Bits and Pieces

Lucky Girl: A must-read piece about being one of the “lucky ones” who could actually get an abortion when the procedure was illegal.

The new Erykah Badu video, Window Seat, is pretty awesome.

Matt Taibbi asks, in a predictably provocative piece, Is it time to dissolve the Catholic Church?

Should boys and young men be the new liberal cause?

Health care reform, but at whose expense? Aimee Thorne-Thompson says that the new bill isn’t all that great. Kate Michelman, who both lead a major pro-choice organization and had health care costs bring her nearly to financial ruin, also gives her thoughts.

Re-defining the wife.

Why Women Don’t Want Macho Men. Oh there are so many problems with this article and with the study (beginning with the definition of “macho”), but it’s an interesting read nonetheless.

Pie > Cake. Science proves it. I dare you to argue with me.

The life of La Gaga. [Article has some very problematic phrasing].

Attention men: What Not To Wear.

Republican caller is mad that CSPAN takes calls from so many black people.

The RNC has spent large sums of money on things like private jets, limos, and bottle service at topless nightclubs. Fiscal conservatism and family values!


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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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25 Responses to Bits and Pieces

  1. Colin Day says:

    The “why women don’t want macho men” link points to the Aimee Thorne-Thompson article.

  2. Hannah says:

    ohforchrist’ssake.

    So, that guy writing the catholicism article. Does he honestly think that saying “well, I was in the catholic church until I was 12, too!” makes his argument more legitimate? does he not realise how many people think that attending a church for a small amount of time makes them an automatic authority on that religion? you were in SOME catholic church. one. The Church is not this homogenous entity, anymore than any other large religious organization.

  3. Athenia says:

    re: catholic article

    Yeah, that guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about and he makes the bishops’ arguement that “people are out to get them” look reasonable.

  4. piny says:

    Matt Taibbi is always thought-provoking, but I worry that the nuclear-option argument is setting the Church apart in mistaken ways.

    Thing is, there’s nothing unusual, or new, about child molestation. It occurs in every single environment where adults supervise children, from cub scout troops to juvenile-detention facilities to hospitals to families. There are a bunch of straightforward, time-tested solutions. The most important one, and the most obvious, is refusing to create a culture of impunity for abuse: support survivors, investigate allegations, remove and punish offenders.

    The Church has this massive problem because it did nothing to prevent it. Its instinct was to protect itself, but it also believed that it had the power necessary to prevent any eventual accounting. That is what needs to change.

  5. amandaw says:

    Baked fruit makes me sick to my stomach. And I love fruit.

    Cake > pie.

  6. piny says:

    Yeah, that guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about and he makes the bishops’ arguement that “people are out to get them” look reasonable.

    Yes, but the Church hierarchy was complict in the rape of as-yet-unnumbered children. Maybe Taibbi is going overboard, but I don’t think Church officials have any right to complain about the outrage. Their behavior has been outrageous: cold-blooded, dishonest, rapine, abusive, and cowardly.

  7. piny says:

    And not to put too fine a point on it, but they still don’t get it! After decades of working to make sure that nobody knew the extent of the abuse, that no survivor of child rape felt safe either coming forward or remaining in their own faith, that no priest ever faced any real consequences for raping children, that no legal authority had either the approbation or the power to stop child rape, and that no official was ever called to account for an institutional epidemic of child rape….They complain about being seen as dishonest, cynical, and selfish. They are not ashamed. They need to be.

  8. Holy! says:

    The “macho man” article isn’t too surprising. People like Steven Pinker and EO Wilson have been talking about that stuff for years.

  9. William says:

    Maybe Taibbi is going overboard, but I don’t think Church officials have any right to complain about the outrage. Their behavior has been outrageous: cold-blooded, dishonest, rapine, abusive, and cowardly.

    Thats been true for most of the Church’s history. Abuse, cowardice, rape, and corruption is the legacy of the RCC in this world. Complicity and tacit support of the 3rd reich, pogroms, slaughter after slaughter of heretics, to the crusades, the violent conversions of Europe, Asia, and the Americas, spreading AIDS in Africa through sheer stubbornness, opposition to a woman’s right to choose, corruption at virtually ever level from the time they hopped into bed with the Romans on, and now a widespread cover-up of child rape. Fuck ’em, this is their centuries of horror finally coming due, about damn time. If thats the earthly representation of the divine then I’m glad we killed the vile bastard dead enough for Nietzsche to with his obituary.

  10. Jill says:

    Baked fruit makes me sick to my stomach. And I love fruit.

    Cake > pie.

    amandaw is BANNED!

  11. Athenia says:

    I agree their behavior is outrageous–but I think it would have been much more fruitful to examine the church’s views about sin and sex. Celibacy is a problem, but not in the way everyone thinks it is—celibacy re-enforces the notion that sex is sinful and therefore all these priests have to do is repent. Celibacy (for men)makes priests so much more valuable, therefore making their protection essential.

    He could also validate the voices of the actual victims–the priests are calling *them* the gossips and the mob. That’s the real tradegy.

  12. libdevil says:

    As both a scientist and a baker, I have some issues with the methodology used in the cake v. pie study. The chart issue is suggestive, but not conclusive, and the rest… well, the data could easily be interpreted more than one way. I’m going to have to conduct a thorough and independent investigation to see if the results are replicable, starting just as soon as I have time to bake something yummy.

  13. Eronarn says:

    I agree with the article on boys and young men until this point:

    “No, I wasn’t crazy, but there was something I didn’t know. I didn’t know that when it came to gender issues, political correctness was more important than data.”

    This isn’t about political correctness, IMO (as if it’s politically correct to be feminist in most situations!). Instead it’s about “common sense”. Why be surprised that many people don’t know how badly some men are doing? (And no, it is not just boys and “young” men anymore, unless you’re counting anyone under 30 as “young”.) I would wager that most people know very little factual, quantitative information about gender differences.

    I think that the statistics speak for themselves, but as a recent college graduate it’s not hard to come up with personal anecdotes of men failing to thrive. Most of the men I encountered through college were significantly less capable and less motivated than their female peers. Many of them were pursuing ‘applied’ majors such as business or accounting. Undergraduates in my program, on the other hand, were mostly female; I believe the faculty was a 50/50 split. This extended to the honor society for that major, and the gender breakdown at a conference in the field was even further skewed, probably 75-25. The school group at that conference was 3 men and ~8 women. It’s really a sorry state of affairs that isn’t going to leave men or women happy.

  14. Nell says:

    Has anyone ever found a reliable breakdown/analysis of those scary ‘how boys are failing’ stats? I have heard, and found no reason to disbelieve because it jives with so much other data + experience, that upper middle class white boys are doing more or less the same as before, and that the most dramatic vanishing act in colleges is minority and/or working class and poor young men.

    So all the alarmism on the part of parents of well off white boys seems a little – well, disingenuous. To say the least.

    And since boys scores in school over the last twenty years don’t seem to have had a strong correlation to their earnings later on…. well, what, exactly, is the problem here? Not saying there isn’t one – but I’m sure it isn’t that we are being too nice to the girls in middle school.

    For the record, my children are boys. I don’t see the challenges they will face over their lifetimes — increasingly frequent global economic meltdowns, massive climate change, growing scarcity of fossil fuels, etc…. as being primarily those of not having enough recess time in elementary school.

  15. William says:

    that the most dramatic vanishing act in colleges is minority and/or working class and poor young men.

    This is only a suspicion, so take it for what its worth, but I’ve always wondered if perhaps the “vanishing act” wasn’t an artifact of shifting social perceptions. I come from a working class background and though there was a very strong “you have to go to college” message a fair number of my male peers saw college as a racket. A college degree isn’t that important for a lot of the more stereotypically working class professions (the trades, union work, a good percentage of government jobs, fire fighters, etc.). At the same time (and this is a stronger pressure on minority men, but its pretty strong amongst lower SES individuals in general), you have the problem of increasing criminalization in this country. You can’t get student loans if you’re convicted of a drug offense, and good luck getting into college if you’ve done time. We put a lot more people in prison and arrest a lot more people for minor drug offenses than we used to.

  16. Butch Fatale says:

    Oh man. That Gaga article uses some f’d up language and phrasing re: what does Gaga have in her pants. Not the worst I’ve seen, but worth a warning.

  17. roses says:

    Hannah – I went to Catholic school until I was 18 and Catholic church until I was 23. Does that give me the authority to say I partly agree with Matt Taibbi? It has nothing to do with my personal church experiences, which were mostly good – most of the priests I had were good men, the parishoners were mostly good people, we did work for charity and there wasn’t too much guilt tripping. But the fact is that the institution of the church covered up for child molesters, and that is fucking inexcusable. I don’t want to see individual churches closed, but I do want to see the corrupt power structure dissolved. Over the years, it has done way more harm than good.

  18. KL says:

    I don’t know if its just me or my computer but when i click the link to “macho men” it takes me to kate michelman’s piece on health care reform. If someone who has already read it could just post the link, that would be awesome!
    Thanks

  19. ShelbyWoo says:

    I don’t know if its just me or my computer but when i click the link to “macho men” it takes me to kate michelman’s piece on health care reform.

    Same here.

  20. Lurkin Merkin says:

    I never understood why cake and pie can’t live together in harmony. They’re both so good, and each one has its strong points. I refuse to take a side.

    Also – why is there a link to men’s fashion mistakes? I was really disappointed when I saw that. I’m sure I’ll be criticized for not having a sense of humor or something, but…seriously? Plus, it was mocking guys for doing things that apparently make them look like teenage girls or middle aged housewives. So 1) it reinforces gender roles and norms by saying that men have to look one way while women are supposed to look another, 2) reinforces stereotypes about what teenage girls or middle aged housewives look like, and 3) made sure you know that teenage girls and middle aged housewives are ridiculous, which is why its funny when guys look like them.

    I doubt anyone here would be terribly amused if the slide show was about women’s fashion choices rather than men’s. Am I missing something here?

  21. Mary says:

    The Church is not this homogenous entity, anymore than any other large religious organization.

    Of course individual Catholic cultures and individual parishes vary, but there is a strict hierarchy linking every parish to the Pope. It was this hierarchy that shuffled and shielded men who rape children, putting them in situations where they could continue to rape children.

    Taibbi obviously uses some polemical language, and of course there’s room to disagree with his actual argument, but he’s within bounds to attack the Catholic Church as an organization. For example, Enron can’t be defended with the argument “Well, there were good people working for the company.” Sure there were, but it’s not the point – the evil and corrupt decisions were made by the people running the organization.

  22. preying mantis says:

    “I doubt anyone here would be terribly amused if the slide show was about women’s fashion choices rather than men’s. Am I missing something here?”

    I just assumed it was holding up the masculinity-police and their zomg-girl-cootie rules for some well-deserved mockery.

  23. Michelle Smith says:

    Lurkin Merkin, I had a similar response to the men’s fashion choices link. But I think it’s supposed to be taken as a joke. I do wish there was just a “pshh. Look at how ridiculous this is!” next to the link, though. :)

  24. Niki says:

    I have been arguing in favour of pie for years. It is better in every way! Real fruit. No frosting. (Frosting is gross unless it’s buttercream or cream cheese icing.) Tartness. Whipped cream, if you want it.

    PIE WINS.

  25. Gwyn says:

    The “why women don’t want macho men” link points to the Aimee Thorne-Thompson article.

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