The Virtual Pub Is Open

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

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

And don't forget to tip your bartender!

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image of the singer Tina Turner with text reading: 'Tina Turner can tell you one thing we sure as heck don't need: Another #@!& hero. (For the record, we don't need to know the way home, either.)'

[Previous FYI: Rick Astley; Eddie Murphy; The Eurythmics; Eddie Rabbit; Sinéad O'Connor; Was (Not Was); Bon Jovi; Kenny Rogers; Bobby McFerrin; Starship; Dead or Alive; Right Said Fred; Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians; Salt n Pepa; Nelson; The Cure; The Soup Dragons; Europe/BushCo; Elton John; Eddie Money; Human League; Glenn Frey; Van Halen; Alanis Morissette; Depeche Mode; The Beatles; The Proclaimers; Bruce Springsteen; Meat Loaf; Cyndi Lauper; Cole Porter. Hint: They're better if you click 'em!]

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Texting! With Liss and Deeky!

Liss: I found your glove. [texts picture of manky, crusty, dirty camouflage glove that I saw lying next to my car in a random parking lot]

image of grody glove lying in parking lot

Deeks: Thanks. I've been looking all over for that!

Liss: You're welcome! I figured you'd want your best wanking glove back!

Deeks: LOLOLOL good call.

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The Cycle of Fauxgress

[Content Note: Misogyny, WWII Appropriation, Racism]

See Tony Jones blog. He is a professional Christian author, blogger, and social media consultant.

See Tony Jones ask why there aren't more women in his blog comments and social media communities. 

See Tony Jones tell a woman (who says that his usual methods of interaction with others online set off her abuse triggers as his behavior reminds her uncomfortably of abusive Christian men from her past) that her suggestions effectively compare him to Hitler and that there is no possible lower insult in society for a man than to be told that his behavior touches off a woman's abuse triggers:

Karla, remember that the next time someone tells you that you remind them of an abuser. For a man in today's society, that is akin to being compared to Hitler. There is no lower blow.
(I'm sure that this will be revisited again the next time someone tells Tony Jones that he has unexamined white privilege. The best thing about the No Lower Blow tactic is that no one ever holds you to the last time you said it!)

See Tony Jones invite Christian feminists to guest post on his blog, while explicitly warning them that the comment sections to their posts will not be moderated. See Tony Jones scoff at the suggestion that this could be seen as a means of using womens' work to drive pageviews over progress, and that this may be a less-than-stellar deal for any women who choose to accept.

Here is a pattern:

1. Ostensibly Progressive Blogger (often, but not limited to, white and male) notices (or has it brought to his attention) that his community is looking a little more homogenous than might be expected, were he actually fostering the community of inclusion and intersectionality that he likes to believe he embraces. Blogger publicly asks how he can Do Better and make his blog more welcoming for women, people of color, trans people, etc.

2. People in the targeted demographic who already follow (or are notified by other people who follow) the blogger tentatively point out why they are feeling unwelcome in the blogger's space. Frequently this comes down to the blogger's failure to check his privileges when writing, his failure to proactively include intersectional viewpoints in both his own writing and in guest/co-blogger posts, and/or the unsafe space of the unmoderated or poorly-moderated commenting section.

3. Ostensibly Progressive Blogger blows off the suggestions from the people in the targeted demographic. This can be done in a variety of ways: the blogger can state that the suggestions are invalid and/or would not work; the blogger can state that the suggestions are already applicable to everyone and should be more broadly applied to society at large (thereby deflecting discussion on the specific failings in his writing and in his community space); the blogger can insist that the suggestions are personal attacks.

4. Ostensibly Progressive Blogger will also attempt to silence his critics via various methods: asking or encouraging or simply silently condoning followers who pile criticism on the people responding to the solicitation with suggestions; allowing or encouraging the conversation to move away from genuine suggestions to blanket praise of the blogger; refusing to address personal attacks on the people offering suggestions or acknowledge that these attacks are part of the problem; choosing not to moderate the threads as a safe space and leaving up hateful and triggering material directed at the people giving the suggestions and/or against the whole targeted demographic.

5. Ostensibly Progressive Blogger ultimately changes not a damn thing. The blog stats receive the anticipated drama-spike, the ad money rolls, the blogger basks in the praise of the followers who were already comfortable in their space, and the people who were already in the "feeling kind of unsafe here" target audience can quietly slink away, more deeply hurt than before their suggestions and experiences were solicited, because now they've been told their suggestions for inclusion were actively harmful to others

This is not something that happens in a vacuum.

Nor is it limited to a specific subset of religious bloggers.

Nor is it necessarily limited to male bloggers.

Part of being an actual progressive means actually listening to marginalized people. Checking one's privilege doesn't begin and end at an abstract recognition that you have it, and then doing whatever the hell you felt like in the first place but this time with a satisfied sense of Allyship Achieved! for merely saying that privilege is something you have.

Really allyship, the kind that takes place daily, means continual reflection and self-examination. It means understanding why your priorities are what they are, and changing them to whatever they should be. It means listening to marginalized people when they have been hurt, and not asking them to feel bad for making you aware of your privilege. It means being able to take criticism on board without filtering their feelings through a validity prism, and without insisting loudly and longly that no really, I'm not like that.

And being an ally means that a solicitation for suggestions on how to improve shouldn't be a trap designed to harm the marginalized communities you claim to wish to reach.

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Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by wood.

Recommended Reading:

Trudy: Things I No Longer Want to Have to Do as an Atheist [Content Note: The post at this link includes discussion of many different manifestations of religious supremacy.]

Flavia: I Wish I Was Making This Up [Content Note: The post at this link includes discussion of hostility for intersectional feminism.]

Brentin: Good News in Mississippi: School-to-Prison Pipeline Closes [Content Note: The post at this link includes discussion of racism.]

Andrea: Transgender Studies Quarterly Plans to Kick Ass with the Help of Kickstarter–and You

Ana: Connecting the Dots of Reproductive Coercion

Brett: Patrick Stewart Gives Passionate, Must-See Q & A Answer on Domestic Violence

Renee: Star Trek Into Darkness and Khan [Content Note: The post at this link includes discussion of whitewashing and other problematic casting decisions in STID.]

Helen: Seattle's 1st Trans Pride

Frederick: RIP Alton Lemon

Leave your links and recommendations in comments...

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Forging Justice

by Cristy Cardinal. Cristy has over 15 years of experience in the field of ending gender-based violence, and she is currently the Director of Prevention Education at HAVEN, serving Oakland County, Michigan. Cristy came to this field through grassroots efforts, and her educational background is in English and Public Administration. She has worked in community as an organizer and educator, and she is passionate about leaving this world better than she found it. In addition to her work as a program director, she is also a writer for the blog UpRoot, a social media project of the HAVEN Prevention Education team. She shares her home and life with her wife, three children, an elderly dachshund, and a badass cat named Eartha Kitty. She's masculine_lady on Shakesville.

[Content Note: Violence.]

I am a prevention educator working to end gender-based violence. I often get asked why I do this work, as if this work isn't worthy of someone smart and capable, and there must be something wrong with me to choose it.

Here's my answer: I choose this work because feminism is the toolbox I use to practice the spirituality of social justice. I choose this work because this is one of the ways I can use my privilege as a white, educated, cisgender, middle class woman with integrity and compassion, but without condescension. I choose this work because I can, and I recognize my privilege in being able to do so.

In the last few years, I have championed engaging men as a means to prevent and end gender-based violence. I am not the first person to do this, but I brought these ideas into my community. We started a program working just with young men on their role in ending gender-based violence, and we started a community discussion group for men (though all are welcome) to address sexism and to further understanding of feminist principles of power and possibility. As part of these projects, we (by "we" I mean the prevention education team at HAVEN, a group of four people including me as the program director) developed a relationship with NOMAS, the National Organization for Men Against Sexism.

It was through that relationship that the idea for Forging Justice was created. NOMAS holds an annual conference, and every other year partners with a local group or organization to co-host the event and offer technical assistance to the represented communities to address gender-based violence. NOMAS is a group of feminists and pro-feminist men who have deep roots in the field of gender-based violence and prioritize working with women, including activists and feminist scholars.

Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities will be a three day (August 8, 9 and 10) conference in Detroit exploring gender-based violence through a social justice lens.

There will be a keynote address from Lauren Chief Elk (Chief Elk), of the Save Wįyąbi Project, who recently took world famous Feminist Eve Ensler to task publicly for furthering the marginalization of women of color, specifically North American Indigenous Women. Chief Elk will be sharing her experience, and offering insight into how we can center the lives of women of color in social justice work.

There will also be a plenary panel on recognizing how intersecting identities impact gender-based violence our response to it. The panel will be Jessica Luther, Emi Koyama, and two speakers to be named later. The third plenary panel will be on feminism and new media, and how we create the world we want through technology and media. Speakers on this panel will be Alexandria Goddard, crime blogger who made Steubenville more than a small town in Ohio; Ashon Crawley of the Crunk Feminist Collective, Heather Corinna, doyenne of the amazing sex ed site for teens Scarleteen, and the inimitable tour de force Melissa McEwan, founder and editor-in-chief of Shakesville.

There will be other great things as well, like the 38th Annual Men's Studies Association Meeting, spoken word performances, a workshop sponsored by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence on the connections between intimate partner violence and HIV infection and much more. We're also really excited to offer a dedicated space for Healing Justice, with yoga, meditation, art and other self-care workshops. We are committed to creating a space that is accessible, trans* inclusive, and strongly rooted in consent-based interaction.

This conference matters because for 40 years, we've focused a lot of energy in the movement to end gender-based violence on fortifying the criminal justice response to intimate partner violence and sexual assault. While that has worked in some regard, calling the police should not be our only option. We need to address toxic masculinity, institutionalized and systemic violence, and center the lived experiences of marginalized folks, especially women. Until we do that, all we're doing is putting on bandages. I choose, every day, to work to end gender-based violence. All in, for all women.

If you want to join us in Detroit, or just find out more information, you can do that here. You can also donate to the Forging Justice Scholarship Fund (making the conference financially accessible) by contacting me at prevention (at) haven-oakland (dot) org.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying on the sofa with her head on a pillow and her paw on her nose, looking ridiculously adorable and cuddly

Shakers, this dog is so cute I feel like my eyeballs might explode from joy when I look at her!

Behind her backside, you may notice, is a piece of folded mail. Generally, Iain and I don't keep our mail scattered on the couch. (Shocking, I know.) But one of Matilda's favorite things is grabbing a random piece of mail (always mail—never, say, a piece of scrap paper on which I've jotted notes and left on my desk) and walking around the house with it hanging out of her mouth. And as she drags it around, she makes this plaintive, whining mew that she never does any other time, like she's totally lost. "Mewwww?!" Over and over while she traipses about with the mail. And then eventually she'll get bored, or accomplish whatever her inscrutable mission was, and drop the mail wherever. LOL.

I've tried to record this on several occasions, but anytime she sees me watching her do it, she immediately drops the mail and hurtles herself toward me to head-butt me for attention. Call it the Tils Duality Theory.

So you just get a pic of the evidence, left behind Zelda's roundy bum.

* * *

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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In The News

[Content note: Racism, homophobia]


I downloaded this new app to cure my homosexuality. It's on my home screen right next to Manhunt.

Hanson has a new beer. It's called Mmmhops. Obviously.

Today in post-racial America. Also, I love Cheerios.

Want to see David Bowie perform "Fame" on Soul Train? Of course you do.

Dear Santa, please bring me an entire set of Crestwood House monster books, in mint condition, thank you.

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I Write Letters

[Content Note: Anti-choice terrorism; violence.]

Dear President Obama:

Today marks four years since Dr. George Tiller, a reproductive rights advocate and one of the precious few physicians in the country who performed lifesaving late-term abortions, was murdered at his church.

The day after his murder, I wrote you a letter, begging you to "stop relying on dangerously dishonest rhetoric about abortion, its supporters, and its opponents," and to stop drawing an equivalency between the pro-choice and "pro-life" positions, as if both sides have an equally valid point, and as if activists who defend reproductive rights and activists who seek to subvert them are somehow two sides of the same coin.

Since that time, the Republican Party has, on both the state and federal levels, endeavored to undermine access to abortion, to contraception, and even to woman-centered healthcare providers. A record number of anti-abortion restrictions are being enacted across the nation, at least one in every single state legislature over the past two years. More than half of the state legislatures have considered restrictions on private health insurance plans to disallow them from paying for abortions. At least one state legislator has suggested that women should have to bear the cost of a separate insurance policy in case of needing an abortion in the event of being raped.

All of this has been done under the auspices of "valuing life," despite the fact that forcing a person to carry to term an unwanted or unviable pregnancy against hir will is the opposite of a respect for life, if the definition of "life" is to have any meaning at all.

Last month, a man in my state was arrested after extensively vandalizing a Planned Parenthood facility because, in his words, "they 'kill' and 'murder' babies." This is only one recent example of the multiple anti-choice terrorist acts that have happened in this nation over the last year, and they didn't happen in a void. They happened in a political climate in which it is considered an acceptable position to value fetuses more highly than the people who carry them.

They happened in a country in which every state legislature, and the national Congress, are trying to find ways to limit access to abortion—and in which our ostensibly pro-choice president remains virtually silent on that matter. Except, of course, when you're bragging about ceding ground to anti-choicers to pass legislation, while insisting it's "not an abortion bill."

They happened in a country in which we are expected to trade everything away, including our civil liberties, in exchange for protection from the existential threat of nebulous foreign terrorists, but in which one of the most brazen, unapologetic terrorist campaigns in America, its co-ordination and orchestration frequently done right out in the open—at meetings, on websites, in email alerts—and potentially affecting the lives of more than half the population, is ignored by one party and mainstreamed as a central plank of its party platform by the other.

Mr. President, the vicious murder of Dr. Tiller was an act of terrorism committed by a terrorist. It should have been a wake-up call to this nation, and to you, to acknowledge the ugly reality that the anti-choice movement is a serious domestic threat.

Instead, the anti-choice movement has gained momentum with the unilateral support of the Republican Party, turning what was once a radical fringe movement into nothing less than state-sponsored terrorism, in defense of an inherently violent ideology.

And the terrorist who murdered Dr. Tiller continues his terrorism from prison.

In response to this onslaught of violently misogynist activity by people who seek to rob people with uteri of their agency, their bodily autonomy, their right of self-determination, their access to a legal medical procedure, their ability to do that most basic of life management in the modern world—control their reproduction—your party has been all but silent.

Mr. President, you have failed to call out anti-choice terrorism, failed to give an address centering reproductive rights even as record numbers of anti-choice legislation are being passed in state legislatures, failed to even say the word "abortion" during an address to Planned Parenthood, failed to give even a passing mention to reproductive rights in your "Women's Equality Day" proclamations, failed to give even a passing mention to reproductive rights in your "Women's History Month" proclamation, failed to acknowledge this war on agency in your State of the Union addresses, failed to prioritize science over religion, failed to prioritize healthcare over religion, and failed to be generally clueful on the issue of reproductive rights.

You are failing us.

Four years ago, I told you I was crying because I was sad and scared and angry. Today, sir, I cry because you have allowed Dr. Tiller's murder to happen in vain.

With colossal contempt,
Melissa McEwan

P.S. I will keep writing this letter every year, as long as I have to.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

OMC: "How Bizarre"

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Fatsronauts 101: Permission, Continued

[Content Note: Fat bias; body policing; privilege.]

Any time I write a new entry in the Fatsronauts series, the responses on Twitter and via email are interesting. Mostly, it's nice and complimentary stuff. Then there's the stuff like this:

screen cap of someone responding to a positive recommendation of my article with: 'Judging by the sky rocketing.obesity rates, there is little shaming going on. 2/3 of the pop is overweight'
Okay, player.

At which, you know, all one can do is laugh because wowee wow the amount of omglolwhut in so few words!

And then there's the stuff that is ostensibly encouraging, but is really the worst sort of condescending, policing bullshit. The stuff that goes like this: "Don't let anybody tell you that you can't love your body!" or "You love your body and no one can take that away from you!" or "If you feel good about yourself, that's all that matters!"

Now, coming from another fat person, that's solidarity. But, generally, this stuff comes from self-identified thin people who support fat advocacy. And so it's not solidarity. It's a pat on the head from a member of a privileged class.

I recognize, totally, that the people who say these things are absolutely trying to be supportive. But that doesn't feel supportive. What that feels like is an awkward expression of encouragement from someone who knows intellectually that I have every right to live fully and contentedly in this body but still has a visceral resistance to genuine fat acceptance.

What it feels like is a privileged person giving me permission to accept myself, even as they don't truly accept me.

I don't need permission from thin people to accept myself. And I sure as shit don't need sorta-allies expressing faux-enthusiasm for my self-acceptance because their lingering revulsion at fat bodies or secret suspicions I really am a lying pig or unshakable concern that they might be encouraging unhealthy habits prevents them from engaging with me in a way that doesn't position them as the benevolent arbiters of my right to love my body.

The thing is? How I feel about myself isn't actually all that matters. It also matters that how I feel about myself is worthy of comment by virtue of an entire culture built around the exhortation and expectation that I should hate myself.

I don't need gold stars and infantilizing cheers for my radical rejection of a cultural imperative that tells me and everyone else to hate my body. I need people with privilege to be as angry about the fact they're asked to hate my body as I am.

I need people with privilege to stop giving me permission to accept myself, and start giving themselves permission to accept me. Really accept me.

[Related Reading: Proposed.]

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And Now This

[Content Note: Sexual assault.]

So far this month: An Air Force sexual assault prevention chief was charged with a sexual assault; an Air Force brochure on sexual assault was found to engage in victim-blaming and advise potential victims to submit to attackers; the Air Force's top commander blamed "the hookup mentality" for the US military's pervasive rape problem; Fort Hood's sexual assault prevention chief was relieved of his duties pending an investigation for "abusive sexual contact, pandering, assault and maltreatment of subordinates"; the head of Fort Campbell's sexual assault response program was arrested after violating an order of protection; and a staff adviser "responsible for the health, welfare and discipline" of a company of 125 cadets at West Point allegedly videotaped female cadets in the shower without their consent.

And now there is a report that an investigation has been launched at the Naval Academy after allegations that three football players sexually assaulted a female student.

The players were not named, nor was it revealed when the investigation started.

"Naval Academy leadership is monitoring the progress of this investigation and evaluating the appropriate options for adjudication," Naval Academy spokesman Cmdr. John Schofield said. "It is completely inappropriate to make any other public comment on this investigation or any ongoing investigation as we risk compromising the military justice process."
Ha ha of course. We definitely wouldn't want to compromise the excellent military justice process that's been so terrific at addressing the military's endemic sexual assault problem!

Speaking of which: Yesterday, the AP published the story of former Marine Stacey Thompson, who was a 19-year-old lance corporal when "her sergeant laced her drinks with drugs, raped her in his barracks, and then dumped her onto a street outside a nightclub at 4 a.m." When Stacy reported the incident:
She said she discovered her perpetrator was allowed to leave the Marine Corps and she found herself, instead, at the center of a separate investigation for drug use stemming from that night. Six months later, she was kicked out with an other-than-honorable discharge — one step below honorable discharge — which means she lost her benefits.

...The investigator called her a liar, and military authorities checked her hands for needle pricks after accusing her of using drugs. She said she never used drugs. She was reassigned to another unit, removed from her job and told to report to an office, where she had nothing to do for months.

Then she was kicked out. She continues to suffer from her other-than-honorable discharge, which stripped her of her benefits and she believes has led to her missing out on Defense Department jobs.

"I felt the Marine Corps re-victimized me again after getting raped," said [Stacy].
Contrary to the Naval Academy's contention, silence around sexual assault is not actually conducive to rape prevention. Silence abets rapists. And leaving the military in its institutional silence to handle sexual assault cases has resulted in an estimated 26,000 sexual assaults of servicemembers last year, only 3,374 of which were reported, and only 238 of which resulted in convictions.

More silence is not the answer.

In other news, the Pentagon has launched an online chat room for survivors of sexual assault.

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Open Thread

Hosted by Pitfall!

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Doctor_Tinycat: "What is the latest hobby/interest you've picked up?"

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image of the singer Cole Porter with text reading: 'The Top 50 Things Mr. Cole Porter Totally Thinks You Are, You Lovely Thing You: 1. The top. 2. The Coliseum. 3. The Louvre Museum. 4. A melody from a symphony by Strauss. 5. A Bendel bonnet. 6. A Shakespeare sonnet. 7. Mickey Mouse. 8. The Nile. 9. The Tower of Pisa. 10. The smile on the Mona Lisa. 11. Mahatma Gandhi. 12. Napoleon Brandy. 13. The purple light of a summer night in Spain. 14. The National Gallery. 15. Garbo's salary. 16. Cellophane. 17. Sublime. 18. Turkey dinner. 19. The time of a Derby winner. 20. An arrow collar. 21. A Coolidge dollar. 22. The nimble tread of the feet of Fred Astaire. 23. An O'Neill drama. 24. Whistler's mama. 25. Camembert. 26. A rose. 27. Inferno's Dante. 28. The nose on the great Durante. 29. A dance in Bali. 30. A hot tamale. 31. An angel. 32. Divine. 33. A Boticelli. 34. Keats. 35. Shelley. 36. Ovaltine. 37. A boom. 38. The dam at Boulder. 39. The moon over Mae West's shoulder. 40. Definitely not the nominee of the GOP. 41. A Waldorf salad. 42. A Berlin ballad. 43. The boats that glide on the sleepy Zuider Zee. 44. An old Dutch master. 45. Lady Astor. 46. Broccoli. 47. Romance. 48. The steppes of Russia. 49. The pants on a Roxy usher. 50. The top.'

[Previous FYI: Rick Astley; Eddie Murphy; The Eurythmics; Eddie Rabbit; Sinéad O'Connor; Was (Not Was); Bon Jovi; Kenny Rogers; Bobby McFerrin; Starship; Dead or Alive; Right Said Fred; Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians; Salt n Pepa; Nelson; The Cure; The Soup Dragons; Europe/BushCo; Elton John; Eddie Money; Human League; Glenn Frey; Van Halen; Alanis Morissette; Depeche Mode; The Beatles; The Proclaimers; Bruce Springsteen; Meat Loaf; Cyndi Lauper. Hint: They're better if you click 'em!]

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Gender essentialism.]

"I'm so used to liberals telling conservatives that they're anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology—when you look at the natural world—the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it's not antithesis, or it's not competing, it's a complementary role."—Fox News Contributor and Tenured Professor of Gender Geniusology at Soundslegit University Erick Erickson, on the Pew Research report which found that women are the sole breadwinners in 40% of US households with children.

[See also.]

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Everything Happens in a Void!

[Content Note: Sexism.]

From Peggy Drexler's "When mom earns more, it's tough on dad" at CNN:

But the answer, of course, isn't for women to revert to their traditional roles of cooking, cleaning and tending to the children while the man of the house is off bringing home the bacon. As more and more women rise to powerful positions in the workplace, the incidence of female breadwinners will continue to grow.

Husbands of these wives who may be experiencing feelings of depression and low self-esteem would be wise to have an honest conversation with their spouse, and themselves, to find out what's really bothering them. Oftentimes, it may not be the fact that their spouse earns more, but that their spouse may have less time to spend at home, or may be neglecting other areas of the relationship.
Ha ha perfect. Often, what's causing female-partnered Western men to feel shitty when they're making less than a woman is not ancient, patriarchal, gender-essentialist narratives about men with which they've been socialized since birth and the unearned privilege that can engender feelings of deep insecurity at the merest hint of that privilege being threatened or eroded, but the possibility that their female partner is somehow failing them.


And yes, of course, sure, certainly, sometimes in relationships someone works so hard, by choice or necessity, that it can take a toll on the relationship. But let us not pretend that the primary source of all this male angst is neglect by female partners, especially when what is often called "neglect" is in reality "failing to come home from earning more money and act sufficiently submissive by performing traditionally female tasks in order to reassure a man earning less money that he is still the boss of you."

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In The News

[Content note: Racism, police brutality, terrorism, Nazis]

You wanna know what's up in my cubicle right now? This is up in my cubicle right now:

Miami police put a 14-year-old boy in a chokehold for giving officers "dehumanizing stares." WTF.


I guess we're going to need armed security guards to keep an eye on armed security guards.

Grumpy Cat has a movie deal. So there's that.

Joy Division's iconic Unknown Pleasures album cover has been 3D-printed. So there's that.

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All of This

[Content Note: Reproductive rights, violence]

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin president and CEO Teri Huyck, writing in yesterday's Capital Times (Madison):

Less than one week after being circulated for legislative sponsors, two bills, AB 216 and AB 217, seeking to limit women’s access to birth control and abortion had a hearing before the state Assembly Committee on Health. Five additional proposals seeking to limit women’s access to abortion are currently pending, on top of a state budget proposal that will end BadgerCare coverage for tens of thousands of women making over $11,490, drastically limiting their access to birth control and cancer screens. At the same time, the state trial began in Dane County Circuit Court against Ralph Lang, who has been charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide for allegedly intending to kill doctors who provide abortion services. At the core of all these actions is a drive to end women’s access to safe and legal reproductive health care regardless of the health implications and costs to taxpayers.

So yeah, in the state capitol legislators are debating whether to 'preserve freedom' from having to provide access to reproductive healthcare, while two blocks away an "activist" [sic] is going on trial for planning to assassinate healthcare providers at southern Wisconsin Planned Parenthood offices. Neat!

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Fatsronauts 101: Permission to Live

[Content Note: Fat hatred; eliminationism; weight loss talk.]

The "war on obesity" is eliminationist. That is not hyperbole: It only sounds like it is because its warriors aren't honest enough to call their crusade what it really is—a war on fat people.

Aside from the equally contemptible embedded fallacies arising from the false equivalence between "fat" and "unhealthy," the "war on obesity" is contingent on profoundly dishonest rhetoric which wrenches apart fat people from their actual bodies—"We're not waging a war on you, heavens no! We're just waging a war against your disgusting fat body!"

This is precisely the same sort of reprehensible semantic game that underwrites "love the sin; hate the sinner" needle-threading identity-policing. When you seek to wrench apart the components of people's whole selves and throw away pieces of their identities, or their very bodies, it's just eliminationist rhetoric dressed up as Concern.

And nothing exposes that more nakedly than the fact that there are plenty of fat people for whom not being fat would necessitate sacrificing one's health, or one's very life.

This war on fat people kills people. And when it isn't actively trying to literally eliminate us, it's discouraging us from participating in the world, from being visible, from living.

It's telling us we have to lose weight before we start dating, before we go sleeveless, before we take that dream vacation, before we ask for a promotion, before we buy a bike, before we get tattooed, before we sign up for dancing lessons, before we splurge on a beautiful dress, before we get the haircut we really want, before we go the doctor, before we go to the gym, before we set a wedding date, before we have kids, before we even think about doing anything wonderful that fat people don't deserve.

It's telling us to lose weight before pursuing our dreams. It's telling us to lose weight before wearing a bathing suit. It's telling us to lose weight before "knowing real love and real fear, walking naked in the winter snow and in the summer tide, playing like a child, thinking as a martyr, making love to a stranger, tasting sin and purity at the same moment in time, being as a lamb in a den of wolves." (Whut? I know.) It's telling us to lose weight before living the life we want to live.

Which is entirely in addition to the too-small seats, the too-low weight maximums, the higher costs for clothes and healthcare and travel and anything else the price of which can be hiked and justified by fat bias, the totally legal rules against hiring, serving, treating fat people, and all the other deterrents and disincentives against our participation in the world.

graphic of nondescript human form standing in front of a door labeled: 'Life: Enter Here' that has a 'No Fatties' sign hanging on it

The incessant drumbeat of messages that we aren't entitled to live a full life, that our fat denies us the all-access pass, creates in many fat people a shame so deep and intractable that we become unable to give ourselves permission to do any of the things that fat people aren't "supposed" to do.

I can't. I can't put myself out there. I can't wear a sleeveless shirt. I can't wear tight jeans. I can't cut my hair short. I can't try to be beautiful. I can't go on a beach holiday. I can't wear a bathing suit in public. I can't show my legs. I can't go to the gym. I can't have my picture taken. I can't go to a club to dance. I can't join the Peace Corps. I can't fall in love. I can't let myself be loved. I can't be happy. I can't live.

Not until I'm not fat anymore. And then I'll deserve it. All of it. Then I'll have permission from the galactic granter of access to life to do all the things I want to do.

That is bullshit.

It is dehumanizing bullshit. It is internalized eliminationist bullshit. It is harmful, hateful, despicable bullshit that exhorts us to remove ourselves from life as much as we can, so as not to sully it up with our imperfect aesthetics.

We are not obliged to delay life, to hide from life, to participate in life on some kind of reduced plan in accordance with arbitrary rules about what fat people are and are not "allowed" to do.

We don't need body policers' permission to live just as we are.

That said, I know what it's like to be in a space where it's nigh impossible to give yourself permission to life, just as you are. So, if you're still in that place where it helps to have someone else tell you what a lifetime of hatred makes it difficult for you to tell yourself: You have my permission to live your life just as you are. I give you the permission that our garbage fat-hating culture won't.

You have permission to live.

You do not have to wait until you lose weight to do anything that you want to do and can do right now. You have permission to live right now.

You have permission to be in the world, to participate, to take up the space that you need without apology. And you have permission to say FUCK YOU to anyone who disagrees.

We have a right to live as we are. Get out of the way, haters.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

a-ha: "The Sun Always Shines On T.V."

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie cat sitting in a basket of clean laundry
Clean Laundry: The bestest cat bed.

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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Surprise! US Tax Law Favors the Wealthy!

image of a fainting couch

I hope are poised over your fainting couches in preparation for this shocking news:
Wealthier households benefit significantly more than lower earners from big tax breaks such as deductions for mortgage interest and charitable giving, the government said in a study Wednesday.

More than half the benefits of 10 major tax breaks go to the one-fifth of U.S. households at the top of the income scale, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The top 1 percent of earners reaps 17 percent of these tax breaks, which also include preferential treatment of investment income and the deduction for sales and income taxes paid to state and local governments.
Bookmark this for the next time you hear some rich fuck with platinum bootstraps bellowing about how the government never gave him anything.

[H/T to Shaker GoldFishy.]

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Discussion Thread: Government Efficacy

How are you feeling about your government's ability to solve problems in a meaningful way for the people of your country right now? Are you hopeful? Are you cynical? Do you trust local government more than federal/state government? If you're feeling low on enthusiasm for governmental efficacy right now, are you irreparably jaded, or do you still have some optimism that, with the right people in leadership roles, government can make a positive difference in people's lives? Is there anything you think your government is doing especially well or especially poorly? What's the biggest barrier against government efficacy? Money in politics? Corporate influence? State religion? Election fraud?

All of these things, and/or whatever else you want to talk about regarding how hopeful or cynical you're feeling about your government right now.

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Obama to Nominate Republican Comey to Head FBI

I'm so glad we elected a Democrat, part wev:

President Obama plans to nominate James B. Comey, a former hedge fund executive who served as a senior Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, to replace Robert S. Mueller III as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to two people with knowledge of the selection.

By choosing Mr. Comey, a Republican, Mr. Obama made a strong statement about bipartisanship at a time when he faces renewed criticism from Republicans in Congress and has had difficulty winning confirmation of some important nominees. At the same time, Mr. Comey's role in one of the most dramatic episodes of the Bush administration — in which he refused to acquiesce to White House aides and reauthorize a program for eavesdropping without warrants when he was serving as acting attorney general — should make him an acceptable choice to Democrats.
Sure. Comey objected to exploiting then-Attorney General John Ashcroft while he was "feeble, barely articulate, and stressed" after surgery to get his sign-off on Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, and refused to sign off on it himself, but just because he looked like a hero compared to the rest of the dipshits and reprobates in the Bush administration doesn't actually make him one.

In another episode, Comey reportedly objected to the Bush administration's "overreaching legal reasoning" justifying "enhanced interrogation tactics" (torture), and "told colleagues at the department that they would all be 'ashamed' when the world eventually learned of it."

Bravo, etc. Except for the fact that he didn't make any public objections so that "the world" learned of it sooner rather than later.

While the Obama administration is under fire for the Justice Department's campaign against leaks to the news media and for its crackdown on whistleblowers, it seems a wee bit concerning, ahem, that Obama wants to appoint a guy to head the FBI who will raise objections in-house, but won't do anything ZANY like actually share with the US public when the administration for whom he's working is engaging in illiberal, harmful, dubiously legal bullshit.

I hope this is just a trial balloon, and that there is widespread rejection of a potential Comey nomination. He's not the right person for this job, for a lot of reasons, and picking a Republican because Republicans are petulant obstructionists who hold up nominations empowers and validates that garbage strategy. A Democratic President does not need to appear to agree that nominating a Democrat is, as Drum calls it, "an intolerable provocation."

As Drum further notes: "I sure hope this reporting is wrong. Nominating Comey because he thinks he's the best person for the job is one thing. But if Obama thinks that nominating Comey will be seen as some kind of bipartisan olive branch, he's [mistaken]." Correct. Because his objections to warrantless wiretapping and torture were enough to ensure he'd never get another job in a Republican administration—but his minor display of basic decency is enough to get him a job in a Democratic one. Apparently.

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Open Thread

Hosted by River Raid.

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Question of the Day

Inspired by a Twitter exchange between my friends Phil and Misty this morning: In your opinion, what word needs more everyday use just because it's fun to say?

Slobberchops! I have found the most conducive environment for the use of slobberchops is the dog park. Any dog who jumps on me and drools all over me gets called a slobberchops, which inevitably makes their person laugh.

Although slobberchops totally sounds like one of my made-up words, it's a real word that was in common usage in the Victorian age. True fact!

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image of the singer Cyndi Lauper labeled 'Cyndi Lauper's complete list of things a girl just wants to have: 1. Fun.'

[Previous FYI: Rick Astley; Eddie Murphy; The Eurythmics; Eddie Rabbit; Sinéad O'Connor; Was (Not Was); Bon Jovi; Kenny Rogers; Bobby McFerrin; Starship; Dead or Alive; Right Said Fred; Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians; Salt n Pepa; Nelson; The Cure; The Soup Dragons; Europe/BushCo; Elton John; Eddie Money; Human League; Glenn Frey; Van Halen; Alanis Morissette; Depeche Mode; The Beatles; The Proclaimers; Bruce Springsteen; Meat Loaf. Hint: They're better if you click 'em!]

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Hostility to consent; wedge politics; scapegoating.]

"I cannot convince my Republican colleagues that one of the best ways to eliminate abortions is to ensure access to contraception. ... What happened to the Republican Party that I joined? The party where conservative presidential candidate Barry Goldwater felt women should have the right to control their own destiny? ... What happened to the Republican Party that felt that the government has no business being in an exam room, standing between me and my patient? Where did the party go that felt some decisions in a woman's life should be made not by legislators and government, but rather by the women, her conscience, her doctor and her God?"—Republican Oklahoma State Representative Doug Cox, in an op-ed for the Oklahoman. [Please note that the op-ed uses appropriative language. Also: Not only women are in need of access to a full spectrum of reproductive healthcare.]

Aside from the fact that not everyone believes in god(s), and "a woman" and "her conscience" are not separate entities, Rep. Cox is making some good points here about how his party has turned into a bunch of anti-science, anti-healthcare, anti-woman, anti-anyone-with-a-uterus collection of facts-hostile, body-policing, god-bothering garbage nightmares!

But! Ha ha BUT! Come on, Representative Cox. You and I both know what happened to the Republican Party.

The Republican Establishment—the people who flatter themselves by claiming to be the intellectual wing of a party that depends on the exploitation of an intractable streak of anti-intellectualism among its key demographic, the people sophisticated enough to not personally be offended by LGBT folks and people of color and feminists, but unethical enough to exploit such bigotries nonetheless—have lost control of their base. After decades of fear-mongering, scapegoating, and wedge issue politicking, they're left with a seething conglomeration of intolerant bullies whose stubborn refusal to evolve ideologically is matched in astonishing obduracy only by their unjustifiable hatred.

And now many of the very architects of that carefully courted and cultivated hatred have the unmitigated temerity to express sadness and frustration at its expression! Snort.

The Tea Partiers get a lot of the blame, which is only partly right: Despite its bullshit origin story about grassroots activism, the Tea Party is a corporate-funded conservative creation explicitly designed to maximize political power by exploiting violent prejudice. The Tea Party wing of the Republican Party is just the latest, and most overtly branded, iteration of the ever-expanding Southern Strategy: For longer than I have been alive, the Republican Party has deliberately, cynically, and unapologetically fanned the flames of that hatred, which served as the fuel for the base's single-minded crusade to protect their privilege and thus the rationale for voting Republican—the party who promised to "protect tradition."

"Tradition" is the kind of word that appeals to people for whom the world is changing more rapidly than they can comfortably adjust, who are too busy to or socially discouraged from reading or thinking about things too much, who have heard some things about how feminists are responsible for the breakdown in the family and gays want to redefine marriage and immigrants are taking all the good jobs. "Tradition" is a word that plays well with people who can't be bothered to examine anything too closely, or were never taught how to properly think, how to analyze and assess information in a way that teases out the truth.

And it's an even better word for speaking to the unabashed bigots of the base, obliquely reassuring them that they're right to hate women and gays and brown people, those three separate monolithic groups of faceless enemies, and implicitly promising them they'll be protected from the onslaught of the radical hordes. America's great tradition of conferring undeserved privilege on you won't fail. Not on our watch.

That has been the sacred covenant between the Republican Party and its straight, white, patriarchal, Christian supremacist base for a generation: Vote for us, and we'll protect you.

And so they voted. And, in the process, they gave away their standard of living, their children's education, their jobs, their civil liberties, their national security, their environment, and their economy—all in exchange for the gossamer promise of a return to a time that never happened in a country that never really existed.

The Republican Party has traded again and again on the conjured idea of an American golden era, circa 1945 to 1960, after boys who were ripped from the arms of their virginal sweethearts and sent to another continent to fight a great war against tyranny and despair, had returned home as men, as heroes, and set to work, every last one of them, making babies with doting wives and grabbing the American Dream with both hands in the dawn of suburbia. Scientists in white lab coats and square, black-framed glasses toiled away to make American astronauts the first on the moon, and to fill all the pretty new homes behind perfect white picket fences with fancy, new-fangled household gadgets to make life easier and more fun. Teenagers hung out at sock hops and neon-lit diners, girls longing for lavaliers and boys wondering how to get laid. Elvis' pelvis was considered a scandal, and Marilyn Monroe a bombshell. Dad had a pension and the promise of a gold watch at the end of a long career with a single firm, and Mom had a Frigidaire. And everyone was happy.

Vote for us—and we'll give you that.

It's an empty promise built on an illusion, carefully constructed to conceal that America's so-called golden age was imperfect like any other, and perhaps even more so than most. Half a million of those boys who went off to war never came home—and some of them weren't boys at all, but men, who left wives and children with desperate struggles in the place where their husbands and fathers had been. Some who had come home were never the same, their bodies or minds damaged beyond real repair. Women who had been called to duty in factories or faraway lands were forcibly driven back into domesticity, segregation was a legal fact, every gay or bi woman and man had a closet of hir very own, mental illness was treated with lobotomies, McCarthy was on his Communist witch hunt, and we fought an all-but-forgotten war in Korea for three years and lost over 35,000 soldiers. There were back-alley abortions, and the KKK, and Elvis and Marilyn both died of drug overdoses.

The Republican promise has always had the very same flaw as their policies: It is contingent on pretending that the complexity and complications of human existence, and the flaws of humankind, don't exist.

The Republicans have held out this chimera to their base—this Leave It to Beaver bullshit—as if the typical family once was, and should be again, a model of white Christian perfection that never fought, never struggled, never suffered. And never had to be subjected to interactions with people of color, or LGBT folks, or any women besides Mom and maybe a nice lady to help sons take out books on the Boy Scouts from the local library. They have held it out as if it has actually been, and as if it could be again.

And they did so even knowing that the fantasy of this nonexistent perfect America is the very thing that created the beloved "traditions" of racism, sexism, and homophobia in the first place. It has been the dangling enticement of a happy family, supported by a single secure and well-paid job, in which no one is wracked with disillusionment, dispossession, or a lack of opportunity—an invitation to join for which most Americans are never given the chance to RSVP—which created the resentment and scapegoating that are the foundations of social conservative traditionalism.

"BOOTSTRAPS!" shouted the Republican Leadership, as they deregulated consumer protections and dismantled workers' rights. "BOOTSTRAPS!" shouted the GOP's Corporate Masters, as they relocated the bootstrap factory to China. The barrel-chested barons of a new Gilded Age stood astride the bodies of those who had been condemned to less fortunate fates, singing the praises of Social Darwinism and bellowing about the superfluity of a social safety net, declaring without a trace of irony, "The government never gave me anything!" as they deposited their million-dollar checks from their latest no-bid Defense Department contract then headed off to Tiffany's to get The Little Woman a bauble with their fat tax returns. "BOOTSTRAPS!"

And when working hard failed to deliver on its enticing promises, and the only thing the Invisible Hand gave its working class believers was the finger, the promise-makers deflected accountability to the targets of that attentively nurtured hate. If it weren't for progressives... If it weren't for feminists and gays and illegals... If it weren't for that dark-skinned president...

People who bought into the narratives of self-determination, of rugged individualism, of bootstraps, the uniquely American myths of achievement and goodness in Manifest Destiny and Social Darwinist and Prosperity Gospel morality tales, who believed that shit, were left with nothing but impotent anger—and, having been encouraged to make no social contract, to depend on no one but oneself, to hoard all the rewards of the success that bootstrapping was supposed to yield and share naught, they were then left with no one to blame but themselves when it all went wrong.

Which, obviously, wasn't going to do.

Fortunately, even though wealth and opportunity and security failed to trickle down, blame did not. And the promise-makers who quickly said, "Don't look at us!" were happy to provide to their disaffected base a road map to where their ire should be directed.

Now the Republicans are stuck with the result—their revolting (in every sense of the word) base, who still believe, and must, lest they face their complicity in having been left with naught but their biases, that the responsible party for their struggles, their disaffection, their undefined but keenly-felt fury, is those people, not the Grand Old Party who promised them something better in exchange for their votes.

The political leadership taught their base too well whom to blame for what ails them, and thus cannot now move them from their fixed gaze and finger-pointing, even as it isn't helping the party anymore—and stands likely to hurt the party for the foreseeable future. They sowed the seeds of prejudice for decades, and now they reap nothing but the only crop such seeds can yield.

It would be amusing, if only the rest of us weren't stuck with the result, too.

And even as the conservative elites whinge grimly about the rabble whose greatest fear is liberals overrunning the perfect, lily-white, patriarchal Christian nation that only exists in their fever-dreams and RAISING THEIR TAXES, they're trying to rehabilitate George W. Bush, the Platonic Ideal of the Modern Conservative, the Golden Boy of the current incarnation of the Republican Party—a corporate shill with the demeanor of a country bumpkin, who could hold together the unholy alliance between Big Money and Big Religion, standing at the altar and giving the blessing to the grim marriage between the gullible bigots who pledged to march in lockstep with anyone who promised to protect the children from illegals and feminazis and kissing boys, and the business interests who sought to get rich off those rubes before sending their jobs overseas.

Even as they lament the radicalization of their increasingly extreme base, they foment it at every opportunity. Because it's the only way they know how to win.

Which is still the Most Important Thing.

Despite their affected mystification, Republicans know exactly what happened to their party. And they're going to keep exploiting that extreme and volatile rage as long as they can, even though a principled party would denounce this three-ring circus of unfettered bigotry before it's too late. If it isn't already.

"What happened to my party?" wonder the vanishing moderates of the Republican Party, shaking their heads gravely and publicly wringing their hands, before shuffling off to wash them of any responsibility.

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Tom Hardy Was on Kayleigh Duff's Wish List

And so, with a little help from his fiancee and her best friend, he spent the day with her in London:

Young mum Kayleigh Duff [spent the day] with film star Tom Hardy during a break from her cancer treatment.

The 23-year-old spent yesterday in London with the film star, who appeared in Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, as part of a surprise organised by her friend Katie Birch.

Meeting him was one of the items on a wish list she drew up after being diagnosed with the same rare and aggressive form of cancer that killed her father when she was just eight.

...She appeared on ITV's This Morning after [another wish was fulfilled] and Tom Hardy's fiancee's sister saw the item and contacted the show.

Kayleigh, of Wye Green, Herne Bay, said: "I nearly died when I saw him. I was shaking - I just thought we were having a day out in London. Tom's fiancee Charlotte and Katie arranged it all without me knowing and he was so lovely and down to earth. We had lunch and tea and scones and he bought me a diamond necklace."
Kayleigh "is due to start a different combination of chemo drugs in a few weeks." I hope she has success with them. I know that's not likely, but I hope it nonetheless.

[Note: I am not implying that Tom Hardy is perfect! I am sure he has all kinds of human flaws, like unexamined privilege or forgetting to put his stinky socks in the hamper! I am just saying he did a pretty nice thing.]

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[Content Note: Rape culture.]

gif of Jeff Bridges as The Dude saying: 'What the fuck are you talking about?'

I've mentioned once or twice, ahem, that I love the film The Big Lebowski. One of the things about this film is that there are a lot of people who love it who want a sequel. I am not one of them. Thankfully, the Coen Brothers are in the no-sequel camp. At least for now. And I hope they stay there.

Anyway. They recently got asked again at the Cannes Film Festival whether they would do a sequel, and again shot down the idea, as well as a Jesus Quintana spin-off:
"John Turturro, who wants it, talks to us incessantly about doing a sequel about his (bowler) character Jesus," Ethan Coen said.

"He even has the story worked out, which he's pitched to us a few times, but I can't really remember it… No, I don't see it in our future."

Joel Coen was even firmer: "I don't think it's going to happen … I just don't like sequels."
This is also a relief, and not merely because The Big Lebowski doesn't need a spin-off any more than it needs a sequel. It's a relief because the one piece of biographical information offered about Jesus Quintana in the film is that he is "a pederast" who "did six months in Chino for exposing himself to an eight-year-old." He is a loathsome character, who threatens other characters with rape, and is considered a real piece of shit for it.

Why John Turturro would want to spin-off this jumpsuit-clad dirtbag into the star of a feature-length film is not even a question to which I want to hear the answer, frankly. I'm just glad the Coen Brothers don't share his enthusiasm for the idea.

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Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by the dulcet tones of Suzanne Vega.

Recommended Reading:

Anita: Damsel in Distress (Part 2) Tropes vs Women [Please note the content warning at link.]

Tigtog: More Silencing Tactics Aimed at Anita Sarkeesian and Tropes vs Women in Video Games [Content Note: The post at this link includes discussion of misogyny and harassment.]

crunktastic: Tyler Perry Hates Black Women: 5 Thoughts on The Haves and Have Nots [Content Note: The post at this link includes spoilers of Tyler Perry's newest show airing on OWN and discussion of racism, misogyny, homophobia, classism, abuse, and rape culture.]

Jess: How Not to Write about a Woman Astronaut [Content Note: The post at this link includes discussion of misogyny, including defining women by their reproduction.]

Seth: Federal Judge Rules Sheriff Arpaio Guilty of Racial Profiling [Content Note: The post at this link includes discussion of racism and harassment.]

BYP: Youth Homelessness Is on the Rise in Illinois

Steve: Recovering Pets in Oklahoma [Content Note: The post at this link includes discussion of pet loss and injury.]

Issa: Learning Just by Paying Attention

CeCe: A Lovely Summertime Plus-Size White Dress

Leave your links and recommendations in comments...

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

a-ha: "Take On Me"

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In The News

[Content note: Racism, misogyny]

Today's News Round-up Brought To You by Petfinder:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pleaded guilty to charges the company dumped hazardous waste in California. The company will pay $81 million, about what they make in a day.

A UK mosque invited the English Defence League to tea. Heh.

HBO's Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra was the highest rated movie for the network in ten years.

Today in Just Like Jesus Would Do.

Mulgrew Miller, a pianist renowned for his power and precision in straight-ahead settings, has died.

Larry King is back! "Super" — no one.

Indiana has failed to defund Planned Parenthood. That's good news.

TV News: Well, this looks terrible. (See also.)

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting at my feet looking at me, with Dudley the Greyhound lying on the floor in the background behind her
"On behalf of the Dog Union, I would like to request a 10% treat raise, effective immediately."

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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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tiny violin icon George Zimmerman's Defense Is Broke

George Zimmerman's defense team is out of cash:

George Zimmerman's defense team said on Wednesday that the defense is "out of money," less than two weeks before jury selection is set to begin in his murder trial.

The defense's trust account has less than $5,000, the Zimmerman lawyers said in a blog post, and more than $20,000 in liabilities. Zimmerman and his attorneys have been soliciting donations for his defense since early in the case, and based on their updates have raised — and apparently spent — about $400,000 already.

In their latest update Wednesday, the defense team set an ambitious goal: Another $120,000, the post says, would give Zimmerman "the defense he deserves," while $75,000 would be the "barest minimum" for a "fighting chance."
On the one hand, I'm all: LOL GOOD. On the other: A decent defense should not cost anyone half a million dollars. See also: We call this a justice system, but some people get the best defense their money (or the donated money of random racist fuckbrains who think those people are heroes) can buy, and some people get an overloaded and understaffed court-appointed attorney who does not have the same resources that a team of highly paid corporate attorneys does.

Anyway. Zimmerman could, of course, avoid paying another dime by pleading guilty.

Otherwise, I guess it's back to selling his autograph. Good luck!

[H/T to Jordan.]

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Whoops Your Infallibility!

[Content Note: Christian Supremacy.]

Last week, I shared that Pope Francis had reversed course on two millennia of Catholic doctrine and declared that atheists aren't axiomatically terrible garbage demons after all! But whooooooooooooops! It turns out we still are, and Vatican spokeslord the Rev. Thomas Rosica has issued some helpful explanatory text which explains that "all salvation comes from Christ, the Head, through the Church which is his body. Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her." That's obviously a perfect explanation in several ways.

There's a lot more, but the basic gist is that Catholics are still meant to believe that atheists will be consigned to eternal hellfire by a vengeful god. Along with everyone else who isn't Catholic. Wheeeeee!

"And everything felt right with the universe again."—Shakesville 5:29.

Btw, my favorite headline about this cool reversal goes to Cahir O'Doherty at Irish Central: "Vatican corrects infallible pope: atheists will still burn in hell." LOL!

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Rep. Michele Bachmann Won't Seek Reelection

OH NO! Ha ha just kidding. In a nearly 9-minute video, Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Eallyawful) announced that she will not be seeking reelection to Congress. We're all devastated, I'm sure. Who's gonna hide in the bushes and awkwardly kiss George W. Bush and say ALL THE TERRIBLE THINGS now?! (Prolly Darrell Issa.) Anyway, here is the video, which is obviously terrific.

Because of its length, this transcript took all fucking morning to do, and naturally I could not resist inserting some commentary along the way, which is in brackets. Enjoy!

* * *

Michele Bachmann, speaking directly into the camera in front of a library backdrop, while stirringly patriotic music plays in the background: My good friends: After a great deal of thought and deliberation, I have decided next year I will not seek a fifth Congressional term to represent the wonderful people of the 6th district of Minnesota. After serious consideration, I am confident that this is the right decision.

For some, a single two-year House term is enough service; for others, ten terms, or two decades in the House [MATH!], is still not enough service. Our Constitution allows for the decision of length of service in Congress to be determined by the Congresspeople themselves, or by the voters in the district. However, the law limits anyone from serving as President of the United States for more than eight years—and, in my opinion, well, eight years is also long enough for an individual to serve as a representative for a specific Congressional district. [HA HA SHE'S JUST LIKE A PRESIDENT, Y'ALL!]

Be assured, my decision was not in any way influenced by any concerns about my being reelected to Congress. [Of course not.] I've always in the past defeated candidates who are capable, qualified, and well-funded—and I have every confidence that, if I ran, I would again defeat the individual who I defeated last year, who has recently announced that he is once again running.

And rest assured, this decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff. [Heavens no.] It was clearly understood that compliance with all rules and regulations was an absolute necessity for my presidential campaign, and I have no reason to believe that that was not the case.

Last year, after I ran for president, I gave consideration to not running again for the House seat that I hold; however, given that we were only nine months away from the election, I felt that it might be difficult for another Republican candidate to get organized for what might have been a very challenging campaign—and I refuse to allow this decision to put this Republican seat in jeopardy, and so I ran. And I won. And I felt last year the Republicans had a significant opportunity to win both the Senate and the White House, and finally put our country back on the track of greatness and American exceptionalism.

That said, different from some, I've never considered holding public office to be an occupation. I've considered it to be both an honor and a privilege, but most importantly a significant responsibility. And even when it means resisting the policy positions of many in my own political party, I've always strived to be first and foremost a public servant, and do what is best for the people, and never acquiesce to being a political servant. There's a difference.

Feel confident, over the next eighteen months, I will continue to work one hundred hour weeks, and I will continue to do everything that I can to advance our conservative constitutional principles that have served as the bedrock for who we are as a nation. And I will continue to work vehemently and robustly to fight back against what most in the other party want to do to transform our country into becoming—which would be a nation that our founders would hardly even recognize today. ["What the devil is a mobile phone?"—George Washington. "Feel confident, over the next eighteen months, I will robustly try to rid this nation of everything the founders do not recognize!"—Michele Bachmann, via carrier pigeon.]

I proudly have and I promise you I will continue to fight to protect innocent human life, traditional marriage, family values, religious liberty, and academic excellence. ["I will continue to hate everyone who isn't like me, as well as science."]

Whether working in a bipartisan way to gain federal approval to finally build an immensely significant and long overdue bridge in our district, working to reopen a much-needed regional airport in the district, being the primary sponsor of the bill that recently passed in the House to repeal Obamacare, to recently flying to London to be one of three people to represent the United States of America at the funeral of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who, among her other accomplishments, together with Ronald Reagan, was responsible for bringing down the Soviet Union, to working to alleviate all the stifling economic restrictions that banks and businesses must now endure since the enactment of Dodd-Frank legislation. [That sentence went nowhere.]

I've called out the Muslim Jihad terrorists for who they are and for the evil that they perpetrate upon our people. [Ha ha BRAVE HERO!] And I've demanded that this administration never, under any circumstances, subordinates our national security for the administration's weak version of political correctness. I've identified at the outset of the so-called Arab Spring this administration's foreign policy blunders, and how those blunders have contributed into turning the Middle East into a devastating, evil, Jihadist earthquake. [Whut.]

I've pointed out this administration's despicable treatment toward our great friend and ally, Israel, and, at the same time, giving little more than lipservice to the ever-increasing and dangerous nuclear threat of Iran. Making publicly clear this administration's outrageous lack of action in Benghazi, Libya, and the subsequent political cover-up, which resulted in the deaths of four honorable, dedicated public servants. [That random sentence fragment just literally suggested the cover-up itself resulted in the deaths of four public servants, as opposed to the actions of terrorists. Cool claim!]

I've also called out this administration and the Treasury Department for allowing—and perhaps even for encouraging—partisan, selective enforcement against American citizens based upon their political beliefs that aren't in line with those of the administration.

I've also demanded consistently a balanced budget and fiscal responsibility—that this be a preeminent government requirement, so as to avoid the dangers of a future of financial calamity for our children, and the ultimate risk of the destruction of our entire economic system. May it never be.

My core of conviction on these principle issues, and more, will continue, in a steadfast manner during the remainder of my term and beyond. Because, you see, my decision to seek federal office, both in my initial running for the House and my decision to run for the presidency of the United States, was based solely on my heartfelt concern for our country's future.

Unfortunately, today I'm even more concerned about our country's future than I have ever been in the past. [Soooooooooo why not run again, then? Because only serving for eight years LIKE A PRESIDENT, which has nothing to do with how you'd totally lose nor possible impending ethics charges, is more important than your heartfelt concern for the future of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?!] On so many issues, we're clearly on the wrong track—but, looking forward, after the completion of my term, my future is full; it is limitless; and my passions for America will remain. And I want you to be assured that there is no future option or opportunity, be it directly in the political arena or otherwise, that I won't be giving serious consideration, if it can help save and protect our great nation for future generations.

I fully anticipate the mainstream liberal media to put a detrimental spin on my decision not to seek a fifth term, as since I was first elected to Congress many years ago, they always seem to attempt to find a dishonest way to disparage me. But I take being the focus of their attention and disparagement as a true compliment of my public service effectiveness. [HA HA PERFECT.]

To my many good friends and supporters, I will continue to fight for public policy that is first and foremost in the best interest of the citizens of the United States at large. [Like that regional airport? "THANKS!"—All citizens of the US, for sure.] To my detractors, my work continues for your best interests, as well. [HA HA NOPE!] I especially want to thank my wonderful husband Marcus, for thirty-five terrific years [is she quitting him, too?], our five children, our twenty-three foster children, my family, you, my loyal supporters, and all the people in the sixth Congressional district, for this unbelievable opportunity to serve all of you for these years. [JESUS FUCKING JONES WRAP IT UP ALREADY] And I want to thank god, for his blessings upon the United States of America. You see, it is god who has given me the strength, the conviction, and the personal fortitude to fight to enhance the safety, security, longevity, and well-being of our blessed nation, the United States of America.

I say to each one of you: God bless you, and god bless the United States of America. [Amen. What is the name of this country again?]

Open Wide...