Hedonism, Revisited

So, Shannon took me to task for my hedonism post and holy shit, it hurt my pride. I thought I was being all brilliant and eloquent, but I guess not. I about wrote her two book’s worth of words in the comments over at her place, but then realized that I don’t quite have it all worked out for myself, so maybe I need to come back here and think things through before I go running at the mouth over there.

I do believe in the transcendent power of pleasure. As I’ve said before, I believe that we live in a system that thrives on the suffering of a large amount of people so that a very few people can live very well. Therefore, any act that reduces suffering and increases pleasure is a revolutionary act.

Pleasure–and I’m not just talking physical pleasure, I mean all sorts of pleasure, but the pleasure one takes in whatever task one enjoys–is so revolutionary that the system recasts pleasure as frivolous and selfish, not something good folks do for its own sake, in order to strip it of whatever power the system cannot co-opt.

Often, we can’t even be honest with ourselves about what brings us pleasure. Look at how many women, even many feminists, who won’t leave the house without make up and heels. Look at how many of us do incredibly painful things and say that we like it. In general, we don’t really like it, but we take pleasure in the validation we get when we do those painful things well.

So, I’d like to make a distinction between types of pleasure. There is the pleasure one takes in doing something one enjoys. And there is the pleasure one takes in receiving outside validation for our efforts. The first type can be transformative in a positive sense, because it nurtures one’s sense of self and gives one a sense of her own worth. But I think Shannon is rightfully suspicious of pleasure in its second form–when one receives outside validation for her efforts–because women will do a lot of stuff that is no good for them in order to receive positive attention from others.

I hadn’t made that distinction. But I think it’s an important one.

Kleinheider v. Coble

While Brittney’s on vacation, Coble’s been filling in for her over on Nashville is Talking.  Kleinheider is, as always, at the helm of Volunteer Voters.

This means that both of WKRN’s big blogs are being run by conservatives at the moment.

It’s interesting to me to watch who’s getting trolled and who’s not.

Both people hold similar opinions.

One gets treated respectfully and the other’s got to sit through a slough of condescending comments about her political beliefs.

I wonder why that is.

Things I Can’t Make Whole Posts

1. While I remain convinced that there’s much to be derided about "choice feminism," since clearly not every choice a person might make ends up being feminist, I’m not ready to write it off.  Isn’t believing that you have the right to choose what kind of life you might lead pretty damn revolutionary?  It seems to me that that impulse is so strong that, regardless of what women might choose at first, a seed of an idea has been planted.

2.  The Professor gets very frustrated when she sees people deciding something about someone and then holding that person accountable for failing to live up to it.  For instance, if you all decided that I was the voice of feminism in Middle Tennessee and then sat around and wrote comments and posts about what a crappy voice of feminism I am.  It’s ascribing power to someone and then berating them for not wielding that power well.

I don’t have any more profound thoughts about it, just that it makes me go "hmm."

3.  I hate George Bush* and I think it’s hilarious… no… is there some word beyond hilarious?  I think it’s HI-larious that that faith-based guy is out shilling his book based on the idea that no one in Washington is that concerned about the Christian Right, indeed finds them goofy and weird, and only throws them a bone every once in a while so that they’ll continue to vote Republican.  Shoot, Christian Right, well, duh!  If that shocks you, wait until you learn that rich people and folks in the government will continue to find ways for their daughters to have abortions even if you outright ban them in every state in the union.

But, I must say that when Lesley Stahl got on 60 Minutes and acted like it was shocking, nay SHOCKING, that the President uses phrases from the Bible and old hymns in his speeches, it was all I could do to keep from crying.

America, are we a bunch of morons or what?  I suppose you will be surprised to learn that Lincoln did not invent the turn of phrase "a house divided" but instead took it from Jesus**.

I know!  Call 60 Minutes!  The shock is so great!

I grew up in rural Illinois, kept for most of the time in a hermetically sealed tube and let out only to attend piddly public schools taught, in some cases, by people who could not do the things they were teaching.  And yet, I learned this shit.

I’d like to believe that I know this stuff and other people don’t because I’m a genius, but actually, I suspect that it’s just that most people believe that their brains are best left untroubled by new knowledge.





*Is it safe to say that shit in the wake of yesterday’s crap? I’m probably going to get hauled off to some detention center now.  My only comfort is that S-Town Mike will be being tortured in the cell next to mine and so when we’re both laying on the concrete floor in a puddle of our own piss, we can keep each other company telling stories about the Bicentennial fountain.

**Assuming, of course, that you know Lincoln, the "House Divided" speech, and who Jesus is.


Another evening with the Butcher and Mrs. Wigglebottom sleeping on the couch with the TV on. Thank goodness he was only intermittently watching baseball, so I got to spend most of the evening watching NCIS. Weirdly enough, when he wakes up, he keeps flipping to “Dancing with the Stars.” Who would have, in a million years, guessed that the Butcher likes “Dancing with the Stars”?

(Yes, Exador, that is a ratty Russian flag on his shirt. I assume you’ll take some strange comfort in knowing we lay around watching tv resting on our pit bull wearing commie clothing.)