Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I Guess a Tetris Movie Fills a Need in the World

CBS took a pass recently on a Nancy Drew series for being "too female," but apparently there is a large need for a Tetris movie.

Oh, sorry, ACTUALLY it's a trilogy.

Which, you know, I've been playing Tetris longer than many gamers have been alive.  I'm just not sure, out of all potential stories to tell, the world is crying out for a Tetris one. But, cool that some people get $80 million to burn for the cause.

Want to hear a cynical joke?

By the way, were you aware that only three possible running mates exist in the entire world whom Trump could choose and single-handedly ruin his chances of winning?

They are:

1) Ken Kratz

2) Ramsay Bolton

3) This fucking piece:

Friday, May 27, 2016

Forget Elsa

Get Idina Menzel a girlfriend.


But seriously, she's gorgeous.

ps - For background on today's post

pps - This is what I sound like when I try to sing along to people who actually know how to sing.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

2016 Election Thoughts of the Week

Welp, I made a sort-of promise to myself to not post too entirely much about Election 2016.  There is literally something new on Twitter to be irritated about every 10 minutes or so, so I'm really trying not to be as reactive as I could be.

So, I'll address the following points only because I keep seeing them come up.

One, and this seems like a fairly obvious point, so I'm not sure why so many Sanders supporters keep parroting it, but let's discuss the polls showing that Sanders would do better in the general election against Trump than Clinton would.

Well, okay. But, via The New York Times:
"...Sanders just hasn't faced any major attacks on his record. The Republicans have cheered him on against Clinton, whom they realize they're inevitably going to face. Clinton never really attacked him either - no big television ad buys, for example - in no small part because she didn't want to alienate his supporters."
The Democratic Primary is effectively a contest between the most vetted and attacked candidate in the race and the least vetted and attacked.  The way I see it, the Republicans would not play fair against Bernie Sanders and, instead, are probably itching to compete with a candidate against whom they could engage in red scare tactics, who wrote a bizarre (at best) gang rape fantasy piece in his 30s, and who could be framed as having a sketchy slacker job history for much of his adult life.

What fun nicknames might Trump come up with for Sanders?  Bernie the Pervy, perhaps? Bernie the Bolshevik?  His supporters are naive if they think this polling lead would last in any significant way once Republicans actually began targeting him with large-scale attack ads.  Come November, the media and the Republicans would have many in the electorate believing that they were casting a vote for, like, the lesser of two evils or something.

Which, of course, we would be. Just not to the extent presented.

Two, I'll also note that it seems Clinton is now battling on at least four fronts:
  • Sanders in the Democratic Primary;
  • Trump, who is already looking to the General;
  • Jill Stein of the Green Party, who has been attacking Clinton since at least Mother's Day and who, over the weekend, Tweeted that she would be "horrified" if either Trump or Clinton were elected. That she has not criticized Saint Bernie despite the fact that he, too, is not perfect, leads me to believe she's attempting to pick up his supporters after Clinton wins the Democratic nomination. We'll see how that goes. I guess for those who would definitely vote for a female candidate "just not Hillary," this is their big chance to do so.
  • The media. Clinton receives more negative media coverage than all candidates. Even Donald Fucking Trump.
What? You didn't think being the leading contender to be the first female President would be easy or something did you?

(Ha ha, of course you didn't. You read Fannie's Room).

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

David Brooks Mystified By Dislike of Hillary

Gee.  If (sexism) we (sexism) only (sexism) had (sexism) some (sexism) explanation (sexism) as (sexism) to (sexism) why (sexism) so (sexism) many (sexism) people (sexism) dislike (sexism) Hillary (sexism) Clinton (SEXISM).

True fact: I only know when David Brooks posts some new piece of shit column when Melissa at Shakesville points it out.  Otherwise, I usually take a hard pass on reading his columns.

But, this one was too delicious not to go read in its entirety. In it, he gazes at his navel, speculating about the "paradoxes" of her likeabliity: Gee, uhhh, she was more popular before she decided to run for the highest Executive position in the USA, but now fewer people seem to like her. Whatever could have happened?! Is it, hmmmm, that people don't know what she does for fun? Or, I don't know, could it be something else?

Now, obligatory disclaimer time: People may and do have non-sexist and legitimate reasons for disliking Hillary Clinton. But, to not once reference sexism as a contributing factor is the worst kind of gender-blindness that ignores the historic nature of what she is seeking accomplish.

You know, those with the biggest mouths and platforms in the media are great, I guess, at pointing out Trump's misogyny. But, when it comes to acknowledging any sexism or misogyny that might be negatively impacting oh, only the first viable female president in history, it's crickets all the way.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Progressive Nonprofit Opposes New Overtime Law

As you may know, new federal regulations will go into effect which make more people eligible for overtime pay, specifically by increasing the threshold for eligibility to those who make $47,476 annually (compared to the previous threshold of $23,660).

The left-leaning (and Ralph Nader-founded) Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has issued a statement opposing this new regulation, saying in part:
"Doubling the minimum salary to $47,476 is especially unrealistic for non-profit, cause-oriented organizations. Organizations like ours rely on small donations from individuals to pay the bills. We can’t expect those individuals to double the amount they donate. Rather, to cover higher staffing costs forced upon us under the rule, we will be forced to hire fewer staff and limit the hours those staff can work – all while the well-funded special interests that we're up against will simply spend more." (emphasis in original)
I am sympathetic to the argument that it will cause hardship for many nonprofits to comply with this new regulation, as by definition, nonprofits do not operate to create profit, they operate to implement a purported social benefit. They generally operate on revenue from donations, grants, and special events (and at times earned income).

However, I strongly disagree that nonprofits should be exempt. Many nonprofit employees already have lower salaries and fewer benefits than those working at for-profit entities, a state of affairs which workers choose to self-sacrificially accept for "the greater good." Yes, it's a somewhat dysfunctional model that nonprofit management also accepts, in some cases due to economic necessity and, in other cases, because they intentionally exploit workers.

Studies consistently show that women make up the majority of the nonprofit workforce, at around 70-75%, although men (of course) hold most of the top-level, highest-paying positions.  Any exemption of overtime pay for nonprofits would thus undoubtedly impact women to a greater degree than men.

Now, PIRG has been critiqued throughout the years before for its labor practices, with one employee who sued the organization calling the group the "Wal-mart of nonprofits."  Which, if true, seems appalling and profoundly hypocritical.

To speak more broadly, feminists have long said that "the personal is political."  For instance, those who deny that a wage gap exists or who explain it away as a result of "personal choices" ignore or do not understand that "personal choices" can never exist in a void.  Outside, institutional, and political forces usually at least partly influence personal problems and hardships, as well.

And yet, this simple slogan becomes relevant time and time again with respect to leftist movements, doesn't it?

The personal is often dismissed as subjective, irrational, and/or as "identity politics" - which is contrasted with the real, authentic, universal work of the movement, which is usually just whatever a majority within a movement or those with more power say the real, authentic, universal work is.

To argue that nonprofits should not have to pay overtime to their employees would impose upon those employees a personal economic hardship for a purported greater political good of allowing these nonprofits to fulfill their missions (in PIRG's case, combating special interests). We see, in other words, a compromise of sorts. A break in ideological progressive purity.

Political movements usually do have to make compromises, so my intention here is not to disparage compromise.  Compromise is often the only way to actually accomplish things in the real world. My point is, instead, to serve as a reminder to be on guard as to (a) how the greater good is being defined by any given movement and (b) who is continually being asked to compromise, to assume hardship, and to sacrifice for this greater good.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Gender Role Friday

Hey, remember But I'm a Cheerleader?

Made in 1999, the movie remains one of my favorite queer films to this day.  Not only is it an apt parody of the "ex-gay" conversion therapy, it's funny - more in a dark humor sort of way, if you're into that.

Despite her gender conformity (she's a stereotypical feminine cheerleader), protagonist Megan is actually a lesbian and therefore is forced to go to straight camp.  At this camp, we see the anxious gender policing behind so much anti-LGBT advocacy.  For instance, the "patients" are to become heterosexual mostly by learning how to conform to gender stereotypes and force themselves to be attracted to people they aren't attracted to.

As you can imagine, all of that goes swimmingly.

The joke, of course, is that Megan is already "properly" "feminine" but is still somehow, inexplicably attracted to women. That doesn't change by the end of the movie. The other characters have a range of gender presentations, and mostly the film shows the absurdity of trying so hard to force people to be what they inherently are not or do not want to be.

Oh, and did I mention the film stars Clea DuVall (mmmm) and Natasha Lyonne?  Most importantly. I mean, Clea DuVall playing a broody soft butch is like lesbian/bisexual catnip. More please.

Enjoy this fan-created music video of the film, below:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sanders, Stop the Mob or Get Out

[Content note: Misogynist references, harassment, violence]

Oh damn, now here is a satisfying read.  I hope Kurt Eichenwald has some good security. Via his recent article at Newsweek:
"Violence. Death threats. Vile, misogynistic names screamed at women. Rage. Hatred. Menacing, anonymous phone calls to homes and offices. Public officials whisked offstage by security agents frightened of the growing mob. None of this has any place in a political campaign. And the candidate who has been tolerating this obscene behavior among his supporters is showing himself to be unfit for office. 
So, Senator Sanders, either get control of what is becoming your increasingly unhinged cult or get out of the race. Whatever respect sane liberals had for you is rapidly dwindling, and the damage being inflicted on your reputation may be unfixable. If you can’t even manage the vicious thugs who act in your name, you can’t be trusted to run a convenience store, much less the country."   
The writing has been on the wall, as many feminists have been saying for months now, about the Sanders' movement's anti-feminist, sexist leanings: his staff of all-male, highest-paid advisors, the way he shoved Jane away from him at the podium (he's the rock star!), the single-minded emphasis on economic issues above all other issues, the Vatican PR stunt, calling his highly-qualified female opponent "unqualified," a surrogate implying Clinton is a "corporate Democratic whore."

And, of course, the notorious BernieBros, that precious online (and increasingly in-person) mob of overly-aggressive Bernie supporters.

The progressive/radical left's ongoing woman problem is a key reason I don't organize or associate with the movement even though I agree with them on many issues (see also, movement atheism).  Let's just say I had a big a-ha moment circa 2006 when I used to participate in leftist forums. During one memorable week of my life, I objected to leftist bros calling Hillary Clinton a "corporate whore" only to be mansplained to (ha, before that term existed) that since I can't read people's minds HOW DARE I imply that anyone was sexist, and besides there's MORE IMPORTANT issues to worry about! Ignore lady issues for socialism, comrade, and then we can maybe talk about those lesser issues after the revolution happens!  

Well, to paraphrase Flavia, my revolution will be intersectional or it will be bullshit. And, I'm not too keen on violent overthrow, either, by the way, so good luck with implementing a non-violent revolution given the reality that many Americans don't want a revolution in the first place, as evidenced by our heretofore peaceful voting process in which Bernie Sanders is losing. Oh, but details, right?  It's as though in Bernie-land, once people are sufficiently enlightened beyond their/our false consciousness we'll "feel the Bern" too. Somehow.

Sorry, but no. That's not typically how these things work out.

Nor is it a coincidence that it seems to be female Democratic leaders who are targeted with the most vile, aggressive threats. You know, in the same year that the first woman in history has a real shot of winning. It's like people are wearing some warped version of beer goggles, except instead of making people look hot, they make Bernie look like a saint and any female Democratic Party leader look like a corrupt she-devil.

Sadly, Sanders' weak sauce response thus far to his supporters' aggressive behavior has had some victim-blaming tones: If Democrats would welcome more of "the people" into the process, people wouldn't be so angry. (Or, my absolute favorite response from a spokesperson on Rachel Maddow this week: his Nevada supporters were just hungry! Ha! I mean, I get being hangry, but never once have I had the hungry impulse to tell a political opponent they should be publicly executed. But I'm a shill-bot, so I'm sure my non-violent temperament just means I'm not "passionate" enough about my candidate).

And nevermind, I guess, the millions of "the people" who have voted for Clinton.  The implication from Team Sanders continues to be that Clinton is not legitimately winning, but rather, the "Democratic Establishment" has rigged the primary for her. (If you're keeping track at home: It's a failure that Hillary hasn't blown out Bernie, but also she's only winning because she's cheating? Huh. Put that one in the "women can't fucking win" files, I guess.)

And here's where I have to be serious.

If Sanders were a more skilled, thoughtful politician and leader, he would firmly state that his movement ("not me, us," remember?) should not engage misogynistic slurs, intimidation, and threats of violence in his name and that, while we must continue to fight corporate corruption, we cannot and should not sell out our other progressive values in doing so.  If he's unwilling to use his platform to make that sort of statement, he should step down.  Because as of now, I see his actions and words thus far as indicating a lack of suitable temperament and leadership for the office of the Presidency.

And, when he does eventually lose the Primary, I guess we can only hope now he doesn't make that huge of a mess when he wipes his ass on the drapes on the way out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Femslash Wednesday - AHS: Coven

Have I mentioned that I think Sarah Paulson is a national treasure?

Welp, I'm mentioning it now. She is. Not only because she's dating Holland Taylor, which she publicl talks about, but also because of Carol (obvs), American Horror Story, and The People v. OJ Simpson. 

What can I say - I guess I have a soft spot for shy-ish, quirky, simultaneously-strong-and-vulnerable female characters (all of which I mean in the best possible way).

I didn't even know I would ship Cordelia and Misty, from AHS: Coven, but now I do after watching this fan video. Learn something new every day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Butch Tuesday

Let's be real, Brienne of Tarth is everything.

She's certainly one of the more honorable characters in A Song of Ice and Fire, as portrayed in both George RR Martin's books and the TV show Game of Thrones. (And therefore almost certain to die a horrible, unjust death).

I had an unexpected appreciation of her evolving relationship with Jaime Lannister.

Jaime is largely an ass, albeit somewhat humbled by the loss of his right hand. And, while he ridiculed Brienne when they first encountered one another and she, in turn, had little respect for "the Kingslayer," the two came to, I believe, respect and ultimately love one another.

That is to say, I believe theirs to have been a subtextual romance plot, deserving of highlighting today. Portraying men attracted to and in love with butch women is, obviously, a rarity in TV and film.  Hell, even portraying butch women as heterosexual, as Brienne ostensibly is (*sigh* a shame), is just as rare.

(Advice to Cersei: Forget about Jaime. Woo Margaery. "Keep your enemies closer" and all that).

Enjoy today's featured fan vid, a tribute to Jamie and Brienne.

Friday, May 13, 2016

This Friday Was Brought to You By

The Woman Card.

Talk about Hillary, the Election, and/or how it's time for "the Bern" to pack it up.

Or, you know, Pitch Perfect (obvs) or other fun stuff.

Just whatever you talk about, make sure you're exponentially-better at it than everyone else so you can get maybe half the credit!

After all, if we lived in a just world, Bechloe would be canon. Instead, every time we re-watch Pitch Perfect, we have to endure an unbelievable hetero romance and awkwardly-long Beca/Jesse gazes during the Bella's Final Performance, so as to ensure, I guess, that hetero men can sufficiently relate to a movie about a female acapella group.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

On Unmoderated Comment Sections as Safe Spaces for Hate

Here's a good quote via Katie Tandy, writing at The Establishment, justifying her rejection of a comment section at the site:
"...[T]he comments section—which on paper is a virtual democracy in which all voices can and will be heard—has been hijacked and bastardized; it is decidedly Free Speech run amok. We have allowed behavior that is tantamount to hate crimes and granted it our greatest societal blessing. We have created and methodically maintained a ‘safe place’ for every disgusting ‘ism’ on the goddamn planet—while exposing writers and creators to the kind of caustic cruelty that as far as I’m concerned, only belongs in dystopian fiction."
In the old pre-Internet days, publications would filter letters they received and choose to publish only select Letters to the Editor, comprised of critical or supportive commentary. Although publications undoubtedly received abusive letters, the publication had to actively choose to publish it for all readers to see versus throw it in the trash.

Now, many Internet users feel entitled to having their commentary published, seen, and engaged with on-demand just because they hold an opinion and have the ability to directly publish their thoughts on various commenting platforms.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

US Attorney General Files Civil Rights Suit Against NC


Yesterday, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the US Department of Justice was filling a civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina for its discriminatory law restricting the restroom access of trans people.

From her statement:
"This action is about a great deal more than just bathrooms. This is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we, as a people and as a country, have enacted to protect them – indeed, to protect all of us. And it’s about the founding ideals that have led this country – haltingly but inexorably – in the direction of fairness, inclusion and equality for all Americans. 
This is not the first time that we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation. We saw it in the Jim Crow laws that followed the Emancipation Proclamation. We saw it in fierce and widespread resistance to Brown v. Board of Education. And we saw it in the proliferation of state bans on same-sex unions intended to stifle any hope that gay and lesbian Americans might one day be afforded the right to marry. That right, of course, is now recognized as a guarantee embedded in our Constitution, and in the wake of that historic triumph, we have seen bill after bill in state after state taking aim at the LGBT community. Some of these responses reflect a recognizably human fear of the unknown, and a discomfort with the uncertainty of change. But this is not a time to act out of fear. This is a time to summon our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion and open-mindedness. What we must not do – what we must never do – is turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans, for something they cannot control, and deny what makes them human. This is why none of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insists that a person pretend to be something they are not, or invents a problem that doesn’t exist as a pretext for discrimination and harassment.
Let me also speak directly to the transgender community itself. Some of you have lived freely for decades. Others of you are still wondering how you can possibly live the lives you were born to lead. But no matter how isolated or scared you may feel today, the Department of Justice and the entire Obama Administration wants you to know that we see you; we stand with you; and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward. Please know that history is on your side. This country was founded on a promise of equal rights for all, and we have always managed to move closer to that promise, little by little, one day at a time. It may not be easy – but we’ll get there together."

Monday, May 9, 2016

Oh, Jill: On the Exceptional Woman's Dilemma

Hey ya'll. just in time for Mother's Day, the Green Party enters the sexism fray:


Here are the lessons.

Actually, this might be old news, but I had a sudden realization over the weekend that verbally bashing Hillary Clinton is a trendy way to signal to others one's own purported ideological cred/purity. We see this on the left and the right. Beyond making fair critiques, people trade on rightwing talking points that have been around for decades and attack Hillary for not adequately or properly being a woman.

Two, never mistake a leftist "revolution" for a feminist one.  The two do not necessarily always go hand in hand. While Stein seems to agree with Trump that Clinton "plays" a "Woman Card," she also suggests that there are More Important Things to deal with than the women's issues that Clinton addresses. Women in poverty is a feminist issue.  But attacking a woman in a sexist way in order to address that issue is not a feminist way to address the issue of female poverty.

Three. Should Stein ever actually become a viable candidate, I suspect that we would find that lots of progressives, liberals, conservatives, and the media would find many reasons to hate her, hold her to standards of perfection no candidate could ever meet, and other otherwise frame her as a Disney villain of the first order too, because she's a woman!

So here we see a key mistake people make when they try to shall we say, play the Exceptional Woman Card. You may be better than that woman, but in the end, you're still a woman.  Just a woman.

Four, I have typically liked Jill Stein and have voted Green in several elections in the past, particularly in local elections where candidates have actual shots at winning.  In my opinion, Dr. Stein is, from a progressive standpoint, more ideologically pure, less hawkish, and certainly less "establishment" than Bernie Sanders.*

Yet, the progressive bros aren't rallying around her.

I wonder why.

Snark aside, I attribute Sanders' success relative to hers, in part, to him running as a Democrat, and so more people view him as a viable contender.  However, isn't part of Sanders' appeal for so many Berners is that he's purportedly more ideologically pure and anti-establishment than Hillary Clinton? Which, fine, but in supporting him over Stein, his supporters show that they too will make compromises when it's politically pragmatic to do so.

Which, of course, when Hillary Clinton and her supporters do so, is a virtually disqualifying characteristic.

(*Regardless of their respective purity, I think both Stein and Sanders' agendas are largely moot from a pragmatic implementation standpoint, given a Democrat and Republican-controlled Congress not comprised primarily of progressives and Greens)

Friday, May 6, 2016

A Simple Wish



"Corporate Democratic Whore."





"Bill's Coattails!"

"Cookies and tea!"

"Waiting for her coronation."


"Benghazi! 'Nuff said!"


"Woman card."

Hillary Clinton has more restraint than me, because if I were in her shoes I would be plotting the following:

1) Win 2016 Presidential  Election;

2) Win 2020 Presidential Election;

3) At the end of the last year in office, invite sexist critics and misogynistic conspiracy theorists to a parade to be held in their honor;

4) Get in flying car (it will be 2024 after all) and zoom down the parade route like:

Zero fucks. Zero fucks. La la la la zero fucks.

That is to say, I long for the day when she can finally give zero fucks about the heaps of abuse thrown her way for decades. She can endure it. She's been doing so for a long time. But, the point is, she shouldn't have to. And, other women and girls (and men and boys who care about us) shouldn't have to watch her endure it either.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Author of World's Most Boring Cartoon Applauds Most Boring Sexist Slam

Scott Adams, author of the exceptionally-unfunny Dilbert cartoon, recently gave Donald Trump some Big Time Props* for accusing Hillary Clinton of playing the "woman card."  He practically hyper-ventilates his admiration of Trump's purported smack-down:
"Trump’s 'woman card' strategy is weapons-grade persuasion. It is a 'high ground' maneuver with an 'identity' angle. Either one of those approaches can be a kill shot. But together? 
Holy sh*t. 
I’ve not seen anything like it. The engineering is superb."
To think that Trump's "woman card" jab merits this sort of excessive praise is pure fantasy magical thinking.  On the brilliance scale, accusing a female candidate of playing a "woman card" is the equivalent of, in the prank world, "pressing the gas pedal every time your friend tries to get in the car" or, in the comedy world, "guy gets hit in the balls, buddy says, 'ooh that's gonna leave a mark.'"

It's old hat. It's unoriginal. And, coming from the most objectively unqualified candidate in the field, and one who's already bragged about his dick size (what card did he play there, exactly?), is the height of hypocrisy. For all of these reasons the "woman card" thing was neither funny nor smart. A critique is best when it's specific and tailored to who is being critiqued. Accusing a woman of playing a "woman card" is not the universal "kill shot" Adams fantasizes it is, precisely because it could be leveled at literally any other female candidate, if her opponent so wished to go there, solely because that candidate was a woman and mentioned that fact ever.

That is to say, the "woman card" thing, in reality, has likely earned Trump no new supporters, and has only entrenched the dislike most women have of him. The barb, I suspect, only works for those Trump supporters, of which I'm sure there are many, who just really like to see men attempt to take Clinton, and honestly all ambitious, competent women, down a notch.

Adams praise of Trump is like the fear-admiration that certain cowardly, awful men have for characters like, say, Ramsay Snow in that they mistake cruelty for leadership or (worse) competence.

Remember this, too: There is little in the world that unites some men more than their perceived superiority over women. For such men, I think there would be no Trump-spoken insult thrown Clinton's way that they wouldn't pump their fists at and praise as the height of supreme strategery. Before this is over, I wouldn't rule out Trump saying "hag" or "witch" or "get in the kitchen and make me a sammich" or other such regressive barbs that man-babies 'round the world employ, only to have his Misogyny Bro Supporters at each turn shower him with Mensa membership cards.

Watch. In his piece, Adams then goes on to predict a Trump "landslide" in the general, with this bizarre divorced-from-reality bit:
"Trump will probably win with men for all the obvious reasons.** But winning with women has until lately seemed impossible. So the 'woman card' kill shot is aimed at women voters, not men. And what it does is flip the framing, as Trump likes to do. 
Clinton framing: It is time for a woman president.
Trump framing: Gender is not a job qualification 
I remind you that this is the year 2016. Trump’s message recognizes that gender should not be a hiring criteria. That’s the high ground. You can’t get higher.

And it gives women an identity choice. Do they pick the leader who says the 'woman card' is a qualification for a good job? Or do they pick the leader who has a long record of promoting and mentoring women because he thinks gender should not be a qualification? 
First off, Adams has used the phrase "kill shot" in reference to Clinton once again. Which is twice in his piece. Creepy.  Really fucking creepy. Like, I hope the proper authorities are paying attention to that one.

Secondly, if a panel looked at Trump and Clinton's resumes, with names and gender removed, one candidate would shine as being far and away the more qualified. That person would... not be Trump.

And therein we see the biggest lies that these sexist dipshits tell: That Clinton, the most qualified, competent candidate with the most pragmatic, informed, and fleshed-out policies of all candidates, is running entirely on a bumper-sticker-slogan platform that says the only reason she deserves votes is because she's a woman. And further, that a female equivalent of Donald Trump would ever stand a fucking chance, because society is now gender-blind and all hiring and election decisions are based solely on merit.

*H/T to Echidne, whom I have linked to, rather than to Scott Adams' blog directly. I'd rather drive traffic to her blog than to Adams'. But, his blog and the referenced blog post can be found easily enough, I trust, if you're inclined to read it in its entirety.

**Whatever could this mean?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dreher Rages In Support of Gender Police

[Content note: anti-trans bigotry, gender policing]

Welp, Rod Dreher is at it again with the anti-trans crusade at his blog.

First things first, he begins with the preening male conservative equivalent of a trigger warning/content note (caps and bolds in original):
"Below, a video that went up on Facebook on April 19. DO NOT WATCH THIS AT WORK. The language directed at the police is foul and abusive. But if you can handle cursing, you need to watch it. I’ll describe it below."
I use content notes, so I'm not knocking the practice. Rather, my point is that his own content note shows that for all their railing against "PC culture run amok" social conservatives have their own versions of political correctness. And, I've interacted with such people long enough to know that their moral outrage about swearing, especially if engaged in by "females," usually far exceeds their moral outrage at certain (what they deem) societal undesirables being treated indecently.  Saying fuck, shit, or (lord help me) pussy while female is akin to inflicting upon society a human rights violation of the first order. But verbally bash gay or trans people? Shrug.

He continues:
"In the video, a very masculine-presenting teenager is asked by police to leave the women’s restroom. The person, who has a deep voice, says she’s a woman, and not going anywhere. She gets very aggressive: 'I’m a f–king female. Do I have to tell you again?'"
The police ask the teen for her ID and, when she says she doesn't have it, the police remove her from the restroom. Dreher links to the video, and adds his own commentary:
"I saw the video on this FB page. Read the comments for an example of the unshirted rage of these people."
"These people." Hmmm.  I guess it's something that he at least calls them people. Credit where it's due. Dreher goes on to justify the decision to remove the, what he calls "alleged lesbian," from the restroom:
"[If you don't remove her] you might have let a man stay in the women’s bathroom — a public toilet — making women who didn’t know this person was a lesbian very uncomfortable, and even make them feel unsafe.
.....This country is crazy. It is instructive to read that Facebook page, and to see how berserk so many of those on the cultural left are — as if the cops had behaved like stormtroopers instead of like reasonable people trying to protect the public safety."
The reasoning, such as it is, behind Dreher's argument is twofold (a) trans women are actually men and (b) men in women's restrooms pose an inherent threat to women.  Funny how this particular example works out though, isn't it?

In this case, he finds it justifiable for the police to have removed a cisgender woman from the ladies because some other women might have merely felt unsafe by what they might have thought was a man but really wasn't. The risk, by his own logic, was not there because neither a man nor a trans woman was present.  Thus, in practice, we see that the policy does not address actual safety of women, but perceived safety and even that's questionable. For, it is Dreher who editorializes, inserts himself, and simply imagines, on women's behalf, that women might be scared.

At his blog, Dreher speaks often of a so-called Law of Merited Impossibility, alluding to his belief that Christians like himself are at imminent risk of widespread, brutal persecution. Under this "law," he claims that liberals don't believe such persecution of Christians will ever happen, but if it does, we liberal types will think that those bigoted Christians will deserve it.

This "law" looks like 100% projection.

What was at first a policy of keeping trans people out of gender-appropriate restrooms becomes acceptable to more broadly apply, so that anyone who doesn't properly perform gender becomes suspect.  And, well, I guess those people deserve the policing and abuse, what with being so unhinged and angry.  I mean, did you hear they even swear sometimes? (Caution!)

Dreher's illogic becomes even more apparent when watching the video. In it, you see that the woman is in a line of many people in what appears to be a very crowded restroom of people coming and going.  Indeed, other people in the bathroom were telling the police, "That's a girl! That's a girl!" suggesting they were hardly threatened. It is difficult to imagine at what point this "potential man"/"alleged lesbian" would get away with raping a woman in the bathroom. What I'm saying here is that I'd do more listening to actual sexual assault experts on this matter, many of which condemn anti-trans "bathroom bills" for putting trans people at risk for violence and not actually protecting cisgender women.

Indeed, we scratch these policies even just a little bit and we mostly get the putrid smell of incoherent gender policing, coupled with threatened, fragile masculinity. The disgust at the "mouthy""masculine" "lesbian" and her cohorts is practically dripping from Dreher's mocking temper-tantrum.

Yet, rather than recognizing the flawed logic, rather than seriously engaging counter-arguments to his point of view, he acts as though the other side ("the cultural left") has no legitimate argument for all this bathroom business. As though trans people don't actually have to ever piss or shit when they're out and about. And if they do, well, too bad. It's their fault for being trans, and the rest of the world shouldn't have to accommodate that - they deserve no bathrooms! (And hey, did this lesbian ever get to pee, by the way? I hope so).

Well. Many people in his comment section rightly took Dreher to task, although he mostly responded with the typical whining that people didn't READ what he ACTUALLY WROTE so WAH! So, he posted an "update" to his piece, erm, clarifying:
"Maybe living with that degree of social anxiety [of people being able to use "whichever gendered bathroom they want"] is worth it to you so transgenders, genderfluids, genderqueers and all the rest can pee wherever they like, whenever they like. But it’s a big damn ask for women."
Okay player.

First they come for the "transgenders," and then see how the list of who it's justifiable to exclude from public restroom access expands. (Hey, by the way, did you all hear that The Handmaid's Tale is coming to Hulu?!)

Now, here I have to ask, why the potty obsession, which seems so fashionable in conservative circles at this particular moment in time, with an election looming?  With so many defenders of traditional morality being exposed as sexual hypocrites or predators themselves, are we looking for a new social wedge issue or does the topic serve the purpose of being p0rn for prudes? By "monitoring" "deviant" gender and sexual behavior, some conservatives can consume that behavior while also signaling their own virtue by publicly rejecting it.

Here: I do not reject any of this.
On a final note, if we assume the very best intentions on his part, well, as a woman, I don't want or need Rod Dreher, or any other concerned-ass citizen, to exclude trans people from women's restrooms on my behalf, for my defense. Mostly, because I live in the real world where trans people don't actually pose a threat to me in the potty.

The fact is, I have shared restrooms with trans people (when I've even known they were trans) and I have literally never felt unsafe. But, for me, trans people aren't an abstraction. They're not a symbolic evil or sign of societal decay and decadence. They're not "men trying to be women" or "women trying to be men" or predators hell-bent on attacking women in restrooms.

They're human beings.  And, I'm of the opinion that when one understands that simple concept, one also understands that therefore trans people's concerns and perspectives are worth contemplating beyond a knee-jerk reactionary level that dismisses the whole debate itself as evidence of how "crazy" modern society is about gender.

But, you know, I'm a swearing lesbian who likes a prison show featuring trans, lesbian, bisexual, and otherwise gender-non-conforming women too, so I'm sure that discredits my entire argument in the view of some. Scribble that on your goddamn content note.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Quote of the Day

Lindy West gets it, writing in The Guardian:
"But maybe what I hate the most about this election is thinking about all the goddamn writing I’m going to have to do for the next four (or, potentially, eight) years if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency. Misogynist rhetoric is going to reach levels of frenzy heretofore unknown to science, and with misogynist rhetoric comes feminist outcry, and with feminist outcry comes dopey faux-confusion: 'I don’t get why this is sexist. Explain it to me. Debate with me. Help me. Convince me.' There is no sense of memory, of the fact that all of this has been explained many, many times before. Because why would they want to remember? The incessant demand that women 'debate' and defend our own humanity is a deliberate diversion meant to hobble our power – part of the mechanism of sexism itself."
And if we don't do it repeatedly and on-demand with any and every rando who shows up in our space, they claim we're scared of their intellectual prowess, we're part of a feminist hivemind, and we can neither tolerate or handle dissenting views.