I’m Beginning to Suspect that the Tennessee Legislature Thinks Women are Just Naturally Lying Liars who Lie

Via Whites Creek Journal, we learn that, on Tuesday, a state house subcommittee will be discussing this nasty piece of legislation, which would require that all babies have DNA tests to prove who their fathers are before the state will list a father on a birth certificate.

It’s an adventure to live in a state in which so many of our legislators come from the perspective of assuming that all women are liars and all men are idiots and if the state doesn’t step in to protect said men, we’d just be out fuckity-fuck-fuck-fucking whosoever we could get our vaginas around and ruining their lives*.

Over at the Crone’s, she makes this point:

If your husband died in Iraq, Afghanistan, or was killed in anyway after conception but before birth, too damn bad. Your child would be a bastard, should this be enacted, simply because the father is no longer available for that mandatory paternity test. Your word that you have not had sex with anyone else is not enough. Thus, your bastard would NOT be entitled to your now dead husband’s Social Security benefits.

I, myself, would make this point. There are a small, but growing number of people who have two genetically distinct types of cells. It is quite possible for these people to father (or in the cases I first heard about) or mother a child from eggs or sperm that have one set of DNA while the cells on the inside of your mouth or in your blood might have a different DNA. Is the State really ready to get into the lawsuits that might erupt when a man who really is a baby’s biological father can’t get on his child’s birth certificate?

*Although, if you are into having women lie to you, fuck you, and ruin your life, more power to you.

Edited to add:  The Vol Abroad brings the feminist criticism.

A Good Evening for a Good Cause

Check this out:


A fundraising performance for Act Like a GRRRL
Part of V-Day’s 10th Anniversary Celebration
Feb 22-23 – 2 nights only!!  
8 p.m.  $18
Belmont’s Black Box Theater (Compton Ave. near Belmont Blvd.)
Tix: 341-0300 or actorsbridge.org

Actors Bridge Ensemble is pleased to present the Nashville Premiere of A MEMORY, A MONOLOGUE, A RANT AND A PRAYER (MMRP) as part of “V to the 10th” — V-Day’s 10th Anniversary Celebration.  Commissioned by Eve Ensler, MMRP is a groundbreaking collection of monologues by world-renowned authors and playwrights, like Carol Gilligan, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Kathy Najimy and Moises Kaufman. These writings are inspiring, funny, angry, heartfelt, tragic and beautiful. Together they create a true and profound portrait of how violence against women affects all of us.

Actors Bridge was the first to bring V-Day’s THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES to Nashville in 2000.  Now, we are honored to be the the first to bring MMRP to local audiences.

Directed by Vali Forrister, MMRP features Annie Sellick, Mike Eldred, Thandiwe Shiphrah, OlaOmi Akalatunde, Rebekah Durham, Rachel Agee, CJ Tucker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, David Chattam, Kanya Lai, Alicia Ridley, Jessika Malone and the Rev. Becca Stevens.  

Friday night author Carol Gilligan will read her monologue from the collection.

Proceeds from this production will benefit Act Like a GRRRL.

For more information, directions and tickets, visit actorsbridge.org or call 341-0300.

Good Work if You Can Get It

I went over to see the College Professor yesterday and she was telling me the craziest story, about how the woman who used to be the English Department secretary when I was there has gone on to write a book and become a famous Christian self-help author.  We went to look at her book’s website both to be mortified and tickled.

See, on the surface, if you don’t think about it too much, it’s kind of a heartwarming story.  Her husband has a sexual addiction, she finds out about it, there’s much crying and praying, and she discovers she has an addiction as well, and there’s crying and praying, and God heals them and sends them forth into the world to share their ministry with others.

But as you start to delve into the details… Well, that’s where it starts to get weird.  First, his sexual addiction was sneaking around looking at porn and masturbating.

No, really, that’s it.

A grown guy looking at porn and masturbating.

You’d think that she might focus on the whole “sneaking around” aspect of it, which to me, is the obvious problem, not the whole looking at porn and masturbating aspect, which seems to me to be mundane and normal.  I’d be more worried if my husband had no desire to, at least, masturbate.

And her addiction?  What she helps other Christian women overcome?  She’s addicted to love.

Yes, addicted to love.

But what really has me tossing this over in my mind is how, as the College Professor pointed out, there’s something weirdly subversive about this whole thing. I mean, sure, on the one hand, I don’t want anyone running around telling women that there’s anything wrong or problematic about genuinely loving other people.  And I think it’s cruel to turn something that’s as natural as burping and farting and scratching a good itch into some referendum on your marriage.

But look at what she’s managed.

Here’s a woman in a very conservative branch of Christianity, who is supposed to let her husband lead her and who cannot get divorced, and who believes that looking at porn and masturbating is a sin against God and an infidelity to your marriage, and who believes that it is the woman’s job to keep the husband satisfied.  In other words, if she’s not enough for him sexually, nine times out of ten, her belief system is going to blame her for failing as a woman.

In the face of those odds, in the face of being humiliated when her husband’s “sexual addiction” was discovered when his car was towed from an adult bookshop, she’s managed to find a way to publicly shame him every dang time she gets before a group (which appears to be at least twice a month), build a career based around how he did her wrong, and be the center of their marriage, since he seems to have quit his job to support her burgeoning career as a public speaker.

So, in spite of her belief system’s views on the proper role of women, she’s able to publicly say that her husband has done her wrong, she’s able to hold down a job, she’s able to be the primary bread-winner in the family, and she’s able to make her career all about the ways in which her husband is an inadequate husband and Christian, and she still looks like the good wife.  And she goes around teaching other women how to do what she’s done!

It’s not exactly feminism as I would recognize it, but it’s subversive in a way that I can appreciate, even as it appalls me.

It got me thinking, too, about this story from the Scene this week about the inevitable problems the Southern Baptists are going to have with sex abuse (and let’s just be clear, this is a problem all denominations have or are going to have; it’s just dogging the Southern Baptists at the moment because there are so many Southern Baptists) and how part of the problem is that the pastors have the authority to speak and be heard and the accusers–because they’re young or women–don’t.

In Which I Admit I Was Wrong About Bill Hobbs

Earlier in the week, via Tiny Pasture, I learned that Bill Hobbs thinks that Republicans are happier than Democrats.  And I admit that I scoffed at such a thing.  I realize that the chief propagandist for the Tennessee Republican Party has to portray being a Republican in the best light possible, because part of his job is to bring people into the fold.  But are Republicans really so much more happy than Democrats?  I kind of doubted it.

Until I realized what makes Hobbs happy.

See, I had been assuming that Hobbs, like me, is made happy by simple things–families that love each other, smooches from a sweetie, loyal friends, good food, a perfect metaphor, a song you can dance to.  And, by those criteria, he doesn’t seem much happier than me.  Kind of less, actually.

And I was imagining that, if I had to get up every day and espouse letting 18-24 year olds arm themselves against their college professors (I guess that would end the pop quiz right quick.  Could you imagine?  You could study for a test or you could just get you and your buddies to set your guns on the table within arms’ reach.  And could you imagine the fraternity parties when they all have guns?) or denying children loving homes or lying to them about the way the world works, I’d be pretty miserable.

But, y’all, I have come to realize that that’s what makes him happy.  He imagines campuses full of drunken idiot teenagers armed to the teeth, not (often) killing each other only because of the threat of mutually assured destruction, but ever ready to menace professors and the administration and that pleases him.  He imagines older children and teenagers shuffling through the foster-care system without ever finding a permanent home and, as long as it also hurts people who aren’t or can’t be married, he feels good.  And, if he can aid in spreading idiocy by supporting legislation that would hamstring teachers and keep them from giving information to children that goes beyond what the most ignorant of parents want their children to know, he’s all for it.  (I mean, seriously, have you ever heard of such a thing?  It’s called ‘learning’ because the process involves finding out about things you don’t already know about.  What Hobbs is advocating–letting parents limit not only what their own children can learn, but what all children can learn, based on their own fears and prejudices, is practically child abuse.)

So, I concede, Hobbs is probably happier than me, because the things that make him happy are evil and we all know there’s plenty of evil to go around.


As a side note, it seems to me that, if tragedies like the one at NIU really could be prevented from having more armed folks on campus (and it seems to me that the presence of more guns isn’t a guarantee of that, just because having a gun and being able and ready to use it when the shooting starts is not the same thing–look at what soldiers have to go through to train themselves to not automatically flee situations, but to remain calm and react to them), the solution is to have something similar to air marshals–people who look just like anyone else, but are armed and trained to shoot to kill.