My Dad Predicts the Future

So, my dad calls me up to tell me that a.) they’ve found a house to rent while my mom finishes up her thirty years; b.) that my birthday presents should start dribbling in at any time now; and c.) that, if I want some of their furniture to fill my house with, I’d better buy a house right now.

I apparently forgot to tell my dad that we’re not talking about this, but I said “I’ll do what I can, but I’ve got to find the money” and then he launches into this diatribe about how people working at Sonic buy houses and if they can get a house, I can get a house, and I’m all ‘yes, Dad, I know, but…” and then he’s all like “Why can’t you do this?  I’m just going to sell the dining room table and chairs if you don’t have a place to put them.  What’s wrong with you?”  And I’m all like “I don’t know.” And he’s then “Well, maybe you can see if Mack will let you keep the table and chairs in his barn.  But you know, you can’t impose on him forever.  You can’t just leave your furniture in his barn while you lollygag around.  B. you can’t just leave your things strewn all over the country while you try to get things together.  What about the china cabinet?  And the dressers?  How long are they going to sit in Mack’s barn?”  And I’m all “I don’t have any furniture in Mack’s barn.”

“Yet.” He says, like the future unfolds unerring before him.

Things I Think Are Applicable to Other Things We’ve Talked About

1.  The Rotund makes this point about how people want to suck you in to their diet talk, in part, because dieting is all about performing “goodness.”  Brilliant.  I’m going to be mulling this over, especially in the context of women and our dieting.

Part of dealing with this is understanding that diets have a performative aspect. I’m sure that, somewhere, there is someone who has dieted without ever informing their coworkers and friends and casual acquaintances on the internet and, you know, more power to them. But it seems like the vast majority of dieters can’t stop talking about it and seeking praise and encouragement.

I think this is because dieting and the intentional pursuit of weight loss is fucking difficult. OF COURSE people want encouragement. They are denying themselves sustenance, often pushing their bodies beyond what is in any way healthy, and dealing with the mental and emotional fall-out of self-deprivation and lowered nutritional intake. That sucks. It sucks hard.

And they’re doing all that in a culture that says self-deprivation, especially self-deprivation aimed at weight loss, is a virtuous and good thing. Part of the expected feedback loop of dieting is praise for being “good.”

2.  Demarcationville has a brilliant and thoughtful post about abortion.  I’m especially mulling over what she says about conservatives and abortion.  I knee-jerk disagree with her that it’s not about hatred of women, but I don’t want my knee-jerk reaction to get in the way of an important point.

As far as most conservatives are concerned: women have a choice. They choose if they will or will not have sexual intercourse: they choose if they will or will not use birth control. If they chose poorly, they face consequences. If they refuse to accept responsibility and fulfill the basic obligations of womanhood – then they have failed.

But there’s no hatred here. No blame even. In fact, conservative men accept that we, as women, have a tendency to be flawed in this way and have wearily resigned themselves to picking up our slack. I mean, clearly, without their firm guidance, we will be as we have always been: shallow, weak-minded, easily-tempted, unable to maintain moral integrity and quick to choose the easy way out. So what other choice do they have but to step-up and appoint themselves defenders of defenseless fetuses.

3.  I call it “Everybody loves Cheerios!”  Also, check out how that blue is so shocking contrasted with all the browns.

You Know, As Opposed to those Lazy Americans.

This morning in USA Today, Clinton says:

“I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,” she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article “that found how Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”

And there it is.

Would there have been a better way to phrase this?  Sure.  She could have left out that first “Americans.”  She could have stuck an “and” in there between the first “Americans” and “white.”  She could have said “I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on.  [Look at this article] that found how Sen. Obama’s support among working-class white Americans is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”

That’s the truth.  And that is potentially a problem for the Obama campaign and might be something Democrats might consider*.  And it addresses frankly and openly what folks have been hinting at this whole campaign.

But, come on. 

What she said isn’t frank and open.  It’s mangled politician-speak that came out racist and jingoistic and kind of in direct opposition to her stated goal of building a broader base.  Because, really, once you’ve insulted the non-whites and the white folks with college degrees who work hard and non-hard working white people, who exactly is left?  Some guy named Joe on an assembly line in Peoria?  Francine in Tampa?

I don’t think the next President is going to be some miracle worker.  We sat by for eight years and let George Bush strip from us a whole lot of what it means to be an American.  And a lot of the power he consolidated for himself is going to be incredibly tempting for the next President to keep.  We have gone far off course and the next president is not going to be able to fix it all.  He or she may not even be inclined to fix it all.

I’m not trying to elect a perfect savior. 

I’d like to elect a person who gets that the absolute worst thing Bush has done in his presidency is to bring out in the open and repeatedly codify this notion that “Us v. Them” is the way to run a country–that you can do whatever you want to “them,” that our laws don’t apply to “them,” that if “they” aren’t smart enough to get out of the way of whatever, “they” deserve whatever happens to “them.”  That if you aren’t the right color or the right religion or thinking the right thoughts or saying the right things, even in the privacy of your own home, if you’re fucking the wrong people, if you’re protesting the war or the WTO or police brutality, if you’re too smart or too dumb or too urban or too rural or too poor or too foreign and so on and so on into long choruses of “Song of Myself,” then you aren’t “us” and you deserve whatever you get.

I’d like to just start there, with an end to the overt “Fuck ’em, they’re not with us” of American politics.  And statements like that from Clinton make me think that she doesn’t see a problem with “us v. them.”

I don’t like it.







*Although, I should hope that Democrats also take into account that no one wants to vote for McCain, not even people in his own party.  In places where they’re still having Republican primaries, he can’t even secure 100% of the vote, and he’s the only choice.  It’s not as if this is a situation where the country is almost evenly split Democratic voters v. Republican voters.  We’re turning out a shit-ton more folks who are excited and enthusiastic about voting.  We don’t need a broad coalition to beat McCain.  The dude calls his wife a cunt in public, wants to call in the League of Nations to help win the war on terror, and views the Iraq war as a war for oil.  If we lose to him, it’s time to give up and split into 50 autonomous tiny countries, because we are a nation of idiots.  (see Braisted)


Unless, of course, this is yet another step in the “Blazing Saddles”-ification of our culture.