This is a link dump for things that make me want to spit. Things that piss me off & make me want to bitch—remind me why I should be angry. John just posted his experience at Church the other day, I think most of us can agree that his experience counts as something we all want to bitch about. Feel free to respond to mine or add your own in the comments.
“Sweetie” pisses me off. In fact, most diminutives or “familiar” forms, especially from strangers (although also from other sources: DH called me “baby” once during sex & that did not go over well for him…) really make me mad. I’ve posted about this in the past, but now, research shows that it’s not just me: treating people like you’re better than them affects them psychologically, which can then affect them physically. I wonder what it says about the person who’s doing the treating.
The Republicans’ sheltering of Palin makes me mad. The fact that they don’t want to let her have a forum reminds me how little they think of women. Andrew Sullivan calls on us to “Demand a Press Conference” and both Rachel Maddow & Keith Olbermann have offered to let Palin name the terms in order to get another interview (after the Couric interview, apparently, the Republicans locked her in a penis-shaped tower, word has it that they’re tending their garden of cabbages below, flying about on broomsticks at night, and climbing up her hair when they want to access her—no word yet about a white knight). The awesomeness from CNN’s anchors (which I previously posted) reminds me that sometimes, the mainstream media doesn’t suck.
Trayce Hansen, Ph.D. and her ilk infuriate me. She’s the one being quoted on Christian & conservative websites as claiming that “social endorsement of homosexuality [...] will lead more individuals into a homosexual lifestyle”. Which, if you think about it, really means that closeted gays will no longer feel shame if society didn’t think that homosexuality was an unnatural, dirty activity that leads to STDs and death. Wait, isn’t that their same argument about sex? About divorce? About abortion? Oh, that’s right, they’ve only got one! Her name might be Hansen, Coulter, or Schlafly, but whatever her name, the Conservative Woman Who Hates Women So That She Can Prove To Men That All Women Suck But Her (or maybe that She Is The Only Woman Who Will Suck) drives me crazy.
People who deny the rights of everyone because they don’t want to exercise them. This goes for the anti-abortion lobby (don’t have one!), the anti-gay marriage lobby (don’t be one!), and the anti-euthanasia lobby (don’t do it!). Don’t tell me I can’t do it just because it makes you feel icky. What if militant vegetarians took over the country & denied people the right to hunt and eat meat? Or if militant environmentalists turned every highway into a bikeway? Sure, the world might be slightly better, but it wouldn’t be right. Equally, it is not right to deny rights (heh. get it?) just because you don’t want them. Hell, I don’t want to marry a woman. But you know what? I’m glad I have the right to if I wanted. I do not understand what is going on in the minds of people who want to deny rights. So often, we hear the story of a person who was anti-this or anti-that and then suddenly finds themselves in such a position that they are glad that they and their friends were unsuccessful because now? Now they’re really glad they have the right to this or that.
There are too many links for that one, but here’s Dan Savage’s recent experience with his mother’s terminal illness and death. He lives in Seattle, too—I’m not really sure who has the greater reach, though, my father, with his religious network or Savage with his queer network (I hope it’s Savage), but at least someone there is standing up in opposition to my father’s desire to take rights from others.
Again, I have to say: if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. Leave in the comments the things that get you righteously angry, and about which you are passionate. Anger is only helpful if it’s channeled.
A fascinating discussion/speculation about the position of women on earth and how that mirrors their position in heaven. Includes speculation about what might have been the course of humanity if the Abrahamic God was a female.
Here. Including what atheists yell during sex, canoeing on a lake of fire for all eternity, the dangers of topiary, why we should have more atheists in the military, atheist storm troopers, the separation of church and town, the Gospel of Cadbury, and the Dead Faith Scrolls.
(the second Dawkins vid is a duplicate)
If you enjoyed the last one (the Word), check this out.
There’s a debate that addresses this at school today, which I shall attend. It is put on by the local chapter of the Federalist Society (the campus representative states that they are devoted to “honest & careful interpretation of the constitution” and are “never timid about debating”). Sometimes I feel like I’m surrounded by them (witness yesterday’s meeting of the local chapter of the ACLU; all of us were stunned that there even was one).
To prepare for the debate, I perused the Federalists’ website, where I found this, what I believe to be the most cogent argument against gay marriage yet:
[T]here is a stark biological fact to contend with: in homosexual families, by definition, only one parent, at most, will be biologically related to the child. In effect, gay families are either adoptive families or blended families. Adoptive families at least solve a major social problem: parentless children. But blended families bring children into the world who are destined to live without two biologically related parents. What will be the overall effect of that?
A social science literature is now emerging that reveals the relative weakness and instability of heterosexual blended and step-parent families, compared to married couple families with shared biological children. The children in mixed families do no better than those in single parent families! Will homosexual blended families be equally unstable? Living with a biological father seems especially important, and children living with unrelated males do especially badly. Will that pattern extend to gay families? We don’t know. It’s a big social experiment.
And to that, I do not have a (well-formulated) response. I would certainly like to see evidence from these studies, however. Anyone else…?
I’m not sure that the response really addresses the heart of the issue:
The second concern is about blended families. If they’re a problem, however, the answer is not to ban gay marriage. Perhaps one answer is to prohibit or limit assisted reproduction, which is a “big social experiment” conducted overwhelmingly by heterosexuals. Banning gay marriage will not stop this practice, but it will deprive any resulting children of married parents.
This seems to me to say, “yeah, it’s a problem, so what”, rather than providing a solution or rebutting the evidence.
I was listening to this the other day while packing and it made me cry (as it always does). If anything could make me a pacifist, it would be this song: Don McLean’s the Grave
This line, particularly:
When the wars of our nation did beckon,
A man barely twenty did answer the calling.
Proud of the trust that he placed in our nation,
But eternity knows him, and it knows what we’ve done
A while back, NPR had a series on PTSD and one of the people essentially said something along the lines of “When we [the People] ask of our soldiers the kinds of things they are asked to do in a war, we should expect that they come back fucked up.” Indeed, those who might come back from that without any remorse, or change, we would not want to give guns to in the first place. These are the kinds of people we want in a war:
And deep in the trench he waited for hours,
As he held to his rifle and prayed not to die.
And yet it is just these kinds of people it is the greatest crime to send into that fray.
Two of my sisters often have this argument: one (#2) refuses to let her children play with weapons (although one is taking fencing); the other (#4) has so many toy guns in the house it looks like a toy armory for when the toy zombies attack. “You need people like me,” #4 will say, “to protect you and your way of life.” “Without people like you,” comes the response, “weapons would not be necessary.”
Do we need soldiers for when we (even stupidly) go to war? Or should PTSD be something that we reserve for only the most important of goals?
All the news (and blogosphere) seems able to talk about today is the fact that the official number of American soldiers killed in Iraq since we went back to war there has reached 4000. There was not one (un)lucky person who tips the scales to a nice, round, reportable number, but 4. And this morning, all I could think was that we seem to be treating these 4, by virtue of not being in the first 3996, as more important.
And yet, this report stood out to me. It’s worth a listen (they didn’t transcribe this one for us). Somehow, this brief snippet seemed, to me, to take into account the human aspect of each of the 4000 (and of the other 85 000):
I wish the names could appear in the corner of everyone’s TV screen as we watch [...] House. Maybe they would slow down, then.
heh, didn’t originally mean race like that, but it works that way, too.
A recent book is out, called the New Feminized Majority: How Democrats Can Change America With Women’s Values. I’d like them to have a few quotation marks in that title (“…Change American With “Women’s Values”…”), but it certainly looks interesting. Feminist Law Professors has a brief review, written by the authors (or their publicist) and it seems to make some valid points. Namely, that the “masculinized” values of the patriarchy are beginning to be devalued by Americans at large (not just liberals, although it surely started there), and that Obama is the one doing it. I’d like to read it, if only for the discussion of Hillary’s (I would argue necessary) use of “masculine” values and Obama’s use of “feminine” values. If their politics were reversed, I’m pretty sure we’d be calling the former “Mrs.”, rather than Senator (I don’t think she’d've made it as far on those values) and the latter “a republican”. I suppose it’s nice to show (even in a book) that “feminized” values are beginning to be valued rather than denigrated, but I find it telling that the only way for them to gain acceptance (since they are, still, “feminized”), is for them to be promoted by a male.
The review is worth a skim; I will see if my library has it before recommending the book.
Ever since we first invaded Afghanistan & Iraq, I’ve seen these “War is not the answer” bumper stickers. I like the sentiment, even if I may not always agree with it. As I’ve said before, I’m not and probably could never be a non-violent person. But there are extremes to every situation. I’m not one to rule it out completely, but at least those who do have a place from which to argue. Pacifism can be defended, after all.
Recently, however, I’ve started seeing “War is the answer” bumper stickers. Either they are just like the first (with the “not” removed) or they are the first with the “not” scratched off or replaced, and this is the creepiest to me, with an American flag.
I could agree that sometimes war is, indeed, the answer. As a (an? whichever you like) historian, I could argue that certain wars in the past have been the answer. But these bumper stickers seem to be arguing what, to me, is an indefensible position: that war is always the answer.
Often I see these on SUVs and that could simply be because a substantial number of cars on the road are SUVs but I always want to engage the driver in debate: really? War is the answer to your decision to drive this vehicle? War is the answer to your desire to join the Army to go to college? War on one country is the answer to an attack from a person who lives in a different country? War is the answer to the classic whose-dicks-are-bigger question?
I guess what I really want to know is, if war is the answer, what was the question? Because it’s not Freedom, it’s not Liberty, and it’s not Security.
According to the folks at Global Orgasm, there’s some scientific connection between individual sexual euphoria and global conflict resolution. To put it crudely, they want you to fuck for world peace. The idea is to have everyone build to a collective mega-climax at the exact time of the Winter Solstice (that’s 10:08 pm, PST). According to the site, their goal is:
To effect positive change in the energy field of the Earth through input of the largest possible instantaneous surge of human biological, mental and spiritual energy.
This sounds a bit iffy to me, but I have faith in the ability of the scientific method to weed out the crap (though this may require repeated experiments to confirm results). I encourage all of you to test this connection between sex and peace. If you’re trying to persuade a partner, the science route may not be the most effective. “If not for me, will you do it for the world?”
NPR’s story about the memoir of a psychologist (who, incidentally, contracted PTSD by treating soldiers with PTSD) contained story about a 19 year old man who had received 3 purple hearts in a month. His psychologist remembers telling him that there was nothing “normal” about it and that his shock regarding it was fully justified.
Three purple hearts in a month. The criteria for being “awarded” a purple heart are such that one can almost be assured of receiving one after being stationed in one of the the two major theaters of the wars in which our country is currently engaged (remember that first war…?). This should not be construed as a statement indicating that a purple heart has no (or a lessened) meaning. On the contrary, it should be construed as an indictment of the wars themselves.
I will not call this soldier a boy, because I remember being 19 and would have been insulted at the insinuation that I was not an adult. I will not call this soldier a boy, because he has seen & participated in actions no child ever should. I will not call this soldier a boy, because he is now a (thrice) decorated officer of my country’s military. But upon the realization of his position, this soldier cried, as well he should for all that he has seen, has done, has experienced, and for all that has been asked or commanded of him. And my heart cries for the boy he might be if he were no soldier, uninjured, undecorated, and undestroyed by the war he is fighting for me.
I will not call him a boy and I will not call for additional restrictions on the age at which a young person can become a soldier. As I said, when I was 19, I would have bristled at the idea that I was not an adult, could not make my own decisions. But the fact that I cannot call him a boy and yet weep for him as I would a child soldier drives home the injustice of the war itself. I do not know what he has or done that he will never be able to forget. I do not know what his three qualifying injuries were (not to mention the injury which does not qualify). But I know that they were unnecessary.
Maybe I’ve hung out around peaceniks like John too much, but the stories of people like this solider remind me that nothing is worth this. There can be nothing that necessitates it.
Yesterday, I was listening to a different NPR story, about whether “waterboarding” counts as torture according to a particular person (who he is doesn’t really matter). I mused aloud to my husband that bickering about whether a particular form of unpleasantness counts as “torture” only makes us look stupid (it reminds me of China’s petulant “you have to ask us first!” statement about reincarnation) and juvenile. Have we really matured no further than the playground (my experience, unfortunately, tells me “yes”)? Really, we should just admit that we’re okay with torture (which we clearly are) or agree to abide by the conventions of civilized (*cough*Europe!*cough*) society and state that unpleasantness that we would not permit our own person/children/soldiers to undergo will not be performed by us. I’d almost hope for the former because it’s simply more honest. Then we can have the debate which starts “here are the pros and cons of torture” and can proceed logically from there. Defining a word whose definition could be obtained from a 3rd grader (whether it be “is” or “torture”) is not rhetoric, it is idiocy.
A friend & cousin of mine & I were talking the other night. He’s about to graduate and I was being a annoying dult at him: “what will you do after graduation?” “will you go into the kinds of industries your major implies?” and the like. I told him he could be a marine! jokingly, since his twin joined the marines a few years ago. That got us into talking about what drives people to do things like that. His younger brother just joined up. I can’t imagine what his mom is going through. Freaking out most likely, like she did the first time around.
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