Things to Read

A nice homage to one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino. While you’re at it, get off the computer and read a real book — I’d recommend “If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler.” But, as the author of this piece says, “Italo Calvino never wrote a bad book,” so whatever you pick will probably be good.

Amanda posts about two EC ads that have the Concerned (anti-)Women for America all aflutter. I don’t like the ads either, but for different reasons, and I’m curious to see what other people think. Weigh in over there.

I was supposed to go to the opening of this macabre exhibit last night, but cancelled at the last minute so that I could stay home and study. Good to know that it might be questionable for reasons other than its display of dead bodies.

Women are still being killed in Juarez, and the Mexican government doesn’t seem too interested in doing anything about it. NOW has gotten involved, and is demanding justice for these women. via Feministing.

Echidne on stupid, smug women (emphasis on the women). Read the comment thread. It’s interesting how many times she’s told, “Lighten up, Steve is on our side” — as if it’s somehow unfair to call out sexism when we see it from people who are otherwise our ideological allies. Other comments range from the just plain stupid (“you don’t like his language, wake up and realize what kind of world we’re living in. you don’t have to use it yourself, but you can be acceptant of it as appropriate for the subject matter being dealt with”) to the downright hostile (” Does your ass look fat on this blog? I dunno. Now get me a beer and shut up”).

Perhaps the most inane take yet on Heidi Fleiss’ “stud farm.”

Heidi’s Stud Farm, a house of prostitution where men will cater to women, will surely engender much press coverage and gnashing of feminist teeth.

Gnashing of feminist teeth? I have a feeling it’ll be the right-wingers who are more upset about this one. Although certainly feminists are interested.

It’s hard to resist the clever punch lines. Why not call it “The Cuddle Farm” or “Heidi’s House of Endless Conversations About Where the Relationship Is Going”?

…because women are incapable of having sex just for physical pleasure. And even when women pay for sex, they’re looking for a relationship. Men, on the other hand, are heartless clods who feel no emotional attachment during sex, ever, and have to be hog-tied and dragged into a relationship.

To be fair, the writer recognizes that maybe that isn’t the case. But then…

But if women can pay for sex at a high-end, celebrity-owned resort — think of it as Canyon Ranch without those strenuous hikes — we’ve got more than a political movement, we’ve got the Official Headquarters of Equality.

If the epitome of “equality” is the ability for both genders to pay for sex, find me a new movement.

New Idea Guy says, “Both sides of the Roe debate are disingenuous!”

Posted in General | Tagged , | 35 Comments

Friday Random Ten – 2nd Ed.

Last week I forgot. Thankfully, our Leader reminded me this time.

1. Jem – Maybe I’m Amazed
2. Violent Femmes – Country Death Song
3. Finley Quaye with Beth Orton – Dice
4. Mariah Carey ft. Mase & Puffy – Honey (Bad Boy Remix)
5. Coldplay – Fix You (I know, I know)
6. Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place
7. Elvis Costello – My Mood Swings
8. Ben Harper – Alone
9. Gypsy Kings – Baila Me
10. Nirvana – Plateau

Tagged , | 10 Comments

A Note

Devastatingly obvious, I know, but this seems rather impractical.

Posted in General | 53 Comments

Friday Random Ten – The “Everybody Poots” Edition

Fire up your favorite mp3 player (WinAmp here) and load up all of your mp3s. If it’s Friday somewhere, it’s time for the Thank God It’s A Goddamned Friday Random Ten, so let’s see what the random shuffle spits out and go tell it on the virtual mountain.

1) William Shatner – Has Been
2) Rockwell – Somebody’s Watching Me (shut up)
3) The Dirtbombs – Chains of Love
4) The Roots – Step Into the Realm
5) Johnny Cash – Thirteen
6) Echo and the Bunnymen – Nothing Lasts Forever
7) Nelly McKay – Toto Dies
8) The Meteors – Give the Devil His Due
9) Sebastian Tellier – Lenny
10) Le Tigre – My Art

BONUS TRACK: Wesley Willis – The Vultures Ate My Dead Ass Up

Tagged | 22 Comments

Because Street Harassment Is Not Ok

It is a rare occurence that I make it through a full day without getting harassed on the street by strange men. I can’t remember the last 24-hour period in which it didn’t happen — the only exceptions I can think of are the few days where I didn’t leave my apartment. It’s frustrating, exhausting, and an experience that most young women I know live with. To be quite honest, it’s to the point where much of the time I don’t notice it anymore — or at least, I expect that when I leave my house, it’s gonna happen.

This is a big, big problem in New York City, and now some powerful women are talking it on with Holla Back New York City. Next time some dude harasses you, snap his picture and send it in. Hot shit.

Posted in Blogging, Feminism | Tagged , , , | 98 Comments

“She Was Asking For It”

This post by Nick Kiddle over at Alas has caused quite a stir. You can see Nick’s follow-up here. To summarize, Nick went out one night for the express purpose of picking up men for sex. She met two men (paratroopers), and went back to their camp. In the process of engaging with these men (it’s not clear whether or not they were having sex, or what kinds of sexual activities they were engaging in), Nick noticed that one of them was no longer wearing a condom. She told him he could either get another condom and put it on, or they could stop. He didn’t agree to either of her solutions. She put her clothes on and left. Nick writes:

If he had persisted, if he had penetrated me despite my objections, that would have been rape. I had consented to sex, but I had made it clear that condoms were part of the deal. When the condom vanished, so did my consent.

In the following post, Nick writes:

In my ideal world, men would not be tempted to commit rape. Sexual encounters would be handled with negotiation, not with one partner’s insistence on getting what he wants at the expense of another. Men would respect the desires of women to control what happens to their bodies, whether they’ve known each other for ten minutes or ten years.

And in my ideal world, the fear of rape could not be used as a justification for slut-shaming.

Seems reasonable enough to me. But it’s not so clear to some other folks:

Continue reading

Posted in Sexual Assault | Tagged , , , , | 144 Comments

An Ex-Wife-Beater, An Ex-Drug-Addict, and an Ex-Homosexual Walk Into A Bar…

Meet God’s Manly Men, the Promise Keepers: Here to take back your family, one giant prayer rally at a time. Martin Manly has the inside scoop on this sausagefest for the Lord.

The first thing one notices when walking toward HP Pavilion in San Jose is males — nothing but big groups of men. Not sissy-boy men, but manly men. The kind who go to big sporting events and watch the playoff game with their buddies, not to mention men who are lovin’ the Jesus.

On this night the womenfolk are made to stay at home; it’s guys only, as the testosterone pumps in the large sports arena where the Sharks play hockey, and it is all in the name of the Lord. Yes, titled “Calling Men to an Unpredictable Adventure” — these are the Promise Keepers!

“If you want to truly change the world, change the men,” states the Promise Keepers’ literature. (Sorry, ladies.) This weekend is designed to “expose a list of lies of the world against our manhood.” Holy shit, not only are people lying to men, but manhood is also on the line!

Who started the Promise Keepers in 1990? Why, the head coach of the University of Colorado football team, of course — a manly man doing a manly profession. As far as filling arenas goes, the Promise Keepers are the AC/DC of men-only, Jesus-centered events. Touring 20 cities around the country, with ticket prices at $89, filling up larger outdoor stadiums with upward of 40,000 people, the Promise Keepers are holy big business.

What separates me (a man) from most of these men (not women) is I’m in the inner circle for this weekend’s arena event. That’s right, phoning a few days earlier, I volunteered to be on the Promise Keepers Prayer Team.

“Do you have experience putting your hands on men and praying for them?” the Prayer Team Leader asked.

“Yeah. This morning as a matter of fact,” I replied. “I put my hands on men and pray all the time!”

Highly pleased with my response, he put me on the team. “You’re going to see some wild things,” he added.

“What kind of things?” I asked, wondering if it would involve a big religious circle jerk.

“Transgressions, speaking in tongues, guys confessing to homosexuality, alcohol problems ….”

“Cool! Bring it on,” I responded. I paused and then yelled: “Woo!”

Some folks (we’ll call them the critics) say that the Promise Keepers are a component of the religious and political right; a Trojan horse, if you will, for the advancement of ultraconservative patriarchy. For instance, Promise No. 4 calls for men to reclaim their leadership role in the family. In a Promise Keepers book, a section titled “Reclaiming Your Manhood” reads: “Sit down with your wife and say something like this: ‘Honey, I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’ve given you my role. I gave up leading this family, and I forced you to take my place. Now, I must reclaim that role.’ … I’m not suggesting you ask for your role back, I’m urging you to take it back. … There can be no compromise here. If you’re going to lead, you must lead.”

That’s why I’m going cunningly undercover in a manly Promise Keepers volunteer persona that will show not only that I can be a pumped-up member of the Prayer Team, but, most important, that I can also be a real man or perhaps reclaim my manhood!

Read it all. Hysterical. via Jesus’ General.

Posted in Religion | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Catch That Fart and Paint it Green

Popping in with an update.

The highlight of my week occurred this morning as we read aloud from our crappy novel. We were trading the responsibility of reading around the room, the students sitting in their desks or sprawled out on the floor as we made our way through the chapter.

Because this class is so poor on attendance, I often find myself floating about the room handing out assignments that need to be caught up and rediscussing the day’s assignment with the ESL students. After interrupting the round robin reading for the umpteenth time to impart some VERY IMPORTANT POINT about the goddamned Nicholas Sparks novel, I got up to grab my gradebook from the back on the classroom. I noticed two students snickering about something, and a third with his sweatshirt pulled over his nose. I headed past these three to my desk when I suddenly hit a Wall of Odor.

What the hell was that? Had someone crapped on my desk? Upon realizing I had just walked through a rank cloud of stinking, rotten gut fart, I did my best to maintain composure.

If there is one thing you should know about Lauren, it is that Lauren believes the fart is the highest form of humor. Juvenile? Totally.

I made it back to the front of the room without cracking a smile, marking participation points for the students that volunteered to read aloud, and gazing out at them trying to stifle my laughter. You could measure the travel of this fart across the room as it spread. The awful faces and cries of disgust moved like a wave across the gaggle of students until it eventually hit me, again, in the front of the classroom, and lingered like fog.

We all lost it. I couldn’t contain myself. The students were simultaneously amused at my loss of composure and horrified at the fart that violently offended us. Someone demanded I turn on the fan. I offered bonus points to the person who would claim it. No one did.

Any modicum of control I had over the class dissolved for the rest of the hour, but hell, I my first belly laugh in that school all semester.

Even if it did pain me to breathe.

Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Sex, etc.

Heidi Fleiss may be opening a brothel in Nevada — but this one is for women. She’s right that women are more sexually liberated than we were 30 years ago, and probably more likely to seek out sex for pleasure — but will we pay for it?

Serbs line up for testicle shocks as part of a new contraceptive treatment. It doesn’t sound particularly pleasant, but I’ll at least give my people credit for being so… enterprising. via Feministing.

Gays and lesbians in Jamaica may be on the way to securing basic rights. Guess who’s pissed?

Still, many in the devoutly religious Caribbean region reject the notion that gays and lesbians should be granted equal protection under the law, including the right to associate openly and receive public services, as well as to marry.

Yeah, don’t you hate it when minority groups as for that special right to association? Whiners.

Donate Your Uterus to the Good of the Cause!
Amanda fires off one of the best blog posts I’ve read in a long, long time. Go, go, read, read.

Dan Savage tells Dems to buck up and propose a privacy amendment. I don’t agree with everything he says here, but the general sentiment is spot on.

Man, is there anything that won’t give you cancer?

Here’s some really, really bad advice: “My deranged neighbor is stalking me. What do I do?” “Move.” Well, sure, if you can afford to, that’s a great solution — but how about getting a restraining order while you’re at it? Creating a paper trail so that the next time this creep decides to follow a woman around, there’s evidence that he’s a habitual creep? Hell, even telling her to buy mase, take a self-defense course and get a big scary dog would have been better advice. The creep in question here is a poorly-socialized 18-year-old boy living with his seven siblings and his mother; he also seems to believe that he’s training to be a sniper. But there’s “no man in the house” and his mother is undoubtedly “frazzled,” so instead of letting her know that her son is a potential menace to society, this young woman — who moved home to save money for grad school — should be the one to re-locate. Right.

Posted in General, Sex | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

The Worst Place to be a Woman

Liberian women rise up and elect their first female president. The author of this piece hopes that, if Liberian women can do it, the women of Bukava will be next on the road to liberation.

In Liberia, when their sons were kidnapped and drugged to fight for rebel factions, and when their husbands came home from brothels and infected them with H.I.V., and when government soldiers invaded their houses and raped them in front of their teenage sons, these were the women who picked themselves up and kept going. They kept selling fish, cassava and kola nuts so they could feed their families. They gave birth to the children of their rapists in the forests and carried the children on their backs as they balanced jugs of water on their heads.

These are the women who went to the polls in Liberia last week. They ignored the threats of the young men who vowed more war if their chosen presidential candidate, a former soccer player named George Weah, didn’t win. “No Weah, no peace,” the boys yelled, chanting in the streets and around the polling stations.

The women in Liberia, by and large, ignored those boys and made Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is 67, the first woman to be elected to lead an African country.

That’s bravery. Read the whole article.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Sex Ed for the Stroller Set

When is it appropriate to start teaching kids about sex? At the same time you teach them about the rest of their bodies.

This makes a lot of sense to me. As long as you’re giving young children the vocabulary for “toes” and “hands” and “nose,” why not give them the vocabulary for “vulva” and “penis” as well? I’m sure someone out there will find this controversial, and will argue that kids should be raised thinking the only thing below their belly button is their feet. And I’m sure someone will argue that it’s “sexualizing” children to teach them about their own body parts. But that simply doesn’t make sense.

Yes, it seems odd at first to tell a two-year-old what a vulva is. But why is it harder to use the word “vulva” than “peepee”? And what, really, is so terrible about explaining intercourse and how babies are made if kids are curious? If you’ve ever spent time around young children, you know that they get lots of things explained to them, because they’re just starting to figure out the world — tossing intercourse in there as one more thing they learn doesn’t seem like it would be harmful, and it certainly wouldn’t encourage any sort of sexual behavior among four-year-olds (or at least, any sexual behavior that young children don’t already naturally engage in).

Posted in Sex | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Nerve Reproductive Rights Issue

Is out. And it’s a must-read. A run-down:

Continue reading

Posted in Recommended, Reproductive Rights | Tagged , | 32 Comments