Craisins

Why is there not a song about craisins I can sing when eating them at lunch?  I want to be bopping along, eating my craisins, and singing my craisin song.

Maybe something like

Craisins, craisins, give me a handful, do

I’m half crazy all for the love of you

You’re not too fancy a dried fruit

But to me you’ll more than suit

And you taste fine upon the tines

Of a fork made for two.

Ha, speaking of which, the Professor noted last night that everything at that pizza place over on 12th that is larger than a serving comes in a serving large enough for three people.  It’s as if they’re encouraging polyamory.  I think we should start that rumor and see if we can get church folks to boycott it.

How I Think It Gets Marketed to Me

I have Bitch PhD in my blogroll and yet somehow I missed out on this nonsense, but Shannon brings us up to speed. I don’t want to dwell too much on the controversy itself–the idea that Bitch has more discretionary funds available to her a month than the Butcher makes and yet that she still feels like she doesn’t have enough money to get by is so ludicrous that I really don’t know how to process it. One of the commenters over at WOC PhD, Profacero says

A friend and I noticed years ago that claiming poverty was a trope among upper middle class women without jobs of their own. At the time we decided it was a screen for a different statement, “I am feeling constrained by the way I am positioned in patriarchy, but I am not willing to give up the benefits I gain from remaining in this position.”

And I think that’s the wise truth of it.

I get suckered into the whole “If we’re all women and we’re all feminists, we must all be in it together” thing as much as the next person. What bothers me is that I’m so white when it comes to this shit. And what I mean by that is that I’ve internalized this idea that the concerns of moneyed white people should be my concerns and that, sure, I’m struggling now, but if I just continue to behave, I will eventually be rewarded, maybe not handsomely, but rewarded nevertheless by having my concerns finally line up with the concerns of moneyed white people.

I feel the implicit promise that, if only I work hard enough, I will make it, even if I, myself, don’t want what “it” is.

I think. maybe, this comes from growing up with modest means. In order to differentiate ourselves from other people of modest means, I think I felt like I should act “classy.” In other words, I should act like a member of the middle class, even though I wasn’t–not that there were any middle class people by most measures out there in rural Illinois for us to use as a guide, but no matter.

This is just a long way of restating that I think Profacero is onto something at another level as well–that many white people, including me, can sense our own discomfort, but are so socialized in certain ways that actually being able to name our discomfort correctly is very difficult for us.

The other thing I appreciate about WoC PhD’s post is that it reminds me that I see all around me institutions that are clearly racist and sexist and inaccessible to all kinds of people and that trade on making folks like me trapped by it and complicit in it and afraid to tell the truth about it.

Here’s a truth I know: Where I work, you can tell what job someone has by their gender and race. Hispanic men have jobs that rarely let them come in contact with white people, especially white women–such as groundskeepers. Black people by and large have service jobs where they will come in contact with white people–such as delivering the mail or serving food. Almost all administrative support is provided by white women. If there’s a black administrative assistant, you can bet good money she’s got a black boss. White women who are not providing administrative support tend to wear less makeup and less office appropriate clothing (either by wearing jeans or really expensive clothing); they also tend to keep different office hours than the support staff.  Black people who are not in service jobs signal that by wearing expensive clothing.

There are people here–usually men–who are not required to usually show up to work.  They are paid huge salaries.  Once every year or so, they might be required to be here about three hours a week for four months.  They may also choose to spend more time here if needed.  There are people here–either people just starting out in their careers or women–who are required to be here three hours a week for four month increments.  They are not paid enough to live on.

We have a living wage campaign that I sincerely believe will never be allowed to succeed not just because of the inherent problems of paying groundskeepers and cleaning crews what it costs to live in Nashville, but also because, if they paid people at the bottom a living wage, they’d have to pay the administrative assistants a living wage, and they might have to pay everyone who works here a living wage, which would mean that either they’d have to come up with some money or they’d have to ask some folks to take less money and there’s no one willing to take less money, even if it means fairer wages for everyone else.

God, this post is meandering, but my point is that a person can be of three minds–like a tree in which there are three blackbirds–you can be fucked up, you can want to promote justice, and you can want to preserve yourself.  Sometimes those things work together.  Sometimes they work at cross-purposes.   You can feel uneasy; you can ask the wrong questions about your unease; and you can not know that you’re asking the wrong questions.

Even the brightest and smartest of us.

This is not right.  This is not getting at exactly what I want to say.  I want to say that I have these puzzle pieces that appear to all go to the same puzzle, but I’m not sure.  Even if they do, I’m not sure how to make them fit together.

So, I want to bring in what Blackamazon says, too, that there’s something weird about the lack of thankfulness.  I don’t know.  It’s as if we aren’t getting the message we’re sending.

Ha, yes, I think that’s exactly what folks who critique feminists and leftists in general are trying to say–we’re not getting the message we’re sending.

If we know the deck is stacked against us, why are those of us who get a little farther along so determined to forget it?  We live in a system and we know we live in a system in which we can never be sure that we’ve earned, free and clear, anything…

Okay, wait, (god, this is going to give Shannon fits), but it seems to me that another name to call “resiliant thankfulness” is joy, which I might want to consider in terms of ethical pleasure.

But where is the notion that, when you’re on the side of right, even when the struggle is long and hard, we do it because we’re thankful?  And we’re thankful because being thankful reminds us that we’re resiliant.

So much to think about.

It’s hart stuff to talk about, though, or even to get at.  We are going to have to work together, if we want to get anything that resembles real justice done, and yet, we white women still do run around the feminist blogosphere, and the world, with big clumsy boots and people get hurt, sometimes on purpose, sometimes inadvertently.

I don’t know any way around that.  And I’m not looking for absolution or forgiveness about it.  To stand in front of someone and say, “Oh, I suck so much in comparison to you” is just as disrespectful as standing in front of her and saying “Oh, I’m so much greater than you.”

I want to stand before you in all my flaws and be seen and recognized as a human being.  I want to see you, flaws and all, and recognize a human being.

I want to laugh and bring down giants.

And I want to have the graciousness, when being laughed at myself, to see the stupid thing I’m doing and step back and laugh along, too.

Out of Sorts

I’m out of sorts.  Unsettled.  A little tipsy, too, which probably makes it worse.  I should just go to bed rather than try to get to the bottom of it but it’s hard for me to just let shit go.

Lately, there have been some moments when I’ve been happier than I’ve been in a long, long time, some good moments that have just felt like there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing than being there in them.

It kind of makes me sick to my stomach.  Not at the moment, but afterwards. 

I should pray to be open and present and brave, but that seems like a prayer that would be impossible for me to make.  I guess that’s why I should do it.

I watched Ghost Dog.  Again.  I suspect there’s something important in that movie that I’m just not getting.  The dog, for starters.  And yet, it seems like the kind of movie that should reward thoughtful thinking about it.  It doesn’t though, really, I don’t think.

I’m no good at things that don’t reward thoughtful thinking about it.

I have this feeling like I’m fucking things up but I can’t see what, if anything, I’m fucking up.

The Professor was trying to tell me tonight, I think, that I’m too hung up on being good, too worried that my actions might betray me as being a bad person.

This may be true.  See, it’s a line of thought that rewards thinking about it.

Fuck.

I should just go to bed.

T for Tennessee!

Kwach and Ev are pondering a weekend trip to Tennessee.

They wonder, Memphis or Nashville?

Either place makes a wonderful weekend destination.  In Nashville, you can visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, the honky tonks down on lower Broad, the Frist Museum, the State Capitol, and a life-sized replica of the Parthenon complete with the largest indoor statue in the Western Hemisphere.

If Civil War stuff is your thing, the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society has a wonderful driving tour that will take you all around to important points.  Also, a nice afternoon drive is down to Franklin where there’s more Civil War stuff and a charming downtown to explore.

On the other hand, Memphis.  Sun Records, Graceland, the Stax Museum, Schwab’s Dry Good’s Store, Ebbo’s, and you’re an easy drive from Clarksdale and some of the most important places of our musical heritage.  Shoot, even if you’re not a Delta Blues fan, if you love Led Zepplin, Cream, and the Stones, you’ll recognize a lot of the place names.

If it were me, I’d check the weather.  It’s not going to get any hotter than 80 here all weekend–beautiful weather for a Nashville trip.  Ooh, and similar weather in Memphis.

Is it still humid over there?  Does anyone know?

Tough choices but either place will be fun.

Crying Won’t Help You; Praying Won’t Do You No Good

I don’t want to get into some discussion of William and what he’s doing over at NiT.  In all honesty, I don’t expect anything from NiT any more and what I loved about NiT is now happening over at Music City Bloggers and so it doesn’t hurt my feelings if NiT is just “William Blabs about Shit.”  And I would read WBaS.  So, there you go.  It probably reflects poorly on me, but it’s the truth.

That’s a hella long disclaimer for what just amounts to a “Holy shit, we’re all going to die!”

This is not just a Republican problem, as much as I would like to blame everything on Bush and have him so weighed down under the stress of it that he has to roll everywhere he wants to go because standing is too much of a burden.  Problems like this don’t just happen over night.  They creep up over years and years and years and this is stuff that we all should have been watching.

Yes, the Corps is responsible, but who oversees the Corps?

Listen, Tennessee, and learn from the continued suffering of our friends and neighbors along the Gulf Coast.  In all honesty, we should hope to be treated better, but we should be planning for that.  What is our plan if one or the other of these dams fail and outside help is not coming?

How will we aid our fellow Tennesseans?  Are we equipped to rescue folks in Carthage?  Are we depending on the National Guard?  What if they’re all overseas?  Can city, county, and state police be mobilized for such a purpose?  And, if they’re doing search and rescue, who will be guiding evacuation efforts farther down river?

Can we make a plan or two in the event that no one comes to save us?

Gentlemen, Help Me Understand

Dear Gentlemen,

Being a radical leftist feminist communist lesbian baby-killer, I mostly interact with men just to have sex with them so that I can abort the resulting pregnancies and laugh with all my girlfriends at how much their penises resembled tiny fungi while I vote Democrat and plot the overthrow of the Republican party here in Tennessee all while baking Egalia cakes shaped like yonis.  So, I don’t really understand y’all.

See, there’s this politician  here in Tennessee who’s going through some stuff and done something incredibly dumbass for which he probably needs to take some time off to either spend it in jail or getting his head on straight or both.  He’s a Democrat.

So, of course, the Republican bloggers are all gleeful about his downfall.  I understand that.

Here’s what I need help with.  Is David Oatney yanking his readers’ chains?

See, it’s just that I’m not sure how it works with Republicans.  With Democrats, if you want to sleep with someone, you either say, “Hey, seriously, I’d like to fuck you.  It’s all I can do to not fuck you right now and I think, by the way you’re looking at me, that you might want to fuck me, too, and, as it turns out, I’ve got some time right now.  What about you?” or you get drunk and flash them and hope they get the idea.

But Republicans have secret foot-taps and secret meth-addled hookers and secret meeting places and secret mistresses and secret secrets and so I’m just not sure if Oatney is attempting to make a legitimate point or if he’s sore that Briley never asked him out.

In the “attempting to make a legitimate point” column we have:

1.  Oatney’s married.

2.  Come on!  Campfield might be a dick, but he’s better looking than Briley.  If you were going to be sore about a state legislator refusing to play “cock fight” with you, wouldn’t you crush on Campfield long before Briley?

3.  Um, yeah, really all I have is those two.

In the “signaling to fellas ‘on the downlow'” column there’s:

1.  His objection to Briley’s “prudish” behavior.

2.  His favorable noting of another Democrat’s “being fond of mattresses.”

3.  His favorable noting of men who will take him out to dinner.

4.  And that’s it.

So, see, it’s entirely possible that Oatney wrote that whole column legitimately attempting to criticize Briley’s actions.  My mind could just be in the gutter.

But I don’t know!  What’s wrong with being “prudish”?

Perplexedly yours,

B.

Happy Birthday, Mom

It’s my mom’s birthday today.

We were talking in Montreal about mothers and about how motherhood and the potential for motherhood are just not compatible with this idea of “the individual.”  How can you talk about a person as an individual when there might be two people in that body?’

I feel my mom with me all the time, some part of her broken off and packed away inside me, an inheritance from the women who gave her an inheritance.

Shall I Never Go to the Park Again?

Elaine Vigneault believes that pet ownership is wrong, specifically that owning a dog is wrong.

There’s a whole level of offensiveness to this argument along the lines of owning pets is akin to owning slaves that I’d like to bypass (for a while, at least).

I’d like to just talk about dogs and humans. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that dogs were domesticated about 10,000-12,000 years ago. And then we learned to farm. And read and write. In other words, it wasn’t just that the wolf became dog by our interactions; we became “us” because of the dog.

It makes no sense to me to argue that people should not own dogs. Without people, there is no such thing as ‘dog.’ There are just wolves. Do militant animal rights activists really want to do away with the dog as an animal?

Also, how can one argue against dog ownership if the dogs don’t mind? When I’m sleeping, if it’s just me, Mrs. Wigglebottom curls up in the crook of my leg. If she were enslaved, wouldn’t she rip my throat out? When she gets off-leash, she could run off. Instead, she just waits for me to fix her collar and we move on.

Being a pet is not a bad gig for a dog. They get food and shelter and medical care.

But I was thinking about how some of the animal rights activists wanted to make an exception for service dogs. And I kind of want to say, in response to that, it must be nice to live in your world.

I don’t have that luxury.

I’m able to live where I live without fear because I have a dog.

I go to the park when I want to regardless of other people’s schedules, because I have a dog.

I am happy to get in my car and drive by myself to my parents’ house seven hours away because I have a dog.

There’s not a place I’m afraid to drive when my dog is in my car with me.

There are very few places I’m nervous about walking when my dog’s with me.

I barely give being home alone a second thought because my dog is here.

I am not afraid of strange men coming up and talking to me when I have my dog with me.

I’m not afraid of exploring new places.

And so on.

I’ll admit that I’m more neurotic than your average person.

But I look at my brothers and my male friends and I see them moving through the world without fear. They think nothing of going where they want and doing what they want when they want to do it. Even by themselves.

The closest I come to feeling that way is with Mrs. Wigglebottom.

And to suggest that my freedom is immoral because I have to own a dog in order to have it? That’s so offensive to me. That, in order to be a good feminist, I should concede living in fear of the world, because owning dogs is unfair to the dogs.

When, again, is it my turn? First I had to wait for men to get their shit straightened out before I could be truly free and now I have to wait until my freedom doesn’t hurt potential human life before I can have it and now it turns out that even dogs are in line for human rights before me?

Ridiculous.

Earth

I’ve just finished reading The Black Madonna in Latin America and Europe: Tradition and Transformation which is not the book I was looking for, which was La Llorona’s Children: Religion, Life, and Death in the U.S.-Mexican Borderlands, which sold before I could remember where I saw it.

Anyway, The Black Madonna.  The book is not very good in some really not very good ways.  For one thing, the author tells you what she’s going to do in a chapter, does it, and then tells you what she did, which, as you know, is against my religion.  She also has this annoying habit of using a term a couple of times before she defines it.  These are all bad habits we might blame an editor for not beating out of her.

But then there are some factual errors, like Friday being sacred to Freyja instead of Frigg, and a heavy reliance on Barbara Walker’s stuff, which, as you know, I love, but don’t trust.

And I’m not sure that I am comfortable with her matter-of-fact statement that, before the Indo-Europeans showed up in Europe, Europe was a matrifocal, matrilineal, peaceful paradise of mother earth goddess worship.  One would be, I think, hard-pressed to back that up, though it makes an intriguing theory.

Some folks like to look at the various mythologies of Europe and try to draw conclusions from their similarities.  Like how most European creation myths seem to have a younger group of gods fighting and killing off an older group of gods (or in the case of the germanic folks, fighting and then learning to live with an older group of gods).  It makes folks wonder if this isn’t a story of the Indo-Europeans bringing their gods with them as they swept across Europe and what happened when their religion displaced the religions of the earlier peoples.

Or some speculate that these might be stories about how certain gods could travel–Like Odin, Wotan, Goten and Thuner, Thor and Frey, Ing etc. because they were not attached to the land, but that each new place had its own goddesses, tied to the earth, which is why you have Eostre one place and Holda another and Frigg a third–all earth goddesses, all slightly different, distinct goddesses.

I consider myself to be a hard-core polytheist, but I recognize that Wotan and Othinn are the same god in two languages.  I don’t, however, believe that Odin is Mercury, though I see why the Romans would have thought so.

This book is kind of shaking my ability to see these mother goddesses as anything other than fragments, hints at someone larger and older, though, and that’s what I want to talk through.  Basically, what the author is doing is mapping the ways in which attributes held by older goddesses were given to Mary so that people who wanted to continue to worship a female god could.

And so we see these things associated with Mary that are also associated with other goddesses–being called “The Queen of Heaven,” being pictured with a cloak of stars, being pictured with wings or a cloak of feathers, having a son she looses to death who is, often, reborn, being associated with water, etc. 

I’ve been trying for a long time to understand the relationship between Frigg, Freyja, and Hel.  There’s been speculation for a long time that Frigg and Freyja were actually the same goddess at some point–perhaps known as Frige.  They share a lot in common.  They both have cloaks of feathers, they have husbands with similar names (Odin and Od), both are called upon to aid childbirth; both are “daughters” of personifications of earth, both are unfaithful when their husbands vanish, and so on.  And it seems to me that Freyja and Hel share things in common, especially with their association with the dead.

It could be that they just seem similar because they are the highest ranking females in each of their tribes–Frigg is the Queen of the Aesir; Freyja is the most important female Vanir we know about; and Hel is certainly the only Juton we know of who has her own land.

It’s just when you start to look outside the pantheon and you see similar attributes attached to other goddesses, well, I begin to wonder.

I wonder, is it like an echo?

Can we imagine our holy folks standing in a great marsh calling into There and each echoing answer pieced together into a thousand lesser goddesses?

Or is it that some things are just sacred?  A bog is neither quite earth or quite water so of course a goddess might make her home there?  There are some things a male god just can’t do, like preside over childbirth, and so, of course, powerful female gods would be called on for such a purpose, right?

I keep thinking of Zora Neale Hurston–we talked about her a lot in Montreal–and her willingness to go see for herself.  Laying on a couch wearing only a sock for a week, if that’s what it took.

I think, in the end, that’s the only strategy you can use–ask your question and be open to the answer.

The Blogroll

Seriously, my blog roll will drive me to drink.  I have done a complete purge I think.  If you want back on, say so, otherwise, I’m just adding folks as it strikes me, when it strikes me, if it ever strikes me again.

Blogging Maxim #3

Of course, there are no rules to blogging, but there are some “truths.”  I have uncovered three.

1.  If you post something without comment, people will assume you approve.

2.  If you post something or make a comment filled with information people did not know, they often won’t comment.

3.  If you are being teased, reacting like a humourless jackass makes people a whole lot less sympathetic to you.

For instance, Lindsay Ferrier wrote a column for the Scene a while back about celebrity gossip and the only good dirt she spilled was that she discovered once, that Martina McBride had not flushed the toilet.

I’ll admit that, upon reading it, my very first reaction was, “Hey, Lindsay, that’s not fair.  What if she tried to flush it and it just wouldn’t go down?  You don’t know.”

Did I think any less of Martina McBride?  No.  In fact, it seemed like she might be able to get another one of her trademark maudlin songs out of the incident–call it “Porcelain Angel,” this time, about a young child who is the victim of some unfortunate something and no one noticed until it was too late and someone was dead, well, except God.  God noticed and the child is much safer now.  Perhaps the child was the victim of overzealous potty-trainers and, trying to prove that he was indeed “not a baby,” he snuck in to use the grown up toilet and slipped in and drown and ever since then, Martina McBride has had a phobia about flushing the toilet.

I don’t know.  It’s just an idea.

My point is that the whole thing was supposed to be funny and that it clearly didn’t reflect poorly on Martina McBride.

What reflects poorly on Martina McBride?

That she has jackasses like this defending her honor.  Seriously, all the sympathy I had for McBride went right out the window because this woman makes it sound like she doesn’t get a joke when she sees it and that, more importantly, McBride should not everbe troubled by lowly stay-at-home moms like Ferrier daring to forget their places and noticing in a humorous manner that McBride is human.

Yes, I Switched

Dear Squirrel Queen,

I switched themes and am now running off all day leaving all problems unfixed, including the fact that I’m momentarily missing a Tiny Cat.

And, if you’d still do a banner for me, it needs to be 904 x 160 pixels and apparently say “Tiny Cat Pants” on it somewhere.

I suck the suck of a thousand suckers, I know.

Your friend in Animals Found in Trees,

Aunt B.

p.s.  How long had we been without the blog roll?  And no one noticed?  Well, it’s back, apparently.  I like it, even if I didn’t miss it.

A Man on a Mission

Y’all, there’s no junk food in my house.  In my fridge is an almost empty gallon of green tea and an almost empty gallon of cran-raspberry juice, along with a lot of beer and wine.

I’m not going to say one thing or another about it to him; he’d really like to be driving the van again for work and this is what it takes.

But America, he’s a pill.  Oh lord is he miserable and grouchy.  I can’t imagine what he was like a week ago.  Thank goodness I was in Montreal.

If you’re praying for my family, for any reason, pray for our Dear Butcher.

Or, good Lord, pray that the government finally takes Peter Tosh’s advice.

The VMAs

Is it just me or has there been no video feed for like 30 minutes?  How has no one noticed and fixed that?

Also, Brittney.  Wow, she kind of sleep-walked through that, huh?

Home, Home, Home, Home, Home!

I am on my way home!  I cannot wait.  I miss my dog.  I miss the Butcher.  I miss saying things in Spanish and having Mack laugh at me saying things like “There’s not such name as “Surge-eee-oh, for starters.”  I can hardly wait to ask him all about pachoco culture and whether he’s old enough to have owned a zoot suit and if he calls me bolillo (or, perhaps, if there is such a word, bolilla) behind my back.  If so, I will challenge him to catos and we will smoke some grifa to make up afterwards.

Ha, I amuse me.

I wish my mom had come to Montreal with me, though I must say that I was surprised how much French I understood, considering that I spent that year of French in high school goofing off and getting stabbed in the face with a pen–Chris Brainard, no I haven’t forgotten, thank you very much*.  She would have had a good time, though and it would have been fun to see her speaking French in public.

I was a little disappointed to see that the Burger King here in the airport is not a Burger Roi, but what can you do.

I keep having dreams that the Professor and I have opened a brothel and our girls consist of Kate O, Rachel, and Coble and some other chicks I don’t know in real life and in some of the dreams I’m trying fruitlessly to serve breakfast while the Professor attempts to prove that there is a God by monitoring the brainwaves of orgasming women in order to pinpoint the exact moment that the universe opened up and poured through them, obviously, right on the kitchen table.  And in the dream this morning, Coble was explaining why she was turning my brothel into a train station, which upset me a great deal.

Also, I am convinced that Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Buffalo Gals” is just about the most fun song ever.

Ah, folks, I am ready to come home.  I’m lonely and I miss the sound of your voices and it’s been a hard trip for me in ways that have deeply shook me.  I guess, at the least, it’ll give me something to talk to the horse therapist about on Friday.

Also, I love my iPod but I’m worried it’ll make me deaf.

And, one last thing.  Please, someone, explain to me two things about the Spanish.  One, what is with all the cheek kissing?  *smack* *smack* *smack* all week long.  Clearly, if I’m going to hang out with Spanish speakers, I’m going to have to overcome my aversion to having strangers get that close to me.  Second, what’s with the b’s and v’s?  Is it vato or bato?

Okay, I think that’s everything.

Keep the light on for me.

*In all fairness, it was a tragic accident.

On Not Being “Nice”

I guess this is kind of an inside baseball post if you don’t follow the feminist blogs.  I’m trying to think how to bring you up to speed without taking a million years.  Let’s play it like this.  Jessica bought a puppy.  Some folks didn’t think that was very feminist of her (because they make the mistake of believing that feminism is a moral position) and, pertinent to our discussion, folks started getting pissed because she didn’t answer them and then didn’t answer them in a way that made her seem contrite enough or something.

Zuzu’s post about the matter is awesome and, if you care about the bigger issues, you should read it.

But between that post and this post over at Pandagon, I’m starting to suspect that there’s a larger issue here.  I think that we, yes, even we feminists, still expect women to be “nice.”  I use the scare quotes because I don’t think that being nice is a bad trait.  I wish there were more nice people in the world.

But I mean “nice” in that way we’re told to “play ‘nice'” or “she’s such a ‘nice’ girl” or all those ways we have ingrained in us that our job is always to put others first and to tend to their needs and to consider their feelings above our own.  What makes this so egregious is that, if everyone is playing that way with other folks we know, there’s not really a problem–in other words, it’s easily sold to folks as a proper way to conduct one’s self, because it does smooth social interactions.

But we women are being groomed not just to put the needs and feelings of people we know above our own, but to put the needs and feelings of people we don’t know above our own.  How the hell are we supposed to do this without a.) being paralyzed into inaction because we can’t actually know what needs and feelings people we don’t know have or b.) being imperialist assholes who assume we know what others need and are feeling in order to put them first?

In other words, putting the needs and feelings of folks we don’t know above our own is bullshit, but it’s bullshit we can’t let go of and bullshit we rarely interrogate.

But look at both of these discussions, how Jessica is being scolded (what a good use of that word) for not putting the needs of dogs she doesn’t know above her own and for not putting the needs of her commenters–their desire for her to feel beholden to them–above her own.  See?  Jessica’s transgression is that she’s not putting the needs of strangers above her own.

And I think the same thing is going on in the comments of Amanda’s post.  It’s not that Amanda is saying something all that new or revolutionary about Ben Folds.  A lot of people think he sucks and for the reasons she mentions.  It’s that she’s not putting the feelings of Ben Folds or the imaginary narrator of the song before her own.

Check out those comments and see if you disagree.  I mean, I could imagine a man writing exactly what Amanda wrote and not getting this same kind of grief.  It really seems like folks who should know better are viscerally offended that Amanda isn’t putting the feelings of Ben Folds above her own.

I hadn’t noticed this dynamic before, but seeing both of these things erupt in the past few days has brought it into focus for me and I’ll be keeping an eye out for it.

“I just like to tease you”

Y’all, I think someone declared it flirt with B. weekend here in Montreal.  If this is to make up for having the world’s scariest airport, I forgive you, Montreal, I forgive you.

As for Mr. “Oh, here comes B., nothing but trouble,” to you, I say, “Tee hee.”

Just a Suggestion

When you catch someone staring, smile wickedly, lean over and stage-whisper, “You know the best part?  If I press this button here, it can double as a sex toy.” and then laugh heartily and roll away.

Ha.  That tickles me.

My uncle B. used to have a motorized scooter and we used to climb on the back of it when we were at the mall or on long walks or whatever so that he’d have himself and four or five kids all hanging from him and one of us would always be yelling “Faster, make it go faster!”

Aw, rest his soul.

Sportsblogger, Heal Thyself

Excuse me.  I’m slightly drunk on vodka and cranberries and I’ve got a bed full of obsidian-eyed men drowsily offering to run their fingers through my hair and lick me so expertly I swear off English-speakers for life, but I had to interrupt my fun because Martin Fucking Brady said, when talking about Whoopi Goldberg, and I quote:

His mother was 16 when she gave birth to him, and he was her second child. (Whoopi was 18 when she gave birth in 1973 to her daughter, Alexandrea, who in turn went on to have a child herself in 1989 at the age of 16. But I digress…)

and

And girl, get your good self a good map!

and

I have no idea—and neither does Whoopi—why Michael Vick got into dogfighting, but it seems wise when pondering the issue to leave your own stupidity and bigotry at home.

I have no words.  None.  I mean, I consider the performative contradiction to be one of the most exquisite art forms ever, but this goes too far.  You cannot insinuate that there’s something inherently immoral about being a young mother and you cannot call a grown black woman a girl and then turn around and complain about other people not leaving their stupidity and bigotry at home.  Not without running the risk of the universe collapsing in on itself right where you are and crushing you.  It just cannot happen.

That’s it.  I must retire to my bed.

Obsidian

I’m sitting next to a man with eyes as black and shiny as obsidian.  He’s showing me a picture of himself, white bearded, wearing a stocking cap with NY on the folded up part.  He’s sitting on a wall, his hands folded in his lap.  He’s wearing a pea coat and new blue jeans.  His shoes may indeed be polished.  He has a slight grin on his face but because he’s wearing sunglasses in the photo, it’s hard to tell if he’s looking at a woman he’s about to embrace or at an old enemy he’s finally going to finish off.

Not all old men can wear the clothes of young men without looking foolish, but he has that sense of his body that boxers have.  In the photo, he’s clearly all present–physically and emotionally.

And sitting next to me, he’s very present as well.  He has this way of sitting in the chair so that his back is turned slightly towards you, so that you must lean in and over him to look at whatever he’s showing you.  It’s not contrived.  It feels very intimate.

It makes me suddenly homesick and I ask him if he’s ever heard of this town in Spain in the Málaga province of Andalusia.  He has and he says the name of the city once to make sure we’re talking about the same place and then again, more slowly, just for the joy of rolling the r.  He smiles at me.  I smile back and he says it again.

He starts to tell me about the Moors.

I am trying not to stare, but his eyes are beautiful.

It makes me think that, in this matter, there are three types of men: men who have no clue, men who know they are bad ass, and men who know that women enjoy them.  I’m sometimes still a sucker for a bad ass man, but I’m coming to appreciate the men who seem confident that women enjoy them.

I guess maybe it’s bad ass, still, but in a way I hadn’t really understood before.

Random Things that Blow My Mind!

1.  Environmentalism as a pagan faith?!  Oh, sanctimonious Christians, you make me laugh.

2.  Speaking of pagan faiths, I saw a book today I mean to buy eventually about how the Virgin of Guadalupe is a border-jumping goddess who’s managed to thrive while the rest of her kind were relegated to the ash heap of history.  Looks very interesting.

3.  It turns out that Joe O’Donnell, the nice old man whose book-launching party I went to at the President of Vanderbilt’s house, who recently died, was a lying liar who lied.  I want to call about eight people back in Nashville and just be all “Holy Shit!  What do you make of that?!”

4.  It’s okay if your town wants to take extra-legal steps to fight illegal immigration, but not okay if your town wants to take extra-legal steps to keep illegal immigrants.  So, we’re for local authority except when we’re against it? I’m not sure.

5.  Oh Southern Democrats.  I’ve got nothing to add to what Mary and Sean have said except to say that the Democrats down here do some fucked up shit.

6.  Yes, I ate the strawberry glaze on the cheesecake.  Yes, I am deeply regretting it and waiting to see just how hard it’s going to get for me to breathe.  I don’t care.  It was worth it.

Who Here Speaks Spanish?

As we say here in Montreal, “Hola, muchachos!”

No, actually, what they say here in Montreal is “Non, madam, vous may not pay with an American credit card,” but that’s another story for another time.  A short story that amounts to “why I haven’t had any chocolate croissants yet.”

But anyway, today I learned an exciting poem.  It goes like this:

El minche de esa rumí
dicen no tenela bales;
los he dicaíto yo,
los tenela muy juncales; 

I don’t know what it means, not speaking Spanish, but I have been assured that, if someone in Andalusia recites that poem in my presence, I will have no trouble getting dark eyed men to smooch me.  I assume it’s some kind of a love charm.  As I do in all matters Spanish, I will rely on Mack’s aid.  Hopefully, he’ll agree to recite it in front of handsome men in order to unleash its power.

The Bed

Okay, clearly, I’m going to Montreal when I die.  I’ve not been good enough to get into Heaven, per se, but I haven’t been bad enough to warrant anything more than an eternity of a town full of escalators and wide open stairwells.

I might could be okay with that, if they let me keep this bed in the afterlife.  It’s enormous, not that that matters, because you don’t really toss and turn in it, nor do you roll around.  I’m going to guess by the lack of crust on my face in the morning that I might even be snoring less in such a bed.

Here’s the thing.  When you get into this bed, it feels like it takes your body to it and nestles you in.  Every part of you is cradled in soft fluffy supportiveness.  Then, you pull the duvet up and it’s light and warm and it settles around you like snow, but comfy.  And you just have a minute to notice all this because once your head hits the pillow and you stop moving, you are out.

And say you wake up having nightmares about open stairways and being chased?  The bed does not allow you that momentary panic where you can’t remember where you are, because you are awake and instantly aware that you are in the most comfortable place you’ve ever been.

So, hurray for the bed.  Now I’m off to find some of these chocolate croissants I’ve heard so much about.