slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
So the phone rings, right, and it comes up as 000-000-0000 Name Unavailable.1 So I do what I usually do when bill collectors call2: I pick up and hold the phone in my hand for a minute waiting until someone starts talking to hang up. But I hear the name "Senator Carl Levin" and I'm like--oh no, I want to take this call.

Because Senator Levin is fucking awesome, even when he is only a recorded message.

Senator Levin has helpfully told me which candidates he endorses for the Michigan Supreme Court! This is useful and relevant to my interests. Because I listen primarily to country music on the radio3 and watch very little TV, the vast majority of the political ads to which I'm exposed are conservative. This means I now have to do slightly less research this weekend to sort out my voting plans--I'll still check out the candidates in this particular race but now I have a little bit of context. Because you would be surprised how good the conservatives around here can make themselves sound if you're not paying close attention.

So thanks again, Senator Levin, for helping me figure out how I'm voting and also for being completely fucking awesome.

1. Now, personally, I would like there to be some kind of a law stating that unless you're a private citizen, you have to allow Caller ID to identify you accurately.
2. Because we don't have the money to pay them; I'd like to try to formulate payment plans with them and at least make an effort to cooperate so they don't totally screw us, but it's Nigel's student loan debt and he won't do it.
3. On the off chance that once or twice an hour they might play a female artist. I like a lot of female country artists and even a few of the male ones.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
- people are calling Kate out on stuff others of us have said and holding her responsible for it even though it wasn’t her that said it

- so many fucking white people invested in making sure we can all agree that the act of taking a Funny Hitler photo is not as racist as blah blee bloo, and if I have to say to myself, what does this remind me of, to be perfectly honest the first thing to come to my mind is the reaction of the male progressive blogosphere to the picture of some Obama staffer groping the cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton and miming forcing beer down her throat, because we all know if a White Dude didn’t mean it That Way then everything is fine and dandy

- somehow saying “I find it really fucking odd that someone wouldn’t say anything about it if they didn’t already know their partner was like this” is the same as saying “Sandra Bullock owes us all an explanation and if she doesn’t give us one she is no better than her husband”, except that those two things are in fact not the same at all

- white people’s handwaving about what is and is not racism, and what is and is not as bad as what else, is just so much “pay no attention to the oppression behind the curtain”; let’s all re-focus our attention off of racism and back onto what white people think about racism and the hierarchy of where you fall on “I’m not a bad person really” instead of owning our shit and trying to change something for fuck’s sake

- people being perfectly willing to speculate, based on evidence that he probably thinks Nazis are awesome, that Jesse James is an abusive partner, but it is just beyond the pale to speculate that Sandra Bullock may have been aware of, and in fact may have condoned, the Nazi shit

- the implication all over the goddamn place like the elephant in the middle of the living room that we all tiptoe around that Sandra Bullock’s lack of male privilege erases her white privilege, that somehow we as a society should not expect her to speak out against bigotry whenever she has the opportunity because she is a woman–yes there is a sexist history of assuming that women share their husbands’ politics, but this is coming from a different place than that, I can’t say it right I’m sure because it’s three o’clock in the goddamn morning but the thing is, I expect white people to speak up against this shit when given the chance because it is not people of color’s job to end racism, they didn’t start the shit, it’s on us to do it, and yes, to be perfectly fucking clear, if a white person is handed on a silver platter (or a silver-plated shit platter, let’s be honest, if you are a decent person finding out you’re married to someone who thinks Nazis are awesome is not going to be a pleasant experience) the opportunity to speak out against racism and doesn’t take it, you bet your ass I start to wonder why

- my pasty white ass saying the same thing people of color have said a million fucking different ways gives white people epiphanies
slythwolf: (BULLSHIT)
Dear President Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party,

How many fucking times do I have to tell you? Seriously. Can I own my uterus yet? No? How about now?

You can blather on about the status quo and how this shit doesn't change anything all you want; it won't make it true.

In case any of you are interested, this shit is exactly why I didn't vote for President Obama in 2008, as I have explained on several occasions. Mr. President, you have always talked out of both sides of your mouth when it came to my ownership of my uterus, and I had the sneaking suspicion that this indicated you might throw me and the rest of the female 52% of the country under the goddamn bus at the earliest opportunity. And guess what you did?

Now, I know there are people who think, every time you do something douchey and I say "I told you so, should have voted for Clinton", that I am gloating. I am not. I really, really wish I had been wrong. You know, not as much as I wish I were in the trouser leg of Time where Clinton actually won, but you not being a women-under-the-bus-throwing douche would get the job done.

And the rest of you! Jesus H. tapdancing Christ on a purple glitter pogo stick! What the fuck is this shit, are you still claiming to be the party on the left because if you are I am seriously interested to hear your explanation for the existence of this many fucking people in your party who are against abortion. You assholes are fucking moderates shading into conservative, and you fucking know it. Stop running right! Some of us are broke as shit over here and it's going to save you a fuckload of money to pay for my birth control and any abortions I might need than to feed my unwanted children! In fact, it would wind up helping the country make more money in the long run if you would make sure I and people like me had things like health care, decent education, and somewhere to sleep at night, but of course we can't think in the long run, can we, the corporations would complain because it might affect their bottom line for the quarter. And of course the Republicans would start shrieking about socialism OH WAIT.

God damn. I am so tired of this shit. Listen, you poorly organized collection of yahoos, wake up, yank your heads out of your collective asses and realize that the "them" you are protecting your (white, male) constituents from make up the bulk of your constituency, or I and my values will continue to fucking vote for someone else.

Go ahead, tell me I need to vote for you or the Republicans will get Roe overturned. You know you want to. I fucking dare you.

With exactly as much respect as you deserve,
Wolf A. Woman, Slytherin
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Is what it comes down to.

You don't get to make choices for me. I, as a sovereign being, get to make my own choices. I don't care what you know or what you think you know or what experience you have. You may be permitted to give me advice if I ask for it, and I may or may not follow it, but the choices to ask or not ask and to follow or not follow belong to me and me alone.

Unless I have explicitly asked your opinion on the matter, you, your friends, the government, the First Lady, the nine out of ten doctors who agree, the "everyone" in "everyone knows", and in fact anyone who is not my chosen health care provider, all have no right to tell me what is and is not healthy for my body, what I should and should not be doing with or to my body, what my body is, is not, should, or should not be capable of, or that and why you disapprove of my choices for and about my body.

My body belongs to me because it is me. (I am not only my body; it is not all of me, but it is me.) If I do not own myself, I have and am nothing. If you infringe upon my right to own and rule my body, you take from me all that I am and have. You make of me less than a person.

Autonomy and consent, the most basic of all human rights. Autonomy and consent, the foundation of who and what we are. The baseline of our ethical understanding, thrumming along through everything; this is all we need, here at the heart of it, all that any of us need to understand. You own you. I own me. If zie's not having fun, you have to stop. If zie doesn't want help, you don't give it. If zie asks you for something, you don't have to say yes. If hir body doesn't look or move or work the way you have been taught that bodies should, it doesn't matter, because it is none of your business. If zie chooses to do or be something that you don't understand and/or that you wouldn't choose for yourself, remember that hir choice belongs to hir; accept that people, like bodies, are different; and go on about your day.

If zie is hurting you, mentally, emotionally or physically, you have the right to tell hir to stop. You are under no obligation to consent to being hurt.

If zie is not hurting you, do not claim that zie is. Someone else being fat does not hurt you. Someone else being queer does not hurt you. Someone else being trans* does not hurt you. It does not matter whether these things are choices, because the choices that they may or may not be are still not yours.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
(At long last. Heh.)

For years, years, I have taken shit about this, either for identifying as Slytherin when I work for social justice, or for working for social justice when I identify as Slytherin. (The first being, how can you call yourself a Slytherin when you do X, Y and Z that we, the ignorant masses, perceive as Hufflepuff; and the second, how can you want to right social wrongs, you're a Slytherin!)

Well, these misconceptions arise from a fundamental misunderstanding of what Slytherin is actually about. People hear "any means to achieve their ends" and go OMG EVIL. No. No, no, no.

Thing is, being willing to do whatever's necessary to get done what you want to get done? That's just persistence. That's just refusal to give up until you have exhausted all the options.

What makes it evil is if your ends are evil. Yes, for reals.

No, I am not justifying doing evil things in the service of good. People who do that have lost sight of what their ends actually are, because doing evil in the service of good actually fails to accomplish the good, um, hello, because it's EVIL. Or, if they haven't lost sight of what their ends are, they are mistaken about what "good" is. They think they're trying to accomplish something good, but their "good" is actually evil.

But the point is: the Slytherin thing to do is to make sure the playing field is level, everyone has what they need to survive, and everyone can do whatever it is they love to do best. Why? Simple: Slytherins know you have to use all your resources.

We, as a society? We are not using all our resources.

Take me for example. I am fucking smart. I think critically about everything, I solve problems in new and innovative ways, I retain information extremely well and I pick up new skills ridiculously quickly. I do not have a job. I spend my days sitting in front of my computer, reading fanfic, playing video games and knitting things for myself. Our society is not using me to my full potential.

There are a lot of people out there like me. In fact, I would venture to say, everyone who is not already employed in a field zie feels passionate about and is doing cool and innovative things in? Is being underutilized.

There are three basic human resources our society is vastly underutilizing because of institutionalized bigotry, and those are talent, passion and imagination. And shit, with those three things we can do anything.

We are not doing it.

Instead our society is structured in such a way that the vast majority of people are employed in fields they hate, because various institutionalized bigotries (including but by no means limited to classism, racism, sexism, ablism and homophobia) have made it so that that's what you have to do to survive. You have to do work that does not inspire you, and when you are not inspired, guess what, you don't do your best work.

When people talk about Congress needing to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell so the military can keep qualified people to do necessary jobs--that's a Slytherin argument.

And this shit cuts both ways, too! So that you have doctors and lawyers who don't really like their work, but they do it, because their own internalized classism means they don't want to be poor, and poor people who really do want to do that work but can't because they don't have the resources to get the education. Meanwhile, lots of truly necessary work is undervalued--and I don't just mean stuff like teaching and childcare, although they totally count; I'm talking about the people who sew our clothing being paid orders of magnitude less than the minimum-wage retail clerks who take it out of a box and hand it to us. And I'm talking about art, and music, and stories, things that make our lives worth living but that we only really reward if you can get famous making them.

Human beings and human society have the potential to do, explore, create extraordinary things, but we are not using our available resources, and the resources are us. That is why Slytherin means caring about social justice. Slytherins do not look at the way things are and say "eh, that's good enough". Slytherins reach for something more. That is what ambition is. Not just personal ambition--although we have that too--but the ambition for our society to reach greater heights so that we, in turn, can reach greater heights as individuals.

I cannot reach my full potential unless society reaches its full potential, and nor can anyone else.

We have to use every tool at our disposal. It's foolish not to. It's foolish to rule out the potential contributions of billions of talented, passionate, imaginative people because of petty irrelevancies like their sex, race or disabilities, or because they don't happen to come from a family who has already achieved a certain level of financial success.

Some of you may have heard me blathering on in the past about the majority of Slytherins and traditionally Slytherin families during Harry's time at Hogwarts, well, sucking at being Slytherin. This is what I'm talking about. By looking down on the Muggle-born and lower-class members of their community, they leave half their tools in the box for no reason but foolish pride, and I disparage them accordingly. If you spend your whole life thinking screwdrivers are better than hammers, and suddenly you're faced with a nail, you're not going to get anywhere.

Gryffindors will talk to you about right and wrong and what is and is not okay to do to other people, and they have a point; they're not wrong; that stuff matters. But a Slytherin knows that even if you didn't care about any of that, you'd still have to work for social justice, because we cannot build anything if we leave half our tools in the box.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
I was just thinking about how I always have to explain to people, I don't believe in voting for the candidate I think will win over the candidate I actually want to win, and I realized: that's not voting, that's gambling.

Not watching the SOTU, by the way. I don't have enough rum.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
But I totally hope Rush Limbaugh is dead. That would really fucking make my year.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Dear Company That Runs My Apartment Complex,

Hey, so, Michigan has medical marijuana. We passed the law a year ago. I don't know how you guys could have missed that, but apparently.

Anyway, thanks for the little note you left on everybody's door saying omg noes someone could smell marijuana in one of the hallways and it says in our lease that there's no doing illegal stuff in the apartments. That's cool.

Only, here is the thing.

It could be that the person whose marijuana somebody smelled does, in fact, have a prescription for it.

It could be that that person has and uses marijuana perfectly legally and can prove it in court and if you try to evict them over it they will sue you for every last dime the company has for housing discrimination and they will win.

Now, it could be that someone is indeed breaking the law in their apartment, this is true. But it could also be that someone is not, and those of us who campaigned and voted for the medical marijuana law do not appreciate it when you outright state in your official communication that marijuana is an illegal substance.

It isn't. Right now, in Michigan, marijuana is no more illegal than my Ritalin.

No love,
Wolf A. Woman, Slytherin
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)

Mattress Discounters Veteran's Day Sale Commercial

So let me get this straight, okay? Let me work this out in my mind.

We send some people to war to fight for what the people in charge call "our freedoms". Now, sometimes what they're fighting for is a worthy cause, and sometimes it isn't, but it's always a hard, terrible, evil and painful thing for people to have to go through, is war. And the veterans who make it home (as we all know, not all of them do) get treated like absolute shit when they get back. Large numbers of them are homeless and will die in the streets. Those who do have somewhere to go, many of them, still have all kinds of problems, such as trying to get decent treatment for physical and mental disabilities we caused by sending them to war in the first place but that we don't want to acknowledge because it upsets our perfect little postcard image of the War Hero and makes it tough for us to sleep at night. We're living in a culture that will spend billions of dollars on weapons but can't seem to get it together on a little bit of goddamn human compassion for the people who use them.

But oh holy fuck, we are so goddamn supportive of our troops in this country, we love our veterans so goddamn much that we set aside a day to "honor" their service and their sacrifice, and what does that mean exactly?

It means everybody and their dog can use this "holiday" as an excuse to try to sell more merchandise. Can there be anything more manifestly offensive than the Veteran's Day Sale?

I fucking wish I could have found the Art Van commercial, I think it was, wherein they assured me that veterans and their families get an extra discount--they will pay your sales tax. Whoop-dee-fucking-do. Hey, [livejournal.com profile] ginmar, I bet it makes you feel just all warm and fuzzy and good inside that you can buy a new couch slightly cheaper than the general population. I bet that shit totally makes up for all the problems you have had with the VA! Everything is peachy keen now, huh?
slythwolf: (BULLSHIT)
Dear Democratic Party,

Fuck you too.

I would say you can have my reproductive rights when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers except that the reason my and many other women's fingers will be cold and dead may indeed be that you pried our reproductive rights from them.

I'll say it again: fuck you. It cannot be said enough.

No, absolutely no, love,
Wolf A. Woman, Slytherin

Dear Catholic church,

Get the hell out of politics or start paying taxes.

Seriously,
Wolf A. Woman, Slytherin
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Surprisingly, I, an extremely politically opinionated person, did not vote yesterday. Although it is true that part of the reason I didn't vote is that I have been so wrapped up in other shit that I didn't even realize yesterday was election day, nor did I bother to find out where my polling place is--well, those things are true because the following is true.

I moved to this town in June. I don't know shit about what goes on here, I don't know who the candidates were, I don't know anything about the community other than how to find my way to the grocery store and the mall.

And I do not think it's a good idea to vote when you don't have a clue about whom you're voting for. I think it's a disservice to yourself, your community and the process of democracy to vote based on "this name sounds cooler than that one", which would have been the best I had to offer.

I know there weren't any, like, actual laws being voted on that I might care about, because there are no "vote no on 1" or whatever signs around the neighborhood. If there had been, I would have found out about that and probably got all het up about something and gone and voted.

But I didn't; I would not have been able to make an informed decision. So I stayed home.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Welcome to yet another new recurring feature here at the Wolfcave! Come along with me as I explain how to behave like a halfway decent human being. This series will probably cover all kinds of stuff, from how to treat women like people to today's lesson: how not to patronize the shit out of poor people as if your middle-class ass has clue one what it's like to be poor!

Today we will examine several douchebag statements and learn some alternative statements that acknowledge the existence and humanity of poor people.

Douchebag Statement #1
"If the United States had public health care, you would have fewer choices about going to the doctor!"

This is a douchebag statement because it assumes that everyone listening to you is rich enough to afford and/or has a good enough job to be able to access the kind of health care where there is a choice about going to the doctor at all. In essence, what this statement actually means is that rich people might have fewer choices under a public system. Douchebags rarely say what they actually mean: it exposes them for what they are. They like the plausible deniability of not actually coming out and saying they only care about rich people.

Contrary to popular douchebag belief, many Americans have shitty health insurance and can only see a doctor they hate and/or a doctor whose office is a long way away from where they live and/or a shitty doctor who doesn't know how to diagnose and treat the problems that they actually have. These Americans will at worst have the same number of choices about their health care under the public system. Some of them may even be able to go to different doctors than the ones they have now, and may like them better.

Meanwhile, there is another group of often-overlooked-by-douchebags Americans, and those are the Americans who have either no health insurance at all or have extremely limited coverage--for instance, women who have to choose between the Medicaid that covers birth control and women's reproductive health and the Medicaid that covers everything else. These Americans, and in particular the ones who currently have no health insurance, will in fact have more choices under the public option: they will be able, as they are currently unable, to choose to go to the doctor at all.

So instead, say...
"If the United States had public health care, people who now cannot go to the doctor when they're sick would be able to do so."

Douchebag Statement #2
"If poor people didn't want to live off the government, they would work hard and get better jobs."

This is a douchebag statement because it betrays a very douchey willful misunderstanding of what it is actually like to be poor. Poor people often work two and three different jobs, most of them hard physical labor, to make a fraction of what a rich person makes working one job sitting behind a desk (and going out to lunch, and taking expensive business trips, and all the other things rich people do that are euphemistically known as "work"). In other words, poor people often work much harder than rich people, for much less pay, with no benefits.

Poor people are usually unable to get better jobs than what they have; they can't afford to take the time off from work to study and acquire the credentials to get a job sitting behind a desk, and they can't afford the fancy clothes rich people call "professional" that would make them look right at a rich-people job interview. They also cannot afford the fancy hair cuts, and poor women cannot afford the fancy makeup and accessories that rich women are expected to wear in order to be considered well-groomed, to look organized and "put together".

Poor people cannot afford these things because all their money is going to their bills. Poor people have to pay their bills just like everyone else, or else they end up homeless, and then douchebags tell them they should quit drinking and doing drugs because apparently everyone wants to hire someone with no address or phone number or shower as long as that person is not actually high, and because apparently being homeless is such a cake walk and so full of joy and laughter that everyone can stand to do it without being as high as they can manage to get so they don't just walk in front of a bus.

So poor people have to pay their rent, and they have to pay their electric and gas and water bills, and they have to buy food for themselves and any children they have, and they have to buy clothing and shoes and soap and toilet paper, all of which adds up. Rich people have to pay bills too, but rich people have a lot more money coming in than what they actually need to spend to survive, and so they have what is called "disposable income" and "savings". These are foreign concepts to poor people. All the money poor people make goes to their basic needs so that they can stay alive.

Some poor people do get help from the government. The government will give poor people food stamps if they can prove that they don't make enough money to pay all their bills and buy food at the same time. Keep in mind, these are people working maybe twelve, fourteen, sixteen hours a day--if they can get a job or jobs that will give them that many hours--and at the end of the month the money going out is more than the money coming in. If they can show the government that they only make enough to cover their bills, the government will help them pay for other things, like food and sometimes a car to get to work and diapers for their children. But the government doesn't take into account all the bills. For instance, the government doesn't care if poor peope can afford to put gas in their cars, or pay their car insurance: those bills don't count. Only heat, water, electricity, rent and phone bills count for government assistance. Transportation is something rich people take for granted, but poor people can't afford to.

Many poor people resent having to ask the government for help. They feel they should be able to provide for themselves and their families, and that they are failures because they work so hard and never get anywhere. If you contribute to this undeserved feeling of worthlessness and self-hatred, and promulgate the idea that it is poor people's fault and not that of the inequitable system that they can barely make enough money to survive, you are being a douchebag.

So instead, say...
"It really sucks that poor people have to work harder just to survive than rich people work to be able to buy big houses, take fancy vacations and go to expensive parties."

Douchebag Statement #3
"If they are so poor, they shouldn't spend their money on unnecessary entertainment like cable, the internet and video games."

This is a douchebag statement because you are presuming that you have the right to decide what other people should or should not do. In reality, this is not a right that you have; each person gets to make hir own decisions.

Additionally, it is fallacious to characterize entertainment as unnecessary. Human beings need entertainment and stress relief, or it will affect their mental and physical health. Furthermore, being poor is a lot more depressing and stressful than being rich: rich people may have to worry about whether their company is going to fold, but poor people worry about whether they will have enough food to eat to survive and whether they will continue to have a safe place to sleep.

So instead, say...
"It is none of my business how poor people choose to spend their hard-earned money."

I hope you have learned something today. Please join us again next time for more tips on how not to be a complete douchebag. Thank you and good night!

Seriously

Jul. 19th, 2009 12:12 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
For fuck's sake, Let Them Serve. Maude knows it's long past time.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
It hit me the other day that the concept of "you bought it, you own it" is completely imaginary. We made it up, we humans, as near as I can tell, for an excuse to squabble with one another and lord over one another why we think we're better, more deserving, more successful, whatever. It's pretty silly, a lot of the time; there are times when it's useful, but I'm not sure it isn't the fact of society's capitalism that makes it useful, such as: I paid for this car, I own it, I can use it to get to work, other people can't show up in the middle of the day and take it so that I can't get home. But if, you know, everybody owned everything--or nobody owned anything--there would be cars in the parking lot, and I could hop in one and get where I was going. It wouldn't matter which. And I could fill up at the gas tank when I saw it was getting low, and it would be fine.

What I'm saying, I guess, is that the material things we buy and sell, the shit we shuffle around and count and tally, it doesn't really matter. It's not what the concept of ownership should really be for.

There's only one thing ownership is really good for, to my mind, and that is: being able to give someone a gift.

Access to my body is a gift, whether it's the privilege to enjoy sexual pleasure with me, or the privilege to be born of me. I have to own my body, I have to own my uterus, for those gifts to be meaningful. If I can't choose not to give that gift, it isn't a gift, but can only be theft.

But in capitalism--and this is abstract as it's running through my head, and is just a connection I've made, and I have no proof of it--in capitalism, since I haven't paid for my body, I don't own it. A man owns it if he pays to rape me, or to watch me contort my naked body for his amusement; if I have a job, my boss owns the labor of my body from nine to five (or whatever shift). A man owns my body if he symbolically purchases me from my father in a ceremony known as a "wedding". Thereafter he owns my uterus and its contents, which is part of why President Obama said, when he was still Senator Obama, that I should consult my "family" (code for male owner; surely he didn't expect me to ask my hypothetical young children) before aborting an unwanted pregnancy.

My parents are widely held to own my uterus and its contents until I am married, this being the basis for parental consent and notification laws. Otherwise, the state owns my uterus and its contents, and can dictate what I may and may not do with them.

I am not one of those nutjobs who advocates not paying taxes and/or all that related crap; I use roads and hope the fire department will put out my burning apartment building, the same as the next person. There are things the government is empowered to do, things that are its responsibility, times that it can and should tell me what to do with parts of my body (such as, for instance, not using my finger to pull the trigger on a gun I'm pointing at someone else's head).

My uterus, however, is and ought to be none of the government's business. But if I decide to end a pregnancy, it had damn well better be on their terms. In fact, scratch that: there are no other terms available.

Meanwhile, if a white man pays a few thousand dollars for a piece of land shamelessly stolen from the ancestors of some of my friends, even though everybody knows it's stolen land, well, tough, he owns it. These same friends might live on a "reservation" (code for "the shitty land even the poorest white people didn't want") with no electricity and no running water, because the white men made sure a long time ago that they wouldn't be able to pay for it.

Patriarchal capitalism: a system wherein a white man owns whatever he can pay for, a woman doesn't own her own body, and NDNs don't own shit.
slythwolf: (BULLSHIT)
Let's talk about Bill Clinton.

Now, I'm sure other feminists are already talking about it this way, especially other radfems--or, rather, that they were when it happened, because not a lot of people are talking about it at all anymore, although there were some references to it during the election, especially regarding how much responsibility Hillary Clinton was supposed to have taken for her husband's actions. But when it happened, I was in high school, I was a teenage girl, I was steeped in pop culture and the patriarchy and my parents, independents, might as well have just called themselves Democrats for how fiercely they defended Bill Clinton and, whenever it happens to come up again, still do.

It's none of our business, we have always said at my house. And this is because it is always framed as "Bill cheated on his wife". That part of it is none of our business, because we ain't married to him.

But let's talk about it a little differently.

Let's talk about how, when a man exposes his penis to a woman who didn't consent to it, our culture calls that "sexual harassment" and pretends it's not really a big deal when A) it's sexual assault and B) both sexual assault and sexual harassment are a big deal. If someone sexually assaults someone else, that's our business; that person should go to jail. Bill Clinton should have gone to jail; still should, if the statute of limitations isn't up, which I would imagine it isn't, although I'm not sure how much the concept of "double jeopardy" applies to impeachment trials, or what legal deals were actually made.

He was good at his job, we say; yeah, the man was a decent President, especially compared to what came after. My mother will tell you, the White House was his house, the Oval Office was like his living room. And that's just plain rationalization.

Anybody who watched the fucking West Wing knows that the Residence was his house; the rest of the building merely adjoined it. Because it was his office it's now a part of his house? What if it had been in the chief of staff's office; was that his house too? The press room? The lobby?

And what you do still hear about it are the Monica Lewinsky jokes. The jokes about her being fat, the jokes about her being ugly; the fact that I personally think she's neither is irrelevant, because this is just how the culture writes her off as a slut. (In addition to explicitly writing her off as a slut, obviously.) If she's "fat" and "ugly", obviously, she was begging for it, because nobody would fuck a "fat" "ugly" woman who had another option, and the man was the President of the United States.

Let's talk about it another way.

Monica Lewinsky was an intern. If she had been senior staff or junior staff or even one of the assistants it would have been bad enough, but holy shit, an intern? I guess since White House interns the case could be made that she wasn't technically a government employee. Still, Jesus Christ, imagine the CEO of General Motors (to pick a company name completely out of my ass) has a sexual relationship with an intern at their headquarters. It's completely unethical; it's a gross perversion of the power dynamics our system runs on (not that I'm too keen on those anyway), and I bet you could count on one hand the number of reasonably sized companies where it isn't explicitly against company policy.

Only Ms. Lewinsky can define her experience and consent's role in it. But I'll tell you, even if there was no overt coercion involved, to my mind being somebody's boss's boss's boss's fucking boss is coercion enough.

He would have had to seek her out. Had to. Interns don't work in the Oval Office; they don't work anywhere near it. And when you're young and starry-eyed and trying to do good in the world and this man, this incredibly powerful man whom you idolize comes to you, takes advantage of that youth and that hero-worship, well, I'm a radical feminist, I think you can imagine what I call that.

And the shit Michelle Obama slung about how Hillary Clinton "can't control her man" is a post in itself. I'm not even fucking getting into it; the women's fault, always the women's fault, if your husband's sexually assaulting people you should have put out more, should have been better in bed, I don't even fucking know, I just get so tired.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Bill Clinton is on some news station right now being interviewed, patiently explaining that he believes it's okay to use an embryo for stem cell research as long as you're sure the embryo is never going to be fertilized, but that if there's a chance it could eventually be fertilized and grow into a human being, it shouldn't be used for stem cell research.

No, seriously.

Bill Clinton thinks an embryo is an unfertilized ovum.

I am depressed.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Please go to this link, watch the video, cry, and sign the petition. Please. Crying is optional, I guess, but I don't see how you could avoid it.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
The press, I mean. Now, maybe this is just the channel Nigel watches (CNN?) but the past couple of days I have repeatedly heard some reporter or other refer to the President as "Mr. Obama".

Longtime readers of this journal will of course already be aware that I am not the biggest fan of President Obama. I think he's a misogynist, I think he cheated to get the nomination, and I don't trust him to care about the things I think are important. But it seems to me that it's not okay for the media to suddenly be all "Mr. Obama" every five minutes--it seems to me the proper way to refer to the President is as "President Obama" or just "the President". That's the professional way to do it, and that's the way the mainstream media always referred to Bush.1 (We heathen liberal blog types called him all sorts of other things, but we aren't the mainstream media and for most of us this isn't our job.)

And if they were doing this during the campaign I didn't see it. They always used his proper title. It was always "Senator Obama".

Is it just me or is this a minimizing thing? Is this a subtle racist thing, kind of like the reporter who was heard to remark, on the eve of the inauguration, that Obama talks a lot about Martin Luther King, Jr., "obviously"?2 Am I full of shit or is it uncool to call the President of the United States "Mr. Obama" on national television as if he's just some guy?3 You call him "Mr. President" when addressing him, "President Obama" or "the President" when speaking of him. Am I wrong?

1. Well, they didn't call him "President Obama", they called him "President Bush". Obviously.
2. No, really. Someone actually said that. And everyone just kept talking as if it wasn't completely racist and totally uncool. (If you don't see the racism, imagine someone saying of a white President-elect that zie "obviously" talks a lot about MLK.)
3. Not that these two things are necessarily mutually exclusive. It's possible that I'm full of shit and it's uncool to call the President "Mr. Obama".
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
and I have realized that what it is, is that I just cannot believe that even the poor of America are responsible for what our country is doing to the world. Because what the fuck can I do about it? I don't own a corporation, I'm not on the board of directors for one and I can't change corporate law,* I'm not in a position to make political changes--I can't afford to drive to protests because I don't have a job to pay for gas. I am not one of these people who buys more food than they need, I buy less than I need and get by on it anyway. Most of the time I can't even afford to buy fair trade; I would if I could, but I would like to survive in the interim if it's all right with your royal highness, so I don't. Saying that I bear this guilt is taking some of it off of the shoulders of the people who are really responsible, and I'm not okay with that.

* For those of you who are not aware, as I wasn't until a short time ago, corporate law dictates that a board of directors' first responsibility is to its shareholders' profits--so that if you have the option to do something ethical, but it would cost a penny more than screwing over everyone in the world and dumping toxic shit into the fucking groundwater, it is literally illegal for you to do the ethical thing.

Guilt?

Dec. 1st, 2008 06:29 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Twisty posted about Thanksgiving being yet more evidence of our (Americans', white people in general's, I don't know, the privileged class') guilt. And I thought, you know, if for three days this year I don't have to go to bed hungry because there is leftover turkey in the fridge, I'm not going to be shamed for that. Some of us are, really and truly, barely scraping by, and there's nothing I have that I could really do without. I am one of the unwashed masses who don't have enough food or really very safe shelter. I don't have basic health care; I'm sitting here with a hugely swollen lower jaw because I have an abcessed tooth and no dental insurance, and I'm hoping it goes away on its own because there's really nothing I can do about it but pop Advil like it's candy. If I manage to get something done about it, if I can talk my dad into helping me out, what will be done is, they will pull my tooth, and then I will be one of those people who doesn't have all their teeth because they're too poor to get them fixed. That will be me. Here I sit drinking water that will only make it worse because I can't afford to drink water that doesn't have fluoride in it and I'm allergic to fluoride, so yes, I am so poor that I am stuck consuming eight glasses a day of something I'm allergic to because you know my broke ass can't afford to drink juice instead.

And yes, Thanksgiving is a holiday whose popular mythology is built on genocide and badness--but it is also a feast to celebrate the harvest, which pretty much every culture has, and it's a time when I can afford to eat nutritionally balanced meals for a couple of days because enough stuff is on sale for it for me to be able to put something together that has actual vegetables in it. And meat, and I am not all that about the ethics of eating meat, but I am also hypoglycemic, and it's really hard for me to keep up the amount of quality protein I need in the kinds of foods I can usually afford.

So no, I'm not going to be shamed for enjoying the one time all year that I can eat, you know, a little bit like how I could eat growing up, real food, food with real nutrients in it, food that's actually good for me. And I think there probably aren't any people poorer than me who would begrudge me that because they know if they had the chance they'd take it too. And as much as I love Twisty, let me tell you how sick and tired I am of middle-class and higher people telling poor people about poverty. (Twisty is middle-class. I can state this with a reasonable degree of certainty. She owns her own home and a horse.)

It's too late now, anyway. The turkey is gone. I have to go to bed hungry again. When I wake up I will eat the last of the stuffing for breakfast and then I guess I'll have to go to the store, unless I want half a block of cheddar cheese for lunch. Which I have eaten for lunch before. So no, I'm not going to feel guilty about having had a full stomach for a couple of days. It'll be a long time before I experience that again.

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