Weekly Open Thread with Jack O’Saurus

This week this Hallowe’en pumpkin display is hosting our Open Thread. Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the week.

The Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze

The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze 2012 | Image Credit Josh Bousel (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

So, what have you been up to? What would you rather be up to? What’s been awesome/awful?
Reading? Watching? Making? Meeting?
What has [insert awesome inspiration/fave fansquee/guilty pleasure/dastardly ne’er-do-well/threat to all civilised life on the planet du jour] been up to?

* Netiquette footnotes:
* There is no off-topic on the Weekly Open Thread, but consider whether your comment would be on-topic on any recent thread and thus better belongs there.
* remember our Weekly self-promotion and signal-boosting threads as designated spaces for dropping links you want to share.
* If your comment touches on topics known to generally result in thread-jacking, you will be expected to take the discussion to #spillover instead of overshadowing the social/circuit-breaking aspects of this thread.

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88 comments for “Weekly Open Thread with Jack O’Saurus

  1. TimmyTwinkles
    November 1, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Even with all we know about victim-blaming and rape culture there is still such a huge dis-connect in the dialogue. Very frustrating.

  2. PrettyAmiable
    November 1, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I decided that I wanted to actively date because I’m at a point where I’m over being single.

    So I went on a date last week with a guy I really liked. Funny, no lulls in the conversation. I made a comment about how I wasn’t ready to jump in bed (hopefully more eloquently, and while I didn’t tell him this, I’ve been getting used for sex a lot in the past couple of years and I’m always really fucking naive about it). That was totally okay.

    And then he’s a little.. rough? He bites my finger, and i think my lip when we’re making out. And I say that’s not really my thing. He assures me it’s okay, and that he doesn’t need that to be an aspect of our relationship (should one develop). It was a great date.

    We went out again yesterday, and he kept grabbing my arm. Like, grabbing. And then he (no lie) bites my fucking shoulder. I let him walk me home, and he tries to invite himself up.

    So I’m over it. It really sucks because we had great chemistry, but what a fucking red flag that I vocalized my boundaries, he acknowledged them, and then completely blew past them.

    …Mostly want to share my bad date story. Dating sucks, guys.

    • PrettyAmiable
      November 1, 2013 at 9:28 pm

      Oh, and what up. Went out with a sketchball unwittingly twice and I had a couple drinks. I can feel the judgment from the other thread, haha.

    • EG
      November 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      What a jerkwad. On the one hand, I’m sorry, but I’m glad he showed his true colors so quickly and that you were able to recognize them.

      Who just randomly leans over and bites somebody’s shoulder? Especially after having been told not to? Besides a toddler, I mean.

      • November 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm

        Or a cat.

        Seconding EG, Pretty Amiable – that sucks, but glad he showed his jerkwad jerkiness that quickly.

      • TimmyTwinkles
        November 1, 2013 at 11:49 pm

        I used to do this vampire roleplay with an ex where i’d randomly take her wrist or neck and act like i was dracula (not in public mind you), but after a few times she told me to lay off. I complied. This could be TMI

      • Willemina
        November 2, 2013 at 1:20 am

        An ex and I were consensually bitey, but it was an agreed upon form of affection. Keeping at it after red-lining that behavior is boundary pushing creepiness.

      • PrettyAmiable
        November 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm

        I think that’s where I’m at. Thankfully it was just something that was mildly uncomfortable for me, and he was too stupid (or more scary, too sloppy) to stop. Ugh. Blows. Thanks all for sympathy.

        The part that kills me is that if he wasn’t a giant creep, there really are plenty of women in NYC who ARE into rougher sex and might be willing to play the way he wants to play. Though, given what I’ve learned about the boundaries issue, I’d wish him on exactly no one.

    • TimmyTwinkles
      November 1, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      Man dating does suck. Particularly dating sober, which is a sad commentary but there it is. Sorry you got stuck with a shoulder biter; probably for the best though in the long run. I’m not necessarily the smoothest guy around but when a girl tells me not to do something i dont do it again. I guess I just want a meaningful relationship with someone special.

      • November 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm

        Man dating does suck.

        Following your Dracula comment, this made me giggle …

      • TimmyTwinkles
        November 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm

        bahaha good call

    • Donna L
      November 2, 2013 at 12:02 am

      I’m really sorry, Pretty Amiable. It’s kind of scary to think that this guy is so into biting women that he can’t even restrain himself from doing it on the first two dates, even after being asked not to.

    • November 3, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      I’m so sorry, PrettyAmiable. My dad used to do something similar to me in a different context when I was younger. Hugs if you want them.

    • November 4, 2013 at 2:18 am

      It never ceases to amaze me the type of shenanigans that people try to pull before you even know them very well. I’m glad you were able to set boundaries, and see that guy for what he is. I struggle with this sometimes, and have been known to have a too high tolerance for bullshit, so I’m impressed.

      • Marksman2010
        November 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm

        Even when it surprises me, I’m glad they test-drive certain aspects of their behavior before I waste anymore time with them.

  3. November 1, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I’ve started another big knitting project, an A-line skirt (using an actual PATTERN this time!) I hope I get it finished before the weather turns hot.

    It’s mind-boggling how many stitches go into knitted garments. I did over four rounds yesterday, of 440 stitches each. That’s pushing 2000 stitches in a day! O_O

    In frittering time, I’ve had fun doing effects and animations on some of my pics – LunaPic is a free online editor, a branch of Imgur, I gather. Here are some of the results:

    Dramatic saturated look

    Sort of like the Obama poster, but purple

    Rippling water

    Pouring rain

    And now I’d better get back to the vaccuuming. House inspection next week, bleh.

  4. November 2, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Please feel free to ignore what is perhaps a wall of self-pity:

    [Content note: suicidal ideation, self-hatred, depression, drug abuse]

    Today was awful for me. I had another wave of strongly self-loathing and suicidal thoughts. The thoughts about the consequences of coming out to family members are becoming increasingly unbearable and frightening, and today they provoked suicidal ideation. I was about to go to this online crisis center, but I thought that I was just overreacting and I was trivializing the reasons that other people contact crisis centers. So I had to calm myself down by distracting myself with school stuff. I’m feeling better now, although I still don’t feel well at all. I’ve been on the verge of crying ever since coming back from campus.

    I think one major reason I had that episode of suicidal thoughts is that I suffered from a severe withdrawal symptom from cannabis use. I’ve been smoking weed on a regular basis to cope with stress and anxiety, and now I can’t feel comfortable or content without getting high. I used to tell myself that I wasn’t going to become dependent on it, but now I can no longer be in denial. I know that I should be seeing a therapist, but I’m still scared of seeing a therapist because for some reason this quarter my social anxiety came back in full force. (That moment in which I made two friends on the bus was merely a stroke of luck.)

    • November 2, 2013 at 1:59 am


      Smoking has also permanently damaged my short-term memory – in significant ways. I find myself forgetting very simple things even while sober – and this has a strong impact on my daily life. I go through the day often asking myself, “What was I going to do? Why I am even here?” It makes doing simple tasks much harder than they need to be. Beyond that, my damaged short-term memory makes it extremely difficult to plan for things unless the things I’m doing are super important or I write down a list of those things on paper.

      The fact that I’ve damaged my body so much makes me feel pathetic. I have many years ahead of me, yet I’ve already hurt myself emotionally and physiologically to this degree. I feel like I’m wasting away. So many people have called me “strong” and wondered how I could deal with all of the problems I have, but the truth is that I can’t handle all of those problems. If I could handle them, I wouldn’t be smoking as much. I feel like a complete failure – as if even my efforts to fix my life are pathetic because I should be ashamed of needing help. I know that’s self-hatred talking, but just because I can recognize the wrongness of my thoughts of self-hatred doesn’t mean that I can get rid of those thoughts easily.

      I feel so lost. Something needs to happen soon – I just don’t know what. All I can do now is struggle to push through the layers of self-hatred in my mind and stop stigmatizing self-care. I’m trying to smoke less, and I’m trying to think about good things happening in the future. I still want to transition and finally live as a girl. I still have dreams of being politically active – I want to start a non-hierarchical organization devoted to helping out trans youth. And I still want to become a mom some day.

      [mods, I apologize if any part of my comments is inappropriate. I won’t mind if any part is deleted]

      • November 2, 2013 at 2:52 am

        Ally, your comments are fine. I’m sad to learn that you’re having such a hard time right now. I don’t have any particularly useful specific advice to offer, but know that there are many people here who care about your welfare, and believe me that you are not overreacting and would definitely not be wasting any counselors’ time.

      • November 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm

        [Content note: suicide]

        Thanks, tigtog. One reason I thought I was overreacting was that I read the website and it said “if you’re in a crisis…” which I read as “If you’re at the point where you are about to commit suicide…” and I was only having strongly suicidal thoughts – I wasn’t ready to actually go through the act of killing myself. But in retrospect, I don’t think I was thinking straight when I read that. Especially since it actually says “If you are in crisis or considering suicide…” I overlooked that part I bolded and focused the first part instead because somehow my mind has an automatic confirmation bias towards things that aren’t good for me (because I’m “undeserving”, “pathetic”, etc.) I’m ashamed that I missed something so obvious, but my mind was all over the place and I couldn’t really calm myself down so I could focus on what I was reading. I hope I’m making sense.

      • Li
        November 2, 2013 at 3:20 am

        (content note, substance use, depression anxiety, reference to self-harm and ideation)

        Ally, firstly, if you ever feel like you want to/should/need to contact crisis support, you’re in the category of people for whom that support is appropriate. I know thoughts that your own issues are trivial are a major barrier to accessing help, but you deserve to prioritise yourself.

        Secondly, on substance use. For the period immediately after I first developed clinical anxiety/depression, but before I was diagnosed and medicated, I drank a lot as a way of dealing with my depression. I don’t think drinking was at all an optimal strategy for dealing with my mental illness, but it *was* a strategy and if I hadn’t been self-medicating with alcohol and occasionally other drugs I would have probably self-harmed and likely attempted suicide. Substance use can be a way of coping with mental illness when other kinds of support aren’t available. You’re not weak or a failure for using cannabis to self-medicate, because you had to do *something* and if weed’s what got you through then that’s the way it is. Obviously it’s not an optimal solution and you’re feeling the shitty side-effects (as I did with my heavy drinking).

        My experience of shifting off an emotional dependency on alcohol (though I didn’t develop a physical dependency) wasn’t a matter of just trying to drink less, but on addressing the underlying issue. For me that wasn’t a matter of just magically pulling myself out of my depression but seeing a medical professional, getting a diagnosis and going on pharma medication. Once I had a different source of medication alcohol was much less of a necessity for me.

        That is, if smoking has been an emotional support for you, and you want to move off it, you’re going to be best off replacing it with other forms of support, either in terms of finding an effective pharma medication (which have their own benefits and negatives), in getting mental health support/therapy, or whatever else works for you personally. You don’t need to just push through it.

      • November 2, 2013 at 11:48 am

        Li, thank you very much for your comment. This part in particular stuck out to me:

        if smoking has been an emotional support for you, and you want to move off it, you’re going to be best off replacing it with other forms of support

        I think you’re right. Even when I take a long break from weed I eventually get back to the point at which want to avoid stress completely and smoke, continuing the cycle. And it’s true that while I abhor the side-effects that have affected me, it has helped me in ways that currently nothing else can help me. I think once I’m out of this shitty house and I finally get to start taking hormones, my dependence on weed will probably decrease.

        I do happen to have practical reasons to smoke less, though. Namely, it’s a safety risk. If step-mom and/or my dad catch me, I’ll most likely have no choice but to leave this house on a very short notice and never come back. That’s because there’s a chance of either my step-mom using the evidence to threaten me with legal action if I refuse to do certain things for her (yes, she is that kind of person) or my dad punishing me by withdrawing financial support completely, physically assaulting me again, or worse.

        Fortunately, I rarely see my step-mom and my dad these days since I’m in Santa Cruz very often. But I need to be more careful, and part of that means smoking less.

      • Angie unduplicated
        November 2, 2013 at 11:51 am

        Research studies have demonstrated that stress, by itself, significantly impairs short-term memory. Think of counseling as mechanics for the mind, with no more stigma than getting your car or bike repaired. You will need to research trans-friendly counselors. Given the cost of smoke, counseling may be a serious bargain compared to self-medication.

      • November 2, 2013 at 12:34 pm


        Research studies have demonstrated that stress, by itself, significantly impairs short-term memory. Think of counseling as mechanics for the mind, with no more stigma than getting your car or bike repaired. You will need to research trans-friendly counselors. Given the cost of smoke, counseling may be a serious bargain compared to self-medication.

        Perhaps therapy will help me improve my short-term memory, and it’s important to consider, but I really do think the weed caused permanent damage – that’s because I started smoking at a young age, and young folks who smoke are more prone to sustaining permanent side-effects (according to some studies).

        I like your way of thinking about counseling, though. I’ve honestly never thought about it that way – probably because I don’t readily see vital organs of my body functioning like car components. =P Still, it helps to have a detached, impartial perspective of the mind.

      • November 4, 2013 at 2:29 am

        Seconding that your anxiety and depression could be effecting your cognitive ability. I know that my PTSD sometimes causes me to have ADD like symptoms, like trouble with concentrating. Also, at times I have little blackouts all day long, so I forget a lot of shit. It may not be the smoking, and getting some help might improve your memory. Also, starting a mindfulness practice could help train your brain to be more present, and that might help your memory. It’s helped me. You can even find meditations on youtube.

        So much love in your general direction.

      • EG
        November 4, 2013 at 12:34 pm

        I can vouch for depression wreaking havoc on memory as well. My memory is pretty much shit anyway (except for my textual memory–weird, but true), but when I’m depressed…it’s a goddamn nightmare. I can’t find anything, I can’t remember what I’m supposed to be doing at any given moment or why I walked into a given room, entire conversations get lost…it’s really upsetting, as if depression isn’t bad enough.

        Ally, you are a wonderful person suffering some intense torments–while my own suicidal ideation has come from bouts of depression that had no more outside cause than…I don’t know…my bad memory, you are struggling with having to stay closeted, with abusive people in your life, with feelings of powerlessness, with the threat of violence from your father, with the knowledge you’ve mentioned recently that he has harmed people you love…if those issues don’t add up to genuine problems that would provoke a crisis, I can’t imagine what would. Your problems are real and you have as much right as anybody else in this world to seek help in dealing with them.

        And I agree that it sounds like smoking up is a self-medicating coping mechanism in the face of deep trauma and suffering, and that rather than just rip it away, I would hope you could find another support that would help you as you wean yourself off it.

        Ally, I join the others here in thinking that you are a wonderful person.

      • Li
        November 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm

        I know it probably reinforces the idea that you are faking strength, and that is a difficult deception to overcome… but can I just say that you, Ally, make me more able to deal with the complexities of my own gender. You are a phenomenal woman no matter how internally incoherent your own sense of self is. You are an inspirational person, and I don’t mean that as dependent on an idea that you are personally and spectacularly able to overcome’s one’s own internalised transphobia; but that you make me, as heavily as I am indebted to theory and internet feminism, able to explore multi-gendered experiences of self in way that aren’t reliant on other’s (superbly presumptuous) idealogies. I *like* being able to talk about wearing magenta pants in a way that considers them venomous and reptilian: an antipodean flash of warning colours. You precede that sense of my own body. You make my body available to myself. That is rare beyond belief. Never stop thinking of yourself as valuable. YOU ARE VALUABLE. (the caps is for sincerity)

      • moviemaedchen
        November 2, 2013 at 8:53 am

        Echoing what tigtog and Li have said. I feel for you and am hoping and wishing for the best for you. Sorry for the tl;dr below – just stuff that occurred to me as having been helpful for me with similar things, in case it might help you.

        CN for anxiety/self-hate, self-care issues, suicidal ideation

        Anxiety and feelings of self-hatred can be so challenging at times – it’s ok to not feel strong and able to handle everything, that’s not a reason to condemn yourself (even though jerkbrain may be telling you that). You are dealing with A LOT.

        I don’t know if this will be helpful, but it might, see what you think. When I find myself struggling with anxiety and self-hatred, what I have found can help sometimes is what I think of as a certain form of self-compassion. Not trying to make myself feel all lovely towards myself, but doing tiny things for myself that can release even just a bit of the mental pressure. Sometimes this means just acknowledging where I am in the moment instead of trying to not-feel it. For example, if I recognize that I’m caught up in self-hating thoughts, I can say “I’m feeling self-hatey now, and I’m hating myself for hating myself,” instead of just staying on the “I hate myself and I shouldn’t, I’m bad, I hate myself” spiral. Sometimes that then enables me to take a breath and say “This is where I am, it’s ok to be here, I’m not bad for feeling this way.” Or to say “I should do something about this to help myself, it’s ok to ask for help” and go look up who to talk to about it. Sometimes just getting that piece of info is all I can do in the moment, but it’s something I have for later then. Other times, when even ordinary things like making myself eat are a challenge, I treat them as victories. “Self, you ate something for dinner. Even if it was just chips, you ATE something. That is better than eating nothing. That is good, you did something good.” Maybe it sounds stupid, but I literally say things like that out loud to myself, and I think helps.

        I guess it’s not necessarily about trying to make myself feel better as much as it is about trying to make a little mental/emotional space for myself to breathe? Like literally taking a step back from the thoughts. Sometimes that then can help make it easier to do more positive things for yourself, like calling a crisis center or getting yourself flowers to have something uplifting to look at or whatever. It’s something that you can practice if it appeals to you to try – and I mean practice in the sense of ‘practice piano,’ doing whatever little bit you feel able to when you feel able to so that it builds up. It’s not about magically putting yourself in a Perfect Place of Happy Self-Love with Unicorns and Rainbows, because of course that can seem absurdly impossible when you’re feeling self-hatey. It’s about putting in place a basic emotional/mental foundation for being able to do further concrete things to help yourself/be able to get help.

        Again, it may or may not be your thing, ymmv. I do hope you find something to help you, dear Ally. You deserve to thrive.

        And like Li said, if you were medicating with weed it was because you were doing what you could to help yourself. Finding a way to help yourself that does not have the negative side-effects is a good idea, but it’s doesn’t mean that medicating in the ways that you were able to at the time is something to condemn yourself for. You’re doing the best you can in a really difficult situation.

        As far as calling a crisis center goes, Li is 100% right there too. They are there to help people going through the sort of struggles you are – you aren’t taking anything away from someone ‘more deserving’ or trivializing anything. Especially if you’ve been having suicidal ideation (whatever the cause of it). I’ve looked at the center you linked to before for myself, and it looks good imho. If it appeals to you, I urge you to contact them. It’s really ok to do that, even if you aren’t feeling suicidal right now. Or if you prefer email there is this organization. (Despite the name, the Samaritans are not at all a religious organization and won’t bring that in.) You can contact them to talk about any troubles at all, even ones that aren’t suicide-level distressing.

        And of course we’re here for you. Sending you jedi hugs if wanted and good wishes.

      • moviemaedchen
        November 2, 2013 at 11:44 am

        Ally, I’ve got a long comment still in mod to you. Hugs if wanted – and tigtog and Li have some good points there.

      • November 4, 2013 at 6:07 pm

        MMC, your paragraphs about self-compassion make a lot of sense to me. People have told me about it before, but in light of your post I now clearly understand what it’s all about. I’ll definitely keep it in mind because I’ve wanted to do that self-compassion thing for a long time – I just didn’t really know how before I read your comment.

        So thank you for your explanation. And thanks for the resource, too! I bookmarked it and I think it could be really helpful for me. Emails might be easier for me than hotline calls and chat rooms.

      • November 2, 2013 at 6:53 pm

        Smoking has also permanently damaged my short-term memory – in significant ways. I find myself forgetting very simple things even while sober – and this has a strong impact on my daily life. I go through the day often asking myself, “What was I going to do? Why I am even here?” It makes doing simple tasks much harder than they need to be. Beyond that, my damaged short-term memory makes it extremely difficult to plan for things unless the things I’m doing are super important or I write down a list of those things on paper.

        The fact that I’ve damaged my body so much makes me feel pathetic. I have many years ahead of me, yet I’ve already hurt myself emotionally and physiologically to this degree. I feel like I’m wasting away. So many people have called me “strong” and wondered how I could deal with all of the problems I have, but the truth is that I can’t handle all of those problems. If I could handle them, I wouldn’t be smoking as much. I feel like a complete failure – as if even my efforts to fix my life are pathetic because I should be ashamed of needing help. I know that’s self-hatred talking, but just because I can recognize the wrongness of my thoughts of self-hatred doesn’t mean that I can get rid of those thoughts easily.

        Everyone has short term memory issues, writing things down is an important and intelligent thing to do, and an important lesson to be self-learned for someone at your age. Nearly every book I’ve read on personal productivity recommends writing an idea down as soon as you have it. This is not your fault.

        Certainly self medication is a dangerous path to go down, but by no means should you be blaming yourself for your short term memory loss. There is no significant evidence that marijuana damages the brain to any extent, much less permanently. By all means, stop smoking if it you feel it’s negatively impacting your life, but there is no need to hate yourself for causing your brain ‘permanent’ damage, as that’s just not the case.

      • November 2, 2013 at 7:07 pm

        Adding to this: lots of people have short-term memory issues who haven’t even had a cigarette, let alone anything more exotic. (Hi! My short term memory is one of the worst I’ve seen, and I come from a family of forgetful people. It’s made worse and more crippling because my disabilities make it hard to have to do things unplanned because I forgot about them, but it was always an issue.) So don’t blame yourself, okay?

        Also, yeah, stress can be a major determinant. My memory gets worse in direct proportion to how much stress I’m under.

      • November 4, 2013 at 2:23 pm

        Thank you both. I really hope it’s not permanent damage. I still think it might be because I didn’t have memory issues until I started smoking regularly around the age of 17. And while I was pretty stressed out then, it wasn’t as bad as it is now. But perhaps I’m wrong.

      • Tyris
        November 5, 2013 at 3:19 pm

        And if it is permanent damage… welcome to the club.

    • TimmyTwinkles
      November 3, 2013 at 12:38 am

      [Content Note added by mods: discussion of addiction, depression and suicidal thoughts]

      I hope I’m not being presumptuous by responding to you here. I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I have also struggled with clinical depression throughout my adult life. I know too, too well self-hatred and self-loathing; shame and pain over the things ive done and people ive hurt. Nights spent visualizing killing myself over and over. We don’t even virtually know each other, and though we’re probably different in a lot of ways, i wanted to say that having read alot of your posts i think you’re one of the kindest and most sincere people on this board. I would bet that IRL you are a genuinely good person, and that you bring joy to the people around you. I guess what i want to say is that you and I have Value, even when we cant see it. You are Valuable. You are loved. Things WILL get better. You’re alive and in the fight, so am I, and i know that things will be okay for us. Keep your head up.


      • November 4, 2013 at 9:21 pm

        Thank you Timmy. =] I do hope things get better for the two of us.

    • November 4, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      I do want to be less dependent on weed, but I don’t plan on stopping completely. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with smoking frequently so long as I can feel calm and content while sober. And besides, it sometimes helps me fight my eating disorder – it increases my appetite and makes me feel way less anxious about strangers watching me eat (the downside being that I need to try harder to not collide with anyone while spacing out =P).

      Thank you so much for your comments, everyone. You folks managed to make me get all teary-eyed here on campus (in a good way). I just hope it’s not too obvious… >_> That would be a bit embarrassing. Anyway, all of you are awesome, and threads like these are why I will never regret the day I first came here at the age of 16 (3 years here already! wow).*

      *in case anyone forgot, I used to post under the synesthesia-inspired nym “mxe354.”

      • trees
        November 4, 2013 at 6:00 pm

        @Ally S

        Since you don’t have a psychiatrist, your general practitioner can prescribe an anti-depressant. It may help a little bit with the self-medicating and the eating issues. I really, really hope you are able to find a good and affordable therapist; it can be life changing.

  5. Jamie
    November 2, 2013 at 4:09 am

    I had an odd struggle this week. A documentary that aired on TV and thence on to the streaming services focused on a doctor providing vasectomies. A worthy thing, possibly, but it focused almost exclusively on this white upper class male doctor going to third world countries and convincing people, sometimes with money, to get sterilized. Including his rants when Haiti wouldn’t let him offer money, and he commented ‘These people will never get it without incentives’.

    I was deeply troubled by aspects of this doco, but moreso, I would deeply troubled that my partner thought I was just being ‘too judgemental’, a thing I am regularly accused of. My wife is normally every bit as feminist as I am, though prefers less activism and decidedly would prefer not to hear about things because it depresses her, and I respect that. But she thought the doco (which she chose to put on) was great and helpful and was quite irritated I didn’t see how great he was being by going to poor areas and slapping up ‘free vasectomies’ billboards and hard selling people on the street into getting them, and bragging how he did 500 over the course of the doco and how many less poor people that means.

    The doco was The Vascectomist, published on World Vascectomy Day, and was I think on SBS in Australia. Not seen any commentary on it, but I personally found it distressing.

    • Leah
      November 3, 2013 at 10:57 am

      [content note for dehumanizing misogyny and racism in both the comment and following link]

      I know exactly what you mean, I discovered a similar ‘mission’ last year that pays (mostly women) addicts $300 to undergo sterilization… but only because the founders attempt to codify mandated sterilization into California law failed miserably. Her interviews make it pretty obvious she thinks of these people as wild animals that need to be tamed, even comparing them to dogs in heat and referring to their children as “litters”.

      Helping poor folks get medical care is great! Acting like they just need a trip to the vet to be spayed… um, no.

  6. tinkdnuos
    November 2, 2013 at 10:07 am

    So on Twitter this past week, apparently the tag #stopblackgirls was trending and a lot of racist and misogynist lulz were had.

    Crickets over here again though, as usual.

    • ldouglas
      November 2, 2013 at 10:52 am

      FWIW, as someone who’s been repeatedly frustrated by Feministe’s handling of race-related issues, I’m really glad that this blog doesn’t expend much energy covering the inanity of Twitter.

      • tinkdnuos
        November 2, 2013 at 11:25 am

        While Twitter in general is inane, I don’t think one could argue that activities like this one in particular are not deeply reflective of a certain aspect of generational zeitgeist.

        I.e. It doesn’t need to be engaged as “a Twitter story” when it’s obviously also a reflection of popular culture at large. A part of popular culture that is abusive towards millions of women but which millions of feminists continue to ignore. The hashtag is merely a launch point for the discussion of how and why, e.g., there’s so much unchecked momentum behind this disparity.

        Because Twitter is not “Twitter.” It’s millions of people sharing mostly-sincere thoughts and opinions. And a frighteningly large number of them were given a frighteningly large amount of space by everyone else to say some nasty, escalatingly (screw you Chrome, it’s a word now) abusive shit. And now they’re being given enough space for it to echo.

        Hugo Schwyzer on Twitter generates direct responses from this blog’s lead and close to 1000 comments in article + overflow. Thousands (maybe millions?) of people jovially dehumanize black women and girls and…what, it’s just too big to deal with?

        It Capital-S Sucks.

      • moviemaedchen
        November 2, 2013 at 11:43 am

        Yeah, I’m going to second all of this. A lot of Twitter may be full of inanities, but just ignoring racist (and/or ableist, misogynistic, etc.) shit that goes down there because ‘it’s Twitter’ sends the message that that stuff is also not important, just because where people choose to say it. (Urg, awkwardly worded, but I hope my meaning is clear. Where something shitty and oppressive goes down doesn’t give us license to ignore it.)

        Or, basically, everything you just said.

      • Tony
        November 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm

        Apparently there’s also a #stopmexicangirls. The last five minutes on Twitter has just convinced me it’s even more of a cesspool than I thought. (But who cares… IPO time! Pump and dump! They’re gentrifying San Francisco babayyyy….)

      • TimmyTwinkles
        November 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm

        Somehow in your fascinating cultural analysis you neglected to include how everyone can pushback against the racism. Makes me think you’re more interested in calling out others than in solutions.
        To everyone else, tweet/retweet #Openseasononblackgirlsisover to stand in solidarity

      • tinkdnuos
        November 2, 2013 at 5:23 pm

        Pushing back is quite a bit more complicated than tweeting another hashtag, I’m afraid.

        But thanks for all your kind words. I hope you have the best day EVER.

      • EG
        November 2, 2013 at 4:41 pm

        Is that tag a solidarity tag though? I did see a lot of my friends using it, but they were all women of color–may have been all black women, I can’t remember. I thought using it might be kind of appropriating or barging into a PoC-only space.

      • TimmyTwinkles
        November 2, 2013 at 5:56 pm

        @EG Good point, i think it’s for solidarity too but i could be wrong

        @tinkdnuos You’re absolutely right, pushing back is more complicated than re-tweeting. You got some ideas too? I won’t apologize for being sick of hit-and-run criticism without any constructive contribution. You got some thoughts on how everyone can do better? In all seriousness, I’d love to hear them. You just want to bang on Feministe and up your ally-cred? I think that’s baloney.

      • TimmyTwinkles
        November 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm

        Also, while there are obviously major structural issues that can’t be addressed by “tweeting another hashtag”, I don’t appreciate you writing that off as a response either. Some black women whom (EG is this an appropriate use of whom, you’re the prof) I have a lot of respect for feel this hashtag is a worthwhile effort, so I’m damn sure not going to belittle it.

  7. Tony
    November 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    There’s an article in the New York Times this week about the military sexual assault bill going around in the Senate. I believe up to three paragraphs is not a copyright violation:

    At issue is how much power military commanders would maintain in sexual assault cases. For many Democrats, the conflict has created an uncomfortable division between the Senate’s women, whose ranks and power have increased significantly since 2012. The choice is particularly difficult for Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, who has feared alienating his female members on legislative issues and is fond of both Ms. Gillibrand and Ms. McCaskill.

    Ms. Gillibrand’s measure, which is opposed by top Pentagon leaders, would take sexual assault cases outside the military chain of command and give military prosecutors, rather than accusers’ commanders, the power to decide which cases to try.

    The measure Ms. McCaskill is pushing, which is supported by the Pentagon and was written in part by Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, would not go as far. The McCaskill approach would strip commanders of their ability to overturn jury verdicts and mandate dishonorable discharge or dismissal for anyone convicted of sexual assault. But it would keep control of court-martial proceedings within the chain of command.


  8. Angie unduplicated
    November 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Note from an otherwise dull life: I just brought a pile of vintage to antique cookbooks from out-of-stste storage and I plan to scan them to epub. From there, they will go to Gutenberg Project. These are often coverless, frail and crumbling dollar flea market finds. One is missing its first few pages of introduction. The rest of the intro is intact, though, and was written by, so help me, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. I don’t have a cover or title page. Anyone have a clue on this? Google provided only the info that Stanton’s wedding gift to her daughter was an inscribed copy of Libby Miller’s cookbook, probably “In The Kitchen”.

  9. Willemina
    November 3, 2013 at 2:53 am

    I saw this Mouse v Cookie video over on Jezebel after a friend poked me about it. The default of “male” really jumped out at me in the comments over there as well as on the original youtube thread.

    I personally think she in this case because 1) my girls pull stunts like this on a fairly frequent basis so I have a personal experience bias, 2) generally it’s easy to sex adult mice and rats because the males sport a huge (relatively speaking) set of testicles.

    It’s cute and funny any way you call it though, but the assumption of guy-ness rankles.

    • November 3, 2013 at 7:47 am

      Oh that poor little bouncing mouse! That was too funny. It almost looked like she was ready to turn into a cartoon mouse and pull out a catapult or something to get that cracker up there. (Catapult made by Acme, no doubt.)

      I like that a rest and (I think) a bite of the cracker seemed to restore her strength, and she got the darn thing up there!

      Agreed on the “he” assumption. Though what bugs me even more is when people call animals IT even when they know said animal’s sex. Hello, ships get called “she” yet a famous racehorse now in foal is an “it”?

      Bah, humbug.

      • Donna L
        November 3, 2013 at 8:43 pm

        I always thought that referring to ships, airplanes, flags, and countries as “she” was an extremely peculiar and rather misogynistic custom for a non-gendered language like English, and I’m glad that it’s done way less now than was the case 40 or 50 years ago.

      • EG
        November 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm

        I think countries are a bit different and not particularly misogynist. Countries seem to be either men or women–England is a man (John Bull), Ireland is a woman (Cathleen Ni Houlihan), the US is a man (Uncle Sam), Russia is a woman (Mother Russia), Germany is a fatherland, France is Marianne, etc. It’s not the unremitting universal femininity of ships and airplanes and suchlike.

      • Donna L
        November 3, 2013 at 10:19 pm

        The U.S. is often referred to as female (“she’s a great country” kind of thing), even though its personification is male. And Britain has a female personification — Britannia — that dates back to the Roman Britain. I’ve heard both countries referred to with a female pronoun; never male. France is female not just because of Marianne, of course, but because it’s gendered female — La Belle France.

      • November 4, 2013 at 7:00 am

        The US had a female personification, too – Columbia. Don’t know how much that’s ever seen outside Columbia Pictures now, though.

      • November 5, 2013 at 3:42 am

        There’s inconsistency on this. A lot of countries have male personifications but are nonetheless gendered as female, or vice versa. Often it has to do with the conventions of the country’s language (for instance, in Russian all countries are gendered feminine, so Russians don’t view their own country as unusually feminine, anymore than French people view their toasters that way).

        Many countries, as is noted, have flip-flopped between the gender of their national personification – France had Heracles before it had Marianne, Germany had Germania at roughly the same time it had Deutscher Mikel, etc etc.

        Also, a lot of these personifications are the products of elites and aren’t really bought into by most people. Marianne is pretty irrelevant to the way most French people think about France, I’d wager.

      • EG
        November 5, 2013 at 8:56 am

        Marianne is pretty irrelevant to the way most French people think about France, I’d wager.

        Sample size of one, but I teach at a public college, most of whose students are far from elite, class-wise. French immigrant in my class just referenced Marianne the other day when we were chatting about France.

        And Mother Russia goes back quite some time–it’s not just a grammatical construction. I recall Emma Goldman using it in autobiography.

      • TimmyTwinkles
        November 5, 2013 at 10:43 am

        You’re off Hugh, at least as far as Mother Russia is concerned. Russians do (historically at least) tend to view their country as a mother figure. Whether that’s a product of the language convention or vice versa i couldnt say.

      • Willemina
        November 5, 2013 at 11:36 am

        I always understood it that the national personification was female and generally derived from the old Latin placename or classical/local mythology, while the government or people of the country were represented by a male or animal avatar. There are strong ties to nationalism in their use as well, when monarchy was in full force the country had less of a need for personification as it was firmly an object under the dominion of its ruler. This is all from a view of Western Europe and its antecedents though, so a huge grain of salt is worth taking.

        It’s also neither here nor there in the original point though, since I can’t think of a single turn of phrase or rhetorical flourish where the country (sans mention of personification) is referred to in the masculine. Even saying “his territories,” “come to his aid,” or “fight for his preservation,” just sound off.

      • Donna L
        November 5, 2013 at 11:57 am

        I think Marianne is far more central to French culture than Hugh suggests, and has been since the French Revolution (originally as the personification of Liberty, wearing a Phrygian cap). Songs, paintings, coins and paper money — I don’t believe for a moment that knowledge of Marianne is confined to an “elite.”

        Columbia was displaced by Liberty (as in the Statue of Liberty, Miss Liberty) a long time ago, as the female personification of the USA.

        I don’t think Germania has remotely the same degree of significance — it was mostly a 19th century, revolution of 1848, romanticism kind of thing. Like Berolina as the personification of Berlin.

        There’s a long list on Wikipedia of countries and languages in which “fatherland” is used; it isn’t just Germany, and it wasn’t just a Nazi concept. And its use doesn’t preclude a national female personification.

        I agree with Timmy — motherland (Rodina?) is, as far as I know, definitely more than just a language convention for Russians.

        None of this changes the fact that in English, I have never, ever heard of a country referred to with male pronouns — it’s always, always, either gender-neutral or “she.” For the US itself, think of the words to “God Bless America,” and so on.

        For the world as a whole, nobody ever refers to Father Earth.

        And the Catholic Church, of course, is considered female. I don’t know about other religious institutions.

  10. Bagelsan
    November 3, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    I saw the Ender’s Game movie last night and I actually really liked it. I thought it stayed true to the book (with a couple important exceptions), had a pretty diverse cast (although it was a bit of a sausage-fest) and the effects were quite neat.

    Has anyone else seen it yet? What do y’all think? …And before just telling me how goddawful Card is, yes, I know, the link addresses that. :p

    • Librarygoose
      November 3, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      I haven’t seen it but I’m excited it’s pretty true to the book. I’m waiting a bit to pirate it later because fuck Card.

      • Bagelsan
        November 3, 2013 at 10:27 pm

        I saw an article that said Card won’t monetarily benefit from the success of the movie, that he’s already gotten his chunk of cash regardless, but now I can’t find it… I hope it’s true, at least!

      • dawnofthenerds
        November 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm
      • Librarygoose
        November 4, 2013 at 1:02 am

        Oh, I know he made all his money already. I just don’t want to to spend my money on anything tangentially related to him. So piracy seems like a good option. Because fuck Card.

      • Willemina
        November 4, 2013 at 2:06 am


      • November 4, 2013 at 2:35 am

        Yeah, not giving them my money might discourage studios from giving him any more money.

  11. November 4, 2013 at 2:36 am

    I am attempting NaNoWriMo, and am up to 4,600 words. And I skipped a party last night, because I felt like staying home and writing. It’s possible that I found my groove.

    • November 4, 2013 at 9:56 am

      Yay, another NaNo’er. This is my… eighth? year doing NaNo. It gets easier. If anything I’ve learned discipline through making myself write even when I didn’t want to.

      • November 4, 2013 at 11:18 am

        I’m so glad someone else on here is doing it. This is my first year. I have been sort of fooling around with a couple of novels for the last couple of years, but really only working on them in fits and starts. I figured some sort of deadline would serve me well. I’m hoping this will help me to get into a routine that will carry on past Nano. Do you use the website much? Message boards? Coaching? I kind of poked around on there a little bit, but I didn’t get into it too much.

      • November 4, 2013 at 4:09 pm

        The site doesn’t play that nicely with my aging browser, but the boards are fun. The nanoisms (NaNoWriMo typos) thread is a nice diversion/procrastination device.

  12. EG
    November 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I have completely lost my voice today. I feel fine, I just can’t speak. I can’t cancel classes, because I cancelled class last week when I could speak but felt like shit from a cold, and I have no more wiggle room in the syllabus.

    This should be an interesting day…

    • Lateef
      November 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      Are you familiar with the classic art of mime?

      • EG
        November 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm

        Alas, no. But I am familiar with the classic art of “guess you’re doing group work and presentations”!

      • Lateef
        November 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm

        Just as good.

    • TimmyTwinkles
      November 4, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      What do you teach?

      • EG
        November 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm

        English. But one class has to take a midterm today, so that one’s gonna be OK…

      • TimmyTwinkles
        November 4, 2013 at 9:10 pm

        I cant indulge due to my need to remain completely sober, but may i recommend a hot toddie for your voice? First get some water boiling; add a few fingers of whiskey (SoCo might work here i suppose, i always used Jack Daniels myself); pour boiling water over the whiskey, then add a good amount of fresh lemon juice and honey. Take as needed!
        -Courtesy of my grandmother, a fine strong proud southern women

    • TomSims
      November 5, 2013 at 11:41 am

      You may want to try some honey. I use it all the time for sore throats and coughs.

  13. AMM
    November 7, 2013 at 9:57 am

    [Trigger warning for discussion of rape; linked articles include explicit descriptions]

    A rape case at Sarah Lawrence College (Yonkers, NY, USA) hit our local paper this week. The man missed the last train home, and the woman offered to let him sleep in her room, which (in the words of today’s newspaper account) “he took … to be an invitation for sex, despite Robertson telling him she was a lesbian.” She reported it as a rape to the police the next morning.

    The Westchester County DA’s Office told them it could not pursue charges because “Robertson let Ashhurst-Watson into her room, did not say ‘no’ right away and because no weapon or ‘use of force’ was involved.”

  14. soij
    November 7, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Richie Incognito, that POS racist bully from the Miami Dolphins, assaulted a woman at a charity golf tournament last year. He took a golf club and rubbed it on her crotch, then her breasts, then knocked the sunglasses off her head, and finished off by grinding his genitals into her rear and pouring water on her head and face. Nobody did or said anything, he never apologized, and the victim filed a police report (seems like nothing happened). The media is just now picking up on this story and, unfortunately and very typically, they are referring to the incident as sexual harassment and not sexual ASSAULT. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/report-incognito-allegedly-sexually-harrassed-golf-worker-article-1.1510312

    Why do media outlets seemingly ignore sexual assault in favor of calling it ‘harassment?’ (re: Herman Cain)

  15. EG
    November 8, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Horrible and disgusting things EG has read about in the last few days:

    1) A white man shot Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old black woman in the face, killing her, when she knocked on his door after her car broke down. He has not yet been arrested. I am reminded not only of Trayvon Martin and Jonathan Ferrell, but also Glenda Moore. White people are scum.

    2) Anti-semitic students have repeatedly and miserably made life miserable for Jewish children in Pine Bush, NY, and the school failed to protect the Jewish children. One of the officials, Jewish himself, is actually characterizing the resultant lawsuit as a “money grab.” He also told parents of harassed/assaulted Jewish kids that they should move. Fuck him. Fuck all these kids who drew swastikas, called children “disgusting Jews,” made Holocaust jokes, and gave Nazi salutes, and fuck the adults they learned it from and who let it continue. I mean, when a group of students taunted a kid for being Jewish and punched him in the stomach repeatedly, the school made the ringleader write a note of apology and spoke with his mother–what more could we money-grubbing Jews want?

    • TimmyTwinkles
      November 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      The homeowner should get a manslaughter conviction so fast it makes his head spin. And if he doesnt something should happen to him. That story made me sick.

    • November 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      From the first link:

      “This man’s claiming -– believed the girl was breaking into the home,” Lt. James Serwatowski told the newspaper. “And he’s also saying the gun discharged accidentally.”

      What kind of shit explanation is that?

      • TimmyTwinkles
        November 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm

        Its no kind of explanation. I learned to shoot when i was 5, shot most kinds of guns. With safeties and the trigger action guns dont discharge accidentally, not like hes claiming. He’s a murderer, straight-up. And cases like this are why i have a burning hatred for the NRA despite my background, because they support butchers like this homeowner. Fuck him, and the NRA.

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