Tuesday, November 29, 2005
unlike the articles in the times and dowd's kooky 'i can't get laid' book, this actually is interesting. why? because it says there may be something to that weird data, after all. and it actually makes a rigorous argument - an actual argument!
Conservatives contend that the dropouts prove that feminism “failed” because it was too radical, because women didn’t want what feminism had to offer. In fact, if half or more of feminism’s heirs (85 percent of the women in my Times sample), are not working seriously, it’s because feminism wasn’t radical enough: It changed the workplace but it didn’t change men, and, more importantly, it didn’t fundamentally change how women related to men.
and what was the culprit that prevented such a radical rethinking? the language of choice.
Here’s the feminist moral analysis that choice avoided: The family -- with its repetitious, socially invisible, physical tasks -- is a necessary part of life, but it allows fewer opportunities for full human flourishing than public spheres like the market or the government. This less-flourishing sphere is not the natural or moral responsibility only of women. Therefore, assigning it to women is unjust. Women assigning it to themselves is equally unjust. To paraphrase, as Mark Twain said, “A man who chooses not to read is just as ignorant as a man who cannot read.”
The critics are right about one thing: Dopey New York Times stories do nothing to change the situation. Dowd, who is many things but not a political philosopher, concludes by wondering if the situation will change by 2030. Lefties keep hoping the Republicans will enact child-care legislation, which probably puts us well beyond 2030. In either case, we can’t wait that long. If women’s flourishing does matter, feminists must acknowledge that the family is to 2005 what the workplace was to 1964 and the vote to 1920. Like the right to work and the right to vote, the right to have a flourishing life that includes but is not limited to family cannot be addressed with language of choice.
Women who want to have sex and children with men as well as good work in interesting jobs where they may occasionally wield real social power need guidance, and they need it early.
these are much better questions than why men don't like smart women or why MoDo can't get a date.
Monday, November 28, 2005
- walk the line: who knew johnny cash and ray charles had the exact same life?? i didn't.
- reading: bel canto. already peeked at the ending; now i'm depressed.
- good night and good luck: david straithairn is my new boyfriend.
- have a lunchbox: 1/2 pint glass with equal parts beer and orange juice; drop a shot glass full of amaretto in the beer and shoot it. it's an elmhurst special and you can order it at doc ryan's or the spring inn. crazy but strangely refreshing.
- saliva: not meant to be used for lube. must mention this to B-.
- grant proposal for large technology firm dead in the water....what to ask for?
- affordable christmas day flights to los angeles thin on the ground. this is what i get for waiting so damn long.
- last night i was heating up a piece of pizza and when i turned around i got an eyeful of my naked neighbor across the way. i think he finally realized that when he's starkers in his bathroom, we can totally see him. totally.
- why isn't B- prepared for frolicking when we get together? he has no sex accessories. like lube. lube is necessary! (must get a better brand than KY, though. KY's a little sticky.)
- listening to: the mars volta. weird weird weird.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
the delights of thanksgiving...moist turkey, wine, and tramping out in the early morning to a suburb in face-freezing weather to meet a friend at the end of a turkey trot and do a little pub crawl before the sun even reached a mid-point in the sky.
the burbs have weird traditions. after spending the night before drinking to excess, the whole town runs a 5k race, drinking little bloody marys along the way, and then they wrap up the morning with more drinking at the knights of columbus hall - to be followed with more drinking and breakfast throughout the morning. i called my sister from an irish pub at 11 am and had already guzzled half a bloody mary, a jack and coke, a lunchbox and a guinness. what am i thankful for? i'm thankful for strong kidneys and a constitution like a cow.
i'm also thankful i have a sane family. spending a holiday, a long one, with a family not your own enables you to see your tribe in the clear light of relief. my family is happy, content, proud of one another, and understanding of frailty. (we also understand that dinners are hard enough without reenacting slights from 1976.)
happy thanksgiving, everyone.
hope your tribe was normal.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
after 9/11 i remember the white house saying there was an axis of evil.
i remember the white house saying we needed to be afraid of iraq - because they were part of this axis.
i remember bush said that they had weapons of mass destruction.
i remember condi rice implying they had nuclear capability.
i remember niger and yellowcake.
i remember a memo from italy.
i remember colin powell going to the UN and holding up a chart.
at the same time i also remember old CIA and UN weapons inspectors saying that none of that was the case.
i remember colin powell's presentation being totally bogus.
i remember the whole yellowcake thing being totally bogus, too. (hello, valerie plame.)
i remember news items saying the italian memo was bogus, too.
so out of all this bogucity, wherefor all this revision?
(need a timeline? i found one here.)
Monday, November 21, 2005
i didn't mean to find it.
but you know how, after a frolic, your breath is all funky and you just can't stand the thought of your face being covered with various eflluvia and you just need to wash right now right now right now??!!
well, i needed toothpaste (i brought everything else but forgot that). so i opened his medicine cabinet and grabbed the aquafresh. i'm standing there, brushing, when i see two bottles. it doesn't take much effort to tuuurn the bottle to read the label. ambien. ok; i know about his insomnia. (personally, i think he should switch to lunesta.) still brushing. i tuurrn the other bottle: fluoxetine. hm. que es esto? don't know. never heard of it. i'm desperately trying not to think STD medication, but i make a mental note to look it up later. (and make another note that it's time for another pelvic exam and all concomitant tests.)
later: thanks to Desperate Housewives I know what it is and a friend added further illuminating info; it was prescribed to her cat to level out kitty's bad-ass aggression: kitty prozac.
what was heretofore known as pot-dick now has another name.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
i read the previous carnival on philobiblion and this biweekly blogging carnival is a really great collection of feminist writing. maureen dowd should take a note or two.
[via bitch phd]
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
one time, we wondered where kissing came from. i said, the search for food. and, lo, months later on discovery channel, we learned that was probably true. see? our conversations are deep.
anyway, while watching House and catching an ad for fox-tv's Wife Swap, my roomie asked, 'why don't they ever switch dads? why is it always the mom?'
that's a good question, roomie.
why not the dad?
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
(now watch me forget the date...)
but i have to disagree with jimmy, a little bit. while our post-9/11 willingness to torture seems new and doesn't fit in with our american mythology, this is precisely the america it has always been. there are two americas. on one side we have the america of progress, liberalism, jazz, commerce, positive thinking, youth, golden American-ness (in contrast to the musty smells wafting over from the old world.) we are vim and vigor, hope and liberty, freedom and possibility.
but we are also lynching, slavery, genocide, colonialism, repression, manifest destiny, civil war, puppet dictatorships, internment camps, reservations, betrayed treaties, stolen land, and rapine viciousness for the sake of a dollar. this is our other face. it's a face most of the historically marginalized populations in this country (on this continent) know quite well.
i love america too, jimmy, but do we need to be quite so naive?
Monday, November 14, 2005
Last week Thursday House Republicans cancelled a vote on proposed $54 billion in spending cuts on programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, TANF, and student loans.
Though the budget fight isn't over (gov can't run without a budget) it's good to see we can make a difference.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
no. i'm not.
since it's 6.40 am and i just got off the train of shame, just thought i'd discombobulate you, too.
i'm not engaged but i am feeling quite relaxed after a night with B-. (hm, really must leave him a note on the deliterious effects of marijuana on sexual energy.) we caught up, we listened to music, we drank wine, we watched 'the devil's rejects' - it was a lovely evening that actually lasted longer than i anticipated.
after the frolic i thought, well, this is where i shower and go home. no, we hung out, smoked a cig and played with the cat.
after the shower i thought, now i go home. no, we wrapped ourselves in sheets and watched horror movies and drank wine on the couch.
after the movie i thought, surely he's going to say he's wiped and i should go home. but, no. we watched animal planet. (his sense of justice is satisfied seeing abusive people getting arrested for pet neglect.)
after animal planet...no, he ordered another bottle of wine (!!) from the restaurant down the street and somehow convinced to come back to bed.
who was that genial fellow and what happened to my malcontent B-?
Friday, November 11, 2005
of course, the chances of such a conversation happening are slim; once B- and i are in the same room, rational discourse disappears, to be replaced with terse directives: 'um, lift your leg', 'turn around', 'on top now?', 'wait wait wait, i have a cramp', 'harder!'
it's disturbing how that happens and how quicky - quickly - the fog dissipates.
in other ding news, i made a pot roast thursday night. it's gorgeous. it's beautiful. it smells so good. it's actually edible. roomie had to give me a high five. chopping those 6 cups of onions was worth it. i'm having people over but now i want them to stay home so we can have the pot roast all to ourselves.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
should a parent be responsible for his/her noisy child in a public venue when said kid kicks up a fuss?
like spousal notification, a law allowing a business to set the parameters of parent/child relations in the public sphere would foster greater communication, not only between parent and child but also business owner and patron. for all those involved, expectations are managed.
a law like this, as in spousal notification, would also help the greater good. by asking children to be on their best behavior, cafes would truly be oases of relaxation, commerce would roll forward unimpeded, and all patrons would be able to enjoy a stimulating cuppa.
of course, there are those who say that it is not a cafe owner's job to regulate the relationship between father/mother/caregiver and child. we say, of course it is. for when you leave your home and enter a public space you are entering the public home of another - the business owner. your relationship has left the private sphere and entered a public one, making it subject to the rules of public behavior. if you want privacy and liberty you should stay home.
(for those are the only choices we have here: go out/stay home.)
and there are others who are determined to argue that asking a child to behave is just too hard; it's an undue burden. nonsense. it's only a burden because you're a bad parent. and if you are, indeed, a bad parent then asking you to assert more parental control is a good tutorial for future parent/child interactions.
do not whine or complain. rather, subsume your private childrearing failures to the will of the Public, or the State. once surrendered, you'll find that the law is more than adequate to manage your family. who cares if how you raise your child is no one's business? we've made it our business because you've entered our business. who cares if you bristle at the thought of someone telling you what to do with the product of your various fluids? the Public/State is heartily offended you don't see the moral need for early basic social skills.
beware the punitive and watchful eye of the Public/State.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
my favorite bitch has a discussion going on here.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Last week the Senate voted on their federal budget bill which would cut programs and services, including those that help women and girls, by $39 billion dollars. This week, the House of Representatives is voting on their bill which would cut $54 billion dollars from programs and services-$15 billion more than the Senate bill. Programs that face drastic cuts in the House bill include Medicaid, Food Stamps, Foster Care, Childcare and the Student Loan Program. Please contact your Representative immediately and tell them to oppose budget cuts which harm those in need.
Impact for Illinois women and girls:
A 2% budget cut in Head Start is the equivalent of services for at least 35,000 children nationwide. In Illinois, services to over 1,500 children could be cut. Families on TANF would be required to work 40 hours per week, but there is insufficient funding for child care assistance to allow families to meet this increased work requirement.
2 Ways to Take Action:
Click here to send an email to your Senators and Representative on this issue.
*Call your Representatives November 7, 2005- November 11, 2005.
Phone: 1-800-426-8073 (toll-free) or see the bottom of this post for phone numbers by district.
My name is (insert your name) and I am from ( insert your city and state). I am calling to ask Representative (insert name) to oppose the $54 billion dollars in cuts to Medicaid, Food Stamps, TANF and other critical services that help women and girls. I am also asking that they oppose the $70 billion dollars in tax cuts that are being proposed.
Congress should be investing in programs that end poverty and inequality in our country, not enacting policies that do the opposite. Please urge Representative (insert name) to work to pass a responsible budget that does not include unaffordable tax cuts and harmful program cuts. Thank you.
Five Illinois Congressional representatives (Kirk, Johnson, Weller, LaHood and Biggert) are being targeted as particularly influential in this decision, because they are perceived as swayable votes on this issue. Your call is urgently needed if you live in one of the following counties: Adams, Brown, Bureau, Cass, Champaign, Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Dupage, Edgar, Ford, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Logan, Macon, Marshall, Mason, Menard, Morgan, Moultrie, Peoria, Piatt, Pike, Putnam, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Stark, Tazewell, Vermilion, or Woodford. If you live or work in one of these counties, please visit www.house.gov and enter your zip code to find contact information for your representative.
Who to call:
Everyone can call Illinois Senators Obama (312) 595-0937 and Durbin (312) 353-4952.
If you are working at the loop or in Lawndale , you can call or fax:
Congressman Danny Davis
Phone: 202/225-5006 Fax: 202/225-5641
If you are working from Hyde Park or Englewood, you can call or fax:
Congressman Bobby L. Rush
phone: 202-225-4372 fax: 202-226-0333
If you are working in the west suburbs, you can call or fax:
Congressman Henry Hyde
Phone: (202) 225-4561 Fax: (202) 225-1166
If you are working from Uptown, contact Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky:
Phone: (202) 225-2111 Fax: (202) 226-6890
From Logan Square, contact Congressman Luis Gutierrez:
Phone: (202) 225-8203 Fax: (202) 225-7810
i gave it some thought and agreed.
but tonight, after the episode with the guy and girl under my window, i revised my thinking. when he grabbed her i felt something jolt inside me. THAT was anger and that's not something i feel, or have felt, toward any of the men i've been with or have had in my life. this is what makes me angry: ignorance, arrogance and stupidly used power. blindly wielded authority. apathy. stupid teenagers and undergrads (see ignorance and arrogance above.)
but do i have anger toward men?
men i feel specific anger toward:
george w. bush & almost every single man in his cabinet who has not yet quit and who still supports this disaster-laden administration.
the men who voted for bush. (fuckers)
bill frist, rick santorum, that pale weasly guy from connecticut...shit, what's his name?
the guy who plays horatio on csi: miami (fucking tool)
all the drunk buffoons who stumble from the sports bars and pee on the cars on my block. (fuckers)
the guy who took advantage of my friend when she was in no shape to fend him off (fucker and i hope you get hit by a taxi when you're crossing the street while talking on your cell phone)
carry lalabro (fucker fucker fucker)
chris nelson (yeah, i used your name, you bougie-hocky playing with the stars-date my sister-barely graduated college-asshole. fucker.)
men who merely frustrate me so much i can only talk to them in little chunks:
men who work in financial services
men who are 'born again'
the men in my dad's church
hipsters/guys who still go clubbing
the number of men at whom i've gotten angry but not for very long: 9
so when you think about it, that's actually not alot of anger floating around. i could be angrier.
(and am i angry at patriarchal discourse in popular culture, a system or at a whole gender? unfortunately, the majority of those who benefit from a patriarchal system are men, therefore, some men experience some blowback. ah, well.)
Sunday, November 06, 2005
i was checking my email when i heard a woman scream, stop it!
it was loud. you think it's a cliche when you read that a 'scream pierced the air' but that's what it did. it didn't sound like a girl screaming with laughter. it sounded like a scream. the guys who live across the street from me thought so, too. they ran to their windows as i ran to mine. i couldn't get a good view from my bedroom so i hurried into the kitchen, yanked down the window without a screen, so i could poke my head all the way out. this is what i saw:
a white woman with short brown hair, running diagonally across the street, away from the direction of the little mafia row of houses. it was so quiet i could hear her shoes on the concrete. she was on her phone, screaming 'stop it' to a white man in a blue track jacket and jeans; he had short light brown hair. she kept dodging behind cars and he kept blocking her. another woman from a building behind me was yelling down, 'leave her alone' and the girl ran into the alley behind my building while a man from the direction of my building walked past her, looking at her over his shoulder as he walked away from them. she was yelling, 'get away from me, leave me alone!'
the man with short brown hair kept coming after her saying 'you owe me my money, give me my 800 dollars!" under my window, he grabbed her by the hair. i yelled out the window, 'hey! i will call the fucking cops on you! step away from her!' he looked around a little and grabbed her jaw and was forcing her to turn toward him when i yelled again 'hey, get the fuck away from her!' she twisted away. i forgot my cell phone in my bedroom so by the time i was back in the kitchen with my finger on the 911 button (i have them on speed dial), they were gone.
it was silent. i checked my remote camera for the back door, the alley, the side street, the front stoop. not a sign of either of them. no more screaming. i hope she managed to get to her car.
and if i find out he's a neighbor i'm telling my landlord.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
one of the criticisms that i've heard about the dowd and parker pieces is that they don't really consider the male point of view. (i disagree; i think all they're thinking of is what reinforces social masculine hierarchies.)
well, here's a guy and here's what he thinks. it's worth reading - especially what he says about masculine responsibility.
Friday, November 04, 2005
1 red leather wallet with no cash in it
1 red leather business/bus/office card holder
black moleskin notebook for journal/story ideas and a place to jot phone numbers
a copy of 'More Book Lust'
3 matchbooks from local bars/restaurants
theater ticket for 'Purlie'
theater ticker for Eddie Izzard
lunch receipts from the past week
1 chanel lipstick in 'bengal'
1 tarte lipgloss/balm in 'wednesday'
1 MAC lip pencil in 'chestnut'
1 lip brush
house/mail key on silver tiffany ball-thingy
1 tampon (i need to be ultra prepared when my uterus decides to go for it)
$5 in singles for the bus/panhandlers
hm. i need to buy cigarettes.
[if you want to peek into other pockets, hop on over to bitch phd]
who knew an ordinary makeup sponge could be used during your period so you could have sex?? my mind is boggled. i mean, my friends used to call me macguyver but, clearly, i have nothing on the resourcefulness of dr. b over there.
guess they should have gone with 'kill whitey'...
incidentally, if you've ever wondered what football played by kids with massive IQs looks like, wonder no more.
we'll be the women at the top of the bleachers sipping hot toddies, laughing our asses off.
(private school football just makes me laugh...i went to pac 10 and big 10 schools!)
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
This is the thing that feminism failed to account for, according to Kathleen Parker in the Chicago Tribune today as a response to Maureen Dowd’s Sunday NY Times piece. But while this seems like a reasonable oversight on feminism’s part, I have to disagree – again.
Nature is something feminism has always been aware of.
How could feminism not be aware of nature when Nature has been the stick used to beat women over the head? We could not work outside the home because our ‘natural’ state was in the home; we could not participate in politics because our ‘natural’ place was caregiving; we are ‘naturally’ retiring, our brains were ‘naturally’ less powerful than those of men so why should we be allowed to attend school, hold a job or even walk the streets alone – since we were so ‘naturally’ inspiring of sexual violence?
We know that none of this is ‘natural’. The rules governing female behavior back then and now are cultural constructs, meaning they aren’t intrinsic rules but are socially mandated (unconsciously and consciously) in order to support a larger social structure.
Like Dowd, Park is ignorant that behind Nature there is Patriarchy, and while Patriarchy might not always wear a male face, it is usually (one might say ‘naturally’) supported by men, who ‘naturally’ benefit from it. Quite simply, patriarchy is a way of looking at the world and understanding it; it is the dominant paradigm – it is what we assume to be ‘natural’, or common sense – conventional wisdom, almost. Patriarchy manifests itself through a system of ideas and practices that systematically disadvantage women and other subordinated groups; it is a system of ideas and practices that serve the interests of the dominant group. Who’s in the dominant group? Those who benefit from it.
The thing about Patriarchy is that it’s so damn invisible. It’s the foundation of our Western civilization so it’s completely absorbed into our culture – our icons, our literature, our government, our institutions. It’s almost second nature to us. (heh.) Because of the ‘invisible’ work of patriarchy, we take as natural that our relationship to the opposite sex is to be deferential and appreciative. I suppose that when such natural deference is absent it appears “hostile and demeaning to men”. I’d call it impatience, myself. Hostility is so…patriarchal. Impatience at the slowness of someone else’s progress is much more accurate. (Like walking behind two tourists on Michigan Avenue. Maddening.)
But not only is Patriarchy invisible, the effects of Patriarchy are invisible, too – until feminism came along, that is. Till feminism came along, unseen were the ways that Patriarchy disadvantaged women by:
(1) excluding us from inquiry,
(2) denying us epistemic authority,
(3) denigrating our “feminine” cognitive styles and modes of knowledge,
(4) producing theories of women that represent us as inferior, deviant, or significant only in the ways they serve male interests,
(5) producing theories of social phenomena that render women's activities and interests, or gendered power relations, invisible, and
(6) producing knowledge (science and technology) that is not useful for people in subordinate positions, or that reinforces gender and other social hierarchies.*
[*emphasis mine and a shout out to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for this and the above definition of patriarchy.]
Which brings us back to Nature. Feminists are very much aware of Nature; we just object to the use of Nature as an excuse to reinforce a bullshit, oppressive paradigm that fails to see women as people and only serves male interests. Let’s consider the conservative boycott of American Girl. Why do they protest a bunch of ahistorical dolls? Abortion and lesbianism, we all thought. That’s not the real reason at all.
In today’s Trib Dawn Turner Trice quotes Ann Scheidler, the Executive Director of Pro-Life Action League: "The reason we're protesting is that American Girl appeals to the wholesome image of girls, and the Girls Inc. web site is almost a recruitment for a feminist agenda. All they talk about is science and sports, nothing about homemaking and motherhood."
Homophobia and a lack of respect for a woman’s reproductive autonomy is certainly a part of Scheidler’s boycott but the fundamental thing that makes her twitch her apron is the way Girls, Inc. advocates for a girl to transcend ‘nature.’ For Scheidler, feminism is freakish because it isn’t wholesome, homemaking or motherhood. It’s sports and science – two fields that aren’t feminine because they aren’t ‘natural’ to a woman, while childbirth and caregiving is.
What’s Nature again? Patriarchy.
So to Park I say that feminism didn’t tell half a story; feminism knows the whole freaking story. It knows the Author, the Publisher, the Reader and the little bitty ISBN number inside the front page. It knows who the Distributor is and where the Bookstores are (tired of this metaphor, yet?). We know the story and we keep telling it. You just don’t like that story. That’s fair.
You don’t like the ending, either; that's ok, too. It’s hard being a feminist. It’s hard being 'unnatural' and knowing. It’s much easier to be naturally ignorant. I get that. It’s hard to look around and see you're the village idiot, or the crazy lady crying in the wilderness about something no one else wants to see. I get that. You don’t want to be the outlier.
But you are lying. Feminism didn't cheat women; it just didn’t account for the general chicken-heartedness of our sex in the face of patriarchal disapproval. It thought we were braver than that.
[edited to thank my roomie for pointing me to the article and to correct Parker's name.]
One of my faves, James Wolcott, on bearding for the neocons: "I don't understand why someone as politically keen as The Nation's David Corn would lend his name to the editorial board of Pajamas Media, the greatest assembly of conservative deadbeats since Jonah Goldberg's last fondue party"
Gearing up for the SCOTUS fight, The Well-Timed Period takes apart Scalito's dissent and husband notification: "Since male masturbation also involves the purposeful termination of potential life, I take it the decision to masturbate must also be recognized as sui generis, different in kind from the rights protected in the earlier cases under the rubric of personal or family privacy and autonomy. Coming soon to a police department near you, the Squad for Prohibition of, and Enforcement of Rules on, Masturbation, or SPERM."
A fable from The Heretik: "The bush that was burning down, burning down the house of white, flamed higher so all might forget the fallen Libby and the never risen Miers. Out of the flames sudden burst Sam, the one of tribe of the Peni now known as Scalito"
BlackFeminism.org notes the movement was more than Rosa: "the NAACP chose Parks — married, sexually modest, and employed with no alcoholic father to act the fool in court — to be the center of a movement.
Colvin wasn’t just rejected for fear of what the white media would do to smear her and the boycott, but also because the NAACP was concerned about whether black churches would support a movement aligned behind a shameless, 15-year-old pregnant hussy."
Donkey Rising points out that Scalito is bad for more than women: "Alito opposed majority decisions on worker's rights with respect to minimum wage, discrimination, pensions, public employee rights and union protection. He points out that Alito wrote "anti-worker majority decisions" on exempting employers from the Family and Medical Leave Act, "putting him to the right of William Rehnquist."
And, just for brainy nerdy fun, the Chicago Humanities Festival is here. The weather's cooling, big brains are in town...it's so sexy. I'm going to the Nov 12 panel on affordable housing and maybe catch a few other things on the black migration from the south...hope to see you guys.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
what opposition looks like: Democrats Force Senate Into Closed Session Over Iraq Data - New York Times
dare we hope this sudden show of ovarial chutzpah will last?
all it took was 5 years and scooter getting kicked in the butt...