Monday, July 23, 2007

taking a breather

hey anyone who's reading, i've just decided that i'm going to take a little break from this blog and/or add posts less frequently (maybe once or twice a week or something) b/c picking daily fights w/ the world is actually more mentally exhausting than you'd think (don't let the confrontational tone of the blog description fool you - i cry inside). that and i still have an MA to finish.

but i couldn't leave w/o sharing this bit of hollywood magic from sean connery's younger days. i don't know where i got this, but i imagine it was from my roomie, a connoisseur of things no-one should know about (or, conversely, things everyone should know about, but don't). you're welcome to get your jollies from this photo until i return...


bring me your men-folk!

earlier today, a friend of yours and mine, and a frequent visitor to this blog, commented on the alleged 'harshness' of the ultimate frisbee post. b/c i was born w/ no capacity for patience and thus can not wait to hear what specifically he thinks is harsh, and because we lived together for a year so i can practically read his mind, i'm going to just assume that he felt the post contained a needlessly severe attack on straight men. i'll just address this right now in three easy pieces:

1. i like lots of hetero men. i have had lots of wonderful and well-loved straight male friends (like you, roomie!) and more-than-friends. nothing that will ever be written on this blog should be considered an attack on the straight male kind. in fact, there are no 'attacks' period - only calls to think for a few minutes in your day about how you are affected, for better or worse, by gender.

2. nonetheless, for reasons that exceed the time/space given to explain here, most of the people who benefit from and propagate patriarchy (now and historically) are straight men. that doesn't mean all straight men are patriarchs. and not all patriarchs are straight men either; there are plenty-o lady patriarchs, gay male patriarchs, even lesbian patriarchs. for the most part though, again, it's straight men who make patriarchy happen. a lot of women have known this for a long time and have been working to end it - and, i should add, are succeeding (you know, that little feminism thing). but i really, truly believe that there's lots of potential in straight men realizing how they've historically benefited from patriarchy, and coming to the movement, standing by friends in the movement, and just calling themselves feminists in their daily lives (or wearing "this is what a feminist looks like" t-shirts, because any man wearing one of those is damn sexy).

3. (this one's more general, not related to the 'harshness' comment) it irritates me to no end that i can't critique misogyny/sexism in the world w/o being accused of hating on straight men. there may be anger sometimes, or a piqued sense of "WTF?", but there's no hate here (see point 1). some things just have to be said, that's all.
i know it's problematic to 'compare oppressions', but this is an educational example, not a 'what's worse' comparison: people of racial minorities who critique racism (or islamophobia, or anti-semetism, etc.) are sometimes accused of racism themselves - often wrongly, because that's the exact system they're opposing. similarly, it's irritating (as well as a sign that so much has yet to be done) that the people who critique gender should be accused of a sort of 'gender-based hatred' because they call out certain heterosexual penis-bearing members of society for maintaining a system that's disproportionately good to heterosexual penis-bearing members of society. little do they know (though we are trying to get the word out) that the end of said system will be good for all members of society, of all genders and sexualities. for serious.

so, all you fellows out there, be you jock, nerd, stud, queer, straight, or all/none of the above: consider this your siren call. come to feminism... cooome to usss...


ps/ these were three easy - and short - pieces on this subject, and there's room for so much good discussion on this, here or elsewhere.

Friday, July 20, 2007

what a fun, sexy time for you!

i'm in kingstonia for the next few days, and w/o net access... but i'll leave you w/ this very important clip featuring some salient cultural criticism. i ask that you watch it with care and compassion.

but who will be the banana in my cup?

i was warned before moving to ottawa that this city has a cultural obsession with ultimate frisbee. "it's not a matter whether you play ultimate," a friend told me, "it's how many teams you're on." she wasn't lying: ottawa is home not only to the world's largest bureaucracy, but also the world's largest ultimate frisbee league (of which i am now a part). i joined an ultimate team late in the season, thinking it would give me a chance to chase after a flying piece of plastic like a mad fool with other people chasing after a flying piece of plastic like mad fools, and somewhere in the process work up some endorphins, then go for beer. during my first game here, i learned that it's not that simple (nothing ever is). if you ever thought our national sport was hockey, think again: you're in ultimate country now, kid.

which must explain why my friend jared was so indignant the other day when talking about a recent experience during a post-game beer w/ his team. the server at the pub, noticing a pack of sweaty men drinking beer, was naturally curious about what could have gotten this pack of men so sweaty and thirsty. they explained that they'd just finished a game of ultimate, to which she replied, "oh, we were just talking about what's more gay: ultimate or rollerblading." and w/ that went her tip.

so there you have it, ultimate frisbee has finally gone the way of pansy-picking and rollerblading: to gayville.

i couldn't tell whether jared was more pissed that ultimate had been deemed "gay" in some beer-can-crushing, national-anthem-belching corner of the world, or that in that same corner, among others, "gay" was still a viable insult. i think some of the latter, but more of the former: maybe one depends on the other anyway.

when the people who decide what's "gay" gather in the lofty halls of heteropatriarchy, they seldom apply the pejorative to things gay men are actually known to do (or dumber straight men might swear off blow-jobs and rear-entry, and, um... cher and bathhouses). more often, anything "gay" or "queer" or whatever is just another way of saying feminized, pussified, wimpy, unmanly. you know, classic binaric masculine/feminine = good/bad = 'real' sport/'pussy' sport stuff...

so, what could possibly be 'unmanly' about ultimate? that the primary piece of equipment isn't a ball? no balls = gay? well, there goes hockey. that it's a non-contact sport? no wait, that would also pussify baseball and basketball. or is it not physically demanding enough? i'm in good shape, and based on the way i stagger off the field like a wounded animal after a game, i can assure you that's not the case. also, that would really gay-up golf. (another reason that's not a good test: ballet is one of the most difficult and demanding things you can do to your body - and notoriously pussified.)

by the way, it doesn't matter whether the gays actually play ultimate or not. lots of gay men play all kinds of sports - some out of the closet, some not, and some who would rather keep you guessing. and don't get me started on the lesbos.

how about this? according to the - as i've learned - extensive list of 'official' ultimate frisbee rules, there are two kinds of teams: women's only or co-ed. so, whenever 'official' ultimate is going on anywhere in the world, people with vaginas are playing. and any sport that a team consisting of half or all women can play must be gay (and all that that implies).

and if that's the case, i should take the opportunity here and now to congratulate ottawa on being, officially, the gayest place on earth.

on the other hand, since i believe in devil's advocacy: a common defensive strategy in ultimate is called the "cup" in which three players form, as it were, a cup around an offensive player on the opposite team. for reasons that have not been explained to me, the player in the central position in the cup is called the 'banana.' which means that at some point, someone on the field is going to have to yell "i'll be the banana in the cup!".... which is actually just really gay.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

smarter than your average bear

for anyone who has ever fantasized about sicking an angry grizzly bear on jacques derrida, paul gilroy, or gayatri spivak, i have found your website. i don't know what twisted, sleepless nerd came up with this, but god bless them. notice how umberto eco struts like he's so damn smart... he never saw it coming. the only thing more cathartic than this might be watching them all fade into obscurity as po-mo is shunned by the academy, or - OR - defending your thesis. whichever comes first.

warning: this site comes w/ musical accompaniment - 'teddy-bear picnic' to be exact. click at risk of being outed for your spectacular nerdiness and thing for teddy-bears.


post-script: i kid, of course. i love you, spivak (and derrida and gilroy, and hell, the whole lot of ya). let's never fight again. *spivak remains silent*

Monday, July 16, 2007

fashion faux pas du jour

i noticed these while shopping for skivvies the other day and thought they were worth a photo...
personally, i majored in college boys with a minor in man-hunting, and graduated w/ my MRS.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

quickie: i am not a woman of low morals who hates babies

i just wanted to clarify, after glancing at some previous posts, that i like babies as much as the next person, and may one day (far, far down the road) spawn 2.25 of my own. i do, however, hate anne geddes's baby photos. so i guess i'm just a woman of low morals who hates anne geddes.

excuse me, i saw you across the room and started vibrating

this is sorta old news, but i heard about it yesterday and recognized an opportunity to post another stephen colbert clip:

you know that tingly-in-your-tummy (and your nethers) feeling you get when you meet someone you really take a fancy to? well, that's not always accurate. to insure that person you're giving the come-hither look to doesn't come hither and turn out to be a dog-hating/psychotic/environmentally-unconscientious person, you can cross-verify your butterflies with Radio X3M, a take on an invention of a japanese dating company (interesting phrase that, "dating company"). enter personal info into their dating service databank and the next time you're out with friends or grocery shopping, you might get a sparkly little tingle in your crotch - that is, your pocket, where your cell-phone just received a signal that someone you're compatible with is nearby. this is actually a good idea for people like me, with mal-functioning endocrine glands that sometimes rush dopamine to my brain when golf-loving, neoconservative beefcakes come by (i've learned to distinguish them by their popped collars and lack of emotional depth, and have devised various escape plans for when i see them approaching). on the other hand, i imagine i would put out a strong homing signal to queers and grad students - the kinds of folks i spend most of my time w/ anyway, without the help of (much) wireless technology.

this invention sounds a little like something the gays came up with a while ago. my husband stephen colbert did a segment on it back in the boring pre-jon stewart daily show days, when it was just stephen keeping it real, real fuckin real:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

i like my joy planned, thank you

i've got nothing to say today, but instead of trying to distract you from that fact with shiny objects or another video, i thought i'd just yell at these people for a little while: they call themselves 'feminists for life.' I learned about them on an extended car-ride chat w/ my new friend who works over at canadians for choice here in ottawa (forgot to ask if i can use her name here, so for now we'll just call her... jo-jo). as jo-jo was explaining, they're like the american version of the self-declared 'REAL women of canada' (apparently the rest of us are faking it), but they employ a far, far more irritating tactic: using the f-word... right in their name.

real feminists (not 'REAL' feminists) have a lot of reasons to worry about how the f-word gets maligned as well as misappropriated. it seems that in the anti-choice camp, you have your pick of two crowds: on one hand, the clinic-burners, whose primary source of inspiration is the bible verse "i formed you in your mother's womb," (ie - life is holy and, what's critical, it starts at conception). these people share no epistemological ground with pro-choice feminists, and mostly think we're women of low morals who hate babies. the second group is a much more wily bunch, who dress that same position up in some pleasant 'pro-woman' rhetoric (they steer clear of explicit biblical references) and say things like "women deserve better than abortion." better than abortion? what could possibly be better than abortion? isn't it the funnest time you'll ever have?

ok, let's step back and imagine for a moment that they're going somewhere w/ this. how's about we start w/ the little blurb from their 'celebrity' spokesperson, patricia heaton (aka. wifey from 'everybody loves raymond' - i never did like raymond or his show, and now i feel vindicated): "women who are experiencing unplanned pregnancy should expect unplanned joy." but note the disclaimer: "women expecting unplanned joy should ensure that they are independently wealthy, of a certain socio-economic class, and have nothing else going on in their lives... for the next 18-20 years. unplanned joy is enhanced by likelihood of partner and paternity leave if you're hetero (which you damn-well better be). unplanned joy may be complicated by impregnation by your rapist, especially if said rapist is also a member of your family." (ok, i made that disclaimer up.)

you can float around the site yourself: pretty much every page is rich with well-spun half-truths, or blatant lies, doled in saccharine tributes to the 'inherent peacefulness' of 'the womb' and the untold loveliness of mothering. but my favourite was their 'feminist history' section. they reached way back to pull out some susan b. anthony quotes on "willing little ones away from their mothers" and such. because, you know, nothing has happened w/ the women's movement since then. not to appear ungrateful for the luxury of my personhood, but if we're really going to get down to our first-wave roots, we might also consider reviving the temperance debate, and maybe also become super-vile racists, to follow in the footsteps of canada's own 'famous five' (esp emily murphy - you remember her, from the heritage moments. you know you do). like any movement, feminism - as bell hooks has noted, the most important and successful social movement of this century - has grown and changed, like, a whole effing lot. you get the sense these people are backed by certain *cough* interests simply by their use of selective history - the right-wing's strategic centre-piece.

as the car-ride continued (which is to say, we got lost) and jo-jo aired her frustrations with the 'pro-woman' anti-choicers, she brought up a good point: that they wax heroic about saving the poor babies (ostensibly from purgatory), but once the babies are actually born, to hell w/ them. after surviving its pre-natal existence, that baby's fate is in the hands of the market. god maybe formed it in its mother's womb, but once outside it's got to earn its own way like the rest of us.

if they cared that much about saving the lives of innocent babies, you'd think they'd also push for national day-care, or take a stance to maintain the public health-care system (here in canada - or just to install it, in the US). or what about lobbying for proper sex-ed in schools? or focusing energy on combating poverty and ending race discrimination? they claim a policy of non-violence, so how about working to end violence against women? these are all 'pro-life' things to do - and they do none of them. as it stands, i'm a better pro-life feminist than the pro-life feminists: the people who support choice are doing more to end abortion than the so-called pro-lifers.

all this said, the 'feminists for life' organization might seem like pure crazy and not even worth paying attention to, but we have to pay attention, because our elected representatives do. the only 'women's lobby' PM stephen harper gives audience to these days is REAL women. more important, they've got dollars (jo-jo informs me that focus on the family has just put down a cool $1 million for headquarters in alberta). canadians are complacent about the choice debate, and tend to regard the whole thing as settled. and so the mainstream media is complacent. which is why the discussion has to happen elsewhere. here, for instance.

a la prochaine!


an addendum to the white stripes post: i understand it is fashionable to be bored and disinterested at rock concerts and to comment later on the 'bad sound.' well, call me easy or unsophisticated, but they were wicked, intense performers who seemed to genuinely like each other and their audience (sadly, rare features in big, big rock acts). they made me smile and i came away dancing, and that's all it takes to win my heart.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

some jenna w/ your coffee?

since this is supposed to be a 'focus on school-work' day (HAHAhahaha...ha....), i'm posting yet another video. (you: another video??) me: yes, another video. once you figure out how to embed vids, it becomes almost unnecessary to write on your own blog. yes, not even the blogosphere - already widely vilified by stuffy oxbridge-accent-types for the demise of literacy - is safe from television.

this little clip comes from my terribly hilarious friend, jenna owsianik, who's been filming and posting a weekly segment she calls 'coffeetime.' this is the premier edition and she's created more and better since this, but for the sake of chronological integrity, and to keep you all in suspense and wanting more, i'm starting w/ episode the first. this way we can watch together as coffeetime grows in hilariosity. and now: ms. owsianik if you're nasty...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

quickie: a word on the white stripes

after their amazing performance at the ottawa bluesfest this past weekend, i'm in all kinds of love w/ them. i love how jack white kind of looks like a jack-o-lantern in tight, red satin pants. i love that they celebrated their 10th anniversary in a two-husky town up north. and i love how meg and jack insist on referring to each other as brother and sister (as they did during the show last sunday), even though by now we all know they're, um, divorced or cousins or something... to the stripes!

Monday, July 9, 2007

violent femmes (and butches) are coming for your heterosexuality

and they recruit!

i saw this one on truthdig not too long ago, and since then it's been
and blogged again. but seeing as the whole point of blogging is getting the word out, here it is once more, if you have not yet had the pleasure.

over to you, papabear:

(disclaimer to laurel, if you're reading this: take a deep breath)

other people would have taken the bait and perhaps reported instead on the scooter libby verdict and his recent oval office-issued get-out-of-jail-free card. but no, leave it to bill o'reilly to reach for the hopelessly obscure, totally unverified, half-speculated 'story' that seems more like a monty python skit than 'investigative journalism.' that's how much he hates/fears lesbians.

how much? so much that he and his detective friend go to the extent of fabricating stories about violent lesbos raping young girls (i was waiting for him to reveal that they were virgins on their way to bible school to pray for unborn babies' souls) and generally wreaking havoc upon the law-abiding tax-payer.

somewhere, adrienne rich is wondering if she didn't dream up that 'story' on a bad acid trip. she's the poet/theorist who put so elegantly the way that lady-kissing-ladies undermine patriarchy - when women have sexual and emotional access to each other, they fuck w/ the male order and we all win, seriously. but why be so subtle? why not just take to the streets with a pack of hairy dykes in search of unsuspecting young men so you can kick them in the crotch directly?

as jeff hoard (enlightened straight guy) reveals, unable to find actual footage of lesbian street gangs in the midst of said crotch-attack, the fox network just slapped on some youtube footage of a "random chick fight," wherein the dialogue reveals the two young women to be fighting over a man. once again, to break this down: in a quest for sensationalist footage with which to dupe the american public into fearing for the heterosexuality of their children, fox news aired footage of teen girls fighting over a guy. allow a moment for the irony to sink in.

again, adrienne rich, grabbing her head. taking another bong hit... you deserve it, adrienne.

to most of us (that is, not entirely stoopid people) this story seems way too much like something out of a russ meyer movie to be believed (i know i almost cried laughing the first time). and yet it's been asked, legitimately, whether or not the average viewer can be persuaded that a 'story' like this is true. i'm going to say yes, mainly b/c this is the kind of dinner-conversation o'reilly viewers have:

kid: hey mama, did you see that story on papabear's show about them street gang heathen bitches? do you think it's true?
mumu lady*: sure do! i sawr it on the television!

*please note that i have nothing against mumus and actually think they're way comfy and breezy.

tata for now!

ps/ yes, the whole 'pink pistol' thing is a rather convenient coincidence....

Saturday, July 7, 2007

it's that time of millennia again!

oh boy oh boy, it's 07/07/07 - YOUR lucky day! on this momentous occasion, couples are getting hitched (to fend of those ominous divorce statistics mentioned in the previous post), and millions are lining up outside of conveniences stores to win the lottery. (you'd think it would occur to the lottery-goers that the dramatic increase in their numbers on this particular day would decrease their individual odds of winning, but oh well - it's 07/07/07, your lucky day!).

this brings me back to last year's 06/06/06, which happened to be my birthday as well as satan's. that sure was a fun day, though it didn't herald the sort of attention 07/07/07 is now. probably because everyone was hiding in a corner of their respective basements, repenting their sins and awaiting the apocalypse. that's what you were doing, wasn't it? just admit it.

for me and some of my fellow un-repentants, that day was also the miss g project's read-in at queen's park. but you weren't there because you were scared of hell-fire. i understand.

anyways, here are some other ideas for how you can maximize your good times on 07/07/07:
- try to have a baby on the seventh minute of the seventh hour of the seventh day.... s/he is sure to grow up feeling real special, and kids these days just need that kind of thing.
- go up to people on the street and ask them if they're "feeling lucky, punk?"
- lobby the government to institute a 13th month so if your marriage fails and/or you don't win the lottery, you can try again in 6 years, 6 months, and 6 days.
- throw a horse-shoe over your left shoulder from the seventh floor of an apartment building. it just seems like a lucky thing to do.
- play poker recklessly - odds are (and i do mean odds) others will be doing the same thing. wait for them to get drunk as they lose miserably, and then steal their wallet.

aaand scene!

Friday, July 6, 2007

hillary 'hamrod'-'rodham'-clinton

fuck, that was too much fun. (it's generally known that only minutes after any woman of a tender age busts her hymen, she's rearing to start working her freshly breached vag for all it's worth.)

so, i've always told people (who ask, like my mother) that i have no intention of ever getting married on account of it's a primary form of hetero-patriarchal-capitalist oppression that, in any case, doesn't work out for 70% of the people who try it (or so the divorce statistics tell me).

but the real reason is that i'm saving myself for stephen colbert. i would marry that man right now. this is why.

that moment every virgin blogger dreams about

i feel like i just got my blog period, or am at my blog bar mitzvah, or have obliterated my blog hymen (but like on a bike or a horse or something, not the 'good' way)... i wonder if all the people who do this stop before hitting "publish" and think to themselves "are you ready for me, world? this is the blog that's going to make the difference..."