched them beat the tarnation out of america's new favorite team, the red sox. it was also a perfect, warm, dry beautiful night spent checking out the rather adorable umpire behind home plate.
(the third base ump wasn't bad, either.)
the weekend is poor (literally) so i'm laying low, trying to avoid the heat wave that'll hit the city. i've already finished the potter (sob) and so will be desperately trying to get my hands on new books to carry me through the end of the month. i also have to do laundry.
this week i had an email from a man i had met for a drink a while ago. he'd been in town for a conference and so we met after his sessions to hang out and talk. one drink turned into a walk by the river and we stood in the freezing air talking while leaning over the dearborn bridge until i couldn't take the cold anymore and realized it was later than i thought. he was such a nice guy; so it was with pleasure i read he was back in town for a couple of lectures up north and could we meet again for a drink?
this is how things have changed with me, i think. six months ago, the old ding would have figured out a way to shuffle some appointments, borrow cab fare and get up north when the trains stopped running to meet this guy - especially with some sly offer on the table to share a hotel room if i got 'stuck.' hm. well, who hasn't gotten 'stuck' before? i haven't gotten 'stuck' in quite a few months. the old ding would have looked forward to the possibility of being 'stuck.'
but not this time. i let this one get by me. oh, i hope we have a chance to see each other again (like i said, he seems like a good guy and i felt a tiny little jump in the blood when we said goodnight) but i don't think i'm in the mood for distraction anymore. the idea of dallying makes me tired; i have too much work to do to be tired thinking about dallying. i know, i should be celebrating the one missed chance to (maybe) have boredom sex?
yeah, i should. in the face of boredom, my willpower and discipline usually resembles wet tissue paper.
and in other news, the new (still unsatisfactory) vibrator has mysteriously disappeared.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Bush made his announcement and the rallying has begun. This morning, between emails and phone calls at the office, I made out checks to Planned Parenthood and HRC. Later, I’ll probably make another donation to another group. I suppose I should pay off my tax bill first, but you know, my priorities are different.
I think of what this country has become because of regressive policies and politics and I shiver; but I am also angry. We’ve become cowed, inured to the idea of helplessness – ‘oh, well, no one is going to do anything anyway. There’s no point.’ That may be. There very well may be no point. But I can’t live like that. I can’t live like there’s no point in fighting back.
So what to do?
Write your representatives – an actual letter with an actual stamp. The staffers in charge of the subject you’re writing about read them and actually pass them on. These matter more than an email or fax. You say you don’t know what to say? Say what you feel: I’m scared of what this person could do to the country; I’m scared of what my life will turn into because of the decisions this person may make; I’m angry that moderation matters less than ideological bullying.
Write your newspapers – become that wonky crank and give it your best, simple eloquence. Make them hear you – and keep writing.
Write the members of the Judiciary Com’tee. And keep writing them.
Write your family and friends – and ask them to pass it along.
Support those groups who wobble on a thin financial line so they can mobilize research and action in opposition to right-wing ideologues. ($20, people. We can spare $20, right?)
Monday, July 18, 2005
guess who's coming to dinner? (and mowing your lawn and raising your kids and cleaning your house...?)
then go here.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
what to (dubiously) look forward to:
- the house where i lost my virginity is up for sale (yes, jp, we succumbed to the siren call of zingerman sandwiches and you'll be glad to know that the people of ann arbor are just as self-absorbed and infuriating as always. to the indecisive young man who couldn't pick a candy bar: you officially suck.)
- why my friend K- rules (and why shiba inus are the dog of the future. hint: no barking!!)
- why detroit road signage can kiss my ass
- why canadian couples need more help than the rest of us
- why reading vogue magazine can give a person gas
oh, and the harry potter book is stupendous.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
well, that's nothing compare to the squirminess scotty mcclellan is experiencing in this week's gaggles, here.
please, infinite lords of justice - please let the summer prove to be a long hard hot one for karl rove and all the rovian apologists. oh please let this be their swift boat summer.
so now i'm finishing up at the office and will meet roomie at home where her old friends M/B (married name = MeBrian) will have cocktails with us. i'm so glad that all i have to do is show up.
(shit. and i have to pack for a road trip to windsor. gaah, curse you aqua scum!!)
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
i'm glad i'm going to windsor this weekend.
i get to avoid a difficult conversation.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
(oooh, hot daddy from the neighborhood crossing the street....oh, yuck. it's only frank.)
all this makes me glad i'm going to canada with K- this weekend to buy the new harry potter.
(no! we can't wait for the u.s release date! we must have it now, i tell you, now!) ah, windsor...home of the Happy Tap.
(also home to the saddest male strippers you'll ever see, but that's a story for another time.)
silence=guilt? consternation? anger? denial? this administration is a joke. it's not evil. it's just a bunch of corporate suits doing the usual - playing by their own rules and fucking everyone around them.
it's too banal to be evil.
Monday, July 11, 2005
all because i'm working late. (i won't tell you what i'm doing except know that it's tedious and the words MAIL MERGE are heavily involved.) i'll be working late all this week and i even canceled my pelvic exam today because i just couldn't. tear. myself. away. (and i suspected Hal was still visiting. there's nothing worse than steeling yourself for a pelvic, your ankles in the air, when Hal waves his little red hand making the doctor snap off her gloves and tell you to come back in another week or two.)
but i've finished two phil rickman books (horribly addictive) and i'm starting with the last in the jane stevenson trilogy, empress of the last days, so maybe i'll just meander on home and stop to read somewhere. i've nearly forgotten the pleasure of sitting somewhere that's not my apartment or office, reading while smoking a cigarette, eventually losing track of where i am.
but until then i'll just languish here and sigh.
and then someone would fail. jesus. why don't we just let undergrads teach the courses and grade themselves?
via michael berube (his photo makes me laugh...don't know why.)
1. how much money is in your wallet? enough to get me to work tomorrow. and some change.
2. how much money would you need in the bank to feel secure? rich? to feel secure (i.e, all my immediate responsibilities have been taken care of) 15k. to feel rich? anything above that would be gravy. (see? little dreams, little ones...)
3. if someone gave you $100 no strings attached, what would you do with it? i'd put it in my belly. in other words, someone is coming with me to check out the new bar by japonais.
4. if someone gave you $1 million no strings attached what would you do with it? in this order: pay off debt immediately; give some to my dad; give some to my sister; give some to my roomie; hammer out a financial plan; get a new laptop; go to england; go someplace warm for 5 days; worry about not giving all of it to the poor.
5. how much does something have to cost before it starts counting as 'real' money, as purchase to be considered and evaluated, but below which you’ll buy without really thinking about it?
i'm thinking about what i've done with shoes and bags...over $200 i'm wincing; below that i'm open. but it depends on what it is: up to 100 for skin care, up to 200 for shoes/bags, up to 50 for makeup; whatever i need for books; up to 60 for music (in one visit); clothes...i'm a plump girl so it's about what fits, damn the price. large ticket things? ugh. don't talk to me about that. it's why i'm still sleeping on a futon.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
The aliens in War of the Worlds are supposed to represent terrorism.
I really feel we give terrorists too much credit when it comes to their organization and capabilities.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
i would have linked to this on my kos diary but, you know? fuckit. his site makes my little girly head hurt.
via bitch (who is chock full of useful links to other useful things re: academic freedom, the supreme court, abortion rights and how volcanoes are rude).
i'm sorry but wasn't this the same judith miller who was also totally responsible for funneling less-than-credible reports about iraq's wmd capabilities and our ease with which we would win the war - which provided the foundation of the nyt's support of the iraq adventure? wasn't it judith miller who, way back in the day of 2002, wrote these stories also from anonymous sources? and wasn't her biggest 'anonymous' source ahmed chalabi (who later turned out to be a total con man and possible iran spy)?
and, when she was called out on it (and the nyt had to apologize), wasn't this also the judith miller who said that it wasn't her job to be a fact-checker? she was just reporting what someone told her? (listen to the entire interview or click here for the relevant bits.)
cuz if this is the same judith miller, i'd say that she has a habit of protecting rats who have hidden agendas - destructive and problematic agendas - she accepts without question.
Friday, July 08, 2005
but i'm about to leave the office in 15 minutes (whee! summer hours!) to join my friend G- for a picnic with champagne to celebrate her new job. i can't wait to sit on a blanket in the sun and get totally roasted.
and, last night, i bowled an 85. not bad.
but in case the weekend is light for posting, have a good one y'all.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
the writer is gay african woman and it's great reading. (i'll add her to my blog roll as soon as i get home!)
especially take a look at her post 'we are not whales!'. it levels a very measured critique (and a useful one, i think) of the live 8 concert and effort.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
i'm adding this link to Bush v Choice to keep track of what's going on with the supreme court nomination.
updated: and this is SCOTUS blog - extremely well-informed.
Friday, July 01, 2005
Back when I was 19, I was cranky. Crankier than I am now. (Hard to believe, but it’s true.) I was also president of my Black Student Union, a position I abdicated when I thought it was ok for a white guy to join and, uh, my membership disagreed.
I know, hard to imagine, but there you are.
Anyway, back when I was 19, I was very tired of being everyone’s Guide to Blackness so I thought there should be a basic reading list of sorts to keep everyone from asking stupid questions. I've sensed the same feeling swelling in my breast quite recently so here are the texts that shaped my thinking early on (books and sometimes just authors, because it’s, like, past 1 am – it’s also lit heavy because, well, that’s my training):
For the very basics of black women’s history (literary and otherwise):
Where and When I Enter, Paula Giddings;
Reconstructing Womanhood, Hazel Carby;
Reading Black, Reading Feminist, Henry Louis Gates
Subjects & Citizens: Nation, Race and Gender from Oroonoko to Anita Hill, eds. Michael Moon & Cathy Davidson
For (colonized) black consciousness:
Black Skin, White Masks; The Wretched of the Earth, Franz Fanon
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
For white identity and performance, racial identity:
Love and Theft, Eric Lott;
How the Irish Became White, Ignatiev;
White Women, Race Matters, Ruth Frankenburg
The Invention of Ethnicity, Werner Sollors
Just because their essays kick ass:
Richard Rodriguez (my old lover B- is actually in a correspondence with him…poor B-. Brilliant, yet unbearable.)
Paula Gunn Allen
Homi Bhaba (incomprehensible but read at least one of his essays anyway)
Paul Gilroy (really terrific books on black Britain)
Ida B. Wells
The Grandissimes; Clotel; Passing; The Wedding (a bunch of tragic mulattoes)
Mary Louise Pratt
Gayatri Spivak (utterly incomprehensible, see Homi Bhaba)
Edward Said (cogent and rigorous on imperialism and colonialism)
Richard Yarborough (old prof at ucla)
Jean Fagan Yellin
A monster book titled something like ‘Critical Theory Since Plato’ (for terms)
The point of this list: know a little somethin’.