Slàinte mhor a h-uile là a chi 's nach fhaic!

image of a teaspoon in a snow globe, with the words 'Happy Teaspoons to all...and to all a good fight.'

Well, I didn't quite want to end the year this abruptly, lol, but my laptop really didn't cooperate with my plan! The good news is that it's back in working order, and that I had backed up everything before the hard drive died, so I didn't lose anything major. Phew. Except Windows 7 haha. I'm now on Windows 8, and obviously I hate it because I am a human being and not a monster.

(Just kidding! I'm sure I will love it and also I am definitely a monster. Rrrowwwr.)

Anyway! Most of the contributors and mods are (or will be) traveling and holidaying over the next week and a half, so we're taking some time off to rest and renew, and we will return Monday, January 5, at which time we will resume your regularly scheduled abundance of feminist commentary, political snark, pop culture deconstruction, cute things, pretty pictures, and sundry shenanigans.

Thank you for another great year, Shakers.

And when we return, it will soon be time for another presidential election to begin in earnest. Are you so excited?! I BET YOU ARE SO EXCITED YOU CAN'T WAIT YOU ARE ALL HURRY UP AND GET HERE ELECTION AND PLEASE PLEASE MITT ROMNEY RUN AGAIN AND STAND IN FRONT OF ALL THE GIANT FLAGS!

Please indicate your excitement by checking this box: □

As they say, see you next year!

[My thanks to JupiterPluvius for the phrase used in the image.]

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Blog Note

Welp, my laptop just died. It started making a horrendous grinding sound, and then crashed, and won't restart, so I think the hard drive is fucked. The local repair shop opens at 10 CT, so I'll take it over then and hope they can sort it out quickly. In the meantime, I'm without a computer. I'll keep you posted.

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Open Thread

image of a Speak & Math electronic toy

Hosted by Speak & Math.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker lupinella12: "What 'out-dated' fashion choice will you always make?"

LOL all of them?

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Awwwwww lol

Let's all watch (or read the transcript of) this puppy dancing excitedly when zie spies hir owner arriving to pick hir up from doggy daycare:

Video Description: A small chocolate poodle stands on hir hind legs behind a short pet gate at a doggy daycare center. Zie looks at the glass door, where owners arrive to collect their pets, dancing excitedly, hopping from one leg to another, wiggling hir wee butt. When hir owner's legs come into view, zie hops straight up and down with uncontainable excitement. Hop hop hop hop hop hop hop! Dance! Wiggle wiggle! Hop hop hop! Dance!

[Via Stacey.]

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YES! A+ Casting!

The Good Wife is probably my favorite currently airing show on television. There isn't a weak spot among the entire cast: Everyone is brilliant. So it's really saying something when I say that Mike Colter, who plays Lemond Bishop, is a stand-out among the excellent cast. And now Marvel has cast him as the titular character in their Luke Cage series for Netflix:

Marvel and Netflix have cast "The Good Wife" star Mike Colter as comic book hero Luke Cage, Marvel announced Monday. Colter will make his debut in "Marvel's A.K.A. Jessica Jones" in 2015, before going on to headline his own Netflix series.

During the course of an investigation in New York City, private investigator Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) encounters the enigmatic Luke Cage — a man whose past has secrets that will dramatically alter Jessica in ways she could never have imagined.

"Mike embodies the strength, edge and depth of Luke Cage," said "Jessica Jones" showrunner Melissa Rosenberg. "We're excited to have him bring this iconic Marvel character to life."

"Fans have longed to see Luke Cage … and in Mike we've found the perfect actor," said Jeph Loeb, Marvel's Head of Television.
Yes, yes you have!

image of Mike Colter, a young, thin, black man with a shaved head and a van dyke


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Let's Be Radical

[Content Note: Misogyny; choice policing.]

Here is something I wrote once:

I respect women, and I love them. And when I take stock of all the issues disproportionately affecting women across the globe, what I see is lack of respect and love for women so pervasive and profound that to merely assert to love and respect women yet remains a radical act.

...I love women. I respect women. I trust women. Not as part of some abstract, theoretical feminism but as part of an applied, practical feminism that urges me to love by nonjudgment, respect by listening, trust by supporting individual choices.
Here is something else I wrote:
There is a difference between not hating women and thinking of them as likable. I have crossed that bridge. And once you are on the other side, you realize how cavernous the space between the shores really is.

Thinking of women as likeable in a misogynist culture is truly a radical act.
And here is one more thing:
Recognizing that people are different, that their circumstances and lived experiences and needs are different, is crucial to being expansively pro-choice.

So is understanding, and acknowledging, that many women don't have meaningful choices at all, sometimes in multiple areas of their lives.

Thus, here's the question I keep coming back to: How is it feminist to judge a woman's choices when she doesn't have any good ones?

Feminism that is not expansively pro-choice is neither relevant nor accessible for women with limited choices. And I don't know that there are any women who have the freedom to live undilutedly feminist lives, who never have to compromise on their ideals in order to survive or avoid harm. If a failure to perfectly exemplify and embody some very specific definition of privileged feminism at all times is a disqualifying act, then I imagine none of us are feminists.

...We are all, I imagine, keenly aware that there is a feminist yardstick against which women's choices are measured—a yardstick whose increments of acceptable choice vary depending upon in whose hands it's held.

The mainstream feminist movement is compromised by privilege—and unexamined privilege has created a space in which the pernicious culture of judgment can proliferate. Sometimes in the form of overt hostility, as in the case of trans*-exclusive radical feminists who actively seek to deny trans* women a seat at the table. And sometimes in the form of the simple but harmful failure to understand the diversity of demands on the lives of women.

Unexamined privilege makes it terrifically easy to elide that marginalized women are compelled to enact multiple levels of performance and conformance to attain access. For example, the obligation to "turn off" different and/or more parts of our- or themselves in the workplace, in order to be considered "professional," in ways that have nothing to do with basic vocational competency.

Did you make the wise feminist choice to be born with what Corporate America deems professional hair? Or do you need to make a choice to "do something" with your hair that someone else might deem an unfeminist choice?

...There are billions of women on the planet who live their lives making choices every day, and very few, if any, of us have lives so privileged that we can make them in a consequence-free vacuum where the only criteria can be whether they conform to a narrowly-defined version of feminism, the architects of which often casually ignore meaningful disparities in available options among women.

The truth we must recognize is that adherence to a privileged version of feminism is a luxury.

And putting women's choices up for debate ignores that truth.

...One of the most important things I have ever done for my own sense of value, one of the most profound kindnesses I have ever offered to myself, is to take a long look at the deeply unreasonable, inherently condemnatory, nakedly cruel, worth-subverting, oppression-entrenching, target-moving, can't-bloody-win culture of judgment in its impossibly merciless face and tell it to fuck off.

I am not pro-judgment. I am pro-choice.
Liking women, respecting women, trusting women to make the best choices for themselves is a radical act in a misogynist culture. Being comprehensively pro-choice instead of policing women's choices is a radical act in a culture in which we are exhorted to judge and condemn other women.

And, in a world that hates women and holds us in contempt, perhaps the most radical feminist/womanist act is creating space for women to love ourselves.

To hold ourselves in esteem.

Judgment and love are incompatible. Policing and esteem are incompatible.

It is eminently possible to critique the culture in which women's individual choices are made, and the cultural narratives that may affect our decision-making processes, without condemning those individual choices—or the women making them.

Let us be radical. Let us not treat as an aside whatever cultural imperatives inform and oblige women's choices. Let us center the realities of a misogynist culture. Let us center the idea that the way sexism visits privileged and marginalized women "is similar in its devastation but often unique in its practice." Let us replace the instinct to judge one another with the urge to understand one another.

The world looks very different once you replace "I don't think you should feel that way" with "I want to understand why you feel that way."

We will never change the world if we cannot even change the way we approach it.

[Originally posted December 10, 2013.]

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Torture.]

"Starting a criminal investigation is not about payback; it is about ensuring that this never happens again and regaining the moral credibility to rebuke torture by other governments. Because of the Senate's report, we now know the distance officials in the executive branch went to rationalize, and conceal, the crimes they wanted to commit. The question is whether the nation will stand by and allow the perpetrators of torture to have perpetual immunity for their actions."—The New York Times editors, in an editorial headlined, simply and bluntly, "Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses."

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat sitting on my lap and looking wide-eyed at something behind me

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 Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by frost.

Recommended Reading:

Prison Culture: [Content Note: Carcerality; violence; racism; misogynoir] 13 Things That We Re-Learned About the Prison Industrial Complex in 2014

Jim: [CN: Homophobia] Taiwan May Become the First Country in East Asia to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Keith: [CN: Racism] Aaron Sorkin Thinks There Are No Asian American Movie Stars (And Keith has a follow-up here.)

TLC: [CN: Transphobia; detention] 115+ LGBTQ, Immigration Organizations Ask President to Release Detained LGBTQ Immigrants

Anjali: [CN: Racism] "Are You Going to Give Him a White Name?"

Devon: Meet Chloe Kim: Snowboarding Prodigy

George: [CN: Prominent gif at link] This Was the Incredible View From Orion's Crew Module During Re-entry

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Sundays: "Wild Horses"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism] And again: "The Wisconsin National Guard began calling up members over the weekend to respond, if needed, to protests in Milwaukee related to the fatal shooting of Dontre Hamilton by a Milwaukee police officer. Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. made the request, which was approved by Gov. Scott Walker, Maj. Paul Rickert, the Guard's director of communications, said Sunday. ...Hamilton's death has prompted a series of protests in downtown Milwaukee. Demonstrators have called for Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm to issue charges against former officer Christopher Manney in the fatal shooting of Hamilton on April 30 in Red Arrow Park. During a confrontation at the park, Hamilton gained control of Manney's baton and struck the officer at least once before Manney fired, shooting Hamilton 14 times. A charging decisions seems to be drawing near, and Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said Saturday that he believed a decision would be made 'sometime in the next few days.'"

[CN: Misogyny] Damon Young, editor-in-chief of Very Smart Brothas, has written a very good piece about realizing he didn't trust his wife, or women generally, with feelings: "This conversation is how, after five months of marriage, eight months of being engaged, and another year of whatever the hell we were doing before we got engaged, I realized I don't trust my wife. When the concept of trust is brought up, it's usually framed in the context of actions; of what we think a person is capable of doing. If you trust someone, it means you trust them not to cheat. Or steal. Or lie. Or smother you in your sleep. By this measure, I definitely trust my wife. I trust the shit out of her. I also trust her opinions about important things. I trusted that she'd make a great wife, and a trust that she'll be a great mother. And I trust that her manicotti won't kill me. But you know what I don't really trust? What I've never actually trusted with any women I've been with? Her feelings." Emphasis original. And of course I note the bitter irony that many men will read this and be moved by it, despite the fact they haven't been moved by women saying it forever, because they don't trust us with our feelings.

[CN: Rape culture] Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston "was cleared by the university this weekend of any student code of conduct violations related to" allegations that he sexually assaulted a female classmate two years ago. Of course he was.

[CN: Transphobia, thoughts of self-harm] Flight Lieutenant Ayla Holdom, the RAF's only out transgender pilot, has spoken about her transition while serving in the British military, including the support she got from her fellow service member, Prince William: "Deciding to undergo transition meant explaining the decision to her RAF colleagues, including Prince William. The two served together on search and rescue when the Prince was a member of the small, tight-knit team of 20 at RAF Valley. She says that William showed support and understanding, and subsequently invited Holdom and Wren to his own wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011. It was one of Holdom's first public outings after undergoing surgery."

This is a pretty big story that will not get the coverage it deserves: "In a 37-day trial that ended in late November, [Starr International, a large stockholder in the American International Group] contended that the government's actions in the bailout [of AIG], including its refusal to put some terms of the rescue to a shareholder vote, were an improper taking of private property under the Fifth Amendment. ...Those backing the government are indignant over the case. A.I.G. shareholders did well in the bailout and should be grateful for it, they say. And all's well that ends well, right? A.I.G. repaid its $182 billion rescue loan in 2012; the government generated a profit of $22.7 billion on the deal. To me, however, the case's significance lies in the information it unearthed about what the government did in the bailout—details it worked hard to keep secret."

And finally! Here is a terrific story about a senior dog being rescued and finding a home with 96-year-old Kay Brown: "I put my hand out to pick him up and he came up to kiss me and that settled that. ...I love Nigel and he loves me." Blub.

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Discussion Thread: Holiday Dread

[Content Note for Christian Supremacy, privilege, and various dysfunctional family dynamics and abuse, covering the entirety of the thread.]

image of kyriarchetypical white family at Christmas
Does your family look like this? Mine, neither.

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Except for when it's not. And if you aren't happily preparing to celebrate the most perfect Christmas with your perfect family, it can feel pretty lonely—mostly because there aren't a whole lot of places where it's acceptable to talk about your holiday anxiety, or sadness, or contempt, without disguising it as some kind of joke. There aren't a whole lot of places where it's okay to have a grown-up conversation about how genuinely hard the holidays can be.

So, here's a thread to do that. Whether you're facing time with a dysfunctional family of origin, facing time alone you'd prefer to be sharing with someone else, exhausted even contemplating the travel ahead, sad because you can't afford a gift you'd really like to get your kid, pissed off because you don't celebrate Christmas and OMFG enough with the Christmas shit, dreading the comments about your body, your ideology, your choice of partner, dreading your dad's sexist jokes or your mom's racist jokes, dreading seeing that uncle who should be in jail, dreading having your parenting skills audited, dreading coming out which you are totally doing this year, or just generally fed up with the holidays, go for it.

(If you are having urgent thoughts of self-harm, do not leave a comment; please contact emergency services immediately.)

And if you are undilutedly joyful about the holiday season, can't wait to see your family, and are walking on a cloud of sparking white snowflakes, enjoy the absolute fuck out of it. That's not snark; I mean it. That is a rare and precious gift, worth lingering moments of conscious appreciation.

As always, please don't offer advice, unless it is explicitly solicited. Sometimes people just need to grouse, and need solidarity rather than the offer of solutions they may well have already tried.

[Image via.]

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Man Shoots Girlfriend, Then Kills Two NYPD Cops

[Content Note: Guns; violence; murder; self-harm; racism; misogyny.]

Saturday afternoon, a man named Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot his ex-girlfriend, Shaneka Thompson, in Baltimore, before driving to New York City, where he shot and killed two police officers sitting in their cruiser, Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. Brinsley then killed himself. Thompson, who Brinsley shot in the abdomen, is in serious condition but is expected to survive.

My sincerest condolences to the friends, family, and colleagues of Officers Lui and Ramos. I will be keeping Shaneka Thompson in my thoughts; I hope she has access to the resources she needs to recover from both the physical and psychological trauma of being shot.

Brinsley made statements on social media that he was intending to kill police officers, in retaliation for the murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

As a result, there has been an outpouring of anger directed at protestors and anyone who has shown support for them.

The Fraternal Order of Police in Baltimore released a statement that laid blame far and wide:

Once again, we need to be reminded that the men and women of law enforcement are absolutely the only entity standing between a civilized society and one of anarchy and chaos. In that position, we should be supported in our efforts, with continuous diligence, by a strong political leadership. Unfortunately, recently, that has not been the case. Politicians and community leaders from President Obama, to Attorney General Holder, New York Mayor de Blasio, and Al Sharpton have, as the result of their lack of proper guidance, created the atmosphere of unnecessary hostility and peril that police officers now find added to the ordinary danger of their profession. Sadly, the bloodshed will most likely continue until those in positions of power realize that the unequivocal support of law enforcement is required to preserve our nation.
Patrolman's Benevolent Association chief Pat Lynch held a press conference at which he said: "There's blood on many hands tonight. That blood on the hands starts at City Hall in the Office of the Mayor," and blamed "those that incited violence on the streets under the guise of protest that tried to tear down what NYPD officers did every day. We tried to warn it must not go on, it cannot be tolerated."

A memo purported to have been circulated by the PBA read: "The mayor's hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a 'wartime' police department. We will act accordingly."

To mischaracterize protests calling for accountability for police as inciting violence against police is deeply dishonest. And using Brinsley's actions as evidence of incitement is also dishonest, especially coming from people who, for months, have argued that the cops who killed Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, John Crawford, Jonathan Ferrell, Darrien Hunt, Tamir Rice, and others, each acted in a vacuum, just a few bad apples and not representative of cops as a whole, but Ismaaiyl Brinsley is wholly a product of protests that are three months old.

Further, to set the murders of these cops and #BlackLivesMatter in opposition to one another, one must disappear the attempted murder of Shaneka Thompson. This violent spree started with the attempted murder of Shaneka Thompson.

It is wholly indecent to write her out of the narrative of what happened because the attempt to kill her is inconvenient to the narrative that Ismaaiyl Brinsley is a black man representative of the entire black community who just wanted to kill cops.

The truth is, Brinsley looks a lot more like a number of other killers, who start their murderous sprees with domestic violence, murdering their exes, their girlfriends, their wives, and/or their mothers, before going on to create as much mayhem as possible.

See, for example, Adam Lanza.

As Jessica Luther noted: "Gendered violence often enough serves as precursor to other violence and then that woman (or women) is erased from the narrative."

Nothing—and I mean nothing—justifies or mitigates the killing of Officers Lui and Ramos. They were killed in cold blood by a violent asshole, and I grieve for their lives.

That grief isn't predicated on demonizing protestors and everyone who stands in solidarity with them.

Particularly since, when I look at the actions of Ismaaiyl Brinsley, what I see is a familiar story about a man who hurt a woman and then wanted to make the news, in the most spectacular way in which he could conceive.

A terrible, familiar story.

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Open Thread

image of a Speak & Spell electronic toy

Hosted by Speak & Spell.

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Open Thread

image of an ice cream sundae

Hosted by a sundae.

(See what I did there? You see what I did there.)

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Open Thread

Hosted by "Saturday Night" by the Bay City Rollers.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Shakesville Alehouse'
[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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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Police bruality; racism.]

"Clearly some were not telling the truth."—St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, admitting that some of the witnesses who appeared before the grand jury tasked with deciding whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson, who killed Michael Brown, lied during their testimony. McCulloch also noted that he would not be pursuing charges against any of the witnesses who lied under oath.

This would be bad enough, except that McCulloch says it doesn't matter, and he would have let them testify anyway:

In his first extensive interview since the grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, McCulloch said he had no regrets about letting grand jury members hear from non-credible witnesses.

"Early on I decided that anyone who claimed to have witnessed anything would be presented to the grand jury," McCulloch said. He added that he would've been criticized no matter his decision.
Which is basically his saying that he would have been criticized by people who don't actually care about the truth if all he did was put on the stand witnesses who failed utterly to support Wilson's bullshit version of events, because they aren't liars.

So, you know, extend a little compassion for the poor man who might have had to hear criticisms from white supremacists if he'd actually done his fucking job.

[H/T to Adam Serwer.]

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by foil.

Recommended Reading:

Elena, Neha, and Jean: [Content Note: Misogyny; harassment] MIT Computer Scientists' Reddit AMA Proves the Point about Gender in STEM

Scott: [CN: Rape culture; harassment; intimidation] Amazon Publishes Thinly Veiled Rape Fantasy of GamerGate Target Zoe Quinn

Ragen: [CN: Fat hatred; disablism] Is "Obesity" a Disability?

Anne: [CN: White supremacy] Leigh Anne Tuohy Update: One of the Teens Responds

Sikivu: [CN: Racism; classism; scapegoating] White Wealth & the Cult of White Victimhood

Matthew: A Dress for the Queen of Neuroscience

Jim: [CN: Homophobia] Indiana Methodist Church to Close after Firing Gay Choral Director

Mustang Bobby: He Will Find a Way

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

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