Archive for the ‘Culture Wars’ Category
This weekend, a truly astounding anti-feminist letter was published by the newspaper of record in glamorous Fargo, North Dakota.* Its author, one Michael A. Ross of Hawley, Minnesota, believes he not only knows the root of our societal suffering, but he also has the cure for what ails us all.
No, really! Sit down, pour yourself another cup of coffee, and prepare to have your mind blown!
Mr. Ross begins:
Men have ruled every civilization since the beginning of time and always will. That is not the question. The question is, will a civilization be ruled by good men or evil men?
“Always will” is your clue that you have left the 21st century and are descending into Schlaflyland,™ a pale pink universe that, in a twist of delicious irony, would require its leader, the venerable Mrs. John Schlafly Jr, to stop her traitorous habit of speaking in public, let alone allow anyone to refer to her as “Phyllis.”
Schlaflyland™ is a familiar enough place to my readers, but Mr. Ross isn’t content to linger there–after all, such a place is run by a woman, and that’s a Bad Thing. Read on:
Historically, evil men have ruled. Evil men rule today. When good men rule, it’s ordinary men exercising leadership in their homes, local churches, local civil government, local business and commerce.
So if I understand correctly, in the thousands of years of modern civilization, only evil men have ruled–but for the brief spell in which Eisenhower was president. Gotcha.
When evil men rule, it is a handful of political, corporate, and monetary elitists that control nearly all the wealth in the economy. They rule from corporate boardrooms, Washington and Wall Street. It is their strategy to attack ordinary men as the heads of their families and other traditional institutions. They do this by pushing women out of their homes and into the workforce by creating an economy that requires both parents to work.
What? You mean this FEMINISM thing can’t be blamed on WOMEN? It’s all a conspiracy by a cabal of evil men? Gloria Steinem must be so relieved.
Also, by pushing them into jobs traditionally reserved for men: soldier, police officer, firefighter, physician, truck driver, etc. And by pushing schoolgirls into highly competitive varsity athletics traditionally reserved for boys, just to name a few.
Only “highly competitive” sports, sir? Does that mean ladies are welcome at gentle games? Like badminton or varsity cupcake baking?
Any wife who is contentious with her husband’s leadership, any woman who takes a man’s pulpit, or seeks employment that has been traditionally reserved for men, has played into the elitists’ hands.
DID YOU HEAR THAT, MRS. MARCUS BACHMANN?? Get out of the federal House and back into your house! When Marcus does his own laundry, the elitists win!!
Traditional male leadership is no guarantee of a decent and just society, but it is a prerequisite. A truly free and just society will be one that promotes women as homemakers and mothers, nurses, teachers, secretaries and cheerleaders.
That’s the darling Mrs. Bachmann (née Michele Amble) on the right. What a cutie. All this Wall Street corruption is so obviously her fault.
Not being content with a good chuckle at Mr. Ross’s expense, I took the additional step of Googling his name and location. Why not? He might be the author of more amusing editorials that would appeal to my blog readers. I have a duty to keep all two of you amused and entertained, especially on days when writing satire myself would be too exhausting (I am a married lady, after all).
To my surprise, I found something even more bizarre–this headline:
It seems that several years ago, an 18-year-old named Joel Charles Ross filmed himself and two friends lighting a snapping turtle on fire. The idiots then uploaded their torture of the poor reptile, which was forwarded to local authorities. The young Mr. Ross was sentenced to community service, a $500 fine, and five days in the clink for pleading guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty.
Here is a photo I found of Mr. Ross the elder, and his lovely wife Vicky. It appeared in another Fargo Forum article, this time in celebration of the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary:
How could such an adorable couple spawn a child capable of such a stupid and senseless act? Setting a turtle on fire for kicks is something only an evil man would do.
It’s the cheerleaders’ fault.
*It is easy for outsiders to mock Fargo, yes, but I come by my scorn honestly–a good half of the relatives I have spent my adulthood avoiding are North Dakotans. This my one perk.
It has come to my attention that my recent blogs have been using the category “Idiots” far more often than the category “Awesome.”
Perhaps that explains why I am so far behind in the 2012 Circle of Moms Top Political Mom Blogs contest. As of this writing, I am #23 in the rankings. Though I don’t mind losing to The Mamafesto, Blue Milk, PunditMom and current leader Monologues of Dissent, I MIND VERY MUCH that I’m 12 places behind Pamela Geller, a racist so virulent she’s being watched by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
I hereby vow to be more proactive about sharing all that is awesome with my readers. I’ll start with an heartfelt appreciation of my representative in Congress, Keith Ellison, shown here at the 2011 Minnesota State Fair with two adorable constituents and their dorky mom*:
Rep. Ellison issued the following statement yesterday, after previously confidential reports showed that the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is using a race-based strategy to pursue its decidedly non-awesome agenda:
The exposed documents reveal that NOM’s ‘strategic goal’ is to ‘drive a wedge between gays and blacks – two key Democratic constituencies.’
Our nation was founded on the principle of liberty and justice for all people—regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. NOM is clearly opposed to these basic ideals that so many Americans hold dear.
I call on people from all backgrounds to speak out against NOM’s agenda and vote NO on the anti-marriage amendment this November.
Isn’t that awesome? I bet you’re jealous that Rep. Ellison doesn’t represent you.
But there’s more! Check out this video from the House floor, taken only hours ago:
Damn! I wish Rep. Ellison had done that, and I’m so glad Rep. Rush did. But since no one can vote for either of them until November, please make sure you vote for me, NOW!
*Confidential to Ms. Geller: yes, I did let a practicing Muslim near my children. Shortly after this photo was taken, my children and I were killed in a terrorist attack.**
**Just kidding! Pamela Geller is a racist idiot! Please don’t let her win! Vote for ME!
You want a trigger warning? You got one.
Surf away if you don’t want to read the word “rape,” think about the act rape, or get a taste of my wrath directed at pearl-clutchers of convenience who gleefully report about rape all day long in the name of news, but are shocked, SHOCKED that rape might be mentioned in a comic strip.
No, not reruns of Peanuts, silly. Doonesbury!
Good old Garry Trudeau is wading into the forced ultrasound wars with a series this week featuring the trials of a woman seeking an abortion in a conservative wonderland (or the early stages of the Republic of Gilead). Trudeau told the Washington Post that to ignore the issue would be “comedy malpractice.” Bless his feminist heart!
Above is today’s strip, cut from the print editions of the two dailies in my area, the Minneapolis StarTribune and the St Paul Pioneer Press. I haven’t subscribed to either for many years, due in part to cost-cutting measures that sacrificed journalism in favor of really big type and the kind of salacious reporting that belongs in the pages of In Touch Weekly, not a newspaper (remember when the PiPress’s reporting on SlutWalk Minneapolis appeared in the shape of a woman’s sexy legs? I sure do). Thursday’s strip promises to feature a doctor annoucing “by the power invested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape.”
But when the papers themselves can’t control the narrative (rape=kinda sexy), the issue is suddenly controversial, too hot for print. When Garry Trudeau likens a transvaginal ultrasound to rape, it’s “inappropriate.” As David Brauer of MinnPost (an online news source staffed by canned Strib & PiPress employees) so astutely observes, children reading their parents’ papers are already being exposed to stories that detail rapes of kids their own age.
But that’s news, the editorial boards would argue. People have a right to know. Following that logic, then, it can’t be controversial that readers have a right to know that transvaginal ultrasounds look like this:
…and that these ultrasound laws coming up for debate would require that women seeking abortions would be forced to endure this vaginal probing without their consent.
Sure sounds like rape to me.
A Pap smear is not rape, despite the suggestion of Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America. Just like Janice, I schedule Pap smears with licensed, trained professionals whom I trust. Janice and I consent to the procedure, following the guidelines recommended by our doctors. It’s not against the law to skip ‘em, though. We have a choice in the matter. When we get Paps, we say yes.*
But back to the pearl-clutchers of convenience populating the editorial boards of Twin Cities newspapers, suddenly so nervous about children. THE CHILDREN! MY GOD, THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
Give me a break.
The word “rape” should make people uncomfortable. How are we going to stop it without talking about it? How are we going to debate the politics of mandated vaginal ultrasounds without considering that, yes, the procedure looks and sounds an awful lot like rape?
A credible newspaper cannot reasonably claim that news articles on the rape of children (reported in much larger type than appears on the comics page) are somehow less damaging than a comic strip satire. Pearls cannot be clutched only when it suits….The Suits.
The whole thing almost makes me want to start a subscription so I can cancel it in a huff. Almost, but not quite! Happily, these papers are dwindling into insignificance all on their own, due in large part to dumb decisions like this one.
You can keep up with Doonesbury online here: http://www.doonesbury.com/
* can you believe I’m still explaining this yes-means-yes, no-means-no shit? I can’t, either.
One year ago, Skirt! magazine published an essay of mine entitled “Love in the Time of Contraception.” In the piece, I laid bare (pun intended) many sordid details from my love life to make the point that there is no sexual blunder more embarrassing than ignorance….and that includes having to ask your boyfriend to retrieve a Today sponge gone rogue in your lady parts.
Rereading the essay, I find myself cringing once more at the stubborn persistence of America’s Puritanical values. I wish my European forebears had thought to resettle in the British colony settled by criminals, not uptight prudes. Fleeing famine and/or conscription leaves one with limited choices, I realize, but I have to believe that my great-great-greats would have preferred their descendants to spend Good Friday frolicking on sandy beach instead of heading out to show solidarity for a legal, but beleaguered and threatened, facility that performs legal procedures and dispenses legal medications.
This picture was taken on Good Friday seven years ago, not long before I gave birth to my daughter. Yep, I’ve been involved in pro-choice activism for a long time, and I’m committed to it. I’m a realist, and I know that the anti-choicers won’t go away. I didn’t assume that one day I wouldn’t have to show up–I assumed that one day I’d be out in St. Paul with a pair of teenagers, demonstrating our support for safe, legal abortion, on demand and without apology.
But here we are in 2012, and I cannot believe I just might have to fight for their right to contraception!
Remember contraception? The stuff that makes controversial procedures like abortions unnecessary? (Duhhh.)
Isn’t it our right as Americans to be embarrassed by slimy sponges? To go soft at the crinkling sound of the condom wrapper? To take a pill that makes you a hysterical, bloated mess, so on edge that no one wants to have sex with you anyway (or is that just me?)….?!
But it’s come to that. And now, millions of moms who wouldn’t have dragged their kids to Planned Parenthood in the past are being jolted into action.
Isn’t that kind of contradictory? A birth control mom? How do you become a mom if you’re into birth control?
Well, duh. You use condoms so you don’t become a 19-year-old parent with a boyfriend who is a manipulative asshole. Or you use sponges AND condoms so you don’t become a 22-year-old parent with a boyfriend who is much nicer than the old one, but who still has a few mental health issues to clear up. Et cetera.
Get the idea? The clinic is called PLANNED Parenthood for a reason. Parenting is a job too important to leave either to chance or to anyone too young to run for Congress.*
(Rush also said some not-very-nice things about a contraceptive fan named Sandra Fluke, but you know that already.)
Are YOU a pissed-off Birth Control Mom? Are you looking to do more than spread Santorum jokes and bemoan our country’s flight back to the Bad Old Days? Good Friday is April 6, right around the corner–there’s probably a family planning clinic in your neighborhood that could use your voice for reproductive freedom. If you’re in the Twin Cities, please say hi to me at the event in St. Paul. I’ll be accompanied by my two PLANNED children, and I’ll be saying this:
If your clinic isn’t planning a solidarity action, why not send them a bouquet of flowers (with your donation check, natch) to thank them for the fine work they’re doing? Find a location at www.plannedparenthood.org.
*Dear younger readers: please don’t bother writing with the admonition that you are doing a better job than say, Bristol Palin, Snooki, or my own parental units, who spawned me at the tender age of 21. I think we all can agree that it would be preferable for children to be raised by grownups who’ve been slutty, had their hearts broken a few times, visited New York City, etc. and have the acquired wisdom that such experience implies.
On February 3, George F. Will published a column called “Lifting Up the Fatherless,” which at first glance looks like so many other “boo hoo, poor boys without fathers” handwringers until you get to the fifth paragraph.
Born to an unmarried, mentally ill prostitute, [Robert Lewis "Sugar Bear" Jackson] acquired his interest in driving from his grandfather, who would drive around the block with Sugar Bear in his lap. Not until Sugar Bear was 25 did he learn that his grandfather was his father, too, having had a sexual relationship with Sugar Bear’s mother.
Don’t you love the nimble use of the euphemism “sexual relationship” to define incest, an act that rarely occurs between consenting adults? Especially not when one of them is already identified as having a mental illness? I suppose the word “RAPE” is too unsettling for a guy who wears a bow tie.
Sugar Bear grew up mostly on the streets, episodically drifting into and out of the care, such as it was, of various female relatives.
Will doesn’t state that Sugar Bear would have been better off in the care of his rapist father/grandfather instead of “female relatives,” but I felt the correlation was strong enough to say so on my Facebook page. A couple of readers thought I went a bit far in chastizing Ol’ Bow Tie, and perhaps they’re right. I’m just very sensitive to the assumption that children suffer without a dude in their lives, for that assumption leads us down this stupid path:
!!! Emphasis mine!!! Because any time I get even the faintest whiff of the suggestion that my friends Morgan, Mia, and Margaret are somehow not being loved adequately because neither of their parents has a dick, I want to scream!!!!! And explode into a fiery ball of exclamation points!!!!!!!
Happily, a Facebook reader recognized that the fault lies neither with Will, the editor who crafted his column’s headline, or with Frothy Mix, for that matter. We remain such a grossly sexist society that whenever something goes wrong, we’re quick to assume that a MAN ought to be able to fix it–in the case of Will’s column, a closer reading reveals that MAN not to be Sugar Bear’s bio-dad after all, but MAN some folks believe is The Good Lord Himself™. As this reader so brilliantly wrote on my FB wall: “I object to the insinuation that biological or mythological fathers are the only options for good role models.”
Right on! Sugar Bear was failed by much more than his father/grandfather/heavenly father. Social problems as tough as entrenched poverty and mental illness aren’t going to be fixed with a Dad shaped band-aid.
(Confidential to the rad mom formerly known as Spike Laird: please don’t start a blog. I have enough competition already.)
Interested in the thoughts of an actual honest-to-gosh cis-fella, I turned to the Radical Hubby. ”Oh whatever,” he huffed. ”People tell themselves that crap all the time. I’m a good father, so I’m the reason that my kids aren’t in prison.* When the truth is we are all a mess of nature versus nurture versus all the other bullshit the world throws at us. Kids need people who love them. Period.”
*Matt is a wonderful parent, by the way. He’s a great believer in quantity time as well as quality time. Still, when my son was old enough to realize that his best buddy had two moms, he whined: “WHAT? Mo has two moms but I only get ONE? That’s not fair!”**
Image: Drawn by Lian
I posted a blog in November that I called “The Awareness-Industrial Complex,” spurred in large part by my blistering rage against a world which lets us drown in cancer-support products, but not actual cancer cures.
Sure, the pink crap hawked by the Susan G. Komen Foundation at a Walk/Run/Crawl/Kvetch For the Cure™ makes people feel good, but here’s a newflash: maybe cancer shouldn’t make people feel good. Cancer, to those whose lives are touched by it (like me), feels very, very bad. Cancer, to those whose bodies are actually enduring it, feels more terrifying than anything imaginable.
What would a world in which cancer made people ANGRY look like? For one thing, there would be none of this NFL players in pink shoes bullshit.
Don’t get me wrong–Tom looks cute in these shoes, but what he wears doesn’t do a damn thing for a suffering patient. Not the way that a research program at Johns Hopkins would.
Honestly, the Komen vs. Planned Parenthood kerfuffle makes me happy. I’m disappointed that PP is losing over half a million dollars of Komen grant money, of course, but I’m pleased that PP supporters have kicked in nearly $400,000 since Komen’s boner became public (pro-choicers are the nicest people). Most importantly, however, the public is starting to question the motives of a foundation that has very deep ties to Republican lawmakers who oppose not only women’s health initiatives, but also the environmental regulation that could ….wait for it…. prevent cancer. Worst of all, it has long been known that Komen’s founder, Nancy Brinker, is a great friend of pharmaceutical companies that depend upon cancer to make money.
Watching the Komen brand suffer is schadenfreude at its finest–but any amount of suffering they endure is a trip to Disneyland compared to the pain of a cancer patient, of her children, and of her family.
The Marketing of Breast Cancer (AlterNet)
Think Before You Pink (a project of Breast Cancer Action)
By now, I’m sure all y’all have seen the video of a Colorado Girl Scout complaining that your Thin Mint dollars are being spent on including transgender girls in the organization. Sprinkled throughout last week’s Facebook timeline were sighs of relief, for our cookie addictions can now be reclassified as Important Political Statements. I love when things come together like that!
What a cutie. I wonder what chromosomes ze has? Normally I wouldn’t ask, but it seems everyone’s talking about what’s under those green skirts. Used to be we just cared about the cookies, not the genitalia.
On a related note, my post on the conundrum of feminist mental health garnered this comment, with some unexpected advice:
the only thing helpful i have to offer is this: the more i move into separatism, the more i do whatever it takes to have less and less to do with men and male-identified women, the happier i become. and the easier it is to be happy and at peace. just personal experience, but it makes a lot of political sense too.
As an aghast Mr. Beinstock said to Daphne and Josephine in Some Like it Hot (watch the clip here): “I BEG your pardon, miss!”
Occasional bouts of misandrist rage, I understand. Patriarchy can turn any woman, whether cis- or trans-, into a lunatic. But separatism? Isn’t that what we’re fighting with our cookie purchases?
Admittedly, I always feel prickly whenever it is suggested that heterosexual feminists like me are Doing It Wrong. Personal rebuff aside, it implies that Rick Santorum is correct in his belief that sexuality is a choice, which leads us all into a bullshit-filled rabbit hole. And I defy any radical separatist to come to my house to have a crack at the difficult daily work of raising a feminist son. I might even go out on a limb and suggest that it’s the most important work of our movement–that is, if I were the sort of person prone to the kind of “nyah nyah, my feminism is better than yours” that I try to avoid.
Really, I do.
You know who’s an unequivocally GREAT feminist, though? That boy of mine. He could out-feminist a wannabe like Sarah Palin in a heartbeat. And with his gorgeous hazel eyes, he’d look amazing in a green and white uniform. Say, why does it have to be Girl Scouts, anyway? Isn’t it time we had Kid Scouts, open to anyone interested in hustling Thin Mints for merit badges? (please don’t talk about Boy Scouts, that haven for god-fearing pedos who lack the patience to join the priesthood.) Is there some way we could convince Kate Bornstein and Chaz Bono to spearhead a movement that untethers Scouting from gender entirely?
And for once, can we let cookies be cookies and kids be kids, regardless of flavor?
I love gossip. Love it. I’m into good old-fashioned dirt, not the phony baloney that is manufactured by Kris Jenner and shoved down our throats in a series of “exclusive” photo spreads and television specials. Brangelina delights me, as did All My Children before it went off the air. The scandalous campfest Valley of the Dolls is one of my favorite movies of all time.
But there remains a species of gossip so tantalizing, so unbelievably marvelous that it blows away the timeNeely O’Hara flushed Helen Lawson’s wig down the toilet. I’ll give you a hint: Larry Craig, Newt Gingrich, George Rekers. When a “family values” politician or activist gets caught with their hands in the cookie jar!
First, let us travel back to a more innocent time, namely 2009, when Minnesota Senator Amy Koch sponsored a bill that would amend our state constitution to limit marriage to heterosexuals only. Koch, herself a heterosexual, is married to a man named Christopher. One assumes that she felt her civil marriage contract with Christopher might be threatened by happily hitched gay folks, I dunno. It was something she felt deserved her time and attention during a recession, anyway.
It’s worth noting that in the 2009 session, Koch received a 100% rating from the Minnesota Family Council, a group so retrograde they oppose even popular measures like civil unions and, y’know, stopping the bullying of LGBT students (I hear their next piece of legislation will be to ban the phrase “don we now our gay apparel” from “Deck the Halls”).
In 2010, Koch became Senate Majority Leader, just in time to cram the divisive, expensive, and just gosh-darned Grinchy Marriage Amendment down our throats, which is just what Minnesota needed to create jobs…..for the soulless hacks at the ad agency for the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese.
But wait! What’s this? Did Santa leave a present a little early for us this year? Via CityPages:
Santa, who puts hypocrites, not necessarily adulterers, on his Naughty List, has made sure that this story gets the viral treatment it so richly deserves. The giant, sparkly bow on this gift that many national outlets are missing? That Koch’s alleged paramour is none other than Michael Brodkorb, founder of the giant blog o’ sleaze that is Minnesota Democrats Exposed, a site that deals in hearsay, innuendo, and “reliable sources.” MDE joined my personal naughty list in 2008 when it implied that writing an article in an old issue of Playboy magazine OBVIOUSLY made Senate candidate Al Franken a misogynistic pornographer (the President of Minnesota NOW, however, begged to differ). The humiliating exposure of a former exposer is an irony even more delicious than eggnog.
I love gossip. I love just deserts. I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS! Enjoy, all!