Maybe The Pro-Lifers Will Give My Brother $6,000, You Know, for the Baybeez!

So, yes, my brother is a dumbass, the kind of dumbass who probably needs Stacy Campfield to write up some legislation to protect him from the women he fucks and his own dumbass decisions.

That’s fine.  The thought of him sitting in jail makes me want to throw up and cry.  But then I think, well, at least he’s not in jail in metro Atlanta, and then I feel like a bad person for being grateful for that, since there are a lot of sisters with dumbass brothers sitting in jail in Atlanta and those sisters must be scared shitless.  I feel for them.  I am also scared.

Instead, I’ve been thinking about my parents, scrambling to come up with the money to get him set free.  I don’t say anything.  It’s their money; they can do what they want with it; and if it makes them feel better to spend it all on the recalcitrant brother, well, bless their hearts, they should spend it on the recalcitrant brother.

I guess.

But here’s also what I’ve been thinking, America.  I’m not sure how much money they have left to throw at him.  They threw a great deal of the inheritance they got from my grandmother at him.  They’ve thrown a great deal of their own money at him.  And now they’re scrambling to get a loan or, perhaps, to cash in my dad’s life insurance policy, in order to get him out of jail.

I don’t talk to them about their finances.  I don’t talk to them about how much money they throw at the recalcitrant brother, because a.) I know if I needed it, they would find a way to help me just as much and b.) I don’t think I could stand to know.  It’s got to be literally tens of thousands of dollars over his adult life, I think.

I don’t know where it comes from.  I worry that my dad has been fudging the truth about why he hasn’t retired.  Every year it’s some story about how the church is dicking him over on his insurance, and every year I’ve bought into that, especially because it seems like, for the past couple of years, there’s been real talk about him actually retiring when he hits 65.  But I’m worried they’re spending their retirement money on my brother.

And, if so, I feel like we have to have a talk about that.

Because, America, I can’t support them.  It’s fine if they retire and go to work at Walmart or something–you know, retire from these jobs to take other jobs.  It’s fine for a while.

But a point will come, I assume, when they won’t be able to work.  And they’ll have to have some money to live off of.  I don’t have it.  The Butcher, obviously, doesn’t have it.  And the recalcitrant brother sure as hell doesn’t have it.  If they don’t have it, they are screwed.

I am scared shitless that they’re going to need me to take care of them and I’m not going to be able to afford to do it.  I can’t even tell you.  I’m sitting here just staring off into space between sentences at the thought of them needing to move in with me.

I rent.

I don’t have a spouse.

I especially don’t have a spouse whose also pulling in a decent salary.

What will happen if I have to feed them and put a roof over their heads?

How am I going to do that?

If you are the praying sort, please pray that my parents are not stupid enough to squander what little retirement they have trying to save my brother from himself and the evil women he fucks.

Thank you.

p.s. Not to mention how shitty a blog this would become if every entry started, “Today, my dad yet again reminded me of how fat I am and how no man will ever love me because I’m ugly and bossy.”

Random Things That Made Me Laugh, Even as I Pounded My Head Against My Desk

–“Coweta County Sherriff’s Department.” […] “Ma’am, you’re not alone.  Many of us have dumb-ass brothers.”

–“You can pay by check made out to the Superior Court.  Call over there and see where to send it.”

–“No, you have to pay in person over to the jail.”

“But the jail said I had to pay you guys.”

“No.  You have to pay in person over to the jail.”

“But the jail…”

“Ma’am, just call his lawyer.”

“Do I give the money to his lawyer?”

“I’m not authorized to talk to you about individual prisoners.”

[click]

John Work, III Recording Black Culture

John Work is one of those people you wish you’d been fortunate enough to meet.  His sons are brilliant and charming and both funny and gracious in a way that feels like they must have grown up in a house full of laughing people.  And Work’s taste in music is evidence of a man driven by love and curiosity.

But what can you do, history being what it is?

I’m lucky enough to have just gotten my hands on an awesome CD but out by the Arts Center of Cannon County–John Work, III Recording Black Culture–which is a collection of music that Work collected over his life.  The packaging itself is just beautiful, a real treat, and the booklet is informative and will bring anybody unfamiliar with Work up to speed.

But, of course, you want to know about the music.  Well, I’m not through the whole thing yet, but so far, it’s a hoot and a real tribute to the pockets of talent around the South.

The first two songs are a couple of black fiddle tunes, which sound, to my untrained ear, very strange and archaic.

The third song, “Daniel Saw the Stone” has this neat little bit where the backup singers sound like a skipping record while the lead singer sings over them.

“Shine on Me” is much slower than I’m used to hearing the song, but I suspect someone in the unnamed quartet agreed with me, because there’s one voice who always sounds on the verge of breaking out into something more up-tempo.

“I am His, He is Mine” is the only female-sung song on the album and it’s a hoot and it ends with this kind of sung-prayer with the women providing back-up harmony to a male voice praying, while someone nearer to the microphone keeps shouting “Have mercy.”  You get a real sense for the ways in which the music in church services is an integral part of shaping the congregation’s emotions and experiences.  Very interesting.

Then there’s a cut by the Fairfield Four and one by the Heavenly Gate Quartet, a work song, some congregational singing, a blues song, and interview with Muddy Waters, and one example of “Colored Sacred Harp” singing.

There’s a lot of religious music on the CD, so if that’s your thing, I think you’d get a big kick out of it.

I think the other thing about the music is that it really exemplifies just how the sacred and secular lie together like two teenagers who promise themselves they won’t let things get too out of hand, and before you know it, a foot is tapping, a hand is clapping, and hips are wiggling, wiggling, wiggling, together until American music is born and reborn again and again.

“No, I cannot forget where it is that I come from.”

The trouble with privilege, of course, is that the system is designed to deliberately blind you from the suffering of others, to make it hard (or, in some cases) nearly impossible to imagine yourself in the position of the person who is suffereing.I think that Elle, phd is spot on today with her description of how that works in the case of black women who’ve been victimized. She’s talking about how “strange” it is that, suddenly, Megan Williams’s outstanding warrants must so urgenly be served against her, so that a woman who just got out of a prison of sorts, where she was held for a week against her will, ends up back in a holding cell. See how easily we slip from feeling sympathy with her? When we first found out about her plight, she was a victim of a bizarre crime just because she was black.

But wait (slip and slide away from her), she knew her attackers. But wait (slip and slide some more), maybe she even dated one of them once. And wait (slipping further from her), she herself is a criminal.

She’s not like us. She’s not us.

Those things would never happen to us. We’re good.

Sometimes, though, you get a glimpse of what it is that the dominant culture would like from black people. And watching the Jena 6 stuff and the Megan Williams stuff, it seems like what we want from black people is for y’all to have no ties–not to each other, not to your families, not to the community, not to history–and that y’all walk around complete blank slates. Something happens to you and you’re just supposed to be confused and surprised. Something happens to another black person you know (not that you’d really know them, but maybe you’d have heard some rumor about them or something) and you don’t draw anything from that about how you might be treated. Nope, I thnk you’re really supposed to be a people without history, without ties.

Let’s talk about small towns. I’m from small town America. I graduated in a class of 47.

I’m not from small town American in the same way most folks are, because my dad’s a Methodist minister and so we moved from small town to small town, but because of that, I’ve seen my share of how they work.

There’s some good stuff to be said for small towns. But let’s not kid ourselves–for a lot of people, they’re not easy places to grow up.

And folks who don’t understand how small towns work can pretty easily misunderstand what’s going on in them.

I mean, please, of course Megan Williams knew her attackers. Of course she probably socialized with them. She lives in West Virginia, for gods’ sake. How many people in a sixty mile radius of her do you think she didn’t know? Hadn’t socialized with to some extent? Is it really surprising that she’d been in stupid trouble before? That’s the kind of trouble folks get in (until you get meth involved, and then, Christ Jesus).

That’s what the heartland looks like. These are those “values” folks on the coasts are always crowing on about. You know people. You get into stupid trouble. You get a reputation. It sticks with you for the rest of your life. Things seem fine on the surface and underneath, bad trouble.

I mean, not to be flip, but that’s the fucking point of almost every Stephen King book ever written and he’s a best selling author. You think he’d sell so well if that idea–heartland America, fine on the surface, bad trouble underneath–didn’t resonate?

Now, let’s look at the Jena 6

CNN is reporting that the U.S. attorney responsible for reviewing the case doesn’t see any tie between the nooses hanging in the tree in front of the high school and the fact that six black kids beat up a white kid.This is laughable on its face.

Is there any person from small town America who doubts for a second that those two things aren’t directly related?

The U.S. attorney says, “there were three months of high school football in which they all played football together and got along fine, in which there was a homecoming court, in which there was the drill team, in which there were parades.” In other words, since everything appeared fine on the surface, it must have been fine. But who in a small town would believe that?

When I went back for my 10 year high school reunion, I had a girl bawl me out for a good ten minutes in front of everyone for thinking I was better than everyone else back in high school. Twelve years she’d been carrying that shit around, twelve years in which she saw me a few times and seemed perfectly happy to see me.

You think some kids can’t carry with them for a few months the fear and anger they must have felt at knowing they lived in a place where you could still have a “white tree” and where the simple act of sitting under it would lead to an implicit threat on your life?

And, while we’re being honest, is there one person here who doesn’t know that the message of those nooses was “You be afraid, ’cause we could hurt you.”? And is there one person here who doesn’t get that beating up that white kid wasn’t a message of “No, you be afraid.”?

First of all, that’s how boys work. You just have to hang out with teenage boys for, oh, say five seconds to hear “Fuck you.” “No, fuck you.” And second, we used to kill black people that way. Not that long ago. Within the living memories of the families of those boys. When they saw those nooses there, they had some tough decisions to make, decisions with old implications.

Do they trust the authorities to take care of it? To really get the level of the threat? Well, they tried that. And the kids got suspended for a few days. Yeah, if you walk into a school and announce you’re going to kill random people, you get tossed out. You walk into that school and make a gesture that threatens the deaths of black people and you get to come back to school.

Do they just take it? I’m not excusing their behavior. It’s wrong to kick the shit out of people. I’m asking though, for you to put yourself in the position of a teenage boy. Are you just going to take it? Or are you going to be a man and do something about it?

Again. I’m not excusing it. I think we have fucked up notions of what it mean to be a man and those ideas put boys we love in harm’s way, repeatedly.

I’m just saying, there was a time when black people, when confronted with a whites-only tree and then some nooses hanging in it, a time not very long ago, when they would have just had to take it. Proving to yourself that you no longer live in such times can be a powerful motivator.

I don’t know. I feel like I’ve gotten off track a little.

My point is that we talk about the heartland as if it’s one thing, when we all know that it’s another. Well, that it’s that one thing and that it’s another. It is the smooth surface and the terrible deep.

Why can’t we just admit that to ourselves?

I don’t know.

Weird Confessions

–If I think too much about it, I get unnerved by the number of nipples in my house at any given time.

–I hate stickers, especially nonshiny ones, like price tags, and I am deathly afraid of getting them in my mouth.

–As much as I like Cute Overload, it personally offends me every time I go there and don’t see a picture of Mrs. Wigglebottom, even though I have done nothing to take a picture of Mrs. Wigglebottom at her cutest and submit it, which, I guess, is my way of saying that, though I don’t want my government spying on me, I would kind of be okay with Cute Overload spying on my dog.

In Which I Aid Anti-Abortionists

Courtesy of Tiny Pasture, we learn that Lynn Sebourn was out informing folks that pregnant women are carrying babies in their tummies. How the folks of Tennessee have managed to go this long without that bit of knowledge remains a mystery, but I’m glad someone is out there clearing it up. Lord knows with Bush’s love of abstinence-only education, it can be hard to know if kids are getting the basic facts of life.

Sebourn explains:

These show the baby at various stages from 12 weeks to 30 weeks. The models are soft, life size and life weight. Young girls are always fascinated by the models. Over and over, young teens express surprise that at 12 weeks the baby is fully formed. It’s actually a little baby. I think this is one of the most powerful things we can do for the pro-life movement. Just show people that a fetus is a baby.

Well, wow, there’s a lot going on in this paragraph and you may have some questions. Shall we take it a little bit at a time?

1. By showing babies at various stages from 12 to 30 weeks, doesn’t it seem as if Sebourn and his group are implying that women who have abortions are killing helpless cute babies? And yet, both sides in the abortion debate rely on the numbers compiled by the Guttmacher Institute and they report that only 12% of abortions happen after twelve weeks.

2. When, then, do most abortions happen? Again, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 60% of abortions happen before the pregnancy is 9 weeks along; 19.3% happen in the 9-10 week time-frame; and 10% happen in the 11-12 week time period.

3. But can’t Sebourn just save up and get him some cute little even tinier babies to represent these stages in fetal development? Well, it turns out that there aren’t a series of even tinier fully formed babies to make models off of. At four weeks, the embryo is two layers of cells sandwiched between the yolk sac and the amniotic sac. Six weeks? Still not very cute. At least at eight weeks, we see the beginnings of the brain, but it’s kind of in a giant lump outside what we might call the head, not exactly cuddly. By ten weeks, it’s kind of cute, if not exactly baby looking. But, yuck, the 12 week old fetus doesn’t even have its intestines inside it. You can surely not cuddle with a baby whose intestines are all hanging out. Not only is it not cute, it’s not sanitary.

4. “At twelve weeks, the baby is fully formed.” You mean, aside from not having its intestines inside its body? Or not having a working circulatory system until 16 weeks? Or how about not having fully developed lungs until after 22 weeks? Or does “fully formed” have some other definition I’m not aware of?

5. I’m really disturbed by this language of “fully formed,” because, regardless of where you fall on the abortion debate, you should have realistic expectations about fetal development so that you can make informed decisions when it comes to your own pregnancies. According to the March of Dimes, in 2004 (the latest I could find data for) 10,000 infants died from preterm related deaths. We often talk about viability in the abortion debate–at what point a fetus can survive outside of its mother–and people often throw 24 weeks around as a realistic benchmark, with some anti-abortion folks claiming that viability is at 22 weeks. Franklin Foer talks about this in some detail:

But no baby has ever been successfully delivered before the middle of the 22nd week. Babies delivered during the 22nd and 23rd weeks weigh just over a pound. Their lungs have barely formed and their airways are not developed enough to inhale. Circulation depends on the use of ventilators and injections of hormones. A baby born during the 22nd week has a 14.8 percent chance of survival. And about half of these survivors are brain-damaged, either by lack of oxygen (from poor initial respiration) or too much oxygen (from the ventilator). Neonatologists predict that no baby will ever be viable before the 22nd week, because before then the lungs are not fully formed.

Probability of survival increases for babies born later in pregnancy: 25 percent in the 23rd week, 42 percent in the 24th week, 57 percent in 25th week. By the 30th week, when a newborn doesn’t require a ventilator to breathe, it has a 90 percent chance of survival. And only after the 30th week do the risks of long-term brain damage begin to substantially subside. Because premature babies depend on technology, survival rates vary based on access to that technology. For instance, in rural communities, which commonly lack expensive infant intensive-care units, survival rates in these early weeks are much lower.

Not to be glib, but so much for “fully formed.”

Hopefully the people of Tennessee are getting access to all this information in order to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.

If You Commit a Crime, Are You a Criminal Forever?

Since starting Tiny Cat Pants, I’ve dropped acid.  Just once, because, you know, I’m a giant nerd and the feeling of being hot and somewhat nauseous and too full of orange juice outweighed the mild hallucinations I’m pretty sure I could have had if I’d just forced myself to stay up until four in the morning without drugs.  I don’t know.  Maybe I did it wrong.

But I did it to impress a boy (no, not that one), which, of course, failed.  And have never done it again (drugs or impressed a boy, I’m afraid).

Didn’t get caught, though.

Am I a criminal?

I have a couple of relatives who were alleged drug dealers in their younger days.  One stole a great deal of money from the other, because he allegedly knew the other couldn’t report it because a similar amount of money was allegedly missing from a local bar.  (It appears to me that the statute of limitations on most felonies in Illinois is three years, but I’d still like to be careful.)

That amount of money was enough to pay his way out of state and allow him to start his life over as a non-drug-dealer, for which we are all grateful.

He hasn’t dealt drugs in ten years.  He’s never robbed anyone since.

Is he a theif?  A drug dealer?

According to the law, he’s not.  He committed those crimes years ago and has gotten on with his life.

Why then, do we talk about illegal immigration differently?  There are very few crimes one cannot outwait the stigma of.  One might be considered a murderer or a rapist or a child molester for life, even if one only committed that crime once.

But theivery, tresspassing, car stealing, even assault are all crimes we can commit once, in our youth, and if we go on to become productive members of society (shit, if we just cease to be unproductive members of society) and, if enough time passes, we don’t have to fear being prosecuted any more.  We’re not “illegals.”

Why, then, do immigrants who enter the country illegally have to bear the burden of being considered “illegals”?  I’ve been looking through the federal statute and it’s clear that entering the country is illegal and faking documents in order to stay here and work is illegal.  But those both appear to be crimes that have a statute of limitations of ten years.

It also appears to me that, if one could come here and stay off the .gov’s radar for a decade–not working, not using taxpayer funded programs, just laying low, you’d be in a weird situation where you’d be in the country without proper documentation, but the goernment could not prosecute you for being here.

I guess I don’t really have a point except to say that it seems like calling them “illegals” as if they’re all in a state of constate illegality, as opposed to someone who did something once a long time ago, is an insidious debate strategy.

Oh, So That’s Why Folks are Homeschooling

I’ll give you three guesses which one of these guys is a highly-paid Metro Schools administrator:

Now every leader in history had a particular calling, the greatest leader in America that we know was Jesus Christ, there are other countries that knew Buddha, Mohammed, some just knew God, Allah, Yahweh; and then there were men, Attila the Hun, Hannibal, Mansa Mussa, King James, Lancelot, Russo, Socrates, Plato, Martin Luther, Gandhi, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Benjamin Wright, leaders whom we consider the great achievers.

This begs the question, though, if Lancelot is on the list, why isn’t Beowulf?

Ha, ha, ha.  I kid.

[Thanks to Bruce Barry for disturbing the shit out of me.]

El Bark-no

Hey, I’m not going to tell you how to raise your kids.  I keep my kids in a couple of sacks at the ends of two long tubes and once a month I chuck one into the toilet, just for kicks.

But you should not teach your kids that dogs say “El Barko” in Mexico.

(I have it on internet authority that dogs say “guf guf” in Spanish.  Too bad kids today don’t know anyone who can speak Spanish who could give them a straight answer instead of encouraging this nonsense.)

Local Baptist Church Hides Behind Griswold and Roe… Hmm…

Two Rivers Baptist Church’s lawyers are claiming “that [the church members suing them] had no right to the records given the separation of church and state, as well as constitutional rights to privacy of members whose names are on church rolls.” [emphasis mine]

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

On behalf of feminists and sex perverts everywhere, you’re welcome.

[h/t to Samantha Y.]

This May Change My Life

Yesterday, the Butcher was listening to the Dixie Chicks.

I said, “What are you listening to?”

“The Dixie Chicks.”

“The Dixie Chicks are on Madden?”

“No, on my iPod.  See, I just plug this here, flip that there, and…”

“You can run your iPod through the speakers?!”

“Well, duh, B.”

So, today, I have run my iPod–The Greenman–through my computer’s speakers.

In honor of that, I give you a random 10 from the Greenman.

1.  “Red Clay Halo” by Gillian Welch

2.  “Glory, Glory Hallllelujia” by Otha Turner

3.  “Three Days” by Willie Nelson

4.  “Dracula” by Gorillaz

5.  “Barbara Allen” by Emily Rossum

6.  “Rise up with Fists!” by Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins

7.  “This Room for Rent” by Sammi Smith

8.  “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend” by Don Williams

9.  “Married Man Blues” by Jessie Mae Hemphill

10.  “Jesus Built My Hotrod” by Ministry

My Strategy as a Feminist

Happily, there’s already a Feminism 101 blog where folks who are interested in getting up to speed on feminism can do so.  But feminism is not some giant monolith where everyone agrees on everything all the time skipping grimmly through the world in lock formation while we ruin fun for girly girls and try to make men feel bad for having penises.

Most feminists agree on the basic principle that feminism is about recognizing and forcing others to recognize women as fully human, equal participants in society.  How we go about that, what “fully human” means or what “equal participant” might entail are all up for grabs.

No one has really settled on that, which I believe is for the best.  Ideally, we should be working towards a world very different from the one we live in, one that, I would gather, most of us wouldn’t recognize as being the end result of our struggles.

You can see that kind of tension between anti-porn feminists and pro-porn feminists.  Anti-porn feminists complain that we did not struggle as hard as we did for as long as we did so that it would be easier for men to gaze at naked women pretending to enjoy having sex while they watch.  Pro-porn women argue that we don’t have to be Puritanical about sex and that there’s nothing inherently anti-feminist about women enjoying and feeling powerful through sex.

Neither side really knows what a woman-friendly future will look like and so they have vastly different ideas that regularly come into conflict about how to achieve that.  Do we get it by eliminating all instances of exploitation or do we get it by transforming what used to be exploitative into something we find empowering?

Who knows?

Clearly, we’re not going to settle that today.

But I did want to talk a little about my own feminist strategies and some of why I do what I do here.

For instance, I’m loud and brash and cuss like a sailor here at Tiny Cat Pants (even though in real life, I think I’m much less of a potty mouth and much more charming than I come across here–at least the conservatives always seem shocked that they like me and enjoy talking to me) precicely because, especially here, that behavior has certain markers.  Loud, potty-mouthed Southern women are usually poor white trash.

Learning “proper” behavior, learning to be demure and polite and soft-spoken is a way for white women to signal that we’re not trashy and that we deserve to be treated with respect.

In other words, we’re rewarded for being quiet and inoffensive–let the men talk while we get dinner together.

Fuck that.  I want to be in where the talking is going on.  I want folks to feel like, like me or hate me, they have to at least keep an ear open for what I’m saying.  I want the whole experience of reading me to be disconcerting enough that, every once in a while, your guard slips and some important idea gets through.

Why do I dog on conservatives as much as I do?

Because, at the end of the day, I don’t think that they’re idiots.

That may be stupid on my part, but I don’t believe that they’re idiots.

I do believe, however, that many of them are fortunate enough that they can arrange their lives so that their beliefs are never challenged.  They can live in neighborhoods, have groups of friends, and attend church with folks who believe pretty much what they believe and so their beliefs are continually reinforced without being honed through conflict.

And these people are making decisions for us, all of us, based on assumptions about groups I’m a part of, and they rarely have to interact with people who challenge those assumptions.

I hope to challenge them.

That’s also, in part, what’s with all the pictures of my tits and why I’m honest about my own insecurities and doubts.  I think a lot of folks here think that feminists are “not like regular women,” that we are not the kinds of people they can hang out in a bar with or flirt with or sympathize with.

But we are.

Anyway, I just wanted to stay a little about my strategies.  They’re not always the best ones and sometimes I have to rethink them and try something different.

Sadly, no one’s sending out orders from Feminist Headquarters.  Everyone’s figuring this stuff out as we go.

So, I’m going to fuck up occassionally, though not quite as often as would amuse the conservatives, I’m sure.

Am I The Only One Who Finds ‘We Will Not Tolerate Intolerance’ to Be Less than Comforting?

Thanks to Newscoma and Fried Apple Pie, we get word of a gay-bashing.

Damn.

You know, here we are fighting for gay marriage when two guys can’t even walk into Quiznos on a college campus in this town in safety.  Seriously, maybe we need to focus on just the remedial human rights.  I don’t know.

I was talking to the Professor this weekend about how part of the problem with seeking social justice is that, many times, there’s no one sympathetic to your goals in a high enough position to see all the fires.  No one in a position to notice that they’re not just isolated unfortunate incidents, but part of a larger pattern.

I don’t know how one gets that kind of perspective, but there are places in town where it is sorely needed.

Negotiations

So, the other day I was sitting out on the porch, rocking in the rocking chair while a troop of kids was marching through the woods and down into the creek and across the flat rocks.

They were accompanied by the sounds of constant bickering–who would go first, whether someone was watching close enough for snakes, if that frog was still alive, how far up stream they should go, who was being unfair and how, if they were doing what their dad told them to do, and so on and so on and so on, these constant negotiations and squabbles that sounded as familiar to me as if I were making those noises myself, which, of course, I have.

Today the Butcher floated the idea of him going down to Georgia to help the recalcitrant brother get on his feet.  I can’t stand the idea.  I cannot stand the idea of coming home to a house filled only by me.

Some folks find companionship easily; that’s never been a skill of mine.  And without the Butcher, I’m afraid I’d get sad and lonely and weird.  Maybe I’m already weird, but you know, weird to myself.

It seems unfair to say those things to him.  After all, he’s been here almost a decade.  If I haven’t gottem my life together by now, I don’t guess that it’s going to happen any time soon.  And I get embarrassed for not wanting him to go and so I start to get angry instead.  What about all the money I’ve spent supporting us both?  If you were thinking that, why didn’t you say something before I signed a new lease?  How are you going to take care of the recalcitrant brother when you don’t really take care of yourself?  And so on.

I don’t really give a shit about those things.  I should.  I’d be in better financial shape if I did, but I don’t.  I just want to cause sharp needles along the bottom of his heart the way I feel them along the bottom of mine.

Watching those kids, I was reminded that cooperation is not easy.  That we’re all the time making constant demands and capitulations.  We just do it more quietly as we get older.

And Then Sometimes Conservatives Just Make Me Sad

If I had to choose between a world full of depraved  conservatives who were at least enjoying themselves while they made the rest of us miserable and a world full of conservatives such as the kind Ned Williams is purporting to be today, I think I’d choose the depraved conservatives.

Because at least the depraved conservatives are not lying to themselves.

But, Ned, dang it*, do you honestly read that stuff and find it to be the truth?  Is there no gut check you do where some part of you just says, quietly, “Hey, something about that is not right” and, even if you don’t know what is right about it, you listen?  If not, well, then, I feel even worse for you than I did from the beginning.

Let’s go through the lies Maggie Gallagher tells you that you pass along as truths, even though, dang it again, you should know better.

1.  “The male-female divide”–What is that?  I mean, once you get passed all the Men are from Mars, Women from Venus crap, do you really feel that you don’t know your wife?  And, if you do, do you really believe that that’s because she’s a woman and not just because she’s another person, independent of you and no matter how much you love her and come to know her, there will just be parts of her that are secret because you can’t know what it’s like to be her–as a person.  We are not strangers to you because we are women, or at least, we don’t have to be.

2.  “Marriage is the fundamental, cross-cultural institution”–no, it’s not.  Families are the fundamental, cross-cultural institution and families might be constituted a lot of ways.  Long before there was “marriage,” there were families.

3.  “Marriage is the fundamental, cross-cultural institution for bridging the male-female divide so that children have loving, committed mothers and fathers”–Again.  You know your history.  You know this is not true.  Marriage, as a social institution, is historically about inheritance rights, not about love or commitment.

Aw, you know what?  Fuck it.

Most people who oppose gay marriage know at some level that there’s no good reason for it other than the ick factor.  They’re opposed to gay marriage because they think gay people are gross.  All this nonsense about “preserving the traditional meaning of marriage” is just bullshit.  Come on.

Even conservative Ned Williams is not arguing that he should own all of his wife’s property outright and that she not be allowed to have a bank account or a credit card in her name.  He doesn’t believe he should be able to beat his wife in public and carry on with mistresses and prostitutes if he wants.  He doesn’t believe that, if he should die tomorrow, some other man–either designated by him or appointed by the courts–should decide to whom his kids get shipped off to and, regardless of what his will says, how much of his property his wife should be able to make use of until she dies.  He doesn’t believe that he should be able to arrange marriages for his children to wealthy clients or local political families in order to directly benefit his business, regardless of the wishes of his children.

No, he’s basically bought into the idea that there’s some pretend pleasant history of marriage always full of love and devotion and monogamy and happy children and that he can refer to that pretend history as having any legitimacy when arguing against gay marriage.

That’s a joke.  And I should be able to laugh at it as a joke.

So, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, etc.

*That’s conservative for “damn it.”

Please Care About This This Week, Too

Sorry to bring this up again, but Friday afternoons are such a crappy time to learn about important things.  People have weekends.  They get caught up in other crap.

But right now, in our lovely state, a woman can’t get an order of protection against her husband because she is brown.  She is here legally and her children are U.S. citizens.

I don’t know what can be done, but please, let’s do something.  This isn’t just an immigrant issue.  This is an issue about how women are treated in the legal system and about whether our laws apply to everyone or just the folks who meet with the judge’s approval.

Again, see Sean for more details.

Joy

I have just been thinking about this all weekend, about this idea of being grateful for where we are and the importance of being grateful in order to have strength for fighting.

This weekend, I had a long discussion with an old-school Southern feminist (I don’t know what it is about Texas, but when they do feminists, they do it right) about this very thing.  And I feel like I have a lot I want to say about it, but I’m not sure where to start and maybe just acknowledging that I have a lot to say about it is enough to say about it.

But we do have these long roots, people who were working long before us, who were working for us, even though they would never live to see it.  And to be miserable in the world they helped make for us is really the height of ungratefulness.

I think the mistake we make is to assume that, if we are grateful for something, it means we think that it’s enough, that we’ve got the culmination.  But, of course, it doesn’t mean that at all.

There are a lot of things I know in my heart are right and just–it’s right and just that we allow consenting adults who love each other to make use of our secular institutions in order to protect and care for each other easily; it’s right and just that women be able to control as much as possible what happens to their bodies and that being in a woman’s body not be a source of constant fear and pain; it’s right and just that whoever is on our soil be protected by our laws.

I might not live long enough to see any of those things realized and I’m planning on living into my 80s or 90s.  But I’m thankful to the people who made it possible for me to be here in this position.

If struggling doesn’t bring you joy, why struggle?

Are Conservatives Just More Depraved than Liberals?

When I think of “sex,” I usually imagine me and another consenting adult or two.  I do have a little fantasy where Exador and Mack are in a bare knuckles fist fight which leads to hot man on man action which I watch while cuddling with the Church Secretary who whispers Walt Whitman in my ear which leads to massive smooches for me from all quarters, but I think 95% of us have that fantasy.

Conservatives, though, when they get to imagining decadence, they’re just… well

If an unmarried couple choose to shack up, that’s OK. If two peeps with the same plumbing choose to shack up, that’s OK. If more than two people choose to form a non-traditional family unit, that’s OK. Ditto with the views of the NAMBLA people, those special types of animal lovers and a host of other aberrations.

Bless your heart, Blue, but aren’t I supposed to be the dirty hippy liberal?  You know how many times I thought about fucking little kids today?  Zero.  Never crosses my mind.  Not me doing it.  Not my neighbors doing it, not the people at the end of the street doing it.  I know, intellectually, that those NAMBLA folks are out there, but I don’t think “that’s OK.”  And the thing is, I’ve been a liberal for a long time and I’ve never met anyone who thought that that was okay.  Nor have I met anyone who approves of people fucking animals.

I know you know that most Liberals aren’t kiddie/pet fuckers.  I know your point is just that we’re depraived. 

But you’re the one with the dirty laundry list, not me.

(I so want to work in this little tid-bit about Strom Thurmond, but it doesn’t quite fit.  It’s a shame he’s dead.  He’d got the perfect campaign slogon, “Strom: He’ll fuck you over all day long and then he and his wife will fuck you all night long.”)

Warm Earth

Well, I was feeling a little down about the whole herb garden after seeing the beautiful rosemary at the Italian restaurant on Thursday because my herbs have never gotten much bigger than they were when I bought them.  And the basil had decided that it was more of a topiary than an herb.

So, I renewed my lease and decided to pull up the dead bushes in front of our place and put the herbs by the front door.  They’ll get a might less sun than they were getting on the other side of the door, but I have to believe they’ll be happier because, y’all, when I unpotted them, they were all rootbound!  Miles, it seemed like, of roots winding around and around the bottoms of the boxes and intertwining with each other into almost a giant brick of plant matter.  Seriously, each box held two herbs and I had to hack each brick of dirt in two to separate them.

Playing in the dirt was a blast, though.  I weeded and took all the potting soil I could find from in the house and just dug my fingers into the warm, moist earth until the potting soil was pretty well mixed in with the regular dirt and it was all black and rich and wet and smelled so good.

Then I dug some holes and loosened the roots and stuck them in and gave them a bunch of water, which will hopefully be enough.  Here is my question for you, knowledgeable readers.  Should I continue to water them the amount I was watering them in the boxes or should I water them more now that they have more dirt from which to draw nutrients or what?

I think they look happy.  The Professor thinks that’s hilarious.

herbs.jpg

Petraeus/Betrayus

This morning, on all of the news shows, they are asking all of the Democrats on the news shows to denounce MoveOn.org for their Petraeus/Betrayus ad.

I am incensed that they have not asked the Democrats to denounce the folks who used to call me Betsy-Wetsy or my brother Bart the Fart (although, in all fairness, I might have been the biggest ‘Bart the Fart’-er).

If we can’t count on the Democrats to denounce all schoolyard taunts, how can we count on them to lead America?

Jesus Wept.

The following makes me so angry I am out of words for it.  When a judge can look at a woman standing before him trying to get an order of protection against her husband and tell her to “go back to Nicaragua,” even though she’s here legally, even though her children are U.S. citizens (His response to that? “The judge said there were Americans here in this country who could take care of my children.), well, fuck me, America, I just don’t know what to say.

Sean Braisted is more articulate than me.