Question of the Day

It's that time again: What would you like to see asked as a future Question of the Day? Either something that's never been asked, or something that I haven't asked for awhile and you really enjoyed the first time around.

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The Perfect Encapsulation of Impotent Rage

Earlier this month, I was watching Pretty in Pink, because it was on and I needed to look at James Spader's glorious 80s hair. Naturally, I was texting Deeky about it, because we were both awake and still breathing, and I told him: "I love when Duckie tries to beat up Blaine, then spins around and slams into a locker before tearing down the prom banner, lol. It's SO great. The most perfect expression of teenage angst ever."

So, naturally, Deeks made this for me:

[Video of Duckie running down the school hallway and tearing down the banner.]

To which I replied: "LOLOLOLOLOLOL! Amazing. You are the best. I am a LITTLE sad that it starts after his bouncing off the locker and spinning into the run, though. -1 angst. LOL."

So, naturally, Deeky made this for me:

[Video of Duckie bounding off the locker and then running down the hall.]


And then, naturally, Deeky made this for me:

[Ten-minute loop of Duckie's angst-run.]


Deeks: Did you watch the whole thing?

Liss: No, lol. Should I?

Deeks: The last 30 seconds at least.

Liss: [watches the end of the video to find it ends with a clip of James Spader saying, "Nice, huh?"] OMFG I JUST LAUGHED OUT LOUD SO HARD!!!

Deeks: That made it all worth it.

Liss: I watched the last two minutes, so I could really rev up for whatever was coming, and it was entirely worth it.


* * *

1. Obviously, this should join Kiefer Sutherland jumping into a Christmas tree as a frequently used expressive video at Shakesville. Basically what I'm saying is: Prepare to see a clip of Duckie running down the hall and tearing down the prom banner next time the President says "our wives and daughters." FOR EXAMPLE.

2. I never noticed until I watched this clip two million times that one of the prom king candidates on the sign is "Chris Christie." LOL!

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Photo of the Day

image of giraffes walking across a Botswanan savannah, with pink clouds in the distant sky
From the Telegraph's Pictures of the Day for 16 April 2014: The sun sets on the savannah after six days of constant rain, creating a radiant pink cloud above a small herd of giraffe in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. [Michael Poliza/Barcroft India]

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[Content Note: War on agency.]

US District Judge Daniel Hovland has ruled that "a North Dakota law banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy and before many women know they're pregnant" is "invalid and unconstitutional" and that it "cannot withstand a constitutional challenge."

North Dakota's heartbeat measure was among four anti-abortion bills that Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed into law last year with overwhelming support from the state's Republican-led Legislature. Backed by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, the state's only abortion clinic, the Red River Clinic in Fargo, filed a lawsuit against the heartbeat law last July.

"The United States Supreme Court has spoken and has unequivocally said no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at a point prior to viability," Hovland wrote in his ruling. "The controversy over a woman's right to choose to have an abortion will never end. The issue is undoubtedly one of the most divisive of social issues. The United States Supreme Court will eventually weigh in on this emotionally-fraught issue but, until that occurs, this Court is obligated to uphold existing Supreme Court precedent."

Nancy Northrup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights praised Hovland's ruling.

"The court was correct to call this law exactly what it is: a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all women," Northrup said in a statement. "But women should not be forced to go to court, year after year in state after state, to protect their constitutional rights. We hope today's decision, along with the long line of decisions striking down these attempts to choke off access to safe and legal abortion services in the U.S., sends a strong message to politicians across the country that our rights cannot be legislated away."
You know, the "controversy" over a person's right to choose to have an abortion could end, if only we could all agree that women and other people with the capacity for pregnancy are human beings with their own agency and a right to self-governance who deserve to be empowered with making decisions regarding their own lives and bodies.

I know that's not likely to happen anytime soon, but I am also unwilling to concede that the battle over choice is just some immutable force over which we have no control.

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CNN Is a Disgrace

[Content Note: Racism; othering.]

What in the everloving shit is this, CNN?

Over video of Price William, Duchess Kate, and Prince George deplaning, Jeanne Moos, a middle-aged white female CNN contributor says in voiceover: "These days, it's usually the photo of little Prince George that gets all the attention, but even the new royal baby, arriving on his first official trip abroad, couldn't compete with what we're calling—" cut to still image of Duchess Kate shaking hands with a Māori man who is sporting a tatua (which is essentially a woven belt generally attached to a thong) to reveal traditional tattoos down his buttocks and thighs, accompanied by a disembodied shriek "—the royal bummer!"

As a cropped version of the image zooms in for a close-up, Moos continues: "Though, technically, the only one bumming was the warrior with his decorated buns exposed. Is that any way to welcome a future king and queen?!"

Cut to video of a group of Māori people welcoming Prince William and Duchess Kate with a haka (dance accompanied by chanting). Moos continues: "You betcha! It was a traditional New Zealand welcome by Māori dancers."

Cut to Moos in a studio, speaking directly to the camera and leaning way in so her nose is practically pressed against the lens: "Forget merely rubbing shoulders with the royals!"

Cut to video of Prince William and Duchess Kate greeting dignitaries with a traditional Māori hongi, which is pressing one's nose and forehead against another person's nose and forehead. Moos continues: "First the Prince, and then the Duchess, rubbed noses—" insert audio of a disembodied chant "—in a traditional greeting—" insert cropped image of Duchess Kate touching noses with an older man "—with Māori elders."

More audio of shouts and chants accompanied by no images of the people making the sounds; instead, video of Prince William and Duchess Kate walking on a grassy field with the elders.

Cut to video of Prince William bending over to pick up a dart, while maintaining eye contact with a warrior in a tatua also picking up a spear; the shot is angled for maximum view of the bending warrior's exposed backside. Moos continues: "At one point, Prince William had to meet a challenge by picking up a dart while maintaining eye contact to prove that he was friend, not foe."

Cut to more video of the haka greeting line.

Cut to video of former First Lady Laura Bush being greeted by a Māori soldier in Afghanistan, followed by his unit welcoming her with a haka. "Reminds us of the time Laura Bush was greeted by a soldier in short-shorts—part of a New Zealand contingent in Afghanistan, slapping and thrusting." Cut to Laura Bush smiling and putting on her sunglasses. "It was a welcome we described at the time as a cross between a Chippendales lap dance and—" cut to image of a Māori soldier leaping with a spear, then split-screened with a large bird doing a mating dance "—the mating dance of the emu."

Cut to video of various video clips of former President George W. Bush making an ass out of himself with tribal dancers, including his infamous jackassery on Malaria Awareness Day with Senegalese performers from the West African Dance Company. "We tend to love when leaders go native—" Cut to video of Hillary Clinton dancing with a group of people, most of whom are black women. "—or at least let their hair down."

Cut to video of Prince William and Duchess Kate shaking hands with Māori men and women in a receiving line. "For once, the Duchess' designer red coat by Catherine Walker wasn't the only outfit attracting attention."

Cut to video of the warrior who performed the ceremonial challenge with Prince William standing up and spinning. "What does a Prince do after meeting a guy in a thong?" Cut to video of Prince William adjusting his necktie. "He straightens his tie!" [Note: Prince William was just literally brushing some detritus off his tie. He was not embarrassedly adjusting his tie at all.]

Cut back to Moos in the studio, speaking directly to the camera. "Britain's Daily Mail had the perfect caption for the 'Duchess meets nearly naked warrior' moment." Cut back to still shot of Duchess Kate smiling while meeting the tattooed Māori man. "EYES FRONT, KATE! In response to that cheeky behind!" One more disembodied shout as the camera zooms in on his ass. "Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York."
I don't even have words for this racist, dehumanizing, othering, reprehensible mess.

A petition was set up asking Moos to apologize, which quickly gathered 25,000 signatures. Moos responded to the petition with this "apology":
"Duly noted," she said. "I do humour and satire, and I am truly sorry if the tone of my story offended anyone."
Oh, I see. I didn't realize that this was supposed to funny. Well. That changes everything NOTHING.

[H/T to my friend Ben, who got it from Kerry-anne.]

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This F#@king Guy

[Content Note: Misogyny; choice policing; judgment; rape culture.]

In case you have ever inexplicably thought, "I'm not sure if I'm actually hating Dr. Drew, who is definitely the worst, at maximum intensity," let me direct you to Part One of the Teen Mom 2: Finale Special which aired last night on MTV.

After every season of the show finishes, Dr. Drew hosts the four teen moms (and their current and former partners, and/or parents) in a studio, where he looks at clips from the season and then makes jokes about their crying and then shames the fuck out of them while absolutely not listening to anything they're saying.

Further, he continually badgers the young mothers about how they don't understand how hard it is to be a dude, hectors them for being ungrateful, and frames abuse dynamics as "immaturity" while berating their failure to demonstrate sufficient appreciation for the people who abuse them.

He is aggressively unethical, smug, and cruel to young women who put their lives on display in the hope of educating other young women about their experiences and serving as self-aware cautionary tales.

And he ends the show by saying things like, "Pregnancy is absolutely preventable," despite the fact that rape and reproductive coercion are things that exist in the world, to which young women are particularly vulnerable.

I detest him with the red hot fiery passion of ten thousand suns.

Dr. Drew: You are the fucking worst.

[Note: There are valid criticisms to be made about the Teen Mom series, and its progenitor, 16 and Pregnant, but those are not on-topic for this thread.]

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound and Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt standing at the back porch door, asking to be let in
"It's raining! Lightly! And we've been out here for like 10 seconds!
OH THE HUMANITY! Please let us in!"

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

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by sauerkraut.

Recommended Reading:

Libby Anne: [Content Note: Sex abuse; purity culture; misogyny; Christian Supremacy. There is background for this post in today's In the News.] Michael Farris, Patriarchy, and Doug Phillips: An Expose

Arturo: [CN: Racism; police misconduct. There is background for this post in yesterday's In the News.] Will ESPN Tell Doug Glanville's Story?

Justice for Shanesha: "I Read All My Cards, Emails, and Letters."

Andy: [CN: Homophobia] Louisiana Votes to Keep Unconstitutional Law Criminalizing Sodomy

BYP: [CN: Racist eliminationism; racism apologia; disablism] Man Who Tried to Hire KKK to Kill Neighbor Gets Lenient Sentence

Trudy: [CN: Sexuality and feminist policing; white supremacy] On Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Asking: "Why Shouldn't Women Own Their Sexuality?"

Jamilah: The Maya Rudolph Show Already Looks Amazing

Filamena: Dangers Untold: A LARP for Girls and Others

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

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Aughra's Orrery: My New Tattoo

[Content Note: There is an image of a fresh tattoo with a little bit of visible blood on it below the fold.]

Welp, I wasn't going to post about this until it was all done, but then Spudsy went and posted Aughra as the host of today's Open Thread, and she is one of my favorite film characters of all time, so I couldn't resist!

Iain got me a tattoo for Christmas, but, over the holiday, my tattoo artist, Lui, was busily preparing to open his own new shop, so I had to wait awhile before I could finally get it. Last month, we finally got started.

I went in to see him about what I wanted, which was Aughra's orrery from The Dark Crystal. I watched that movie ON A LOOP when I was a kid (and I still watch it as an adult), and one of my favorite scenes has always been when Jen visits Aughra and sees her massive orrery, which represents "everything in the heavens. Moving as the heavens move. Suns, moons, stars—yes! The angle of eternity."

I was always fascinated with Aughra's orrery, because it's awesome. (As a kid I was fascinated with it because cooooooool, and as an adult I'm fascinated with it because cooooooool—and also because I'm so impressed with the design and production of it, especially for a kids' movie.) And I loved the idea of it as a tattoo, because it represents the Dark Crystal universe, the whole story of survival and community and reconciling the good and bad parts of self.

Anyway! So, even though Lui is a tremendously talented artist, I had no idea if Lui would even be able to create a piece inspired by Aughra's orrery, because I didn't have any great images of it. All I had for reference were basically some shitty screen caps of a YouTube video.

But, a few days after our consultation, he sent me this drawing:

ink drawing of the outline of an orrery inspired by the one in the film

I excitedly forwarded it to Deeky, who responded: "HOLY FUCKBALLZ!!!!!!!!!" Which was pretty much my reaction, too, lol.

I mean, that, right there, is why I go to Lui.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Aretha Franklin: "Rock Steady"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Disaster; death] Almost 300 people are still missing after a ferry carrying 459 people capsized off the shore of South Korea. "The ferry, carrying mainly school students, was travelling from the port of Incheon, in the north-west, to the southern resort island of Jeju. A major rescue effort is under way, involving dozens of ships and helicopters. Those brought to safety were taken to a nearby island. ...There are fears this could turn out to be South Korea's biggest maritime disaster for more than 20 years, says the BBC's Martin Patience in Seoul." So terribly sad. I haven't yet been able to locate any numbers or websites made available for inquiries about survivors, possibly because they've not been set up yet. Please feel welcome and encouraged to leave info in comments, as and when you see it.

[CN: Racism; Islamophobia; police misconduct] This is good news: "The New York Police Department has ended a program that sent plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop and spy on individuals, the New York Times reported Tuesday. The unit, known to many as the Demographics Unit, would track where people ate, prayed and shopped, according to the Times. The police mapped neighborhoods and kept detailed files on where people in traditional Islamic clothing went both in and out of the city."

BUT. As the ACLU points out, the Demographic Unit was not the only means by which the NYPD has engaged in unconstitutional surveillance of Muslims: "Before we celebrate the end of bias-based policing, we need to ensure that the other abusive tactics employed by the NYPD meet the same fate as the unit."

[CN: Fat bias] Another terrible blow for the people who love to shout "CALORIES IN CALORIES OUT!" at fat people: "For a long time scientists thought ghrelin levels fluctuated in response to nutrients that the ghrelin met in the stomach. So put in a big meal, ghrelin responds one way; put in a small snack and it responds another way. But that's not what Crum found in her milkshake study. If you believed you were drinking the indulgent shake, she says, your body responded as if you had consumed much more. ...[T]he usual metabolic model—calories in and calories out—might need some rethinking, because it doesn't account in any way for our beliefs about our food."

[CN: Guns] Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to take on the NRA. Good luck with all that. (Normally I'm not so defeatist, but I just don't think there's enough political will to take on the NRA, no matter how much money urges otherwise. I hope I'm wrong, though!)

[CN: Sexual violence; clergy abuse; descriptions of abuse at link] Doug Phillips, one of the most prominent leaders of the Quiverfull movement, has been sued by a woman whom he victimized for years. Anyone who is shocked by sex abuse inside a movement that reduces women to nothing but breeding machines for men is kidding themselves about how crucial bodily autonomy and sexual agency are as resistance to rape culture. I hope this brave survivor wins her case, and I wish her justice and peace.

Researchers are close to developing artificial blood: "The technique highlights the prospect of a limitless supply of manufactured type-O blood, free of disease and compatible with all patients." Whoa.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll has found that USians increasingly prefer Democrats to Republicans on healthcare. Welp, I guess that's just the kind of good fortune that ACTUALLY HAVING A PLAN buys ya!

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It Continues to Be a Real Mystery Why Republicans Aren't Connecting with a Majority of Female Voters

[Content Note: Misogyny; objectification. NB: Not only women can get pregnant and breastfeed.]

Republican Alaska state representative Shelley Hughes has apologized after sending out a press release promoting her resolution encouraging hospitals to promote breastfeeding under the subject line: "Smart and Sexy: Legislature Encourages Hospitals to Promote Breastfeeding."

"My intent was to draw attention to this incredibly important issue. Unfortunately, this is not the kind of attention I hoped to receive. I take full responsibility for the headline. I apologize for the poor choice of words, and am sorry if I offended anyone," she said in a statement.
The "poor choice of words." She's sorry "if" she offended anyone. Perfect.

Amanda Coyne, who first noted the press release, writes: "It's unclear if either of the two press secretaries, who are both men, wrote the release or if it came directly from Hughes's office. The press office wasn't available late Monday night, and nobody at Hughes's office answered the phone. It's also unclear for whom breastfeeding is supposed to be sexy: The baby? The mother? The viewer?"

So, basically, this is the Republican position on reproduction (which disappears people who aren't women from the reproductive process altogether): Women's bodies are nothing more than "hosts" to incubate babies, and the breasts they use to nourish babies are nothing more than titillating sex objects. Cool.

All of which is to say nothing of the fact that this legislation seems to imply that new mothers are selfish nincompoops who refuse to breastfeed (much like how abortion-seeking women are selfish nincompoops who refuse to take responsibility for their slutty ways), ignoring the structural barriers for many new mothers, like a lack of paid family leave from jobs that provide no meaningful accommodations for breastfeeding women.

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This is a real thing in the world.

[Content Note: Misogyny; rape culture; patriarchal tropes.]

This article (DoNotLink used) is a few days old, but I only just saw it this morning, care of Dan Solomon. Its actual, for real, not satirical headline is: "18 Things Females Seem to Not Understand (Because, Female Privilege)."


Right from the title, it's terrific. "Females," as if we are livestock, or wild animals being observed in our natural habits on a nature documentary.

And "female privilege," because sure. That definitely exists.

Which, of course, is not to say that no woman, anywhere, ever, has any privilege. Most of us have some situational and/or relative privilege. But that does not constitute something amounting to "female privilege."

Which is something that becomes pretty obvious when you read the author's list of 18 alleged examples of "female privilege" and find absolutely zero of them being evidence of anything but patriarchal tropes, misogyny, and a deflection of accountability for personal behavior.

I could spend the next ten years of my life writing a detailed rebuttal to every one of these 18 assertions, but, as it happens, I've spent the last ten years of my life writing this blog, which is pretty much a detailed rebuttal to every one of these 18 assertions. So I'll just quickly make three observations:

1. If you are a man who cannot approach a woman without being called "creepy" or engage in sexual activities without being accused of rape, the problem is you, not "female privilege." There are plenty of men who navigate relationships with women without getting called creepy or accused of rape. These men, however, respect women as their fully human equals; they don't write embarrassing pieces sneering about women "arrogantly believing that sexism only applies to women."

2. "Female privilege is not having to take your career seriously because you can depend on marrying someone who makes more money than you do." Congratulations. You are precisely as sophisticated in your thinking as Phyllis Schlafly, who is one of the most irrelevant, discredited, retrofuck commentators in modern culture.

3. As I've written many times before: It ain't women who are the primary gatekeepers of bullshit like King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond. It's other men. About the last place on earth you'll find active feminists is in the executive offices of mainstream studios. If you are a man who has a problem with how men are portrayed in pop culture, take it up with the men who shape it. This is but one example of the many places for which the pouting purveyors of "female privilege" fairytales should redirect their ire in the direction of the patriarchy.

Have at it in comments.

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Open Thread

Hosted by Aughra.

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Question of the Day

By popular request, again: What are you currently reading? Would you recommend it?

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Photo of the Day

image of a mama panda bear playing with her cub in a swing; they are looking at one another almost as though mama is telling baby a story
From the Telegraph's Pictures of the Day for 15 April 2014: Austrian wildlife photographer Josef Gelernter took this picture of a panda playing with her cub in a swing at Vienna Zoo, Austria. [Josef Gelernter / Caters News]

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This May Be the Best Thing You Read All Day

Ashol-Pan may be the only girl in Mongolia who hunts with a golden eagle. She is 13 years old, and she is amazing.

image of Ashol-Pan standing on top of a mountain, sending her eagle to the hunt

Photograph by Asher Svidensky. There are many more photos, and more of the story, at the link.

[H/T to Iain and Shaker Brunocerous.]

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Discussion Thread: Validation

What piece of validation do you find yourself needing to hear most often? Something you already know, intellectually, but, for whatever reason, need the reminder in the form of a compliment, a reassurance, someone else "giving you permission" to believe or do or feel.

It could be anything, from your appearance to your talents to your right to express anger. Maybe it's multiple things. Maybe it's only certain things in certain contexts.

Have at it.

[As always, please don't pass judgment on other people's comments. What might seem to you to be "superficial" or "unnecessary" or whatever may have a personal context for the person who needs to hear it that is well outside your personal experience. Also: We don't task individuals with solving systemic problems in this space, and insecurities born of a culture that does its damnedest to instill them is not a sign of weakness.]

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat stretched across my leg

Sophie, the wee dragon cat.

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Aretha Franklin: "Bridge Over Troubled Water"

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