Skip to content

For real, the snow is coming in sideways right now.

31 January 2013

From like -12c before windchill last week to 14c yesterday to an expected -4c plus wind up to 90 km/h today?  That’s my humid continental climate!  I’ve missed you!

The difference between Toronto and other places I’ve lived is that I’ve gone a week and a half so far without a WHERE’S YOUR GLOBAL WARMING NOW?

Seriously though, I know that certain climate regions inherently have more drastic weather changes than others, and that a few datapoints don’t prove or disprove climate change, but shit is getting ridiculous.  In the past five years, I’ve lived on both edges of northern Illinois, London, south central Texas, and now Toronto.  Within that time frame, all of those places have broken temperature records and/or have been hit by weather–snow storms, heat waves, drought, floods–that killed people and seriously affected the place’s ability to function because that weather has been so uncommon historically that there was no reason to establish safeguards against its effects.  I’ve never been a climate change denier, but I imagine that I’d have a difficult time maintaining that belief after experiencing such extremes of weather fuckery for myself.

Well, this was intended to be a lighthearted post at first, but since I’m clearly no good at that, let’s go full-on doomsday with it:


[Video: Climate change is simple: David Roberts at TEDxTheEvergreenStateCollege]

Things That Need to Stop: Reporting rape as rape, but calling it ‘sex’ a bunch of times anyway

5 January 2013

Ahh, liberal media.

ThinkProgress has published a piece by Ian Millhiser regarding a rapist in California who didn’t actually rape anyone on the technicality that his victim wasn’t married.  This is news that should absolutely be reported and reviled for how ethically bankrupt the US legal system still is in many cases, and it should also not go unnoted that California’s appeals court would improve immediately if everyone involved in the final decision were physically ejected and replaced by a sack of pomelos.  (You are terrible and your supposed ‘reluctance’ does not make you any less terrible, just so you know.)

But wow, are there ‘problems’ with the wording of this piece.  First, let’s observe the quote Millhiser pulled directly from court documents (and therefore is not responsible for the wording of):

According to Jane, she woke up to the sensation of having sex.

When light coming through a crack in the bedroom door illuminated the face of the person having sex with her, i.e., defendant, she realized it was not [her boyfriend] and tried to push him away.

[Rapist-defendant] pulled down her pajama bottoms, got on top of her, and started to have sex. He said she probably thought he was her boyfriend, and when she realized he was not, she started screaming.

(“[S]he woke up to the sensation of having sex.”  I could fucking vomit.  Jesus Fucking Christ you can’t “have sex with” a person who isn’t having it back with you.)

Now let’s look at Millhiser’s text, keeping in mind that he seems to understand that this was rape:

[…] overturned a man’s conviction for rape because the woman he had sex with was unmarried.

[…] the man admits to having sex with the woman while she slept […]

A jury convicted the defendant of rape, although it did not make clear whether he was convicted because he impersonated Jane’s boyfriend or because he had sex with a woman who could not consent to intercourse because she was asleep.

The defendant will be retried and can be reconvicted if a new trial determines that he had sex with Jane while she was sleeping — a likely conclusion given the defendant’s admission that he did so.

(Do I need to say it again? Jesus Fucking Christ you can’t “have sex with” a person who isn’t having it back with you.  If you take one thing away from this post, let it be that.)

Having stupidly read some of the comments, I can already see it coming: “but the author writes about law stuff and he’s saying ‘had sex with’ because the defendant wasn’t convicted!”  First, not convincing.  This particular author may have had that ~*intent*~, but I’ve seen countless news sources call rape sex–even in the same sentence–regardless of the trial results or of other factors like, say, the victim being a child.  There are other ways to phrase it besides using language that inherently implies it was mutual, if it hurts your sensibilities to call rape what it is.  Second, this piece of shit defendant raped a woman.  He raped her with or without the terrible loopholes or anything else the law has to say about it.  That’s obvious from the details in the article, his own admission of the facts despite not mouthing the R-word, and it’s statistically likely to be the case anyway because false rape accusations account for less than 6% of all allegations, on par with things like property crimes.  (If he actually didn’t rape her, he basically lied to say that he did, which seems a bit unlikely.)  To all the people saying, “if we want to convict rapists, we need better laws”: how on this foul earth do you think the laws are going to get better if we don’t call rape what it is in the first place?

And media folks?  You shape this discourse.  It is your responsibility.  It is your fucking obligation to get it right.

Any day, now.

Any day y’all want to start getting your shit together.


His Name was Tenzing Norgay: A Note on the Erasure of Non-White-Males

20 December 2012

Since first getting sucked up in this ‘two-billion-pixel’ image of the Khumbu Icefall area a couple of days ago, I’ve been all over the place reading about mountaineering in the Himalayas.  It’s fascinating and impressive stuff, from both an environmental and a human perspective (apparently it can get up to 35c/95f in the Western Cwm at the foot of Lhotse, what the entire fuck?).  But there’s something, shall we say, problematic about the history that gets told, the names we remember.

There’s something problematic about the whole industry of tourism, the economies that rely almost entirely on tourist activities that the locals–the majority of us in the world, really–could never afford, and the way that regions and entire continents are depicted as jungles-and-unspoiled-natives or lions-and-tribal-warriors.  But that is much too big for this post.

Many people who don’t know much about mountaineering know the name Edmund Hillary.  I am one of those people.  I know that he was the first to reach the summit of ‘Mount Everest.’  Or, as wiki will tell us people had been calling it for thousands of years before whitey came and slapped his name on shit, Sagarmāthā in Nepali and Chomolungma in Tibetan.  But Edmund Hillary didn’t reach it alone.  Aside from multiple Sherpa guides and hundreds of other expedition members that maintained camps and ran supplies, there was one other man who reached the top with him.  His name was Tenzing Norgay.  He was decorated at the time and quite successful, but until two days ago, I did not know his name.  I knew about the massive importance of Sherpa guides who regularly risk their lives to make the path a little less risky for those who hire them, but I couldn’t name one.  I don’t suspect that too many of us, even outdoorsy hobbyists, could.  We never learned his name, or we learned it in a way that implied it didn’t really matter.  It was Edmund Hillary who reached the top of Mount Everest.  This is not to disparage Hillary at all–he was apparently the first to find a way over what’s justifiably now known as the Hillary Step, and was the first to stand on the summit, even maintaining for years that they both reached it at the same time.  From what I’ve read of him (and the expedition members at large), he seemed to understand and appreciate that a successful climb required skilled Sherpa guides and a solid support team.  Hillary had nothing nice to say about the individualistic attitude he saw in the increasing commercialization of climbing when David Sharp died in 2006 after multiple climbers passed him by.

And that would have been my slick segue into how it’s problematic that most of the most famous of the over 200 deaths associated with ‘Everest’ were the deaths of white people or related to majority white expeditions, but there’s something a little fucked up about using these particular deaths as an example, so I won’t.  I’ll just say that within white supremacist societies, it’s nothing new for white deaths to be considered or depicted as more tragic, and to give you an example of that, I submit history.

Anyway, I’m sure there will be those who will think the usual “but nobody ever remembers the ones who come second,” and this is certainly the case a lot of the time.  But I’m guessing that a significant percentage of those people have heard of Buzz Aldrin.  Or, in keeping with the space exploration theme, the USA, lol.

The point is this: I may have learned Tenzing Norgay’s name and the specifics of the whole expedition only a few days ago, but I learned it.  I linked those links in places they aren’t usually linked.  These admittedly insignificant actions are still a part of dislodging the idea that great white men do great white things all by their great white selves.  I think most of us know that intellectually, but our work isn’t done until it’s obvious to everyone.

His name was Tenzing Norgay.


Tenzing Norgay on the peak of 'Mount Everest'

Image: Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, photographed by Edmund Hillary, stands on the peak of ‘Mount Everest’ with his ice pick raised. Photo from Imaging Everest:


When does life begin?

14 December 2012

Despite many claims to the contrary, life does not begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain that stretches back nearly to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago.

Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan – “Abortion: Is it Possible to be both ‘Pro-life’ and ‘Pro-Choice’?”


Let’s get this out of the way: a man’s opinions on abortion–even a man as professionally respectable as Carl Sagan–are irrelevant at best.  I am sure that very few people on This Foul Earth care less about men’s opinions regarding women’s autonomy than I do.  Maybe five people, but I’ve never met them.  The fact that this article was co-written by Ann Druyan (writer, producer, NORML board member, and Sagan’s last spouse) does not do much to raise my Care Level.  That the article says little new to us women’s libber types and ultimately falls lukewarmly in favor of some abortion rights while getting some major things wrong is not really why I’ve linked it.

It’s all about that quote, which I’ve loved since I first read it.

And this clip from Cosmos:


(The moment when you realize that the figure whose history we’re tracing is female?  Yeah, that’s a cool moment.)

I don’t see how it’s possible to look at the interconnection of all the life on this planet and still feel above or disconnected from it.  I don’t see how it’s possible to learn about how incomprehensibly big, old, and diverse this universe is and not be impressed or humbled.  It’s really amazing, so far beyond anything superstition has offered us, what the universe has done with itself in these fourteen billion or so years.

And we haven’t even begun to understand the extent of it.


Off to Toronto!

8 December 2012

TFFP is relocating to Toronto next month!  Finally!  Posting will be even lighter than usual (if that’s possible) until things settle down and, hopefully, I’m able to find a job.

I have to admit, I’m not terribly informed about actually living in Canada.  I try to be on top of things before I move to another country, but for various insufficient reasons, I haven’t done a good job of it this time around.  So, Toronto residents and other folks who know things, I’d appreciate some suggestions.

What local and national news sources should I check out?  I prefer to use a feed reader for that sort of thing, but if any good ones come in hard copy at shops or TTC stations, that’s okay too.  Obviously ‘good’ means ‘acceptably far left in analysis and scope.’

Grocery shopping and eating veg–I want to know from personal experience.  We’ll be in North York until I’m working and we can afford to move south, but I’ll pretty much go anywhere along a transit line for a good vegan restaurant.

I’ve heard about community groups for new immigrants that help with various aspects of settlement.  For anyone who’s tried them out, are they worth it?  Are there other good resources for finding work, preferably in academic or non-profit settings?

Quiet parks?  Little-known awesome spots?  Shitholes to be avoided?  Any other tips or information you’d like to share?

Thanks in advance and whatnot!


Solidarity with the People of Gaza

15 November 2012

Here are some sources for live updates on what’s happening in Gaza:

Occupied Palestine

RT America

Al Jazeera English

The Guardian

And a list of “Emergency Global Actions for Gaza

Please be wary of Israel’s internet propaganda machine while keeping up to date on what’s happening.

I know it means nothing for one insignificant person in the middle of Texas to say this, but we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle for liberation.


Things That Need to Stop: Drop-In Gets the Last Word

11 November 2012

You know how it goes.  You’re plugging along, reading a surprisingly decent article in a mainstream-y news source (for reasons that could be completely legitimate! get off my back!), but right as you’re getting to the end…what?  Some comment from the ‘other side’ gets tacked on as the last word on the matter.  Observe my inspiration, this example from the Denver Post:

[Colorado cannabis legalization] Amendment 64 — which polls showed hovering at around 50 percent support heading into Election Day — won with what even supporters said was a surprising amount of cushion. With roughly 1.28 million votes in its favor, it drew more support than President Barack Obama did in winning Colorado.

It passed in more counties than it lost — 33 to 31. It won in seven counties that voted for Republican Mitt Romney and lost in only one — Conejos — that voted for Obama.

“We are at the tipping point on marijuana policy,” [Amendment 64 proponent Brian] Vicente said. “This is an area where our voters and our citizens are really leading.”

Drug-abuse prevention professionals, though, said Wednesday that Colorado is going down a dangerous path. They predicted marijuana legalization would increase pot use, especially among young people, and lead to higher rates of drugged driving and substance abuse.

“We need to let people know it is not OK for youths to use marijuana,” said Christian Thurstone, a substance-abuse treatment doctor at Denver Health medical center. “We need them to realize it’s not OK for young people to drive under the influence of marijuana.”

This certainly isn’t the worst example I’ve seen, but it’s demonstrative of some of the major problems with this drop-in commentary style.

1. Because the article usually only includes a few sentences worth of the opposing point, there is very little engagement with the claims being made. If we’re lucky, we’ll get a citation of some text that isn’t really interrogated or examined for basic legitimacy.  Often we are not lucky, and the claim is completely unsubstantiated.  In the above example, someone only had to “predict” increased youth DUIs under legalization. Any actual studies that exist on that point are apparently irrelevant enough to be left out. Honestly, sometimes the difference in quality between the main article and closing opposition can be so vast that it feels like someone with vigilante aspirations and no knowledge of how to report things has creeped in while the writer was on the toilet and pounded off a few lines just before the scheduled publish triggers.

2. The final statement is often a rebuttal to something that nobody said. The above is a good example of that, with the abrupt introduction of legalization being dangerous because kids will suddenly think it’s okay to drive while high. [I gotta say, I didn’t know much of a thing about drugs when I was a kid, but I think I’d have felt awfully patronized by that assumption.] This can let any number of bad arguments through, whether they have shaky premises to begin with (driving while high will automatically become more acceptable, because we think so) or appear to stir up controversy that doesn’t exist (as if anyone is for more DUIs–that is, as if legalization supporters don’t also care about health and safety).

3. It upholds the popular belief that arguments on ‘both sides’ of a reality-based sociopolitical issue are equally valid. They aren’t.

4. The last point sort of ties the other three together, and is the thought that led to this post.  One of the more troublesome aspects of the last word drop-in is the placement itself.  Regardless of how bad any of the above described problems are, the statement gains some legitimacy because it’s the last word.  We learned that structure when we did five paragraph themes in middle school–argue your points from least to most salient.  The closing opposition statement is the freshest piece of information in our minds when we’ve finished the piece and are mulling it over.  It’s article aftertaste. When it’s particularly bad, it’s journalistic garlic that’s gone off.  Look at me, I’m still talking about it, and I’ve moved on to bad metaphors!  What did the rest of the article even say?  Nobody knows!

Maybe the statement is so bad on purpose.  Maybe the authors are pressured or forced to include a point they don’t see as legitimate, so they plop down something that’s obviously incongruous with the rest of the article.  I don’t know.  I’m not gonna play that speculation game, but I guess it’s a possibility. Anyone?

Feel free to add any other thoughts about this reporting tactic or to share especially egregious examples from your favorite Reputable News Sources.


Posty Jetsam: Cutesy Addiction, Rape Advisory Chart, Suddenly Slag

6 November 2012

Because I’m kind of busy, and will probably remain kind of busy for a little while, here are a few mini-posts I’m dumping on y’all without the courtesy of fleshing them out into good posts.


First off, this is one of those things I hesitate to talk about, folks.  I would like to finish my posting career without having been part of some lefty internetcine blogsquabble.  (“lol quit now.”  Tempting, but no.)  For that and other reasons, I’m not going to specifically call anyone out.  Also, this is an issue that’s directly impacted me, but not one I can speak about from personal experience, so I’m trying to walk that fine line between being an ally and an appropriator.

Over the past year or so, I have been disturbed by the frequency at which people in leftish spaces use ‘addiction’ and ‘junkie’ in frivolous and cutesy ways.  Many of these spaces take a very firm stance–admirably so–regarding ableism against other mental and physical issues.  Why is “I’m a youtube comments junkie” okay when “youtube comments are crazy” isn’t?

In a similar vein, I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a list like “murderers, rapists, and drug addicts,” from people who should probably know better.  Yeah, addicts can hurt people around them, intentionally or not.  I know.  But amazingly, their addiction usually hurts them most of all.  And, hold on to your butts, addicts are often aware of all this.  (As much as I love Trainspotting, I know it’s not a documentary.)  “But they made a bad decision and keep making it every time they use.”  As if drugs contain the Magical Fairy Dust of Holy Agency that erases a person’s socioeconomic, psychological, and genetic history the first time they even consider using.  As if every single user had a choice in the first place.  As if the rest of us don’t make harmful decisions and certainly don’t repeat them.  (As if–and I may lose some of you here–nobody should have the option to do something that could potentially kill them.  But an argument for legalizing all drugs is not the subject today.)

David L. Conroy suggests that one reason many non-suicidal people in societies with massive stigma against it fear and hate suicidal folks is because learning to understand suicidal ideation makes them face the possibility of their own suicide.  Perhaps it’s not so different with addiction.  I really don’t know.  Something to consider.

This got off topic.  Y’know, I know it’s hard not to fuck up.  I’ve used the language of addiction frivolously.  Probably way too recently.  Probably in company that I hurt by doing so, but for various understandable reasons, they didn’t call me out.  I don’t want to make the same mistake again.  I hope you don’t, either.

If you haven’t, please take some time to learn something about the reality of addiction and stigma from a person who’s actually been there.


Recently stumbled upon this chart at Echidne’s:

GOP Rape Advisory Chart

“The Republican Party Rape Advisory Chart”

[Ahh, look how many times it says (TX). I always feel so safe and valued here.  Like that time I caught a cougar eyeballing us in a completely black mountain basin at least a mile downhill from safety.  Welcome to Texas!]

This is in your Overton Window, US folks. It’s far past time to take some hammers to it.

ETA 22 November: Just got a trackback from this Daily Kos post by Brainwrap, who made the original version of this chart.  Apologies for not giving proper credit before.


Every once in a while, I remember this one time some dude in London called me a slag.  Let me set the scene for you, not because any of these details make one fucking bit of difference toward the legitimacy of misogyny–as if you need me to tell you that!–but so that you can picture the moment this dude and I shared.

It was between 8 and 9 at night during, I think, early spring.  I was wearing what I wore every day: more sensible than average shoes, jeans, my faux-Mao jacket, and a polyester ‘pashmina’ from one of London’s approximately ten thousand scarf wagons operated by a looming guy who will either scowl at you or call you darling when you hand him ₤10 for 3.  On my way home from a SOAS lecture or something, I stopped for the crosswalk light at the corner of Sidmouth Street and Grays Inn Road. (I’ll give you a minute if you’d like to Street View it.  Are you back?  Okay.)  I would usually just plod across some section of Grays Inn when there was a gap, but providence was shining on me that day.  Enter the cyclist.  He’s late 20s at most, at a glance white and average in every conceivable way, cruising very close to the curb at a speed I can only describe as lazy but intended to put distance between us once he’s said his piece.  Because it’s a bad piece and he probably knows that on some level.

Slag.  Let me tell you, all two of my dear readers, that I could never have imagined someone so utterly bored with their own misogyny.  Have you ever begun to read out a question in your brain voice, just to get to the end and see that the person has used a period instead of a question mark. Now you have! Right at the end, the way the bottom suddenly slides out and leaves you with a weird sense of ennui about whatever was being asked?  That was this dude’s whole deal.  In one word, one expression of misogyny he could hardly even be bothered to put the syllable of energy into, I understood this dude entirely.

Apparently even misogynists get bored with misogyny at this point.  Fortunately there’s a solution for that.


Academic Men Explain Things to Me

26 October 2012

Via fannie, good stuff. Good that women have a space to share and–ugh–“prove” the sort of shit that’s said to us in academic contexts. Aside from a few roll-eyed instances, I managed to isolate myself from a lot of that in the analogue world while I was doing my MA.

I hesitate to share this story because the necessary details could de-anonymize me to certain folks, but fuck it, I’ll do it anyway.  The most annoying dismissal I can recall came from a friend-of-a-friend I had met about two hours earlier. He’s some sort of self-styled genius who’s apparently good at convincing other people that he’s the greatest thing that will ever happen to science and philosophy. You know. My friend mentioned that I had just finished my degree. Then came the dreaded question that I seem to have to answer differently every time: what did I study? I gave a brief description of my dissertation (gender and sexuality in diaspora and if/how removal from place of origin opens up spaces to challenge scarequotes-traditional patriarchy. Yeah, I still have a hard time summarizing it). Genius Guy’s response to my merit- and distinction-level work  at perhaps the best school in the world for my particular confluence of subjects, my Year of Perpetual No-Fun and losing roughly 20% of my initial weight before noticing it because I didn’t have the money or time to take care of myself and my work simultaneously, my 25 years of living as a woman, a queer woman, briefly as an immigrant, on this Planet Earth? “You need to look at the difference between chimps and bonobos.” Humans should be like bonobos, he declared, because their society is matriarchal.  That’s it.

I did not bother to point out how cute it was that a proponent of matriarchy had dismissed everything the only woman in the room had said and done in order to promote his own pet theory (his girlfriend was, I’m fucking serious, in the kitchen cooking dinner for us–a dinner I could not eat, because it was a dead animal, but that’s beside the point).

Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves as women living in microaggression-steeped patriarchy is to just not fucking bother.


Music Break: Help a Comrade Out

19 October 2012

Normally I try not to enjoy a song too much before I find out what the lyrics are, in case they’re shit.  Not shit like “she loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.”  Shit like oppressive.  But a few years ago I found myself immediately unable to not love Salif Keita’s “Bolon.”  Here’s a live version of it that’s, aside from the dumpy audio quality, even better than the album version:

So my request to you, internet, is to help me translate this song.  I lost all my google powers and can’t find it.  I definitely don’t think it’s going to do much oppression-reinforcement, but I still prefer to know what I’m listening to.

Any help at all is much appreciated.


US Politics and Rape Culture Fatigue

9 October 2012

Nine Deuce reappears with shit that hits the nail on the head:

[…] I, like Lissa Harris, don’t see a huge difference between the way the world works today and the way Ryan Aiken would like it to operate, at least with regard to the prosecution of sexual assault. I suppose my lack of rage at reading and listening to arrogant, presumptuous quotes from smug phallocrats who are at best indifferent to the effect rape has on the individual woman or girl and on women and girls as a whole might be a symptom of rape fatigue, but I suspect I’ve been suffering from it for far longer than a few months, and that it has something to do with the paucity of posts around here. If the Kübler-Ross model is correct, then I suppose I’ve passed through the denial and anger phases and entered the acceptance phase in grieving the loss of the idea that men give a shit about women.

The Kübler-Ross model is more or less bullshit–and lol could I ever provide anecdata to that effect–but that really gives shape to this amorphous fatigue I’ve been sitting in since I gave up on the 2011 abortion legislation post halfway through the year.  I don’t write a lot about the specifics of US politics (particularly elections) for a number of reasons, and the fact that virtually nothing ever really changes is a major one.  Right-wing bodily autonomy laws certainly have material effects for the people who live under them.  There is no question of that.  But we still lived under a victim-hating rape culture, we still had hidden and dangerous abortions before this whac-a-mole legislation became all the rage a couple of years ago, and it’s extremely tiresome to see (and, yes, participate in) so much look-what-the-bad-man-said-this-time internet keymashing as if they haven’t been saying this shit and doing damage to us for thousands of years, as if our shame-fingers are going to do a damned thing to stop it.

I don’t have anything eloquent to say.  I don’t really have a one-stop solution to offer, other than radical revolt, and all that. I just wanted to toss a little bit of solidarity into the internet for anyone else who’s in the same landboat.

Feel free to vent in comments or in an email to the address on the right.


Oops, fundamentalism! An Iranian Woman Beats Up a Cleric

22 September 2012

Global Post:

According to a report by the semi-official Mehr News Agency, the unnamed woman beat a cleric so badly that he needed hospital treatment after he told her to cover up.


“‘She responded by telling me to cover my eyes, which was very insulting to me,’ Beheshti said. So he asked her a second time to cover up and also to put a lid on what he felt was verbal abuse.
She hit the man of the cloth, and he hit the ground.”

It’s great how he says it was insulting to him to tell him to cover his eyes when he was telling her to cover her body.  That statement is so perfect in its entitled, whiny stupidity that I can’t even comment on it.  Too bad her perspective is missing from all the reports.

Also, here’s a little game you can play at home: find this story on a few different sites and look at the language used to describe it.  She is called both a woman and a girl, making even her age range nebulous to us (or perhaps demonstrating once again that many people see ‘girl’ and ‘woman’ as synonymous).  Sometimes the cleric is said to have repeatedly “asked” her to cover up (1: doubtful; 2: if you ‘ask,’ and the person refuses, the conversation should be over; 3: it hardly seems like a request when there is a volunteer militia doing the exact same thing, and with the power to arrest women for how they dress).  Her responses were ‘snarky’ and ‘fierce,’ cutesy terms that suggest petulance and a sort of powerful, unhinged anger.  She hit “the man of the cloth,” not “the man who believed he had the right to control her.”  There is very little recognition of the fact that what was done to this woman–what’s probably been done to her dozens of times–is in itself an inherently hostile act.  Whether we believe that she reacted out of proportion or not, we must recognize that this physical violence was in response to pervasive, constant, systemic violence familiar to women throughout her society.

Food for thought, and all that.

(h/t Shakesville)


Things That Need to Stop: Sexywhatever Halloween Costumes

19 September 2012

Joining the shit-ranks of the Pocahotties and, well, all the other spray-paint-on-plastic-wrap quality Halloween costumes for women, Jane Doe DOA Body Bag (via Shakesville).  Because, ladies, you must be fuckable even in death.  If anybody in the entire world is able to figure out what the fuck your impressively generic plain black longshirt costume is supposed to be.

That’s all I have to say.  I can’t even believe I’m making a post about a Halloween costume, of all things in the grand cosmos I could make a post about, but my god, just look at it.  Actually don’t, because going to that site feels like gently dipping your computer into a vat of liquid shit being stirred by a leering guy who keeps spitting into it.  I’m going to go look at birds or something now.


Boobquake Revisited

24 August 2012

“I’ve always considered myself a feminist, but I used to be one of those teenagers who assumed the awesome ladies before me had solved everything. But Boobquake made me wake up.”

I am really glad that Jen McCreight has come around to seeing that Boobquake was not the best idea.  (Holy fuck, don’t get me started on Boobquake.)  I’m sorry that it took being treated how women who speak are always treated for her to see what some of us had been saying all along.  That isn’t sarcastic–many of us have gotten to where we are via similar routes.  Maybe her post can open up some brains and shorten that trip for others.

A little rant: Atheists can be more thickheaded and infuriating than religious folk when they uphold bigotry and oppression because, you know, we expect more from you.  More open-mindedness and critical thinking skills.  More respect for evidence.  More rationality.  I mean, we keep telling everyone that we’re good at that stuff, right?  Yet in any discussion of the -isms out there, many atheists will uncritically accept so much bad science (that they may or may not understand as bad) and ‘conventional wisdom’ garbage to confirm their biases.  Some of the most smug, self-satisfied people I’ve ever come across have been movement atheists, as if they have everything all figured out because they were brilliant enough to notice that the Bible contradicts itself or whatever.  Congratulations, you can read!  Being good at rejecting religious dogma and understanding the religious justifications for various bigotries doesn’t automatically make you a good person, or even a particularly clever one.  If ultimately you don’t care about being a better person and improving the planet, then you’re an asshole and why should anyone talk to you?  End rant.

I find it interesting that within the last year or so, two well-known internet skeptic women have been galvanized by the toxic misogyny and chauvinism in their communities to put feminism at one focus of their atheist activism.  Will it amount to anything major within the movement?  I don’t know.  But I think it has the potential to be major, particularly for atheist women and other marginalized folks who have experienced hostility within the movement but hesitated to rock the boat.  Making a decent and productive space for such people–whether that means fixing the communities that already exist or forming new ones with social justice as foundational principles–is what’s most important in the short term.

Anyway, it’s a great post and I was especially happy to see that McCreight wants there to be rifts in the community rather than tolerance of oppression.  (A close reader of this post will notice that I keep vacillating between including myself as an atheist and casting them as a group I’m opposed to.  The fact that I’m a rather ‘militant’ atheist who feels no community with movement atheism is not coincidental to McCreight’s post or this response.)  I think there are places where she’s a bit overly optimistic about the speed at which atheists are getting our acts together, but that’s a minor complaint based on how often I’ve seen those sorts of comments devolve into circle-jerking and self-congratulation.  We must all be vigilant about complacency and cautious with optimism, is all I’m sayin’.

In conclusion, this made me lol:

Now it’s time for a third wave – a wave that isn’t just a bunch of “middle-class, white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied men” patting themselves on the back for debunking homeopathy for the 983258th time or thinking up yet another great zinger to use against Young Earth Creationists.


30 August Edit: Here is the post JMP mentioned in comments, on atheism and communist theory.  Good stuff!

One of these countries is not like the other

20 August 2012

So the other day I was looking at a container of Market Pantry brand mixed nuts from Target and noticed this:

market pantry mixed nuts from Target

Image: List of ingredients and warnings that nuts are inside, from the back of said container of nuts.

If you didn’t catch that because you can’t see the image, are feeling a little absent today, or can’t be assed to read nutritional information at any cost, let me help you out.  “CASHEWS PRODUCT OF AFRICA, INDIA, BRAZIL, VIETNAM AND INDONESIA.”

I offer apologies to the people of all African, uhh, prefectures, and I also sob quietly for geography teachers everywhere.