Gay People and Straight Women–Our Freedom is Your Freedom

Yesterday we hashed and rehashed the article I keep meaning to get back to and this morning we talked about the Republicans making another effort to let gay people know that they’re really, really unwelcome in Tennessee.

And I just want to put this question and answer from Rodriguez along side of the House Republicans’ website:

You said recently the real issue behind the anti-gay marriage movement is the crisis in the family. What do you mean?

American families are under a great deal of stress. The divorce rate isn’t declining, it’s increasing. And the majority of American women are now living alone. We are raising children in America without fathers. I think of Michael Phelps at the Olympics with his mother in the stands. His father was completely absent. He was negligible; no one refers to him, no one noticed his absence.

The possibility that a whole new generation of American males is being raised by women without men is very challenging for the churches. I think they want to reassert some sort of male authority over the order of things. I think the pro-Proposition 8 movement was really galvanized by an insecurity that churches are feeling now with the rise of women.

Monotheistic religions feel threatened by the rise of feminism and the insistence, in many communities, that women take a bigger role in the church. At the same time that women are claiming more responsibility for their religious life, they are also moving out of traditional roles as wife and mother. This is why abortion is so threatening to many religious people — it represents some rejection of the traditional role of mother.

In such a world, we need to identify the relationship between feminism and homosexuality. These movements began, in some sense, to achieve visibility alongside one another. I know a lot of black churches take offense when gay activists say that the gay movement is somehow analogous to the black civil rights movement. And while there is some relationship between the persecution of gays and the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, I think the true analogy is to the women’s movement. What we represent as gays in America is an alternative to the traditional male-structured society. The possibility that we can form ourselves sexually — even form our sense of what a sex is — sets us apart from the traditional roles we were given by our fathers.

Now look at the things on the Republicans’ lists to promote “strong families and communities”–reinforcing the community power of the church, reinscribing the traditional gender roles of marriage participants, and limiting women’s rights to control what happens to our own bodies.  They’re exactly the things that Rodriguez points to as being the tenents of the male-structured society.  (Woo hoo!  Yes, I’m going to say it–the Patriarcy!!!!)

What I wonder, and I’m wondering from my own specific position, is when it occurs to the Patriarchy that it has sown the seeds of its own destruction.  How many of us have heard our fathers say, “It’s my way or the highway?”  And how many of us have seen the traditional male-structured society say something similar to women of all sexual persuasions and gay men–“it’s my way or the highway.”?  Look even at what the Tennessee Republicans are up to here–“If you’re not going to hook up with someone from the group of people we tell you to hook up with and under the circumstances we tell you to do it, you can’t do it at all.”

And what’s happened?

Did we meekly return to the kitchen or the closet?  Yeah, some of us, but a great many of us hit the highway.  And we didn’t fall apart without the “traditional” men.  Would we have rather they come along with us?  Yes, of course.  Who wants to leave behind the people they love?

But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and if that means leaving behind the folks who kicked you out in the first place?  Well, there you go.

So, what we see is that women of all stripes and gay people have been working to find something other than traditional roles that they might fit in.  And we see the Republicans continuing to insist that the only acceptable roles are those traditional roles.

The Republicans will lose this particular war, eventually, though.  They’re already losing it.  Because it’s not about gay marriage or women killing babies or whatever.  Rodriguez is right.  It’s exactly about anxiety over changing gender roles.

And yes, the world changes quickly and the dramatic changes can be alarming.  But even Republicans want in on some of those changes.  Dolores Gresham, Beth Harwell, Susan Lynn, Debra Maggart, and Donna Rowland aren’t at home raising children or helping raise grandchildren.  In what universe of “traditional gender roles” does the woman pack up and head to the state capitol to make laws?!

And yet, there go those Republican women, defenders of traditional values, flaunting the fact that some of those values aren’t good enough for them.  Ha, ha, ha.

Well, Damn It. That Made Me Cry.

I started my long slide out of Christianity when I realized that, unless God were incredibly cruel to people who didn’t deserve it, there could be no Hell, or at least no one in it.  After all, everyone I know has someone whose life is a little better because that first person is in it, no matter how big a jackass that first person is.  So, if you love Jackass A, even if I hate him, even if I know he deserves to rot, how can I wish for you an eternity separated from the person you love?  How could that be Heaven for you, without all your loved ones, even the fuckers?

My dad has this theory, which I love, that Heaven and Hell could be the same place, but when you are stripped of the blinders of this life, and you can fully see the whole weight of your actions and understand the magnitude of the suffering you caused or the pleasure you spread, that same place could be for you either Heaven or Hell.

I mention all this because I guess, at the end of the day, I don’t know how to be out of sympathy with the lovers–and I mean that with a small, untawdry “l”–the frail, imperfect people who try to open themselves up to other frail, imperfect people and to do their best by them.

And so, reading about him taking his nieces to Disneyland just broke my heart right in two for him.  It put me on his side.  Not that it matters.

But it’s important to admit when you’re wrong.

I’m a jackass.  What can I say?

My Morning Palin Thought

Read this.

America, last night we saw the person running for Vice President of the United States try to cute her way out of Charlie Gibson’s questions.

America, forget not blinking–when she didn’t know, she winked.

This, America, is why we still need feminism, because, when the chips are down, women need a stronger skill-set than “just flirt your way out of the problem.”


I want to write about my issues with “Beowulf” this beautifully.

“Beowulf” doesn’t fail because it changes the story: It fails because it is so busy juicing up the story that it does not create a mythical universe. It has no transfiguring vision. It seizes upon an ancient tale, whose invisible roots run deep into our psyches, and uses it to construct a shiny, plastic entertainment. It takes a wild fable and turns it into a tame story. But “Beowulf” is the kind of story that is meaningless unless it is part of a cosmology. It is, in short, a myth.


Tolkien’s point is that the fantastic elements in “Beowulf” are ancient archetypes that have deep roots in human beliefs, fears and wishes — myths, in other words. And in “Beowulf,” he argues, these myths are an essential part of a tragic tale whose theme is “man at war with the hostile world, and his inevitable overthrow in Time.” The greatness of Beowulf derives from the fact that it is a poem created in “a pregnant moment of poise”: It is balanced between a Christian worldview, in which death and defeat are ultimately themselves defeated by Christ, and a Germanic, pagan one, in which fate rules all and man’s courage alone confers nobility. It is, Tolkien writes, not a primitive poem, but a late one. The pagan world is already past, but the poet still celebrates its vanished power. The fact that a poem written more than a thousand years ago was itself looking back at a lost world gives the poem an uncanny double resonance to the modern reader: “If the funeral of Beowulf moved once like the echo of an ancient dirge, far-off and hopeless, it is to us as a memory brought over the hills, an echo of an echo.”

An echo of an echo… It just gives me the heebie jeebies.  Hurray!

The Transgendered Ruin It For Everybody, Therefore I Have to Take Over the GLBT Community

Via, I have found an article so stupid (or perhaps intellectually dishonest) as to take one’s breath away.  In summary, transgendered people are ruining it for gay people by being transgendered because a.) everyone hates transgendered people, even gay people and b.) so it’s not fair for transgendered people to want justice, because now is the time for gay people to get justice, and gay people don’t even get transgendered poeple, so stop glomming onto our issues and just suffer until America decides not to hate you.

These are old, old divisive wounds in the GLBTetc. communities (as one might have guessed from following certain feminist blog wars).  People who had self-identified as lesbians decided that they were really straight FTM transsexuals not gay women, thus causing some bitterness in the lesbian community (not to mention the faction of feminists who consider MTF transsexuals to be using their male privilege to intrude into female-safe spaces).  And so on.

But what strikes me in this article are three things.  One is the obvious one–that since “everyone” is uncomfortable and confused and grossed out by transsexuals, they obviously need protections.  The fact that “no one” likes them is not an argument against including them in this legislation, but exactly the reason why they should be included.  Two is this dishonest notion that the transgendered community is wholly separate from the gay and lesbian community, which is a complete rewrite of history.  And third is this notion that gay and lesbian folks only ever accepted transgendered because gay and lesbian leaders told them they had to.

Well, what the hell?  Who are these gay and lesbian leaders to start with?  Second, do gay and lesbian people just follow orders from their leaders unthinkingly?


If so, I declare myself a leader of the LGBTTTIQQA community.  I fully expect that such a move makes me impossible to disobey.

My first order of business would be to have some of you bring me cookies and the rest of you wrestle control of the remote away from the Butcher, who is playing channel flip beyond all reason.

Fat Boys

Like I was telling Coble this morning, I’ve accepted that I’m fat because I’m decadent, lazy and immoral, hell-bent on ruining the Earth and hogging all the natural resources, while I fuck your spouses and eat your ice cream.  That’s fair.  I’ve made my soft and cuddly bed.  I’ll lie in it.

But I’m fascinated by the way we gender “fat” as “female.”  I’ve long suspected that this is because there’s that cultural meme that women, no matter what we set out to do, are miserable failures.  If you work outside the home, you’re ruining your children.  If you stay at home with your kids, you’re a bad feminist.  If you don’t have kids, you’re selfish.  If you do have kids, you’re ruining the environment.  Etc. Etc. Etc.

Fatness is just one more way for women to fail and making a woman’s weight cause for public concern–“it’s not healthy!”–is, I think, obviously another excuse to put women’s bodies on display and to normalize the idea that individual women must be prepared to be publicly scrutinized at any moment.

But then I read this little bit of news.  I’m sure you all saw it, about how fat people tend to make their friends fat. I quote almost in whole:

Findings: 1) Your chances of becoming obese go up by more than half (and in some cases by 171 percent) if your friend becomes obese. 2) This effect exceeds the effect of having an obese sibling or spouse. 3) The effect happens even if your friend is far away. 4) Fat neighbors had no effect. 5) “Persons of the same sex had relatively greater influence on each other than those of the opposite sex.” Theories: 1) The results can’t be explained by fat people befriending each other; the social connection causes the fat transfer. 2) Common genes, food, or environments can’t explain the comparative results involving friends, siblings, spouses, and neighbors. 3) Maybe you emulate your fat friends. 4) Maybe they loosen your “norms about the acceptability of being overweight.”

But check out this paragraph in the study itself:

 The sex of the ego and alter also appeared to be important. When the sample was restricted to same-sex friendships (87% of the total), the probability of obesity in an ego increased by 71% (95% CI, 13 to 145) if the alter became obese. For friends of the opposite sex, however, there was no significant association (P=0.64). Among friends of the same sex, a man had a 100% (95% CI, 26 to 197) increase in the chance of becoming obese if his male friend became obese, whereas the female-to-female spread of obesity was not significant (38% increased chance; 95% CI, –39 to 161).

Let me make this clear: The ego is the person being studied and the alter is his or her friend.  If the ego and the alter are opposite sex, there’s no significant association between one’s obesity and the other’s.  AND, and I quote, “the female-to-female spread of obesity was not significant.”

What’s this mean?

In plain English, even though news outlets such as passed this off as a story about obese people, this is actually a story about obese men.  Women don’t get fat from each other.  Men do.

So, why don’t any of the stories acknowledge that?  Why does the NEJM not seem able to acknowledge what its own study finds?  Why can’t we talk plainly about men and fat?

Here’s my suspicion.  We tend to think of women as inherently lazy, inherently not trying hard enough.  So, if a woman is fat, it’s easy enough to assume she’s just a fuck up.

We don’t tend to think of men as fuck ups, though.

I was thinking about this this morning, how the Butcher has himself a belly even though he walks to and from work every day.  Or my uncle, out there working construction for twelve hours at a time, and his big old pot belly.  Shoot, the recalcitrant brother is so popular as a plumber because he’s scrawny enough to fit where most plumbers can’t.

Why are working class men fat?  If they’re doing manual labor all day and we’ve been told that the reason we all are fat is that we’ve moved to a progressively more sedentary lifestyle, why are they fat, too?

I think we desperately don’t want to ask ourselves those questions because they point to outside factors.  We’ve done our best to equate fatness with moral turpitude and general laziness.  People are fat because they’re just not trying hard enough.

But what if people are fat not just because of what they willingly put into their bodies, but also because of what they cannot help but put into their bodies?

“Treatment Effects”

I can add nothing more to this hilarious take-down of alli, except to add that the publicity department that is able to gloss over the fact that this drug is going to make you shit your pants should win some kind of prize.  I mean, they tell you that this drug will make you shit yourself and yet people are still buying it like it’s going out of style.  That’s some marketing right there.


On a completely unrelated note, one thing I hate about living with a hippie is that sometimes you pick up something, not sure what it is, and you look at it, still not sure what it is, and then–still not understanding what it is–you put it down because you feel like you’ve made a terrible mistake by leaving your fingerprints on it.

Once Again We Pagan Feminists Try to Ruin America By Turning Us All Mexican

Damn that Bill O’Reilly!  Here I am, sweating over a hot cauldron trying to come up with just the right mixture of blue agave and eye of newt for my potion designed to enchant hot Mexican men into sneaking over the border and becoming the sex toys/housekeepers of white women or running for office, you know, whichever, when I discover, thanks to a link at, that Bill O’Reilley is onto me.

Listen, I know at some level this is not funny because people really do think this kind of stuff:

O’REILLY: OK, I think it’s a small part, but I think it’s there. On the other side, you have people who hate America, and they hate it because it’s run primarily by white, Christian men. Let me repeat that. America is run primarily by white, Christian men, and there is a segment of our population who hates that, despises that power structure. So they, under the guise of being compassionate, want to flood the country with foreign nationals, unlimited, unlimited, to change the complexion — pardon the pun — of America. Now, that’s hatred, too. It’s a different kind of hatred, but it’s hatred and best exemplified by The New York Times, which today says in its editorial, quote: Those who want [the immigration] bill to be better are horribly conflicted by it. Their emotions still seem vastly overmatched by the ferocity of the opposition from the restrictionist right, with talk radio lighting up over ‘amnesty,’ callers spitting out the words with all the hate they can pour into it, unquote.

Now, this is a theme of The New York Times, that if you oppose the immigration bill that you hate Latinos. Now, there’s a segment that does, but most oppose it on policy. They just think it’s bad policy, rewarding bad behavior. Bad policy. But The New York Times, which is an open border, OK, let-everybody-in concern — that’s what they want, because they want a totally different power structure in America.

Number one, they realize that 40 million new citizens — and that’s, you know, probably the estimate that if you let all the illegal immigrants and all their extended families come here, which is what The New York Times want, would wipe out the two-party system. You’d only have a Democratic party, because new immigrants are probably gonna break 3-to-1 Democrat, and that’s what The New York Times wants. But more than that, they want to change the white, Christian male power structure. That’s what they want.

Now, these are hidden agendas. The New York Times would never cop to that, ever, but if you read consistently their editorials, they have no solution to border security. They don’t want any sanctions on illegal aliens who come here and even commit crimes. They want criminal aliens to stay, and they don’t want any sanctions on businesses who continue to hire illegal aliens even after the Z visa is issued. It’s an open border, Let them all in, anybody who wants to come here.”

That’s insane. We don’t have America then. America disappears. That’s where Pat Buchanan is right. You let that happen, there’s no more United States of America. It’s gone. You have United States of the World, because everybody comes here with no restrictions. So you’ve got racism on the anti-Latino front, and you have racism on the anti-Christian, white male front. Aha! Isn’t that interesting? [emphasis courtesy of Media Matters]

Y’all, I’m sorry.  White, Christian men, you know I love you.  I do.  I have you for relatives.  I’ve welcomed you into my home and into my cooter.  But this stuff is hilarious.

Let’s think of it this way.  Let’s say that “privilege” is cookies.  Let’s say that, at any given time, there can be only 100 cookies (I don’t know why.  Maybe this is hell.).  White Christian men, let’s say, can make 40 cookies–for various reasons that aren’t anybody’s fault or anything; they inherited an awesome oven from their grandma and they’ve got a great recipe they were able to buy off the internet.  Sure, there are folks who are grouching that White Christian men aren’t 40 percent of the population, so it’s not right that they get 40 cookies, especially when, say, it was Black people’s grandfathers who built their ovens in the first place.

And then let’s say that there are some fuckerly White Christian men who out and out take other people’s cookies.  So, now White Christian men have 42 of the cookies.  Then, let’s say that those men are, for the most part, married and they’ve gotten their wives to contribute their share of cookies.  So, now the white Christian men have 60 cookies.  It goes like this for a while and then the black folks start hollering “We’re not going to keep harvesting your grain and making your ovens just so that we can have 14 cookies.”  And so the White Christian men are all, “Fine.  We’ll find someone else to do it.  Hey, women, get out there and get some grain harvested.”  So, off we go, until we’re like, “Dang, we’re doing a lot of work and I only see about half of the White Christian men out here working with us and I haven’t had a cookie in days, have you?”

Anyway, my point is that, at some point folks are like, “You know, I wonder if it’s true that there are only 100 cookies at any given time.  That seems like a big oven.  And what are they doing when all of the cookies are made?  What if, once they made their 60 cookies, they got out of the kitchen and gave us a shot to make 60 for us?”

And the loudest of the White Christian men are all, “No, no, there can only be 100 cookies.”

And we’re all, even including some White Christian men, “But no, there can be more.  Look.”

“No, don’t fuck with our tradition.  God said there can only be 100 cookies.”

“Dudes, God doesn’t say anything about cookies in the Bible.  Now, you have your 60 cookies; get out of the way so that we can bake.”

Now, don’t get me wrong.  It’s not all smooth.  The white women think they should get to use the oven first.  Black folks are still like “Hey, we made the oven.  Now we’re going to use it.”  And the Latinos are all “We picked all your ingredients.  Try to use the oven without those.”  Nobody’s above that nonsense.

But, if we can figure out how to work together, everyone can have cookies.  Maybe not 60 cookies, but maybe 40, which is what the White Christian men could make on their own.  And, in the end, we’d end up with a buttload more than 100 cookies all together.

You’d think this would obviously be a good thing.  But instead, you’ve got fools complaining that they’re going to have fewer cookies.  Other fools complaining that it’s wrong that we’re not following tradition.  And you have damn fools like O’Reilly complaining that he’s uncomfortable with the racial make-up of folks in the kitchen and, if all those folks insist on being in the kitchen, it must be some kind of punishment for, some kind of hatred of, White Christian men.

Yes, yes, that’s exactly it.  It’s not that everyone wants access to the good stuff in the kitchen; it’s that we hate the people who occupy it.


Some pagan feminist needs to come up with a potion to turn him into a toad.

I Think I Worked for Henrietta Holsman Fore

I worked one summer packing Caterpillar parts. Words cannot express how much it sucked. Ten to twelve hour days six days a week standing there counting washers or bolts or wrapping huge brake drums in this paper that you felt was poisoning you with whatever rust-resistor they put on it and then you realized that the summer help was making more money than the folks who had been there for years who were then gambling it all away on the riverboats.

So, it was with some amusement that I followed a link from to this post over at Think Progress about Bush’s new USAID nominee. Turns out that Fore has some opinions about her employees.

The trustee, Henrietta Holsman, a 1970 graduate of Wellesley who runs a manufacturing concern in Los Angeles, resigned from the board last weekend after apologizing for her comments, which also cast aspersions on the work ethic of Hispanic and white employees. But in a letter to the college newspaper, Ms. Holsman reiterated her statement that she had trouble keeping black assembly-line workers from going “back to the street to earn more money” selling drugs.

In her lecture, Ms. Holsman also said she had found Hispanic workers to be lazy, white workers resentful of having to work with machines, and Asians, while very productive, likely to move on to professional or management jobs.

Y’all, if there’s anything funnier on this planet than listening to the bossman tell you a thing or two about the workers on the floor, I just don’t know what it is.  It may come in a close second to folks who think the whole story here is that she’s stereotyping based on race.  That’s a part of the story and maybe it’s the politically expedient part of the story.

But for me, what’s hilarious is the ways in which she reveals that the work environment in her “manufacturing concern” sucks.  Seriously, there are lazy people in the world, but most people will work hard for a fair wage in a safe working environment.

What does Fore inadvertently tell us?

1.  Her workers aren’t being paid a fair wage.  She says her black employees can make more money selling drugs than working in her factory.  As the folks who wrote Freakonomics point out, most low level drug dealers don’t make shitloads of money.  That’s why they live with their grandmas.  It pays a little better than a minimum wage job, but the risks are much higher.  That people would return to a dangerous poorly-paying job instead of working in her factory, because they can make more money on the streets, says something about how little she’s paying her employees.

2.  It’s no wonder then, that the folks who can move on, do.  The Asians leave and the black folks leave, because they have other prospects.

3.  The folks who don’t have other prospects have to resort to other means to let their disapproval of their situation show without going so far as to lose their source of income.  The Hispanics in her employ are staging a work slow-down.  The white folks complain about working with machinery.

4.  Who would complain about working with machinery?  Machines make most work easier.  Unless the machines themselves aren’t safe or the circumstances under which they must operate the machines are unsafe.

So, basically, Fore stood up in front of her college and revealed that no one who works for her wants to work for her.  Those that can leave, do, and those that can’t leave sabotage the workday in other ways.  That makes her sound like a real treat.

Detaining U.S. Citizens

I realize it’s been all immigration issues all the time here at Tiny Cat Pants and I promise we will soon get back to our regular man-hating ways soon enough, but once you start looking at something, you see some shit, you know what I mean?

And so today I’ve just learned that not only do we round up the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and whisk them off to “detention centers,” we’re rounding up U.S. citizens and sticking them in detention centers, too. Yes, if your parents break the law, you, U.S. citizen, can go to the most prison-like non-prison in America.

Check the interview with the lawyer from the ACLU talking about these kids, who “In their prison garb, they play guard-detainee, where the guard screams in the detainee’s face as the detainee cowers and cries.”  Seriously, America, if the fact that we’re rounding up tiny U.S. citizens, sticking them in prison uniforms, and locking them up for no reason other than that they have the wrong parents doesn’t chill you to the bone, what the fuck will?

The 100 Least Sexy Men

Via Broadsheet, I found the Boston Phoenix‘s list of the 100 least sexy men of 2007.  Being a man-hating lesbian feminist who hates all other women and only has sex with men so that I can abort their fetuses, oh, and a witch, because I hate Jesus, far be it from me to defend the men-folk from the Phoenix, but god damn.

They put James Gandolphini on their list at number 15.

Let’s just leave aside that moment in the Sopranos when Tony buys Carmela the fur coat and then spreads her and the coat out on their bed in such a manner as to make me long for a fur coat.  If the folks at the Phoenix could watch that scene and remain untingled, I doubt their humanity.

No, instead, let’s address their complaint about Gandolphini: “Two words that came up again and again in talking to women about Gandolfini: nose breathing. Yuck.”

Nose breathing?

Sincerely.  Nose breathing?

Come on!  If you’re going to insult the man, at least insult him right.  We all breath through our noses.  You want to accuse him of being a “mouth breather.”

But more than that, what disturbs me about this list is the amount of men who are on it just because they’re fat, even though they claim that being on the list is about being ugly both physically and spiritually.  Look at how they talk about Bill Richardson:

Chubby presidential candidate has repped the USA in negotiations with some of the world’s scariest and weirdest dictators. Which, unfortunately, leaves the triple-chinned hopeful with precious little time for the treadmill. Chances may improve if he stays hungry — or if he accidentally eats the rest of the Democratic field onstage during the first debate.

Or (and god help me I’m about to say something nice about Jimmy Kimmel) Jimmy Kimmel?

We always appreciated Sarah Silverman’s debased, masochistic sense of humor, but secretly suspected it was all just an act — at least until we found out she was dating a certain chubb-o late-night TV host. After an evening of screwing Kimmel, telling Holocaust jokes must seem like a walk in the park.

And yet, the picture they show of Kimmel shows an ordinary-sized man.

Listen, I know the argument for this shit is that we women have to put up with eight hundred thousand iterations of the one hundred sexiest women list all the time.  But, god damn, if we know shit like that sucks, we should not turn around and do it to others.

Eric Clapton, Go in Peace

Today I was listening to Clapton’s “Crossroads” and I didn’t change the channel.  I don’t think that’s ever happened before.  I guess I’ve made my peace with him.

It’s hard for me to put into words what annoys the shit out of me about Clapton.  I’m not opposed to British dudes recasting the blues.  I’m all about the troubled love and theft that fuels our creative engines.  I’m not opposed to his guitar playing.

In part, I think it’s this.  Somehow, Eric Clapton remains a student of the blues.   Just for comparison, I looked up Jimmy Page and “student of the blues” and got nothing.  But do that search with Clapton and all kinds of things pop up, like this article from the New York Times.

Today in, there’s an article about the writer and director of “Black Snake Moan” and he’s talking about the blues.  At the end, he says,  

They don’t realize it’s true exorcism music. These men of the Delta
were not Uncle Toms. They were bad-asses in a time when you could get
hung from a tree for speaking your mind. They were the first to sing
about injustice and pain. And to sing about the injustice of the heart.

And maybe that’s the difference between Page and Clapton for me.  I believe that Page is, if not exorcising, at least wrestling with demons.  I still feel like Clapton is practicing for the time when he may be called on to do that work.

But in the end, I guess, I don’t see the crime in that. 


Oh, David Foster Wallace, I Remember Now Why I Hate You


I like to teach freshman lit because ISB gets a lot of rural students who aren’t very well educated and don’t like to read. They’ve grown up thinking that literature means dry, irrelevant, unfun stuff, like cod liver oil. Getting to show them some more contemporary stuff — the one we always do the second week is a story called “A Real Doll,” by A.M. Homes, from “The Safety of Objects,” about a boy’s affair with a Barbie doll. It’s very smart, but on the surface, it’s very twisted and sick and riveting and real relevant to people who are 18 and five or six years ago were either playing with dolls or being sadistic to their sisters. To watch these kids realize that reading literary stuff is sometimes hard work, but it’s sometimes worth it and that reading literary stuff can give you things that you can’t get otherwise, to see them wake up to that is extremely cool.

1.  No one calls it ISB.  It’s not even in Bloomington.  It’s in Normal, which you know, seeing as how your dad was a fucking professor over at the U of I while you were growing up.  You grew up less than an hour away from the school you teach at and you don’t even know that it’s ISU?  Or State?

2.  Oh, thank you precious savior of rural kids.  We are all stupid hicks who hate books.

That being said, I’ve now hated the man more than a decade.   And, in retrospect, it still irks me that a man who’s supposedly so devoted to words can’t accurately represent, with words, where he was teaching.

And it hurts my pride that he thinks his students, of which I could have been one, had I but chosen the other end of University to make my home, are all ignorant hicks.

But maybe instilling a love of reading in folks who otherwise wouldn’t have it is not such a bad goal.  So, David Foster Wallace, I forgive you.  Let’s move on.

Not together.  You stay over there and I’ll stay over here, but you know, on in our separate ways. 

Do Dachshunds Make Everything More Awesome?

We should do some kind of test where everyone does their favorite thing, measures their pleasure in doing it (perhaps using the Libertarian Scale of Things to Panic About, if we can’t put it to any better use), and then does it again in the presence of a dachshund.

Because I am firmly convinced that dachshunds do indeed make everything more awesome.

I once dogsat for a man with three dachshunds, who lived–I shit you not–in what was the bear exhibit at the old zoo here in town.  The bear cave was still in his front yard, much the same way that the Grizzly River Rampage is still sitting behind the Opryland Hotel, just another landscape feature.  And I loved walking his dogs because they would bound in and out of the tall grass like happy porpoises with legs. 

Anyway, has a review of a bookIcelander by Dustin Long–which I am now dying to read based solely on the joy I take in seeing that there is, in the book, a dog called the Fenris Dachshund.

God, see.  The presence of the Fenris Dachshund has already improved this post 53% by its mere mention and this was already a good post to start with. 

Fish as Shareholders

There’s an excellent article in today and I defy you to read it and not want to cause trouble.

Do you know about the American doctrine that says a corporation has the status of a person and enjoys all the legal protections afforded by the Constitution, including the right to own property? Well, beginning this week, Jeremijenko is selling the buoys to collectors. With the money, she plans to form a corporation called Ooz Inc. — zoo spelled backward — and put the fish on the board. That way the fish, as shareholders, will acquire personhood, and have a say in the preservation of their grungy habitat.

Doesn’t that just set your wheels to spinning?  Doesn’t it make you want to make some art?

God, it makes me glad to be alive–fish on corporate boards.

That’s what Nashville is missing, some god damn whimsy.

Do You Ever Worry That You’re Being Subliminally Influenced?

I’m sorry to send y’all over to, but I can’t figure out how to grab the advertisement I want to talk about. Still, I think you can see it on the main page without having to sit through one of their ads.

We’re looking at this strange Evian ad over on the left.

It opens with a cave that seems to suggest a woman’s bent leg. The Evian bottle juts towards the “crotch” and then “Return to Purity” pops up. The next scene is a big mountain range with a cloud formation shaped like an “X”. The final scene is a naked woman innocently making a snow angel with her knee bent in a way to suggest the shape of the cave at the beginning.

Is Evian trying to promise my subconscious that it can restore my virginity?

If that is the case, do I have to put the bottle in my cooter or just drink a lot of the water? And is being pure as snow and frigid, too, really a great goal to assume your customers might have?

I don’t know. But it’s weird.

And, it doesn’t make me thirsty. It does, however, make me a little curious about whether you can use an Evian bottle as a sex toy. But that may be just me.

Thanks to the incredible smarts of the Wayward Boy Scout, here are the images for you to peruse.





I’ll Just Say Right Up Front that I’m not a Parent

We were spanked as kids, with a wooden spoon sometimes and with a hair brush other times.  We all turned out fucked up, but I don’t think it was because of the infrequent spankings.  At least, I remember them as being infrequent; maybe they weren’t.  Anyway, I don’t think we turned out fucked up because we got spanked.

But, having been the recipient of spankings, I have an opinion on them.  My opinion differs greatly from the Christianist* folks in this story over at

Here is my first, minor, opinion: If you think that there’s “a swat on the back of the calf that says, ‘Stop crying, buck up, be a happy girl.'” you are an enormous asshole and possibly psychotic.  When people experience unpleasant and sometimes painful things, they cry.  Insisting your kid stop crying by smacking them?  Fucked up.

Here is my second, major, opinion: The only time it’s ever understandable to smack your kid is exactly when you are angry or afraid.

I’m not saying it’s ever “okay” to smack your kid.  I don’t know.  I’d rather people not smack their kids, but I’m not the boss.  But I’m saying that it’s understandable why folks smack their kids out of anger or fear or frustration.  And, more than that, I do think it teaches kids something about life–when you push folks too far, bad things can happen to you as a result.

You smart off too many times to that drunk in the bar; you’re going to get hit.  You speed; you’re going to get a ticket.  Etc.  You run out in the road while your mom screams after you to stop?  You’re going to get smacked.

That’s the way the world works.  It’s unpleasant and, I would argue, that we should take steps to mitigate how often we’re hurting each other physically or emotionally.  But hitting your kid when you’re angry with him or her makes sense.  I’m not saying that it’s right.  I’m saying that it makes sense. 

At the least, it teaches your child that strong emotions lead to extreme actions.  This seems to me something that a kid can come to understand.

Hitting your kid when you’re not angry with him or her?  Or making your spouse hit your kid?  This seems psychotic to me.  Who, other than psychopaths, hurt other people without emotion?

I don’t know.  Do you see what I’m saying?

It’s one thing if your kid is reaching, yet again, for the hot stove, to panic, yell “no” and swat him.  It seems like quite another thing to not panic, but instead to calmly reach for the plumbing supply line you have handy for such occasions, and smack them because you think God’s telling you to.



*I thought this word was stupid when Andrew Sullivan first started using it, but I’m starting to see its usefulness.