Archive for the ‘Culture Wars’ Category

Ten things I don’t want my insurance money to pay for

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

 

insurance

 

1. Your insulin

After all, it was your choice to eat a jelly donut every morning. Now it’s my choice not to stabilize your blood sugar.

2. Your statin drugs

See above. When you weren’t eating donuts, you were eating bacon! Sometimes you had both at one sitting! YOUR choice, not mine.

3. Your heart stents

See above, fatty! You shoulda been eating bran flakes.

4. Your kid’s stimulants

I think little Tommy’s just got an attitude problem. Discipline is what he needs, not money from my pocket.

5. Your mole removal

You got to go to the beach every year for spring break? Well, I had to go to a museum. Who’s pissed off now?

6. Your painkillers

I hear that street heroin is easily and cheaply available on the street. As a capitalist, I believe the free market is preferable to the artificial price controls of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Go chase that dragon on your own!

7. Your infertility treatments

God made you barren for a reason.

8. Your cesarean section

God gave you a stretchy vagina for a reason.

9. Your Viagra

God gave you a limp dick for a reason.

10. Your sad, pathetic life

Enough of this “civil society” crap. My money is MINE, and I want to spend it on plastic flowers, yarn and glitter glue at:

 

hobbylobby

 

FFI:

Twelve Myths in the Hobby Lobby Case, as Clarified by Jodi Jacobson

What Sandra Fluke Knows About Hobby Lobby: a Case Beyond “Religious Liberty”

The Hobby Lobby Case is About Spreading Lies About Contraception

Five Reasons Contraceptive Care Is Essential

Here’s What the Christian Right Hopes to Gain From the Hobby Lobby Case

 

 

 

 

 

Seven alternatives to Miley Cyrus

Monday, October 7th, 2013

 

As the parent of a 13-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter, I have an interest in the ongoing pop culture debates over art vs. raunch, nakedness vs. maturity, empowerment vs. exploitation.

But I am also an admitted fan of pop music, and in my considered opinion, the stuff Miley Cyrus is putting out is just boring.

I could spend hours discussing the impact of Rihanna, Ke$ha and Britney on impressionable children, because “We Found Love,” “Tik Tok,” and “Toxic” are kickass singles.  I tried “We Can’t Stop,” but I don’t get it.  I don’t even think it would be a good Rihanna record.

As a result, Miley’s antics with foam fingers, teddy bears, and cultural appropriation are not even on my kids’ radar–but they might be on yours. If that true, then I’m here to help!  Below is a Radical Housewife-approved list of hip-hop/pop gems by women that I guarantee inspiring mad twerking that you can feel good about.

 

Your kids might be surprised to learn that this talk show host used to be cool:

 

Mary’s groove is as fierce as her clothes are hideous:

 

Everyone in my house loves M.I.A.–and the family that galangs together, stays together:

 

Miley DREAMS of being as hot as Neneh Cherry:

 

Amanda Blank is Brooklyn’s answer to Ke$ha (and that’s a good thing):

 

One of my closest college pals went to high school with Santigold, a totally pointless factoid I trot out to seem “hip”:

 

And Le Tigre, of course:

 

If you disagree with these selections, please refrain from writing me an open letter.  I’d prefer you just leave me a comment.

 

 

 

Corporate food sensitivity

Friday, April 12th, 2013

 

If you’re a certain kind of hippy-dippy, über-crunchy, lefty pinko mom of particular socioeconomic status, you probably ingest (and perhaps most importantly, serve to your children) some kind of organic food product.

You don’t go the full Paltrow, of course, but you try, and you try because you care: about your family’s health, about Big Ag, about the environment, about everything.  This is why liberals are called bleeding hearts–we care.  We are sensitive not only to the lactose in cow’s milk, but also to the myriad injustices of the world.  We don’t just care, we ache, dammit!  We so want to do the Right Thing, especially at the breakfast table.

We also read Salon.com in large numbers.  I know I’m not the only mom who gagged on her chocolate soymilk & coffee yesterday morning when she read this headline from the site:  ORGANIC EDEN FOODS’ QUIET RIGHT WING AGENDA

!!!!

 

Irin Carmon writes that Eden Foods is on the list of companies suing the Obama Administration for the contraceptive coverage requirements in the Afforable Care Act–quite surprising for a biz that started as a hippy-dippy, über-crunchy co-op 45 years ago in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  I mean, it’s no shocker that an Oklahoma-based craft supply store might raise a fuss such things, but would you ever imagine phrases like THESE:

  • “The Affordable Care Act…attacks and desecrates a foremost tenet of the Catholic Church”
  • “The Affordable Care Act’s contraception, abortion, and abortifacient mandate violates the rights of Plaintiffs”
  • “Plaintiff has never offered insurance which included coverage for contraception and abortifacients”
  • “Plaintiffs believe and teach that ‘any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation, whether as an end or as a means’—including contraception, abortifacients, and abortion—is immoral and unnatural”

…coming from a hippy-dippy, über-crunchy organic foods company?!   That started in the late ’60s in a college town?  One imagines their original clientele had more problems with the immorality of deodorant than with non-procreative sex.

Just who does Eden Foods CEO Michael Potter think his customer base is?  Let me give him a hint.  It looks less like this:

 

 

…than this:

 

 

…and Gwyneth, for all of her annoying organic macrobiotic gluten-free GOOPiness, is a loud and proud supporter of Planned Parenthood.

Happily, I do not drink Edensoy in my coffee, preferring the creamy deliciousness of Silk Light Chocolate Soymilk every morning.  Instructed not to buy it from Whole Foods, I get it from the co-op we joined a year ago, or when I’m in a hurry, from my local Cub, which has a fully unionized workforce.  I CARE.

Just to be on the safe side, though, I thought I’d give Silk a Google to see what came up.

!!!!!!!

 

I guess I’ll be taking my (shade-grown, fair trade) coffee black from now on.

*sniff*

 

 

Answering the abortion rights question

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

While we’re reminiscing today, the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, let’s take a moment to remember what I looked like on Good Friday, 2005, just one of the many days I have honored my commitment to speak out for reproductive rights:

 

 

Back then, my son was a five-year-old preschooler, obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine and the Hardy Boys.  Today my son is almost thirteen, a fan of Katniss Everdeen and dubstep music that makes my head hurt.  He has always been a very curious kid, and now that he is older he is very interested in what I call The Big Questions: life, death, and the tools we use to make sense of what lies in between.

Not long ago he asked me how I felt about abortion. “I think whether or not to have an abortion is a woman’s business and no one else’s,” I replied.

“But don’t you think it’s killing a baby?”

Bam! THE REALLY BIG QUESTION!

Of course this discussion had to happen in the car, so I wasn’t able to whip out the smartphone to add visuals to our conversation.  It took much longer while driving to explain that THIS:

 

 

…or even THIS:

 

 

…is not the same thing as THIS:

 

 

…which is what his sister looked like six months OUTSIDE of my body.

“Some people think that a two-celled zygote is a human life,” I told Elliott.  “Some people think that a four-week zygote is, too.  I saw you on a sonogram only nine weeks after conception, and I saw your little heart fluttering.”

“You did?”  He was impressed.  I was too, back in the summer of 1999, and I wrote about the experience in my book The Radical Housewife.  I shared the excerpt here on Blog For Choice Day 2011:

Lacking the framework of faith, I seek not perfection, but balance. When I looked my blob, I understood him as the culmination of countless events and choices, the sum total of my years on the earth. My years, and no one else’s. I also saw a creature that drew sustenance from me and me alone. He lived on my blood, my nutrients, my oxygen, my energy: all of it mine. If I died, so did he. His tail could not wiggle outside the safety of my womb.

I gave him life. I also gave him meaning.

When does life begin? I suspect it is a process requiring a complex engagement between both the being and its world, much like a story requires a reader. Otherwise, the words remain only a series of unintelligible scratches on a page. If we accept that a story has different meaning for a different reader, we may understand that no person will approach either their soul, or a zygote’s, identically.

The above language is a little fancy for the average 13-year-old, even one as brilliant and handsome as my son, so I tried to craft my feelings about abortion, and life, so that he could understand.

“A woman must have the right to decide what happens to her body.  How I feel about pregnancy, or how you feel, or how the lady next door feels, or the President feels or the Pope feels, can never be more important than the feelings of the woman going through it.  No one can decide but her.”

The backseat was quiet for a moment–a rare thing.  Then he said:

“I get it.”

 

 

 

In circles about abortion

Friday, January 11th, 2013

 

It’s no secret that reproductive rights activists and the anti-choice crowd read each others’ websites and Twitter feeds.  And by read, I mean parse in ever more minute detail.   Aside from providing insight into the other side’s strategies and tactics, it’s fun!  The circle-jerk that gets going after a blog post responds to a Twitter war kicked off by a online news report is a great way to waste a quiet afternoon.

I’m not going to link you to the site that inspired this post, because I think you should have your own moment of bliss when you are forced to Google “Gloria Steinem abort Erin Matson.”

You all know Erin, right? The former Action Vice President for NOW who spoke to Time magazine for their January 14, 2013 cover story on the reproductive justice movement 40 years after Roe v. Wade?  The woman in the article with the staple in her face?

Photo credit: my crummy Samsung Galaxy

Erin should also be familiar to my regular readers as a longtime friend, one so dear that I would trek from Cub Foods to Walgreens to Rainbow to find a damned copy of the very prominent national magazine with her picture in it AND be pissed to find that there’s a fucking STAPLE in the photo I was going to hang up by my desk!  I didn’t pay five bucks to have a clear picture of Nancy Keenan, I’ll tell you that!

Ooooh, did you catch that thinly veiled jab at the soon-to-be-former president of NARAL?  Look for it to be headline news in the blogosphere tomorrow.

If you performed the aforementioned Google as directed, you went to a site that had a rather snide take on the concerns of Erin, Steph Herold, and other young women in the reproductive rights movement.  If you read closely (as I do whenever I see a piece with Erin’s picture attached), you noticed that the post’s author believes that intergenerational tension is due in no small part to our elders’ subconscious desire to have aborted us.

(Well, not ME.  I was born in 1971, and everyone knows that no abortions occurred before January 22, 1973.)

Yes, folks, it’s true: Gloria Steinem wants to abort Erin.  When Erin told me the story of why she felt she had to leave her job at National NOW, she failed to add that Terry O’Neill, a 60-year-old Second Waver, kept chasing her around the office with a coat hanger.

I realize, of course, that writing a blog post about a blog post about a magazine article (and a blog post) is contributing yet another jerk to this particular circle, but I can’t help myself.  It’s too, too funny!

If I don’t see a response to this post from Lila Rose or the New Wave “Feminists” that in turn inspires a snarky rebuttal from Amanda Marcotte, I will be very disappointed.

 

 

Voting NO for the children we love

Monday, November 5th, 2012

 

 

I’m voting NO on Minnesota’s ballot question on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, of course.  For a while I was convinced that regular readers of my blog didn’t need me to itemize the reasons, including but not limited to the appalling notion of discrimination being enshrined into state law.  Yuck.

My heterosexual hubby, Matt, and I even had a depressing conversation about how the totally symbolic nature of the amendment fight (for Minnesota already has a state statute banning same-sex marriage) is draining untold millions of dollars from actual, honest-to-gawd, on the ground work that both sides could be doing to achieve a more just society.  Catholics and other religious groups are NOT feeding the hungry and healing the sick; lefties like yours truly are NOT fully funding Lambda Legal, the group working on the LGBT rights movement’s version of Brown v. Board of Education.  

Instead, an estimated FIFTEEN MILLION SMACKEROOS is going to ad agencies, television studios, lawn sign assemblers, radio announcers, t-shirt printers, leaflet copiers, et cetera.  I’ve mentioned that I’m burned out, yes?  Cynical, exhausted, ornery, drained, annoyed, jaded, the works?

Last weekend my hardened heart opened up again, and I remembered why I got into this business in the first place: because I love children and care desperately about their physical and mental well-being.

 

 

To be specific, I love and care for a child that my regular readers know as Mia.  This little girl is as dear to me as my own daughter. I met her only hours after she was born, and I’ll never forget the joy of nuzzling her squishy pink nose and telling her how happy I was to be a part of her life.  Nothing activates the protective instinct more than a vulnerable newborn, so tiny and dependent upon loving grown-ups to nurture and protect her.

Mia is a third-grader now, and her vulnerability is different: her parents revealed to me that she has been driven to tears by the barrage of advertising by those who call this a marriage “protection” amendment.  Mia cried when she saw strangers on the television tell her that:

  • Her family structure is inappropriate at best, aberrant at worst
  • Her parents are selfish egotists who shouldn’t have had her in the first place
  • Her family is a threat to society

Imagine all of that crap entering your head when YOU were only nine years old.  What would YOU do?

You’d probably cry.

This post has been pinging around in my own head for two days, moving from brain to fingers to webpage with great difficulty, for every time I imagine Mia crying, I start welling up.  There are fat tear splotches on my keyboard right now, so please forgive any egregious spelling and/or grammar mistakes.

The vote on the amendment tomorrow won’t change any laws.  It is symbolic–but what a symbol it would be to a little girl like Mia, a kid being raised by two loving and committed parents who just happen to be women.  What a symbol a resounding rejection of this amendment would be to the thousands of Minnesota children who wonder where they fit, not only on the rainbow of queer identity, but in the fabric of our community.

Is there another symbol that could so powerfully represent a cultural shift away from fear and towards love?

I can’t think of one.

 

 

Lesley Gore approves this message!

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Not many people know this, but I am a massive Lesley Gore fan and have been ever since I heard her wail on my mother’s scratchy old 45s.  I love her so much that I sat through all of the cheapie 1965 B-movie “The Girls on the Beach” to watch her star as the primmest Alpha Beta sorority sister.* She sang “Leave Me Alone” and she fucking KILLED it.

But who knew that her greatest performance was yet to come?  In a You Tube PSA for the 2012 elections, no less?

 

 

Says Lesley: “I recorded ‘You Don’t Own Me’ in 1964. It’s hard for me to believe but we’re still fighting for the same things we were then. Yes ladies, we’ve go to come together, get out there and vote, and protect our bodies. They’re ours. Please vote.”

I love it. And it gave me a brilliant idea.

Could 2016 be the year that we have a new and improved Clinton/Gore presidential ticket??  

OH MY GAWD, I HOPE SO!

 

 

*okay, okay, I also watched it for the Beach Boys.  You got me.

 

Surprise, surprise

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

So THIS just appeared across the street:

 

It’s the first VOTE YES marriage amendment sign I’ve seen anywhere, let alone in a deeply blue corner of the People’s Republic of South Minneapolis.  I don’t know the neighbors, who haven’t attended a National Night Out function in the nine years I’ve lived here and therefore haven’t clue about the many LGBT people living on our street and on streets nearby.

I think I’m supposed to feel rage or contempt, but mostly, I just feel sad.

Really sad.

Sigh.

To get your own ORANGE lawn sign for a donation of only $10, please contact Minnesotans United for All Families.

Please.

 

 

Gabby!

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

On August 1, the women of Crunk Feminist Collective wrote a perfect response to the whitewashing of the USA women’s gymnastics coverage that I cannot improve upon here, so I won’t try.  The post is called “UPDATE: Gabby Douglas leads Team USA to the gold” and very much deserving of your time and attention.  In this space, however, I would like to share what Gabby Douglas means to my daughter–my white, blonde, blue-eyed daughter.

Now, it shouldn’t matter that my daughter and Gabby don’t look alike, but this is America, and it does.  Not to Miriam, of course, and probably not to Gabby herself–but it seems to matter a hell of a lot to the people at NBC, who built their women’s gymnastics coverage around 2011 world champion Jordyn Weiber, a pale-skinned brunette.  Even when Weiber choked in the qualification rounds, NBC seemed determined that the story of Olympic gymnastics would be hers: would Weiber achieve her dream with the team gold? how does it feel for Weiber to see her dream go down in flames? et cetera.

Miriam, on the other hand, saw in Gabby Douglas a lovely, charming, and massively talented young woman and fell in love.

I am not some goopy hippie stereotype who likes to coo “my daughter doesn’t see color.”  My daughter sees color.  She’s not stupid.  She sees color with the literal eye of a young child who refers to her own skin as pink and Gabby’s as brown.

And as a child, she sees Gabby Douglas as a whole person, not a marketing gimmick.  This must be why the mainstream media has been so slow to catch on to what children of all colors understood the instant Gabby entered North Greenwich Arena.

Will that change now that Gabby is the all-around gold medalist?  Hey, everybody loves a winner.  I try to teach my kids to be gracious in victory as well as defeat, but I think if I were Natalie Hawkins I’d give my golden girl permission to say to NBC:

“BITE ME.”

 

 

 

Guns, tears, and American manhood (again)

Friday, July 20th, 2012

I wrote this essay for the Minnesota Women’s Press in April 2007, but they didn’t use it, so I published it on my old MySpace blog (remember MySpace?) on May 2, 2007.  I reprinted it on Blogger on January 11, 2011, after the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  Now that our country is reeling from YET ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING, I figured it might be time to run it again.

GUNS, TEARS, AND AMERICAN MANHOOD

by Shannon Drury

I am happy to admit it, totally honestly, without a trace of irony: I’m a Fanjaya. That is, an honest to goodness fan of Sanjaya Malakar, the 17-year-old American Idol contestant whose wacky hairdos and wobbly vocals made him a target for derision from the web to the grocery tabloids to network news. I participate in pop culture silliness as much as anyone (I still have my Spice Girls dolls, mint in their boxes!), but I genuinely love this kid. In fact, I’ve had a mom-crush on him ever since his first audition in Seattle, long before he shocked the nation with his pony-hawk.

Shall I break for another pop culture definition? A mom-crush occurs when an adorable kid provokes a powerful desire to pinch the object’s cute cheeks and serve him or her homemade cookies. In common usage, one might say: “I hope they never recast the stars of the Harry Potter movies. I have a mom-crush on all three of them.” And Sanjaya definitely had the toothy grin and the goofball charm to win over the stoniest mom in America. When he wept openly after his older sister was cut from the competition, I felt a bit teary myself. Who sees a boy cry on television at all, much less out of genuine tenderness and emotion? I loved it. He was my Idol pick, no matter how he styled his hair.

But fellow moms and Idol geeks like my friends Pam and Liz thought I was nuts when I confessed that I was dialing for Sanjaya. “Are you serious?” Pam squawked. He was terrible! Liz e-mailed. These are sensitive, loving women who are both capable of serious mom-crushing. But eventually, I realized what made them immune to Sanjaya’s charms.

Neither were mothers of sons.

Now someone else’s son is in the news, and for something far more disturbing than off-key singing: on April 16, 2007 Seung-Hui Cho opened fire on his university campus in Virginia and killed 32 people before turning the gun on himself. Media coverage after the massacre followed a predictable pattern, with a parade of pundits expounding on gun control laws, why students ought to own guns, pervasive mental illness, the civil rights of mentally ill persons, violence on television, violence in video games, the logistics of campus lockdowns, and more. All that changed the day NBC announced it had received a package from the killer himself, containing videos and photographs of himself decked out in his murderous finery.

In one image, Cho brandishes two firearms, holding them from his ammo-clad body at right angles, his face glowering with rage. It’s too perfect. It could have easily come from any grindhouse movie; hell, it could have come from the movie Grindhouse. This is not to blame Hollywood, but to recognize the image’s brutal allure. In America, we love power. We need it; we feed on it. The power that comes from violence is the cheapest and easiest available to those who are the weakest among us.

I was pregnant with my first child when the home video footage made by the two Columbine killers was made public, to be shown 24/7 by news outlets in a desperate attempt to understand what these boys had done.

Not long before, a fuzzy black and white ultrasound revealed that I was going to have a little boy of my own. Two television screens, showing two separate images of boys in America. My typical first-time mom jitters gave way to full-blown panic. There was no chapter in What to Expect When You’re Expecting about this. What on earth was I going to do with my American boy?

Fast forward seven years and I still don’t know. No one else seems to either. Seung-Hui Cho, despite a youth spent in South Korea, idolized the Columbine killers as “martyrs.” I adore my boy, but I fear for him. No talk show or how-to book is going to sort this mess out. But maybe one boy’s spontaneous tears on the country’s most popular television show will help.

I know I had best not pin all my hopes on this one American boy, a reality TV star at that. Of all media icons they tend to have the shortest shelf lives. I have a lot of difficult, ugly parenting work ahead of me, and Sanjaya will be busy just growing up. I thank him for the courage he displayed on the show week after week—and I’m not talking about the spectacularly funny hairdos. It takes guts to be yourself in America these days. It takes strength to take chances, to stand up to criticism, and to cry when it’s all over. That’s a kind of power that is neither easy nor cheap, but it will last him a lifetime.

I hope his mother is proud.

 

After I posted this piece to Blogger in 2011, I received the following comment:

I am Sanjayas mother and I am very proud of him. To raise a sensitive, compassionate, grounded young man in our culture was not easy. It made me cry to hear another woman facing the same challenges to raise a boy within a culture that glorifies violent,macho images of young men. Sure Sanjaya was called gay and teased for his love of baking and knitting. One day,
I’m sure he will make a woman very happy, and most likely will raise his own son,the next generation of conscious, balanced and sensitive men.

Was it the real deal?  I sure hope so.  In the meantime, I’m gonna check in with the rest of the Fanjayas over at www.sanjayamalakar.com.  He’s even selling Team Sanjaya t-shirts, bless his heart!!