Mouse rant blog vent mouse.

Friday, October 29, 2004

It's not that he's not into you, it's just that he's a dick

Apparently there's yet another book out there explaining to the never good enough sex why they just can't seem to get a man to like them. Sadly, it's by two of the writers from "Sex and the City", who are trying like hell to get me to hate their show. They claim to have a new, different, tough take on the whole love and dating thing, but as far as I can tell, their advice is exactly the same as any other--sit still, have a guy pick you, and the only real requirement to make a man marriageable is whether or not he'll have you. The above link is to a sample question and answer at MSNBC. For a point of contrast, the Mouse will offer startling insights that come from living in the real world where men (gasp!) suffer from rejection and heartbreak just like women (it's not possible, is it?)

Let me remind you: Men find it very satisfying to get what they want. (Particularly after a difficult day of running the world.) If we want you, we will find you. If you don't think you gave him enough time to notice you, take the time it took you to notice him and divide it by half.

If no one calls you, it's because you are hideous beast. If you were good enough, you would be married already, so give up. No leaving the house, no meeting people. When a man wants you, he will hear it on the wind or from his fairy godmother or something and show up. They have magical powers like that.

Seriously, if it's so easy for men, how is it that my male friends will call me and complain that they never meet any decent women (hint hint to female friend they assume has single girlfriends)?

Onto the questions! Excerpt from #1, a young lady who went out with a male friend:

All of a sudden it felt like we were on a date. He was completely flirting with me. He even said to me, as he was checking me out, "So, what, you're working the whole 'model thing' now?" (That's flirting, right?) We both agreed that we should get together again soon. Well, Greg, I'm disappointed because it's been two weeks and he hasn't called me.

The answer to her question is to quit mixing up loneliness, alcohol, and horniness with real dates. Also, it is stupid to sleep with your male friends who compliment you, because then it gets weird and you aren't friends anymore and who will you be able to get to take you out on pseudo-dates in the future? If she were my friend, I would ask if dating him was that big a deal to her--likely, she'll say no. Then I'll say, keep him as a friend, and then you can hang out and flirt harmlessly all the time. But none of that is important, apparently. All that matters is taking this poor girl down a notch.

Can you be a pal and give him a nudge? Nudge away, friendster — but watch how fast that nudge doesn't get a return phone call. And if your dinner/date did feel different to him, it's been two weeks and he's had time to think about it and decide he's just not that into you. Here's the truth: Guys don't mind messing up a friendship if it could lead to sex, whether it be a "_ _ _ _ buddy" situation or a meaningful romance.

I have no idea what he's saying, but I think his point is, "If that guy thought you were remotely attractive, he would have fucked you already, but you're a dog, so get over it." If in fact this is true, she should never speak to her lying piece of shit friend who thinks it's funny to fill her head with a bunch of flattering lies about her looks. But odds are that he does think she's pretty, but wants neither a fuck buddy or a meaningful romance.

I hate to tell you, but that whole "I don't want to ruin the friendship" excuse is a racket. It works so well because it seems so wise. Sex could mess up a friendship. Unfortunately, in the entire history of mankind, that excuse has never ever been used by someone who actually means it. If we're really excited about someone, we can't stop ourselves — we want more. If we're friends with someone and attracted to them, we're going to want to take it further.

True, it is a lame line, so if you actually mean it, you wouldn't say it. But if he's actually suggesting that there's no such thing as a man who pushes away women he's attracted to because they are too available....HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! It is a bona fide fact of life that a certain subset of people, male and female, only want what they can't have. Pathetic, cliched, but true. And yes, men fall into pathetic, cliched behavior just as much as women.

Question #2:

I have a crush on my gardener. He's been potting the plants on my patio. It was hot, I saw him without his shirt on, he was hot, and now I'm hot for him. I brought out some beers and we talked. I think he wants to ask me out but is afraid, because he is my hired man. In this situation, can't I ask him out?

Weird, seriously. Just drop it, lady.

He's capable of asking you out. Haven't you ever seen a porno? Hope he gets there before the pizza guy.

Since we all know that porno is the best barometer for how real-life dating goes.

Let me say it again, sexual harassment rules and workplace memos notwithstanding, a guy will ask out a woman of higher status if he's into her. He might need a little more encouragement than normal, I'll give you that. You might have to lead Johnny the Office Boy or Phillipe the Exterminator to water, but you better not help him ask you out. Once again, ladies, a wink and a smile will do it.

Men are all-powerful and completely fearless. A man has never been afraid of being rejected or fired, ever, in his life.

Question #3:

There's this guy who calls me all the time. He's recently divorced, and in AA. We got back in touch recently, had lots of phone calls, and then hung out twice in one week and it was real cool. No flirting or making out or anything, but fun. Since then, he calls me all the time but doesn't ever suggest we see each other in person again. It's like he got scared or something. I would understand if because of the divorce/alcoholic/starting-a-whole-new-life stuff he wanted to take things slow. But he still calls me all the time to have long heart-to-heart talks. What should I do with this guy?

Dump his blabbing ass for turning you into his sounding board? Oh wait, women don't dump, they just fade away....

You, however, will still not be going on a date, because despite all your excuses for him, he's still not asking you out. Now, if you're a person who enjoys a slightly satisfying phone relationship, talk on! But at this point it seems like he's just not that into you. Be his friend if you're at all interested on that level, but move your romantic inclinations onto a more suitable future husband.

If a guy truly likes you, but for personal reasons he needs to take things slow, he will let you know that immediately. He won't keep you guessing, because he'll want to make sure you don't get frustrated and go away.

Another great thing about men that makes them so foreign, and yet amazing--they never, ever keep someone on the back burner in case their first choice doesn't work out. No, if they aren't sure yet, they just cut you off and let you go. So if he seems to be sending mixed signals, it's not because he's trying to keep you on a string for sex and companionship. It's because he's a saint and just putting up with you.

Question #4:

I met a really cute guy at a bar this week. He gave me his number and told me to give him a call sometime. I thought that was kind of cool, that he gave me control of the situation like that. I can call him, right?

Well, why not?

Did he give you control, or did he just get you to do the heavy lifting? What he just did was a magic trick: It seems like he gave you control, but really he now gets to decide if he wants to go out with you — or even return your call. Why don't you take Copperfield's number, roll it in a newspaper, pour milk in it, and make it disappear.

Men are all magic and shit, too. They know that women can't ever have control over anything, ever, but after feminism you have to use magic tricks to distract women from this fact. And being unbearably clever, they devised a trick called "giving a phone number when asked". Devious, yet awesome. So never call a man, or he wins. And since love is warfare, you can't let him win the first battle. If you call first, he'll hold that over your head until your kids have kids of their own. You'll never live it down.

God, I hope that was funny. This guy pissed me off something awful--a whole book dedicated to flattering himself that by merely being born male he is this huge prize that women fret, cry and destroy themselves over.

Friday night random ten

Rox Populi the founder. Windows Media Player looks like it desires to rock out to some true classics tonight.

1) "Boys Are Boys and Girls Are Choice"--The Monks
2) "Do You Remember"--Husker Du
3) "You Really Got Me"--The Kinks
4) "No One"--Quasi
5) "Nothing Like This"--Cecil McNabb
6) "Pump It Up"--Elvis Costello
7) "Ort"--The Cows
8) "Enough Space"--Foo Fighters
9) "Wheel Me Out"--Was (Not Was)
10) "Hand"--The Kills

Friday cat blogging

I catch Max in the process of turning his eyes to the same color as the wall. No Katy this week--she won't hold still. Posted by Hello


Your body is a wrapped lollipop.

When you have sex with a man, he unwraps your lollipop and sucks on it.

It may feel great at the time, but, unfortunately, when he’s done with you, all you have left for your next partner is a poorly wrapped, saliva-fouled sucker.

These words were actually uttered by Darren Washington, an abstinence educator, at the Eighth Annual Abstinence Clearinghouse Conference, an informational three-day trade show for abstinence educators, anti-abortion pregnancy care centers and medical professionals.

Washington was giving examples of how to teach abstinence. He then called up volunteers from the audience and used an actual lollipop to help deliver the metaphor.

After which he went home and beat off while thinking of virginal teenagers sucking lollipops.

This is from a new new Ms Magazine article about abstinence-only education. Unfortunately, Mr. Washington doesn't explain how his metaphor extends to other hymen-destroying activities that can happen before sex, like athletic activity, bike-riding, tampon use or simply aging. I guess it's like dropping the lollipop on the ground without sucking on it or unwrapping it. Sure, it's ruined but maybe a not-so-picky kid will eat it.

Read the whole thing and then take an aspirin.

Via Ms Musings.

One more plea for help

My friend who is working with Gotham Studios to put together the Voter Video project, has just asked me to make some phone calls to relieve the workload. I suck at this sort of thing, but hey. I would be kicking myself if I didn't at least try to squelch the voter disenfranchisement that we all suspect will go into high gear on Tuesday.

So once more I'm begging and pleading. If you can shoot on any video format, including Beta, DVCam, DVC Pro, and Mini-DV, please help. If you know of voting irregularities in your own area, document these. If you would like to help, but you don't know where, please contact Letty at They really need people in the places you would expect--Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida, of course. Other places that have reports trickling in of voting irregularities are New Mexico and Milwaukee. I don't imagine those of us in the solid red or solid blue are having problems, but Austinites might want to keep their ear to the wind, because they spent a lot of illegal funds getting this redistricting done and they aren't gonna let a bunch of piddly voters keep the Texas Five in Congress.

Hell is other people, usually wingnuts

One of the great pleasures of living in an oasis in the Bible Belt is hearing about the latest wingnut craze that's sweeping the countryside. Halloween is a particularly fun time, as the anxiety felt by those who actually think that Satan is poking them in the ass with a pitchfork is at an all-time high. The latest coping mechanism for dealing with the fact that your godless neighbors all lose their minds once a year and start celebrating Satan's birthday with chocolates and costumes (or naked drunken paganism, something some people find hard to believe, causing me to wonder if they've ever been to 6th St. on Halloween).

The latest anti-Halloween craze is Christian-themed haunted houses, where the Christian right gathers its young and gets them to enact their most lurid fantasies of sinners roasting in hellfire screaming out in agony that they were wrong and the Baptists were right all along. You see, one of the great pleasures of being saved will be looking down from heaven into hell with a self-righteous smirk as the hellfires lick at those people who wouldn't do as they were told on Earth. Sadly, you must wait for death or the Rapture to start enjoying this particular pleasure, but in the meantime, it's okay to go to a Christian haunted house for a taste. In today's Daily Texan, there's an article about one of these right here in Austin, in the Promiseland Church. (Previously mocked right here in this blog for trying to save us via airplane at the ACL Fest.)

PromiseLand Church in East Austin has, for the past four years, created Virtual Hell, an evangelical haunted house that features "real life horrors," said youth pastor Ricky Poe - acted-out scenes of domestic violence, teen suicide, date rape, abortion, school shootings and fatal drunk-driving accidents.

That reminds me of my teenage years. After a bout of school shooting, I would jump in the car with my drunken boyfriend who would beat me and talk me into an abortion.

"We want to save people physically and spiritually. But if you don't save someone physically, there's no hope for spiritual salvation," Poe said.

I am assuming then that the pastor hands out condoms to the heathens so that they don't die of AIDS before they are saved.

Every October, thousands file through the graphic maze of Virtual Hell, past sordid scenes and into an "elevator."

The elevator, a solid box set on a forklift, first takes the audience up seven floors, to heaven.

The ascent is pleasant enough: Kenny G plays through the loudspeakers. The light is white and soothing. At the top, the strains of Kenny G's saxophone warp, and the elevator begins down again.

I don't know about you, but being in an elevator that's playing Kenny G sounds like the hell portion of the house. It would be a blessed relief once it starts to warp.

Casting begins in August and all final decisions are made by Poe.

Or, maybe, by God himself.

"I believe in divine appointments," Poe said. "There are just some people who are destined to play a certain part; I feel that."

It seems to be a well-regarded belief that God could be speaking through anyone, as long as he is a straight white male. It's quite handy, that.

Acting in a haunted house is dangerous stuff, it seems, and not fun at all. No, it's hard work.

"People might think I'm crazy, but, spiritually, I try to walk Christ-like. In this role, Satan throws everything he's got at me. I feel fatigue, I have nightmares."

Many cast members talk of this -headaches, sore feet-all signs, they say, that Satan is near and trying to undo the good they've done.

That or they are suffering from the psychological torment of believing their own bullshit.

"Spiritual people can spiritually discern things," Poe said. "I tell the kids involved to keep prayed up. I don't want anyone getting hurt. The enemy's tool is fear."

The Christian right's tool is not fear, apparently. There no reason to think they are trying to scare you into compliance by telling you that you'll burn in hell for all eternity for disagreeing with them.

Poe admits the most controversial incident in the whole production may be the abortion scene.

In that scene, a young woman changes her mind in the middle of an abortion procedure. The doctor and nurse consult and decide it's too late to stop. The young woman cries out as the heartbeat of her unborn child thumps loudly on the sound track broadcast from overhead speakers.

It's the realistic touches like this that really get to the kids.

In the scene that ends their tour of horrors, the audience is given a choice, Poe said. They can walk through a door on the left into a room where a counselor will talk with them about what they've seen and pray with them, if they like. Or they can just leave, through the door on the right.

No pressure!

The debunking continues

Last night, I watched the second disc of the show "Bullshit" that has Penn & Teller debunking all sorts of, well, bullshit beliefs and cultural myths. The show is fascinating, and it's a great antidote to the endless stream of pseudo-documentaries that are much easier to find on television that ask things like, "Are aliens real?" and "Did Noah's flood really happen?" These psuedo-documentaries trying to "prove" that certain Biblical events really did happen annoy me in particular, because they are clearly playing both sides of the fence--people who don't take the Bible literally get to comfort themselves from the program by saying, "Well, at least these events have some scientific basis" and people who believe can say, "See, even the scientists know there was an ark with every animal blah blah." (It's all a shame, too, because these documentaries sometimes skew the works of real anthropologists who are investigating where certain myths may have come from--the work that's been done at the site of ancient Troy is a good example of work in this field that seems well-done to me.)

I love reading books about debunking this or debunking that, which is a pretty nerdy obsession but still a lot of fun. Watching it on TV, though, adds this whole other dimension that really underlines the need for the debunkers. Over and over on the show they interview believers in whatever bullshit they are debunking that episode, and it's really touching to see how badly people desire what they believe to be really true. It's a reminder, particularly on the episodes that have charlatans and con artists using these needs to make money, of how much danger people put themselves in when they hand themselves over to (warning: philosophical term coming up) desire-induced fantasies.

Not that I'm being superior--we all suffer from a constant deluge of desire-induced fantasies. In fact, just after the show ended, I got a gentle reminder of this for myself when a phone call punctured a very minor fantasy I had that I didn't even realize was a fantasy, at least until reality came crashing in. And the most irritating episodes of this program are the ones where Penn and Teller indulge their libertarian politics, even going so far as to call on the Cato Institute, who are a bunch of charlatans themselves. Why smart people fall for libertarianism, I will never understand. Talk about a desire-induced fantasy.....

It becomes obvious very quickly what desire is being fulfilled, at least temporarily, in every case where people are caught up believing something that just isn't true. The episodes I found the most intriguing were the ones where they dealt with sex, the one about creationism, and weirdly the one that dealt with psychic powers.

The first episode dealt with people's desires to have what they thought up as a sexier body--particularly a bigger penis or bigger breasts. The best part is they didn't do was a lot of debunkers of this herbal medicines, etc. that promise these things often do, which is deny the validity of the desire for bigger breasts or a bigger penis. Those desires are real enough, and they make sense in their own way. The women who admit that they want bigger breasts are accurate when they say that they think that it will get them more attention from men--it will. Where they miss the mark is believing that more attention from men will result in anything substantial that they want. The whole thing is a bizarre mix of fantasy and reality: Herbs=bigger breasts (no)=more attention from men (yes)=more dates (possibly)=finding Mr. Right (not likely, especially if you're wasting your time with men who wouldn't date you if you had smaller breasts).

The one on ESP was really interesting, because there's few deep desires that these phony psychics won't try to fill with their lies. The saddest was the psychics who come out of the woodwork when someone goes missing, presumably murdered, using the family's desperation to grab a little attention for themselves. The goofiest was the people who do past-life regression, fulfilling their desire to believe that if they aren't some famous, important person now, well at least they were in a former life. The ones who puzzled me the most were those who go to the animal psychics--I am super-attached to my cats, too, but I don't really see what it gets me to think that they have complex thoughts and emotions. That they are pretty simple is what makes them lovable, it seems to me. I wish I could be satisfied chasing a ball all day long.

Creationism is getting a post of its very own. That there is some fucked-up shit.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Do not believe the Christian right when they tell you they love gays

They are lying, which is breaking one of the Commandments, but I won't get into that. I got into a tangle with some right wing Christians at Hugo's blog over this issue and I'm going to vent here because people at his blog are courteous and a flame war is not necessary. My basic point was simple--the Christian right's incessant harping on homosexuality, especially considering that they use dehumanizing words like "base" and "unnatural" and rhetoric that paints gays as monsters, has helped create the enviroment where gay-bashing flourishes. Duh--if you hear that Jesus hates gay people all the time in terms that imply they are little better than animals, it's a lot easier to justify kicking the shit out of a gay person to yourself.

Well, no one likes to have to face the ugly consequences of his actions, so of course the responsible parties swarmed to deny responsibility. First, I hear it's tedious to harp on gay-bashing. It was tedious for the NAACP to harp on lynching, no doubt, but it sure was necessary. And of course, the argument is brought out that hateful words don't lead to hateful action, a laughable argument coming from the same sector of society that just knows that a flash of Janet Jackson's boob ruined the morals of young men around the country. For people who are unclear on how it might be problematic for authority figures like preachers, etc. to harp on a class of citizens and how this might lead to people in the community to actually start thinking those citizens are lesser, I would suggest reading David Neiwert's blog on a daily basis.

And after the preliminaries are out of the way, time for the biggest bullshit of all--that they love the sinner and hate the sin.

Fuck that. Loving the sinner and hating the sin doesn't include reciting the pain of hellfires in tones that barely hide the speaker's glee in imagining the "loved" sinner's anguish as God gives him what for.

And even those who conceal that pleasure well are still not making the sort of sense they think they are making. They claim that they are judging homosexuality like any other sin, like gossip or bad manners or whatever. I am not naive--I know that homosexuality is not condemned in anything even resembling strong terms in the Bible. It is not comparable to adultery, which is condemned in strong terms. Anyone who claims equivalency between the two, once again, LYING. Hell, the way that the Christian right is carrying on about homosexuality, you would honestly think it's worse than adultery.

I get two or three emails a day from Focus on Family about homosexuality and I have yet to get a single one on adultery. There are more adulterers in this country that homosexuals. There are probably more fundamentalist Christian adulterers in this country than homosexuals. I'll bet my money that adultery factors into more than half the divorces in this country. Adultery is a direct violation of the sanctity of marriage and you don't have to make a bunch of nonsensical arguments in order to demonstrate this. One of the big 10 is spent condemning adultery specifically and another one condemns just thinking about it. So why are homosexuals considered a bigger threat than adulterers?

I also pointed out that people gay-bash because they think that it's appropriate to pass out a little of god's justice here on Earth, and the wingnuts disagreed, saying that they don't believe in passing out punishment here on Earth in god's stead. Is that so? Then why the hell do I get email after email after email after email requesting that my cat, who is a fake evangelical as well as a fake Republican, boycott P&G until they fire all their gay employees? I don't get emails suggesting that any other sinners lose their job for their sin, which seems like it's punishment on Earth to me. You know, like gay-bashing. Why is it that the Christian right advocates for sodomy laws so that they can make sure that homosexuals go to jail now? Isn't god going to roast them on a flame for eternity after this? Why then the rush?

They hate gays and they hide their ugliness under a thin and easily punctured blanket of platitudes about love. Don't believe it for a second.

Gov. Perry, working hard to make Texans look even more ignorant

The governor takes after his predecessor in petulance.

AUSTIN — Republican Gov. Rick Perry refused to honor United Nations Day, even as President Bush signed a U.N. proclamation, because doing so would be inconsistent with the governor's views, his spokeswoman said.

In his proclamation, Bush also had urged governors to "honor the observance of United Nations Day," which was celebrated Sunday around the world to commemorate the date the organization was founded in 1945.

But Perry wants everyone to know--even though he would be no one without Bush, Bush is not the boss of him.

"It was a conscious decision to not issue the proclamation out of concern over the lack of support the U.N. has shown for United States efforts to bring freedom and democracy to the world," Perry spokeswoman Kathy Walt said.

I guess they forgot to brief Perry on the last-ditch attempts to quit trashing everything that most Americans believe in.

I'm gonna start a unicorn meet-up group

There's an ex-gay meet-up group started at You can see how wildly popular it is here.

God, can you imagine what it would be like to be married to an ex-gay man? "Honey, I'm going out with Bob, that cute, I mean, neat guy I met at church who also used to be gay. Don't wait up!"

Via XGW.

Voter suppression is easier if it's done in the dark

My friend who is coordination Voter Video sent a mass email out to 1,000 filmmakers and cameramen to get their help. (If you dabble with a video camera and can be in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, or any hotly contested state, please offer to help.) Most of the replies she's been getting are positive, but a couple of Republicans have replied, and it's pretty funny. Here's the email she sent me:

Some guy decided our endeavour “is a thinly veiled effort to subvert our election process,” because he doubted we were going to go into union halls. (Presumably to show voter intimidation by unions.) I don’t get the hostility, and frankly, I don’t think he understands that our effort is a documentary about what happens when you get TO the polls, not before hand. Though, that would make a good story, too.

I thinks he’s a Rove operative.

I just had this guy send an e-mail bitch at us claiming that we were graduates of the Michael Moore school of documentary making, and claims that the Republican party of the Emancipation Proclamation is still the same party that esteems and protects individual rights. His subject line suggested we were actually getting funding! He thinks we’re being paid by some agenda-driven, wealthy ideologue! If he only knew that it’s a handful of people who don’t want Jacksonville, FL pt. 2 to occur without someone to note it – and that in that handful of people is one newly unemployed citizen, and 3 overworked and underpaid ones. If he thinks our tiny gaggle is a threat, I wonder what he thinks about Election Protection.

I too have to wonder what these guys are thinking. If the RNC thinks that they are doing the right thing by sending a bunch of Freepers to the polls to look for elderly black women to harass, then they should be proud to have it on camera, wouldn't you think?

Tom DeLay is movie villian evil

You know the requisite scene in sci-fi and fantasy movies where the bad guy, to show that he is Pure Evil and Will Stop at Nothing, kills one of his sniveling minions to keep the rest in line? Well, that's how Tom DeLay runs Congress. In today's Austin Chronicle, there's an interview with Louis Dubose, who has a new book out about DeLay, where he details exactly what an evil motherfucker DeLay is. In midst of revelations about how DeLay will destroy someone just for hiring a Democrat, how he lies to cover up the fact that he still drinks, how this good Christian helped keep garment workers locked up in a factory where they were forced into prostitution and forced to have abortions, how his main obsession is destroying the EPA, we also learn how DeLay keeps moderate Republicans in line with his hard right agenda by destroying anyone who opposes him.

What were the 24 Republican moderates who were Northeast? – the Patrick Shays Republicans, the Peter Kings, they had a bloc that could have controlled the Congress, but this guy cowed them. Like Marge Roukema, she wasn't as tough as these guys, but DeLay went out and recruited [a primary opponent], gave money to the Club for Growth, $50,000, encouraged someone to run against her, denied her a chairmanship. So you sort of make a sacrificial lamb out of the weakest member of what is the so-called mainstream caucus, the Wednesday Caucus, the Lunch Bunch – Ornstein calls them the "Wuss Caucus," which they are, they're cowards. They had the power – Jim Leach, the independent from the Middle West, from Iowa – even though he voted against the war, in the end they do DeLay's deals.

It's interesting to me that people are up in arms about what DeLay just said about Kos. Understandably, they think that DeLay is accusing Kos of raising money for terrorists when he says something like this:

"LaRouche is a con felon and all I can tell you is that Mr. Morrison has supported and campaigned with LaRouche followers and Mr. Morrison also has taken money and is working with the Daily Kos, which is an organization that raises money for fighters against the U.S. in Iraq," said DeLay.

But I do think that DeLay means Democrats when he says "fighters against the U.S.", though clearly he's trying to get his audience to think of terrorists. To DeLay, Democrats are not real Americans. He certainly treats Democrats as if they are a greater threat than terrorists, which sort of makes sense if you realize that he's an armageddon Christian who thinks that anyone who advocates for a Palestinian state is preventing Christ's return to Earth. Viewing it from that angle, Democrats are worse than terrorists because while terrorists want to bring down America, Democrats want to bring down God, a slightly higher offense.

As you can imagine, Texas politics right now are at a little scary and need some closer national attention. So here's some other articles from the Chronicle about Texas politics for those who are interested in how fucked-up the people running the country are. Here's one about the peril of fascism in little bitty Crawford, TX, and one about how the redistricting will probably shake out in the election.

Edited to add: DeLay is evil, but Bush still pulls through as a winner.

Cross posted at XX.

This election is about basic civil rights

There's little doubt now that the RNC full well intends to dive deep into the bag of Jim Crow tricks and try to keep minorities from voting. There's a must read article at Salon about this today.

I would also like to draw everyone's attention to a project a friend of mine is running out of Washington D.C. called Voter Video. They are trying to get as many video cameras as humanly possible into precincts where the Republicans are sure to be intimidating and harassing voters they assume will be there to vote for Kerry, judging them mostly by their race. If you have a video camera and some time to kill on Election Day, please help out. You can contact the filmmakers at the website, or email me for further details.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Wendy and Lisa

My neighbor's name is Wendy. I have no idea what her girlfriend's name is, but I joked to friends the other day that it would rule if it was Lisa. They didn't get the joke, which is a shame. Once I explained it, they laughed, but the damage was done.

Wendy and Lisa are the backbone of the Revolution, the band that served Prince so well in Purple Rain. Great scene in the movie when they give him a song and he blows them off and then realizes their genius and plays their song. Heart breaks every single time.

Lisa got with the Revolution first and then her girlfriend Wendy. They are the backbone of the Revolution, one of the greatest bands of all time.

If you don't know the brillance, well buy the best soundtrack ever. Kudos from here to whenever to Prince for being the one and only man I know of in music who has used his feminist principles. Prince will hire a woman before a man, every time. Wendy and Lisa were his first band and heroes to us all.

Eating when everyone is watching

Hugo has an interesting post about how food is such a source of anxiety for women, who are under tons of pressure to stay thin, of course, but also because sensual enjoyment in women is still a big, fat taboo. I can think of, right off the top of my head, hundreds of instances of women I know making comments about how they like to eat in private, as do I. Of course, there are many reasons for this, but one of the big ones is eating in private affords one the opportunity to do it without explanation or apology or anxiety. That and you don't have to display elaborate manners or keep a conversation going. As a number of people on the blog point out, women just can't seem to eat without having to apologize for it. Holly illustrates this with a common incident in many people's lives.

I've attended early morning meetings with groups of women and early morning meetings with groups of men and the different attitudes towards the inevitable plate of breakfast pastries is always striking. The plate of danishes at the women's meetings is always approached with palpable anxiety by the group. Someone *has* to make a "joke" that the pastries are fat-free or that she will start a diet tomorrow before a pastry can be touched. Then everyone laughs nervously and looks anywhere but at the plate. If someone else takes a pastry, she also has to make a joke about being a pig or being bad that day.

Men do complain, I've noticed, about fattening food but usually not in the presence of so many other men and certainly not automatically as women do. Women often feel required to complain even if they don't mean it.

But this is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation, too. I've noticed a parallel situation that is discomfiting, too, and I have no idea how to handle it. If you go into a room with the pastries and everyone else has one but you don't, this is also a situation where your weight and eating habits are now up for discussion. I try to avoid the sweets, because they are empty calories, and I don't even like sweets. But telling people I don't want one opens up the guilt trip. By simply saying, no thank you, sometimes other women get offended like I'm sitting in judgement on them and they claim that I can get away with it because I'm thin, blah blah. And I don't want to say, "Jesus, I hardly starve myself. I'm probably going to go home and tear into some cheese and wine, and I just like to eat that better." Instead, I just usually say I don't like sweets, which is true but is received like it's a polite lie masking the inner anorexic.

I think that the insistence that one has to take the pastry is just more of the same fear of the sensual. Cheap office pastries aren't that tasty, so it's sort of a sinning isn't as bad if you didn't like it situation. When I turn my nose up to the pastries, I almost feel like people are imagining what kind of perverse pleasures I indulge in when they aren't looking. After all, we are familiar with the wicked indulgences that are far beyond eating stale sweets at the office--is the young woman going home after dodging Friday birthday cake to hit some smoky bar in a slinky red dress with a cigarette in one hand, a martini in the other and a rogue with a devilish twinkle in his eye beside her? (I wish.)

Okay, so I have an overactive imagination, but I think that there is something to the dance of the fattening foods that women do, and it's more complex than eating is bad, starving is good. By eating the treats laid in front of us while doing our mea culpas between bites, we communicate that yes, we have too much appetite, but at least it's right there in front and not really all that decadent. There is a ritual to eating and apologizing for it at the same time, an indication to others that we are sinners who are repenting for our appetites. By not playing, either by eating without apology or not eating even when others ask you to, you leave yourself open to speculation that lurking inside your heart is a passion for pleasures that are beyond apology.

Half of our cultural neuroses can be explained at this site

From Catch, a site dedicated only to art depicting men and monsters carrying passed out women.

Women get carried like this way more in movies than real life. I have seen thousands upon thousands of similiar images, but to my knowledge, I've only been carried by a man like this once. And I was awake. And it was pretty much a joke.

MSN beckons me to the dark side

I usually try to avoid MSN's career advice. It's not that it's bad, it's just that office politics are a way more boring subject than sex. But today's subject is supposedly "metrosexuals" and how they are doing better at the office than their counterparts, which I guessing are "beer-swilling buffoons", but it's really about how to be a better woman than women so that men can keep all the good jobs.

That's the buzz word, engendered by the popular TV show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," for a straight urban man who has become increasingly interested in appearance, grooming, home furnishings, the arts and food.

In other words, a man who pays more attention to his "softer" or "feminine" side.

I don't think I have ever heard them say "metrosexual" on "Queer Eye", because if they had invented the word, I'll be they would have copyrighted it. But it's no matter--we're here to learn how men can use their more feminine side to get promotions. It isn't as simple as just sending your wife to work in your place.

"The impact of women in the workplace has had an enormous effect on how men are expected to behave as leaders," said the executive, who first noticed the change and the advent of metrosexuals in 2002.

That would be the year that women started entering the workplace. As you can imagine, the effects were dramatic.

And that behavior, says Halpern, means being a metrosexual, which includes "fabulous communication skills, how they dress, their haircut and posture; if they are kinder and gentler, are consensus builders and have good emotional intelligence--traits traditionally associated with women. The kind of drive to get the result no matter what it takes no longer is acceptable if it translates into abusive behavior."

All these lessons would have helped Bill O'Reilly get what he wanted--dressing up, some kindness and gentleness and his assistant would have been vibrating right along with him. But instead he abused her in the old-fashioned, hetero-, not metrosexual way.

The executive career coach was "so struck by the popular culture success of the metrosexual that I wondered how it translates to the workplace."

I'm sure it had nothing to do with trying to use a stupid new buzzword to get your name in the papers.

As a result, she recently wrote an in-house paper for The Strickland Group that is titled "The Feminization of Men."

Apparently, using a vibrator on yourself is not feminizing enough, Bill. So pay attention.

"A senior executive in financial services was known for being a bull in a china shop," said Halpern. "He thought his behavior was OK because his productivity was so high, but his boss said it was unacceptable and his staff thought he was overly aggressive. Talented people who are subjected to tyrannical bosses say, `I won't put up with this. I have a life.'"

Quid pro quo demands for sex in exchange for keeping her job are highly productive in the short term, Bill, but in the long term women sometimes sue.

"And he got promoted, where before they were talking about letting him go," she said.

See, by getting a man to become more feminine, they were able to promote him instead of having to use the last resort of promoting a female employee with those valuable traits.

He had learned "it's OK to admit you don't know everything, to see how much more successful you can be by using so-called `softer' skills, ones usually associated with women," she said.

Women's main skill is apparently not knowing everything or at least faking that effectively. If this guy keeps it up, he may even be able to bag himself a husband.

He had become a metrosexual.

For some reason, once he took on the soft, feminine trait of not knowing what he was talking about, his interest in appearance, grooming, home furnishings, the arts and food grew until he became a metrosexual.

If being a metrosexual--being a kind, caring and inclusive executive--is becoming so important for men, why doesn't it also benefit the people who invented those traits, women? Why is the glass ceiling still so firmly in place? Why are so few women on the "glass elevator" that propels men to the top?

Good question. I think I know what the answer is going to be, and it won't involve the word "sexism".

"Because women not only are a minority, but they also get conflicting advice," said Halpern. "For 20 years, they've been told to be more like men--and clearly that doesn't work."

Your boss sees right through that fake mustaches, ladies. It's not enough to pretend to be men in order to get promoted, you actually have to be one.

Though the arrival of metrosexuals in the workplace suggests that adapting female traits may pay off for men, women's struggle to obtain equality will take much longer, she observes.

And it would have nothing at all to do with arguments like this suggesting that women can't bring anything to the office place that men can't do better.

"It's extraordinary, but progress [for employed women] is happening very slowly, bit by bit," said Halpern.

But it's much faster for metrosexuals.

That last line was a little ominous, don't you think?

Mary, you too can find your way back into the closet

Concerned Women for America released an open letter to the Cheneys, begging Mary Cheney to lose her job and dump her girlfriend and get back in the closet because change, you know, is possible.

I am the parent of a homosexual child and the executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), a national organization that offers support and education to families and friends of homosexuals, and advocates for the rights of ex-gays.

God, do these ex-gay groups have any originality? Take PFLAG's name, change a couple of letters and you have an acronymn that might even get Murdoch's sponsorship!

Mary is, I'm sure, a fine young woman with many wonderful qualities, and that is how she should be recognized. To label anyone solely by their sexuality is demeaning and inappropriate. As parents, we can and do love our children unconditionally no matter who they are attracted to. Loving unconditionally allows us the freedom to maintain our values and viewpoints while keeping a bridge open to our children.

Nothing says unconditional love like weeping, giving your child literature that says she's going to hell for who she is and telling her that you love the heterosexual that's within.

Sen. Kerry deliberately misled the American public as well as people who have unwanted same-sex attractions when he stated that people are “born gay.” He should know better.

As we all know, people choose to be gay so they can make their fundamentalist Christian parents miserable.

Ex-gays also presented the senators' offices with a congressional resolution on tolerance for former homosexuals. The resolution calls for Congress to condemn intolerance against ex-gays and to affirm its commitment to a society that respects all people, including former homosexuals. Now who could be opposed to that? Yet both senators have refused to state whether they support the resolution.

Congress understandably has a problem affirming tolerance for imaginary groups of people, especially when called on to do so by people who advocate intolerance for actual groups of people. Not that "ex"-gays don't have problems--for one thing, they are just as likely to be taken for being gay when they are out cruising the gay bars as they were when they were gay. And that can present sort of a problem for the new spouse and kids.

Homosexual activists like those working on the Kerry-Edwards team want "gay marriage" and civil unions in order to gain public affirmation. They think this will make them happy. Happiness requires hope, and real hope is the knowledge that many men and women overcome unwanted same-sex attractions every year, even those who believed at one time that they were born that way and had no choice.

At least 10-15 gays and lesbians manage to hold their nose and have sex with a member of the opposite sex 2-3 times a year to prove that they are straight. It can be done! That's real happiness there, not being with someone you actually love and desire.

Mr. and Mrs. Cheney, let me conclude by saying that I hope you'll sit down with PFOX some day and find kindred souls and new hope that you might not have known existed.

Gosh I hope they can make time to do it tomorrow so that it gets on the news for the voters to see.

Via Steve Gilliard.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Music blogging is still on

Sorry about the slacking--my mind has been way elsewhere for a couple of days. Couldn't even say where, but there you go.

To make up for it, I will direct your attention to one of my all-time favorite bands, The Slits. They are cool for a number of reasons, the two biggest being that they have Palmolive of The Raincoats for a drummer and a teenage Ari Up, who later became a dance hall queen, as the lead singer.

You can only get a copy of their album on import, but it's worth the couple extra bucks. It's fun, dance-worthy, reggae-inspired punk rock that's ahead of its time. And they do one of the best covers of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" I've ever heard. The best song is probably "Typical Girls", which has laugh out loud lyrics like:

Typical girls
Fall under a spell
Typical girls
Buy magazines
Typical girls
Fell like hell
Typical girls
Worry about spots, and fat, and natural smells

Also, I thought of them because they have a pretty popular Peel sessions c.d., and John Peel just passed and I couldn't think of much to say since I'm bad at these things. Ross pulls it together as says something decent.

My dork status is official now

Well, we marched around town for a couple of hours with Kerry/Edwards signs tonight. There are just some activities that demonstrate that one is hardcore now. Like the difference between losing your virginity and waking up in the morning recalling activities that cause you to wonder if your partner has an ounce of respect for you now. Or the difference between just going to a rock show and taking a stage drive. I used to mostly just vote and bitch, but tonight I grabbed my sign and camera and hit the street.

I took a bunch of pictures, but Hello is being slow. I'll put them up as I can. No pics of me, for any of the idly curious, because I was wielding the camera.

The bad news is the rain reduced our numbers signficantly. The brave few left walked from Waterloo Park to the Capitol building to the corner of 6th and Congress and then down 6th to Casino el Camino for some beers and music. Well, we are Austinites. As we walked, we gathered up a few more supporters who walked with us, but the most encouraging thing was the people on the street we passed.

Most of the people we passed on the street threw us a thumbs up or the victory sign. A good half of the cars had people leaning out and yelling support, giving us the thumbs up and honking encouragement. Our group was really emboldened. On the corner of 6th and Congress, Jan Patterson, the Democratic candidate and incumbent for the 3rd Court of Appeals caught up with us and gave us a pep talk. Taxi cabs and even bus drivers honked in approval. The bus passengers waved wildly. It was encouraging to see how most of the people out there were Kerry supporters, but just exciting to see the enthusiasm for Kerry.

Oh, there were a couple of Bush supporters, all aggressive in their language. Fuck you type of stuff. But it was hollow and pathetic compared to the honking and waving and people in the street shouting "Yea Kerry!" at us as we walked by. It's definitely heartening to see the capital of Texas turn on Bush like this.

Screw it, I'll be shameless

Oh boy, here's a video of the married Rick Renzi and the married Katherine Harris shamelessly flirting on C-SPAN.

Sure, it's not a picture of them in bed or anything, but still, it's inappropriate for the family values crowd to be taking advantage of their time away from their spouses to humiliate their spouses on national television. Unless there is something that makes straight marriages all the more sacrosanct by doing this.

MTV get off the air

Bunch of cowards look like they're gonna buckle under the pressure to keep Eminem's pro-voting, anti-Bush video under wraps. The arguments are coming out--what's the problem here? Is it just the anti-Bush message? The fear that music could create a bridge to helping young people into politics yet again? The worry that this might inspire more people who think their vote doesn't count to just try anyway?

Anyway, no matter. Ezra at Pandagon has the right idea--go request the video at TRL. It will be hard for them to ignore it if enough people ask for it.

Edited to add: Looks like MTV is going to play it. Good. Still doesn't change the fact that voting for it at TRL is a good idea, though.

This shouldn't make me mad, but it does

Okay, I don't expect like much from the Today Show. But giving that spoiled brat who fucked it up a chance to make excuses for herself just pisses me off. Look, there's millions of talented singers who never even get a shot at SNL and they would absolutely kill if they did. She blew it, she doesn't deserve it, end of story.

Tattooing defended

Green Fairy, who I always mean to add to my blogroll, has a great defense against this guy who thinks that women's one and only goal when making appearance-related decisions should be adhering to his idea of elegant feminine beauty. (His quote in green, hers in orange.)

The beautiful skin she was blessed with now evokes a filthy english alley. (I am overstating---she is still beautiful, but it did really DESTROY her elegance---a horrible crime for a woman to commit, in my mind.)

Tattoos that enhance a notion of fashionable femininity, good, Tattoos that work against prevailing conceptions of female beauty, bad. Very bad. Graffiti. Filthy. Idealised societal expectations, what a terrible thing to destroy. How dare she.


It's always a shame watching liberal guys fall into the trap of romanticizing women like this. They have the raw material to have decent relationships and can be really nice, but girls learn to avoid them because it's just a matter of time before the imperfections that every woman has start causing issues.

Defining "beauty" as perfection sans any individual and instantly recognizable markings of the sort that men are allowed to have makes my alarm bells go off. Women who look too much like themselves, too comfortable in their skin can't be beautiful. Beauty is looking as much like a blank slate as possible so that it's easier for others to project their own fantasies onto you. I know that's not the intention behind this draconian anti-tattoo attitude towards women, but that's what comes across.

I won't even get into his suggestion that tattoos signal "easiness" to men, except to say that I have a couple tattoos, I have girl friends who have a significant number of them, and as far as I know nobody's ever thought that meant anything besides, "She likes tattoos." Sounds like wishful thinking to me.

Let's count the uses of the word "let"

If men are babies that need to be coddled and disciplined, then apparently geeky guys are even more immature and need to be handled with a firmer, more motherly hand. MSN's advice today is all about what you, as a woman dating a geeky dude, should or should not "let" him do.

(By the way, this guy does not acknowledge any geek/nerd differences, so more evidence for the jury to ponder.)

Back when I was in high school, geeks were not highly regarded as potential boyfriend material. (Being one of them I am eminently qualified to attest to this.) Comic books, thick glasses, computers and chess club just don't match the selling potential of varsity jackets and cool cars.

Cool--he went to high school in Grease.

However, it's been noted that some geeks grow up to found software conglomerates, and even those who don't tend to be more agreeable later in life than they were back in their teens.

Translation: They have money now, so they have you. How to keep him so that you can keep up your payments on your Jaguar.

Like everyone after high school, we mellow out, ditch the young-wizard glasses, and develop the social skills that seemed so sorely lacking when we were pimply youths. However, that doesn't mean that we've lost our geekhood — we just conceal it better. More importantly, since you've grown up since high school as well, that geekhood which was so unpleasant back then is kind of charming now — try it and you may be surprised.There's no longer any shame in dating a geek, and it can be well worth the effort. The only issue is that sometimes you may find it difficult to understand our peculiarities.

He seems not to understand that there are now plenty of out and proud geeky women and that geeks can now date their own pretty exclusively.

Now we get a long list of things one must "let" your boyfriend do, with only the goal of keeping him satisfied in mind.

Geek care and feeding is easier than many think, because we are generally healthiest when left to our own devices. This doesn't mean we can't do things together; but we do thrive when given a little time to do our own thing. (This conveniently frees you from having to be part of it.)

If you get time to yourself, that's a side bonus and certainly not the reason you would decline to be bored by watching your boyfriend's every activity. And can we just ban the term "care and feeding" already? What next--Dr. Spock's Guide to Your Adult Male?

For example, let me wander off to the computer section while you're browsing CDs at the store. And though I am betraying my people to share this, adhere to the strict "yes-no rule" of computer product purchases: If I come back clutching an object in a brightly colored box, let me buy it only if I didn't buy something last time we were shopping. We do tend to overextend our finances, especially on computer equipment — it changes so fast, and the stuff is just so neat — so it also might behoove you to check the price tag and confirm that I really need this item. (My interpretation of "need" at this point will be highly subjective, so ask the tough questions.) Remember that there's a good chance I only want it because it's new. Geeks are suckers for new stuff.

Fuck that. Why take on the headaches and the fights? Separate. Checking. Accounts. Anyway, if he's a software conglomerate, he can probably afford all the damn doodads he wants.

We geeks are comfortable in herds, so keeping yours content requires that he have the opportunity to associate with his own kind now and then. Conveniently, this also solves the movie problem: Our taste for multiple viewings of certain films may not appeal to you, so let us go with our friends as often as we like.

You women, whose lives revolve around the care and feeding of men, may not understand these things called "friends". Nonetheless, you should allow your boyfriend to have them. You don't see the appeal of a baby rattle, either, but you let your baby have one, don't you?

If you live together, it's also helpful to grant your geek a little space to call his own. Here we will build our model airplanes, operate our ham radio, play our games, whatever — all in gleeful privacy. After a school career of constant abuse, we are rather unsurprisingly embarrassed by our geekdom, so letting us practice it in solitude is a very considerate gesture. We'll appreciate it and you won't have to move all our miniatures off the kitchen table every time you want to eat.

Not-subtle translation--you get the kitchen to do womens-stuff. Let him have the office. The reality of this is nowadays is that geek guys are more likely to get involved in the "it's my turn on the computer" fights with their girlfriends than the "your stupid shit is everywhere" fights.

Geeks are among the sweetest and most adoring of boyfriends, and the old prejudice of greasy-haired basement dwellers has long since fallen by the wayside.

No it hasn't. But we are trying to figure out the lexicon.

We can dress ourselves and perform routine grooming tasks,

Thank god, you don't have to change a diaper.

and as geeks move into the mainstream, we are becoming more sought after by savvy women. If you don't share some of your boyfriend's more esoteric hobbies, remember that they'll almost never interfere with all that you do share — so let him enjoy them.

Get that, women? Men have these things called "friends" and "hobbies" that you may not understand, but your mommy-girlfriend duty is just to love and indulge his harmless flights of fancy.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The song is okay, the video wow

So here's the new Eminem video and it's fantastic. So far it's the best message I've seen aimed at young people this election about how to empower yourself with the vote. Kudos to Eminem for taking this on.

Warning: Since it's been downloaded so much, it takes forever to download. But it's worth it.

The Bush daughters and their dad--not so complicated

This article actually tries to make conservative sense out of the hands-off attitude Bush takes with his own daughters compared to the way that Carter, Clinton, and Kerry seem to be very involved with their children. The strain on the writer, Ann Hulbert, to make sense of this is palpable.

Rosemond comes right out and says that "conservatives believe that where government is concerned, the less, the better. The same applies to the governing of children." By this, he means parents should do less micromanaging and let kids learn from their mistakes—as he presumes they will, pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.

Hell, then Reagan was the best dad ever, since he couldn't recognize his own child at his high school graduation. Deadbeat dads--the new heroes!

As usual, the media myth that "family values" is actually about family instead of code for the patriarchy befuddles the whole situation. It's very simple why Carter, Clinton, and Kerry are proud to show interest in their children and Bush, etc. are not. It's feminizing to show too much knowledge of your children. The Bush family myth is that he made them, she raised them. Liberals like to see men who actually take a hands-on role in child-rearing. The hands-on, strict parenting image that you get from the Democratic men with regards to their children is visible on the Republican side, if you look to Laura Bush.

Rove has put way too much time and energy into Bush the Man's Man to show him as someone who is overly cuddly with children.

Edited to add: It was brought to my attention that the crack on Reagan sounds like I'm making fun of his Alzheimer's. It wasn't meant that way--when Reagan didn't recognize Michael Reagan at his graduation, it's widely assumed it was because he had put his first son and first wife behind him. I was cracking on his neglient attitude towards his family, which I think is a fair target. Senility isn't a fair target, and to boot, isn't that funny.

MSN decides their advice isn't offensive enough

Time to take it to a new level and ask the question--is equality making women miserable? *big fucking sigh*

(Hint to men who think equality is making women miserable--tell all your dates this. Women are completely charmed by the suggestion that they would be happier if a man was in charge of their lives.)

It’s the millennium, and today’s woman is strong, confident, self-sufficient and career driven. As the equal rights movement evolved, societies’ opinion of a woman’s ability has transformed enormously. A female is no longer simply seen as just a pretty face—instead she is respected for being intelligent, independent and assertive. Women finally have a voice, choice and secure place in the world—or do they?

No, they still make 75 cents to a man's dollar. If they are miserable, then it's got to be the inequality.

Are women really happy with this new found freedom and equality? Are they really that “evolved” or do they still (secretly) long for the olden days where they were doted on, taken care of and courted by a handsome gentleman?

No. And for those few fools who think that there was nothing more romantic than relying completely on men's generousity for your very survival, I would recommend actually reading a Victorian novel or two. Try Tess of the D'urbervilles for a good example of how wonderful it was to rely on men to take care of you.

Historically, women were seen as fragile, dependent and less intelligent and productive members of society. They did not have the same legal rights as men, thus the struggle to alter perceptions and lobby for change was extremely difficult. Those on the forefront had no choice but to become radical and extreme.

Now they can be less radical and extreme. You know, give up just some of their hard won rights.

Women learned to be tough and strong, denying any feelings or desires that they needed a man in any way. For a woman to be seen as independent and convince society that she was capable, she needed to reject any of the stereotypical characteristics of the delicate, feminine woman.

Now of course we can slap the corsets back on and start fainting again. That is sure to go over well with both your boss and your boyfriend or husband.

Today, being a woman can be complicated. While she wants to be seen as equal and independent, she also wants to embrace her femininity and be treated special—not like one of the boys. So what does a woman really want?

This article is in the "Just for Women" section, where the readers are presumably all women. Until this moment in time, I don't think that women were ever expected to puzzle out what they want. It was always men asking this question and historically they never got an answer because they thought it was easier to set up philosophical or scientific studies rather than just ask women directly. Those men apparently had the right idea--if women don't know what women want, than how the hell are men supposed to figure it out?

This article has got to be aimed at men. This checklist is addressed to the person trying to puzzle out what women want without having to go to the trouble of asking. The editorial staff at MSN needs to lay off the Valium already.

She always wants to be respected and valued; however, here are some things to think about:

The word "however" is key here. Everything after this can be assumed to be ways to get around the respecting and valuing that these crazy feminists want.

*Was she always taken care of by her father? If so, she may expect to be taken care of the old fashioned way—man takes care of woman—because this is what she learned.

However, if she is a feminist and demands an equal relationship, you can be sure her father left her in the snow to starve.

*Was she controlled by power or money or watch as her mother was controlled, leaving her dependent and powerless? If so, she may be motivated to take care of herself and not rely on a man.

Get that down everyone? When dad controls, it's "taking care". When mom does it, it is probably pathological.

*Was she taken care of but now can’t find a man who can meet those needs? She may pretend she doesn’t want to be cared for in order to avoid the pain of not having what she wants.

So even if she tells you that she wants equality, you can safely ignore her spoken wishes.

*Was she married and divorced? Maybe she wanted the traditional relationship at one time but realized it made her feel childlike and insecure.

Remember, if you treat a woman like a child, then she's been neurotic if she feels like you're treating her like a child.

It all becomes about assessing what works for the relationship. Some women want to stay home and take care of the kids while the man goes to work and makes a living for both of them. Some women want to work and make their own money and realize their ambitious career goals. Others want the best of both worlds.

Just remember the basic principle--whatever a woman has in her life is because she chose it. After all, this is a post-feminist world. The best part of this is that she can assume she's lying if she complains and says things like, "I need to get paid the same as my male coworkers," or "I'm going crazy being locked in the house with the kids all day." Since women only make decisions based on their own mysterious inner motivations and never out of necessity or to make a husband happy, you can assume that they have no right to complain.

The bottom line is that there is no right or wrong as long as you are happy. It’s the judgments that other people make that leave you unsatisfied with your decisions. Some women feel like they are letting down the “movement” if they are not hard-working career women.

Oh, I know that tune. All together now: Women don't want to work for money of their own. Women only work because their natural gullibility makes it easy for the wicked feminists to guilt trip them.

Other working moms are riddled with guilt that they aren’t home taking care of their kids.

The best way to help them is to call them bad mothers and deliberately fuck up what chores she asks you to do. Eventually they'll give in and do what they want--become full-time housewives.

Whichever way you slice it, it’s difficult to be an independent yet dependent, strong willed yet delicate, self-assured yet insecure woman of the 21st century.

So the best course of action is to keep her home and dependent and compliant, but praise her in public for her strength in telling you to stand up straight and mind your manners.

Austin for Kerry

If you live in the Austin area, there is going to be a fun event tomorrow night to demonstrate that while Texas will be going for Bush that doesn't mean that there aren't millions of Texans who will be fruitlessly voting for Kerry. The event is called Bring Bush Home Rally and Rampage and it's run by Austin4Kerry. Here's the details from their site:

We may not be a battleground state, but we can show the world that MILLIONS of Texans are fed up with Bush and ready for him to come back to Crawford for good! And maybe we can throw a little bad juju on Bush's ol' stompin' grounds.

When: Tuesday, October 26th (one week before the election!) 6:00pm -- March begins at 6:30 Downtown pub-crawl to follow!

Where: Waterloo Park Parking Lot Southeast corner of the park off 12th Street – across from the Brick Oven. Lots of free parking at state garages starting at 6pm!

Let's show our strength in numbers -- there are probably more Kerry supporters in Austin than voters in Wyoming--they get 3 electoral votes, we don't get shi*, except a chance to make some noise and show our outrage!

Please bring SIGNS, BANNERS, MEGAPHONES, etc. Also, please forward this to everyone! We want to make a huge splash people…!

This being the Halloween season, politically-themed COSTUMES encouraged.

For more information, or to volunteer call Texans for Kerry at 512.453.5329!!

I'm shy (sure), so I will be wearing my normal clothes. Hopefully, I'll remember my camera so that you non-Texans can get an eyeball of the sheer numbers of Austin liberals that do exist.

It looks like what we'll be doing is walking from the park downtown and ending at Antone's, where there will be a benefit show called the Red State Blues. It's $20, and for blues fans it looks to be a lot of fun. Here's the line-up, from the site:

Jimmy LaFave * Marcia Ball * Guy Forsyth * Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison * Shawn Colvin * Joe Ely with David Grissom, Jimmy Pettit, and Davis McLarty
So, even if you can't go to the rally, go to the show, drunken blues fans. But if you can go to the rally, do. It's critical to future arguments against the electoral college that people see the huge numbers of voters who don't get much of a say in who is the next President because of this outdated system. Also, it couldn't hurt to let the stoners and slackers of Austin see some living proof that fun, cool people do get off their couch once in awhile for a cause they care about.

Maybe she just needs to read the advice columns more

Oddly enough news has a story of a woman who is advertising for a husband on a billboard.

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A Chinese woman living in Sydney has taken the unusual step of advertising for a husband on a billboard outside a cinema in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

Helen Zhou, from Shanghai, said she had tried Internet dating but found men did not want to commit.

"People are happy to date but they don't want any commitment, only temporary relationships," the middle-aged Zhou told her weekly local newspaper, the Southern Courier.

Zhou spent A$5,000 (US$3,700) on the billboard which has a large headline "HUSBAND WANTED" and a lists of requirements, such as age up to 45, good health, non-smoker and drinker, Caucasian, solid financial background and a good sense of humor.

"I'm not fussy," said Zhou, who describes herself on the billboard as a beautiful and intelligent woman seeking a "dream family with a fabulous partner."

"I guess I want a traditional sort of person, not really flash -- an old fashioned kind of guy, not one who spends every cent and doesn't worry about tomorrow."

So far Zhou's search for love has received few replies.

Old-fashioned guys don't find wives through billboards would be my guess.

She should try blanketing downtown Las Vegas with fliers. That may not get her a commitment, but she may get some of that financial support she's looking for.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Seriously, it's okay to think your girlfriend is pretty, dude

Mink Stole gets the best advice column letters. Today we have a guy who probably means well, but is blowing it big time:

My boyfriend doesn’t think I am pretty. We’ve been dating for more than a year and he’s very kind and attentive, but whenever I ask him how I look he makes a big deal of telling me that my looks aren’t important and he loves me for who I am, not what I look like. I always thought I was pretty, not a ravishing beauty maybe, but pretty enough. When he says stuff like that it makes me feel like he’s fighting the urge to puke every time he looks at me. He’s terrific in every other respect, and as long as I don’t mention my appearance I can believe it when he tells me how great I am. The problem is that if I buy a new dress or have my hair done I’ll expect him to say something nice, but then he doesn’t and I’m devastated. I know I’m lucky to have someone to love me for myself, and I don’t want to break up with him, but would it kill him to pay me a compliment every once in a while?

I think about what I would do in this situation and I realize I have serious personality problems. Because I know that if I had a boyfriend who said bone-headed things like, "I like you for what's inside" when I ask how he likes my outfit or whatever, I would say something like, "You're not my mom, you're my lover." If I was in a good mood.

It's safe to say that if he's trying to be a good feminist and show that he is in a relationship for more than her looks, then he's being pretty simple-minded. There's nothing feminist about deciding for a woman what she needs to hear instead of letting her decide for herself. If she wants some compliments, then why withhold? Plus, he's probably lying anyway. If any guy told me that he saw past my looks into my soul blah blah and that's what attracted him, I would be pissed off that he thinks I would fall for that drivel.

Anyway, as Mink Stole points out, it goes both ways. There's no rule that women can't compliment their men for how they look. It's fun, too, because men don't expect it and can be counted on to blush or at least look embarrassed. Why should men have all the fun when it comes to flattering somebody?

Geeks vs. nerds

Steve Gilliard weighs in on the geeks vs. nerds debate and in my opinion, puts the whole thing to rest.

Well, the difference between geeks and nerds are worldiness. Geeks like odd, hip things, like Steve Earle, manga and Lupin the Third on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. They cackle at Sealab 2120 and love Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They wear soccer jerseys and build computers and appreciate sushi. I would be, by most definitions, a geek.

Nerds think chess is a great way to spend the day. They have collections of Isaac Asimov and Piers Anthony and think D&D is better when you dress up.

Geeks want partners, nerds want to be worshiped.

Dammit, I wish I had thought of this.

He goes on to describe and appreciate geek girls. I always considered myself nerdy, because I like to read so much, but under this delination I guess I'm more of a geek. He figures that many geek girls like the girly stuff, which is pretty accurate in my case. (The window that this computer sits next to has pink curtains. 'nuff said.)

Wanting to be worshipped, of course, is a result of insecurity. It seems that the major difference between geeks and nerds that Steve sees is that geeks are self-assured and nerds are not. He admires geek girls for their self-assurance, and I would say that I see that same admirable self-assurance in a lot of geeky guys. Yesterday my all too reasonable boyfriend wondered while watching a pick up commercial why anyone would want a big, bulky pick up truck instead of a small, swift motorcycle. He pointed out that small motorcycles and even small cars are a lot more fun to drive because they handle easier, so you can go faster. (Well, that's the condensed version of what he said. Car geeks will carry on about their obsession at length.)

I just laughed and said, "Well, if your vehicle is a penis substitute, then of course bigger is better." He rolled his eyes at me and went on about how the bigger is better thing is making traffic a nightmare. Stupid story, but I think compliments Steve's point very well--geeks like what they like because they just do, not because it fulfills some power fantasy. To a self-assured geek a car, and for that matter a penis, is just a tool that's only as good as the use you get out of it. That I think explains the sex appeal that geeky boys and girls have, at least to each other.

Voter intimidation

I've been seeing this story about how the Republicans are going into "urban" polling places in Ohio to make sure "fraud" doesn't happen all over the place. There's little doubt in my mind they've been instructed to look official and aggressively question racial minorities, especially women, before they vote. Everyone is disgusted at the obvious lie they are using to justify this behavior, which is that they think there's widespread fraud.

But in one sense, the conservatives who are going to do this aren't lying when they say that they think that there's fraudulent voting in minority communities. Considering the racist elements of the Republican party, it's safe to say that plenty of conservatives think there's something wrong with minorities having the vote to begin with.

Yeah, I would call this a breakdown of civil discourse

Just one more reason that Kerry has to win this election in a walk--we can't afford to encourage the violent reactions to free speech any longer. Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 23, 2004


Our other DVD from Netflix we watched today (figuring out why the lack of posting yet?) was episodes from the first season of Penn and Teller's show Bullshit. I loved it immediately, since "bullshit" is my second favorite curse word after the ubiquitious "fuck". This show, randy language and all, needs to be on prime time television because most people's bullshit detectors are running low on batteries.

The hands down most upsetting segment was the one about psychics who claim they talk to the dead. The sad thing about this particular art form is that it has been debunked pretty much since the whole seance culture began and still people believe it. Because they want to.

People like psychics get away with what they do because they are willing to cross lines their critics are not willing to cross. The psychics on this show were willing to exploit people's grief for money, but usually the critics don't have the heart to walk up to the victims and say, "Hey, that person just lied. Your mom is dead and she ain't coming back, talking to you, or whatever. Deal with it." This problem is evident on the show, which makes it all the more compelling as television.

The best part, though, was that they were able to put together convincing arguments against things like psychics in a half-hour format and still get across some complex information like what a "cold reading" is and how it works. And it was funny.

The segment I wish they could have blown up into three or four half-hour shows was the one on people who think they've been abducted by aliens. There are too many weird things going on there to cram into a half-hour show. Luckily, they touched on what seems to me to be the driving force behind a lot of the alien abduction stories. Yep, it's that old demon repressed sexuality and desire turning its head again.

Listening to people's abduction stories with a skeptical mind, a number of things become clear. The big one is that they are dreaming. Most abductees are taken from their beds when they asleep, meaning that they remember going to bed, having a bunch of fucked up experiences and waking up without a problem. Without powerful suggestions otherwise, they would understand that they experienced plain old dreams.

The other big thing that becomes clear is that theses alien dreams mostly express sexual desires that cannot be acknowledged. Penn and Teller make fun of this by showing an abductee a sex toy and watching her describe it as an alien probe. The point was made but not examined in depth--after all, it's a TV show, not an academic book.

But it was clear that the most of the alien abductees are finding things in their experiences with the aliens that they are not getting on earth. Lonely, unloved people are taken aboard ships and probed and prodded by aliens, getting not only attention they don't get in everyday life, but also sexual contact. Disturbingly, people talked about getting instruments shoved up their asses and vaginas and smiled the whole time they were talking. Penn addresses this issue somewhat by lamenting the lack of sociability in our society, but I thought to myself that's no way to address that sexual anxieties that fill these dreams. In order to cure that particular problem, our society will have to do more than become more social. We will have to find a way to address the base sexual anxieties that are causing this.

Fantasies, justifications, hating the body and dealing with reality

Long, rambling post to make up for lack of posting today.

I already had a couple of thoughts banging around my head today about how body loathing is such a strong force in our culture already today because we got the movie Saved in the Netflix and found that it was much better than I thought it would be. The movie nailed it to the ground how religion is used both to squelch urges that don't need to be justified and to justify those urges that should be controlled for the greater good, a tendency that fundamentalist religions magnify. The examples that the movie used were the sexual urge and the urge to be powerful and important, amongst others. Characters throughout the movie were shown struggling against their sexual urges for no other reason than the exaggerated body-hatred that permeates fundamentalist Christianity and leads to the disgust-laced sermons against premarital sex and homosexuality. Our sexuality, the movie argues effectively, is a source of joy and life affirmation and definitely one path towards forming close relationships, as long as our minds are not contaminated with self-hatred and fear of the physical. Sex is a positive thing and needs no justification.

As a contrast, the urge to exert power over others is a harmful one indeed and should be dealt with accordingly. But in the modern, emotional, glamorous version of fundamentalist Christianity, there is not much room for humility, as is illustrated by a character played by Mandy Moore who uses her faith to justify a number of outrageous efforts aimed at making other students of the school compliant to her worldview, efforts that include kidnapping and framing others for a crime she commits. The small potatoes struggles in the movie reflect the larger struggles in the real world, where religion's complicity with the power-seekers has serious consequences indeed. Witness our President, for one thing. And the terrorists for another. (As an aside, the movie also deftly demonstrates how fundies manage to exaggerate pretty much irrelevant scriptural passages out of proportion while justifying it to themselves when they violate some of the big ones. For instance, the two most sanctimonious characters carry on and on about the evil of homosexuality and fornication, but in the course of the movie both violate the 10 commandments when one commits adultery and the other offers false testimony.)

The ugly truth of the matter is that fear of the body and the belief in a false body/mind dichotomy mostly overrules our meager stabs at reason. I hate to say it, because the people expressing the anti-sex viewpoint are no doubt good people, but I see that all over this discussion at Hugo's blog on the subject of sexual ethics. Hugo asserted what seems to me to be common sense--if you believe that life is a gift from some god, then it follows that sex as a source of so much bonding and pleasure in life is one of those gifts. People then followed up with comments that drip of loathing for the body and for sex, arguments against really enjoying it, arguments for chastity, etc. Read it; it's interesting.

I will state it firmly and clearly for anyone not paying attention in the back--I think our sex drives are just as much a part of our make up as human beings as our desires to eat, listen to music, get some intellectual stimulation and be loved. And so on, of course. The shame and anger around it puzzles me and always has even when I find myself succumbing to it. I think it's superstitious to give sex more power than it has. Not only that, but most people's sexual problems, including my own, are the result of self-fulfilling prophecies. This man here is a good example:

Yes, I had a sexual life - and it didn't do me particularly any good and if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't. Given what I know now I don't consider it any great surprise that my friendship with Dan has grown only stronger and deeper through living chastely than when were having sex.

He means well, I know. But the implication is clear--physical intimacy somehow magically prevents people from achieving real intimacy. The funny thing about that belief is that it is utterly true as long as you believe it. It's not just a Christian thing, either. It's a well-established belief even in secular parts of our society that men at least cannot see any woman they fuck as a real human being, meaning that their only real friendships with women must be asexual.

I blame the false mind/body dichotomy. We all want so very badly to believe that there is some Platonic ideal of ourselves that exists beyond our aging, decaying bodies and that there is some kind of life beyond death. That's all a soul is--a concept of an ideal self that can live beyond the body. And if there is a soul that is our true selves then the body, its opposite, is a false and base self. And therefore indulging our physical desires somehow interferes with our spiritual desires. That's the fucked up reasoning that leads to the problems we have now.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if our collective society woke up one day and just gave up believing that we have souls and that our souls are somehow in opposition to our bodies. I know I'm not the only one with this fantasy--the enduring popularity of the song "Imagine" tells me that plenty of people often wonder what it would be like just to shake that cultural baggage all at once. It would almost surely make us better people. One of the points that the movie we watched today made very well is that our discomfort with the physical is exactly why people struggle so hard to understand that the handicapped are just as human as anyone else--their physicality is harder to ignore than everyone else's because differences just stick out. But one thing that would happen if we could just get over it already is that we would realize that sexuality and sexual difference are not so overwhelming that they have to be squelched lest they destroy our lives.