Wednesday, January 31, 2007

my husband has a myspace page.

there he is, in all his earnest, sincere, musical, endearingly misspelled glory. Ta-Daa!

He just started actively using it about two or three weeks ago, maybe. But he's reconnected with a lot of old friends and musical pals, which seems to be good for the soul. The whole Myspace universe seems to be particularly well suited to networking for musical purposes.

His blog entry of yesterday is really kind of touching and personal and insightful and stuff.

does it really take more effort to fail than to succeed? any thoughts?

from the People Who Should Be Hit In The Head With The DSM-IV Dept:

courtesy of the fine folks at Yahoo News:

SYDNEY, Jan 30 (Reuters Life!) - An Australian psychologist charged with indecently assaulting a patient told a court on Tuesday that forcing his female patient to wear a dog collar and call him master was within a psychologist's ethical guidelines.

Psychologist Bruce Beaton, 64, pleaded not guilty in the Western Australia District Court to four charges of indecently assaulting a 22-year-old woman in 2005, local media reported.

Beaton was arrested when police, who had been secretly video recording the session with the woman, heard whipping sounds, reported Australian Associated Press from the court.

Beaton told the court he resorted to master-servant treatment with his bulimic patient because other methods had failed. He said he thought forcing the woman to wear a dog collar and call him master would build a more trusting relationship.

He said such treatment was allowed by the Australian Psychological Society. "It is right within the ethical guidelines," Beaton told the court.

"I am not saying it would be all right if I hit her. I did not hit her," he said. The trial continues.

I mean, what can you say? This story is just overflowing with wrong.

I wonder why the police were secretly videotaping the sessions. did this guy have a history of prescribing dog collars off-label? Had the woman tipped off the cops that he was abusive prior to this?

is the treatment for bulimia that new and unregulated that such dangerous "therapies" are tried frequently? is there any sort of treatment protocol, or oversight, or are all therapists and their clients still feeling their way around?

I mean, I'm neither bulimic nor a therapist. So I'm not sure what could have taken place in therapy to lead the doc into saying "That's it! I've got it! Of course! Here's what we'll do..."

any time I hear about doctors forcing I get a little concerned. Maybe that's the core of the matter.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Y'all may have noticed I haven't done a whole lot of posting (or even commenting) lately. I just haven't felt, um, bloggy.

I was starting to think about moving on, maybe changing the direction and tone of this blog, maybe scuttling this blog and starting something new, maybe focusing on art or books or music or some obscure fandom nobody digs but me, or maybe finding something entirely new to do with my time.

But, you know, maybe not.

So I'm having a really tough time trying to figure out how to respond to this:

I don’t think that this particular thread is particularly damaging to feminism (by the anti-feminists) - however, blogs such AP’s “I shame the matriarchy” certainly is - I’d describe it as ‘a large calibre munitions depot’ for the anti-feminists. The entire premise of the site is to tear down other feminists, but in particular, radfems.

(note link included for context)

oh, crap. you found me out, didn't you? my master plan exposed. all is in ruins.

Curses! Foiled again!

well, yeah, except not.

I can't deny that I have been angry angry ANGRY with radical feminism, and some radical feminists. I can't deny that I've been immature, hypersensitive, wildly hyperbolic, tantrum-y, rant-y and probably flatout mean at least once or twice, in the nine months I've been blogging. I have used strong language, stronger than what might have been necessary. And, when it's been brought to my attention that I have hurt someone with my words, I have made it right, as right as I can, as quickly as I can.

I feel a little misunderstood by Stormcloud and others - but that's probably not their fault as much as it is mine, for failing to communicate clearly and without rancor. If I really really don't want to give the impression I'm a tearer-downer, I should make a stronger committment to being a builder-upper, even while speaking my piece.

Maybe it's the title that bothers folks. I explained it most recently back in December, if anyone cares to look. But, you know, I can always change a title, if anyone has any suggestions for something more appropriate.

Stormcloud helpfully provided some terms of cease-fire in that thread.

Here is the proposal, a truce.
*small pathetic looking white flag is waved hesitantly in air*

To stop extracting rad posts and twisting them on your own blogs,

As I said on the OpWasp thread, I can see where the practice of copying key points out of other people’s posts and pasting them on my own blog, for purposes of adding my own commentary, can be seen as “twisting” if not done extra-super-carefully.

but often dissenting commentary, or questioning commentary, is explicitly not welcome on the blog from which the posts originate.

so what do you suggest, if I have a question or comment of my own that I can’t post on the original thread?

and to stop ridiculing the rads as the main purpose.

Well, I have certainly made an effort recently to broaden my subject matter. I should probably work harder on that.

if it's the title that's bugging you, you may be interested to know that Twisty Herself has not mentioned that it bothers her. If it did, and I knew about it, I'd take action accordingly.

I am not going to claim that I never ridiculed the rads, nor can I promise that I'll never ridicule another rad again - but I can honestly say that I was on this, well before being asked to.

Of course, my efforts to improve my blogging might not be relevant, in the face of the final term of the cease-fire:

To retire/remove the anti-radfem site. You know the one; large calibre ammo.

Stormcloud, I can't do that. I wish I could, just to make you happy, and give you peace of mind, and help you feel like the world is safe for radical feminism now and forever, once I shut up. But that would mean giving into a bully who wants to silence me. On principle, you know I can't do that.

what advice would you, yourself, give a woman (radical or merely mortal) who was being bullied into silence?

This is my voice. Deal with it. Deal with it the best way you know how. Mock it or deride it or insult it or demean it or engage it or convince it or applaud it - do what you gotta do, as I'm sure as shit not going away.

Instead of being all snitty and huffy and indignant and offended at the suggestion I stop blogging in exchange for you and yours behaving in a civil manner, I feel grateful, and compelled to thank you for helping me re-commit to participating in the blogosphere.

so, in a word: NO.

in many words: No, no no, no nonono no, no nono no no no no no, no no no, no nonono no, no no no, no no no - no nononono no, no no nonono no no no no, no.

Monday, January 22, 2007

so here we go, blogging "for" "choice"...

for the One True Definitive Statement on Reproductive Freedom which Puts All Others to Shame So I'm Not Even Going To Bother - click here.

an excerpt, as written by the more-radical-than-YOU Lauren Sabina at

Many people make the mistake of thinking only very few (or perhaps very bad/stupid/fallen) women have abortions. That's where they'd be wrong. One of the little known realities is that abortion, in America, is all around you. The Kaiser Family Foundation came up with one approximation: "It is estimated that 43 percent of women in the U.S. will have an abortion by age 45 and that more than 30 million have had an abortion since the procedure was legalized in 1973 (based on 1992 rates.)" (Fact Sheet: Abortion in the U.S., October 2002)

That's an estimate that 43% of American women will have an abortion by age 45.

Abortion, far from being rare or some isolated event, is a very real and NORMAL part of a large portion of American women's health care.

[As an aside, by comparison, and sequentially different in time (as this relates to women who have given birth, not those pregnant) easily less than 3%, some calculate as little as 1%, of women who were unintentionally pregnant here domestically, will pass those eventual children into an adoption by someone other than family members, and even this may or may not happen with the pregnant woman's full consent. (Don't even begin to babble adoption at me, I'm a Bastard myself, and I've seen too much.)]

Once a woman is pregnant, she has all of TWO options (potentially under her control, barring miscarriage etc), 1. continue the pregnancy or 2. try to end it. Then contemplate the number of women who don't manage to get an abortion but wanted one, and the number rises from that 43% to another far less quantifiable number.

Those women wanting to end a pregnancy, who have already lost a measure of their own autonomy, unfortunately must rely on and turn to others to try to regain control over our own bodies, via abortion. Thus abortion and abortion providers become crucial to the maintenance of women having consent and ability to regain autonomy over our own lives. If that gets labeled "selfish" it is due to the criticism emanating from those who have no concept of autonomy, who view any genuine control over one's own life (gender not withstanding) as heresy and rebellion against one's maker and master.

Of those women desiring abortion, some will be successful; others will be thwarted through state interference, financial realities, or street level harassment by thugs.

I reiterate abortion is not an aberration among women; it is a NORMATIVE facet of women's experience and medical needs, period. To deny women abortions is to deny women autonomy. Once you can deny that large a portion of any population autonomy, guess what that may mean for the rest of a population?

But further, to label abortion "horrible" is to also label those who provide, assist with, or seek, participate in, or experience abortion as "horrible". PEOPLE are those targeted within, but hidden by the language of 'this form of medical care is horrible'. As people who are part of that form of medical care are inseparable from and essential parts of that action.

Seriously - go read the whole post. Radical words by a radical woman. Radical-er than anyone I know or have ever known.

(No discussion of abortion is complete without a mention of Carol Downer, who devised a home menstrual extraction kit. it never caught on, but I thought her idea was pretty clever, at least in theory - not sure it was 100% safe, but I don't know the stats on it. Just thought I'd throw it out there.)

all that being said, I think abortion makes a living thing dead. but I'm okay with that, sometimes.

The thing that rankles me about the Roe v. Wade decision is that it clearly states that abortion should best be left "between a woman AND HER DOCTOR". Not between a woman and the gummint. Not between a woman and a throng of angry sign-wavers. That seems really logical and wise to me - If I want to make this living thing dead, I should consult a medical professional and make sure I don't die myself in the process. (though it occurs to me that the medicalization of the procedure, to the extent that's been successful, brings along its own tyrranies, I suppose. Wonder what Carol Downer thinks?) But we still managed to screw it up - abortion occupies a weird, dodgy demimonde, neither a fully-recognized medical event nor a quick-and-easy drive-thru haircut-style procedure.

Neither "side" really addresses the full spectrum of issues presented with every untimely, inconvenient or disastrous pregnancy. Neither "side" has the truth on a leash, in my opinion.

part of the problem with the pro-life movement is that it doesn't seem to be FOR life, honor life, actual living breathing drooling bleeding screaming crying life, so much as it seems to be AGAINST illegitimacy, trashy girls and sluts.

If folks really want to prevent abortions, drastic measures should be taken to really honor life. I'd advise people who are distressed by the thought of making living things dead to do everything in their power to make abortion unthinkable, not criminal. Campaigning to criminalize abortion is the lazy way.

Abolishing the concept of "illegitimacy" would go a long way to make more babies and less death. but that's a lot harder than pushing legislation through congress. Abolishing the concepts of "poor" and "trash" and "slut" would be a big step forward in making more babies and less death. but that's much more complicated than holding bleeding-baby-head signs and screaming blue murder. Abolishing the concepts of "appropriate" and "normal" and "proper", in favor of "human", would make more babies and less death. but, jeez, that's a terrifying prospect. It's much easier to mash the precious-baby-cuteness pedal to the metal and pluck on heartstrings 'til they snap, than to challenge assumptions about when it's okay to have children.

Because it's not just a choice between a living thing and a dead thing. as it stands, it's a choice between your life as you know it being OVER and your life continuing as you planned. Figure out a way to honor life as it comes, without shame or fear or hostility, and the pro-life movement instantly becomes more credible, more legitimate, and less full of crap, for me.

On the other hand, the pro-choice movement doesn't come close to answering my own personal need for truth in politics. The minute you say "jeez, not having money/not having a husband/not finishing school is not a good enough reason for me to have an abortion," you're suddenly a collaborator with fundie-breeder-bigot-bible-bashers. How respectful of choice is that?

To deny the life inherent in an embryo seems to be bad science, to me. (I'm no scientist, but if cells growing in a petri dish can be considered "alive", then certainly an embryo growing in a uterus can be "alive".) The act of abortion makes a living thing dead. Of course, that's not always the end-of-the-world event we think it is. (Consider that people make living things dead all the time, without a moment's remorse. We think we have all kinds of good reasons to make living things dead.)

because it's not just a choice between your life as you know it being OVER and your life continuing as you planned. Figure out a way to accept the fact that death happens in an abortion, and the pro-choice movement instantly becomes more credible, more legitimate, and less full of crap, for me.

I'm grateful for the option to make a living thing dead without taking my own self with it, if I feel the need. I'm not unaware of the fact that women who can't quickly and easily and safely and cleanly make a living thing dead will place themselves in dire peril in order to make that living thing dead. I'm fortunate that if I need to erase the existence of a clump of cells that would become a child in order to function sanely in the world, I can do that. I'm lucky that advocates for compulsory pregnancy haven't succeeded, and made the act of making that living thing dead even more dangerous, more terrifying, more deadly to me.

Nonetheless, I'm not convinced that denying life equals protecting choice. the rhetoric, the politics, the language, what is this or that party line - I'm not so interested in that. I'm interested in not making life harder for a woman, whatever she decides about the clump of cells growing inside her, whether it's to make a living thing dead or honor the life that Life has created.

and that's all I've got.

Friday, January 12, 2007

hot damn!

look, Bimbo - a reality show for the rest of us!

American Idol - FOR BOOKS!!


I admire Ginmar - there, I said it. I always admire people with that kind of singleminded devotion and unswerving dedication and loyalty to A Big Idea. I mean, that's quite something, that crystal-purity - something I, the Ultimate Fencesitter, sadly lack.

I'm sorry if this comes off as patronizing - I don't intend it to - but I also think she has a lot of interesting things to say about many diverse subjects such as health care, speculative media (SF/F, genre fiction), women's experience in the military - lots and lots of stuff.

I'd say this on her blog, if she'd let me comment, which she won't, because as a "cheerleader of patriarchy" I am simply not welcome 'round her way, no matter what I say. If I disagree on some point or other I'm read as a troll (or worse) - but if I actually agree on some point or other I'm read as trying to ingratiate or infiltrate or flat-out deceive.

And, you know, I've had my fill of trying to force my way in where I'm not wanted. So, I don't even try to comment anymore. In fact, I probably shouldn't oughta even read. My patriarchal gaze, I'm sure, just burns.

but you know, if I let that kind of crap bother me, and avoid reading people I tend to (respectfully) disagree with, I miss really important questions that should be considered, like this one here:

"If you can't be nice to women without feeling twitchy and nervous and scared and guilty because OMG the men, then dammit, ask yourself why--and answer honestly."

Ginmar, A View From A Broad, Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Way down deep, buried under all the invective and hyperbole and so forth, it is possible to extract a really meaningful and important point of discussion. See?

So let's discuss. Let's not allow it to get lost.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I can honestly say that, in being nice to women, I don't feel twitchy-nervous-scared-and-guilty because of men. I feel twitchy-nervous-scared-and-guilty because women make me feel twitchy-nervous-scared-and-guilty. Women, in general, have not been nice to me. Women, in general, have been just as happy to fuck my shit up as men. Cruelty does not discriminate.

And when someone like Laura (Laura! of all people!)is accused by women of being cruel to a woman in the service of being kind to men, and not given much of a chance to defend herself, that strikes me as a really good reason to be twitchy-nervous-scared-and-guilty around women in future.

and what of kindness to men? do we all (all us dirty undesirables, however you may group us) suck patriarchal dick because of fear of men, fear that obliterates our love of women?

I really don't think so. Some of us are not kind to our brothers because we hate women or fear men. I don't think any of us say "hey, men are people" in order to separate ourselves from the herd of Class Woman, or curry favor and privilege with men - at least not consciously. Some of us, in saying "hey, men are people", are struggling desperately to somehow put together cohesive theory of liberation for all humankind, that doesn't have our heads exploding from the cognitive dissonance, that doesn't simply play Opposites Day with the world.

I'm not explaining myself well. this is really clumsy and not well thought out. But I'm not so sorry. I'll just keep trying until I get it.

Bear in mind that the same force that drives me to search for the common spark of humanity in man and in monster also drives me to search for the common spark of humanity in you, Ginmar, and in you, Stormcloud, and in you, Bea - even though we disagree, sometimes strongly.

I see a really unsettling precedent being set in the blogosphere - that it's only safe to comment in places where you agree 100% with what the blogger is putting forth. Consider what will happen in two months, in six months, in a year - eventually nobody's commonly-held myths will be challenged, nobody will be disabused of their preconceived notions - all of our emperors will run naked in the streets as all learning and growth comes to a screeching halt.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

This is important to me.

if you've ever had a job in the "service sector", it should be important to you too, in my opinion.

Chuckles works at a video store in the Washington, DC area. Apparently Tucker Carlson, famous widebrimmed asshat, rents movies there.

Chuckles posts on his blog:

Tucker Carlson opened an account last night at my video store. I thought the name seemed familiar but I couldn't figure out why. It was after he left that I realized he was on the list of Gigantic Cobagz. I could tell you what he and his ridiculously wasped-out female companion (wife?) rented if you really want to know. I won't tell you where he lives, though. That would be wrong and stupid. I will also not be running around ordering 10,000 copies of America: The Book and having it sent to his place even if that would be more awesome than frozen urine treats for his home.

and promptly the wheels come off Chuck's wagon.

He's fired. there's private investigators ghosting him. there's people strong-arm threatening his pals. this is going to be very scary and expensive for him.

Seriously - does he deserve this? I think not.

Go check out his site and see for yourself. I mean, don't take my word for it. but if you've ever had the kind of job where bloviating handpuppets with an exaggerated sense of self-importance march in and think they own you - this story will resonate with you.

hat tip to the fine folks at Republic of Dogs.

UPDATE: upon further consideration, and discussion with my better fraction (coiner of the phrase "widebrimmed asshat"), I am compelled to wonder:

does anyone out there know Jon Stewart? or know someone who knows Jon Stewart? or know someone who knows someone who rents storage space to the guy who delivers the morning paper for the woman who walks Jon Stewart's dog? or is the next door neighbor of the stockbroker whose wife is on the PTA with the lady whose nanny is in Jon Stewart's wife's knitting group?

anyone? anyone? if it's true that thing about six or seven "degrees of separation", someone out there has the ear of the man himself, yeah?

and who knows but maybe the mere mention of "l'affaire de Chuckles", all out-n-proud on national TV on The Daily Show, might just be the final humiliation to Tucker Carlson and make him stop being, well, Tucker Carlson.

Chuckles, what do you think?

Monday, January 08, 2007

so, er, that I've rejoined the land of the living, what's the buzz?

oh, ha.

I should make it clear from the beginning: I have a rather cumbersome fear of REAL bees. also wasps. anything sting-y, really. because all hymenoptera want to kill me. I know this way down deep in every cell in my body.

And they're all the same to me. from the most harmless, innocent bumbler to the most aggressive killer yellowjacket - my phobia makes no distinction. they're all Heidi-eating baldfaced hornets in my mind, out to devour me while I shriek in agony until I die.

funny thing is, I'm totally not allergic. I'm just really sweat-pouringly tongue-swellingly head-spinningly stomach-turningly heart-stoppingly afraid of stinging insects. Even just typing about how deeply and irrationally I fear all bees is making me a little queasy-uneasy.

Now all I can think about is the fact that our local bee/wasp population is mere seconds from attacking my ass, since it's not been cold enough to put the stinging menace to sleep this winter. they could be anywhere, lurking and angry, hungry and predatory, whole nests of them just waiting for me to pass by, unwary and oh-so-irresistably, yeah, thanks for the trigger.

as to the biting and incisive (dare I say "stinging") political commentary bumbling around the blogosphere?

I debated long and hard before even dignifying it with an answer. Seriously, why stoop to conquer?

But, here I am anyway. I have a few thoughts on the subject of allegorical and metaphorical and highly symbolic bees, if anyone's interested.

Actually, now that I think about it, I don't. I don't really care about your fake bees, Stormcloud. But say whatcha gotta say, however you gotta say it. Hope you feel better, getting it all off your chest with such style, grace, wit, elegance, artistry. Sheer comic genius, that, as you've proudly said yourself. You'll go far in your career as humorous pundit, I have no doubt.

Let us all know when The Daily Show calls you. Meantime, you might wish to examine whether you really want to quit your day job.

The problem with political satire is that it only really works on a visceral, gut-shot, shivers-up-the-spine, laugh-til-you-puke level if it's based on reality, and not, you know, wild mischaracterizations, personal grudges and bullshit.

Seriously - here's the problem with sorting people into categories, with one category more "desirable" to be in than others - that action is the first step on the long road to forgetting that people in other categories are actually human. (not that I take exception to anthropomorphic allegory - ever read Animal Farm? now there's some highly symbolic animals! - but that's not really the point.)

So, that's a problem if you're working toward a sane theory of liberation. History tells us that's fucking dangerous.

The clever and oh-so-incisive wordplay on the names of folks? yeah, that's quite something. Real Oscar Wilde stuff, there. I bet your english professor is real proud.

When I was a kid, just a little bespectacled filthy dirty contagious pro-pornie, no taller than a jug of wine, I'd often come home from school all crying and wretched, all emotionally shattered after some savage run-in or another with whatever pack of vicious monster children were at the top of the barbaric social heap, and my mother would be all soothing and kind, and say "they only pick on you because they like you, honey. they really want to be your friends."

After some careful consideration and discussion with a good friend of mine, I've come to the decision that Stormcloud's little parable was no less than a clumsily-phrased, poorly-considered, snide, insulting overture of friendship.

to which I say - Awww. Bless your heart.

But the take-home point?

Call me what you want. "Name" me as you will. make me the butt of whatever pathetic little joke your feeble mind is capable of. go for it.

Stretch out a little. try to make it actually funny next time.

But I will not be humiliated into changing my mind. No.

I think it's safe to sound the all clear. blue skies and chirping birdies all around. fences have been appropriately mended and bonds restored. There's a nice sort of clean, renewed, "morning in america" feeling.

It was quite an opportunity for growth, all around.

I wonder if I should take the previous post down altogether (rewriting history, but also not indulging/dwelling on painful stuff) or just posting madly to drive the previous post off the front page (going back on my overdramatic "no posts for a while" declaration, but again making a committment to moving on).

Thanks to all who reached out when I was feeling all dead and demolished inside. Thanks for the gentleness, kindness, perspective and good humor. Thanks for the agape, I think it's called. (I could have that wrong. maybe that word does not mean what I think it means.) whatever. I owe y'all.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


ok, look - nobody's dead or broken up or anything. things are progressing speedily towards healing and peace-of-mind, generally speaking, for some of the parties. nobody panic.

I wrote this when I felt very very blue and sad and guilty and like everyone's lives were over.

you know, clearly that ain't the case. shit's looking up, just a teensy little bit, but looking up nonetheless.

but I don't change history, so the post can't come down. or maybe it will later. just everyone relax.

don't flip out.

well, this is quite something. or maybe not anything.

the other day I wrote: "I am so happy."

and, jeez, it's not a week until I have to write "I am so sad."

and just paralyzed by the sad.

Something happened that I did not handle very well at all. In fact, the way I tried to handle it just made it worse. And in making it worse, I managed to alienate the people who are most important to me, who I really love. And because of that I can't seem to function.

Although at the time I was very angry, and just erupting with righteous indignation, now I'm full of regret.

how it all shook out was not fair, not by a long shot, not to anyone. but maybe it's not my turn for having a temper tantrum about that. Maybe later it will be my turn. But I will happily skip my turn, for ever. All I want is to figure out what to say or do that will help people heal.

And now I'm all obsessive about it and that's probably not healthy at all. so I'm a wreck.

I am holding out hope that someday I will stop being so wrapped up in my own head that I can't really empathize with others, and really be able to listen. I am holding out hope that those who have lost all respect for me might find a way to feel a little mercy and compassion for me - because, despite all I know about how wrong I am, I'm still only human, no more or less than anyone else. I'm holding out hope for reconciliation with everything I have.

But, you know, pending that mythical golden day, I think I'm not really going to post much for a while. I'll probably still comment all over the place, but, you know, what happened, and how I handled it - it doesn't really reflect who I am, or what I stand for, or what I talk about on my blog, or how I used to think I was a decent person. Now that I've wrecked myself it's really time to check myself. So, I'm just going to think real long and hard before I post again. Not that such action will help anything.

NO it's not blogosphere-related. NO I'm not going to reveal more details. I've been inappropriate enough for one lifetime.

But - if you've ever made what you realized to be a tremendous error in judgment, that you thought you could never ever come back from, with consequences you thought would be utterly fatal - or worse - and then you survived, and the sun still rose and set, and you managed to live through it, I'd love to hear from you.

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