What is the last subject that drove you into full-blown rant mode?
Doesn't have to be a serious subject. Sometimes it's the little things—LIKE THE GRODY CENTIPEDES IN THE GARAGE WHO REFUSE TO VACATE THE PREMISES DON'T GET ME STARTED!—that evoke the most passionate diatribes.
[Originally run August 07, 2012.]
What is the last subject that drove you into full-blown rant mode?
March 8 is International Women's Day, which fell on the weekend this year. The 2014 theme is "Equality for Women is Progress for All." I write about equality for women every day, so I don't feel like I have Something Special to say to mark International Women's Day, although I do want to note that I prefer to say "Equality for All Women is Progress for All."
That might seem like a distinction without a difference, but crucial to the pursuit of meaningful equality is recognizing the women that tend to get left out of many casual uses of the word "women," depending on who's using it. Trans* and intersex women are women. Gay, bi, and asexual women are women. Women of color are women. Fat women are women. Women with disabilities are women. Poor women are women. Women without children are women. All self-identified women are women.
And it is only equality for all of those women, firstly with one another, that means progress for all people.
Once again, I am going to mark International Women's Day with something that is central to all progress for women, and that is a challenge to us all to love, respect, and trust women.
Last year on IWD, I wrote:
Today is a day when I am angry, but, also like all other days, it is a day on which I am happy to be a woman among women.To love and respect women yet remains a radical act. And so does trusting women to make the best choices for themselves, to believe that women are their own captains who do not need to have their choices legislated nor coerced through public judgment.
I do not long to be the Exceptional Woman. When I find myself in a space in which I am the only woman, I do not feel satisfied, nor do I feel insecure: I feel contemptuous that there aren't more women there. I do not want to compete with other women in a way that suggests there is only room for one of us. I want to lift up other women, and be lifted up by them, and blaze trails in the hopes that many more will follow behind.
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 in some distant way that treats these phrases as self-evident observations with which any decent person would agree, but as an intimate call to action rooted in the recognition that if everyone really did agree with those observations, we wouldn't need an International Women's Day.
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.
I love women. I respect women. I trust women. Including myself. And I ask that the people around me love, respect, and trust me, too.
I love women. I respect women. I trust women. And I am angry that these remain radical practices. But it is at the intersection of my anger at the mistreatment of women and my love, respect, and trust for them that I find my motivation every day.
On this day and every day, let us all be radical.
[Content Note: Fat hatred; weight loss talk.]
This Facebook message, penned to "the fatty running on the [redacted] track this afternoon," is described by Kayleigh Dray as "seriously inspirational," without a trace of irony:
Only in a world where rank fat hatred is routinely masked as compassion could this shit be described as "seriously inspirational," and could its author claim without being laughed off the planet that there is "no condescension" in hir gaze.
A gaze that looks at a fat person and presumes to know what made that person fat; what motivates that fat person has for exercising; what that fat person would do if only "there were bleachers on both sides"; what that fat person must be thinking and feeling; a gaze that includes seeing a body with an "ever-shrinking mass" of fat "begging to be shaken off." The gaze of a person who believes that a fat person will definitely give the tiniest infinitesimal shit that zie thinks "you fucking rock."
You know, a lot of fat people are already quite certain that we rock, in whatever we're doing, without a thin person having to give us their stamp of approval.
I wouldn't presume, unlike the author of this "seriously inspirational" piece of shit post, what the fat person running around the track feels about this message. I will, however, say that if this message had been written about me, the only thing it would inspire in me is a cringing aversion to ever running at that publicly identified track again, knowing there is some asshole staring at me and judging me and measuring the amount of sweat on my body and thinking my public exercise regimen was theirs to use in some grotesque broadcast of how super awesome and magnanimous they are to the
Thin people, we are not yours to use as inspiration. And our lived experiences are not yours to appropriate. You are not welcome to pass judgment, negative or positive, on us. You don't know our stories by looking at us.
I don't know a single thing about the fat person running on the track from that Facebook entry. I do, however, know an awful lot about the asshole who wrote it.
[H/T to Marilyn Wann.]
UPDATE: Via Ridley, here is the self-identified runner's response: "To the Man Who Judged Me on the Westview Track."
[Content Note: Violence. Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein.]
Welp, in case you hadn't gotten the message from eleventy million previous episodes tritely exploring the need for human connection and the psychological and physical safety in numbers, this episode with the totally trenchant title "Alone" hammers home the message of community with all the subtlety of Maggie bashing zombie skulls with a road sign wielded like a dwarven axe.
It was another Grimes-free episode, where we spend our time divided between Team Daryl-Blonde Girl and Team Sasha-Maggie-Bob, which opened with a flashback to Daryl and Glenn finding Bob, all alone (ALONE!) on the road after spending the night on top of a semi trailer, which makes one wonder why the fuck everyone isn't surviving the zombiepocalypse by living on top of abandoned semi trailers.
I mean, why not? As far as I can tell, it never even rains in Georgia. "I don't even know what a rainy night is."—Zombie Eddie Rabbit.
Daryl and Glenn invite Bob to join Grimes Gang, and Bob tells them it doesn't matter what kind of people they are, so long as he's not alone (ALONE!), which is a terrific reversal of EVERYTHING ELSE THIS SHOW HAS BEEN ABOUT SO FAR, where it matters a fuckload what kind of people your community decides to be.
Anyway. We pick up with Daryl teaching BG how to track and use the crossbow, and BG jokes that she's learning so quickly that soon she won't even need him anymore, right before she steps into an animal trap, Daryl has to save her life, and then he has to carry her by piggyback. Ha ha whooooops! Thank the fates there's always a man to step in and rescue a girl gettin' uppity about her competence! Good thing BG isn't alone! (ALONE!)
Meanwhile, Sasha, Maggie, and Bob are stuck in the middle of a thick fog with zero zombie visibility. Fight fight fight fog fog fog. They're just walking in circles looking for Glenn, who Sasha says is probably dead. Maggie sneaks away alone (ALONE!) in the middle of the night and leaves a note in the sand: "Don't Risk Your Lives 4 Me. Good luck. #YOLO."
Despite Sasha's protests, Bob insists on trying to catch Maggie, so she won't be alone. (ALONE!) He was left alone (ALONE!) twice, after being the lone survivor of two different communities, and it stinks. THIRD TIME'S A CHARM!
Daryl and BG find a funeral home whose currently AWOL occupant has been keeping nice and clean, while dressing up zombie corpses for funerals. Neat pastime! Daryl thinks it's stupid, but BG is perennially sunny and chirps about how "beautiful" it is. No, it is not beautiful. It is stupid and this show is stupid.
Daryl and BG help themselves to some undusty food in the undusty pantry, and BG decides to write a thank-you note. OH JESUS JONES. Daryl suggests maybe they could just stay there and make it work with the tidy mortician, and BG blinks at him wide-eyed and says, approximately, "Garsh, Daryl! See, I told you there's still good people in this world! But what caused YOU to have this
Meanwhile, following the train tracks alone (ALONE!), Maggie uses zombie blood from a fresh kill to leave a note for Glenn telling him she's heading to the sanctuary being advertised along the tracks. In hot pursuit, Bob and Sasha have a cool conversation about why Bob is smiling. He tells her he's smiling because he's not alone (ALONE!) and I wish I were making that up.
Back in Sunshinebarfville, where Daryl now apparently has a crush on the living embodiment of the moral of a Strawberry Shortcake cartoon, something something dog at the door, followed by something something zombies at the door OH NOES BETTER GET OUTTA THERE! Fight fight fight run run run. Daryl makes his way outside just in time to see that BG has been kidnapped by someone in a car. He chases the car down the road until sunrise (or possibly a month later?), and then collapses at a literal crossroads. SYMBOLISM. All alone. (ALONE!)
Following the tracks and trying to find Maggie, Bob and Sasha have more superb and definitely realistic conversation about the importance of not being alone. (ALONE!) Bob accuses Sasha of being scared because she wants to stop walking and build a new camp. Bob says he's going after Maggie because she's all alone (ALONE!), but apparently doesn't have a problem with leaving Sasha all alone (ALONE!), even though, as Sasha points out, Maggie made her choice to go it alone (ALONE!) to look for Glenn.
Bob tries to convince Sasha to come with him by kissing her, but she's all, "Nah. Seeya." So Bob heads off after Maggie alone (ALONE!), while Sasha checks in at an abandoned building alone (ALONE!), where she immediately spots Maggie all alone (ALONE!) out a window, then accidentally knocks out the window, making a huge racket, obliging her to run down to the street and help fight off the descending zombies. More great conversation, and it turns out Sasha really is afraid after all. When will women learn to listen to men when they tell us our feelings?!
Anyway. In the end, Bob reconnects with Maggie and Sasha, and they are all happy they are not alone (ALONE!), while Daryl is sad because he is alone (ALONE!), but he's not alone (ALONE!) for long, because he is surrounded by the dirtbags whom Grimes narrowly escaped a few weeks ago.
Also: Glenn is headed to Terminus along with basically everyone else, because of course he is.
Sweet little sleepy dumpling.
As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.
This blogaround brought to you by wood.
Rachele: [Content Note: Fat bias; diet talk; hostility to consent] Someone on Facebook Stole a Photo of Me in a Bikini to Sell a Diet Program
BYP: [CN: Sexual violence; police malfeasance] Detroit Officer Responding to Domestic Violence Call Charged with Raping Victim
Danielle: [CN: Misogyny; victim-blaming] FYI, I Cannot "Demand" Respect From Men So Stop Telling Me That!
Jess: [CN: Rape culture] Darren Sharper and Denying Systemic Problems
Adrienne: [CN: Appropriation; racism; racist imagery] Dear Christina Fallin
Trudy: [CN: Racism; appropriation; silencing] On #TheySayTheyreMyAllyBut
Copy Curmudgeon: [CN: Misogyny] Sexist Language? See Something, Say Something
Von: [Video] Watch the Trailer for the Annie Remake Starring Quvenzhané Wallis
Leave your links and recommendations in comments...
The Theme from Battle of the Planets
[Content Note: Misogyny, Patriarchal Relationships, Disability]
You know what is not fun? I am still stuck in bed for pretty much all the times I'm not at work, because my back hates me! This is me giving a seriously negative look at my back! (ಠ_ಠ)
But the happy part is that being trapped in bed means I get to watch more Friends and now I have another disc analyzed thanks to the magic of typing! And positive thinking! ✽ ✾ ✿ ❀ ❁ ❃ ❋
An Annotated Index of Ross Geller: Disc 2
Episode 107: The One With The Blackout
Synopsis: A blackout over all of Manhattan results in wacky hijinks; Ross makes a belated move on Rachel but is interrupted by a cat which turns out to have an attractive Italian man (Paolo) as its guardian.
Analysis: This is the infamous "friend zone" episode (which I've covered in part in the mega-post). The Friends pass the time by playing the "weirdest place you've ever done it" game, and Rachel confesses to Ross that she's never had a deeply passionate sexual relationship--the weirdest place she's ever done it was "the foot of the bed". This doesn't really fit super well with Rachel's characterization throughout the series and backstory so far. It will be mentioned in just a couple episodes (Episode 117) that she had sex on her parents' bed with a boy whose father was a major financial rival to the family--that sounds somewhat more passionate than "the foot of the bed" with (we presume) Barry. Also, in the pilot (Episode 101), we had this exchange:
Monica: So how you doing today? Did you sleep okay? Talk to Barry? I can't stop smiling.
Rachel: I can see that. You look like you slept with a hanger in your mouth.
Monica: I know, he's just so, so... Do you remember you and Tony DeMarco?
Rachel: Oh, yeah.
Monica: Well, it's like that. With feelings.
Rachel: Oh wow. Are you in trouble.
So if none of this fits with Rachel's characterization and backstory, I feel entitled to ask why it is here. For one, obviously, this is a setup to her falling for Paolo and dragging out the Ross Nice Guy / Will They Won't They storyline. But I also have a sneaking suspicion that this is here so that Ross can continue to be superior to Rachel.
We learned a few episodes back that Ross was a virgin until he slept with Carol, and we the viewers may choose to assume that he's only ever been with her. Whereas we already know about a couple guys in Rachel's past (Barry and Tony DeMarco) and will learn about a third one (Billy Dreskin) in a few episodes. None of this definitely adds up to Rachel being more sexually experienced than Ross, but it's interesting to me that here we have Rachel turning to Ross (of all the Friends on offer!) for advice on whether there is the possibility for passion in her future. And Ross typically lectures her on how the thing she wants isn't that important ("Passion is way overrated.") before then turning cryptic and promising her the thing she wants ("See, I see.... big passion in your future.") with the subtext that she'll get that if she does things his way.
Anyway. Joey lectures Ross that he's "in the friend zone" and that he needs to go make his move on Rachel now. And so of course Ross has to do a big buildup ("OK, I have a question. Well, actually, it's not so much a question as.. more of a general wondering... ment.") instead of just saying, "Would you like to go out on a date with me this Saturday?" or whatever. And it feels like he can't straight-up say that and instead must do this circuitous confessional not merely because he's afraid of hearing No, but maybe also because he thinks he needs to do a confessional infodump of all his many feels for Rachel right there. And no doubt scare the poor woman to death.
Which sort of brings us back to the problem that Ross has spent so long building up this crush he has on the idea of Rachel (or, and here I quote LucyChi, his Rachel Goal), that he is officially in the Creepy Nice Guy Zone. Rachel would be starting this relationship from square one; Ross has been around the Monopoly board in his head for at least eighteen laps riding the little top hat. That's a fundamental mismatch of relationship expectations. But I digress, and a cat leaps on Ross' shoulders and startles him into a failure to ask Rachel out. And while Rachel and Phoebe try to find the cat's guardian, Rachel also finds Paolo who is supposed to look like sex on a stick and the episode will end with her in his arms, passionately making out.
The interesting thing here is how Ross reacts in order to head off the Paolo situation. He could go to Rachel and have an honest conversation: "Look, this might be a bad time now, but earlier I was hoping to ask you out on a date and I just really wanted to get the offer on the table. I really think we would be great together, but I understand if that's not something you want to try right now." But that would make Ross vulnerable and put the option to say No on the table and we're not going to have that. (Also: it would give a woman agency. Slippery slope.)
Instead, Ross tries to appeal to Paolo, which makes literally no sense in the world unless you think of women as objects owned by men. Ross tells him that "See, um, the point is that... Rachel and I should be, er, together." and that "if you get in the... way, of us becoming a thing, then I would be, well, very sad." Paolo has literally no reason to care if Ross is very sad. He doesn't know the guy from Adam! He could be a creepy stalker who tries to control Rachel's sex life. (Oh wait.) And yet I think we're supposed to see Paolo as kind of a jerk (and probably some xenophobic tropes about foreigners seducing our women) for not respecting Ross' dibs.
Furthermore, Ross' attempt to scare Paolo off is a huge trespass on Rachel's agency to pick which man she wants to be with. Ross wants to narrow the pool of available men (one man at a time, via heart-to-heart talks with them, apparently) until Rachel's only options are Ross vs. No One. Whereas if Ross were honest with her about his feelings and respected her agency to pick, then her options would be Ross vs. Everyone Else Who Might Be Interested. Because he refuses to extend her that agency, Ross is trying to control Rachel's love life by tampering with her available choices.
Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: Possible death and injury; possible terrorism] Over the weekend, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished with 239 people on board, and the investigation has still not turned up any evidence of wreckage. Officials are now investigating "the possibility that it disintegrated mid-flight...after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing." What a strange and terrible story. I feel so deeply for the people whose loved ones are missing, who have no answers as to what happened to them.
[CN: Anti-choice terrorism] Bail has been set at $100,000 for 24-year-old Zachary Jordan Klundt, who is facing "four felony charges, three of them from the break-in at All Families Healthcare, a medical clinic that provides the only abortion services in [Montana's] Flathead Valley." Klundt is the son of Twyla Klundt, a board member of Hope Pregnancy Ministries, whose mission is "to honor Christ by providing an alternative to abortion through life affirming education and intervention, offering help and hope to women in need." Just like Jesus would do!
[CN: Anti-choice terrorism] Relatedly, I highly recommend Tara Culp-Ressler's piece published today on the harassment of abortion providers, "Meet America's Most Hated Doctors."
[CN: Sexual violence; reproductive coercion] Good news: Canada's Supreme Court "has unanimously upheld the sexual assault conviction of a Nova Scotia man who tried to trick his girlfriend into becoming pregnant by poking holes in her condoms. ...In Friday's 7-0 ruling, the high court ruled that Hutchinson deprived the woman of her ability to consent to sex."
[CN: Sexual violence] I would say this story is unbelievable, except it is perfectly, terribly believable: "The top Army prosecutor for sexual assault cases has been suspended after a lawyer who worked for him recently reported he'd groped her and tried to kiss her at a sexual-assault legal conference more than two years ago." Meanwhile: The US Senate has blocked passage of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's Military Justice Improvement Act, after it failed to "receive the 60 procedural votes needed to break a filibuster and progress." The legislation "would have removed the prosecution of sexually violent crimes in the military from the chain-of-command and given the responsibility to independent military prosecutors."
Senator Bernie Sanders, the only Democratic Socialist serving in the US Senate, says he is considering running for president. Good luck, Bernie Sanders! I would almost definitely vote for you!
Meanwhile, Republican Senator John McCain, founding member of the two-man I Lost the Presidency to Barack Obama Club, is now the least popular Senator in the country. LOL! Thanks for finally getting on board, AMERICA.
[CN: Hostility to consent] Jill Pantozzi covers how Fan Expo Canada's "Cuddle a Cosplayer" marketing strategy is ignorant and dangerous and gross.
Why We Rescue is a neat site documenting people's stories of rescuing cats and dogs. Please note if you click on an individual story, audio begins to play, but you can turn it off and read the stories (where the transcripts have been been added; some are still waiting).
[Content Note: Descriptions of violence. Major spoiler warnings.]
Can we talk about the True Detective finale last night? Because OMG.
I won't write up a whole thing, because I just want to head right to comments for discussion, but a couple of quick observations:
1. In one of my favorite pieces of characterization, in terms of defining these two characters right down to the end, I loved how Rust was feeling all kinds of things about having seen Errol Childress (aka Murder Boy) in 1995 and irrationally holding himself accountable for not magically discerning that he was a monster, while Marty was feeling no kinds of things about having killed Reggie Ledoux years earlier, effectively halting the formal investigation that might have led to Childress and saving all the lives he took in the interim. Throughout the series, we saw Rust sink into darkness over things he couldn't control, and Marty refuse to hold himself to account for losing control. That was a perfect juxtaposition at the end of this series.
2. I am not a huge fan of watching violence, but Rust headbutting Murder Boy while impaled on his knife was super badass.
3. They were never friends, for all those years. They only finally became friends at the very end. Love.
4. "Once there was only dark. And if you ask me, the light's winning."
All right all right all right.
This weekend was the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), at which they held their 2016 straw poll to see who attendees wanted to see become the Republican nominee. And of course Senator Rand Paul (R-Eprehensible) ran away with it.
Rand Paul, son of repeat Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, is terrible and does not belong anywhere near the White House, no matter how much he may occasionally look like a progressive ally on privacy issues.
It's rare the CPAC straw poll winner ever becomes the Republican nominee. The only reason I'm really mentioning it is to have another opportunity to say that Rand Paul is terrible—and to note that Senator Ted Cruz came in a distant second at 11%. Chris Christie barely registered. Looks like it's going to be another fun nominating year in a wide-open field for Republicans!
This week's open threads have been brought to you by vintage menu design.
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]
Belly up to the bar,
and be in this space together.
I've got a friend coming to visit for a long weekend tomorrow, so I'll be putting up the pub shortly and taking the rest of the week off.
I presume that I'm going to return on Monday, but my back is still giving me all kinds of grief, because of course I have been working full days, since: 1. A recovery that necessitates doing nothing is SO FUCKING BORING; and 2. I feel guilty when I'm not working. The combination of boredom and guilt is, for me, an irresistible incentive to ignore what my body needs.
Luckily, my visitor is coming fully prepared with a selection of terrible movies to force me to rest for a couple of days, lol.
If, for some reason, my return is delayed, I will let you know.
[Content Note: Narratives of oversensitivity; discussion of being triggered.]
The debate about trigger warnings and content notes (TWs/CNs) continues today, much of it surrounding a piece on the subject Jill Filipovic published at The Guardian entitled: "We've Gone Too Far with Trigger Warnings."
I don't really have much to add to what I already wrote yesterday, but here are a couple quick additional thoughts in response to some of the ongoing debate:
1. I keep seeing this phrase "gone too far." Too far for whom? Certainly not the people for whom TWs/CNs are useful, and might mean the difference between having a public panic attack and not having a public panic attack.
2. Having PTSD or other trauma-induced mental illness isn't a "vulnerability." That's a disablist mischaracterization.
3. The "infantilization" argument, which asserts that TWs/CNs treat readers, students, etc. like babies or weaklings, is really contemptuous of readers who appreciate TWs/CNs and the choice they provide. Offering choice doesn't diminish agency. Quite the opposite.
4. A frequent frame I'm seeing is that people who use TWs/CNs and people who have PTSD or other trauma-induced mental illness are mutually exclusive groups. To the contrary, often the people most invested in providing TWs/CNs to readers, students, friends, whomever are people who themselves experience triggers.
5. I really dislike the compilations of supposedly absurd TWs/CNs. What might appear "extreme" may be a writer's consideration for a specific reader. If you interact with your community a lot, you might be more aware of individual readers' needs. And dismissing attempts and sensitivity and inclusivity as nothing but "performativity" is shitty. Not for nothing, but I never get more fucking vile harassment than when I draw boundaries in this space to reduce harm for marginalized groups (which sometimes includes me and sometimes doesn't, depending on the situation). I know there are people who perform social justice crusader roles for cookies or whatever, but I can't imagine maintaining that facade for long unless this stuff really means something to you, because the cost is steep.
6. I don't understand this "you can't predict every single trigger ever" argument against the use of TWs/CNs. Because you might fail someone, you just resolve to definitely fail everyone? Okay.
7. The old HOW DO YOU EVEN EXIST IN THE WORLD? chestnut is flying fast and furious. You know—that ubiquitous exasperated rhetorical aimed at people who are triggered by stuff that most other people aren't. Well, here's the thing: For some people, existing in this world is actually very difficult.
And if you are someone who has survived abuse, or neglect, or poverty, or illness, or systemic oppression, or any one or more of the number of things that can leave someone with lingering consequences of trauma, but you've managed to survive without any triggers, or you've managed to find the resources and support and safety and space you needed to move beyond them, then good for you. You are very lucky.
I am very lucky. I am still occasionally triggered, but nothing like I was 20 years ago, where I was just emerging from three years of profound sexual abuse and felt like a raw nerve walking through the world. Part of that was my determination to process what had happened to me, and part of it was the hard work of doing that processing, and part of it was the sheer stupid luck of having the resources and support and safety and space I have needed, which sometimes just meant having a friend in the right place at the right time.
What if I'd not had this friend or that friend in the right place at the right time? During a rough month, or a single terrible afternoon? I dunno.
All I know is that if nothing ever happened to you that was bad enough to leave you traumatized, lucky you. And if something bad happened but you have survived it and/or processed it trigger-free, lucky you. And anyone who didn't isn't weak or damaged or oversensitive or too goddamn fragile for the world. They're unlucky.
If you understand why conservatives telling people without boots to pull up their bootstraps is indecent garbage, then it shouldn't be too difficult for you to understand why sneering at someone with triggers "I got over it" is indecent garbage, too.