Does the ‘Abortion is Murder’ Crowd Think Girls are Incompetent?

Let’s think about this a minute.  Imagine a fourteen year old boy wants to kill someone.  So, he talks his brother into driving him and the intended victim to Kentucky where a man the boy has hired shoots the intended victim dead.

Would that fourteen year old boy go to prison for murder?  Would he be tried as an adult?  Might he even get the death penalty?

I think we can safely answer ‘yes’ to each of those questions.  That kind of planning and premeditation usually winds up costing you a huge chunk of your life, if not all of it.

And the guy who drove the car?  Is he getting off with just a year in prison?

Only if he cuts some kind of sweet deal with the government.

And yet, folks like Rick Santorum, who believe that a fetus is equivalent to a child aren’t advocating charging fourteen year old girls who have abortions with murder.  And they’re not charging the doctor she hires to provide it.  And they’re only going to advocate punishing the driver of the vehicle with up to a year in prison.


If a fetus really is a life the same way a child is a life, why isn’t anyone advocating treating the folks involved with the procurement of one as if they are involved in the procurement of a murder-for-hire?

Are girls, as a class, not competent to stand trial for murder?  Are people who are involved in the killing of babies somehow rendered not competent to stand trial for those babies’ deaths?

I think the thing is that there are many people who think that abortion is a shitty choice among many shitty choices a woman might have to make under certain circumstances, but who believe that it ought to be up to the woman to make that choice.  I think they grown uneasier with that choice the farther along a pregnancy is, but they don’t want to see abortions outlawed.

Then I think there are a greater number of people who believe that abortion is morally wrong, even if the fetus is not an actual human being, it is a form of human life and ending that life ought to be done only under the most extenuating circumstances.  Still, they uncomfortably believe that, even if abortion is wrong, it should still be safe and legal.

Then a smaller number of people who believe that abortion is morally wrong, and that a fetus is not the same as a human being, but is a form of human life, and as such, should be allowed to thrive except in circumstances of rape or if the mother’s health is in danger.

And then there’s a smaller group still who believe that abortion is morally wrong because a fetus is a human being–a pre-born human being.  They say they believe that abortion is murder.  Often, they and the above group seem very similar and I think you find the "Abortion is morally wrong and should be illegal because a fetus is alive" group often spouting the "Abortion is murder" line.

And yet, if they really believe this, where is the push to have women who have abortions tried for murder?

It’s funny because I imagine the amount of people in the US who believe that every woman should have an abortion once in her life just for the hell of it are slim to none.  Most everyone believes that it would be nice if there were few abortions–if it were just in cases of rape or incest or out of medical necessity.

It just seems like the two sides differ completely in their estimation of women, which means they differ completely on how to lessen the number of abortions.  One side (the good guys) want to give folks good information on birth control and biology and reproductive health and want to make all kinds of forms of birth control widely available and ubiquitous in their use.  If far few women find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy, there will be far fewer abortions.

On the other side, the solution seems to be to criminalize it as much as possible and work towards a day when it will be able to be criminalized completely for everyone except for the women, who seem to be viewed as simpletons who have been led into this crime by everyone from unscrupulous boyfriends to state-line-crossing grannies to evil abortion providers.

This is fine and all, but I just wonder, when it comes to that, how the "abortion is murder" crowd is going to feel seeing the perp walk free while all her cohorts go to jail.

The Protection Oil

Both the oils just have only the faintest scent of baby oil.  Otherwise, they just kind of smell like their own weird thing.  The protection oil smells good, clean and soothing.

It almost smells like black jelly beans, but not as strong and not sweet.  At least on me, that’s what it smells like.  I didn’t notice that smell at all in the jar.  In the jar, it smells slightly of baby oil.

I put it on last night, just because I was feeling so out of sorts about my day, and I did feel better.  Aromatherapy, possibly.  And I didn’t break out in hives and my skin feels really soft.

So, I’m cautiously optimistic about that part.

Now, we’ll see if it works to protect me.  I’m not even sure what I need protection from, so we’ll have to see.




And Some People Go to School for this Shit

So, Mrs. Wigglebottom is yet again limping around.  This seems to be a slightly different limp than the last limp, which went away on its own and seemed like it might have been caused by over-exertion at the park.  That limp was accompanied by a certain kind of tired stiffness on her part.

This limp doesn’t affect her energy at all and, in fact, this morning, she was more than willing to try to play “Look at this Awesome Stick I Have, Which You Cannot Have, Because I am Running Away” on three legs.

Which, I’ll admit, was kind of cute, if also alarming.

But, I managed to get a good look at her paw and there’s reason for the limping.  She has a tear along one of her pads on her back right leg.  It looks almost like a burst blister, except deeper.  We’ve given it a good cleaning and now she’s sleeping soundly with her head nestled between her paws and her body twisted so that her back legs are stretched out next to her.

I feel bad for her, but, of course, she doesn’t seem to think she’s hurt bad enough to warrant any sympathy.  Well, she’ll take the sympathy.  She’s not too excited about my suggestion that we not play so rough.

Let’s Be Vague

Today something happened to me that can only be explained one of two ways: either I suck or my situation sucks.  Since I spent all weekend hearing from everyone how great I am, I’m going to gather that it’s not me who’s the problem.

Here’s what I want to know.  How do I feel proud of what I do regularly?

This feeling I had this weekend, this sense of starting a task, seeing it through, doing something deeply meaningful to myself and other, and then seeing it reach a larger audience and having that celebrated by people I care about… How can I have that more than once every ten years?

How can I do what I love more often?

My Dad’s Two Big Announcements

1.  He’s now a pragmatic anarchist.  He’s not going to work towards the total overthrow of the government, but will instead work towards the total overthrow of incumbent politicians.  I have also thought that might be a good idea, but never considered that an anarchist position.

2.  He’s going to sue me if he discovers that I’ve shared with you his favorite story to tell about himself.  This puts me in a somewhat tricky position as I believe that I may have already, years ago, told y’all said story.  So, my hope is that, if we never discuss which story of my dad’s is so beloved by him that he would threaten to sue me for telling it, and thus ruining his ability to successfully tell it to you (if he should happen to meet you, say over at the Mothership).  I’m not even going hunting around in my archives to see if it’s there, so afraid am I of his wrath.  I mean, what if it turns out that dsmith or that fellow Tennessee blogger’s charming partner or someone else with a bone to pick with me is a copyright lawyer?

I’m sure my dad could find someone willing to help him sue me in order to make my life miserable.  For instance, Nathan Moore.

And certainly, I know some lawyers, but I can’t imagine that I could get them to stop laughing long enough to be of any help.

I’m Not Complaining, But I am Disconcerted

The weirdest thing happened yesterday, too.  My mom called and said how she and my dad had been talking about how nice a time they had on Saturday, not just at the play, but how the whole day was just enjoyable and fun.


And then she said how much she and my dad had loved the play and how great they thought it was.

Wait some more…

And how she wanted me to try to round up the write-ups about the play so she could send them to my grandma.

Still, keep waiting…

And how my dad really wished there’d been someone to video tape the play so that they could show it to all my family and make it easier to brag on me.


And nothing.  A phone call full of pure compliments and pleasant, heartfelt goodness and no snark at the end designed to undermine how good they’ve briefly made you feel.

Talk about things I don’t quite know how to process.  First there was this whole new experience of feeling proud of myself.  Then my family didn’t do anything to ruin that feeling.

Y’all, can I tell you something stupid and you promise not to laugh?  I’m a little scared.  I’m used to my life being at a certain level of shittiness, where we can’t have things too nice or do things too nice or be too nice to each other or it’s like we’re tempting the gods to squat down and take the biggest shit on us they can.

But, you know what?  This was such a nice and amazing weekend.  I was surrounded by people I love who witnessed something that was incredibly important to me and they genuinely liked it.

I would really like to get used to that.  I would love for that to be the new normal.

But holy shit, am I afraid that having things too good will draw something as equal in badness to me.

Well, ha, there you go.  No one other than me has to undermine my good mood, because I’m more than up for it.

Here’s what I’d like.  I’d like to get used to the idea that good things can happen without being counterbalanced by terrible.  I can just have some nice stuff happen without feeling uneasy about it.

I’m going to try to believe that and see how it goes.

“Southern Comfort”

So, the thing we saw at Cheekwood that blew my mind was this piece by Rico Gaston called "Southern Comfort."  It’s part of his African Fractals exhibit so it’s a large rectangle covered in four sets of triangles that point to the middle of the piece.  Each set of triangles is made up of a bunch of thin lines in purple, orange, green, and red.  And there are thin stripes that make an X between each of the triangles.

So, I was looking at it for a while trying to figure out if it meant anything or if it was just some cool funky piece to look at and JR notices that there are bumps in the triangles.  The surface of the piece has little raised bumps like some kind of no-slip surface, but just under those triangles.

But once you’re close enough to the triangles to check out the bumps, you quickly notice that the surface under the stripes isn’t smooth.  In fact, there are stars.  A big X of stars obscured by the four color stripes*.

It’s the kind of piece you kind of want to mull over for a long time. 

Just whose battle flag is it now?




*You can see a not-so-hot picture of the piece here hanging on the wall next to the cross.

Another Day of Crazed Insanity

Today we went to the Hermitage Cafe, where I had chicken fried steak for breakfast and JR had this beautiful omelet of joy.  The Butcher had biscuits and gravy.

Then we brought the Butcher home and went off to Cheekwood where we saw beautiful flowers, lovely peppers, and the most amazing piece of art I almost don’t even know how to tell you about it.  And since my computer is acting like a complete and total fuck-up, I’m going to hold off for a minute.

Then we went to Kroger.  Then we did a whirlwind tour of the local cemeteries of interest.  There was a lot of garbage strewn about the city cemetery, but some of it, like the whiskey bottle and the chewing tobacco on the grave of one of the Seviers looked more deliberate than litter.

We poked around Adelicia Adken’s mausoleum and then went and had dinner with the Professor.  Then we got JR a rental car and now I’m blogging and she’s examining a map of Nashville, for tomorrow, she and the Butcher are off on their own exciting adventures and I will be back to my usual thoughtful, less harried self.

Ha, maybe.

You Might As Well Say It to My Face, Because I’m Going to Hear about It Eventually

Apparently some people read Tiny Cat Pants and then stomp around the house complaining about how ridiculous I’m being. 

I have a specific person in mind… Elias… but I guess maybe many of you feel similarly.

My dad said that I ought to put up a disclaimer that says, "Does not play well with others."  Then I had to apologize for acting like my Uncle B, who always takes us places and introduces us to all the people he knows.  That’s been me all weekend–"Here’s the Butcher; there’s Sarcastro; this is my dad; that’s my mom.  You know Elias over at Tiny Cat Pants?  Meet his wife: my oldest friend."

Today has been crazy.  We went to the flea market, then over to the Mothership, then here, then over to the campground and then to the airport where a veterinarian who spent the last six months in Canada working on horses kept rubbing up against me and calling JR "Ramona." 

Once we had JR’s bags, we came back here, changed for the play, went to Anatolia’s, this awesome Turkish restaurant for dinner, and America, I shit you not, my dad actually let us order dessert (that thing that’s shredded filo dough and cheese and sugar water) and he even ate it and liked it.

My dad has never in my entire life let us order dessert at a restaurant.  You eat at a restaurant.  You go to Dairy Queen for dessert.  That’s just the way the world works and you don’t want to start fucking with how the world works.

Then we went to see Faith/Doubt and everyone loved it.  My dad was just raving about the three women who sing in the piece.

My poor mom.  You have to understand that she’s really the straightman to my dad’s madness, but every once in a while, she’s her own kind of crazy. So, today, in honor of classy things like the theater, she wore her scarf that she got in that classy country of France.  She was going to speak only in French, but then she never got around to it.   I don’t know if that’s too bad or okay.

We also spent a great deal of time yesterday searching for her wallet, which apparently she loses at least once a week, because she refuses to put it in her purse.  I think she may refuse to put it in her purse because her purse is so god damned ugly that, if I were a wallet, I would commit suicide rather than be kept in a purse like that. 

My mom is a school teacher, so she’s one of those women that would wear a vest every day if she could and who sees nothing wrong with a sixty year old woman carrying a purse covered in tiny cartoon cats.

Of course, my mom is no tacky midwesterner.  If she’s going to carry a purse covered in tiny cartoon cats, it’s going to be a purse covered in tiny cartoon cats with class–it’s going to have some god damned beadwork and fringe.

You can see why the wallet might regularly decide it has something else to do.

So, today, at the flea market, we looked for a wallet with a chain that she could hook to her pants, but no such luck.  She claims she’d refuse to carry it, because, apparently a wallet with a chain is inappropriate compared to a cartoon cat covered purse with beaded fringe.

After the play, JR and I went down to the Bluegrass Inn and saw Brandon Giles swing from the ceiling and play the piano with his butt, so that’s always a good time.  God bless you, Bluegrass Inn, for being exactly the kind of place people visiting Nashville wished that people from Nashville wanted to hang out at.

Did I mention that my dad has decided that he’s an anarchist?

Remind me to tell you about that later.

Liveblogging the Folks

My parents arrive, dressed in melon orange shirts, and brown pants.

My dad complains about the state of the news, and how much time on the news is devoted to entertainment.

My mom demands I don’t speak until she gets back from the bathroom.

My dad demands the Butcher clean up the dog’s food.

Now we’re going someplace, I don’t know where.

"Is she telling unknown people stories that are none of their damn business?"

Yes, yes, I am.

The Sushi Verdict

My dad says, "If only I had known that you and your brother would eat whatever shit someone wrapped in cold rice, I could have gotten rid of a lot of leftovers a lot more easily.  Hell, I could have gotten rid of a lot of crappy pets…"

The Play

Sarcastro, the Professor, the Butcher, his friend, and I all went to see Faith/Doubt.

Honestly, I was worried they would find it hokey.  But instead, they liked it.

I’d write more, but I’m tired. 

You Try; I’ll Buy

My parents have never had sushi.  Both the Butcher and I love it.  I told them this morning that, if they would be willing to try sushi, I would be willing to buy them lunch.

Here’s how any new thing goes with my parents:


Me: Let’s try this new thing.

Dad: I can’t do that.  I need some tool or implement that could easily be procured.

Me: You can have that tool.

Dad: No you can’t.

Me: You don’t know.  You’ve never done new thing.  Mom, do you want to try this new thing?

Mom: It’s up to your father.

A Little Later, While Trying the New Thing:

Dad: Grouch, grouch, grouch.

Mom: Well, I don’t know…

Dad: Hmm.  Well, that wasn’t that bad.  It reminds me of when I was in college.

Mom: Well, I don’t know…

Dad: No, I’ve got it.  I’ll pay for it.  You spend your money on getting the Butcher to go back to school.

Then, later:

Dad: Let’s go do that new thing.

Me: I thought you didn’t like that new thing.

Dad: Are you kidding?  We loved the new thing.  We’ve been doing the new thing once a week back home.  We practically invented the new thing.

Mom: I was telling all the women at work about the new thing and they’re so silly.  They’re completely convinced they could never do something like the new thing.  They’re so missing out.

We’ll see if the great Sushi Experiment of 2006 works in a similar fashion.

Does ‘Virgin’ Equal ‘Dumbass’?

Y’all, I’ve been thinking a lot about the cutesy dumbass model of American femininity.  And, fuck me, I wish I knew more about math, because clearly cutesy and dumbass are two independent variables, but that are somehow interlinked.

Let me try to articulate that.  First, you have the cutesy factor.  Women as a group are supposed to be good looking, but ‘good looking’ is defined in a very specific way–young, thin but round, bright eyes, shiny hair on their heads but otherwise mostly hairless–sexy but sexy according to a specific set of cultural expectations.  And all women are kind of assumed to be aiming for that standard of cutesiness and so are open to public judgement about whether they are reaching it.

Then you have the dumbass factor, which I think is pretty self-explanatory.  Women as a group are supposed to be stupid.

Now, of course, individual, particular women aren’t always cutesy dumbasses and don’t want to be perceived as cutesy dumbasses (though, I would argue that we’d rather be seen as cutesy than dumbass, because being cutesy is much more valuable culturally than being a dumbass).  But I think we all, from time to time, feel like we’re running into the unspoken expectation that we will, when it comes down to it, behave as cutesy dumbasses.

But it seems, too, like there’s some kind of relationship between cutesy and dumbass.  If you are very cutesy, it’s assumed that you are a dumbass.  If you’re not a dumbass, people are surprised if you’re cutesy.

So, maybe “dumbass” is the cost of “cutesy.”  If you’re going to fit into that specific cultural aesthetic mode–which is highly desirable–the price you pay is that you’re perceived of as a dumbass*.  This works to explain, too, why men date beautiful idiots.  The cultural assumption is that beauty and brains don’t often go together and that beauty is highly desirable.  So, if a guy can get a beautiful girl, the cost is that she’s kind of an idiot.

Okay, so lets set aside religious virginity. 

My question for you is this: How wrapped up in the “cutesy dumbass” paradigm is our national quest to push for abstinance-only sex ed?

Realistically, one could be educated about all aspects of sex, from how to do it, how to keep yourself safe from pregnancy and disease while doing it, etc. and one could still make the decision to either remain a virgin or to abstain from further sex until one is old enough or married or whatever.

In the real world, “knowledge of sex” doesn’t equal “go forth and immediately have sex.”

So, why are we pushing an agenda of “teach them nothing except not to do it”?

I wonder if it’s because we believe that “dumbass” equals “cutesy”?  So, if a girl wants to remain attractive to a potential husband, she must not know too much.

Do you get what I’m saying?  I think religious prohibitions against premarital sex are wrapped up in issues of purity.  But our cultural prohibitions against sex seem much more wrapped up in how we’ve conflated dumbassedness with attractiveness.




*Which, if you think about it, explains Candi Lynn, the Hooter’s Chick from last week and her claim of feminism.  She wants to claim to be a feminist because she feels that she’s every day challenging the idea that cutesy women are dumbasses.  Hmm.  Maybe that is a feminist project, a little.

My Parents Know What Sells

I told my folks that y’all were curious about what they looked like and that we needed to take a picture so that I could post it here at Tiny Cat Pants.

My dad then suggested that they would have a lot of time alone together out at the camper and could sure take some photos that would impress my friends. I’m not sure there’s a definition of “impress” equivalent to “scare into lifelong celibacy” but I don’t have my Oxford English Dictionary handy. Maybe that’s some ancient sense of the word.

Anyway, I did find this one of the seven of us: Mom, Dad, me, the recalcitrant brother, the Butcher, and my two nephews.

I think it’ll give you some sense of the genetic material I have to work with.


To which I reply, the only way I will ever be sure that I only have two nephews is if the recalcitrant brother becomes a billionaire and we see who, if anyone, crawls out of the woodwork looking for child support.

The recalcitrant brother seemed for a period in his twenties to be determined to heal the long-standing rift between the North and the South by making sweet love to every Southern girl he could get his hands on.

I’m just trying to be open to the possibility of more nephews, just in case.

The Folks Are in the Midst of Arriving

They are driving through Nashville as I type this, heading out to the campground to set up their trailer. 

Some people might appreciate seeing a couple who’s been married for thirty seven years have their annual “How to set up the trailer” fight, which they’ve been having for thirty one years, ever since they bought a trailer, which was shortly after I was swept out of their tent in a flash flood.

Luckily, I was rescued, unharmed, from some mud near the car.

I know you’re grateful.

Anyway, if any of you out in the Hermitage area like to watch old married couples fight, they’re staying out at Percy Priest Lake and they look just like you’d expect my parents to look.

Ha, you know, it occurs to me that the Cobles would either adore my parents or loathe them.  I’d either find my parents hog-tied and being lectured about how to get along, or I’d show up out there and find the four of them playing cards and swapping church stories.  There would be no middle ground.

I’m excited to see them, but I wish we could just skip the inevitable lecture about how dirty my house is.

My Words, Your Mouth

I meant to write about this last night when I got home, but I got sidetracked.  I sat in on the Faith/Doubt rehearsal last night.

I’m still kind of shook by the ending.

The last fifteen minutes or so of the play, starting with the story about the giant liver, going into the tarot card exchange and the hoodoo woman and ending with the dying grandma, is all stuff that I wrote (and then the Playwright and the Recovering Baptist improved upon).  Those are my words.  Those are all based on things that have happened to me.  Well, of course, except that I have never been a dying grandma.  So, let’s talk about that in a second.

First, I want to say that seeing people telling your stories, stories you regularly tell about yourself, is really weird.  In some ways, watching people take your words and turn them into their own is really disconcerting.  You think, “No, that’s not how I said it or how I experienced it.”  But then, there’s a way in which you see that the way they’ve done it is plausible.

For instance, the tarot card scene is based on an experience I had in grad school, where I read for a guy and I thought the spread was implying that his girlfriend was cheating on him.  I didn’t know him, so I didn’t know if it was true or not, but I didn’t want to tell him that’s what the cards said.  Still, he kind of figured that’s what I was getting at.  I think it confirmed a suspicion he already had.

But when it happened, he was sitting close to me and he was quiet and everything he said was in this kind of hushed “I don’t believe you , but I do” way.

The actor, though, is standing up for most of the scene.  He gets up.  He tries to leave.  He comes back and sits down.  He gets up again. 

It’s not how it happened, but it feels faithful to what happened.

I guess that’s the part that I find strange and cool, how these actors can take something and do it completely different than what happened, but it still feels faithful to my experience.

But the old woman at the end was a much different experience for me.

I wrote her monologue after it became apparent that the monologue we had to close the play wasn’t quite strong enough to really hit people right in the gut.  I didn’t know I was going to write it, though.  We’d left our usual Sunday meeting and we all knew we needed something and left it to the Playwright to come up with it.

And then on Monday morning, I was out walking Mrs. Wigglebottom and out of nowhere, I started humming “Love in Vain” and then, I just heard this phrase, “I have not loved in vain.”  It just popped into my head.  And on the whole walk home, the monologue just came to me, of an old woman who is dying of cancer, and who is facing death in the complete assurance that her soul transcends death.

And so I wrote it all in one big frenzy and handed it off to the Playwright.  She fixed the last little part, but the words I wrote are the words the actor says.

The thing is, with everything else in the play, we went over every single word in there over and over again.  I could practically recite the play to you even now.

But the old woman?  I didn’t have any chance to live with that.

And so, sitting there last night, listening to that monologue, I just started bawling.  It’s really good.  I mean that just from an objective standpoint.  It’s really good.  The actor does a great job with it, but the words are exactly right.

I’m not used to thinking of myself as someone who can, objectively, write really well.  I tend to think that I write a lot, so some of it is bound to be okay, but most of it is just what everyone else does, but more prolific.

This is the first time in my life I’ve every been hit smack in the face by evidence that I’ve done something great.

I kind of don’t know how to process it.

I’m feeling something… I don’t know… maybe it’s called ‘proud.’

What I’ve Been Mulling Over This Morning

The Uncle and I share almost identical views on dogs and on a certain fellow Tennessee blogger.  We’ve both addressed those feelings at our blogs in recent days.  And yet, the Uncle has no recent posts about dogs with 48 comments.

I’ve also been thinking about what’s interesting about those 48 comments.  Twenty three of them are by women.  Nineteen of them are by men.  One of them is from anonymous, whose gender I can’t know, three of them are from FactChecker, whose gender I don’t know, and two of them are from Devil’s Advocate, whose gender I do know, but I don’t think is readily apparent.

In other words, the comments were pretty equally split between men and women.

And yet, our fellow Tennessee blogger specifically addressed six women and yet only specifically addressed one man, once–Exador.  He also made one comment specifically towards anonymous (a gender he couldn’t know) and one towards Devil’s Advocate (a gender he didn’t know).

Jebbo, I hope you appreciate that I threw all those numbers in there just for you, knowing how much you like them.

Y’all may recall from our fun discussion of feminism last week (in which, interestingly enough, some of you tried to claim that there was little, if any, gender bullshit left in the world) that I claimed there are four easily successful ways for a jackass to argue against feminists:

1.  Be sure that the feminists know you don’t take their perspective seriously.

2.  Demand that the conversation go forward on your terms, even though you are not an instigator of said conversation.

3.  Deliberately misunderstand the feminists.

4.  Condescend, condescend, condescend.

What I didn’t explain is why those four things work so successfully.  Allow me to articulate that now.

Those things work because they bank on male privilege.  Dsmith, of course, is not a man, but it’s not that simple.  Male privilege doesn’t work just because men assert it.  It works because women almost unconsciously acquiesce.

We’re trained from an early age to believe that, if there’s some problem between us and anyone else in the world, the problem must lie with us; we must not understand what’s going on.

In other words, there’s some objective, big world reality out there that some folks (men) are just inherently more cued into than other folks (women).  Perhaps this is best seen when it breaks down, when some woman has been playing cutesy dumbass in order to get her hands on some man’s money.  She’s able to cutesy dumbass her way into his money because he believes that he is inherently more cued into the world than she is and it never occurs to him that her cutesy dumbass ways are an act of manipulation.

But the vast majority of us women are not playing the cutesy dumbass role in order to manipulate men into doing what we want.  In fact, most of us aren’t cute enough to be able to play that role.  And most of us resent being told over and over again that we’re dumbasses, good only for whatever doesn’t take too much thought.

We’ve talked a long time about my brand of feminism, which normally isn’t concerned with the shit men do, because I expect you to be grown ups and straighten your own selves out.  Normally, I’m concerned with helping women who don’t want or can’t be cutesy dumbasses imagine some other way of being in the world.

But the thing is that most women, no matter how feminist, no matter how not, really really don’t want to be thought of as a cutesy dumbass.  And that’s why the four rules of how to argue like a jackass against feminists are so grievously underhanded–the person following the four rules both gets to argue his or her points and insinuate that the woman he or she is talking to is just a cutesy dumbass (or failed cutesy dumbass) who doesn’t know how the world works.

(A kind of secondary thing to keep in mind is that hand in hand with the “cutesy” part of the equation is the idea that women’s physical presentation is up for scrutiny.  I mention it even though it’s secondary to my “dumbass” point in this post because is comes into play slightly at the end of that thread and, though it seems like the fellow Tennessee Blogger’s mention that he now knows what I look like seems out of place, I’d argue that it actually is important for him to assert that he now can both judge me on how I measure up to ‘cutesy’ and meet his expectations for ‘dumbass’.)

The reason that the cutesy dumbass paradigm is bound up in male privilege is that, while this is the underlying tension in almost every negative interaction women have with men, I’ve never seen it in an interaction between male equals.

The fellow Tennessee Blogger is a perfect example.  When he addresses the one man he addresses, the facts are up for discussion:

Exador, most of the stories I found in the news from the past two days alone were of pit bulls mauling people. There are probably good stories like you mentioned, but I shared what I found [emphasis mine]

The fellow Tennessee Blogger isn’t challenging Exador’s perception of reality.  In fact, Exador is even extended the likelihood that his point is true; in other words, even though the fellow Tennessee Blogger and Exador disagree, Exador has a valid understanding of reality. 

The Professor, however, according to the fellow Tennessee Blogger, does not.  Watch how he repeatedly invalidates her ability to correctly interpret what he’s saying, and thus invalidates her understanding of reality:

Professor, other than quoting what Aunt B. or other bloggers believe I’ve said about banning pit bulls, can you rise up to your scholarly title and provide a single quote where I have called for a ban on pit bulls? Quoting other bloggers claiming I am calling for a ban doesn’t count, although that seems to be the only fuel for your speculative conclusions.

Why is that?

The Professor and Exador are making very similar points.  Why is he afforded the courtesy of having his interpretation of events respected while she isn’t?  Why are the obvious men in the thread for the most part left alone and the obvious women addressed like we don’t understand how the world works?  Why isn’t the fellow Tennessee Blogger over at the Uncle’s arguing his points?

That’s what I’ve been mulling over this morning.  I think it has something to do with who has a penis and who doesn’t.  But I’m just a girl; I’m sure I don’t understand how the world works.

More on ‘Dangerous Dogs’

Yes, I should let this go.  No, I’m not going to.

Here are some pertinent facts:  In 2001 there were 68 million dogs in the United States.  There were 4.7 million dog bites, 799,700 of which required medical care and 333,700 of those required patients being treated in the emergency room.  In any given year, there are 25 fatalities from dog bites.

According to the CDC’s data, “pit bulls” (with the usual caveats) accounted for most fatal dog bites in 1988 and since then, the numbers of fatal attacks they’ve been included in has diminished.  Rottweilers, on the other hand, account for a growing number of fatal bites.  However, as noted on Wikipedia, in 1982, there were 9,000 registered Rottweilers in the U.S., but by 1996, there were 90,000 registered Rottweilers.  Of course, not all dogs are AKC registered, but we can extrapolate that the breed has become more popular and as its popularity has risen, so have the incidents of fatalities.

In 1982, there were no fatal attacks by Rottweilers.  The next year, there was 1.  In 1996, with ten times as many Rottweilers in the country we find there are ten times as many attacks–10.

It’s harder to estimate how many “pit bulls” are in the U.S., since the term covers five or six specific breeds, and any number of fighting dogs who aren’t purebred and any number of dogs that aren’t registered.  But in 1996, these five or six breeds, their fighting cousins, and whatever mutts were lumped in with them accounted for three deaths.

It is impossible to tell by looking at the breed of a dog whether it’s going to be dangerous.

However, the CDC links to a study that does look at what factors seem to be accurate predictors of how violent a dog might be.  Most dogs involved in serious attacks are male, intact, young, and big.  They are also likely to be chained while in the yard (which I would guess indicates they aren’t well socialized).

I eagerly await a push to ban male, intact big dogs, seeing as how they are so dangerous and how the public desperately needs protecting from every potentially dangerous thing there is.

Going to the Bank with the Butcher

It will shock you all to learn that the Butcher does not have a bank account.  It will shock you more to learn that the reason he doesn’t have a bank account is that he "doesn’t want to leave a paper trail." 

That man cracks me up.

So, we had to go to my bank so that we could do our usual "The Butcher signs his check over to me and I take all his money."  Seriously, a girl could get used to that being the usual.

Sadly, all that money’s going to pay off the credit card debt he helped me accumulate, so there’s no grand shower of wonderful, useless junk.