Kate Elliott’s Omniscient Breasts

I’m usually annoyed when someone pulls out the “male gaze” concept in a discussion of art and culture. While the idea has undeniable merit, it is often wielded as a bludgeon of ABSOLUTE TRUTH. In other words, men like looking at sexy women and it ruins the world, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars.

I happen to think that much of this sort of thing has its roots in the innate differences in men’s and women’s cognitive wiring. That doesn’t mean we should just accept the baseline set by our neurology as the sole standard to consider, but it does mean that there’s probably nothing wrong with men liking to look at sexy women, or vice versa, or even having art that caters to such desire.

Still, just as we aspire to more than simple orgasm in our relationships, we should aspire to higher levels of cultural relationship as well. At the very least, we should think about these things, and consider how the ways that we think and create impact the way we relate to each other.

Author Kate Elliott has written a very balanced, thoughtful post considering the male gaze (and other gazes) in fiction, and I recommend it for everyone, but particularly for writers. She avoids the fanatic’s tendency to use the concept as a blanket condemnation of men and their wicked staring eyes, which I appreciate as a man with a finely tuned male gaze of my own, and shares some insights I’ve never considered. I’m a better person, and likely a better writer, for having read it.

You can read it here.

A Bit of Racism I Just HAD to Share

So, this happened in my Facebook feed this morning.

Sabrina was classy enough to delete the comment, no doubt not wanting her wall polluted with such hateful filth. But I like casting bright light at roaches like these when they scurry out of the shadows.

Meanwhile, when a friend from high school posted a link yesterday to some “satire” about the Democratic National Convention which was low on wit and high on racist commentary, I commented saying exactly that. Now that “friend” has vanished from my friends list and even blocked me entirely. I guess I struck a nerve.

Good riddance.

Cookie Monster Presents The Song Of The Week, 8/30/2012

It’s all about the cookies this week…

First, this isn’t a song, but it is the funniest damn thing I’ve seen in a couple or three weeks on the internet. I’ve probably watched it twenty or more times and I always laugh:

Our actual song this week I offer in honor of the Republican National Convention currently infesting Tampa, “God’s Away On Business” by Tom Waits, karaoked by Cookie Monster…

I’d sell your heart to the junkman baby
For a buck, for a buck…
If you’re looking for someone to pull you out of that ditch
You’re out of luck, you’re out of luck…

Vote! (or “I Believe In Harvey Dent”)

If you refuse to vote because “both parties are the same” and “it makes no difference who you vote for” all you’re really saying is you’re just going to bitch until society crumbles and rebuilds in a more perfect form.

Good luck with that. I’d rather claw forward and embrace any progress we can make. Better to be a warrior for change than a sour scold watching things crumble and offering only bile.

Also, if you think both parties are the same, you’re sort of an idiot. Both parties have fundamental problems in common, but their agendas in a lot of vital areas are very different. While in many ways it’s true that they are just two sides of the same coin…

The coin is Harvey Dent’s.

Harvey Dent is the government. He started out as an idealist, but was deeply damaged and corrupted, though his more noble nature still exists in him, at war with his darker, more violent side. How he acts, good or bad, is decided by the toss of a coin, a force outside of himself, our elections.

The coin has two faces, the two parties, and Dent will choose to be “good” or “bad” according to which comes up on the toss. Now, for the most part, “good” is less a matter of taking beneficial action than it is of not taking maleficent action, though that’s not an absolute; sometimes Dent will go out of his way to do good things if the coin toss dictates he do so.

He will never do good things if the bad side of the coin comes up. For the record, in this analogy, the bad side is the Republican party. Perhaps at one time their face was noble, but they have scribbled and scratched so maniacally at it over the years that almost nothing of their original nobility remains. (And through unethical and undemocratic actions like vote suppression, they’re busily trying to scratch up the other side of the coin, too, so they’ll always win the toss).

Would it be better to not have Harvey Dent as our government? In realistic terms, with power and greed and human nature being what they are, in a representational system is it possible to not have Harvey Dent as our government?

It would be better to have someone incorruptible, someone who does not do bad things to advance his own desires, someone who will always look out for his fellow man. But I don’t see that guy anywhere, and don’t expect to. Maybe he’s still on Krypton.

We have Harvey. And the coin. And the way it falls may not make the world perfect or imperfect, but it can make the difference between whether Dent shoots us in the head or not.

2016 UPDATE: Turns out that guy who always looks out for his fellow man? He was in Vermont the whole time. But people were too stupid to see the opportunity he presented. Meanwhile, the “good” side of the coin is as bad as the “bad” side was when I wrote this, and the “bad” side is damn near destroyed.

Dear CIA and Fearstream Media…

Dear CIA and Fearstream Media,

I am a wacko and an idiot and I have a lot of weapons training. You should be relieved that I am no longer in a position of influence within the military, but you should probably start watching me very closely anyway because I might snap at any moment and guns and other murderous equipment are very easy to get in our wonderful country.

Sincerely,

Crazy Eye Dude

If We Shadows Have Offended…

So I lost another friend on Facebook.

He’s a writer, and a fellow pulp fan, and I’d enjoyed knowing and occasionally interacting with him. I liked seeing what he had to say, and what he had going on.

I knew he was a conservative, while I am not. The fact that he holds to certain ideas didn’t make me think less of him as a person, it just made me wonder how he could reconcile those ideas with observable reality. But we all have our filters and our failings and our blindnesses, and I hoped that he, and the many other right-wing friends I have, wouldn’t allow disagreement with ideas to lead to discord between us as people. That has happened, of course, and people have fled my friends list over such issues, and even issues more trivial. The game writer S. John Ross unfriended me and actually blocked me on Facebook for a single polite comment disagreeing with his opinion of Johnny Cash. Talk about the courage of your convictions.

My attitude is usually that a friend lost in this way is no friend worth having, and I tend to operate on the principle of “If I offend you, that probably just makes us even.”

But anyway, I hadn’t seen anything from this friend for a while, and I grew concerned that maybe he was having health problems or something. So I visited his page, where I found that we were no longer friends. I naturally suspected the reasons for this, but I sent him a message and asked why he’d unfriended me, telling him that if I had offended him it hadn’t been because I intended to.

This was his response: Continue reading

Sluts and Stuff

I just read “The problem with slut-bashing (or: I was a teenage dinner whore. kidding.),” a wonderful blog post by Justine Musk on sexual politics and language. You should check it out.

Here’s a piece:

In her book THE ART OF WAR FOR WOMEN, Chin-ning Chu writes:

“Women seem to have fallen prey to something I call the crabs-in-the-pot syndrome. When you cook crabs, you don’t have to place the lid on the boiling pot because the crabs keep one another from getting out. As one crab gets near the top and attempts to climb over the edge, another crab will naturally put it down in its own attempt to escape. As a result, all the crabs go to their collective doom.”

This is the problem whenever a woman defends herself by saying “I am not a slut.”

By declaring that you are not a slut, you are saying that some women are sluts; you are drawing a line between yourself and them. Except it’s a line that can’t actually exist, because all it does is reinforce the very idea that you’re trying to fight.

As soon as you buy into a reality that brands any woman a ‘slut’, you buy into a belief system that attacks femalehood itself. This includes you. You sacrifice someone else in your effort to escape the boiling water, but you can’t get out of the pot.

The Republican Vision

A great bit of political reportage from novelist Lucius Shepard:

Watching the GOP debate yesterday I had the idea that I was watching a Nostradamus prophecy coming true, these four evil fucks blithely discussing the ripping away of entitlements, like the four heads of some Hydra-esque creature, the subject of a quatrain that begins, When the four-headed beast rises in the west, pus will burst from the eyes of the populace. It was an amazing scene. John King lobbing questions like gobbets of fat and these monstrosities lazily plucking them out of the air and swallowing them, then regurgitating a processed answer…all except the dimwitted Ron Paul, who seemed constantly on the verge of cackling and bursting into flames, an itchy little demon whose mouth outsped his brain. And the audience…tanned, corpulent lesser imps and imp-ettes. Jesus. Like a scene from the Middle Ages.

Grewt Ningrich and the Party of Lies

Newt Gingrich.

Newt. Fucking. Gingrich.

This is how bad things have gotten.

I think it’s time to revisit a post I did a while back. It’s primarily about lies in politics, but has a good amount of information about Gingrich specifically that most people aren’t aware of. I’m pretty proud of this piece:

Pants on Fire

Happy(?) Veterans’ Day

It’s Veterans’ Day. Here are some posts I made today on Facebook:
  • I’m a veteran. Every year on Veterans’ Day, all day long I feel like everybody is trying to make everybody else eat their spinach on my behalf, and shaming them if they don’t eat. Please. I don’t care who eats the spinach.
  • Just want to say thank you to all the veterinarians out there, who keep our beloved pets healthy and safe and only ask for lots of money in return.
  • Today, let’s all make sure to thank all the selfless vegetarians who don’t eat meat so that the rest of us have more tasty flesh to enjoy.
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you to the bold Venusians who have not preemptively invaded our planet and killed oodles of innocents because they fear our weapons of mass destruction.
  • We should all be very grateful to, and show our support for, all the Virginians for their…um…for something, I’m sure.
  • Today, we must all remember to thank our vitamins, who answer the call and help us stay healthy, and even taste yummy when their forms are gummy.
  • Everyone honor our strong vas deferens which bring pleasure to our days and help us exist in the first place.

I’ve been having a bit of fun, joking around about the wave of Veterans’ Day posts that we see every year on this day, and I know not everyone appreciates the humor. I get that, and I’m sympathetic. But I don’t apologize.

I’m a veteran. I’ve had blood on my hands. I’ve lost friends. And to me, though I realize how sincere most people are, Veterans’ Day is a day of jingoism and platitudes, particularly in a time when we send our soldiers to die in wars we do not need to fight, and when we don’t take care of them when they come home.

Yes, we should honor the soldiers who are fighting and dying in our name, but we should do that by making sure they are doing so ONLY when necessary, otherwise we are wasting their efforts and their lives. Honor them by doing all you can to bring them home. Let their spouses curl up with them every night, their parents be able to sleep in peace, and their children grow up with fathers and mothers.

Yes, we should honor the veterans who have fought in our name when ordered, whether misused by their leaders or not. And to do that best, we should make sure they are given the medical and psychological attention they need when they’re back home, and we should make sure they’re given the benefits they’ve been promised (the VA screwed me out of over 80% of my College Fund, and I’m not alone), we should make sure their homes haven’t been stolen by bankers, and we should do all we can to help them find security in our lousy economy.

So yeah, wave the flag if you want to, tell everyone how important it is to honor our warriors, but if that’s the extent of it, it’s meaningless. If you want to thank me for my service, do something that’s going to help those who need help because they volunteered.

Hey! Stupid! (Regarding Occupy Wall Street…)

Hey! Stupid!

Just because you’re making ends meet, just because you haven’t stumbled because of a terrible illness, just because the culture we live in is so awash in products produced from petroleum and by corporations with no loyalty to our country or to you that it’s impossible to avoid their use, does NOT mean that there aren’t huge things wrong and does not mean people should just fold their tents and go home like compliant little sheep.

In a time when our country, and the world, are still bleeding out economically because of the ongoing excesses and corruption of Wall Street and large corporations in general, it amazes me that otherwise reasonable people are dedicating their energy and their bile to trying to tear down the people who are trying to change things.

Really? You stand for the banks? You stand for BP? You stand for all the companies who won’t give jobs here because it’s cheaper to pretty much enslave people in foreign countries? You stand for the insurance companies that will let you die if it saves them a few dollars? Really?

You are the 53% because you can’t count all the way to 99.

White Shirt Is The New Black Shirt

So the cops have started brutalizing the Wall Street protesters again today. I hope this pisses you off as much as it does me. If it doesn’t, there’s something fucking wrong with you.

Good Jesus, Bad Jesus

What is the heart and soul of Christianity in America?

If you pay attention to most of the news related to Christianity, what you see is hatred and intolerance, militarism and fascism, a lockjawed embrace of ignorance, and a blind adherence to principles which seem to actually fly in the face of those presented by Christ himself.

Last week I was fortunate (blessed?) to have the opportunity to see the two extremes of Christian behavior, and while the first was disheartening, the second was wonderful.

First, the suck. Continue reading

As America Sinks…

The boat is sinking.

Supporting the Democrats is bailing water with a bucket with a hole in it.

Supporting Republicans is shooting more holes in the boat’s bottom with an automatic shotgun, hoping the water will drain out.

Supporting third party candidates is hoping a playmate-laden sailboat will come by and save us.

What do we do?

Prayer In School As It Might Be…

Newt Gingrich wants to change the Constitution:

Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit individual or group prayer in public schools or other public institutions.

Thanks to Cairelle Perilloux for this…

The Real Chuck Norris Is So Chuck Norris… (UPDATED)

…I’d never let him in my house.

Chuck Norris is a tool. He’s a bad actor and an over-the-hill karate instructor and a particularly idiotic political commentator.

The jokes about him are often funny, but they aggrandize a man who should be allowed to wither in obscurity without the eyes of the world upon him. Granted the aggrandizement is largely ironic, but Norris is such a nitwit I’m sure he takes it all in as evidence of his place of respect in the world.

Back in May 2009, I took it upon myself to spend the day tossing out Facebook statuses which were Chuck Norris jokes that more properly belittled him. Offered below, for posterity, are my creations. I invite you to add more in the comments.

It’s a worthy cause. Continue reading

Regarding People Who Vote Against Their Own Interests

Walker, Wisconsin Danger

The following comes to you through a chain of association I hope will continue. I got it from Krista Smiling Wolf Hill, who got it from the blog of Al Stefanelli, who got it from his friend Joe Markey. It originated with someone posting in an online forum under the screen name “yeahIknow5.” I hope you’ll read it and pass it on in turn.

Reading it, I felt that it might well have been written about my own father, or any number of other folks I know who have locked-down minds and are easy prey for the authoritarian puppeteers of our world. Continue reading