• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    blueberry on Serial: Yes, innocent people i…
    Monster from the Id on Serial: Yes, innocent people i…
    Monster from the Id on Serial: Yes, innocent people i…
    katiebird on Serial: Yes, innocent people i…
    r u reddy on The Neuroscience of Creat…
    riverdaughter on The Neuroscience of Creat…
    Mr Mike on The Neuroscience of Creat…
    katiebird on The Neuroscience of Creat…
    riverdaughter on The Neuroscience of Creat…
    Sweet Sue on The Neuroscience of Creat…
    riverdaughter on The Neuroscience of Creat…
    Bob Harrison on The Neuroscience of Creat…
    katiebird on Who could have predicted?…
    katiebird on Who could have predicted?…
    Mr Mike on Happy Hanukkah!
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama big pharma Bill Clinton Chris Christie cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean Joe Biden John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Keith Olbermann Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare occupy wall street OccupyWallStreet Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    December 2014
    S M T W T F S
    « Nov    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Dogs used to rape prisoners at Bagram?
      I don’t know.  But Pinochet did the same (plus rats), it’s not without precedent. I hope not: The war veteran, who loathed manipulating Western politicians even as he defended tactics of collective punishment, continued his account: Afghan prisoners were tied face down on small chairs, Jack said. Then fighting dogs entered the torture chamber. “If [...] […]
  • Top Posts

Tuesday: Fits and starts

I followed a link from Susie Madrak’s place yesterday to a post on AlterNet by Sara Robinson called Why Patriarchal Men are Terrified by Birth Control.  Robinson makes several good points that most of us probably figured out several decades ago.  The “scriptures” were written at time when transfer of inherited property depended on having the right credentials.  You could always be sure who your mother was.  Your father?  Ehhhhh, not so much.  And, so, for thousands of years, culture was pretty fixed around keeping an eye on the ladies.  Biology was destiny.  And I guess that the extinction of silphium complicated matters somewhat when it came to having a life outside of marriage.  (Hmmmm, I wonder if you can get an aloe vera plant to express silphium’s active ingredient in its resin?  Yeah, probably.  Now, that would make an interesting horticultural blockbuster.)

But that all changed with the pill and earlier forms of birth control like the diaphragm and the condom.  With reliable birth control, all those scriptures and cultural artifacts seemed anachronistic to those of us who came of age in the 70’s and 80’s.  Because they were.  That old time religion doesn’t apply to us.  I turned my back on the Old Testament probably as soon as I was able to reason out how inapplicable it was to modern times in every way from evolution to gender discrimination, slavery and birth control.  Why the heck we’re still expecting anyone to bow and scrape to these old rules is beyond me.

But Robinson says that we’re going to keep fighting this battle for a few more hundred years because the menfolk need some time to get used to the idea that they’re not alone at the top of the food chain anymore.  I’m not sure I agree with her there.  In Europe, the religious are getting more rare.  Oh, sure, there’s still gender discrimination and violence but that’s a function of how accountable we make the perpetrators.  When there is political will to crack down on it, that will start to fade away.  Of course, women will always be at a disadvantage as far as upper body strength is concerned and rape can be used as a method of control and violence.  I don’t know what we can do about that short of retrofitting our vaginas with taser devices.  But books have been written about how the human species has become less violent over the centuries and I see no reason why rape should be an exception.

Evolution is not necessarily smooth and linear.  Who would have thought just a century ago that the internet would put all of the knowledge of human civilization at our fingertips and change the world?  Look at how much damage we have accomplished just since 1993.  My youngest daughter has never known a world without google.  My oldest learned to read on a computer.  And yet, this year, we are fighting tooth and nail to keep SOPA and PIPA from turning the clock back on what we can do with the internet.  So, there are fits and starts with every new thing.  Birth control has had a profound effect on our culture and this is just a glitch, a short one.

I’m still of the opinion that there is an age factor at work in this latest push back on women’s bodily autonomy.  The most socially conservative voters are elderly and came of age before they had the chance to form their lives according to their own desires.  Many women in their 70’s had responsibility shoved down their throats and their opportunities spirited away by the era they were born into.  If they had been born only a few years later, their lives would have been so much different.  The men of this age, on the other hand, lived in the salad days of post war America where any hard working guy could own a house and a car and earn a pretty decent living with a pension.  Must have been swell.  The guys that came after them have seen their livelihoods diminish over the past 30 years.

I think as the older generation dies off and the newer generation who has thought through the Old Testament problem comes of age, the pendulum will swing away from the patriarchal fear of birth control and this will happen on a much quicker timeframe than several hundred years.  But what has happened to us as a culture, with our diminished expectations, is a result of an economic assault on us by some very determined conservatives.  And those predators have been with us forever.  We need to develop a pill that prevents selfishness and arrogance.  That will be the next modern medical miracle.

******************

Check out this post about dyeing your macbook.  The third picture nearly gave me a heart attack.  I don’t know why you’d want to do this.  White goes with everything.

This macbook decal is a lot less permanent:

There’s more where that came from.  Check out more decals here.

The Hypocrisy of Conservatives

There is a right to Privacy. There is no right to  Hypocrisy.

-Congressman Barney Frank

Everyone has a right to their own privacy. Nobody deserves to have their personal lives, personality, character, and morals judged and analyzed by people who either don’t know them, have never met them, or hardly know them.

Politicians are people. As people, they also deserve that basic right. When choosing to vote for them, most Americans have never met them, and the journalists  who cover their campaigns, policies, and careers have also either never met them or hardly know them.

A majority of Americans do want their leaders to be decent people. An American voter votes for a candidate on faith, because they believe that candidate will do everything within their power to make their lives better. American voters, for the most part, want their leaders to be in Politics as Public Servants who believe in service and social advocacy as a way to help others. It is, in fact, about “Putting People First.”   The same can perhaps be said of police officers, surgeons, and others whose professions affect people’s lives. A surgeon saves lives, and a police officer protects lives. A politician can affect lives in many different ways, depending on what policies they implement, bills they sign into law, legislation they write, or what message they send to the world.

Politicians are supposed to be Public Servants. And a person who serves people helps people. By extension, a person who helps others is generally considered to be a good person.

That being said, people, and most especially good people, can be complicated people with successes and failures. It is unfair to judge them solely on their failures and foolish to judge them only on their successes.  And sometimes, good people can make mistakes and have problems in their personal lives. In case you haven’t noticed, shit happens.

That is why a politician’s personal life should never be aired in public. That is why there should be a basic right to privacy and that right should not be violated.

The examination of Politician’s personal lives started in the late eighties, with the emergence of reactionary right wing “values voters” that picked and chose Bible Verses to advance bigotry against women, gays, racial minorities, joy, laughter, and other blasphemous ungodly characters. They found a home with Movement  Conservatives in the early 1990’s. And, as David Brock writes in his memoir, Blinded By the Right, their morally superior panty drawer snooping consisted of, “…making accusations with no proof, and of using ill-defined issues of ‘judgment’ and ‘character’ to discredit opponents based solely on alleged personal behavior. Sexual McCarthyism had been introduced into modern right-wing politics.”

These “Family Values” nutjobs and their allies in the media have an interesting way of judging elected officials personal lives. As John at LR states:

The bible literalists who spend many a happy hour bashing gays because of a few bible verses are mighty forgiving of Conservative adulterers as Joe Conason points out here. The biblical punishment for adultery is death by stoning. I have yet to see a right winger pitch at stone at Newt, Sanford, Vitter, or Ensign. But lordy, lordy, say “Lewinsky” to one of them and watch them froth. I guess I don’t have the translation of the bible that includes the phrase “Forgive the Republicans but keep on trashing the Democrats with all the invective at your command.”

And maybe I am just being immature and completely juvenile about this (okay, I am) but the Big Dawg just got a couple of bl*wj*bs (granted, the Big Dawg’s sex scandal was a lot more fun, because there were characters like Linda Tripp and Lucciane Goldberg and Kenn Starr and other weirdos involved. Like a soap opera!). Sanford has recently been caught in a five-year affair with a chick from Argentina, and after lying about it to his wife, she caught him, and he actually asked her permission to go see his mistress. Newt Gingrich, the coolest Conservative evah who will totally run for President and beat Palin in the Primaries! gave his wife divorce papers while she was on her death bed, then cheated on his second wife while he was calling Liberals “decadent” and “sick” and routinely sniffing through the Clintons’ private lives. Vitter, another Clinton Condemner, was caught with prostitutes. Larry Craig voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, and he tried to boink a guy in a bathroom stall. The list goes on. In fact, I have a list!

Since 1998 there has been an average of two sex scandals a year. There are twenty four in my list. Fourteen involve Republicans and ten involve Democrats. And, as Joe Conason says

Even after confessing to the most flagrant and colorful fornication, the worst that a conservative must anticipate is a stern scolding, followed by warm assurances of God’s forgiveness and a swift return to business as usual.

The hilarious thing is that Right Wingers don’t even notice the double standard or the blatant hypocrisy. Just spend a few minutes reading the comments at Hillbuzz, which has pretty much been taken over by Reactionary Republicans, and you would come away believing that all Democrats are the most lewd, immoral, promiscuous cretins in the Universe. But mention Vitter, Sanford, or Ewing and you will get nothing but crickets.

Blaming a Generation

civil war soldiers

One outrage after another. Obama’s recent defense of DOMA leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I won’t continue, I may start to blub again if I do, and I don’t feel like being smug anyway. Claiming that banning Gay Marriage is good for the federal budget, and then invoking incest and pedophilia does not warrant comments that aren’t X rated in nature, and this is a family blog.

But while I’m at it, I want to talk about something that I won’t be scoring any points for. In fact, I’m likely going to get Hell for this, but it needs to be said, and Little Isis can’t be polite and sweet all the the time when she has something to say.

It’s like this: since Bam’s victory in the General Election, there has been talk of “The Obama Generation.” Voters of my age group who tended to vote for him have been dubbed “Obama’s Youth Army.”

Well, for one thing, that sounds so militant. Who wants to be part of a “Youth Army?” Can you say cheesy? Besides, that is a loaded phrase with violent imagery, and I detest violence.

But I digress.

Thankfully, all this talk of “The Obama Generation” and “The Obama Era,” is dying down. Sadly, not because of the incredible corniness of those phrases, but because of what a disappointment my Generation’s alleged savior is turning out to be, only five or six months into his administration.

That’s the thing about Demi-Gods. They’re just human narcissists who are full of themselves, and the messianic imagery gets old after a while. My female friends who voted for the Chosen One will no doubt abandon their “Chocolate Fudge Sunday” in favor of the next big thing when it is no longer cool to like him. It’s like having a boyfriend who is great at first, because he’s, you know, so cocky and good looking. But then eventually you just cannot stand the sight of his smug mug anymore, because every time he opens his mouth to utter something stupid you must resist the urge to backhand him.

No see, there is a point. Since all this talk of “Youth Armies” and “Obama Generations” and “Obama Nightlights” and “Obama Thongs” and “Obama Midnight Movies,” there has been a trend among … people of a certain age group, I guess, to put the blame of Obama on us, that is to say, my generation.

Well, I take issue with that. (Note: I am not referring to most of the commenters here in this post. I have noted that you are all mature adults, and good parents to boot, and you seem to have a strong enough sense of history to realize it is a little more complicated than that.)

Continue reading

Musings on American Culture, and How to Change it for the Better

Women Are Still Wearing These

Women Are Still Wearing These

This week, I have been thinking about American culture, and shaking my head in disgust. For example, I noticed that Oscar-winning actress Renee Zellweger is starring in a new movie. When I saw the publicity shots for the film, my jaw dropped, as it was obvious Ms. Zellweger, at the ripe old age of 39, has had a great deal of cosmetic surgery done on her face. As a result, she now bears a startling resemblance to Nicole Kidman and has all the expressiveness of a Madame Tussaud’s mannequin. But darn it, she doesn’t have wrinkles anymore, so I suppose it’s all for the best! And then there’s another Oscar-winning actress, Gabrielle Anwar, who currently stars in USA’s hit television show, “Burn Notice.” She used to look like this, but now looks like this. Ms. Anwar is certainly anorexic, yet is portrayed as a sexy, irresistible bombshell on the show. No normal woman could ever achieve a look like hers without literally starving herself to death.

Why are actresses refusing to age, and to eat, in order to keep their jobs?

A more pointed question is this: In a world where the feminine principle dominates, do we really think that these women would torture themselves in order to morph into some bizarre, impossible ideal of feminine beauty?

The New Agenda editor Dr. Violet Socks has defined the patriarchy as a vast ocean in which we are all fish, and states that every feminist learns to taste the water at a different time in his or her life. I would like to tweak this metaphor a little, and argue that if we are all fish, we rot from the head first.

In other words, the culture that defines women by their perceived sexuality, youth and fertility is an outgrowth of government. If we change the government, we will change the culture. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 472 other followers