Where’s Dan Savage When I Need Him?

Dear Internet,

Something is weighing somewhat heavy on my heart and it’s not something I can talk about specifically in public. But here’s what I ask you, dear internet, do you ever find yourself thinking that life requires a level of sophistication and maturity that you just can’t muster?

One Benefit to Our Landlord’s Approach

ivy.jpg

Because the grass isn’t growing, we haven’t seen a lawncare professional in ages.  And so, up the front of our place is growing some kind of vine.  It’s flowering.  The flowers are nothing to write home about.  They’re tiny white clusters and when they open up, you could fit the blossom inside any one of the “o”s you see here on the screen.  They don’t have a particular smell. 

But in the afternoon, when it’s so hot that you just want to get from your car to the front door before your shoes melt to the pavement?  It’s full of moths and butterflies.  Yesterday, both the Butcher and I were attacked by a monarch.

I haven’t seen a monarch butterfly in years.

I’m not sure the last time I saw a butterfly, period, that wasn’t flying outside my car or stuck to the grill of my car.

But here’s what’s weird.  I saw that butterfly and I could remember, clear as day, being out back of the farmhouse outside of Nokomis, where my parents had a huge garden and tons of flowers and I could feel my hands cupped around a butterfly or moth, depending on which one I’d managed to catch, before I ran over to show it to my mom.

That’s what I felt, clear as day, the soft brush of butterfly wings against hands that were so small they could barely cup around it.

I kind of have a bad memory and sometimes it makes me sad because the Butcher will bring things up that I can’t remember happening and I’ll feel bad that I’ve lost that.

But sometimes I think it’s all up in there still, those memories, so fresh that you have to shake your head a moment to remind yourself that that was almost thirty years ago and you’re in Nashville and grown and not in the country and small.  You just have to stumble across the right key to unlock them.

President Sees Problem, Works to Solve It

I read about this over at Punk Ass Blog and I must admit to being just as stunned as they are.  Apparently the President of Ukraine saw a forest fire and stopped to help put it out.

Just try to imagine that.  The president of a country sees a problem and stops to help.

After we get our civil liberties back and restore our Constitution, can we impliment in our country a traditon where the President notices problems and feels personally moved to help fix them?

Or is that too much to ask?

Just Like Hunting

Folks are still talking about Michael Vick and apparently a new talking point has popped up.  I give you the “What about hunting?” talking point.

See Stephon Marbury (and damn it, I like him): “I think, you know, we don’t say anything about people who shoot deer or shoot other animals. You know, from what I hear, dogfighting is a sport. It’s just behind closed doors.”

Or the Atlanta Chapter President of the NAACP,  R.L. White: “White also said he didn’t understand the uproar over dogfighting, when hunting deer and other animals is perfectly acceptable.”

It’s not quite as ludicrous as “Why is there all this uproar about dogfighting when women are having abortions?” but it comes very, very close.

Anyway, CNN’s got a video up about dog fighting, which just confirms what I’ve been saying for years: “pitbull” is a pain-in-the-ass term because folks could be using it to mean “any dog that fights in a pit,” or “the American Pitbull Terrier,” or “Any of four or five breeds plus any mixes plus any dogs that vaguely resemble them whose lineage comes out of the fighting pits (excluding the English bulldog and the Boxer, which have the same lineage, but which are acceptable dogs to own)” and they never quite specify which they’re using.

I own a “pitbull” in the sense that I own an American Staffordshire Terrier.  My next-door neighbors own a “pitbull” in the sense that they own a Staffordshire Terrier.  They look kind of similar and yet there are obvious differences.  And, when you look closely at the dogs in the CNN video, though they also bear a resemblance to my dog and my neighbors’ dog, there are striking differences, one being how much smaller and scrawnier those dogs are, how shallow their chests are, and how leggy they are.

And look about thirty-nine seconds into this video.  The top of the head looks similar to my dog, but the jaw line, the neck, and the muzzle are all wrong.  I’m just saying, folks, you could install a breed-ban in your community that would catch my dog, which has never been fought, and this dog, a fighting dog, could easily slip through.

Anyway, I don’t really have an ending point to this rant.  I’m just tired of hearing how it’s all the dogs’ fault when we can’t even get folks people look up to to acknowledge that cruelty for fun and dog fighting are a problem.

Random Things that Make Me Laugh

1.  Atlanta’s talking about banning baggy pants.  Because nothing says “Manly Heterosexual Police Officer” like staring at men’s asses all day trying to decide if their drawers are sticking out too much.

2.  Speaking of drawers, yesterday, I was wearing the underwear that tickles my butt and I meant to remember that at the end of the day so that I could throw them away, but instead, they are in the laundry again waiting to make me spend another day going “oohhoo hoo hoo.”

3.  I have a crush on Rob Riggle.

4.  Speaking of which, that was a wise thing someone said at Bar Camp–To say that young folks get their news from the Daily Show is just not true, because one must know what’s going on in the news in order to find The Daily Show funny.

5.  I’m reading this awesome book on witches.  I hope that Bridgett has read it so that we can discuss it, but basically the chick argues that women accused of witchcraft share certain traits–they have in some way disrupted male to male inheritance; they’re pains in the asses; they’re old; they usurp male authority in some way, and some other stuff I haven’t gotten to yet.

When Good Movies Go Blah…

I rarely watch movies, so the fact that I’ve sat down this week and watched two movies that were good enough to hold my attention and yet not good enough to be actually good movies says something.  I’m not sure what.

The most recent one was Freedomland, which could have been titled A Bunch of Folks from HBO and Samuel L. Jackson.  And you have to ask yourself, how could a movie with a bunch of folks from HBO and Samuel L. Jackson go so off-track from good into Eh?

For starters, I blame Julianne Moore, who can’t seem to decide if her character is secretly on drugs, mentally fourteen, or an evil genius with a tiny vocabulary.  In the movie, she’s supposed to work for a daycare in the projects and supposedly has the respect of everyone in the projects because she’s there so much.  From the little we see of her, she’s so strange and fucked up that you just can’t believe that anyone would hire her.  Now, I know we’re seeing her at a moment of grave crisis, but there’s no hint that there’s a woman there that people would trust with their kids.

Being working class is not the same thing as being so stupid and weird you can barely function.

Second, she looks so bad that it’s distracting.  I don’t know if she’s just too thin or if the director thought it was a good idea for her to look like her skull was going to come busting through her skin at any moment, but she didn’t look like a human being.  Now, I know she was supposed to not look like a glamorous movie star, but Edie Falco didn’t look like a glamorous movie star; she looked like a normal human being.

And, Moore’s character is supposed to have had an affair with this dude who has the most beautiful girlfriend in the whole movie.  But there’s nothing in her portrayal of her character that gives you any hint as to why he’d be willing to risk so much to have an affair with her and then risk so much again to help her later.  She’s funky looking and she’s funky acting and Moore gives us no hint, I don’t think, of what the character is like normally that seems any different than that.

But for finishers, I blame the writing.  Seriously, important characters just wander out of the movie like they forgot to get something at the grocery store and must be off now.  Ron Eldred’s character is Julianne Moore’s character’s brother and a cop.  When he discovers that he’s been wrong, that his actions were totally unwarranted, he just storms off and we never see him again.

On the other hand, though, it’s a really interesting movie and there’s some fine acting in it.  Samuel L. Jackson is really, really good and the movie does a great job of showing how folks with different agendas can facilitate injustice.  It’s just not somehow able to realize all the promise of being a good movie.

The other movie we saw was Idlewild, which we finally just gave up on being a movie that would exactly make sense or have a coherent plot or a focus of any sort.  Really, watching the whole movie is akin to being told repeatedly to “Look over there!”  “Look over there!” which is fine, for what its worth, because the movie gives you so much to look at.

And, after about twenty minutes, the Professor and I were convinced that the one thing Nashville is missing is a place you can go and drink and dance and watch singers backed by a live band and surrounded by topless dancers.

When we approached Mack about giving us the start-up money for such a venture, he wanted to see a business plan.  What, though, is there to see?  There will be singing, and dancing, and live music, and boobs and butts jiggling, and hot men in long fur coats strutting around in ways that make us swoon and I will wear a dress that hoists my tits clear up to here and gives me such cleavage that straight men can’t talk coherently when I’m in their presence.

What more could a moneyman possibly need to know?

But, y’all, he threw back his head and laughed at us, laughed like his chest had cracked open and giggles were pouring out all over the easy-chair.  He laughed in that way where you have to put your hand on your sternum for fear something important is going to jar loose and you want to be able to catch it.

Then he looks over at us and says, “There are live musicians, too?!” like zombie musicians he could have gotten behind, but this?

“What?” I ask, “You don’t like live music.”

“So, I have to deal with waiters, bartenders, strippers, singers, and live musicians?”

“Yeah,”

He laughs some more. “Can we maybe brainstorm about another batch of people notorious for being unreliable and difficult to work with and get them involved, too?”

“Don’t make fun of us.  It’s a good idea.”

“Maybe we can get into the drug selling business, too.  That would at least get folks to work on time. ‘Be here by 5:30 or you won’t get the staff discount.'”

“See, there you go.  We sell drugs and you’ll have your start-up money back in no time.”

He wasn’t convinced. 

Anyway, needless to say, if anyone does open something like Church here in Nashville, it’s not going to be us.

An Open Letter to Del McCoury

Dear Mr. McCoury,

You have one of my favorite voices.  I cannot even listen to your song about the motorcycle because it makes me cry every dang time, putting it in a rare league with “Puff the Magic Dragon” and “Amazing Grace.”  All I want is to be able to go to iTunes and buy “It’s Just the Night” and “My Love will not Change.”

I want to pay you money for your music.

And I cannot do this.

Why?

Are you on Universal?  Are you boycotting the internet?  Are you deliberately attempting to thwart my attempts to put together a collection of somewhat creepy music?

Love,

Aunt B.

p.s.  Do you think it would be so bad for a person who has regular breathing problems to take up cigar smoking?  No reason.  Just wondering.

Lil’ P, You’re Going to Drive Me to Drinkin’

Lil’ P has a post.  It’s the kind of post that makes me want to spend all morning refuting it, except I wonder if that actually does any good. 

And I’m a little jealous.  I wonder what it would be like to just make blatently and patently false claims and be able to go through life convinced of their truth.

Let’s start with Music City Oracle, who links approvingly to an address about the exploitation of men, that says thus:

Seeing all this, the feminists thought, wow, men dominate everything, so society is set up to favor men. It must be great to be a man.

The mistake in that way of thinking is to look only at the top. If one were to look downward to the bottom of society instead, one finds mostly men there too. Who’s in prison, all over the world, as criminals or political prisoners? The population on Death Row has never approached 51% female. Who’s homeless? Again, mostly men. Whom does society use for bad or dangerous jobs? US Department of Labor statistics report that 93% of the people killed on the job are men. Likewise, who gets killed in battle? Even in today’s American army, which has made much of integrating the sexes and putting women into combat, the risks aren’t equal. This year we passed the milestone of 3,000 deaths in Iraq, and of those, 2,938 were men, 62 were women.

Y’all, I am no feminist genius and we’ve talked regularly about how the system screws men.  Second, saying that society “favors” men doesn’t mean and has never necessarily meant that men as a whole all have it great.  It means that men have gotten opportunities women don’t have.  Yes, it sucks to be stuck in prison, but we’ve not historically had the freedom to commit crimes at the same rate as men.  Yes, it sucks to be killed battle, but we aren’t allowed in combat.  How hard is that to understand?

As for Adrienne and her “I’ll just make up some shit about feminism and then mock it,” I was going to go through and refute her points with links to feminists who are actually working on the issues she claims feminists don’t care about and have some big long discussion about how feminists are deeply divided over the porn issue, but this is a woman who thinks that Cosmo is a main vehicle for the transmittal of feminist values, so, really, there’s no hope.

Y’all, she actually says, “Modern feminism has destroyed what it means to be a woman.”*  Well, what can I say in response to that?  By god, it’s true.  I volunteer twice a week down at the “Lady MacBeth” clinic off Charlotte where we feminists pluck women off the streets and tie them down and force them to become unsexed.

We’ve been found out!

*I’ve found out that it’s bad form to actually say this in public down here, but nothing strikes me as funnier than Southern white women talking about being distraught over the destruction of “what it means to be a woman.”  Oh, yes, let’s bring back the good ole days when women couldn’t go to school and when they were kept pregnant or nursing most of their adult life and when their husbands could legally beat them and when they’d have seventeen kids and only see four of them reach adulthood and when the white ones would move straight from their fathers’ houses into their husbands’ houses with nary a chance to see the world, where even the rich white ones didn’t have their own money, but had to depend on a father or husband to do right by them, and where the rich white ones had to live in a system where they oversaw and managed the welfare of enslaved people who hated them and were constantly looking for opportunities to escape or rise up, some of whom, the white women were well aware, were the mistresses of her own husband.  What good fun that must have been to look out at your children and the children of your enslaved women and see the same facial features.

Let’s not count the dirt women were forced to eat literally and metaphorically from 1865 on up until, well, shoot, look east into the mountains, even now.

Only with some heavy cultural amnesia could you come from the region that brought you “Oh, I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again” and pretend like life down here was so great for women before feminism ruined it.

Choice for Men

You know how we were talking the other day about my belief that there should be a time set aside so that men, once they find out about their fatherhood or their impending fatherhood, can decide whether or not they want to be fathers?

Well, the subject comes up in Dan Savage’s column today.

Q. I’m a 24-year-old female, and I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost five years. We’re transitioning to a long-distance relationship in January when he moves a hojillion miles away to go to law school. He’s 28, an angel, and I want to have a baby. He doesn’t want to have a baby, at least not in the foreseeable future, and he’s made it clear that if I give him an ultimatum, he’ll dump my ass. I’m longing to spawn, so I’ve decided to get pregnant by him and not tell him. He has nothing to do with birth control, never has, so my plan will succeed. I’m going to do this: That’s not in question.

The question is, do I tell him? I’m not going to dun him for child support or anything, but I’d let him be as involved as he wants to be—pictures, visits, moving in together to raise the kid. I’m never going to tell him that I got knocked up on purpose. I could also theoretically pretend that the brat is someone else’s, but that would require some fudging of dates. So what, if anything, do I tell him, and when? Thanks, love your brain. —E.

A. Thanks for loving my brain, E., but I’m hating your ass. Not only is what you’re planning to do unfair to your boyfriend—who, just like a woman, has a right to decide when, whether, and with whom he would like to reproduce (and who, like most men, needs to be more proactive about birth control to protect his right to make that decision)—it’s hugely unfair to any “brat” unlucky enough to drop from your twat. But, hey, your mind is made up—you’re doing this thing. And I’m not running your letter to argue with you, E. I’m only running it in hopes that a certain 28-year-old who’s about to go to law school a hojillion miles away from his 24-year-old batshitcrazy girlfriend sees it, recognizes himself, and dumps the lying little sociopath. And yes, everybody, I realize this letter could be fake. But just in case it’s not, here it is.

It’s hard for me to remain on-task here because this letter just blows me away with its sheer lunacy.  Can we just side-track for a second into the lunacy, just so I can get it off my chest?  First, if you love someone, you do not force them to have a baby against their will.  Second, if you love someone, you do not pretend the “brat” is someone else’s.  Third, if this is not an obvious ploy to punish the boyfriend for going to law school, I don’t know what is.  Look how she’s all like “I’d let him be as involved as he wants to be–pictures, visits, moving in together to raise the kid.”  She’s going to let him be as involved as he wants to be?  Woman, dude’s going to law school to be a lawyer.  Don’t you expect he might discover multiple ways to be as involved as he wants to be in the kids life without your permission?  And, “moving in together to raise the kid”?  He’s going to law school, far away, unless you stop him with this whole kid thing, which, obviously is part of your plan.

When it comes to men not wanting kids, I know plenty of feminists who say “he shouldn’t have had sex.”  

Oh really?

Would you accept that from a man talking about why a woman shouldn’t be allowed to have an abortion?  No, you wouldn’t.

If a woman has a right to decide whether she wants to be a parent that is separate from her decision whether she wants to have sex, then a man should have the right to decide whether he wants to be a parent separate from his decision to have sex.

“Just don’t have sex.”

Okay, straight ladies, let’s try a little experiment.  Imagine your beloved sweetie comes to you this evening and you’re all smooching and touching and the breathing is getting a little heavy and just when you’re wiggling out of your panties, he says to you, “I’m not having sex with you.”

“Tonight?”

“Not tonight.  Not ever again.”

“What?!”

“I don’t want to have kids.”

“I’m on the pill.”

“And I use a condom.  So what?  I don’t want to have kids, therefore I will not have sex.”

“Right now?  Because I can wait twenty minutes.”

“No, I’m serious.  I don’t want to have kids, so I’m not having sex with you.”

“We’ve been married seven years.  We have two kids.”

“I don’t want any more.”

“Okay, fine.  I don’t want any more kids.”

“Then you understand why I’m not having sex with you.”

“Is this because I wouldn’t blow you last Friday?”

“No, this is about me taking control of my reproductive freedom.  I’m not having sex with you.”

“Ever again?”

“Or at least until I have a note from your doctor saying that you’re done with menopause.”

“Very funny.”

“I’m not kidding.”

“I’m supposed to go without sex until I’m through menopause?!”

“Well, without me putting my penis in your vagina, yeah.”

“But I like that.”

“So do I.  Tough shit.”

“Tough shit?”

“Yeah, sorry.  I don’t want kids; I’m not having sex.”

“Tough shit?  You just said ‘tough shit’ to me.  Motherfucker.  Try saying ‘tough shit’ to my divorce lawyer.  I didn’t sign up for no more sex.  You fuck me right now or it’s over.”

“I’ll miss you, that’s for sure.”

“I have kids with you, you dipshit.”

“Hey, you’re the one who told me I better get cool with feminism.  All the feminists I read are all ‘If men don’t want to have kids, they shouldn’t have sex.'”

“I will stab you.  I swear to god, I will stab you.”

Let’s just be honest.  This whole “If men blah blah blah, they should blah blah blah” stuff is about exchange.  It sucks greatly and so much to hear over and over again “If women blah blah blah, they should blah blah blah,” that the one time we have some real power–to control whether or not a man has a kid–it’s really, really hard not to do to him what’s been done to us.

Okay.

But do we want exchange, leave everything as it is, we just get to be the assholes for a while; or do we want real change, where we dismantle things and try new ways?

There should be a way for men to opt out of fatherhood.  Maybe six months is too long, but there should be some set period of time they have to consider whether they want to be a father and, if they don’t, they should be able to sign all their parental rights away.

In instances similar to the poor dude in Dan Savage’s column, I would hope that the waiver of parental rights would also come with a restraining order he could file against the baby’s momma, because I have a feeling she’s not going away easily otherwise.

Girls of the Night

girls2.jpgTurns out that the Murfreesboro paper will run your photo if you’re picked up for prostitution. Ivy’s read the article, looked at the women, and has a question, “Dudes. What in the HELL are you thinking? That’s just nastay.”

Of course, there are lots of reasons men have sex with prostitutes, even ugly ones.

1. Men aren’t just basing their decisions to have sex on the attractiveness of their partners.

2. A prostitute is pretty much a sure thing.

3. You don’t have to pretend to like a prostitute.me.jpg

4. If you can agree on a price, a prostitute will do what you like in bed.

5. You don’t have to call her or see her again.

And that’s just what I came up with off the top of my head, sitting here pondering whether I’d be comfortable stacking my photo up next to these women’s and saying for certain that I’m sure I’m so much better looking, so much more eminently worth fucking than they are.

They just look to me like ordinary women who are tired and strung out. Rested and sober? They would look very ordinary, I think.

girls3.jpgYou could say that prostitution is where individual men’s private fantasies and the Patriarchy meet head-on, because here are the women men can do whatever they want with–degrade, rape, murder–or just pay for uncomplicated no-strings-attached sex, you know, the things most johns don’t do to the women who are their girlfriends, wives, mothers, etc. because that’s not how you treat good girls.

And we women go a long way towards trying to convince ourselves that we’re different than them, because as long as we behave like good girls, we deserve to be treated like good girls.

It doesn’t take a genius feminist-theorist to point out what bullshit this is. The line between us and tgirls2.jpghem, between good girl and prostitute, madonna and whore, has always been an illusion, at best.

These women are us. A few bad decisions, a bad drug habit. It doesn’t take much to be that desperate.

I don’t know. It just troubles me. I don’t want people putting my photo up on the internet and talking in wonder about the fact that anyone would want to fuck me.

I hope it’s clear that I’m not trying to knock Ivy or anything.  I have a feeling that, under other circumstances, I’d find her post hilarious and that’s what got me thinking about it.  If I would normally find this funny, but today am troubled by it, what’s at the heart of my being troubled?

Back in My Day, We Had To Walk Up Hill Both Ways to Use the Internet

Back when I was in undergrad, a million years ago, I took a class from my favorite professor probably called something like “Women & writing” where we read a lot of feminist theory and then wrote stories in Storyspace, which was this (oh, look, still is) medium for kind of doing what we do here on the internet, but before the internet was convenient to use.

So, for instance, we were in one of the most wired classrooms on campus–everyone had a computer at their desk–and it was a big deal that those computers were hooked up to each other.  They most certainly were not hooked up to the internet.  Only the computers at the library were hooked up to the internet and you could only be on those for 15 minutes at a time.

The idea in Storyspace is that you can write something, like this post, for instance, and put it in its own space, with a title, much like this post has.  And then you could make another space and write in it and give it a title.  And you could link from words in one space to words in another space and your reader could click through those words and read what you’d written in an order that was kind of a collaboration between your choosing (since you put the links in) and their choosing (since they chose which ones to follow).

Y’all, I even spent a great portion of my master’s thesis deciding if this was “non-linear” reading (no) or something else (somewhat yes).

At that point, though, we did have dial-up at the house.

Still, it’s funny to me to think that thirteen years ago or so, my favorite professor had to spend a whole day teaching us about linking, getting us to let go of the idea that what follows from something you’ve just read has to logically fit.  Or that you would only follow at the end.

And now, everyone’s linking everywhere to everything.

It’s just funny to me to think about me writing my master’s thesis on a computer hooked up to the internet.  I mean, come on!  There I was trying to postulate what a multi-linear world would look like when one was seeping right onto my lap.  I’d have probably gone on to get my PhD if I’d been smart enough to understand that then.

But, If We Had Socialized Medicine, We’d Have Tremendous Waits

As you all know, I have been bitching about various medical conditions that have been plaguing me since… I don’t know.  They’ve been with me so long, it feels like forever.  I have been suffering from swollen feet for long enough that they’ve stopped swelling up to the size of small loaves of bread.  They just occasionally get puffy at night.

The issue that dare not speak its name continues to be an issue.  But fine.  I’ve even learned to live with that.

The thing that still annoys me, though, is that I can’t breathe.  Still.  I can’t breathe during the day.  I’m pretty sure I’m regularly not breathing at night.  And, even when I’m awake, if I’m tired, I make noises like I’m snoring.  Also, I sometimes fall asleep right after lunch.

Though, in all honesty, even that’s improved somewhat in that I’m not automatically falling asleep right after lunch, but just growing so tired that I daydream about sleeping.

Anyway, back in June, I knew this whole breathing thing was an issue I needed to have taken care of, because it was totally out of hand.

Well, I had to switch doctors, because my previous doctor was kind of a stupid ass and his approach to the things that were wrong with me is my approach to the things that are wrong with me, which is, let’s see if we can wait them out.

And then my insurance was fucked up, so I couldn’t get that straightened out until I got back from Boston.

So, I get back from Boston, I get my insurance straightened out, and I call to make an appointment with the new doctor I’ve been assigned to.  This is in mid-July.  My choices for when I can come in are immediately, which I could not do, in early September, when I’m in Canada, or October 1st.

I know there are lots of good reasons why socialized medicine is not the panacea I imagine it to be.  But if I hear one more person talking about how we’ll all be waiting months to do things like go to the doctor, I will punch that person.

Granted, it won’t hurt them, because I’ll probably fall asleep mid-swing, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Stacey Campfield! Now is the Time to Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is!

So, if you’ve been flitting around the internet, you’ve certainly noticed that Campfield is still on his whole “Liberals love puppies more than they love babies” kick.  And, unfortunately, he’s got folks riled up.  Now, Mark Rose is all “Dogs receive more protection than unborn human beings.”

Really, at this point, this is bordering on ridiculous.

Stacey Campfield is a young, strong, spry man with a good job that allows him plenty of time to also be a state legislator.  He lives in a beautiful part of the state with a vibrant culture (as explained by David Oatney right here).  He’s got a mom he appears to love dearly (at least if we can take his blog as evidence) who has raised a child and gleaned wisdom from that.  Campfield’s got a stable life, good education, good income, and a source of good advice.

He’s not married, but so what?

If “the children” are so important that we must curtail the rights of women in order to protect them, if they are in such dire straights that even a momentary focus away from their well-being onto the well-being of companion animals is a threat that must be mocked at every turn, then why isn’t Stacey Campfield doing more for Tennessee’s children?

There are about a hundred and seventy kids in Tennessee right now waiting to be adopted.

Why hasn’t Campfield adopted even one?

Oh, Spanish Potato Dish, I Sing Your Praises

Someday, when I come to understand men, I’m going to quit writing this blog and turn my attention to writing a book about men, which will probably be called something like Ah, Men, It’s All So Clear Now that I’m 127.

Do I not spoil y’all enough?  Do I not run my fingers through your hair often enough and tell you how cute you are?  Do I not show you my boob freckle right here on the internet?

Well, it doesn’t matter.  Today, I am renouncing you.  I am through with men.  Hell, I am through with women.  I am through with sentient beings all together.

I’m leaving you, if you care, for NM’s Spanish potato dish I do not know the name of.  But it was amazing.  It had potatos.  It was in a dish.  The potatos were thinly sliced and there was some green pepper in there and the whole thing was held together by eggs.  My first thought was, “I would debase myself shamelessly for the person who would make this for me every day.” 

But then I thought, that’s ridiculous.  That’s like meeting a person with sparkling brown eyes and big dimples and trying to fuck their mom.

No, don’t go after the person who provided the object of your desire.  Go after the object of your desire.

So, Spanish potato dish, whose name I don’t know, I love you and really hope that you will move in with me and spoil me as completely as you spoiled my taste-buds last night.

What is White Culture?

I really need to go get in the shower, but I just have about eighty things I want to chew over instead, obviously.

Again, I’ve said before that the problem with “whiteness” is that we’re so timid in talking about it, I think for fear of appearing racist, that it leaves only the white supremacists to define what it is.

And yet, if a white person can stand in America and recognize basic elements of other culture, why do we have such a hard time recognizing and articulating our own?

I think it’s three-fold.

1.  Among good-hearted whites, there’s this belief that noticing race and remarking on it is somehow rude and subtly racist, when it’s not always.  So, we work to not notice our race and to pretend that it doesn’t matter (one doesn’t have to be a genious to see why this approach might piss off non-whites), just as we’d like to pretend that race in general doesn’t matter.

2.  One element of white culture, I think, is that, while people of other cultures here in America know that they do things certain ways because they are cultural, white Americans assume they do things certain ways because that’s the way they’re done.  We don’t recognize it as being a product of white culture, but assume it’s just naturally how things go.

Oops, no, in retrospect my third point was just going to be a reiteration of points one and two.

Anyway, I think it’d be interesting to try to articulate elements of white culture.

Shall we try?  White America, what does it look like?  Here are my guesses.

–Our cuisine is based on meat, starch, and sweets.

–We tend to live in extended family networks, but believe a family to be a father, a mother, and some children.

–We’re religious.

–We believe in somewhat rigid gender differences.

–We expect our children to go through a period of teenage rebellion during which point they are totally out of control and a problem.

–We believe in social mobility.

–We cow to authority even when we don’t always respect it.

–We believe boys and men should be strong and somewhat emotionally distant.

–We believe that women should be modest.

–We believe that men and women should get married.

Shoot, I’m late. More later.

In Which I Make a Confession that Makes Me Look Petty

I hated Bar Camp.

And not because it was uninteresting.  Folks, the people they had talking were cool and enthusiastic about what they were doing and excited and thoughtful and all, but it was so fucking hot that I just sat there getting hotter and more uncomfortable and pissier and angrier and hotter until finally I just wanted to take my chair and beat someone, anyone with it.

I resented the heat.  I felt like the heat kept me from enjoying myself and learning new things that might have been useful to me.

And, I’ve got to say, I’m about ready to go to the Kate O’ school of how to get by in life, because if she was miserable, she didn’t show it.

I’m all Homer Simpsoning over there in my chair “Oh no, another presentation?” and Kate’s working the crowd, smiling, showing no sign that it’s 110 in the building. 

Is it drugs, Kate?  You can tell me.  Have you found some drug that lets you thrive in any situation no matter how uncomfortable? 

Aunt B.’s Guide to Reducing Abortions Without Pissing Me Off

I know we talked about this before, but I can’t find it, and I figured that, if we’re going to have esteemed legislators hanging around here, maybe they’d like some input.  (Ha, ha, ha.)

First, let’s tackle the big question: “I hate abortion and think it’s wrong.  Why can’t I just work to make it illegal?”

Well, as we’ve talked about repeatedly, there is no way to make abortion illegal that respects a woman’s right to control what happens to her body.  Making abortion illegal means that the State has the right to force you to have a baby, even when you don’t want to.  This is just basic human rights stuff.  The State cannot force you to do something dangerous and possibly deadly that then saddles you with an 18 year commitment against your will and claim with a straight face that you are free and equal to other citizens.

But here’s the other reason.  Making abortions illegal does not end abortion.  We know that.  The Government claims that there are about 800,000 abortions a year.  We’ve talked about why I believe that number might be closer to a million.  We’ve also talked about where this 1.3-1.5 million number comes from and why I believe it to be so far off.  We can talk about those things again. 

It’s difficult to estimate what the abortion rate pre-Roe was, of course.  But folks have made attempts.  Folks like this claim that the rate probably wasn’t that much lower than it is now.  Even if you think the number is way off, the lowest estimates I’ve seen are 200,000 a year and, if you anti-abortion folks are serious about being anti-abortion, even 200,000 ought to seem like too many.

Making abortions illegal also increases the risk to women who are desperate to end their pregnancies, and again, if your goal is to reduce the cost of human life, a strategy that endangers women ought to be off your plate.

So, what can we do to reduce abortions that will actually have the effect of, you know, reducing abortions, while still respecting that women are equal and autonomous citizens under the law?

1.  Comprehensive sex education in school.  Here’s how human bodies work.  Here’s how pregnancies happen.  Here’s how to prevent them.  Emphasis not only on abstinence (which is being taught right now as “never have sex or you will be a slutty slut who will get pregnant and probably commit suicide”), but on being sure and clear and able to express what you want from your partner, if you want anything at all.

Right now, we’re teaching our kids that sex is a war of attrition, that boys want it so bad that their whole lives revolve around getting it and that girls don’t need sex the same way that boys do, and so our jobs are to keep boys from having sex or else we are Slutty Whores.  Boys try and try and try and girls say no and no and no until the boys wear down our resolve and we give in.

Girls who believe that their role is to just passively wait for boys to wear them down are notoriously bad about a.) getting and regularly using birth control and b.) about insisting that boys wear condoms.

Speaking of condoms, Conservative Christians, perhaps you don’t remember what it was like to be a teenager, but believe me, when you’re up there saying “Condoms don’t work.  You can’t trust condoms.  Abstinence is the only way to keep yourself safe,” for every one person you’re keeping a virgin, five others are hearing, “Well, there’s nothing we can do to keep ourselves safe; why bother trying?”

We know ABC (sex ed with an emphasis on “Abstinence, being Faithful, and using Condoms”) has worked well in other countries to reduce HIV/AIDS.  If it works for that, why not try it for unwanted pregnancies?

2.  A society-wide emphasis on the importance of an enthusiastic “yes” from your partner.  Not only would this drastically reduce date-rapes, people who want to have sex and feel good about having sex are much more likely to take proper precautions when having sex.  Right now, still, we have this idea that sex in certain situations is wrong.  Say like, going to a bar and picking someone up and taking them home.  A lot of people do this.  Many of those same people believe it’s wrong.  So, rather than preparing by having a purse or wallet full of condoms, which would indicate that we knew we were going out to have sex, we don’t prepare and go out and pretend like we were just caught up in the moment.

3.  Pressure all insurance companies to cover birth control.  Thank god for Viagra as many insurance companies that didn’t cover birth control and tried to cover Viagra were shamed into covering birth control too.  Not all, though.

4.  Government funding of birth control.  Oh, I know you conservatives just about fell over at that, but most folks in this country don’t have insurance, and the majority of abortions in this country are had by poor women.  Providing them with low-cost or free birth control would go a long way towards reducing those abortions.

4a. Gosh, you know,if only there were some large non-profit who would provide low-cost reproductive healthcare to women and also provide free condoms and low-cost or free birth-control pills

5.  Pour more funding into March of Dimes and other organizations that are looking for cures for birth defects.

6.  Provide free healthcare and a food stipend to, at least, children living in poverty, if not all children in the U.S.  Right now, poor and low income women account for more than half of all U.S. abortions and, since 1990, a majority of women having abortions already are mothers.  Clearly, most poor and low income mothers would be more likely to not have abortions if they could afford to have another child.

7.  Along those same lines, 80% of women who have abortions are unmarried.  I propose a two-fold approach here.  One is that we more strenuously go after dead-beat dads for child support.  The other, again bound to be unpopular with the Conservatives, is that the Government provide child support to the woman as a kind of mandatory loan.  So, you see what I’m saying, Johnny is the father of Sally’s child.  He’s obliged by the court to pay her $500 a month in child support.  He skips out.  Sally goes to court and proves that Johnny has skipped out and is not paying.  The Court can take the steps to get his pay docked and so on, if Johnny can be found.  In the meantime, Sally gets $500 a month from the Government.  Johnny is eventually found.  Now he still has his $500 a month payment to Sally and a $2,500 loan from the Government he’s got to repay.

8.  Get over this idiotic notion that the morning-after pill causes abortions and insist on it being widely available to women.

Hmm.  Well, shoot.  I can’t think of any more than eight.

But also, I want to reiterate that these are eight things I think we as a society can do secularly.  Families and churches can still insist on setting a goal of virginity until marriage and then being open to children in marriage when they come.  That’s your business and, if it works for you as a religious mandate, hurray!

Folks should, of course, feel free to add on in the comments.

(Also, I got a lot of information about who’s having abortions from here, if you’re interested.)

Campfield’s Calling Me Lazy?!

Not too lazy to run spell-check on my posts, though, unlike some folks.

Ha, no, that’s not true.  I fail to remember to run spellcheck all the time.

You can read the whole post, decide if you like whether it’s about me specifically.  I’m pretty sure it is.  Note the talk of google, the refutation of my numbers, the talk of foul language (compare to Huddleston’s reportingof Campfield being present and participating in a conversation about my “foul language.”)

He says, “The lesser minds who like to make up numbers out of thin air, Who like to yell scream and use foul language to try to prove their point.”

“To prove their point.”

Is that Republican for “to have an orgasm?” or is Stacey Campfield trying to insinuate that I’m shrill?

I hope he’s insinuating that I’m shrill.  I’ve never been called a shrill feminist before and to be called so by a man who never met a barrier to women’s equality that he didn’t want to erect, well, this is a proud day for me, America.  A proud day indeed.

I wonder if I should get t-shirts made.

Bar Camp Nashville or Heaven for Cannibals?

Bar Camp is at the Exit/Inn, which is a big black box with some orange lights that appear to be radiating heat. I’m convinced that we are slowly baking, like pigs in a slow smoker.

Thank god I’m sitting next to Brittney, because she brought me some water, but damn… Give it another ten minutes and my water will be boiling.

I feel bad because people are so interesting and talking about interesting things and all I can think about is whether it would be rude for me to just take off my pants and let the girly bits get some air.

Also, usually, when I come to stuff like this, I have a funny co-blogger to amuse me, but dude totally ditched me to go watch rasslin’.

Newscoma is here, and she knows everyone.

My only thought is “ice cream” “ice cream” “ice cream.”

I wonder if the guys talking are stoned.

You know, they say that fat is a great insulator, which means that my internal organs should be a little cooler than the skinny chicks, but they don’t appear to be less comfortable to me.

Jackson Miller is interesting, engaging, smart, and cute. If he smiled, man-oriented folks’ clothes would melt off. Ha, well, everyone’s clothes are already melting off, but if he smiled, it would be one of those “forced coincidences” we talked about the other day. Smile, Jackson, smile!

Ugh, too hot to have the computer on.