[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]
Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!
This blogaround brought to you by sustained incredulity.
Emily: [Content Note: War on agency] U.S. House Passes Yet Another Anti-Choice Bill
Katie: [CN: War on agency; class warfare] Activists Decry 39 Years of Class-Based Discrimination in Abortion Access
Francie: [CN: Climate change; misogyny; classism; racism] Four Ways Climate Change Impacts Women
Bina: [CN: Anti-feminism; misogyny; gendered violence] Dear Meryl Streep
Digby: [CN: Misogyny] Ugliest Tweet 'o the Week
Sameer: Researcher Who Discovered Water on Mars Is a Nepalese-American Metalhead
Charline: [CN: Misogyny; body policing] High School Girls Fight Dress Code with The Scarlet Letter-Inspired Protest
Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!
[Content Note: Fat hatred.]
"Nobody knows for sure the long term health effects of living in a society that constantly stigmatizes you and tells you that you can't possible be healthy. Nobody knows what would happen to fat people's health if they didn't live in a society that constantly stigmatizes them."—Ragen Chastain, brilliantly stating what should be obvious but is anything but, in "What 'Everybody Knows' About Fat People."
I love this quote with one million hearts.
Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: Hurricane] Hurricane Joaquin reached a Category Four (out of five, with five being the worst) as it landed in the Bahamas: "Sustained winds of up to 210 km/h (130mph) were reported in parts of the eastern Bahamas, the US National Hurricane Centre said. The NHC says Joaquin could affect the US East Coast by Sunday, and said it was now an 'extremely dangerous' storm. Emergency teams said there were no reports of casualties in the Bahamas. Forecasters in the US and the Bahamas are warning that central islands, many of which are low-lying, could see a storm surge of up to 3.7m (12ft). 'We do not know the impact of 130mph on those areas,' Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie said. 'We know it's a horrific kind of experience.' One Bahamas resident, Shandira Forbes, said she had been in contact with her mother on the island of Acklins. 'She was calling for help because the sea was coming into her house,' she told Associated Press. 'People's roofs were lifting up. No one knew, so there was no preparedness, there was no meeting, there was nothing.'" Fuck.
[CN: Drones; death] What in all hell: "Faisal bin Ali Jaber came to recognize that in his case, justice was not realistic. The most he could hope for from the American government that killed his family in a drone strike was an apology, much as the families of two wrongfully killed westerners received from Barack Obama. ...[O]n Monday, his lawyers at the human-rights group Reprieve wrote to the Obama administration with a new offer. Jaber would settle his case, attorney Cori Crider wrote to Barack Obama, in exchange for 'an apology and an explanation as to why a strike that killed two innocent civilians was authorized'. ...But on Wednesday, the Justice Department tacitly rejected the offer. ...As it has in previous cases seeking redress for drone strikes, the lawyers said 'the government could not confirm or deny' the strike took place; and added that Jaber was not the proper person to seek redress in US court for any such strike." This, despite the fact that President Obama explicitly apologized to the families of "Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, an American and an Italian whom al-Qaida militants held hostage on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border," who were killed in a US drone strike. "'On behalf of the United States government, I offer our deepest apologies to their families,' Obama said on 23 April. His administration promoted the apology as a milestone in transparency and accountability for US counter-terrorism. ...Jaber and his lawyers are left wondering why Lo Porto and Weinstein's families merited forthright apologies, but he does not. Justice Department officials did not provide an explanation to the Guardian."
[CN: Anti-choice terrorism] I am not surprised, but I am angry as fuck: "The growing conservative uproar against Planned Parenthood—sparked by this summer's release of several videos depicting the health center's employees speaking frankly about procuring fetal tissue for scientific donation—has led to some vicious verbal attacks. ...But this fiery debate has also potentially triggered physical backlash. Since the release of the inflammatory videos, several Planned Parenthood centers and other clinics that offer abortions have been vandalized across the country, shutting some down for weeks."
[CN: Christian Supremacy; homophobia] The Vatican is backpedaling faster than a bike messenger trying to avoid the path of the Popemobile on Pope Francis' visit with homobigot clerk Kim Davis: "Looking to limit controversy after last week's meeting in Washington between the pope and Kim Davis, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said she was one of 'several dozen' people who had been invited by the Vatican ambassador to see Francis. 'The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,' Lombardi said in a statement." Of course not! Rest assured he still hates same-sex marriage, though!
(In case anyone yet doubts my oft-repeated refrain that Pope Francis is merely a savvy PR player concerned about the Church's role in today's world, this is from the same article: "A senior Vatican official, who declined to be named, said there was a 'sense of regret' within the Holy See over the encounter, which sparked widespread debate in the United States, overshadowing almost all other aspects of the pope's visit." No sense of regret for underwriting and promoting homophobia, but they're real bummed that everyone has stopped talking about how supercool the Pope is!)
Arne Duncan will be stepping down at the end of the year from his position as Secretary of Education, which he's held for seven years. I don't have a whole lot of feelings about that. I've never been a huge fan of any Secretary of Education ever, that I recall.
Wow! "On Monday, [farmer] James Bristle of Lima Township [in Michigan] was digging in a soy field when he and his friend pulled up what they first thought was a bent, muddy old fence post. But it was actually the rib bone of an ancient woolly mammoth." Can you even imagine?! "'We knew it was something that was out of the norm,' Bristle told The Ann Arbor News. 'My grandson came over to look at it, he's 5-years-old, he was speechless.' On Wednesday, University of Michigan professor Daniel Fisher—who'd been contacted via the university by Bristle and his friends—was able to go out and confirm the find. Fisher believes that the mammoth died between 11,000 and 15,000 years ago. ...'We get calls once or twice a year about new specimens like this,' Fisher told The Post. But they're usually mastodons. It's a bit more unusual to find a mammoth, the group more closely related to modern elephants.'" What a cool discovery!
[CN: Privilege] Shut up, Andrew Garfield. I'm with Kaiser on this one: "'I'm not accepted. None of us are accepted in this culture.' That coming from a white heterosexual dude is…not great. I understand that he was trying to make a larger statement about what he feels 'culture' demands from everyone (an unattainable perfection), but it just struck me that he is a white man with enormous privilege play-acting this idea that he struggles too because his eyebrows aren't perfect." Boom.
[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Mira Sorvino was surprised by HuffPo by the inventor of Post-It Notes (if you don't know why, go watch Romy and Michele's High School Reunion immediately!), and it was sort of awkward and sort of cute and sort of terrible.
[CN: Images of surgery in video] ALL THE BLUBS FOREVER: A pilot with Pilots 'n Paws delivered a homeless injured puppy for crucial veterinary care, and then returned later to adopt him, because he couldn't stop thinking about him. MY HEART!
[Content Note: Privilege.]
Let's all read this terrific piece in the New York Times, "27 Ways to Be a Modern Man," and talk about how TERRIFIC it is. And by "TERRIFIC," I mean "TERRIBLE."
It's always neat when "man" really means "straight, white, middle-class, cis man." So neat!
Personally, my favorite part is this:
9. Having a daughter makes the modern man more of a complete person. He learns new stuff every day.The modern man learns "stuff" from his daughter! Presumably "stuff" like: Female people are human beings, too! And they are put on this planet in order to teach stuff to modern men and complete their superior humanity!
Science explains why beauty is in the eye of the beholder: "Is that guy sexy? Is that woman beautiful? If you ask these questions to a group of people, they may have different answers, and a new study hints at why: Your perception of other people's attractiveness is mainly the result of your own experiences."
It's about time we had SCIENTIFIC PROOF that individual human beings have individual lived experiences that influence our individual preferences and choices!
I just hope someone quickly funds a study to prove that some of these individuals are WRONG, lest we start getting the idea that beauty itself is entirely subjective.
[Content Note: Hostility to consent; stalking; abuse.]
There is some suspicion this morning, based largely on this Snopes article, which is hardly conclusive, that Peeple is a hoax. And a number of people, possibly in anticipation of the possibility that it was all some big fucked-up social experiment, are making noises to distance themselves from the outrage, by way of claiming they don't even care about it anyway blah blah fart.
I don't know if Peeple will turn out to be a hoax, or a social experiment, or a colossal scam by two attention-seeking assholes, or a real app that will really stumble its way into hideous existence next month. But I have a few thoughts on the possibility it was not exactly what it seems.
[Content Note: Guns; shooting; death; injury; disablism.]
This morning, there still isn't a ton of clarity about the shooting at UCC. The number of deceased has been reduced from 13 to 10, and it is not clear if that includes the shooter, who has been identified as a 26-year-old
white mixed race* man named Chris Harper-Mercer. (I have seen "Harper-Mercer" hyphenated in some places, and unhyphenated in others.) He was reportedly not a student at Umpqua Community College.
His victims are still being identified, and no names have yet been released. That is expected to happen sometime today.
[CN: Video may autoplay at link] There have been reports from eyewitnesses that Harper-Mercer asked his victims about their religions before shooting them, and at least one account has Harper-Mercer shooting to kill people who identified themselves as Christians, and shooting to injure people who did not.
I caution that we should take this report with a grain of salt, at this point. Not because I imagine the witness is lying, but because, as Aphra_Behn noted via email, which I'm sharing with her permission: "We all know what trauma does to memory, so I truly think this might be taken with caution for the moment. IIRC there was a similar story about Columbine that was later totally debunked, though not until the usual suspects had milked it for all the propaganda it was worth, of course." I have already seen lots of "war on Christians" rhetoric surrounding this single report, so I want to be careful to note that it is only one account of a chaotic scene.
(Which is not, by the way, because I am invested in denying it if indeed this shooter was targeting Christians. It's because I don't want anyone to feel as though there is a "war" on them if there actually isn't. Although I am not a Christian, many of the people I love are. My life isn't organized by religious teams, despite routine assumptions to the contrary based on my atheism.)
Early reports suggested that Harper-Mercer was atheist, but it later emerged that he had a dating profile on a site called "Spiritual Passions," in which he identified himself as a conservative Republican who dislikes organized religion and is "spiritual but not religious."
There have also been rumors that Harper-Mercer was a Muslim, but I have seen no credible confirmation of that anywhere. It seems very unlikely.
The UK-born shooter had sympathies, or maybe just a fascination, with the Irish Republican Army, and at least one social media account that appears to belong to him reflects a similar interest in Nazis. It doesn't appear to me, based on the limited information that is currently available, that he had a coherent religious or irreligious ideology, but rather was enamored with violent organizations.
As you may have heard, there was also an anonymous poster on 4¢han who seemed to announce this plan the night before. David Futrelle has documented some of that, as well as reactions to the shooting, here. It is very disturbing—and naturally the conclusion is that if he'd had a girlfriend, he wouldn't have done this heinous thing.
Whatever evidence there is that he may have been motivated in part by male entitlement and violent misogyny, that will almost certainly be buried beneath the emergent narrative that he was mentally ill. Shades of Elliot Rodger.
President Obama gave a very powerful statement yesterday, in which he argued that "this is something we should politicize," yet even he axiomatically conceded that Harper-Mercer was mentally ill: "We don't yet know why this individual did what he did. And it's fair to say that anybody who does this has a sickness in their minds, regardless of what they think their motivations may be. But we are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people. We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months."
Again I will note that even if Harper-Mercer was indeed mentally ill, it is a confluence of many issues that causes someone to pick up a gun and do what he did. Most people with mental illness do not commit mass violence. His individual beliefs, the culture in which he existed, his access to guns—these things are all relevant, too, and they cannot be extricated from one another to find a simple, singular reason to explain his despicable actions.
That's about all that's available now. I will post updates as new information becomes available and/or information needs to be corrected.
Please feel welcome to drop new info in comments, and, as always, let's keep this an image-free thread. Thanks.
* I have updated the post to reflect that Harper-Mercer identified himself as mixed race on the aforementioned dating profile.
Suggested by Shaker jen*: "What is an odor you like that other people around you often don't enjoy?"
Cow manure. It just smells like grass and earth to me and not unpleasant at all. It also reminds me of being on a dairy farm, so it has the added quality of pleasant nostalgia for me.
[Content Note: Animal abuse. Originally posted in similar form November 21, 2012.]
October 1st is National Black Dog Day, a day designated to raise "public awareness about these beautiful, shiny fur babies that offer just as much unconditional love as any other dog and deserve just as much love back."
When Tamara Delaney of Woodville, Wis., volunteered to find a home for a black Labrador Retriever named Jake last year, she had no idea what she was up against. Jake, cared for by a rescue group, had already waited nearly three years for a new home. And he would wait eight more months as Delaney tried to find someone to take in the big Lab.Doomed. It is, unfortunately, an appropriately ominous word.
It didn't matter much that Jake was a sociable dog and in perfect health. Jake's problem wasn't his temperament—it was the color of his coat. Jake bore the stigma of the "BBD," an acronym used to refer to big black dogs, who are frequently passed over for flashier, prettier dogs and wind up, like Jake, waiting for years to be adopted.
"Nobody wants a black-coated dog," rescue workers told Delaney as she tried without success to find a home for Jake. And when Delaney turned to the Internet, she found that shelters across the country were overflowing with black-coated mutts.
"Please don't overlook our black dogs," rescue groups pleaded on their home pages above pictures of Rottweilers, Chows and Labs sporting bright bandanas. One shelter's website just came right out with the grim truth: "The general public is not aware of how doomed black dogs are when they are brought to a pound."
Most black dogs have to rely on shelter staff and volunteers to steer potential adoptors their way. And indeed, many shelters take extra steps to make black dogs more adoptable, according to Kate Pullen, director of animal sheltering issues at the Humane Society of the United States in Washington, D.C. Teaching the dogs tricks, putting placards on kennels highlighting the dog's personality ("I may just be a black dog, but I know how to balance a biscuit on my nose."), making sure multiple black dogs aren't kenneled next to one other—anything to catch the eye and imagination of potential adoptors.Iain and I have often recalled how the shelter staff knew nothing about Zelda—a stray BBD who hadn't even been given a name. They didn't know if she was housebroken or spayed. They barely even knew what dog we were talking about when we said we wanted to adopt her. It's not that they were heartless; they were overwhelmed, and they quite justifiably assumed no one was going to give the BBD with the silly ears a home.
"I've had to turn away many black dogs because I can't fill the place up with them," says Jill Wimmer, shelter manager at PAWS Atlanta, that city's oldest and largest no-kill shelter. "And every one I turned away had a great temperament." Wimmer knows that she can likely adopt out three dogs in the time it takes to find a home for one BBD.
[Content Note: There are some slightly flickery lights in this video.]
[Content Note: Guns; shooting; death; injury.]
Goddammit: Another college shooting, this time at Umpqua Community College in southwestern Oregon, with multiple deaths and injuries. I don't want to post casualty numbers at this time, because I'm seeing numbers that are all over the place. I've also seen that the shooter has been captured, and that he has been killed. So, we're still in that period where lots of unconfirmed information is flying around.
I will update this post as I can confirm information about the event.
My condolences to the entire school community, and I hope everyone who survived this shooting will have the resources they need to recover physical and/or psychological injury.
I am already dreading the inevitable "this is not the time for politics" silencing of anyone who quite understandably argues in the wake of another school shooting for stricter gun laws. I am already dreading the inevitable othering of the shooter, trying to cast him as crazy and existing in some kind of vacuum outside the rest of the culture. I am already dreading politicians offering their prayers, instead of any meaningful legislation to prevent more school shootings, which have become so routine they hardly have the capacity to shock any of us anymore, even if we are angered and saddened beyond words.
As always, please keep this an image-free thread as you share information in comments.
UPDATE 1: Per the AP, Oregon State Police Lt. Bill Fugate has confirmed there are at least 7 people dead and 20 injured in the shooting.
UPDATE 2: MSNBC just reported on air that the gunman is dead. Federal officials have also confirmed he killed 13 and injured at least 20 others.
UPDATE 3: The Washington Post reports this is 294th mass shooting, defined as "incidents where 4 or more people are killed or injured by gunfire," in the US so far this year. "There have been only 274 days this year. ...We've gone no more than eight days without one of these incidents this year."
UPDATE 4: Law enforcement disclosed at a press conference that the shooter was a 20-year-old man. They didn't say anything about his race, which probably (but not certainly) means he was white.
[Content Note: Hostility to consent; stalking; abuse.]
Peeple's Facebook page is filled with positive comments they're getting via email, they're deleting comments and banning commenters who are abuse survivors trying to explain to them problems with their app, they're wondering (without a trace of irony) how to prevent people giving them feedback, and this shit is just sitting there like a big fat turd:
Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: War; death] Great fucking Maude: "Russian officials vehemently defended the country's airstrikes in Syria on Thursday as blows to Islamic State militants even as evidence mounted suggesting that U.S.-backed rebels and others were facing the brunt of Moscow's attacks. ...Russia's expanding military intervention in Syria added urgency to separate efforts by Russia and U.S. officials to coordinate strategies against the Islamic State and avoid potential airspace missteps between the two powers—so-called 'deconfliction' talks. The Pentagon said the discussions will begin Thursday." And I'm sure those talks will go splendidly, when Russia's objectives re: the Assad regime are directly in conflict with the US' objectives.
[CN: Racism; class warfare; disenfranchisement] After Alabama announced that it would be closing five state parks and cutting back services at 31 part-time satellite driver license offices due to budgetary constraints, columnist John Archibald noted that of "the 10 Alabama counties with the highest percentage of non-white registered voters," eight of them will have their driver license officers closed. "Closed. In a state in which driver licenses or special photo IDs are a requirement for voting. ...Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their driver license office closed. Every one. ...[T]he same Alabama Legislature that could not raise enough money to properly run the state in three sessions this year decided in 2011 that all voters must have a photo ID. It was such a great idea that Gov. Robert Bentley signed that bill into law despite complaints that such a move would disproportionately disenfranchise black voters. It went into effect last year. And now this." This is not a coincidence. This is class warfare. This is white supremacy. This is the institutional disenfranchisement of black voters.
[CN: Sexual violence] Fuck: "At a press conference with Gloria Allred on Wednesday, three more women came forward to tell stories of sexual assault and harassment they'd received at the hands of Bill Cosby, bringing the total number of accusers over 50." I take up space in support of them.
[CN: Sexual violence] In other celebrity rape culture news: "Former Canadian Broadcasting Corp radio host Jian Ghomeshi has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking in a case that rocked the country's vaunted public broadcaster." A case that rocked his employer. Huh.
[CN: Illness; descriptions of pain; misogyny; war on agency] This is an extraordinary piece by Lili Loofbourow on how Planned Parenthood saved her vagina: "Women's pain is embarrassing, and women are therefore encouraged to hide it, make it invisible. It's remarkably simple, under those circumstances, to pretend that the work Planned Parenthood does to mitigate that pain doesn't matter or even exist. ...Anti-choice activists do not think women need targeted care. In the frenzy to defund Planned Parenthood in Louisiana, for example, dentists and audiologists were included in the list of medical providers capable of taking over Planned Parenthood patients. No one who knows anything about medicine—or cares about women's health—would consider that an acceptable substitution. Women need targeted medical care, and Planned Parenthood provides it. It should be funded. ...Women's bodies are not a footnote."
[CN: Invasion of privacy; hostility to consent; miscarriage; war on agency] This guy is a shameless liar and an unethical shitheap who invaded a family's privacy in order to disseminate lies about abortion. And Carly Fiorina repeats his gross lies without an ounce of compunction, and this is the sort of craven media coverage that gets: "Questions Remain Over Whether Video Carly Fiorina Cited in Debate Shows Abortion." No, no questions remain. She is a fucking liar who spreads the fucking lies of fucking liars.
Terrific: "US stores are expected to accept chip-and-PIN credit cards today, but most aren't ready."
[CN: Anti-feminism] Oh Meryl Streep, why must you disappoint me so? "Are you a feminist? I am a humanist, I am for nice easy balance." I'm so making this face right now. As I have been making from birth, clearly.
Yikes! "A mountain lion climbed up a 35-foot-high wooden power pole Tuesday afternoon about two miles south of Cougar Buttes on East End Road." I guess maybe the mountain lion just wanted everyone to get a good look at its cougar butte?
And finally! Cats reeeeeeeeeally don't GAF about your personal space. Truth.
[Content Note: Xenophobia; racism; othering.]
Below, a clip from Fox News featuring footage of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shouting about how he will refuse safe haven to Syrian refugees if elected:
Fox News Anchor Greta Van Susteren: —making some big news in New Hampshire just moments ago, the current GOP presidential front runner saying if he were elected, he would send home the Syrian refugees the White House is allowing to come to the United States.This is the fucking nightmare to which Donald Trump casually suggests he will be sending refugees back, to cheers and applause from his despicable supporters.
Donald Trump, in a video clip of a campaign speech: I'm putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syrian [sic] as part of this mass migration that, if I win, if I win, they're going back. They're going back! I'm telling you! They're going back. [cheers and applause]
Young white male Fox News contributor whose name I don't know: Well, I think it fits in with his anti-immigration rhetoric, but I—
[clip then repeats]
[Content Note: White/male/straight/cis supremacy; xenophobia; fearmongering; descriptions of violence.]
"I've been really angry and depressed for the last few months. I've finally pieced together why. I'm afraid. I'm not afraid of teenagers building clocks. I'm not afraid of women having economic empowerment or sexual freedom. I'm not afraid of weddings with two grooms/brides, trans folks using bathrooms, Latinos making a living, or Black people wearing hoodies and playing music. I'm afraid of an angry white dude with a gun who's been told repeatedly that HIS country is dying and HE needs to take it back."—Derrick Lemos, in "What 'Taking the Country back' means for the rest of us."
Yep. Specifically an angry white dude with a gun who believes he has a right to feel safe (as distinct from being safe) and has never had to spend a moment of his life sitting with fear.