I’m Reminding You of This Because I Love You

Dear Readers, 

I know it’s spectacularly unpopular to quote those crazy Middle Easterners in this day and age, but y’all have me thinking of Gibran.

You remember his wise words about children?

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of Children.”

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

My friends, it’s best if you think of ideas this way as well.

Your ideas are not you.

I know it’s hard to accept this, especially when you can so deftly wrap yourself in words carefully chosen, and let that package go into the world bearing a bit of your soul.

But that’s not you.  Those are just some ideas you have and that you’ve shared.  They are special and precious but they are not you.

Which brings me to my next point.

Why do we share ideas?

I mean, specifically, why do we share ideas here at Tiny Cat Pants?

To stimulate interesting discussions.

Look, I write shit all the time and I can bet you that half the time NM or Bridgett or Exador or Sarcastro is going to step in and say, “I think you’re off the mark.  Did you consider this?” and I have to admit that I didn’t or I didn’t even know about it.

Does that mean that folks who disagree with my ideas don’t like me as a person?  No it does not.

What, then, is a successful interaction?  When you have furthered the conversation.  If the conversation halts, you have failed to have a successful interaction.

But, if you say something and the conversation keeps going?  If someone jumps in and wants to argue with what you’ve said?  If they want to pick it apart and look at the nuance?

Hello, readers, listen: that is a tremendous compliment.  People’s time and their thoughts are valuable.  If they turn their time and attention to you, it is because they see something valuable there, something worth discussing, something of worth.

Is it hard to be that open to scrutiny?  Yes, it is and, if you’ve not put enough distance between yourself and your ideas, it can feel like a deeply personal attack.  But, I implore you to see it as the compliment it is.

So, to recap:

No one is attacking you as a person; they are discussing your ideas, which are not you, and once they’re out there in the world, only tenuously belong to you.  The fact that people are engaged with your ideas, no matter how weird it feels to have your ideas under that kind of scrutiny, is not anything other than a great compliment.

You will be happier here and happier in the world if you come to accept that.

Love,

Aunt B.

Remedial Feminism

It’s come to my attention that even well-meaning men still believe that feminism is somehow all about them–that it’s about hating men or how we’re the victims of men or how we’re trying to be the same as men (I mean, seriously, Bob Krumm wrote a postbasically mocking women’s desire for equality and not one person gave a shit enough about what Krumm thinks of women to point and laugh, which is something, considering that it proves two of my points simultaneously–1.  That women aren’t sitting around waiting with baited breath to hear what men think about feminism and 2.  That there are some folks who still think that basic things like equality between the sexes is a joke*.).

Anyway, yes, Slartibartfast, who’s over at his place complaining about how I’m forcing him to “accept ‘feminism’ (which is left undefined, so I assume we have to accept the whole movement – even the extremes), or acquiesce to wife beating, pay inequity, and general enslavement of the female gender.”

Aside from missing the point of my post, he clearly missed who the post was written to.

But let me put it simply.  Unless I specifically say that some post on feminism is addressed to men, you men are not the primary audience.  You’re welcome to read along and join in the discussion, but if you imagine that I am talking specifically to you when I’m talking about feminism and feminist concerns, you are missing a basic nuance.

I love you, but you are not my default reader**.

I’m talking to other women. 

Listen, Exador is, by any measure, a handsome man, fun to be around, and, in his own way, charming.  I think it’s reasonable to say that being with him is, in its own way, pleasurable.

When a handsome charming man who heaps pleasures upon women insinuates, even teasingly, that, if only those darn feminists weren’t ruining it, all women could live happily with a man like him?

Well, good god damn, I’m only a person with a wet and welcoming cooter and that’s a person it’s hard not to want to invite in and make feel welcome.

And it’s not just Exador.  Every day we’re faced with men we care very deeply for who define feminism how ever the hell they want and then ask us to renounce those kinds of feminists, if not all feminism.

And when they’re looking so charming and smiling so sweetly and scooting so close you can almost imagine the warmth of their breath on your neck?

It’s tempting.

But it’s also ridiculous.  Feminism is not some scary monster movement full of man-haters.  It’s a movement that has immeasurably improved the lives of women, men, and children.  And the point of my post was a humorous reminder that, if there hadn’t been feminism, life would be very different for all of us.

I bring all this up because Ivy sent me a link to a story about her daughter that just ripped my heart out and pissed me off.

Is this story about men?  No.

Does Ivy want to castrate all men and tie their testicles to the bumper of her car and drive all through town laughing like she won the lottery?  No.

Does Ivy hate men and want to mock and belittle them at every turn?  No.

Ivy wants to be able to walk into McDonald’s and get for her daughter a toy without it turning into a lesson in how either 1.  Boys get all the cool toys and girls have to learn how to put up with shit. Or 2.  Because you’re a girl, you usually only deserve the girl toy, which sucks, but because someone has pointed out that you are “exceptional,” you might be able to get the boy toy.

See how nothing about this has to do directly with boys?  This isn’t an anecdote about boys.  No one is suggesting that any boy should have to suffer or put up with a shit toy.  There’s nothing in this story directly about boys.

This is about a mom who wants her daughter to be able to eat a god damn meal without being taught that shitty things are for girls and cool things are for boys and that, if she wants the cool thing, she has to accept that it’s not really for girls.

That’s feminism.  That right there.  Wanting your daughter to be able to eat a meal without it turning into a lesson on how to eat shit, metaphorically.

That’s all.  It’s both revolutionary and ordinary and I’m embarrassed for you and furious with you that you fathers would mock a movement your own daughters still need.

——–

*It’ll be interesting to see if Krumm finds this as amusing when it becomes his own children who are affected.  Not that I’m in love with the “exceptional woman” exception to women’s shit, but enough “exceptional women” go on to become feminists that I feel it’s a net gain after an initial setback.  I guess you could argue that, though.

**I know it bothers you to have to talk about “male privilege,” but really, gentlemen, getting to assume that you are the primary audience for everything you read and feeling hurt and confused, and feeling that those feelings are justified, when you are not?  That’s a damn big privilege.

Free Advice

W., stop being such an engineer.  No, wait, before you stop being such an engineer, tell me, do you have an Excel spreadsheet devoted to this question?


I suspect you do.


Good god, it’s really a wonder engineers ever get married, with the fretting and the spreadsheeting and the pinning down of everything like life is just a series of bug collections beautiful and frozen in time.


Here are the questions you need to ask yourself before you ask her to marry you.


1.  Do you love her?


2.  Is your life better off with her in it?


3.  When you fight, do you think it’s worth it?


4.  Is she going to ruin you financially?


and, 5., which is the hardest, but most necessary question.  Do you love her for who she is or do you love her for who you think she could be if only she’d get a few minor things taken care of?


But the main thing to ask yourself is this: Do you want to marry her?


What is the first thing that pops into your head?


If it’s anything other than “yes,” let her go to find someone else.


If it’s yes, then what the fuck?  Do it.  Take a leap.


Trust your heart and get hitched.


Granted, I know you’ve got to be considering that, if you marry your Lady Friend, that puts you out of the running for one of my five husbands, but it’s a necessary sacrifice, I think.


Now, get out there and get that woman a ring for Christmas!

What Should Be in Your Tool Box

I’m totally stoked about Lauren’s project and I’m about thirty seconds away from ordering Ivy to write up her "How to keep your car from being repossessed" tips for it, but I’m not sure what I have knowledge of that other people don’t.  Still, I’m going to throw in my two cents.  Feel free to chime in or disagree.  If you have practical knowledge you’d like to share, just post it in a post much like this one, and link to Lauren’s post, and click through so she can find it.

 

What Should Be in Your Toolbox at the Minimum

A flathead screwdriver

A Phillips screwdriver

A hammer that has some heft to it, but is not too heavy for you to use.

A tape measure

A level (or a tape measure with a level) 

A nice variety of little screws

A nice variety of nails and tacks

Electric tape

Duct tape

A lug wrench

An allen wrench

Sharp shears

A good box cutter

Needle-nose pliers

Snub-nose pliers

A crescent wrench

Extension cords

Phone & computer jacks and cords

A set of tiny screwdrivers if anyone in your family wears glasses or likes to play around with electronics 

Some white glue

Some quick drying glue

Some string or twine 

How to Tell If You’re An Ass Who Should Be Shot in the Kneecaps

If you are one of a couple who go to the park and do that “we love to exercise together” crap where you walk for a little bit, run for a little bit, walk for a little bit, etc. and then you bring your dogs with you and you don’t even bother to have leashes with you for them and you’re wandering around the park going “street, Street, STREET, STREET!!!! HEEL, Heel, heel” and everyone can see how your dogs are just wandering around near you but not actually listening because you know what?  Dogs have tiny brains and they are easily distracted by sounds and smells and, oh, I don’t know, the chick with the pitbull in front of you and so no matter how good your dogs might be, believe me, when something more interesting than you catches their attention, that’s what they’re focused on…


Well, if you’re those people and when I ask you to please, please restrain your dogs as you come by us, and you actually turn to me and go “What?” like I’m fucking imposing on YOU, and your idea of restraining your dogs is to keep saying “street, Street, STREET!!! HEEL, Heel, heel” as I have to haul my leashed dog over to the side of the road to get out of the way of your selfish assholy behavior, then you can be pretty sure that if I came upon you later and found your dogs licking at the bloody wounds where someone who has a gun and saw your unconscionable behavior and shot you in the kneecaps, I would laugh and say to myself “street, street, street, heel” as I and my leashed dog walked by.

Formal Shorts

Yesterday, out back of the Corner Pub, I saw a woman in formal shorts.  Well, maybe not formal, but definitely dress shorts.  They looked like suit pants that had been cut off and hemmed at mid-thigh.


I am no fashionista, but this is quite possibly the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen a “sophisticated” woman wear on purpose.


If what you’re doing requires a suitcoat, you cannot cheat and wear shorts and expect to look like a serious business person.


I will say, though, that maybe she could have made it work if she were wearing some kind of light sweater, but even then, she’d have looked like a cruise director.

The One-Man Vernacular Tow Never Ends Well

I grew up in rural America.  I have seen some half-assed things.  I have seen houses with mold stalactites coming down from the ceiling.  I have watched my mom fall through a hole in a porch that was “repaired” by putting some green fake grass carpeting over it.  I have put a washcloth on a baby in hopes that that would hold whatever might come out of said baby until someone returned with diapers.


But never, until I moved to Nashville, had I seen people just towing around other cars with nothing more than a pick-up truck and a rope.


I think that it goes without saying that if you tow a vehicle behind your pick-up truck with nothing more than a rope or a chain you are an idiot.


But at least, if you’re going to be an idiot, be a two-person team of idiots.  This is a hilly city, one, and so you need someone to break when you’re going down hill and you really need someone to sit in the car and steer.


Needless to say, the guy we saw towing a car behind his pick-up truck this morning had not taken such precautions.  As scary as it was, it was also amazing to see.  He got out, aimed the car in the direction he wanted it to go (into the street) and then got in his truck and started driving.  Of course, the car kept going straight, kind of diagonally across the street, and he had to jump out of the truck and grab the steering wheel and kind of scoot along beside the car and yank on the wheel. 


Once he got the car to a stop and it was actually in the road, he got back in the truck, shouted to us “I’m going to need to be in front of you” and started pulling the car up the hill.  The car, as one might imagine, started to gently sway back and forth across the road, first way over to mere inches from us, then way over to the other side almost into the electric pole, then back across almost into the boxy van of the cute neighbor who, unfortunately for him, was running late for work and so almost got hit by a driverless car.


And finally, it was at the top of the hill.


I pulled the dog’s leash and we hurried as fast as we could, because, at that moment, I realized that he intended to take the car all the way to the end of our street, to tuck his piece of shit car in our dead end, hidden from anyone who wasn’t looking for it by the curve of the hill going down into our dead end.  And boy, once I realized he was going to try to put that thing in my front yard, I really wanted to see it smash into his pretty truck once it had the momentum of the hill behind it.


Alas, he must have realized that the slope of the hill would have left him no way to control the momentum of the car, because he let it drift into the grass at the top of the hill and then hightailed it back by us as fast as he could.


I’ll be curious to see how long it sits there.

When Designing a Logo

It’s important when designing a logo for your multi-million-dollar corporation to hire someone who is bitter and snarky (and who could do a passable James T. Kirk impersonation) and mean to honestly tell you if there’s anything about your logo that’s, perhaps, a little hinky.

The Titans, for instance, might have considered whether they wanted to be known forever unofficially as the Flaming Thumbtacks before going with the logo they have.

And a certain university in town which shall remain nameless but rhymes with shmanderbilt might have thought how much the "acorn" on their oak leaf looks like something more likely found in a baby boy’s diaper.  It’s hard to believe that none of the people who looked at that before it was approved noticed.

Or maybe it’s that way on purpose, to raise people’s spirits.  I know I smile whenever I see it. 

I Learn The Hard Way So That You Don’t Have To

If you pick a fight with a large iron chandelier–for whatever reason, I’m in no position to judge–you will lose.

You will, however, also end up with a cool bruise that stretches across the first three knuckles of your right hand and on up your ring finger.

That is all.

—–

Los Angeles

So, it looks like I’ll be going to Los Angeles in October.  Tell me, wise and knowledgeable readers, since I have never been there, is it really so terrible to drive there?  I’m kind of nervous.  Is that the most hick question you’ve ever been asked?

I wonder if all this upcoming travel means I should finally break down and buy a laptop.

Signs Your Marriage May Not Last

They call it the MTV curse, but I think that’s unfair to MTV (ha, words I thought I’d never type in earnest) because it’s not as if being on MTV is what causes these marriages to fall apart–Nick & Jessica, Dave & Carmen, Travis & Sleeping Beauty, etc.  MTV is merely a symptom.

Here’s the thing.  Unless you’re Ozzy Osbourne, no one gives a shit about how your ordinary life is.  Which means that MTV has to Real World you, where they create for you a little storyline and some drama.  If you’re willing to subject your most ordinary, private moments to contrivance, you have issues.  If you’re willing to subject everyone in your family to pretending to be something slightly different than they are–in other words, if you ask your whole family to be “on” all the time, to be performing all the time–just so that you can have the validation of the camera, you’re only asking for trouble.

 Do you see what I’m saying?  If you want the camera to show you that your life is so great that it’s worth watching, and if the people running the camera need you to perform in order to create a life that is so great it’s worth watching, being on camera isn’t going to make you feel better about your marriage, it’s going to make you feel worse.

Though not as bad as when the cameras turn off. 

Free Advice for Academic Authors

Your books should be structured like this: >.  Everything in your book should narrow down and focus your reader on the brilliant argument you’re trying to make.  You start out with all the information your reader needs in order to understand what you’re talking about and narrow in on your point from there like a fabulous tour guide who must point out interesting things and keep the tourists moving along to the seemingly inevitable conclusion.


Tour guides do not share all the information they know with their tour-takers, but they embody that knowledge in such a way that the tourists trust that they have it.


Each chapter though, should be shaped like this: <>.  Or like a lemon, if you prefer organic metaphors.  You should start out by laying the groundwork for why the points in this chapter are so crucial, then balloon out into a meaningful and brilliant argument of your points, and then narrow in on how these points help prove your larger argument.


Many of you do the whole “Tell you what I’m going to say, say it, tell you what I said” thing in such a way that I begin to suspect that you have some inherent, fuzzy understanding of the proper shape of a chapter, but you have the wrong idea about what elements make up that lemony shape.


Also, let’s talk about outside sources.  Here is the unbreakable rule about outside sources (Don’t even start with the “But my discipline is different” bullshit.  If your discipline is different, they are forcing you to write unreadable books and therefore, they deserve to be relegated to the trash heap of history–meaning “the past” not the discipline.  I don’t know where History departments keep their trash heaps.): Either they prove you right or you prove them wrong or they don’t get to be in your book.


No!  I don’t want to hear it.  Either they prove you right or you prove them wrong or they don’t get to be in your book.


Don’t waste time–no, worse than that, don’t do their work for them–by proving how all your hard work just proves that so and so already had the right idea.  You aren’t their publicist.  If they’re so right and brilliant, that’s their business.  Your business is how right and brilliant you are.  Don’t waste space or lose focus by cheerleading for other scholars.


Use concrete examples.  Don’t be afraid to amply integrate your primary source materials.  Don’t be afraid of helpful illustrations.


Also, don’t write for the four people who know more about your subject than you do.  They aren’t going to buy your book.  Write for the five thousand people who are smart and curious but don’t know as much about your subject as they should.


It doesn’t take that much time, effort, or space to bring those five thousand up to speed.  Granted, your book might not sell to five thousand people.  But believe me, you’re going to sell a lot more books aiming for an audience of 5,000 than you will aiming for an audience of four.


So, explain your terms.  Explain why the stuff you’re doing is relevant.  Make sure we understand what the stakes are.  No jargon.  Use precise words everyone can understand, or easily understand once you’ve given them a brief definition, and remove “problematize” from your vocabulary.


Now, get out there and do some good writing!

The Truth Penis

Whereas heterosexual men tend to take the truth better from their buddies than they do random women and

Whereas we heterosexual women aren’t ever going to tell you the whole truth because we’re either in your pants and don’t want you to kick us out, hoping to get in your pants, or leaving open the option that, should we end up being the last two people on Earth, you’d let us in your pants

The Recovering Baptist and I hereby propose the creation of the Truth Penis.

This would be a regular penis-shaped dildo, perhaps snazzily decorated with sequins or feathers, that a girl could keep in her purse and pull out when truth needed to be told. 

The presence of the Truth Penis would create a safe buffer of truth-telling space where we could be totally honest with each other without it affecting our ability to possibly fuck you, should the opportunity present itself.

So, say we’ve been dating and you’re giving me the old "it’s not you; it’s me" speech and I’m not buying it.  I could pull out the Truth Penis and you would then say, "You’re too fat" or "I’m in love with your brother." and I would say, "Thank you for your honesty.  I find the massive amounts of butt hair you have to be both awe-inspiring and kind of gross." or "Well, you’re too stupid for him."

I know!  It’s such a good idea, I can’t believe someone hasn’t come up with it before.  Maybe I could make and market the Truth Penises and become a millionaire…

Brittney and Lindsey Ruin Feminism for the Rest of Us!

My absolute favorite thing about anti-feminists is how they think they’re so smart.  Let’s watch dsmith school Brittney and Lindsey over at Nashville is Talking.


Brittney comments favorably about a post Lindsey wrote about the ridiculousness of having hot chicks work as caddies even when said hot chicks know nothing about golf.


First, dsmith comes in with the Quotation Marks of Justice:



It amazes me why self described “feminists” (Brittany, I don’t know about Lindsey) always have to dump on women who don’t think “oogling” is the same as objectifying.


Both sets of quotation marks in this quote are supposed to alert the reader that both things in the quotation marks aren’t really things that need to be taken seriously.  What’s a little oogling between male golfer and hottie caddie?  What’s this feminism Brittney’s always going on about?  I love, too, how dsmith throws in the “self described.”  As if there’s some outside board who meets twice a year to decide who’s in the feminist club and who’s not.  Oh, Brittney and Lindsey, you poseurs!  You’re not real feminists; you just call yourselves that.


Then dsmith demands to have his or her questions answered.  “For me, please? I want to know what you have a problem with. Seriously, I’m interested.” and “What say you?”  As a rhetorical strategy, it’s akin to dsmith saying, “I determine what is right and wrong.  I hold and am used to wielding authority.  If I can’t see what your problem is, your saying that there’s a problem is never going to be enough for me to take your word for it.”  See, so not only must Brittney and Lindsey have a problem, they must convince the mighty dsmith that their problem is worthy of his or her consideration.


And then he or she again demands that the discussion be held on his or her terms–“I can’t rebut any further until you explain why you said this.”


And, in a genius flourish at the end, dsmith writes:



Brittney,


Do you believe in a woman’s right to choose?


Isn’t the essence of a “woman’s right to choose” is what she can and can’t do with her own body (as long as it hurts no one else)?


I think you so called “feminists” have done women a major disservice.


Either that, or you’re just a hypocrite on this issue.


Holy god, it’s beautiful.  No, just look at it.  There are the Quotation Marks of Justice letting the reader know what things dsmith doesn’t consider even valid.  Then there’s the deliberate misunderstanding of what a woman’s right to choose means, framing it as a general philosophy of life (Like the feminist movement is about turning all women into giant 14 year olds–” I can do whatever I want because I’m a woman and you’re not the boss of me!  You can’t tell me what to do.”) instead of a political stance about reproductive freedom.  Then there’s the insisting that Brittney and Lindsey have done women a major disservice.  And the name calling.


It’s practically a primer on how to argue like a jackass against feminists.


1.  Be sure that the feminists know you don’t take their perspective seriously.


2.  Demand that the conversation go forward on your terms, even though you are not an instigator of said conversation.


3.  Deliberately misunderstand the feminists.


4.  Condescend, condescend, condescend.


Bravo, dsmith.  Bravo.  Well played.

Homosexual Powers

So, the Butcher and I are watching MSNBC and they’re covering all of the "controversy" surrounding the new Superman movie.  And the girl talking head asks the boy talking head, "So, is this the gay Superman?" and the boy talking head responds that it does indeed seem to have a certain gay sensibility, because there are so many lingering shots of Superman’s body.

Okay, let’s never mind that Superman has been flying around in skin tight underwear since his inception in the 1930s, wearing eye-catching red briefs designed to invite the viewer to linger and ponder all of his super abilities.  And let’s never mind that Superman has girlfriends and, apparently, a child.

The question is not "So, in this movie, is Superman a homosexual?" but something more "sinister": Is this a big gay movie about Superman?  Does watching this movie and enjoying it mean I’m gay?

Okay, I don’t actually know if that second part is implicit in the question, but there seems to be no other explanation.  Superman is clearly a heterosexual.  It’s true that some superheroes seem to have gay subtext, but Superman’s subtext seems to all be about being madly in love with a woman who all evidence suggests would love you if only she could see the real you, but, alas, she thinks you’re something of a square.

So, what exactly could possibly make Superman a "gay" movie?  Because it’s directed by a gay man?

If so, holy shit, homosexuals, you are a bunch of idiots!  No, seriously, I’m sorry to have to be so harsh with you, but there it is: you are idiots.  You may not have noticed but this country is a little hostile towards you.  We don’t let you get married.  When you make elaborate contracts with each other in order to protect your rights and wishes, we take you to court and have those contracts nullified.  We accuse you of being child molesters and deviants and ruining our country and pissing off God.  Things kind of suck for you.

And here you’ve been sitting on this magical ability to turn things gay merely by bossing the people involved in those things around!  You can, for instance, turn a movie gay just by being the director.  This explains why you can’t get married.  You will, with your super powers, turn all marriages gay the very first time you turn to your attendants and say, "Here, you hold the rings."

Okay, folks, let’s put these things together: you live in a country exceedingly hostile towards you; you have the ability to turn things gay just by bossing the people involved in them around.  You could infiltrate all levels of society and turn it into a great big gay country merely by taking on positions of authority and bossing people around.

Become a bailiff–ta da!  Our judicial system is gay.  Become a traffic cop–voila! Commuting is gay.  Coach football–surprise!  Football is gay.

Okay, clearly this is a great idea.  It makes all of society more gay-friendly because it makes all of society gay.

So, get on it!

 

Unless, of course, it works both ways and I, by ordering folks around, have just turned an attempt to make everything in our society gay into the utmost in heteronormativity.  Oops.  Sorry.

Country Music Men, Let Me Help

Take your hands and put them out in front of you.  Spread your fingers and turn your hands so that your palms face each other and are approximately four inches apart.  Now bend your elbows.  Bend your wrists so that your fingers are now aimed squarely at your face.  Move your hands towards your face and, as your fingers hit your face, let your hands move slightly apart so that your fingers brush along the side of your face (this is important or you will poke yourself in a painful manner) and into your hair.  Keep going.  Your hair seems obviously well conditioned, so you should encounter no tangles.


Ta da!  Your hair is now out of your face.  Look how cute you are, generic country music man!  I can see your eyes, your cheeks, heck, even your ears. 


Do you think Don Williams goes around with his hair all hanging in his face?  No he does not.  And you know what?  Don Williams’s voice stops me cold when I hear it.  I’m not saying that your hair hanging in your face is the only thing standing in the way of your ability to differentiate yourself from all country music men with their hair all in their faces and you becoming as distinct and awesome as Don Williams, but can you risk it?


Also, country music industry, while I have your attention, where’s my remake of “I’m Gonna Hire a Wino?”  That’s an awesome song.  Also, have you considered finding someone to do a more twangy bluegrass influenced version of “Wrong Road Again?”


Okay, so here’s your to-do list, Country Music:


1.  Hair out of faces.


2.  Fun covers of the songs of my youth.


3.  New Gillian Welch record.


 

Sometimes You Just Have to Accept that It’s Not a Nap

When you are sitting on the couch reading your fascinating history of pagan Europe and you’re waiting to see if you learn anything more interesting than that every month has an “Ides” and that it used to be the time of the full moon and you lean your self against the big comfy pillow on the back of the couch and you nod off just for a second even though it’s only…


Oh, god, I can’t even bring myself to tell you the time.  Let’s just say it rhymes with Bix* Birty.


So, say you nod off and you wake up at 8:20 and the first thought that runs through your mind is, “I bet the bed would be really comfortable,” then, my friends, you have not just taken a two-hour nap.  You have fallen asleep for real.


So, yes, I got eleven hours of sleep last night.


It was nice.


 


 


 


*And you doubted my midwest street cred.  Here I am throwing around old Jazz musicians like confetti.

In Which I Learn a Valuable Lesson and Make a Suggestion to the Wild Boar

The Valuable Lesson: If the fire alarm goes off and you exit the building without making sure that everyone in your office knows what’s going on, the person left will be pissed off.

Thankfully, there wasn’t a fire or she would have been pissed off.*

 

The Suggestion: Open for lunch and get some tables outside.  Also, comp me for making this awesome suggestion**.

 

 

 

*I think the italics convey the difference between "I’m going to tell you I’m mad" and "My ghost will haunt you so bad and every time you go to have sex, I will stand at the end of your bed and make disparaging ethereal-voiced comments about how small your partner is and how much you look like a moldy ham sandwich while using the voice of your dead grandma, which I totally will be able to, because I’ll be dead.  Thanks, bitches."

**Does anyone actually get comped cool shit because of their blog?  I bet Roboto does.  It must be so great to be Roboto.

Things To Think About When Tagging Our Neighborhood

"Buk 50" is actually kind of a funny moniker.  It pays nice homage to two members of G-Unit–Young Buck* and old Fiddy himself.  And it’s cute the way you write it kind of small.

But, Buk 50, you need to help your friend Tier.  First, how do we even say that?  Does it sound like "tear" or "tire" or "tie air" or "ti er" ( like tigger without the "g"s) or what?  Second, so far Tier has managed to claim a light pole and a dumpster that are a block and a half apart.

I know you have to start small, but to claim a block and a half stretch of one side street in a neighborhood full of very old people and childless adults?  It just seems like you aren’t really trying.

We have, maybe, three teenagers in this whole little triangle-y neighborhood, between the interstate, the railroad tracks and Murphy Road.  When they vandalize the neighborhood, they’re painting things like "Jump, you know you want to" on the railing of the bridge over the interstate.

They don’t even have a unique style.  Our neighborhood is practically a blank canvas for your criminal mischief.

And yet… and yet, one lightpole and one dumpster.

I about can’t believe it.  When I was your age, we had to walk uphill both ways barefoot in the snow to find things to tag and we tagged every surface we could find, even if it took all night–and it was cold–and we liked it.

Kids today.

They’ve got no ambition.

 

 

 

*Is he still in?

How To Keep Me From Beating You With Your Own Dog

Keep it leashed at the park.  If, for some reason, you cannot always keep it on a leash–hell, I don’t jog, maybe having a dog tied to you fucks up your running chi–put it on the god damn leash when you see Mrs. Wigglebottom and I coming.  Because, let me tell you, next time it looks like your dog is going to bite my dog, I’m going to just let go of my dog’s leash and let her take care of it.

Love,

Aunt B.

p.s.  Dear Butcher, if you ever come home in the middle of the night again for the express purpose of apparently using all the gas in my car, I will beat you with my car.  Maybe not with the whole thing, but the parts that are currently held on by duct tape due to you.

 

Whew.  Okay, I feel better.

Focus on the Family Hates You

Exador sent me a link about the approval–finally–of the HPV vaccine, which, as you recall, is very effective in preventing certain types of deadly cervical cancer caused by HPV, which is a virus almost everyone who’s had sex has been exposed to, even if they aren’t infected.  You’ll also recall that there was a great deal of opposition to this vaccine because some enormous jackasses thought that vaccinating girls against an incredibly common virus would encourage promiscuity.


That’s right.  There are folks out there who hate you so much that they believe that it is better for you to die of cancer than to chance that you might have sex with who ever you want when you want.  Because, my god, if sex doesn’t lead to pregnancy or death, Jesus weeps the tears of a thousand martyrs.


But what’s even sadder, in this article is this paragraph:



Conservative groups like Focus on the Family support availability of the vaccine, but oppose making it mandatory, saying the decision to vaccinate should rest with a child’s parents or guardians. It promotes abstinence as the best way of warding off infection by HPV and other STDs.


Where to even start?  Okay, let’s just forget that the public discussion about abstinence seems to assume that religious fanatics only want folks to remain abstinent while they’re young, when, really, they mean all of us should never have sex outside of marriage.


Let’s go with this.  Say that you are Miss Mary Sunshine and you are abstinent until marriage.  You really truly set that as a goal for yourself and you keep to it.  Your parents instilled “right” values in you and you stuck to them.  They also didn’t vaccinate you, because they believed that it would encourage promiscuity.  (I wonder if Focus on the Family is opposed to mandatory MMR vaccines?  I mean, is this really about parental choice or is it about “fixing” promiscuity?)


You meet a nice boy, Johnny Faltered a Couple of Times in College.  He wasn’t promiscuous.  He had sex with two girls, each of whom were serious girlfriends.  It wasn’t God’s plan, but boys will be boys.


He has the virus.  He doesn’t know it.  He gives it to Miss Mary.  She gets cancer and dies.


Is Focus on the Family okay with that? 


If so, I think this indicates an enormous shift in their “sluts must be punished” campaign.  Before, we had to be punished for our bad behavior–either through children or horrid disease.  But now, even if we behave, we have to be punished for our partner’s bad behavior.


So, men, the new word seems to be, don’t slut around or God will kill your virgin bride.

Two More Things I Have Learned from the Libertarians

1.  If the police come to my house, they will probably shoot Mrs. Wigglebottom.

2.  There’s something really funky about how we treat gun owners.  I probably don’t have this point as well worked out as number 1, but that’s because number 1 is easy to be alarmed about.  I was talking to the Professor about this at lunch yesterday and Coble brings it up again today.  Twice in two days?  Probably a good topic for blogging.

So, I’ve been thinking–why, whenever there’s some horrific crime involving guns, is the response to push for restrictions on gun ownership and not harsher penalties for the crimes or more money for police or what-have-you?

Are we, as liberals saying that we believe that there’s just a certain level of wrong-doing that’s going to occur and that there’s nothing we can do to affect it other than to keep the wrong-doers from having too-deadly of weapons?  Are we really, at heart, saying that we don’t believe that punishment deters crime or that social programs can lower crime rates or that police protection makes much of a difference?  That wrong-doing is just a force of nature, unimpeded in its ability to hurt us by anything except reducing the tools available to wrong-doers?

I don’t think we really believe that.  I could be wrong, but I don’t.

I think the impulse is actually worse than that.

I don’t think this is about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals at all.  I think this is about ridiculing and shaming legal gun owners.

I think we do this for two reasons.  1.  By and large, we don’t own guns.  We want to believe that our way of looking at the world is correct and therefore, we want gun owners to give up their guns in order to validate our ways of life.  This is stupid, but not malicious.

2.  We want to punish gun owners for being different than us, for not accepting our values.

This is an insidious wrong, painted up like a moral position.

And, I know, it’s not as if there aren’t one million things about which conservatives do the exact same thing.  You know, if we were honest, we’d just change the National Motto from "In God We Trust" to "We Know What’s Better for You than You Do, and By God, We’re Going to Make You Do It."  It’s not quite as catchy, but it’s more accurate.  We’re going to have to mint some larger coins to fit that on there, but it’s worth it, I think.

 

Mr. Smartypants Blah, Blah, Blah, the Conclusion

All right.  So, what has Mr. Smartypants taught us?



1.  Different people have different frameworks for understanding reality.


2.  If you can understand those frameworks, you can



a.  Fuck with people using those frameworks


b.  Get people to do what you want by dismantling those frameworks and replacing them with ones more amenable to your goals.


3. Promising people something they want is a good motivating tool for getting them to do what we want them to do.


Now, let us turn to poor Rachel and try to understand the nonsense going on over there.


Let’s start with a premise we can all agree upon.  Miller Lite wants men to buy its beer. 


In order to encourage men to buy Miller Lite, Miller Lite has a campaign in place that utilizes a framework of “what it means to be a man” in order to link “being a man” with drinking Miller Lite.  If you look at the website, this is incredibly clear.


There are a bunch of “man laws” at the bottom that tell the reader the proper way to be a man.  But here’s the deal.  All of these laws are based on the assumption that manhood isn’t intrinsic.  If manhood were intrinsic, if you were a man, whatever you did would be stuff a man does, by virtue of the fact that you did it.


Instead, manhood is something external to people with penises and people with penises must act like men if they want to be considered real men.


Do you see how this works?  Before, we talked about how words, like “man” are a sign that points towards some idea of what a man is.  Now, what we’re saying is that there’s also some way in which we also expect individual men to point to some collective idea of what a man is if those individual men want to be considered men.


“Being a man” is not the state of having a penis, but of properly pointing towards our collective idea of what a man is.  Look at how Exador inherently knows this.  Sarcastro says, “That’s like the difference between wanting some soft and moist female companionship and wanting the dick out of your ass.” and Exador, in order to poke fun at Sarcastro says, “I’ve NEVER brought up your fraternity days. If you choose to, I support you.” In other words, Exador insinuates that Sarcastro has participated in behavior that doesn’t properly point to our collective ideas about what a man is.


It wouldn’t be funny if “manliness” were something inherent in a penised person.  If “manliness” were just inherent, Sarcastro could “cut a sexual swath that still astonishes by its sheer brazenness and multiplicity” and fuck whoever he could get his hands on in whatever iteration he could think of.  Exador could walk in on Sarcastro dressed in a French maid’s outfit bent over his coffee table while Kleinheider sticks kitchen utensils up his ass and it wouldn’t be unmanly.  It’d still be something a real man did, because Sarcastro is a man.


But no, despite Exador’s intentional obtuseness, he gets that there is a gap between being bepenised and being “a man.”


So, if being ” a man” is an idea that we have and not something that just is intrinsic to being bepenised, how do we know what a man is?  We don’t, as a culture, say “being a man is having a penis.”  So, if we can’t say what being a man is, we start to define a man by what he is not.  If you look at Miller Lite’s man laws, you can see this in action.


The basic theme behind all of the laws is don’t act like a girl.


So, now we get to the bullshit going on over at Rachel’s.


Rachel makes a perfectly legitimate point.  Beer makers use sex to sell their products–“Hot girls like this like men who drink our beer.  Therefore, if you drink our beer…”  Miller Lite is using sex roles to sell their product–“Manly men drink our beer.”  It’s not crazy to ask whether “You poke it; you own it” in this context doesn’t refer to everything that men poke.  Do men not stick their fingers in women anymore?  Did y’all decide that while I was away?


But here’s what’s bullshit and here’s what makes me so angry I almost don’t know how to express it.  Each person’s framework for understanding the world is his or her own.  There are great stretches of that framework which are similar to other people’s–that’s how we have community and agreement–but each is unique and his or hers.


I would argue that everyone could benefit from continually checking over his or her framework, to make sure that it’s still working, that it’s useful, that it’s strong enough to support one’s worldview, and that it matches up with other people’s in ways that are healthy and beneficial for folks.


Though, obviously, you can do what you want.


But what Rachel is doing in her post is checking over our collective framework, looking to see if it’s working and useful and healthy and beneficial.  And what she’s found is no some weak girder or rusted out bolts, but just a spot in a column that scratches her when she walks by.  So, she asks this question–How come, in order to move men from here (non-Miller Lite buying) to here (Miller Lite buying), we have to use this material that irritates me whenever I walk by?  Are other people also finding this irritating?  If so, let’s ask Miller Lite to stop using it.


But when Travis09 and Exador and Dr. Richard show up to comment, they don’t just say “Maybe the problem isn’t with the collective framework, but with how you move through it,” which would be a reasonable (though wrong*) response.  They say, “There’s something wrong with your internal framework.”–“You hate men”; “You can’t take a joke”; etc.


I guess it pisses me off because, on the one hand, y’all get to toy with collective reality when it suits you and is fun for you, but when it suits you, you also get to pretend that “this is just the way it is; just suck it up because it will never change” as if how you see the world is objective reality.


No.  It’s more than that.  It starts to feel like you think everything out there is your playground and, when it suits you, everything in here is your playground, regardless of whether that “in here” is actually in you.


Ha, I guess this is about the nerdiest complaint ever–your artifice leaves no room for mine.


 


 


 


 


*I get to pass judgement because it’s my blog.