The Aftermath

Is the Clairmont Lounge a Feminist Strip Joint?

As the Professor and I were lounging in the hammocks in my back yard, drinking lemonade and looking over the freshly-weeded garden, we began contemplating whether you could consider the Clairmont Lounge a feminist strip joint.

As y’all may remember, Exador took me there once upon a time and I loved it. And the Professor went recently and she also loved it.

And this whole discussion is going to cause me to have to say something nice about Exador, so let me just do it up front.  Exador might be a right-wing, gun-nut, quasi-fascist, wrong-headed, un-funny white man, but, in person, he likes women. When we went to the Clairmont Lounge, I never once heard Ex dogging on the way the women looked or acting like he was better than the women he was paying to watch take their clothes off, unlike some liberal men. In fact, he appeared to be roundly having a grand time and delighted to be able to be there. In the context of this post, I think that makes Exador almost feminist.  To which I say, “Try to wash the taint of that off, Ex, just try! Oh, I’m sorry, were you saying something, Feministador?”

Ha ha ha ha ha.  Feministador.  Damn.  That’s going to tickle me for the rest of the afternoon.

Where was I?

Oh, yes, can the Clairmont Lounge be considered a feminist strip joint? I mean, as much as any strip joint can be?

Sure, there’s the whole “As long as men sit around and pay women to perform sexually for them, it can’t be feminist” angle.  But I’m still not sure.  To me, the Clairmont Lounge really exposes the problem with the whole “burlesque dancer” v. “stripper” dichotomy, where we all sit around and pretend that burlesque is okay, because the women are powerful and it’s kitchy and fun and everyone’s having a good time, but stripping isn’t because it’s all men exploiting desperate women.  Well, what about a strip club like the Clairmont Lounge, which is kitchy and fun and sure as hell not burlesque?

And, if you can’t escape the compromises of the Patriarchy anyway, no matter what you do, if everyone’s consenting, and everyone’s having a good time, is working at the Clairmont Lounge any worse than working anywhere else?  Somehow less feminist? A woman making her own money?

I don’t have an answer, but I thought it might be an interesting discussion to have.

Take ‘Em Away

I have a love/hate relationship with Old Crow Medicine Show.  (And I have a sense of deja vu that I have written this post before, but what the hell? If you can’t hear me tell you the same things eighty times, you’re not truly knowing me.)  I love them, but it’s a cringing love and I know it has something to do with authenticity, but dear god, who can be authentic in this country? In this world?  I just don’t know.

Anyway, I love “Take ‘Em Away” unabashedly. First, I love it because it sounds like a song you could sing.  There’s nothing extraordinary about the delivery and the accompaniment sounds like something even I could learn to pick out in a half an hour. In other words, it’s a song that begs you to take it with you, not just in your iPod, but in your throat, and you can sing it when you need it.

But, on top of it being a song that encourages you to sing it for yourself, it’s really, really nicely written.

The simplicity of the delivery lets the complexity of the verses kind of easily slide past, but linger here:

Some birds feathers are too bright to be caged/ I know I’m not that colorful, but a bird just the same

Open up your gate now, let me put down my load/ So I can be at ease and go back to my home.

I really think this is a genius way to start a song.  It establishes the whole tone of the song–that this is a song sung by an ordinary man, who wants the things that fancier people want, and that this is a man who wants to return to his land, but cannot.  That’s what you’re going to hear over and over again, in each verse.  But here’s what makes me just about die of jealousy.  Look at how he both makes you feel like you’re hearing the actual words of a person, by not actually rhyming any of the lines, and keeps you in the thrall of the song by tying each of those lines together with the sounds of the last vowels.

And that line, “My heart is broken, ’cause my spirit’s not free.” just about takes all the air out of your lungs with how perfect it is.

CCA Not in the Business of Having a Conscience

Hispanic Nashville Notebook has information on the new documentary about children locked in the Hutto prison. John also has an interview with the CCA spokesperson.

I quote this part because I refuse to be alone in having my mind boggled by the sheer audacity of it:

Our government customers don’t ask us our opinions on the moral implications. … They make public policy decisions. … Once those decisions have been made, they decide “Is the public government sector going to manage these individuals, or is the private sector?” … We are not in the business of making moral decisions on U.S. public policy. … Where we can have an influence is in our own facilities.

I just have two questions–one, then where the hell has the influence on your own facilities been? And two, if you, as U.S. citizens who own the U.S. company that ICE turns to when it’s up to something, feel no responsibility to make moral decisions about U.S. public policy, what the fuck is wrong with you?!

What if ICE had come to you and said, “Our new policy is to just shoot the kids. Are you on-board or do we have to take our money elsewhere?” Could we have counted on you to make a moral decision then? Or would that, too, have fallen under the umbrella of “Oh it’s about government v. private sector, not about moral v. immoral.”

Seriously, that Louise Grant can say out loud to another person that her company–which the government hired to incarcerate children, many of whom are U.S. citizens, who have not committed any crime, who have done nothing wrong, and been denied due process–is not in the business of making moral decisions on U.S. policy really, frankly, to me proves that they should not be in the business of incarcerating anyone at all.

Louise Grant, if not you, then who?