Friday, May 26, 2006

the obvious and the gay

over here is a study that says that poorer americans may be more stressed out than others.


(h/t: Shakespeare's Sister)

in honor of this city's IML festival, i'll probably post something later about the FMPA again. it's time. again.

but i'll have to do it later. i need to get a mani/pedi.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

just under the deadline

a while ago a friend told me he thought i wrote better when i didn't give myself a whole bunch of time to ruin it with thinking. that made sense to me, at the time. (and he was an editor, after all)

but what that really means is that i've trained myself to procrastinate till the VERY last minute.

i'm exhausticated.

but the piece for Geez mag is finished, i'm actually happy with it (until i reread it tomorrow) and if they use it, huzzah!

Friday, May 19, 2006

new planetary system: a conversation

scene: a cab, on the way home from marshall field's with the roomie.

roomie: so did you see the emails today between me and K-?
ding: no. i was busy all day. i barely checked email.
roomie: dude! you don't know about the new planets?
ding: the new what?
roomie: the new planets. dude. they discovered a new planetary system.
ding: shut up. a whole system? are you sure it just wasn't a bunch of stars or something? and how far away are they?
roomie: a whole system. behind venus or something.
ding: shut up. that close?? there was an entire planetary system within our own system, hidden behind a planet? what??
roomie: i don't know. i can't remember the details of the article. but i was saying to K- that this is how it begins - they discover a new planetary system and then, boom, Battlestar Galactica happens.

ding: (laughing) you are so crazy. but you have a point. how cool would that be? we get invaded by aliens in this new planetary system. that would change a lot.
roomie: politics, religion - everything. the fundamentalists would crap. it would blow everything out the water. everyone would have to come together to face the invasion.
ding: true. who would care about the clash of cultures, christianity versus islam, when there are aliens who want us for food?
roomie: they wouldn't necessarily be bad.
ding: it's always bad. every twilight zone episode has shown us that earthlings are terribly naive and then we get eaten by the invaders. and i could see the christian right telling us the alien invasion is actually satan.

roomie: all i'm saying is that there is a new planetary system and no one thinks this is an issue.
ding: that's ok. you'll be our chicken little. - Three new planets found around sun-like star - May 18, 2006

friday is my new best friend

i have a day off today.

i so need it. the past few months at the office have been insane. phase 1 of a project just finished and i am so glad, i could do a dance (and the dance would look like that eileen dance on seinfeld - don't get me wrong. i have rhythm. but my joy requires total goofy dancing this very minute); i was taking work home, working 12 hour days and i was just exhausted.

so now i'm home, in my bedroom, emailing, reading the paper and getting ready to go outside and get some coffee and go to the bank down the street. when i get back i have to start writing that article for Geez. (bad freelancer, bad!)

isn't friday great?

Monday, May 15, 2006

this is how you evangelize: cylon fundamentalists and the coolest show ever

my roomie and i are new to 'battlestar galactica'. (she hates that i tell everyone how much we love this show.)

i mean, i remember the old show with lorne greene walking around in shiny robes and richard hatch and dirk benedicts with guns strapped to their thighs. (oh, how many pictures of those two did i have taped to the inside of my book case? i loooved apollo.) but all i really remember from the old show were the really bad firefights and, actually, i think most of my memories are mixed up with Buck Rogers.

anyway, to catch up with everyone else who loves this show, my roomie and i spent two weekends renting season one and season two (damn them for splitting up season 2!) and we've immersed ourselves in the whole mythology.

yes, we're dorks! i love science fiction! space opera is the best!

things we love:
that starbuck is a woman - this is a HUGE improvement and we love it.
the fight scenes are so much better!
lt. gaeta is hot

i'm fascinated with how BG treats religion; i sense that there's a fairly complex 'theology'/mythology behind the whole narrative and we get a glimpse of it when the President goes on one of her drug induced visions or when the really annoying blonde Cylon babe (she's SO annoying) ups her Cylon-witnessing gambit with Baltar. or when adama and the president get into one of their faith v. military maneuvering discussions. i love it.

but is this religious war supposed to be analogous to our christian/islamic clash of cultures or just a basic christian/heathen thing?

and there are other questions:
how can the cylons have religion if they're machines?
what is their religion? and how did they get it?
and the humans worship greek mythology? huh?
what's the deal with kobol, again?
can someone please explain this to me??

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Saturday, May 13, 2006

this week in prebyterianism

so i'm a deacon. we have an all day retreat next weekend and i am going to need loads of patience and caffeine to get through it.

and i'm about to step into a com'tee chair position that i can just tell is going to make me lose my temper and snap in the middle of a meeting. why i agreed to this, i don't know. yes i do! as a favor to my roommate who was vacating the position! argh. i knew i should've said no. i hate meetings. and i hate meetings that last more than one hour. and all we presbyterians do is meet. about everything.

has NO ONE heard of email?
or at least meeting at a bar so i can smoke?
this morning (and let's not even think about why i was up at 6.45 am on a Saturday) i found an email from a guy wanting to ask me questions about feminism and blogging for some article he's writing. he's probably some undergrad who has to write a paper.

but i thought his questions were useful so i'm posting them and my answers here:

# When did you start your blog?
I started ChurchGal about 3 years ago; I’d already had another blog up and running but I really wanted a separate space to talk about religion, faith and feminism in a more specific way.

# How many visits the site every month (if you don't know, then your estimate)?
I really can’t say. I don’t have a site meter (I really should get one of those) but I’ve noticed that I am getting more unique visitors since I joined a Progressive/Moderate Christian web-ring.
Sometimes the only way I have of measuring visits is through comments – some topics get big hits (anything having to do with sex or reproductive rights) and some get nothing (feminist theory and cultural semiotics, let’s say.)

# Do you know how many feminists blogs are out there - how many do you know?
There are many of us. Many, many, many. There is a huge list of women, feminist bloggers over at What She Said! I read Bitch, Ph.D regularly; I Blame the Patriarchy is another must-read and Angry Black Bitch is simply phenomenal. From there, of course, I read other writers and it’s astounding how many really good, smart, intellectually fierce women are writing!

# Why do you blog?
I first began blogging to get out of writer’s block; but then, when Bush became President the first time, it became a place for me to vent my anger and frustration at the direction my country had taken. I wanted to be public in my anger, my vitriol, my contempt for this administration.

But now I blog because it’s good intellectual practice. Based on some comments, I’m realizing that there is a lot of intellectual/educational work yet to be done to raise people’s consciousness. For instance, I plan on writing soon about Oprah Winfrey’s talk-show as a skillful cover for her contempt for the suburban housewife; I can guarantee someone will ask me why I hate housewives and what I have against Oprah? Or, when I talk about ‘patriarchy’ people ask me why I have an issue with ‘men’, not realizing patriarchy is a system, not a collection of guys – though men benefit primarily from patriarchy. Blogging makes me realize that not everyone went to college or university the way I did.

Being in dialogue with people (even with people who don’t agree) forces me to really assume a strong stance on some issues and really defend that stance. It’s like being back in school with a really demanding professor.

# Why do you think these blogs have become so popular?
They’re free. Well, not all of them, but generally they’re flattening access to authorship. Instead of discourse being generated by a few culturally elite, now everyone’s creating it. It’s truly populist – from the teenage girls with their Hello, Kitty templates to the serious academics like Juan Cole or Michael Berube – and then women like me, too. My father, a Baptist minister, has a blog!

# Does "equal status" between the sexes exist?
It depends on how you define ‘equality’ and ‘status’.

# If no, is that why you blog?
I don’t blog to even a score between men and women. I blog primarily because I love writing and I write to live. If I didn’t write, I’d go insane. But there is also a part of me that blogs to give voice to the more political or academic Me. It was something that had disappeared for a while and now it’s back and it never would have reappeared if it hadn’t been for blogging.

However, there is a secret part of me that likes to think that when people ask that idiotically sexist question, ‘Where are the women bloggers?’ I can raise my hand and say ‘Over here, you idiotic sexist!’

# Is this in your opinion the revival of the third wave? (Or is it really the fourth wave?)
I don’t even know what this ‘wave’ stuff is. For me, feminist bloggers are returning to our most basic, fundamental beginnings because we have to. I love how people talk as if feminism has made huge strides forward – it hasn’t. It’s alarming how much farther we have to go. Women are still extremely vulnerable to economic upset, our decision whether to conceive or bear children are under serious attack, and the last time I checked women in the U.S. only made up 14% of our political infrastructure despite being over 50% of the population. That’s huge. In some ways, blogging by feminists is a step to galvanize women to look at those conditions and do something about it – change something. Change anything.

I was in a meeting yesterday (and I work for a feminist organization) and a coworker said this about the use of the word Feminism: “It’s about as relevant today as abolition.” I laughed my ass off, but that’s a serious statement.

# How can this "wave" reach those not fortunate enough to own or have the chance to use a computer?
That’s an excellent question. My simple and completely ill-educated answer is to make sure we get those people computers. Information and education is power and if we want to empower the disempowered we need to make sure they have the means to free themselves.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

fork and spoon! fork and spoon!

pinay of the world unite - a little canadian boy is being persecuted because he used a fork and spoon at the lunch table!

down with single utensil hegemony! down with it, i say!

JP: Luc Cagadoc: The DoubleSpeak (jp is all over this like a fork over a spoon)

why fork/spoon eating is good:
it is more efficient
you don't have to chase your food around your plate
you don't have to switch hands
it's perfect for scooping the meat with the rice
my mommy taught me to eat like this


Sunday, May 07, 2006

the hypocrite housewife

i read this essay in the back of my roomie's latest Time mag while taking a morning constitutional and i had a suspicion that something was wrong.

1. the whiny victim tone. sweetie, you're not a victim. the image of ms. flanagan, homey homemaker, being marched back to the protective arms of the GOP while the mean girls of the Dem party hoot bad names and vulgar gestures because ms. flanagan is a nice girl who'd rather stay home than hold a picket sign is ridiculous. from all reports, ms. flanagan is just as privileged as her husband; she is an accomplished writer who earns money with her writing, and has a staff to help her do it. how many traditional housewives get that? (and, frankly, the notion that only SHE gets to have a dead mother whom she misses desperately is sickening and offensive.)

2. the sticking up for the white male. does the White Male (as signifier) really need another apologist? really? is it stigmatizing the WM to reveal the existence of those on the outside, rather than to always cater to those on the inside with ultimate cultural privilege? (like any other upper middle class white woman, she's uncomfortable with having privilege revealed and being called out on it.) i think it's interesting that she chooses to frame her argument like this, rather than say that the Dem party has abandoned the working man - which it hasn't and she'd be hard pressed to show that it has.

or perhaps her allegation would ring truer if she wrote that the 'beer-guzzling, union-dues paying' white guy got the shit scared out of him by the GOP when 9/11 hit. rather, flanagan makes the WM a victim like herself and we all know how much they suffer, don't we?

3. she's wrong. perhaps i'm watching the wrong Democratic party but i've always felt that the party has been abject in its pursuit of the Housewife. it's women like me the party's abandoned - single women, single women of color, single working men and women. in my particular case, the post-election backpedaling on the choice issue is one such example; discussion abounded that perhaps the language of reproductive choice was too scary for those housewives living in places like naperville; it was too angry. and where are the policies that look out for the interests of the people like me in the party - people who don't live in a subdivision, people without children, but still people who work hard and believe heartily in progressive causes? instead we watch as the party fumbles for its nerve and makes concessions to those easily upset.

so if anyone is being alienated by the Dems, it's not a housewife. and it's certainly not because of contempt. to muster contempt, a party must have vast stores of anger and the GOP spits it continuously while we swallow ours and hope no one notices. We're Here, We're Square, Get Used to It -- May. 08, 2006 -- Page 1
Joan Walsh about Flanagan on the Huffington Post

Saturday, May 06, 2006

icky, but interesting: Father-daughter balls, coverture, and the double standard

the incestuous overtones aside, father-daughter balls are interesting. i think hugo's comment about old english law and 'coverture' is particularly apt, because it puts the 'father owns daughter' idea front and center, despite the sweetness and light of having daughters dance with their dads.

let's be clear; i think dads should spend a lot more time with their children. i don't think teenagers should be sexually active.

but, personally, if my dad had told me we were going to some funky 'pseudo-prom' together and dance to some christian rock-lite, i would have gagged. WHO wants to be in a clinch with their dad?? when they're in junior high or high school?? totally icky. (it's weird enough there's that whole 'first dance' thing at weddings.)

but why the focus on daughters and not sons? why no mother-son proms or balls? daughters are precious, but so are sons. right?
any policy, activity or ideology that focuses solely on controlling the behavior of girls and women and not boys or men makes my anti-authoritarian hackles rise with suspicion.

anyway, the post is good and the discussion is especially good - which is why i like reading hugo. his community is really sorta cool. (except when all the MRM-ers get on it. they blow.)

Hugo Schwyzer: Father-daughter balls, coverture, and the double standard

about coverture, and the language of covering, in case you were curious:

In English and American law, coverture refers to women's legal status after marriage: legally, upon marriage, the husband and wife were treated as one entity (and not in that swoony, romantic soulmate way, either). In essence, the wife's separate legal existence disappeared as far as property rights were concerned.

Under coverture, wives could not control their own property unless specific provisions were made before marriage, they could not file lawsuits or be sued separately, nor could they execute contracts. The husband could use, sell or dispose of her property (again, unless prior provisions were made) without her permission.
(Almost as if she didn't exist!!)

Sir William Blackstone, in 1765, said this about coverture and the legal rights of married women, in Commentaries on the Laws of England:

"By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very
being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at
least incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband
: under whose
wing, protection, and cover, she performs every thing; and is therefore called
... a feme-covert...." [emphasis mine]

um, yeah. so by borrowing heavily on this language which legally served to erase women's individual. legal rights to property (which also gave access to other public rights), this father-daughter purity movement ideologically and symbolically erases the person at the center of all this purity and family unity - the daughter.

what do we call an institutionalized web of social practices that deliberately eliminate women from visibility? patriarchy!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

missing the good stuff

this is what happens when you spend the entire weekend watching season 1 of Battlestar Galactica - you miss stephen colbert ripping the president a new one. to his face.

it rocks. it's uncomfortable. it makes you squirm. you want to look away. you can't believe he's saying it. and then you're glad he said it.

full transcript is at the end and if you can stand the video, you can catch it at crooks & liars. priceless!

The Blog Chris Durang: Ignoring Colbert, Part Two The Huffington Post

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ask your rep to Vote no on S.1955: why? because it's not 1955

as scintillating as wage equity is, here's an alert to protect some basic healthcare coverage for women (and some men). this will matter to you if:
you have a uterus
enjoy having a uterus
enjoy knowing your uterus' needs are covered by your health coverage

Click here to write to your senator:

If this current budget making its way through is carried, women in every state will lose benefits. It sounds like a bad joke, but it couldn't be more serious. S. 1955 would allow insurance plans to ignore important state laws that protect patients, directly affecting more than 90 million Americans. Chances are you're one of them.

That's why I'm asking you to write to your senator today anddemand that the federal government protect your health coverage:

You may have heard about this "Lose Your Benefits Bill" before, but now it has passed out of committee and the full Senate will vote on it. It's an insidious attempt by hardline senators to chip away at our basic rights. These lawmakers have tried before to restrict access to birth control and other health care you need. Their latest strategy? Force women to pay for these benefits out of pocket.

We've worked for decades to pass state laws that requireinsurance companies to cover birth control just like other medicines. This bill would trample those laws, but it doesn't stop there. Besides fair coverage for contraception, here are some of the other benefits that women could lose:
<> cancer screenings
<> mammograms
<> maternity care
<> the ability to go straight to your OB/GYN when you have a problem
<> the ability to stay with the same doctor throughout apregnancy
<> infertility treatment
<> osteoporosis screenings

And it's not just women who will be affected - the bill guts state protections for coverage for prostate cancer screenings, ambulatory surgery, emergency services, and more. To make matters worse, it will likely also increase the costs of health insurance for older and sicker people who need health insurance most.

Please take two minutes to speak out against this dangerous bill- the Senate could vote as early as next week. Contact your senator now:

Think of it as an investment - two minutes of activism now vs. hundreds or thousands of dollars in extra health costs for you and your family.

Monday, May 01, 2006

another brain buster: do women work less than men?

over at this thread, PV has made a startling pronouncement: women work less than men, therefore, it's ok to pay us less.

when i recovered from my brain bleed, it took me the whole weekend to decompress from the intense discussion of female submission, so i'm just now getting to this little brainbuster.

do we women really work less than men?

i tried to count how many meals my mother planned and cooked for our family between kindergarten and my sophomore year in college: i estimated that was roughly 20,000 meals cooked in a 14-year period. and she had a job for roughly the same period, outside the home. and that still doesn't count the other types of labor she contributed: housecleaning, shopping, food preparation, accounting, household administrative duties, child care/rearing, home repair (my dad was sort of helpless with this), and gardening.

folks, this is all labor. it's work. if it wasn't work, then it would be called fun. since it's not called Fun, then it's Work.

in the april issue of The Economist there are a couple of articles that examine the role of women on economic growth globally in rich nations (i guess we just got rid of that whole First/Third World thing, huh?) and they come up with some interesting ideas:

- in rich countries, we do better in school, are getting more university degrees and are filling most new jobs
- since 1950 men's employment in the US has slipped 12 points to 77% while women's employment rate increased by 1/3 (in America this growth has stalled though there's hope that we can use this market share in new ways in the future, especially as male-dominated industries like manufacturing and manual labor shrink, giving way to jobs requiring more brain power than muscle power)
- women working around the world have contributed more to global GDP growth than new technology or nations like China or India
- women make better investors and make 80% of all consumer decisions
- greater partcipation by women in the workforce could help offset effects of an ageing population and support growth
- the under utilization of women in developing countries stunts economic growth rather than the opposite
- it is untrue that in countries where women work, birthrate shrinks in the long run; rather, in countries where the decline in fertility is high, female unemployment is also high.

needless to say, i think this problematizes at the very least, the idea that wage inequity is ok simply because we 'work less.' the only time my mother 'worked less' was when she got sick and stopped working altogether. and i don't know about you all, but i work my ass off.

ok, discuss! (rules for this discussion: it's not about divorce! in other words, let's try and stay on topic. and if your main source of information is from a guy who could be considered by most academic sources a 'nutjob', i advise using other, less crazy, sources!)