Blog Note

I'm taking a few days off. See you soon.

Open Wide...

Open Thread

images of words like 'whoosh!' and 'bang!' and 'thunk!' in comic book styling

Hosted by onomatopoeia.

Open Wide...

Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker BlueJean: "What's your most memorable scene from a movie from the past ten years? Not your favorite movie, necessarily, but the scene that comes to your mind most often."

Open Wide...

Photo of the Day

image of a protestor in Detroit holding up a handwritten sign reading: THIRSTY FOR JUSTICE.

Jon Swaine:
When the coast is clear, and the trucks from the contractor shutting off water for the city of Detroit have rolled away, the men with water keys come.

They offer residents whose supply has just been shut off a tempting deal. For $20, they will use their tools to turn the water main back on immediately, and illegally, sparing the household the agonising days spent without showering, cooking or flushing that have already been endured by at least 16,000 of their neighbours so far this year.

It is only the most desperate action being taken in response to the beleaguered city's aggressive campaign to recoup $89m in overdue water bills by abruptly cutting the supplies of people behind on their payments. Amid growing anger, Detroit officials agreed in court on Monday to a two-week pause, to allow poor customers to come forward and show that they genuinely cannot afford to pay. But then the shutoffs will resume.

"You're going to do what you have to do to get water back on in your home," said Valerie Blakely, a community organiser and mother of five whose overdue bill stands at more than $1,000. "As far as I'm concerned, what the city is doing is the illegal activity. You're not going to come and put us in a life-or-death situation and not have us act like we are fighting for our own survival."
Read the whole thing here.

Open Wide...

Gov. Rick Perry to Deploy National Guard to Border

[Content Note: Anti-immigrationism; racism; militarization.]

Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry has announced that he is sending National Guard troops to the US border to stop the inflow of undocumented immigrants, including a large number of children:

The governor's office confirmed this morning that Rick Perry will order 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas border to beef up patrols in South Texas.

...Perry called the troops a "force multiplier" that would help DPS and other law enforcement officials deal with criminal activity by those entering the country illegally.

The guard troops will be embedded with state troopers and other law enforcement because they cannot legally detain someone on their own authority.

...He gave no indication where the funding for the operation would come from, instead saying that he hoped the federal government would eventually reimburse the state for the $12 million monthly cost of calling up the Guard.
Perry says he refuses to "stand idly by while American citizens are attacked" and that "the price of inaction is too high for Texans to pay," but this hyperbole doesn't reflect what's actually happening, which is a "small uptick in crime along the border."

The local law enforcement tasked with navigating crime along the border does not share Perry's alarm:
But sheriffs along the border said they have not been consulted and question the wisdom of sending military personnel who are not authorized to stop, question or arrest anyone.

"At this time, a lot of people do things for political reasons. I don't know that it helps," said Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio.

Lucio said deputies, police and the U.S. Border Patrol work well together and that they have been able to handle the small uptick in crime along the border.

"I don't know what good they can do," Lucio said of military personnel. "I need people who I can hire who know the community, the language and who can help."

Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra also told the McAllen Monitor that the Guard troops can't make arrests and he didn't know what their objective would be.

"The National Guard — they're trained in warfare; they're not trained in law enforcement,” he said. "I need to find out what their actual role is going to be, but I think the money would be better spent giving local law enforcement more funds."

..."You just can't come out here and be a police officer," Lucio said, adding that he is concerned at the move to militarize the border.

"Eventually, they might get into trouble," he said of the Guard. "They're trained for different things."
Emphases mine.

This is political posturing, and it will come at the expense of people's safety and lives.

Imagine how many people "who know the community, the language and who can help" could be hired for $12 million monthly. So many people! Imagine if Governor Rick Perry actually listened to the people who are on the ground, and gave them the funding they need to better do the jobs they know best how to do.

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying on the stairs beside Olivia the White Farm Cat, who's curled up on top of Iain's black workbag
Two good girls: Zelly guards the stairs and Olivia keeps Iain's bag warm over the weekend.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

Open Wide...

The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by summer.

Recommended Reading:

Carla: [CN: Misogynoir; murder] Trial for Man Who Murdered Renisha McBride Begins Today

Trudy: [CN: Misogynoir; murder] Remember Renisha McBride and That Imperfect Black Women's Lives Also Matter

David: [CN: Class warfare] Raising the Minimum Wage Creates More Jobs

Nina: [CN: Harassment; war on agency] Massachusetts Senate Introduces Bill Responding to Supreme Court Buffer Zone Ruling

Jim: [CN: Homophobia] Indiana Woman Claims Water Park Kicked Her Out Because She's Gay

BYP: [CN: Racism; vandalism] Tuskegee Airmen Statues Vandalized in Chicago

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

Open Wide...

Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime



Des'ree: "You Gotta Be"

Open Wide...

Quote of the Day

"America's federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people. I'm going to do what I can with the authority I have to act."—President Barack Obama, during remarks at the White House before he signed "an executive order banning workplace discrimination against millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees of federal contractors and the federal government. The executive order has two parts: It makes it illegal to fire or harass employees of federal contractors based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and it explicitly bans discrimination against transgender employees of the federal government."

He did not include a provision in his executive order exempting discrimination on the basis of religious belief.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Open Wide...

So This Happened

[Content Note: Hostility to consent.]

There is an organization called "Help a Reporter Out," known as HARO, to which reporters seeking sources can post queries.

This morning, someone who is a member of HARO (and who has given me hir consent to republish this anonymously) sent me the following listing zie found at the site:

screen cap of email sent to listserv reading: 'Subject: HARO on social justice activism | 21) Summary: Social Justice Activism and Psychology | Category: General | Email: query-42vi@helpareporter.net | Media Outlet: Anonymous | Deadline: 7:00 AM EST - 21 July | Query: I am working on a piece about the toxicity of online (and offline) social justice figures and groups (think: Shakesville, [Hug0 $chwyz3r]). If you are familiar with some of the many abuses committed in the name of social justice and specialize in psychology, I would love to talk to you. The piece is being published on a well-known news and opinion website. | Requirements: Psychologist'

So, basically, someone is seeking a psychologist to quote in order to do a write-up on Shakesville, in which I'll evidently be compared to Hug0 $chwyz3r and psychoanalyzed by someone who doesn't even know me, for a "well-known news and opinion site."

I don't know who the person is planning to write this piece, nor do I know what site intends to publish it.

What I do know is that I have not given my permission to be profiled, and I certainly have not consented to let a psychologist who does not even know me publicly diagnose me and/or discuss me.

One of the things that I and the other moderators of this space do not allow is armchair diagnosis of other people. We don't do it on the main page, and we don't allow it in comments. That is rank disablist garbage. There is a particular irony that someone writing a piece on "the many abuses committed in the name of social justice" would engage in an abusive behavior that is not allowed in the space I manage in order to accuse me of "toxicity" and "abuse."

As a side note, HARO includes in its "Rules" section the following: "5. Be excellent to each other. Violating any of the above rules will result in a first time warning, and upon a second violation, being banned from the service. HARO works on mutual trust and support."

I guess that doesn't apply to the people on whom their members are seeking to write hit pieces.

Open Wide...

In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War; death] In Israel and Gaza: "The Palestinian death toll in an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip rose above 500 on Monday as the army said it had killed 10 militants who tunnelled into Israel, while Gazan officials said an Israeli tank shelled a hospital, killing civilians. A day after he was caught by an open microphone saying sarcastically that the Israeli assault was 'a hell of a pinpoint operation,' U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Cairo to try to secure an end to the two-week conflict." Hamas killed 13 Israeli solders on Sunday, and the Israeli military killed, in addition to the militants, "28 members of a single family at the southern end" of the Gaza Strip, while, at Al-Aqsa hospital, "four people were killed and 70 wounded when an Israeli tank shell slammed into the third floor, housing operating theatres and an intensive care unit, the Health Ministry said. The Israeli military, which has accused Hamas militants of firing rockets from the grounds of Gaza hospitals and seeking refuge there, had no immediate comment." President Barack Obama has called for an "immediate ceasefire." Which doesn't look likely to happen.

[CN: War; downed plane; death] The war in Ukraine is hindering the investigation and recovery of Flight 17: "As Dutch forensic experts arrived at the scene of the Malaysia Airlines crash on Monday and promised that the train being loaded with the victims' bodies would be moved before the end of the day, heavy fighting broke out between the Ukrainian army and rebels on the outskirts of Donetsk, the main regional city and the hub of the insurgency." Fuck.

[CN: Disablism; death penalty] A study by researchers Robert J. Smith, Sophie Cull, and ZoĆ« Robinson has found that a "majority of the 100 executed inmates examined" for their research "had 'a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder or psychosis.' Yet, because of an oddity in the Supreme Court’s death penalty cases, it is typically constitutional under existing precedents to execute people with these illnesses." In fact, "the overwhelming majority of executed offenders had intellectual and psychological deficits that rivaled—and sometimes outpaced—those associated with intellectual disability and juvenile status."

[CN: Misogyny] Nathan Rabin, the writer who coined the phrase "manic pixie dream girl," regrets having coined it. I dunno. I feel like it was a useful description for a misogynist trope, and it's not really his fault that people took it and used it in a misogynist way to demean female characters as opposed to the people who wrote them. (And, sometimes, real women.)

[CN: War on agency; reproductive coercion] This may be one of the worst things you read today, or ever: "Men have a right and a role in the abortion issue." Basically, this dude thinks their role is reproductive coercion, and definitely not advocating for reproductive rights and protected choice. One word: "MENistry." Yikes.

RIP James Garner. His films and TV roles played such a huge part in my childhood. His death feels so weirdly personal, the way celebrity deaths sometimes do. I feel very sad.

And finally! Smudge the Cat defended his five-year-old guardian from bullies and is a HERO. Yay Smudge! WHO'S A GOOD KITTY CAT? YOU ARE!!!

Open Wide...

Debra Harrell Update

[Content Note: Criminalization of need; rape culture; racism; classism.]

Last week, I wrote about Debra Harrell, the mother who was arrested after allowing her nine-year-old daughter to play in a nearby park while she was working at McDonald's.

teaspoon icon There is a fundraiser for Debra Harrell here, for those of you who were interested in donating.

teaspoon icon Also: There is a petition here, to the Director of Public Safety of North Augusta and the Acting State Director of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, requesting charges be dropped against Harrell.

Two other things:

1. @prisonculture reported over the weekend that McDonald's has terminated Debra Harrell's employment. So, basically, McDonald's fired someone because they don't pay her enough to afford childcare.

2. I've been thinking about this incident a lot in the last week, and how the decision to criminalize a mother's decision to let her child go to a highly populated public park, with a mobile phone, is deeply rooted in narratives of the rape culture, because sexual assault is the primary thing people fear happening to an "unattended" child.

But there are children sexually abused in daycare, or by babysitters. Even when those babysitters are family members. There are children sexually abused by their own parents. It's simply not realistic, at all, to assume that Debra Harrell's daughter was in more danger because she was playing in a public park than if she'd been in the care of another adult.

And it's frankly not right to suggest that any parent is capable of making sure no harm comes to their child(ren), ever. Obviously there are parents who are truly neglectful, but this simply isn't one of those cases.

All reason gets tossed aside like rubbish in discussions of child safety, but the truth is that the best way to make kids genuinely unsafe is to make sure they can't trust adults if or when they are in actual danger.

If you teach children that other adults who think something is wrong are inclined to call the police, which results in your mom being arrested and losing her job while you're put in foster care, those kids are not going to seek help from other adults, if even they really need it.

So, you know, congratulations to the Concerned Citizens who cared so much for this child's welfare that they got her forcibly removed from her mother and undermined her ability to seek help when she actually needs it.

Open Wide...

Class Warfare

Is Not: Dirty socialists who advocate for the wealthiest nation in the history of the planet to provide to its every citizen access to basic human necessities including a livable wage.

Is: Reprehensible shitlords of undiluted privilege who feel oppressed by our resistance to their claimed right to bask forever unbothered in the shimmering, golden glow of their gloriously gilded bootstraps.

Open Wide...

Open Thread

image of an ocelot in close-up

Hosted by an ocelot.

Open Wide...

Open Thread

image of a vintage Nintendo console

Hosted by the Nintendo Family Computer.

This week's Open Threads have been brought to you by the letter N.

Open Wide...

Open Thread

image of three Newfoundland dogs: three big, hairy, adorable dogs, two of them black and one of them brown

Hosted by Newfoundlands.

Open Wide...

The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Pro-Choice Pub'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

Open Wide...

Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime



Men at Work: "Who Can It Be Now?"

This week's TMNS brought to you by saxophone of the 1980s.

Open Wide...

All the Blubs

[Content Note: Animal cruelty, but with a happy ending.]

This is a video of Noisette, a Boston terrier rescued from a breeding operation in Virginia, cuddling a human for the first time:


Video Description: A small black and white dog sniffs around a thin white young man who's lying on a hardwood floor, face down, his head resting on his crossed arms. He lies as still as possible while the dog approaches him. She walks to his side, then lies down beside him with her head on the small of his back, then gives a great sigh of contentment.
It's taking a little while, but Noisette is "gradually adjusting" to life outside of a filthy cage, says Anne Wuhrer, who recently took in this tiny creature, one of 132 dogs and four exotic birds removed from a Northern Virginia breeder's facilities in early July.

..."Often survivors of puppy mills are scared, a little feral in the sense that they hadn't been socialized," says Wuhrer, who helps run Dogs XL Rescue, a Baltimore-based big dogs group that helped with the bust.

Petite Noisette is an "honorary XL," Wuhrer explains -- one who until last week had "never been in a house, not housebroken. But Noisette is silly and wants to be loved. We are just working towards her trusting us and letting us touch her."

It's happening. [T]his video, taken about a week [after her rescue], shows what it's believed is Noisette's first ever snuggle with a person -- Wuhrer's husband Chris, who lay as still as he could for 20 minutes, until the pup was brave enough [to snuggle with him].
This is especially moving to me, because a lot of lying very still to convey that I could be trusted was something I had to do when we first adopted Dudley.

(I didn't know the first thing about rehabilitating a scared dog. I just did the only thing I could think of that might communicate to my dog that I was never going to hurt him.)

Good luck in your new life, Noisette. I wish you an infinitude of comforting snuggles.

Open Wide...

The Headless Fatty Trope, in One Image

by Shaker sweetbyrd

[Content Note: Fat hatred; dehumanization.]

"Headless Fatty" is a term coined by Dr. Charlotte Cooper in a piece entitled Headless Fatties. In that piece, she comments on what is communicated to society by the media's depiction of fat people (especially women) without heads. Cooper writes:

As Headless Fatties, the body becomes symbolic: we are there but we have no voice, not even a mouth in a head, no brain, no thoughts or opinions. Instead we are reduced and dehumanised as symbols of cultural fear: the body, the belly, the arse, food. There's a symbolism, too, in the way that the people in these photographs have been beheaded. It's as though we have been punished for existing, our right to speak has been removed by a prurient gaze, our headless images accompany articles that assume a world without people like us would be a better world altogether...

Headless Fatties are a version of fat people, a never-ending parade of us, taken from us and then sold back to us, hatefully and with ignorance. They reek of a surveillance culture with which fat people – whose bodies are policed by glares, and disapproving looks – are all too familiar.
Emphasis my own.

One needn't conduct a vast search to find an image of the Headless Fatty. Just look at just about any news article dealing with "the obesity epidemic," or any news article at all, really, that deals with fat people in any sense—and you'll see an image of the Headless Fatty. Stigmatizing images of fat people are virtually the only images of fat people available in the media. (pdf)

I have known all of this for a long time. But what has gotten me all riled up today is the below image:

image of a fat white woman walking while looking at a cell phone; her head and legs are cropped out of the image; beside her, walking in the opposite direction, is a thin woman, whose anonymity is pseudo-protected by photographing her from behind, as her entire head and the rest of her body to below the knees are visible in the image

What makes this image particularly special is the contrast in depiction between the thin woman and the fat woman. You see, the thin woman is depicted neutrally. Most importantly, she has a head. Symbolically, that makes her a whole person. She has agency. The fat woman, though she takes up more space in the photograph, does not have agency. She is dehumanized and lacking capacity—without brains or even a head to carry them in. She certainly has no voice. She is an effigy of hatred.

The contrast between the fat woman and the thin woman could not possibly be clearer, and neither could the message—that one body is more worthy, more human, and generally worth more than the other.

And as a fat person, this presents a whole bundle of issues for me to navigate. Among them is the impulse to act like being policed, judged, othered, and dehumanized in this manner doesn't hurt. But you know what? Fuck that shit. This hurts.

Every time I see a headless fatty, I get another burst of awareness about what society really thinks of me. It doesn't matter how strong, accomplished, happy, or successful I am. Society thinks it would be better off if I—all 300-ish pounds of me—weren't a part of it. That is some kind of eliminationist crap right there. And who wouldn't be hurt by hearing something like that? But more than hurt, I'm angry. People of every size deserve better than this rhetorical bullshit nightmare—and we aren't getting it.

Please note that the article this image accompanies is an article in the LA Times entitled: "When food's the reward, obese women's judgment fails them." [donotlink] I'm not going to comment on the article, as that is a different (though related) ball of wax. But please feel free, as Liss would say, to have at it in the comments!

Open Wide...

Back |