November 2006


At Gary Miller.  See Feministe for the latest in the hilarity, wank-wise.

Bless student journalism.  Let’s hope he gets this out of his system before he, you know, joins the workforce.

Another rather psychotic day at work later, and yours truly has no commentary on the news.  (Have you ever spoken to someone who, by virtue of being an idiot, made you feel idiotic?  It’s an interesting experience.)

Except apparently Peace on Earth is no longer an acceptable holiday greeting.  Who knew?  Even Charlie bloody Sykes, local neocon radio blatherer sounded appalled when this came up this morning on the radio (of course, I could be wrong about what he actually thinks).  Guess I have to throw out the cards I got for my yearly financial support of the USPS, since ‘peace’ isn’t a sentiment for the season.

Mrf.  I hear America singing, and it’s out of tune.

Before we get to today’s rambling, I’d like to notify you that today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance.  Those moving above and beyond the standard paradigm of gender face more violence and discrimination than seems conscionable.  Please visit the site and/or take a moment to think about this issue and what you can do to help.

Incidentally, the firewall here at work won’t let me go to the site.  Ironic.

It’s bloody depressing when the headlines in the paper are pushed aside by a miserable Packers’ loss, but hey, what could be more interesting than 35-0?  Headline of the sports section is fine, but…yeah.  As if we needed to think about that any more than necessary, regardless of political point of view.

Ugh.  I think it’s time to start focusing on Thanksgiving (not Christmas, unlike the new neighbours downstairs who already have their tree up).  And by that I mean everything not turkey because I daresay I won’t be doing that kind of thing anytime ever.  I’m on mulled wine and pie duty this year, so reports on that are forthcoming.  Hopefully this time I won’t burn my fingers making pecan pie.

I’ve been following the Gary Miller/Washington Square News fiasco over at Feministe for the last day or so, and it continues to provide me with amusement, primarily because of my feminist vitrol, but also because it reminds me why I’m glad I didn’t do college journalism, particularly opinions.  That is, my sophomoric ramblings won’t be forever immortalised in print, just various places net-side.

Jill did slip a little; her hyperbole regarding the WSN is a bit much and due to her anger at Miller, and she gracefully retracts it here.  Her commentary on the column, however, is pretty well spot on.  I won’t beat a dead horse by ranting about how screwed up Miller’s line of thinking is–you can see what I and others think in the comments of the post.  Instead, I’m going to venture a different angle.

I just have to wonder what the opinions editor was thinking.  Since when does long-winded commentary by a guy that says, essentially, ‘girls who do the club scene are slutty and unapproachable materialists’ qualify as an interesting and provocative opinion in a newspaper as established as the WSN?  Heck, it doesn’t even belong in the Sophian, though that kind of thing shows up too much.  It’s simplistic, for starters, not to mention mostly irrelevant.  Not to mention that Miller’s an outsider–a guy pretending to espouse what he calls gender equality, when in actuality he basically denies that women have any agency to be sexual and make the choice to go out. 

You can think this kind of thing.  Hell, I think that the club scene is ludicrous.   But it’s a woman (not ‘girl’)’s choice to go out, for starters.  Miller’s thoughts just go downhill from there, where he tries to appeal to our sense of feminism in order to rant about how he’s sick of girls looking sexy.  Apparently we’re not allowed to look conventionally sexual because we’re subscribing to the dominant paradigm unwittingly!  Not to mention being girls who aren’t nice and sleep around!  Who knew?

Lame.  Not to mention questionable publishing.  Then again, considering what kind of crap the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is running in their community columnist area these days, I guess I’m not surprised at the places journalism is going.

With the rash of media (Newsweek, The Nation, TLC) and blog attention to the Quiverfull movement in the last six months and particularly recently, Heart at Women’s Space has written a raw and powerful critique of the movement itself;  she has the right to do so, as an ex-member and mother of eleven children.  It’s a new perspective, and a bit of fresh air compared to the rest of us watching from the outside.  If you’re interested, do go take a look.

I’ve been trying to be diplomatic, but to be honest, there’s literal interpretation of the Bible and then there’s going past that to some kind of delusion.  Even in a conservative view, I daresay God wouldn’t want the health problems and risks that come from that many pregnancies visited upon anyone.  Not to mention the fact that the verses they cite don’t say ‘HAVE TEN MILLION BABIES AS AN ARMY FOR THE LORD’.  Have a lot of children, yes, but not as many as you can stand before you collapse.  It’s one thing to stay at home, it’s another to be pregnant–a difficult physical condition–for twenty years.  Instead of taking it to excess, I would focus on the ones one’s got, raising them to what I saw as the correct way to live.  Not to say that one wouldn’t love each of one’s children, but eventually it reaches the point where one person cannot care for all of them, and it becomes children caring for children.  Which really defies the point of parenting, in my opinion.

All of that, however, is being diplomatic in an attempt to further dialogue.  Though it’s very clear what I actually think; as I’ve said, the exploitation of religious texts and the picking and choosing of interpretation for various doctrines makes me ill.

I think the worst part is that there’s nothing really that I can do, no way to change anyone’s mind.  So I just stick with watching what, to me, looks like a train wreck.

I feel like I should be writing something interesting and vaguely coherent, but to tell the truth, there’s not much going on lately.  Enrollment has started here for benefits, which is both exciting and very frustrating.  I know far more about health insurance than, I would guess, 90 percent of Americans.  For further thoughts on this, see my last post.

Which leads me to the point: if you’re one of the fortunate ones who do have it, know what’s going on.  It’s a lot of information, yes, and confusing, but if you read the literature you’re given, everything should be made clear.  Then if you still have questions, call or write.  Only then are you qualified to make a decision.  As for the cost–yes, it’s expensive.  But someone’s got to pay.

Anyway…nothing too interesting on the political or food fronts, except for Russ Feingold announcing his lack of candidacy for president in ’08.  To be honest about it, I’m glad; I could see him becoming the new Howard Dean, and that image disturbs me a little.  Dean still rubs me the wrong way two years later as DNC chairman…and as for Feingold’s politics, centrism is still the way to go for presidency.  That’s something Feingold is not, and I wouldn’t want to see him become that for a dubious goal.  (Though I see him as more feasible a candidate than Hilary Rodham Clinton, as the latter inspires so many people to vitrol.)  When I was a little!Rhi, I wanted to be the first female President of the United States.  Now I don’t think I’d take the job for a billion dollars.  Literally, and particularly as a woman, and one with a few skeletons in the closet.  Not to mention a touch of Lynne Cheney-esque writings…

Just for fun, these were the achievable things I wanted to be when I grew up, in order of my decision.  Please note that ballerina astronaut vet is not on the list.  I was obviously an odd child.

  1. McDonalds worker: I was under the impression one got free fries.  Maybe one does, but now I know about, say, unions, and have read Eric Schlosser.
  2. mathematician: Blame this entirely on Mathnet.  For serious.
  3. first female President of the United States: See above commentary.  Proto-feminist me.
  4. writer: This is still a goal.
  5. cultural anthropologist: Margaret Mead, yo.  Actually, I now have a degree in cultural studies, it’s just not backed up with science.
  6. lawyer/DA: Again, blame this on television.  Damn you, Jack McCoy and Jamie Ross!
  7. feminist activist and professor: It still pisses me off a little that I was too young to be a Riot Grrl.  As for the professor, I’d consider it.
  8. filmmaker: Our current aspiration.

As for the impractical, they involved being  a crew member on the Enterprise, being an Irish dancer, and living in various historical periods.  I’m also the only little girl I know who never planned her wedding or future children’s names.  This is almost a point of pride.  Almost.

SINISTRA
from the Middle English sinistre, unfavorable
from Old French, from Latin sinister, on the left, unlucky.
(American Heritage Dictionary, 4th Ed., 2000)

From now on, political and feministy posts will be denoted with the heading Rhiannon Sinistra, mostly because it sounds cool and also to warn any people who read this who might not be interested (if you’re just here for the food, for example).  Kinda like one of those org meetings in college where you went to the meetngreet and left before the speeches.  I won’t be offended unless you start ranting at me in comments.

Anyway, a few thoughts today, starting with health care.  Maybe I’m just a naive vaguely socialist wank, but I’m of the opinion that upping taxes some for the good of everyone’s health is not something that most people can’t live with.  The people who are complaining about taxes being raised are often those who aren’t too well off but who can afford their own health insurance…

Yeah.  Just color me annoyed.  And naive.  And uninsured.

I believe in the family
With my ever-loving wife beside me
But she don’t know about my girlfriend
Or the man I met last night

-Genesis, “Jesus He Knows Me” (1992)

Ted Haggard just makes me wonder if there is some kind of karma in the universe.  I don’t support random outings of say, gay Republicans–those who out people against their will obviously have never quite understood just how painful this can be.  However, with Haggard, someone very loudly and explicitly anti-gay (as opposed to the tacit actions of many-but-not-all Republicans), I can’t help it, I’m more smug than I have a right to be at the schadenfreude…

But I’m also not completely heartless.  This happening, as well as Mark Foley’s case, should make us stop and think.  What cultures are these people growing up in that they couldn’t come to terms with their own sexuality, even if they did keep it quiet?  Aren’t we, even outside of evangelical Christianity, a society that boxes gay men into a stereotype even at the best of times; that we refuse to even consider the idea that someone who’s not effeminate and an interior decorator could fancy other men?

The problem of evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity is the main issue at hand, yes: considering they take eating pork with a grain of salt and yet insist on direct interpretations of things they see as personal threat.  But they couldn’t continue to do so with such vehemence and political clout if there wasn’t a deep-seated fear and loathing in Western culture as it were.  Allies can talk the talk, but they’ve had a lot to overcome mentally to get to that point, as have those who are openly queer and accepting of it.

This blog doesn’t presume to find a direct solution, as it’s a far bigger problem than a pundit can tackle, but in some way, we’re all a little at fault for the self-hatred of Haggard and Foley…and all the others out there who harm more people by being in denial than by admitting a few things.  We’ll just keep taking baby steps forward.

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