Weekly Open Thread with a Bubbly Bear

This playful polar bear in Salt Lake City Zoo is our host this week. Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the week.

Polar bear

Polar bear by Elizabeth Haslam, on Flickr (CC BY-NC 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.
* 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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About tigtog

tigtog blogs a lot elsewhere, but here on Feministe she mostly does the tech support and feeds the giraffe. tigtog tweets in irregular flurries @vivsmythe.
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83 Responses to Weekly Open Thread with a Bubbly Bear

  1. Ally S says:

    I can’t tell my dad that I’m not going to school this quarter and that I got poor grades last quarter, so I’ve been lying to him about school these days. Today he asked me how things were going, and I told him that I got all A’s last quarter and I’m doing well overall this quarter.

    He started crying and told me he was proud of me. He then started talking about how, even though he has lost his job today, he’s happy to hear that I’m doing well in school. I could tell he was being completely sincere.

    Yet there I was lying through my teeth. On top of that he’s completely unaware of my plans to leave the house soon. I feel so horrible and guilty about all of this. I can’t stop crying.

    • Fat Steve says:

      Wow, Ally, you have my total sympathy. I have been there with the lying about dropping out of school thing, so I can totally empathize with your guilt about that. Add that on to everything else you’re dealing with, well despite the crying, you must be a very strong person.

      I am starting to understand why people say they’ll pray for someone because as an atheist I’m sort of at a loss, except to say I really really hope that you get through everything ok. I hope that didn’t sound too cheesy.

      • Andie says:

        Just an FYI. Crying does not denote a lack of strength (which you kind of implied by saying “despite the crying.”

        Not to be nit-picky, but as someone who cries at the drop of a hat, I really resent the crying-as-weakness trope. I consider myself a pretty strong person, with active tear ducts.

        Back to the thread at hand, Ally, I am so sorry you have to deal with all this. I know it’s hard, lying, but try to remember you are doing this for your own happiness and safety… Happiness and safety YOU DESERVE.

      • Fat Steve says:

        Not to be nit-picky, but as someone who cries at the drop of a hat, I really resent the crying-as-weakness trope. I consider myself a pretty strong person, with active tear ducts.

        I totally agree…that bit was poorly worded…I’m a big cryer too…

  2. I’ve been trying to keep my expectations realistic. I have entered six or seven writing competition, each of which comes with a substantial cash prize. I will need to wait until March or even April, and I’m extremely impatient.

    My expectations are reasonable. Writing competitions, by their very nature, are extremely subjective. One has no way of knowing what the judges are looking for or how they justify their decisions. If I win, I’ll be thrilled. If not, I’ll submit again somewhere else.

  3. pheenobarbidoll says:

    Today is my birthday, and my hubbies birthday too. Im 41 and he’s 31. We shall celebrate by eating delicious abomination at red lobster.

  4. [username redacted by mods] says:

    Two random rants:

    1: I don’t why but today I had a random thought/annoyance over those “sexy” santa songs ( “santa baby” and “i saw mommy kissing santa claus” to be exact). They’re supposed to be cute and fun but they don’t make any sense to me because santa is a) fat and not that hot and b) married. And something rubs me the wrong way about how the message seems to be that “mommy” loves any dude that is a direct pipeline to “gifts”. Random and probably not new but. . . yuck nevertheless.

    2. I’m pregnant for the first time. Before I was pregnant, my favorite food was sushi and now that I’m pregnant, it’s my number one food craving. I’ve read about the dangers of mercury consumption from certain types of fish and the dangers of various bacteria from raw foods but – a) the “sushis” I like aren’t the “dangerous” kinds with high mercury that are specified in the little books and blurbs I’ve read and b) I’ve read that some japanese doctors say that raw fish in moderation is fine. Anywho, I’m a little miffed because I brought this up to my (American) doctor and she totally dismissed me and said no sushi. I’m trusting her because she is the medical expert and furthermore I’m not sure how reliable my little sources are but I wish she would AT LEAST look into and ask around before just telling me know. I have a feeling that japanese women don’t avoid sushi like the plague when they’re pregnant but that’s just a ~feeling~ and it could be a very misinformed and stereotypical one on my part. Not sure but want nigiri raaaaaaahhhhhhhh

    • ldouglas says:

      God forbid women kiss a fat dude.

      • [2nd username redacted by mods] says:

        the head of a giraffe against a bright blue sky: its mouth is pursed sideways[Moderator note - and now your choice of a new username utterly confirms you as trolling. Bye now! ~ tt]

    • tigtog says:

      “I saw mummy kissing Santa Claus” is not a sexy song, it’s a cute (or at least wannabe-cute) song about the fact that Santa doesn’t really exist, and what the kid saw was Mummy kissing Daddy in a Santa suit.

      BTW, change that username if you want to keep posting here.

    • emily says:

      Congratulations and good luck with pregnancy. I recommend the book Expecting Better. It talks a lot about what we shouldn’t do while pregnant and why that recommendation might be firmer than it has to be. I think I remember her talking about sushi (but I think I skimmed that chapter because I don’t eat sushi).

      And I always thought the song I saw Mommy kissing Santa was about a kid realizing there is no Santa, but I don’t like Christmas music and probably never listened to the lyrics. And am a cynic.

  5. Today in racist crap: Bayer’s CEO would like everyone to know that lifesaving drugs are not for Indians. In case anyone was concerned.

    • Ally S says:

      “We developed it for western patients who can afford it,” Dekkers said, and called the Indian regulator’s action “essentially theft”.

      much privileged
      so asshole
      such racist

      • whistlewren says:

        much privileged
        so asshole
        such racist

        Sorry to be nitpicky, but I am a little iffy on the sudden upsurge of this joke. Isn’t it just mocking the incorrect translations of English is Asian marketing/pop culture? If it is (and it may not be… I am generally really out of the loop when it comes to internet memes), this is super western-centric and pretty racist.

      • Chataya says:

        I think it is meant to be lolcats-style speech, the original meme featured a dog and was meant to represent the dog’s thoughts.

      • Yes, it’s the Doge meme – it’s supposed to be how dogs think. (Having had dogs, I can’t disagree.) I don’t think it’s racist at all, personally, so….

      • Ally S says:

        Thanks for pointing that out. I’m not sure if the meme is inherently racist, but it’s probably best that I don’t repeat it anyway. I’m sorry if it bothered anyone.

      • ldouglas says:

        Sorry to be nitpicky, but I am a little iffy on the sudden upsurge of this joke. Isn’t it just mocking the incorrect translations of English is Asian marketing/pop culture?

        Nope! Fortunately, it’s totally unrelated.

    • anna_k says:

      I highly suspect that if lifesaving Indians were withheld from Bayer and/or Dekkers, the standards in the R&D depts + hospitals they rely on would plummet precipitously and make the production and administration of said drugs much more difficult.

      Not that I in any way think access to lifesaving medicine should be predicated on your ability to contribute to its development. It’s just another level of urgh on this giant pile of racism.

    • Chataya says:

      The Indian government gave local pharmaceutical house Natco Pharma a licence to produce a copy of Nexavar, used to treat liver and kidney cancer, at a 97% discount to the original selling price of the Bayer product in India.

      Holy shit, that’s pretty awesome. No wonder Bayer is pissed.

      • It is awesome, and (more background) this decision is a Big Deal for a lot of reasons. Several countries in Africa buy drugs from India at Indian prices, which are obviously a lot more affordable (i.e. are affordable at all), especially drugs that fight cancer and AIDS. If India’s pharma market is shut down by Bayer and Buddies, then (at least as long as it takes them to start manufacturing their own, and only until they fall to the same axe) a lot of Africans are going to die, too. There’s a reason India and South Africa are being specifically targeted for this, and it has everything to do with the growth of populations Western countries would rather not have to ever deal with. India’s willingness to take a stand on the matter (which I’m going to go ahead and say is motivated by profit; I’m not one to get all rosy-glassed about India) is pretty much all we’ve got going at this point.

      • ldouglas says:

        There’s a reason India and South Africa are being specifically targeted for this, and it has everything to do with the growth of populations Western countries would rather not have to ever deal with.

        No, it’d because those are countries with economies that are developed enough to manufacture large amounts of the knock-offs and distribute them widely. It’s about profit, not some weird Sangerian eugenics initiative.

        The truth is nasty enough without the embellishment of conspiracy theories.

      • Yes, well, heavens forbid anyone suspect eugenicist subtext in Western pharmaceutical industries, when no Western culture has ever ever dabbled with eugenics!!

        That said, I agree that India and SA are the main targets because they’re the ones developed enough in the pharma sector, and that the main drive is profit.

      • ldouglas says:

        Yes, well, heavens forbid anyone suspect eugenicist subtext in Western pharmaceutical industries, when no Western culture has ever ever dabbled with eugenics!

        I’m not sure what the fact that many Western cultures, like many non-Western cultures, have dabbled in eugenics has to do with the allegation that:

        1) India and South Africa are being specifically targeted for patent enforcement in
        2) an attempt to prevent lifesaving drugs from reaching their populaces, so as to
        3) reduce their population sizes, because
        4) the West is concerned that those two countries will become overpopulated.

        Anyways, there are many, many problems with the original accusation:

        1) South Africa has the lowest birthrate in sub-Saharan Africa, so if drug companies were trying to prevent ‘overpopulation,’ that’d be a totally irrational place to start.
        2) Lack of access to medical care is a very minor factor in population dynamics (because of both the age and fertility of the typical patient). If every cancer patient in India was treated, the total effect on population growth would be negligible.
        3) In fact, pharmaceutical companies are aggressively expanding into India, because markets in the West are largely tapped out. One of the reasons they’re fighting so hard against rulings like this is that they want to do more business in India while charging high prices; Indian-made generics don’t threaten their interests in the West, due to trade restrictions and import laws. These actions are directly opposed to what you’d expect if the goal was to drastically reduce India’s population by denying Indians medical care.

      • ldouglas – that’s fair, and I retract my assertions. (Just want to say though that SA provides drugs at reduced prices to other African countries with much higher birth-rates, which is what I meant. India’s birth rate is also not actually that high anymore, relative to the post-independence population spike.)

      • ldouglas says:

        OK! Just to be clear, it’s not like I love Big Pharma or anything. That was an extremely skeevy quote.

    • Tyris says:

      We looked over our manufacturing schedule for the next two years and can note with relief that we’re not making anything for Bayer.

      We have submitted a suggestion to The Management that this continue to be the case.

  6. emily says:

    I kind of want to talk about yesterday’s shooting at the mall in Columbia, MD (my home town) with feminists. It doesn’t seem to be making the news like I remember other shooting making the news. Is it because we are so desensitized to shootings? Is it because the body count is lower than in other shootings? Is it because people aren’t considering it “random” but a “domestic dispute”? Does anyone have thoughts on this?

    • Tony says:

      It’s just another normal day in America. Carry on.

      (In all seriousness though, the Washington Post was one of the few outlets that had good coverage.)

      • emily says:

        I can’t help but think that people aren’t paying attention to it because they can chalk it up to domestic violence and that’s just not worth caring about.

  7. Chataya says:

    The documentary Reel Injun is available on Netflix! It explores the portrayal of Native Americans in film, and features a largely Native cast of interviewees.

    If anyone has seen that gif set of Sacheen Littlefeather talking about accepting Marlon Brando’s 1973 Oscar for Best Actor, this is the documentary those gifs are from.

    • Andie says:

      That almost makes me want to sign up for Netflix again. At the very least, I know what I’m going to look for next time I’m at the library. Been wanting to see that for a while.

      • If it makes you feel better, I do have Netflix as of a few days ago, and it’s not available for Canadian viewers :(

      • PrettyAmiable says:

        mac – can you use Chrome as your browser? There’s a free extension you can download called Hola Unblocker which lets you trick netflix and other media sites into thinking you’re somewhere else. For ex, I actually prefer most of Canada’s netflix offerings, so that’s what I’ve been watching despite living State-side.

      • PA – that’s really cool! I do have Chrome, though I tend to use Firefox, so it’ll be easy to do. Thanks!

      • Kerandria says:

        PrettyAmiable, you have changed my life. THANK YOU!

      • PrettyAmiable says:

        Yay! It’s one of the best things to happen to me in 2014 so far, so I’m glad I could share!

  8. Andie says:

    Started bleeding last week. Got scoped and CTscanned. Got prescribed a 21 day run of corticosteroid-based anti-inflammatories. To be administered by enema.

    I am lying on the bathroom floor as I type this, having just had my second one, waiting for it to take effect and wondering when the hell my life became one big poop joke.

    • Oh my god. I’m so sorry. *hugs lots if you want ’em*

    • Donna L says:

      I’m sorry, Andie. I was prescribed corticosteroids once, to be administered the same way (because fewer side-effects than oral prednisone). Not fun; without going into too much detail, I had a great deal of trouble holding it in long enough for it to do any good, given my absence of a colon and all that. So I can empathize, especially since I’ve spent a great deal of time over the years lying on bathroom floors! I hope it helps.

  9. Ally S says:

    I think I might have borderline personality disorder. I haven’t been officially diagnosed or anything, and I can’t be 100% sure, but I’ve realized that I’m terrified by the thought of being abandoned. I also seem to be very impulsive in many ways (in both drug use and eating habits). And these days I feel lost, empty, and very lonely because of the fear of being abandoned. It’s so bad that it’s now greatly hindering my ability to finish very basic tasks.

    Again, I’m not entirely sure if I have BDP, and there are probably a lot of things I don’t understand about it. I’m just scared of the possibility that I do. Ironically, I’m afraid of people thinking less of me and wanting to dissociate from me just because of BDP. I already don’t feel that I’m worthy of love and respect – if I turn out to have BDP, my feelings will only become worse because I’ll start thinking that everyone thinks I’m “crazy,” “unstable,” etc. Like I’m some kind of monster even though I understand that mental illness isn’t something to be ashamed of.

    *sigh*…I don’t know what to think. Maybe I’m just especially afraid of abandonment these days because of the stress of leaving home and coming out to the rest of the family, but I think I’ve had fears of abandonment for quite some time, although less severe.

    • kittehserf says:

      Ally – you had an abusive childhood, you’re still living in the abuser’s house, you’re about to leave, there’s a great big unknown, and you haven’t many close friends AFK – fucking hell, how could you not be afraid of abandonment? Your shit of a father has messed with your head since day one. Don’t go internet diagnosing yourself, please!

    • EG says:

      Ally, there is borderline personality disorder in my family. I am familiar enough with it that it’s hard for me to talk about it calmly, and I second kittehserf. You have endured dreadful abuse your entire life and you’re still living with the abuser. And despite all this, you are a highly functional person who does not abuse the people around her. You may be a bit impulsive, but you’ve never come across that way here, and even if you are, well, not only is that a perfectly reasonable personality trait, but it’s even expected in someone your age (I don’t mean that to sound patronizing, and I apologize if it does). You’re living with dysphoria and having to hide who you are every day–of course drug use and eating offer comfort. And Ally, fear of abandonment is not only normal, to a certain extent, but to be expected given how your family of origin has played itself out.

      Ally, take good care of yourself. Once you’ve made yourself safe both physically and emotionally, found a trans-positive therapist to help you process what you’ve had to go through, and begun transitioning, life will look very different; I am positive about that.

  10. trees says:

    The image at this link induces fremdschämen in me:
    Miley And Madonna Twerk Together

  11. After a bit over two months I’ve finally finished the Fribbie Jacket! Pity it’s going to be too friggin’ hot to wear it much for ages yet.

    Fribbie (proper name Freya) is our oldest kitty. It’s eighteen years today (January 30) since we bought her and Katie as unbearably cute kittens. It’s five years today since Katie passed over. Or, as Mr K said, it’s five years since he’s had her! She’s deigning to hang out with us at work today, being fussed over by him. Good thing they don’t take up earthly space, this little office would be getting crowded.

  12. Angel H. says:

    This was too precious not to share:

    It Happened To Me: There Are No Black People In My Yoga Classes And I’m Suddenly Feeling Uncomfortable With It

    I thought about how that must feel: to be a heavyset black woman entering for the first time a system that by all accounts seems unable to accommodate her body. What could I do to help her?

    I got home from that class and promptly broke down crying. Yoga, a beloved safe space that has helped me through many dark moments in over six years of practice, suddenly felt deeply suspect. Knowing fully well that one hour of perhaps self-importantly believing myself to be the deserving target of a racially charged anger is nothing, is largely my own psychological projection, is a drop in the bucket, is the tip of the iceberg in American race relations, I was shaken by it all the same.

  13. Sharon M says:

    (TW Clueless racism)

    12 Years a Slave drove the point home. the privileged (whites/straights/menfolk) MUST be allowed to fight for change. not just the oppressed

    Is she saying privileged people should be the spokespeople for the “oppressed”? Good goddess I think she is. D:
    Off topic somewhat: It would be highly amusing and fitting if
    Ani DeFranco and Amanda Palmer did a tour together. They could kick it off by touring the plantations featured in 12 Years a Slave

  14. trees says:

    I read the article TimmyTwinkles posted @Selfless Signal-Boosting Wednesday
    Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars
    and then I read the Storify Flavia Dzodan linked at her post Pulling my hair – a media strategy
    In spite of my good sense, I find this all just depressing. The doubling down, the defensive re-centering of Nice White Lady Feminism, and the casting of a particular sort of relatively privileged white woman as proper victim of scare-quote-the marginalized is too much for me.

    • PrettyAmiable says:

      Yeah, I spent a little time thinking about that today. I do think there’s something to be said about the whole “toxic” environment of online feminism (probably – it’s not how I experienced it, but I’m not a blogger or a brand), but I really don’t like the idea that somehow WOC finally having enough of this shit and saying something about it is being labeled “toxic.” That’s really not the problem. And why don’t those authors care about what’s toxic to WOC? That’s honestly my key takeaway. Why don’t we care what’s toxic to WOC?

    • SophiaBlue says:

      I feel like if a man wrote an article about how feminists angrily calling out sexism was creating a toxic environment where people were afraid to speak out, we wouldn’t put up with that, right? We’d point out that for women the toxic environment already existed, and that painting criticism as a silencing tactic was deeply dishonest? But apparently we’re incapable of applying that same analysis to our own movement.

      (Also it’s perhaps a little ironic that an article that claims to be against bad faith criticisms would compare the #femfuture backlash to a “Maoist hazing” and call Mikki Kendall “obsessed.”)

    • ldouglas says:

      I hope it’s possible to distinguish between the need for the movement to self-regulate (for example, addressing the many ways WOC are marginalized within feminism) and the type of deeply nasty one-upsmanship that characterizes the Tumblr-influenced takedown culture of much of internet feminism. The former is necessary, righteous work; the latter really is toxic, and it makes new women afraid to get involved.

      • SophiaBlue says:

        My question here is 1) who decides which is which, and 2) how do we shut down the latter without shutting down the former?

      • ldouglas says:

        I’m not sure what you mean by 1); since feminism doesn’t have a governing body, this works likes every other decision. Everybody makes up their own mind, people with access to megaphones (such as blogs) influence other people’s minds as well, and hopefully a consensus forms. In most cases, I don’t think it’s a very hard distinction.

        As for 2), I really don’t think it’s that hard. I’ve seen plenty of good articles on how a vicious culture that rewards feminists for attacking each other hurts the cause overall, while making the distinction between said culture and the important work of removing the longstanding homophobic/transphobic/racist strains of feminism from the mainstream.

    • tigtog says:

      The hashtag #whitefeministrants started about taking off about half an hour ago, and is rapidly accumulating many points that are an extension of this subthread, but a new Open Thread for this weekend just started up, so I’m asking you to please take it there.

Comments are closed.