Saturday, December 31, 2005

charity and chit-chat

you still have time - ok, a day - to give to non-profits (and remember it's tax deductible.)

some organizations i'm thinking about:
planned parenthood
human rights campaign
women employed

new year's plans? well, after getting hit on by a very weird guy at a french restaurant thursday night (which was partially my fault) i've decided to go into hiding. roomie and i are having some friends over to play mah jongg and drink champagne. then we're going to say what our resolutions are and then promptly forget them.

(top of my list: be humble. or something like that. i think it's the same as last year's - clearly, not a lot of progress.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

why our college students can't read: they're afraid of big ideas

this article about the possibility the federal government could censor university professors chapped my hide. so fair warning: i'm about to step up on my academic elite soapbox.

here's a tip to questing undergrads: if you want a valuable undergraduate education that will perhaps challenge you to be something more than a corporate cog, don't whine that your professor hurt your feelings by saying bad things about the president. if you want to have your parents' ideologies comfortably reinforced and you never want to hear something that's different from what you already think, then go to a christian university.

first, i think these stories of university professors discriminate against students based on their students' political beliefs are crap; i don't even know what that means. how are these whiny students discriminated against because they hear something they don't agree with? besides, i don't think these stories are really true.

if anything, i think instructors are offended and horrified by our students more than the other way around. was i horrified by some of the conservative ideas of my students, both at ucla and the university of michigan? hell, yes. but everyone knows you don't fail a student because you secretly think they're idiots.

i once had a student at ucla write a paper trying to justify the internment of the japanese during ww2. i gave young billy a C not because his paper was shit because it was shit AND it was poorly researched and badly argued - but i also met with him to discuss it. i told him i was completely horrified by the paper; but when we talked i understood he wanted a provocative topic and thought the more controversial, the easier i'd grade. (he thought wrong.)

eventually, after i'd been teaching for a few years, i began announcing that certain topics were off limits: abortion, homosexuality, religion/God, denial of the Holocaust, anything resembling white supremacist/pro-slavery propaganda. did i do this because i was a flaming liberal trying to suppress the free thoughts of my students?

no. i did it to spare myself the chore of grading the crappiest papers in the universe. in the clumsy hands of those barely out of their teens, those topics are hideous, awful, boring, pedantic, and narrow. if i'm going to have to read something that says the japanese deserved to be in concentration camps make it a piece of sophisticated drivel, not inexperienced and, most likely, plagiarized drivel.

second, and call me old-fashioned, when did these kids get the idea that what they feel actually matters? yes, i realize that makes me sound terribly snobbish and so very Paper Chase, but so what. i believe that a university exists to educate people for the scant four years they're there. there is time enough for the tender young subject to revert to their type and become a shallow corporate breeder. and if it means hearing some bitter physics professor (who probably hates teaching anyway because he's stuck in podunk instead of someplace REAL) bitch about the president and the stupid war in iraq, then suck it up, young person.

and if the federal government gets into the business of 'approving' what professors can/can't say in their classrooms, that's censorship. and THAT hurts my feelings more.

[edited for some much needed clarity.]

Sunday, December 25, 2005

the quietest christmas

merry christmas!

in chicago, it's gray and rainy and right now, i'm eating cake while watching a movie on cable.
perfect. the streets are so empty, i'd like to think of everyone in their robes and jammies, cooking christmas brunch, sprawled across sofas, yawning while wrapping paper flies across the living room. and englebert humperdink is on the radio.

i just wish the cafe across the street was open. i need coffee...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

my broom's in the closet

so, for work today, i'm reading this transcript of a panel on the black church and pro-marriage policies. it was fascinating. it was not only a frank discussion of the limits of the black church as a hive for social policy, it sort of aired the ideological fissures in what most of us monolithically call the 'black community' (though everyone was pretty on board with not trusting the current administration with anything.) and it made me think of the earlier exchange with a commenter who made me own up to my classism.

the numbers quoted about the rate of out of wedlock births in the black community were sort of shocking; i hadn't realized they were that high. and the conclusion that marriage is good for economic empowerment seemed a ... rational ... one. (seemed, i say.) but there seemed to be a gap in the discussion somewhere.

as a tactic in a larger strategy to eliminate widespread illegitimacy, marriage seems ideal. as a tactic in a larger strategy to stave off poverty for the community, marriage again seems suitable (as long as there were jobs, the panelists made clear.) as a way to reclaim young black manhood, marriage seems to be a positive, as well. (hm.) basically, for poor people who don't want illegitimate children and for young men who don't want to end up in jail, marriage is a good thing. but what if you aren't poor, don't have kids to worry about and you're not on your way to prison? what then?

i can't put my finger in the gap i sensed, but it'll come to me. i'm sure of it.

merry christmas, white house style

while we all get ready to visit family or friends this season, let's remember the displaced - who, apparently, are just too poor to have their homes rebuilt.

the rich, however, are totally deserving.

this administration sucks, you know?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

there's this... - Judge rules against�'intelligent design' in science class - Dec 20, 2005 (a definite win for those of us who like our church/state separated) but then there's also this.

all around, i'd call it a stalemate. (you know, if i was keeping score...)

Monday, December 19, 2005

clearly, he's listening to the wrong conversations

this is what the President would hear if he eavesdropped on me and my roomie:

Roomie: uh, don't go in the kitchen.
Me: why?
R: i farted.
M: go stand over there! not here! over there!


M: i love project runway. i had a dream last night that nick was my best friend.
R: i dreamed trent lott was holding me prisoner and you killed him to rescue me.
M: you're so problematic. so would you kiss tom hanks?
R: mm, no. but he'd be a good husband, i think. but an asexual one.
M: i had a dream i was from outer space and my outer space brother and i settled in canada and, this is icky, we became lovers!! because we were from outer space!

(and still later)

R: it was totally your idea to buy the xbox.
M: it was not. you're the one who had a jones for it. i kept asking if you were sure!
R: but you weren't saying no! you seemed really excited about it!
M: because i didn't think you would do it! i would never goad you into buying something you didn't want!
R: but you did!
M: we so aren't talking about this anymore.
R: so. do you think president bush is a tool?
M: totally. (louder) president george w. bush is a tool.

[why is he a tool? because he he doesn't seem to know what the word 'legal' is: Bush Says U.S. Spy Program Is Legal and Essential]

what i did this weekend

the holiday party i hosted for my workmates made me unfit for human interaction so i spent the weekend at the cinema. here's my take:

king kong - helpless blonde femaleness sacrificed to appease the questionable lust of a giant primate by dark-skinned natives is never uplifting. however, overly long sequences of rampaging dinosours are always fun.

chronicles of narnia - ok, who DIDN'T have the words to that lame poem, 'Footprints in the Sand', pop into their heads when Aslan left the big coronation? we get it - he's JESUS! and when are the brits going to GET OVER their fascination with all things king richard and hobbit-like? really. just get over it. and HOW LUCKY for the children than narnia is has all their favorite british foods in it, right?

brokeback mountain - sad. sad. depressingly sad. if only they had lived in san francisco or new york...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

the patriot's creed

Nobel Lecture - Literature 2005

earlier this month, harold pinter won the nobel prize for literature. if you've never read a pinter play, do so. they're dark, mean and brutal. you rebel against his plays.

in his scathing nobel lecture his gives voice to our nation's secret credo. i thought it worth replicating here, but you should read his whole lecture.

"I know that President Bush has many extremely competent speech writers but I would like to volunteer for the job myself. I propose the following short address which he can make on television to the nation. I see him grave, hair carefully combed, serious, winning, sincere, often beguiling, sometimes employing a wry smile, curiously attractive, a man's man.

'God is good. God is great. God is good. My God is good. Bin Laden's God is bad. His is a bad God. Saddam's God was bad, except he didn't have one. He was a barbarian. We are not barbarians. We don't chop people's heads off. We believe in freedom. So does God. I am not a barbarian. I am the democratically elected leader of a freedom-loving democracy. We are a compassionate society. We give compassionate electrocution and compassionate lethal injection. We are a great nation. I am not a dictator. He is. I am not a barbarian. He is. And he is. They all are. I possess moral authority. You see this fist? This is my moral authority. And don't you forget it.'"

woo hoo! party!: Progressive Faith BLog Con

some folks who've stopped by here in the past are involved in putting together a progressive faith blog con next year. if any of y'all want to help out, join or just drop a note of encouragement, here's where to go.

they're shooting for march in new york city.
wish i could go...

Thursday, December 15, 2005


my family doesn't see snow in l.a. the way i do: they think it's scary, cold, messy, terrifying. of course, if the temps drop below 60 in l.a. it's time to put on your parka and turn the heat waay up.

i'm home to prep the house for a cocktail christmas party i'm hosting for my office and so that really means i'm avoiding making the fondue and sitting in the turret, staring at the snow flurries like a moron.

i love it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

spheres of influence: a map of the religious right

expanding universe

fascinating to see the ways that ministries give birth to media, think tanks, PACs and educational institutions. whoever said the religious right was just a bunch of country hicks was wrong.

and whoever says the religious right is persecuted is wrong, too. you can't be persecuted if you're controlling the conversation.

(but, dude. what's up with including the reverend moon?? he's a nutbag.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

brain food

Institute for Women's Policy Research -Politics, Religion, & Women�s Public Vision

so there's this online discussion thursday about why religious women activists and feminists don't collaborate more, though our goals are often the same.

so, if you're really interested, then i guess you should check it out.

[via Faith Voices. never heard of 'em? me neither.]

Monday, December 12, 2005

more on immigration: when race riots aren't

Racial Violence Continues in Australia - New York Times:

leaving aside how this story completely reinforces my problematic stereotype of australians as thuggish throwbacks of aggression and how it makes me think that this is what happens when 19th century prison colonies go horribly awry (inbreeding!) what i like most about this story is the prime minister's disingenuous refusal to say that racism is widespread in australia.

when i read that, the first thing that popped into my mind was the country's quite recent history of repression against aboriginals.

but then my little thought bubble was soothed when i read this:
"Aborigines rioted in the Sydney neighborhood of Redfern in February 2004 after blaming police for the death of a 17-year-old boy. Forty police were wounded."

well, that's all right then, isn't it? racism can't possibly exist on a widespread level in australian society, despite the ease with which thousands of white youth assault innocent brown people, since aborigines rioted.

because the two situations are absolutely the same, aren't they?

(and here's more on immigration. this time, it's 92 GOP House Reps who want to stop all children born in the us from being US citizens. i can't believe how completely fascist it is and how easily 49% of the population thinks it's ok.)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

'thanks, but no thanks': when the Other speaks

Here's a question: what does it mean to be in community with others, even other people who don't share your faith?

Some months ago a committee I'm on came up with the brilliant idea of exploring the idea of the global church in our deacon meetings, rather than spend 90 minutes shuffling papers and deciding who's sitting at the volunteer table on which Sunday. (with email, there's no need to waste all this time.) We thought, Let's have little mini-lectures about the church and all the different communities. Yay! we thought. We'll learn something!

So we brought in a religion writer from the Trib and had a nice little conversation about faith in the city and how a paper covers it. Success.

Then, since we wanted to be relevant, we thought, 'Hm. Let's bring in the guy who lectures on Islam in our Academy. He can talk to us about the Islamic community and tell us stuff we don't know.'

Yeah...big dreams. You'd think having a really measured Moslem professor and lawyer come in from the burbs and talk about the Islamic community and Middle Eastern history from the inside would not be enough to push moderate, progressive Christians over the edge, but apparently it is.

You'd think hearing a mini-lecture about the ways that Christian and Moslem culture, history, commerce and geo-politics have been intertwined since something like the 11th century would be distant enough to prevent people from freaking out, but you'd be wrong.

You'd also think that hearing an articulate brown man (who was also very very attractive - very) tell a room full of privileged white people that brown immigrants who've been living here for a couple generations don't care what you think of them and didn't really come to this country to assimmilate would have made sense but, yeah, you'd be wrong there, too.

On the whole, his mini-lecture was about more than religion; it was about his culture; it was about how much older it was, how learned it was, how grounded it was in 'enlightenment' ideas. But it was also about the cultural identity of an immigrant and this was the part of his lecture that made some of us squirm.

(What? You *don't* want to be an American?? Well, that's just...just un-American!!)

When we say we want to understand, do we really? Or do we really mean that we want that other person to say something we agree with, something that bolsters our already inflated image of who and what we are?

When we say we want to be inclusive (as a progressive congregation - I don't expect conservative churches to embrace this newfangled notion of inclusion) what do we really mean and what happens when someone you want to include holds up his hand and says, 'Uh, appreciate the gesture, but we're fine just where we are'?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

home for the holidays: a list

so, because i plan so poorly for travel, i am punishing myself by remaining in chicago for the holidays instead of seeing my family back in southern california, where my sister tells me it's a balmy 65. bastards.

clearly, i will need to find something to do. so here's a list of everything i could do during my fabulous week off:


um, i can't think of anything. (except drink champagne every night and that's no good.)

help me out.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

ah, tolerance: ford and the gays

2 Ford Brands Stop Ads in Gay Publications - New York Times

here's what gets me:

"Ford's move came nearly a week after the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association canceled a boycott of Ford vehicles that began in May, when the group criticized Ford for being too gay-friendly."

what's 'gay-friendly'? glad you asked:

"The American Family Association first announced the boycott against Ford and related brands on May 31. The group said Ford gave thousands of dollars to gay rights groups, offered benefits to same-sex couples and actively recruited gay employees."

so, let me get this straight (no pun intended); in order for The American Family Association to be happy, they'd like to see Ford direct unfriendliness toward gays in the form of denying health benefits to their employees and, apparently, not hiring gay people at all.

(that's what it means when you don't actively recruit - it means you don't hire.)

i wonder, if Ford does what the American Family Association asks, would its acts be discrimination?

(or, are the gays just a bunch of whiny pansies, uh...individuals?)

Friday, December 02, 2005

blog against racism: almost forgot!

[you think this is going to be about katrina, privilege or something that makes everyone get all upset and angry. no. it's about my hair. but hang in there; it's a story then a question. y'all have to answer the question.]

The Story:
There's a man in my office who has a certain fascination with my hair. He's older, in his mid-50's, and is one of the 3 men who work here. When we first met, he complimented me about my hair. Graciously, I said 'Thank you!' And I smiled. Then he kept doing it. Every day, something about my hair. How full, how glorious, how beautiful, how fabulous, how big, how stupendous, how whatever. And then he'd say, 'I mean this in a totally non-racist way, of course.'

Hmm, I'd think.

Then, when the snow and the cold came, I changed my hair. I blow-dried it straight so I could fit it under my hat. And when I came into the office, he almost died. He edged into my career station and said, 'Your hair! It's'

I said, 'It's only hair. But thanks.' And so it's been since before Thanksgiving.

If he talks about my hair one more time I'll blow. I've endured this since May and I will seriously have to read him a lesson if this continues.

The Question:
Why would comments about hair piss off a brown girl?

[yes, it's a test. it's much more interesting than asking if someone's been a victim of racism, huh?]

Thursday, December 01, 2005

oh, i'm sorry; i thought this was my uterus...

A Man's Right to Choose - New York Times

while this didn't make me choke on my coffee, this last bit made me sort of gassy with exasperation (i'll bold the most gas-inducing parts):

"Why couldn't I make the same claim - that I am going to keep the baby regardless of whether she wants it or not?

Well, you might argue that all the man provides is his seed in a moment of pleasure. The real work consists of carrying a child for nine months, with the attendant morning sickness, leg cramps, biological risks and so on.

But how many times have we heard that fatherhood is not about a moment, it is about being there for the lifetime of a child? If we extend that logic, those 40 weeks of pregnancy - as intense as they may be - are merely a small fraction of a lifetime commitment to that child.

The bottom line is that if we want to make fathers relevant, they need rights, too. If a father is willing to legally commit to raising a child with no help from the mother he should be able to obtain an injunction against the abortion of the fetus he helped create.

Putting this into effect would be problematic, of course. But while such issues may be complicated, so is family life."

so, basically, let's just have men force women to give birth. yeah, i'm all for that.

while dalton's argument is fairly even in tone, it won't prevent me from calling him a complete tool.

his toolship: dalton, i'd really like to know how you (and other men) are going to justify forcing a woman to give birth against her will. i'd really like to see how your willingness to perform your fatherly duties outside of a woman's body justifies taking ownership of her body for 9 months against her will.

at the end of his 'waah waah' essay dalton tries to slide in an obligatory 'please ignore the fact i'm talking out my ass' by saying 'of course' his modest proposal would be hard to implement. but he doesn't say the reason why his idea won't work: there's a woman attached to the other end of that fetus!

wouldn't everything be so much easier if we forgot there was a woman attached?

here's a tip from me to dalton: until we find a way to hatch a human embryo so a guy can sit on it like a penguin, you can kiss your dream good bye. (ass.)

the bar of persecution

this article, about 4 pharmacists being suspended for not dispensing prescribed medication, came to my attention today.

and it makes me ask what religious persecution really is.

really. what is it?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

an article and then a ramble

American Prospect Online - Having It Both Ways

i talk about my dad a lot here. i can't help it. he's the one guy (if not the only guy) i totally respect. he was the major intellectual force for me when i was growing up. for as long as i can remember he said that he was a rampant individualist. his individualism can be seen in his ministry, one that advocates an eschewing of 'group think' and encourages a congregation to turn individually to the bible and give their fat cat preacher a big bitch slap for stepping out of line. (i paraphrase.)

it's difficult to maintain a congregation when you continually encourage them to mutiny, but such was the paradox of my dad's ministry.

while such rampant individualism is useful (innovation, imagination, sense of self in relation to others - basically, it makes you no one's fool) it's problematic when there is no community to surround the individual. for instance, i was talking to my father right after the katrina disaster and was encouraging him to tell his congregation to be more involved with the disaster efforts. he told me they were involved but he also said, my ministry is more of a spiritual one, not a social one. that was a little disturbing for me and i wondered if this was what was making me draw away from a particular kind of christian faith.

i'm not comfortable with the spiritual/social binary the church seems to be stuck on. while i love the Gray Lady, i do wish there was more...preaching. our social stances i am totally happy with. our focus on living as a community of faith is one that renews me. but there's that third thing i just wish there was more of. like, the other night my roomie and i were getting our tongues tied around the name gethsemane (it's the name of a local garden shop). i said, you know - it's the garden where they captured jesus.

she was totally blank and she called it 'catholic' to know details of the bible like that. she shrugged, we mainliners don't think about the details of the bible. we just like the ideas.

that kind of disturbed me. for me, the ideas and the details are all important. i'm not saying that bible trivia is necessary for a fully realized faith, but it sure as hell helps to know the effing basics!

and on the other side of the spectrum, where my dad's church is, i wish there was more of a sense of community. it's fine to be well-versed in complicated matters of doctrine, to know the bible like it's your best friend, but what does all of this mean when you don't recognize that those around you are your neighbors?

what's the point when all you can concentrate on is your muscular christian/individual spiritual walk with jesus when you can't think about other sojourners along the way?

wow. i'm totally rambling. but i'm serious. what's the point? and why don't presbyterians carry their own bible to church?? what's up with that?

new blog found!: Tensegrities


via reverend mother. thanks!

Monday, November 28, 2005

what i want for christmas

if my family reads this (and i know my father does) this is what i want for christmas: books.

i ask for this every year and every year, mixed results.

in fact, the times made a handy-dandy list of notable books of 2005 and i'd love ANY of them. but i'd especially love this biography of mary wollestonecraft.

people sometimes ask me what made me a feminist (since it sure as heck wasn't my family or church) and it all goes back to what i read when i was in school - especially while i was in junior high and realized that i had a lot in common with plain jane eyre. women like wollestonecraft, the bronte sisters, elliott - these are women whose lives i admired for their willfulness, stubbornness (two n's?) and frank anti-authoritarian stances. these were exceptional women and i wanted so much to be like them.

so that's what i want for christmas.

or, barring that, for someone to make a donation to their local YWCA. it helps.

(i just had the thought that if i took to christian novels and books the way i did to secular reading when i was a teenager i'd have a far different sensibility now. oh well.)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

thanksgiving debrief

the delights of thanksgiving...moist turkey, wine, and driving out in the early morning to a suburb in face-freezing weather to meet a friend at the end of a turkey trot and do a little pub crawl before the sun has reached a mid-point in the sky.

the burbs have weird traditions. after spending the night before drinking to excess, the whole town runs a 5k race, drinking little bloody marys along the way, and then they wrap up the morning with more drinking at the knights of columbus hall - to be followed with more drinking and breakfast throughout the morning. at one point i called my sister from an irish pub at 11 am and had already guzzled half a bloody mary, a jack and coke, a lunchbox and a guinness. what am i thankful for? i'm thankful for strong kidneys and a constitution like a cow.

i'm also thankful i have a sane family. spending a holiday, a long one, with a family not your own enables you to see your tribe in the clear light of relief. we dingers may be a little home-bound and conventional, but we effing talk to one another. we might be a little baptist but we don't load each other with freaky baggage and don't hold each other to an insane standard formed in the traumas of the past.

my family, for our myriad faults, is a kind and loving one. and a happy one. (not to mention well-adjusted - we understand that dinners are hard enough without reenacting slights from 1976.)

happy thanksgiving, everyone.

hope your tribe was somewhat normal.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

squee again!! published!

so the mag just emailed me to let me know the issue with my teeny piece is running december 2!

yay! (you can't see me but i'm dancing.)

a link on Ms! squee!

A New Leif - Who Says Feminists Don't Have a Sense of Humor?

is it bad blogging practice to squee when you realize you've been blogrolled on a Ms. Magazine blog?

is it undignified and make you think that 'well, kos wouldn't do that'?

i don't care. squee!! i got linked!

snob: ok, i'll take it.

(this has nothing to do with religion or churchiness.)

about a month ago, i read an article in the paper about two korean sisters who wrote a book about how american families can learn something from korean high achievers. after the piece ran, most of the letters sent in response protested the sisters were playing to asian stereotype. most of the other letters sent in faintly protested that it was creepy and weird to ask american kids to actually be disciplined. (i paraphrase.) only a scant few letters said, hey, good idea!

personally, i thought it was a good idea.
in fact, i think achievement is a good idea.
i think making sure one achieves *something* is a good idea.

i think not to achieve makes one tacky. (ooh, value judgment.)

this brings me to a commenter down in the Amen post, who ripped me a new one for my not-so-well-hidden class bias. thank goodness she did; it was the slap i needed to face my own class issues and class anger (not to mention anger at people at my childhood church who were vastly irresponsible in their leadership.) but i'll say it: i think going to college is better than not going to college; i think having a job is better than not having a job. i don't care if it's an ivy, a HBC or a community college - just go and get some education so at least you have options. (which is also better than having no options.)

do i sound like a snob? i guess i'll have to own that.

and because i'm black i will own it until the day i die. the black men and women who believed the duty of the black person was to 'lift as we climb' do not deserve descendents who don't take that kind of pride seriously. did harriet tubman sacrifice so my community could suddenly be the poster population for underachievement? did ida b. wells risk her life to save black folk so that my black and brown sisters could get pregnant when they were in high school?

i am not saying that i don't understand how the real world works; i am not saying that i think i'm better than those girls who didn't make the same decisions i made. i'm just saying i made better decisions. i know about racist institutions and social forces that create ghettos; i know about the bad educational systems that fail to educate; i know what happens when more than half the male population ends up in prison; i know about the burden created when commerce moves out of a community and kills it in the process, dooming people to perpetual poverty. i know that and i still say that we owe somebody our achievement.

the sisters who wrote the book make the point that in the traditional asian family a child owes her family success and achievement; this is her debt. unlike bill cosby, who rails on poor black folk for being poor, i think we black people have a debt to pay. we owe it to our past, our history, to fulfill the promise we had. we don't owe this debt to white people. we don't owe this debt to our government. we owe it to our past - our wonderful, glorious, heartbreaking history.

so to that commenter: you misunderstand. i didn't make the choices i made when i was a girl because i didn't want to be like the other girls; i didn't want to end up like them. i made those decisions because that future wasn't good enough to pay my debt.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

a project: December First is "Blog Against Racism" Day

over at creek running north, chris has designated dec 1st to be "Blog Against Racism" Day.

a project!
let's hope i don't forget the date.

Monday, November 14, 2005

On Abortion, It's the Bible of Ambiguity - New York Times

this is the article greg mentioned in the thread below.

i think it's interesting.

Friday, November 11, 2005

i found the blog below by clicking that 'next blog' button in the corner. sometimes you find good things. (other times you find that weird anime teenage girl crap.)

bethany is more conservative than i and ain't having any of this liberal tolerance crap, but i like her voice. and she's teaching in teach for america. anyone who does that has to be alright, right?


Thursday, November 10, 2005


sometimes you come across a post that's so solid it makes you vibrate.

this is one of those posts: Redneck Mother: Not a baby-machine

i post a lot about choice and reproductive rights (and abortion). as a christian woman, i guess that's strange to do. it looks like i'm all for a bunch of baby-killing. but that's not it at all; i just have a deeply rooted issue with authority. i've been wanting to write about my pro-choice stance but, for now, that's the best i can do.

redneck mom puts it so much better:

I think about all this in the context of pharmacists presuming to tell women whether they can prevent a pregnancy or not, of legislators trying to ban "unauthorized reproduction," of Sam Alito and all the other conservatives who want women to answer to men about what's going on in their own bodies. And I say this: You have no idea what you're trying to control, no right to do it and no way to do it to your misguided satisfaction anyway because women are not machines and reproduction is not an industrial process. Pregnancy is unpredictable, carries infinitely variable risks, and is so private that it is in many ways a closed book even to the woman herself. If she and her obstetrical team can't shoehorn it into neat, predictable processes, why do you presume you can? No one has the right or authority to compel any woman to go through what I chose for myself, and no one has the right to judge any woman for choosing not to do so.

[via i blame the patriarchy]

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

GOP eggs: stinky

Evolution Slate Outpolls Rivals - New York Times

looking at some of the polls from last night's election results all over the country, i'm starting to think that some chickens are beginning to come home to roost. while texas bans same-sex marriage, maine votes to ban discrimination against gays and lesbians. while the dems lose in new york, californians give the big bitch slap to arnold. and while kansas still thinks religion is science, pennsylvania decides to keep the two totally separate.

it's a small glimmer of hope for the return of rationalism. i'll take it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

should vs. must: spousal notification in brief

scalito's nomination is throwing all sorts of moral quandaries into the air, not the least of which is whether the law should force a woman to tell her husband she's getting an abortion.

my favorite angry professor has a discussion going on here.

her basic argument is:
And, as with abortion, there seems to be a sloppy elision of what people think is morally obligatory with what they think is, or should be, legally obligatory.

So. Should married women tell their husbands if they're going to have an abortion?
Yes, of course they should.

Should they be required by law to do so?
No, of course they shouldn't.

i'm trying to get to a larger question, but i think i'm too tired at the end of the day to be articulate. so i'll just let that stand there.

Monday, November 07, 2005

so what's our mission, again?

When Cleaner Air Is a Biblical Obligation - New York Times

i love this part:

Mr. Inhofe said the vast majority of the nation's evangelical groups would oppose global warming legislation as inconsistent with a conservative agenda that also includes opposition to abortion rights and gay rights. He said the National Evangelical Association had been "led down a liberal path" by environmentalists and others who have convinced the group that issues like poverty and the environment are worth their efforts.

yeah, shame on the church people who have the nerve to think that poverty and creation care are important! fie on them!

and, hey, how about that rhetorical connections between global warming=abortion=gay rights! masterful.

i guess we know what inhofe thinks is the christian mission.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

feminist epistemology: from a guy!!

Hugo Schwyzer is someone i read every so often. you'll find him on my blogroll but i have to admit that the number of Men's Rights Activists (MRAs) on his site sometimes makes me puke.

anyway, when we talk about patriarchy, i like to read what hugo has to say about it. for one, he's a guy and when a guy takes the time to acknowledge patriarchy and actually unpack it regularly, well i take notice.

you should take notice, too. his recent posts on the parker and dowd articles are good, especially when he talks about our culture's inability to cultivate men who have the language and depth to explore their emotional terrain. classic. (and quite academic.)

Friday, November 04, 2005

speaking of patriarchy: Alito

an excellent op-ed piece by scott lemieux at American Prospect Online - Chipping Away.

much of the attention has been on scalito's dissent re: spousal notification in planned parenthood v. casey - and rightly so:

The core of Alito’s argument is his claim that the provision “cannot affect more than about 5 percent of married women seeking abortions or an even smaller percentage of all women desiring abortions.”

This is a highly problematic argument on its face. The reason that notification requirements (whether spousal or parental) are objectionable is precisely because, for all intents and purposes, they are applicable only to women in the worst family situations. Women in loving families will generally discuss their decision with their spouse or parents; it is women who feel they cannot who are affected by state coercion.

and further:

In addition, as the Supreme Court also argued forcefully, Alito’s acceptance of the legitimacy of the state’s interest seems to rest on quite reactionary assumptions about marriage. The spousal-notification provision, the plurality opinion correctly argued, “embodies a view of marriage consonant with the common-law status of married women, but repugnant to our present understanding of marriage and of the nature of the rights secured by the Constitution.” (As the opinion also pointed out, under Alito’s logic a law requiring a woman to notify her husband if she took emergency contraception, or if she drank alcohol during her pregnancy, would also presumably be upheld.) Alito’s reasoning sends bad signals not only about abortion but also about gender-equality jurisprudence more generally.

opposition to alito's nomination goes deeper than what he thinks about abortion; check also his record on sexual harrassment and worker's rights. consistently alito sides with power rather than those who need protection from that power.

i'm scared of a court like that.

aren't you?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

feminist epistemology and you (and nature and MoDo and kathleen parker and...)


This is the thing that feminism failed to account for, according to Kathleen Parker in the Chicago Tribune today as a response to Maureen Dowd’s Sunday NY Times piece. But while this seems like a reasonable oversight on feminism’s part, I have to disagree – again.
Nature is something feminism has always been aware of.

How could feminism not be aware of nature when Nature has been the stick used to beat women over the head? We could not work outside the home because our ‘natural’ state was in the home; we could not participate in politics because our ‘natural’ place was caregiving; we are ‘naturally’ retiring, our brains were ‘naturally’ less powerful than those of men so why should we be allowed to attend school, hold a job or even walk the streets alone – since we were so ‘naturally’ inspiring of sexual violence?

We know that none of this is ‘natural’. The rules governing female behavior back then and now are cultural constructs, meaning they aren’t intrinsic rules but are socially mandated (unconsciously and consciously) in order to support a larger social structure.

Like Dowd, Park is ignorant that behind Nature there is Patriarchy, and while Patriarchy might not always wear a male face, it is usually (one might say ‘naturally’) supported by men, who ‘naturally’ benefit from it. Quite simply, patriarchy is a way of looking at the world and understanding it; it is the dominant paradigm – it is what we assume to be ‘natural’, or common sense – conventional wisdom, almost. Patriarchy manifests itself through a system of ideas and practices that systematically disadvantage women and other subordinated groups; it is a system of ideas and practices that serve the interests of the dominant group. Who’s in the dominant group? Those who benefit from it.

The thing about Patriarchy is that it’s so damn invisible. It’s the foundation of our Western civilization so it’s completely absorbed into our culture – our icons, our literature, our government, our institutions. It’s almost second nature to us. (heh.) Because of the ‘invisible’ work of patriarchy, we take as natural that our relationship to the opposite sex is to be deferential and appreciative. I suppose that when such natural deference is absent it appears “hostile and demeaning to men”. I’d call it impatience, myself. Hostility is so…patriarchal. Impatience at the slowness of someone else’s progress is much more accurate. (Like walking behind two tourists on Michigan Avenue. Maddening.)

But not only is Patriarchy invisible, the effects of Patriarchy are invisible, too – until feminism came along, that is. Till feminism came along, unseen were the ways that Patriarchy disadvantaged women by:
(1) excluding us from inquiry,
(2) denying us epistemic authority,
(3) denigrating our “feminine” cognitive styles and modes of knowledge,
(4) producing theories of women that represent us as inferior, deviant, or significant only in the ways they serve male interests,
(5) producing theories of social phenomena that render women's activities and interests, or gendered power relations, invisible, and
(6) producing knowledge (science and technology) that is not useful for people in subordinate positions, or that reinforces gender and other social hierarchies.*
[*emphasis mine and a shout out to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for this and the above definition of patriarchy.]

Which brings us back to Nature. Feminists are very much aware of Nature; we just object to the use of Nature as an excuse to reinforce a bullshit, oppressive paradigm that fails to see women as people and only serves male interests. Let’s consider the conservative boycott of American Girl. Why do they protest a bunch of ahistorical dolls? Abortion and lesbianism, we all thought. That’s not the real reason at all.

In today’s Trib Dawn Turner Trice quotes Ann Scheidler, the Executive Director of Pro-Life Action League: "The reason we're protesting is that American Girl appeals to the wholesome image of girls, and the Girls Inc. web site is almost a recruitment for a feminist agenda. All they talk about is science and sports, nothing about homemaking and motherhood."

Homophobia and a lack of respect for a woman’s reproductive autonomy is certainly a part of Scheidler’s boycott but the fundamental thing that makes her twitch her apron is the way Girls, Inc. advocates for a girl to transcend ‘nature.’ For Scheidler, feminism is freakish because it isn’t wholesome, homemaking or motherhood. It’s sports and science – two fields that aren’t feminine because they aren’t ‘natural’ to a woman, while childbirth and caregiving is.

What’s Nature again? Patriarchy.

So to Park I say that feminism didn’t tell half a story; feminism knows the whole freaking story. It knows the Author, the Publisher, the Reader and the little bitty ISBN number inside the front page. It knows who the Distributor is and where the Bookstores are (tired of this metaphor, yet?). We know the story and we keep telling it. You just don’t like that story. That’s fair.

You don’t like the ending, either; that's ok, too. It’s hard being a feminist. It’s hard being 'unnatural' and knowing. It’s much easier to be naturally ignorant. I get that. It’s hard to look around and see you're the village idiot, or the crazy lady crying in the wilderness about something no one else wants to see. I get that. You don’t want to be the outlier.

But you are lying. Feminism didn't cheat women; it just didn’t account for the general chicken-heartedness of our sex in the face of patriarchal disapproval.

It thought we were braver than that.

[cross-posted at Screed - and edited to correct Parker's name...]

it's all about the language: why tolerance matters

Pandagon: Caught being intolerant of oppression again

i've bitched about this several times here: our inability to really say what we mean. for instance, when we complain about tolerance (or use that old chestnut about loving the sinner but not the sin) we aren't really saying what we mean.

by pooh-poohing tolerance (racial, gender, sexual orientation) what we're really saying is "i don't mind the dominant social order being the way it is and don't really believe in social justice for people who are different from me." this is also the closet meaning of disdainfully dismissing something as 'pc.'

for the sake of discourse, let's all try to be clearer in what we mean. if you really don't like gays or single mothers or women who have sex, just say it. "I think you're icky and shouldn't have access to the full fruits of legal protection the way i (a straight/monogamous/married/whatever person) do."

it'll make everything clearer for everyone, i think, and help clear up alot of confusion.

amanda, at pandagon, does a terrific job of unpacking apathy toward 'tolerance'.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


pete townshend has a blog.

United Methodist Church Calls For Withdrawal

why should we care what united methodist church thinks about the iraq war?

'cause george w. bush is a member there. read it here, via katrina vanden heuvel.

see also tom tomorrow's panel on The Very Bad Idea. (via wasp jerky)

Monday, October 31, 2005

sad, yet...

not completely unexpected.

Texas Pastor Electrocuted During Baptism - New York Times

really, people.

surprise: it's a scary man

Nomination Likely to Please G.O.P., but Not Some Democrats - New York Times

i hate to be right so often but the GOP makes it awfully easy, sometimes.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

off to church

a multicultural task force meeting then a luncheon to figure out if people of color are happy in the congregation.


i have a feeling this isn't going to be a very productive afternoon.

[update: i've been on this com'tee for about 18 months or two years and, true to the presbyterian church, it's taken a while to get anything past the supervising com'tee. can you believe it took us one year to fully explain what we meant by 'diversity'?

anyway, we were convened because there was some concern that this church of mine, i call it the Grey Lady, was too white. well, rich and white, and we weren't being responsive to the needs of some of the people we serve as well as our racial/ethnic congregants. so this sunday was a chance to check in with people and see if their needs were being met - not necessarily as brown people, but was there anything we need to be aware of? well, it was not a totally useless afternoon; the general consensus is that the Grey Lady has awesome programs, educational and social programs, the pastor's great and no one feels weird. but...

we can't help the fact that, geographically and demographically, the Grey Lady is very very white. WASPy white. the kind of white that you didn't know existed. the kind of white that, up until some years ago, still wore morning suits on sunday morning. but the community we serve is not white; it's black and brown and poor and we wonder how we can be more effective in our outreach. but...

the lay leaders and the pastors just don't get how white it is. or how rich. i mean, we know we're a well-to-do congregation; but the PTB don't quite understand the blindingly obvious class difference; why would a single mother living in cabrini join our church (though she takes our classes and her kids are tutored here) when there's a church, a perfectly good church, right in her neighborhood?

and we're conscious of that. we don't want to take away a community church just because we're feeling...weird that our congregation is overwhelmingly b/y/ch/uppie. but...

we're aware that more can be done to foster community - this is our charge, to create community. we would like to see our community more inclusive, more diverse, because we truly believe a diverse urban congregation is a strong congregation; but...

there is a need here at the Grey Lady; we spent a whole afternoon interviewing ourselves when the need isn't us; frankly i think the people of color who've joined this church are fine with it. we have no needs. we like it here. the issue is how to reach out to the folks in cabrini. and we don't talk with them enough to know what we can do.

let's throw it out there: how do you make a diverse christian community without being patronizing?]

Thursday, October 27, 2005

poor harriet: wrong (straw) man for the job

Miers Withdraws Nomination for Supreme Court - New York Times

Now that the burden of this woman has been lifted from the administration, how much you wanna bet a man, a very scary man – even scarier than poor mediocre harriet – will pop up and get the post, thus unifying the right, terrifying the left and basically screwing all of Creation in the process?

Hm? Any takers? Any?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Top Stories - The Olympian - Olympia, Washington

The 300-pound black bear was later captured and killed.

sigh. and yet another tragic victim of our war on drugs ...


i have no idea how i found this blog.

i've been reading it for the past two nights and i see my mom; i see my dad; i see a whole bunch of married christian couples.

the blog is an older one, but julia grey talks frankly about sex and marriage, how she and her husband retreated from divorce and mostly she talks to men about their wives: what their wives are likely thinking and feeling, why they're feeling it and why they aren't telling their husbands. it's fascinating to read the responses.

there's one woman who insists julia is crazy and neurotic for asking men to talk to their wives about desire but it's the reader's own anger that seeps through her sentences. there are men who rage at julia for daring to say wives don't owe their husbands sex on demand; there are men who write of their own sad relationships and even men who write about how wonderful their marriages are.

she talks about how disgust, disinterest, anger, aging, distraction - how all these things impact a sex life. it's like reading a sex manual from someone's hip, cool mom.

it's a really interesting, frank and truthful journal.

[edited for clarity.]

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Dating Jesus, pt 3: So Done

The experiment has failed.

I’ve lost the impetus to look for a progressive guy of faith – at least online. It’s clear the PGoF is as fictional as the unicorn or the centaur. If he exists, the PGoF already has a girlfriend/wife, doesn’t need a date or is so socially successful he doesn’t need online dating, or he’s busy with a rally, a march or the latest action directive from MoveOn. Hm.

Or, maybe I’ve just lost patience looking for the PGoF . Or, maybe all the ChurchGuy ickiness out there just skeeved me out. This is more likely.

In any case, I’ve stopped. The whole search was depressing and has made me think about a few things:

Is there really someone for everyone? The older I get, the less I believe this.

Is companionship a spiritual gift? If so, perhaps not everyone has it; many of the men I encountered make me think this…and my own aversion to them made me think this also.

Is God a bit of a killjoy? I mean, if we, as His creation, are hardwired for coupling (and I’m making an assumption there) does He couple us with only what is good for us? For instance, I’m sure a lot of the men I came across (even the few who emailed me) thought they could do me some good, and vice versa. After all, there were all those children to be nurtured and clothed. But that’s clearly not enough for me, or I’d have been married to a man in my father’s church back when I was in college.

So am I going against some ultimate God plan to be a godly woman by rejecting these men or by thinking they’re weird? Are men like these the broccoli women like me are supposed to eat instead of a bowl of yummy pudding?

Where is the freaking Christian pudding??

These aren't very serious thoughts. They're not big theological questions; they're church versions of 'where are all the good men'? Boring, I admit. Then again, so are churchguys. Why is the average churchguy so effing unappealing?

(And no, the answer is not I'm not spiritual enough to discern the average church guy's inner goodness. I've seen the inner goodness and it looks like oppression to me.)

Anyway, enough with the navel gazing. Back to dating plain old freaky progressive guys. So much simpler.

All God, All the Time

God is the clock-maker, the puppeteer, the author. God is the light, the mother, the wind across the sea, the breath in every set of lungs. God is the horizon. God is all of these things.

But what if God is none of them? What if every possible affirmation that can be made of God, even by the so-called religions of revelation, falls so far short of the truth of God as to be false? Who is the atheist then? The glib God-talk that infuses public discourse in contemporary America descends from an anthropomorphic habit of mind, dating to the Bible and beyond, that treats God like an intimate friend or well-known enemy, depending on the weather and the outcome of battles. But there is another strain in the Biblical tradition that insists on the radical otherness of God, an otherness so complete that even the use of the word ''God" as a name for this Other One is forbidden. According to this understanding, God is God precisely in escaping and transcending comprehension by human beings. This can seem to mean that God is simply unknowable. If so, humans are better off not bothering about it. Atheism, agnosticism, or childish anthropomorphism -- all the same.

But here is where it gets tricky. What if God's unknowability is the most illuminating profundity humans can know about God? That would mean that religious language, instead of opening into the absolute certitude on which all forms of triumphal superiority are based, would open into true modesty.

via The Revealer, a column by james carroll on the nature of God and whether we can know him.

it's thoughtful and touches on some things i've been thinking about now that i've stopped my christian dating experiment (more on that later.)

Friday, October 21, 2005

scribblingwoman: Gaining my religion

a very good post on teaching literature, religious texts and pedagogy here.

i know i've been posting a lot from other people this week. i'll write more over the weekend. meantime, scribbling woman has an excellent, erudite and good looking blog.

go look at her. go on. go!

school's back in: Philobiblon


can't get enough of feminist writing? wondering where all the feminists are? curious what feminists think? thinking all we need to do is get over it and have a baby? looking forward to a long weekend and have nothing to do?

then surf through these links at the first Feminist Carnival! i can't wait to dive in.

(the huge fundraiser is over; i did yoga in my hotel room wednesday night while watching a documentary about the blood rituals of the ancient maya and i think i pulled something; i'm so totally over Huge Fundraiser; and i had an extremely vivid, naughty dream about an ex-boy this morning that made me late for work. thanks for letting me share.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Alas, a blog: picking up some feminist slack

over here at National Non Profit, we're two days from our massive fundraiser and i'm braindead. i have to spend the night at the hotel tomorrow night so i can be ding-on-the-spot thursday morning so, instead of me ranting on about things that make the feminist world shudder, Alas, a blog has conveniently done it for me.


(check out jennie's letter about the crimes against God we commit when we allow our young women go to college.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

good to know our national priorities...

Rape Up, While Murders Down in 2004

my body's a temple...oof

In New Yoga Classes, Poses and Prayer - New York Times

i blogged about this before: christians practicing yoga. now that i've been taking yoga at work for the past few weeks i don't see what the big deal is.

for the critics of people of faith doing yoga i have to ask: have you tried it? have you tried to do a sun salutation when you can't touch the floor, inhale deeply and put your right knee on the mat behind you while lifting your hands above your head at the same time?

because if you haven't, let me tell you something - it's effing hard.

people worried about the 'sinfulness' of yoga (because of some weird ideas about meditation) need to know that yoga is effing HARD. you're too busy trying to hold the pose, control your breathing, wondering why the backs of your knees are sweating and trying not to vomit to worry about letting satan in.

frankly, if anyone (christian or not) can scrape up a little time to concentrate on hinduistic thought or a jesus meditation in the middle of your cobra pose, good on ya.

you're clearly more flexible than i am.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Dating Jesus: “I would Allow you to speak your heart”

Humility is something I rarely feel. I feel it in church; I feel it in the presence of the less fortunate. I feel it while surfing Christian dating sites so, in a sense, my being humbled is perfectly logical.

I didn’t expect this feeling. I expected more of the same: faint distaste, disbelief, disappointment, yuckiness. The men are so palpably lonely.

i just wanted to be friends with a beautiful woman,someone to talk to.

They’re from all over: Iran, Bermuda, Auckland, India, Canada. (Incidentally, Canada has the cutest Christian guys online. Kudos to our northern neighbors!!) I suppose lonely knows no geographical boundary. There has been damage here; they all mention in some way wanting a woman who ‘knows how to love a man’; a woman who is honest; a woman who knows what it’s like to love honestly. Somewhere, there are women who left these men.

i would like to meet someone who is kind,someone who has a good sense of humor,someone who will treat a man the way he is suppose to be treated

And they’re taking care of children. This is what’s surprising to me: the number of divorces I’m seeing. I remember reading a statistic that says the Christian community has a divorce rate of 53%. That’s slightly higher than secular marriages.

Most have blank profiles, as if their desire is enough. And the desire pours from them like water bursting from a dam.

Hello, I would like to meet someone who is truly Godly and Faithful! You must also be athletic, slender, attractive, intelligent, fun, and be emotionally/mentally healthy! Do you like to travel? I want someone who will enjoy going to Paris, Rome or skiing! You need to be someone who takes care of themselves physically and spiritually! You needs to share similar Religious beliefs. Evangelical Christian who likes Praise & Worship Music! You have to love Kids! It would be nice if you have an interest in politics as I am very involved at times! You must believe in marriage for life and in giving and receiving Unconditional Love. Is there any women out there who still believe that intercourse is for after your wedding night? You must have good communications skills! Are you someone who loves to share their heart and just needs someone who loves to listen and open up their heart as well? I am not shy but if this is you drop me a note as perhaps I may never run across your profile? God bless!

It was so sad it almost put me off dating entirely – almost but not entirely. There is something humbling to look at the face of longing. These men are yearning for connection; they won’t find it from me but there’s someone out there who wants to live in their small towns, dream of Paris, Rome and go to bible study together. Their desire for human connection transforms these men from icky fundamentalist stereotype into …something else. Nothing grand or epic but at least more than a stereotype.

I’m not saying these men don’t need help; jeebus, do they need help. They need haircuts, teeth, lessons in romance and writing tips. But anything that moves me from making people into an invisible ‘type’ humbles me just a little.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

'God Bloggers' Head to National Conference

hey, did anyone go to this?

i'm curious what's happening out there in my dad's alma mater.
(that was really the school that convinced me not to go to a christian college.)

Friday, October 14, 2005

yankee, go home: chavez kicks out missionaries

BBC NEWS Americas Chavez moves against US preachers

on one hand, ok, it's your country; you can kick out whatever group you want.
on the other, i really would have liked to have heard what New Tribes had to say.

on one hand, who wants a replication of New World contact?
on the other, what if the indigenous folk didn't mind them?

i'd like to know what New Tribes has to say.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

the choir did it.

Church mayhem: Rogue choir, earlobe twisting - News -

back in the day of being a baptist, i was a tenor in my church choir. i loved singing in the choir, especially during revival time. during that time we'd bring in T-- a young pastor from another south central congregation but one who had his masters in music. it wasn't that we didn't have a choir director - we did. but she was a little tone deaf and couldn't bang on an ivory if it jumped up her dress.

T-- was great. we were like the tone deaf nuns in 'sister act' until T-- came along; under his hand we actually sounded like a real gospel choir. (then he later fell under some scandal and, well, T-- is now just a sad man who perhaps should have told his wife he was "on the down low."

uh, i mean, gay.)

but while it was great singing in the choir it wasn't always great having one around. i don't know about anyone else's church traditions, but in the black church, if you want to put your finger on the source of gossip, backbiting, machiavellian machinations and rotating coup d'etat, then put your finger on the choir. i've never seen a bunch of folks get so fussy about who got which solo, who was on/off key, who got to sing the pastor's favorite songs, whatever.

you never hear about this stuff happening with the methodists or the episcopalians, you know? i mean, my presbyterian church choir is fabulous. they sing things like 'the planets'. it's kind of hard to get really jazzed with shaker songs, you know?

it's when my choir tries to do gospel or 'spirituals' that they make me squirm in my seat and want to run screaming down michigan avenue. don't get me wrong: i'm all for cross-cultural expressions. but if you don't know how to sing like a gospel choir, for the love of all the black folk in your congregation, please don't do it. it's bad.

for his part, dad always had a tight rein on the choir - just two songs during a service and that was it. (ideal conditions for his famous 90 minute sermons...) but the day he had to sit my godmother down because she was running the choir like her own banana republic - that was classic. she never forgave him for that.

but at least he never had to call the cops on us.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

why women should support one another: a speech

via my favorite academic bitch, here's a speech from an academic about why women in higher education need to network with one another - from tenured profs, all the way to the department assistant.

on a larger field it's a speech about why it's important for women communities to support one another. we don't need to support one another because we're weak but to allow one another to be strong. it's sad to say that in most male dominated fields, a woman's strength is the last thing anyone wants to see.

in the corporate spaces i've inhabited, especially lately, i've seen how utterly fierce a woman can be - in meetings, in negotiations, in evaluations. basically, anywhere a man can be in corporate america, i've seen women occupy those spaces and dominate them. but is that strength welcome, though a man's strength would be virtually unquestioned? not necessarily. and because of that perceived threat, or oddity, there are still some spaces that remain outside of our reach.

i don't know if we are used to using our strength so overtly; i am. i mean, now i am, and it's all because the ex-EVP of a major us corporation showed me how. she forced me to network, to take meetings, to knock on other womens' doors, to belly up to the table and say "this is what i want and i'd like to get your counsel on how to get there." because of her nudge i have this job and i have multiplied my contacts to other organizations and other women who value the same things i do. i no longer wholly believe in the myth of Hard Work that says if you work hard enough you'll get rewarded. if you work hard enough, most likely, you're about to get taken advantage of. it's not enough to just work hard and hope someone recognizes you. you have to put that hard work to work.

all that is to say - get out there. join some boards; throw your business card around; ask the name of that assistant who always seems to know her shit (btw, she knows hers and her boss'); volunteer for an event; go to that lame industry lunch. get to know the other women in your city or town.

you'll never know just how strong a group of women can be.

funny; that's what lewinsky said...

MoJo Blog: "These guys are bullies"

boo-frickin'-hoo, white house aides.
i seem to remember a certain ken starr who certainly stirred some things up during a little thing called whitewater.

suck it up.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bush Works to Reassure G.O.P. Over Nominee for Supreme Court - New York Times

Mr. Specter said that did not mean he would go easy on Ms. Miers at the hearings. "Absolutely not. It would be a disservice to the selection process and to her," he said. "She's got to win her wings."

earn her wings...

just so we're clear that the brouhaha about miers isn't (shh) sexism, let's just see if anyone else earned their wings:

john roberts, chief justice of the united states. wing earner?
george w. bush, president of the united states. wing earner?
michael brown, FEMA ex-director. wing earner?
dick cheney, vice president of the united states. wing earner?

i'm drawing a blank on more winged men; somebody help me out.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Dating Jesus: “I have two years of collage”

Fusion 101

Big Church

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to finding a progressive ChurchGuy. Really. I was thinking that maybe I was too hard on church guys and wasn’t giving them a fair deal. Besides, I’ve met (sorta) all these cool people here, so if cool people are coming here then there have to be more out there, right? Especially in Chicago – home of the indie … whatever.

But I’m not going to meet any cute hip guy at my church. Love the old Gray Dame but the men here look like they stepped out of a Brooks Brothers catalog. And the only person at church who makes me break into an inappropriate sweat is the one-armed guy in the choir. Grrr…he’s so yummy. Impenetrable like a fortress, but yummy. (And he’s a really cool guy – devout, funny, faithful and can wear the color pink really well. And the one arm –it gives all the women I know naughty thoughts.)

The Plan: I have particular tastes, which make finding someone … particular so very hard to do when you leave it up to chance. I mean, I’m not just going to bump into a nice, naughty hottie Christian guy on the Grand bus, you know? You need a plan. You need a strategy. So I decided to go online. How hard could it be? I’ve tried it before and it worked like a charm. (Boy did it.) Online Christian dating should be just as easy; we all speak the same language! Though I could have started with the regular dating sites to find the progressive the more important thing was the Christian part. I sort of want to concentrate on that right now. Find the Christian, fill in the progressive and add the naughty. See? Not so hard.

The Reality: Dear sweet baby jesus. They’re so boring. And weird! Jeebus, the kind of weird that, if you were sitting next to them at a dinner party, you’d stab your eyes out with a fork. Bankers, post office workers, praise leaders, IT technicians, musicians, single fathers, divorced dads, widowers, teachers, missionaries (taking back Nepal for Jesus!), military guys, ad execs…why are they all SO boring?

They like boring women:
‘Ideally a woman with strong Christian principles who puts Christ above all things in her life. Someone who is emotionally stable, comfortable expressing herself---her desires, disappointments, expectations.’

‘Kind, caring, giving, cares about people’

‘You love going to church, and serving there. I'm at church at least three days a week, almost every week of the year. I'm a small guy, so you're a small lady.’

They want to go on dates at boring places:
‘Probably a nice, quiet restaurant, or some other quiet public place.’

‘I like to spend my leisure time with sports activities, but I love to do so many things’

‘During worship at church.’

They display all the personality and imagination of a robot:
‘I am passionate about my faith, first and foremost. Then music and theater. I also love the visual arts, but I'm not as knowledgable in that area. I am open to any questions you may have : )’

[an emoticon!]

Or maybe they just don’t know when to shut. up.:
‘You should be able to have fun doing anything or nothing. Example; go bike riding for a couple hours; then, go home to get ready to play golf; next, eat and maybe watch a movie; finally, if time permits, go to a friends to play games (cards or board - not bored - games) or go swimming (obviously if weather permits). You must like to go motorcycle riding, at least a little bit. When weather isn't agreeable, that's kinda often around here, we can talk or watch movies or visit family or friends. Yes, I do like to just sit and talk; but I'm a good listener.’

These are all guys MY AGE – and they sound like my dad! Actually, no – my dad’s waaay cooler than this!

It’s not the weird church language that’s freaking me out (though it’s weird they demand to know how you characterize your faith right off the bat. That’s totally personal, dude.) It’s not the bizarre church sub-culture thing that’s making me skeeved out. Not entirely, anyway.

It’s the blankness I see – I have NO idea what any of these guys are really like. They all sound alike, like the same things, want the same things, live the same way (or say they do) but I honestly don’t get a sense of WHO they are. There’s just a big hole where a personality is supposed to be. Except that they all seem to wear the face of a happy shiny Jesus mask. I think that’s weird – a sub culture of men who seem to be cut from the same holy cloth. What's behind the mask? No one is happy shiny Jesus all the time; if you are, you are lying or are on some kind of serious meds.

Would it be more spiritual of me to ask that God make me like bland men? (shudder)
Or is it wrong that I like men who have better writing skills? (that makes me a snob, doesn’t it.)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 | What Part of "Wait Until Marriage" Don't You Understand! | 2005-09-28 | News & Features | Infiltrator | What Part of "Wait Until Marriage" Don't You Understand! | 2005-09-28

i have thoughts on this, but i'm at work and it made me laugh so hard i have to recover. so look for my thoughts later tonight.

(yes, the guy is not exactly christian-friendly, but his experience at the conference is hilarious. so familiar...)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

handmaiden's tale: far-fetched? not in indiana

THIS is ... (sputter) incredible! absolutely incredible!

this CANNOT be constitutional! omg. i can't tell you the freaky alleys my mind is walking down right now because of this news.

do the words unethical, unconstitutional, invasive, wrong, bio-fascist and none of your business mean anything to a wingnutter?

next obssession: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe How to Tell if The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a Christian Film -- Page 1

ok, kittens.
dust off those books and get to reading. there'll be a quiz later.
(i haven't read TLTWatW since i was a girl.)

Monday, October 03, 2005

we're doomed.

let me get this straight:
the highest court in the LAND and you pick someone who's NEVER been a judge!!

(and who says republicans don't believe in affirmative action? oh, right, it's not affirmative action - it's 'loyalty.')

Friday, September 30, 2005

modest proposal, pt 2: bill bennet, please shut up

White House Criticizes Bennett for Remarks - New York Times

bill says:
"I was pointing out that abortion should not be opposed for economic reasons, any more than racism or for that matter slavery or segregation should be supported or opposed for economic reasons," he said. "Immoral policies are wrong because they are wrong, not because of an economic calculation. One could just as easily have said you could abort all children and prevent all crime, to show the absurdity of the proposition."


In an interview with Fox News, Mr. Bennett said critics had distorted his comments by omitting his statement that aborting all black babies would be "morally reprehensible."

"When that is included in the quote, it makes it perfectly clear what my position is," Mr. Bennett said, "They make it seem as if I am supporting such a monstrous idea, which I don't."

but, funny, though he 'easily' could have said so, he didn't say that one could abort all children and prevent all crime. he says black babies. (equating blackness and crime and being generally offensive and dumb all at the same time); and saying that it's reprehensible (which had been included in all the transcripts) doesn't take away from the fact that he SAID IT.

no give backs. no do-overs. you SAID it, Bill.

(hey, let's play the bill bennet game! i'll go first: we could prevent all rape by aborting all male babies. of course to do so would be wrong, but it's a thought, right? or, we could stop all terrorism by aborting all muslims. or, we could stop homophobia by isolating the gay gene and aborting all gay babies. wow. this is a fun game once you get started. thanks, bill!)

no judgment. just sayin'...

after waxing all introspective below it seems a shame to bump it down with common snark but THIS is TOO good: Hostage Gave Meth to Atlanta Fugitive.

remember that awful bad man down in atlanta who took that sweet church going woman hostage and she won her liberty by witnessing to him about the Lord?

well, it seems it was less the Lord and more the sweet sweet tweak of tina.

(kiddies, this is irony.)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

katrina & race: post mortem

Body and Soul: Criminals and victims revisited

as is my wont i'm posting this right before bed so my thoughts aren't going to be smooth or plainly laid out. i'm thinking about the story my father told me, of black people eating dead bodies; i'm thinking of stories of black people shooting at helicopters trying to rescue them; i'm thinking about stories of marauding hordes while a city descends into chaos and anarchy. i'm thinking about stories of gang rapes in stadiums.

did we believe these stories?

how many blogs did we read where commenters distanced ourselves from what we heard and saw on tv; we were horrified at those stories and angry at them. posters saying they couldn't understand why people would behave like that. we spoke in private conversations at the office about not getting how people could be so lawless. where was the personal responsibility, we asked? where's the accountability, we mused?

i did it. i remember writing on my other blog how ashamed i felt at all those stories and images. i internalized the easy racist (prejudice + power = racism) narratives of the Black Rapist, the Black Looter, the Black Savage.

and now, on further examination, it turns out those narratives were mostly empty. yes, there was looting; yes, there was crime. but not on the level our fevered imaginations created. the shots fired at helicopters were fired on the ground; the hordes are two men; the rapes...

so, now that we're calmer, where did our acquiescence come from? why were we so pliant to listen to those stories?

don't you think that's interesting?
i think that's interesting.

more, sir? no, enough!

Have you noticed that those of us in the blog-hood seem to be tottering on our last legs lately? Over the past month I keep running across writers who, one by one, have gasped, "It's too much. The world is too much. I can't take it and now I must go."

It has happened. The absurdity and wrongness of this world have finally taken its toll on the best and brightest of us and now we've retreated to our netflix subscriptions, gin and home-brewed beer.

Katrina was probably the breaking point but let's spread the blame around: George Bush, new Republicans, college kids who don't like homework, opt out moms/daughters, reality tv mavens, social conservatives, men's rights activists, maxim readers, status quo humpers, religious fanatics (of all stripes) and plain old stupid people have succeeded in finally sucking the last drop of resistance from us and now, limp with despair, we just want to take our toys back and live in the tree house where we can remember the good old days of 1999. (remember how much fun it was then? shit, even 2001 was more fun than this. at least i was having sex in 2001.)

I don't know about you, but I can't take 3 more years of Bush Co. I can't take a whole lifetime of Roberts and his anti-privacy/women/pro-corporate crap. (yeah, it's not even his first day on the job but let me go on the record: he's going to startle us with his suckage! look at history! it repeats!) I won't be able to withstand middle age railing against some freaky ID advocate who wants us to redefine science to resemble prayer. I won't be able to muster the energy to keep birth control a matter of health and privacy, not religion. I won't be able to stay sane as we morph into a bunch of nationalistic pseudo-christian hopheads.

Maybe this was their plan all along - exhaust us with an unceasing barrage of stupidity, misogyny, various -phobias and -isms until we are so shocked with their audacity we just fold in defeat.

Because I especially won't be able to withstand the continued transformation of the democratic party into oliver twist much longer, either.

a modest proposal: bill bennett on crime and black babies

think bill's trying to be satirical?

i don't.

(i need to start keeping a list of old men i want to kick in the ass.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

chicken little was right -- Huge Quake Cracks Star

according to my roomie something is waking up, has woken up or will wake up something else that will wake up and kick our galactic asses.

and i don't feel bad about that at all. the state of the world is so crappy right now, i kinda hope a meteorite breaks off and careens right into us, putting us out of our misery so we can start all over again.

does that make me a dominionist?

Friday, September 23, 2005

crafty. grr!

will be here this weekend as i hide from my birthday chin hairs.
maybe i'll pick up something cute and funky.

and maybe he'll go to church.

(heh heh. see that? i made a joke.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

grip, pt 2

March of the Conservatives: Penguin Film as Political Fodder - New York Times

someone please tell me that the world has totally flipped on its axis and this article is a joke.

please. please?

(my two cents: MOTP was cute. it was a straight up injection of sugar right into the heart. it was bloodless, deathless and curiously benign. don't know about you, but i grew up with mutual of omaha's nature programming on sunday afternoons. marlon perkins would stroll out in his khakis and hat, say a few words and then we'd see a lioness running down a young wildebeast. now THAT was nature.

and if morgan freeman hints that predators stalk the dedicated penguin then i want to see that weirdo ice vulture bird totally snatch a fuzzy penguin baby and then fly away with its head. predation, people. predation. THAT's nature.)

a grip and why some people need to get one

now we're verbally attacking docents in natural history museums?
is it really all that big of a deal? is the idea of natural selection so incredibly challenging to faith that one must verbally harangue a volunteer in a museum while kids are on field trips?

and now museum folks have to go to trainings to learn how to deal with rabid fundamentalists?

is it just me or has the world become completely absurd?

Monday, September 19, 2005

waah, waah, waah: i'm turning 36

oh, blah.

nothing right now is grabbing my attention, either on the news or off. last week worked me so hard i was brain dead for the entire weekend. i have overdue library books, com'tee meetings and a huge fundraiser coming up next month at work that's just about ready to drive all of us insane at the office.

and - next weekend is my birthday. 36. it's depressing. my friends are treating me to a pink martini concert and that's great. i love pink martini; i love my friends. it'll be wonderful. but then, that's it. i don't want to think any more than i have to about turning 36 (though it's clear i've been giving it a lot of thought already). i don't want to really celebrate it. i want it to disappear.

more and more i'm thinking about how invisible women become the older we get. or, maybe this is just about me. i'm feeling invisible the closer i get to true middle age. it's like, ok if there's no rocking passion in my life at least let there be decadent fun. (yes i'm passionate about my work and about my writing but that doesn't keep a girl exactly excited, you know?) but no. no decadent fun. just age. more hairs in unmentionable places. more evidence of sagging and stretching.

and, shallow as this is, my bras have changed. from lacy cute things to utilitarian soviet-style underwear that really do the job. ugh. so unsexy. it's depressing, this 36. i may even be closer to early menopause than i thought previously. now that i think about it, my mom went nuts right before her 40th birthday. pre-menopause. insanity. dwindling desire. increased hair growth. more stretch marks. aching knees.


(i know i'm totally internalizing our culture's shallow view of women and age and beauty and sexual desire, but i can't help it. it's been a whole year since i've had a boy friend. dammit. i'm not a patient woman!!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Negrophile: i wonder how he does it

excellent group of links here about Katrina, race, pedagogy, media and culture.

Church of the Masses

found via the revealer, a blog site about christian filmmaking.

(incidentally, i saw 'exorcism of emily rose' sunday after church. i agreed wholeheartedly with the couple behind me who whispered, 'it's like a possessed law & order.' it took me about half the movie to realize that this was not a horror film; it's a straight up movie about religious belief, suffering and martyrdom. once you see it like that, and not like a vomiting gross-out, then the movie becomes less unsatisfactory.)

Friday, September 09, 2005

things to do today:

1. get out of the house. (have early offsite meeting. can't be late!)
2. finish writing article for magazine, due TOMORROW!
3. finish reading yesterday's comic books.
4. say eulogy for libido.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

good night

first-hand account from a volunteer in houston helping out the evacuees.

good reading and a tonic to the news.

[via heretik]

Monday, September 05, 2005

new orleans: gay- and abortion-free

News from Agape Press

key 'graph:

Rev. Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans, also sees God's mercy in the aftermath of Katrina -- but in a different way. Shanks says the hurricane has wiped out much of the rampant sin common to the city.

The pastor explains that for years he has warned people that unless Christians in New Orleans took a strong stand against such things as local abortion clinics, the yearly Mardi Gras celebrations, and the annual event known as "Southern Decadence" -- an annual six-day "gay pride" event scheduled to be hosted by the city this week -- God's judgment would be felt.

“New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says. "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again."


Sunday, September 04, 2005

katrina and race

I just got off the phone with my father who’s been very distressed by all the images and news coming out of New Orleans at this time. A man who’s been expecting some kind of race war since 1984, my father is looking at this moment in time as a perfect opportunity for The Man to finally throw up his hands about The Violent Looting Hordes of Black People and put us all in Gitmo-like camps.

I had to calm him down; he said that things are tense where he is. Since he’s in Los Angeles, I’m not surprised. The images and news of the stranded shooting at rescue helicopters, of the city degenerating into chaos over the past week – it resonates strongly in a city that’s simmering in its own racial tensions. For him, our people have turned into animals. (He’s having a very Bill Cosby moment.)

He woke me up very early this morning (before church!!) to ask if I’d heard the rumors about cannibalism in New Orleans. I hadn’t. So I googled it. Almost all the sites that mentioned cannibalism were wacked out extreme right-wing, white supremacists.

My father was so distraught he came awfully close to saying things like this guy is saying (found via steve gilliard). I'm not going to go into an impassioned plea for racial tolerance or some pedagogical song-and-dance about how racism takes an individual act, substitutes it for the whole and then leaps off into insanity from there. It's too exhausting to teach white folks (and black folks like my dad) about the power structures of Racism. Let's keep the conversation on the micro level.

Is that what the majority of us think? Deep down, below our manners and our politics? Beyond stats on FEMA, levees, poor planning, poor execution, is this what we really think?

If it is, the problem isn’t just in New Orleans.

crappity crap: rehnquist dead


Wednesday, August 31, 2005


when my father was on a rampage against secular humanism back in the day, one of the things he railed against was new age thinking. back then, the closest i ever got to new age anything was The Wave, a radio station that played kenny g and manheim steamroller. i never really paid all that much attention to it.

one bible study of my father's once mentioned that meditation was dangerous because 'when you empty your mind the devil can step in.' i never quite understood that, either. it seemed equally irrational.

to me, never giving your mind a rest seemed like a recipe for a nervous breakdown.

things like yoga and meditation, though the mental/health benefits of them are well-documented, aren't a part of the good baptist girl's upbringing, i guess. idle hands, empty minds, flexible limbs...all these are the devil's playground.

well, not anymore.

(my office is starting a weekly yoga class in the fall and i've signed up. i'm 35 and the stiffness in my joints is starting to piss me off. the devil be damned.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

kirk cameron: where is he now?

now you know.

(i know. i shouldn't laugh. really. i shouldn't. bad ding. really bad ding! but I CAN'T HELP IT!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I was going through some of my archives last night – couldn’t sleep again – and wow – I was feisty and the writing wasn’t bad, either. Lately, I’ve come to realize that my postings are a little uneven; they’re a mixture of ‘hey, my butt!’ and ‘grr, the latest moves against women’s rights’ and ‘look, shoes!’ Work has been hectic (not complaining) and our fundraising season is heating up and will most likely stay there until October.

But I’m sad the writing has been so choppy lately and that some things I've really wanted to write about haven't happened yet. My bad.

So, I’m taking a little break. Just for a couple of weeks. To regroup my writing and get thoughtful again instead of merely reactionary. See y'all soon.

it's called LABOR for a reason, pt 2: a guy's view

Daddy Types, the weblog for new dads: Get Out Of The Delivery Room With A Note From The NYT's Doctor

he's succinct and gets it:

Apparently, women are expected to accept the multiple functions of a penis without any complaints or diagnosable hangups, but if it might be problematic someday, it's better for a man not to have to contemplate the multiple roles of a vagina?