Friday, July 31, 2009

Going on vacation!!!

I thought I would post this now, since tomorrow I work a ten-hour shift, and Sunday morning is my flight, and I might not get a chance to let my readership know. Next week I'll be in Florida visiting my mom and stepdad, and hanging with my brother and his girlfriend, who will be flying out from Detroit as I leave from Milwaukee.

I know my comments moderation policy will be slightly problematic while I'm away, not glued to the computer, but I do encourage you all to continue to leave comments on any posts (no matter how old--I read them all); just know they'll take awhile to appear on the post. I will make a point to check for comments twice a day, if time and familial demands allow, so please be patient with me.

I may have a few random posts, and I intend to post Fuzz Therapy on Wednesday, but expect very little from me. I'll be busy having fun and getting sunburned. Regular updates will return August 10th. Have a great weekend / week!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No safety for racism

I work with one of those people who says racist things, but is clearly oblivious to her own racism. After all, she's perfectly comfortable speaking to other white people, nonchalantly exuding her ignorance with thoughtlessly racist remarks. She's referenced "the ghettos" with upturned nose, and in that non-thinking privileged manner, states that she stays clear of those places and those people who apparently choose to live there.

I've seen her jaw drop when I mention going home to the Detroit area, and seen her face twist into judgmental disgust at the mention that I listen to rap. I've heard that sneering accusation of, "Oh, so your brother thinks he's black."

But--for whatever reason--it seems her comfort level with me has increased, because today she insisted on telling me about how an obnoxious black girl (she made a point to specify) was acting "disgraceful" at a public pool, apparently ruining her and her boyfriend's good time. I interrupted her, and said that in no way is the girl's annoying behavior attributed to her skin color--but she was hearing none of it. I don't think it really even registered in her mind that I, a fellow white woman, could be offended by what she was saying about an annoying young black woman. Despite my interruption, she continued: "I mean, don't black people know how to behave? Why do they act like that?"

Now, another co-worker was witness to this story, and he said nothing. We both sort of gave each other that awkward look before walking away into the next aisle. I figured interrupting her didn't work, so I'd try ignoring her. But that didn't work very well either, and she kept on with her racist rant until the subject was changed.

This exchange reminds me of something I read recently at Fugitivus:

Now anybody who’s been in a school setting knows that you do occasionally run into students who drive you up the fucking wall. But anybody who’s been one form of privileged class or another also knows (if you don’t, think on this some) that if that person who drives you up the fucking wall is black/gay/female/feminist/(insert minority label here), their otherness becomes one of the things that drives you up the wall. Instead of being a person who you thinks speaks uncomfortably loud, they become a loud black person, a shrill woman, an in-your-face gay person. Their minority status becomes an integral part of what they do that pisses you off. I’ve done this, you’ve done this; let’s not fuck about.
Why do we do this? Because it's easy.

As for the other co-worker who also heard her ignorance? I mentioned it to him later, when she wasn't around. I told him how uncomfortable she makes me, spouting her racism without thinking or caring that I might be offended. He told me he finds it offensive too, but just ignores it.

Well, that's too easy. I am normally quiet and reserved, but I've resolved that I might as well speak up--she seems comfortable saying these things around lots of people at our workplace, even a couple managers, and no one says a damn thing (guess what? I work with a bunch of white people). If we're ever going to achieve this "post-racial" ideal, then we need to challenge racism--point it out, expose it. We can't be afraid of confrontation. I think part of this silence is that since this a majority white workplace, no one wants to be the "odd" or "sensitive" one by pointing out another white person's racism--I mean, there's no POC around, so who's offended, right? But that shouldn't matter. People need to know that racism is not appropriate or acceptable anywhere at any time in any company. Ever.

I'm tired of this "safe" feeling white people get when they're in the company of other white people, where they whip out their racism and prejudices in a blinding example of their white privilege. I want white people to lose that safe feeling. I want them to stop and think about what they're planning to say, and then not say it because they know it won't be tolerated. Because they know it's ignorant and hateful and racist.

Ignoring it won't make it go away. Which is why I interrupted her, and why, when she decides to say something else racist (from her record, I know she will), I will confront her, and tell her I am offended, and what she's saying is racist and ignorant and I shouldn't have to deal with that when I'm at work. And I'll probably be accused of oversensitivity, but that's okay, because maybe I'll make her as uncomfortable as she makes me, and it'll eat at her until she realizes that she's wrong; and if not, at least she will know that I will not be party to her ignorance, despite what she thinks my skin-color represents.

Semi-related: Check out another Macon D post at stuff white people do, regarding the defense of hate speech under free speech.

Fuzz Therapy

I'm sort of having a rotten day (another case of I-hate-my-fucking-clueless-racist-coworker--more on this later, but basically I told her off once; if it happens again, I'm reporting her. I'm not going to tolerate racism because a white person feels "safe" around me because I'm white, as if I can't find their shit offensive).

Anyway, thankfully it's Wednesday, which means it's Fuzz Therapy! glad I can come home and cuddles with my uber-fluffy Princess, and bestow loving kisses upon her silky kitty-brow.

Oh, wait...

All the food and love I give her, and she can't even let me snorgle her? I mean, that's a pretty clear "DO NOT WANT" face she's giving me, not to mention her use of excessive kitty-paw force.

Oh well. Maybe next time.

(And no, that's not a Dragonforce t-shirt I'm wearing--I swear).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

filthy grandmothers!! click here!!!

To the person / people who keep searching for "filthy grandmothers,"

I hope you are severely disappointed at finding me, in what I imagine to be your frantic search for nasty granny porn. I'm not certain why you would do a general search on Google instead of a more specific search on an actual porn site, where you can efficiently fulfill your need for "sluts" of the more "experienced" variety (hey, I'm not judging, buddy), but I suppose when you're desperately typing with one hand you're not really thinking clearly.



Extenze for women--so the men already taking Extenze have something to fuck

Finally! An Extenze for women!!

This website assures me that

"No longer is sexual enhancement focused on the needs of men!"
Well, great! They further tell me
"Taken as a daily supplement, women will notice a change in their sexual drive, one that echoes youthful passion and excitement."
"Women have their own sexual wants and needs, but so often they are overlooked by product developers. Extenze took notice and created a specially formulated product that provides a healthy sexual nutritional supplement for women."
So why do the tv ads and the site seem to only care about women's sexuality within a heterosexual relationship? I love how all the Extenze ads for men are filled with sexy women, dangling ass and titties at the poor impotent fool until he's overcome with desire for a boner that he buys this product (I'm not even bothering to embed the videos here--I'm sure you've seen them).

This new Extenze for Women seems to me to be a Part II for the male product. "So, you've got this boner and your lady's not in the mood, huh? Well, we can fix that!"

Oh, and for anyone that wants to tell me I'm "looking too much into this," tell me why the site for the lady's product has links to not only the male Extenze, but also products such as Stiff Nights, and Sweeterex (guess what that's for)?

I love how all the sites aimed at men are of the soft-core porn variety, with passive (and presumably fuckable) women, while the one at women (while still sexy, though with PINK!!) shows a woman embracing a man, which sort of makes me think of erotica. Notice also the difference in icons of the male and female Extenze--women get a kiss, men get a woman with her ass thrust out. WTF???

Update: It has not escaped my notice that the ads for both the male and female products feature mostly white men and women--I think I only saw one black man once. But that's okay, since presumably black men don't need male enhancement, right?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oh no! I missed my own blogiversary!

I just realized that July 16th was my first blogiversary, and I missed it!

One year ago I graduated college, and realized I really missed homework. I loved writing literary analyses and having people read them and critique them. Hell, I loved people reading anything I've written. One day I became fed up with David Eddings' novels, and decided to write an essay on his works. Just writing it wasn't enough. I wanted people to read it. So I started this blog.

It started out as a literary blog, but it soon transformed into something more. So, thanks to everyone that has linked to me, and thanks for reading. Here's to another year!

And, in case you're interested, here's the blog post that started it all: The Sexism of David Eddings (feel free to leave comments there--I read all comments, no matter what post they appear on).

A note on commenting

I have recently gotten an increase of trolls here on "o filthy grandeur!" and where I previously published these comments anyway, I have decided not to do that any longer. I am very sick of anti-feminist , homophobic, transphobic, racist, slut-shaming, fat-shaming, "you're looking to much into it," "what about the menz," "equal rights means I can hit a woman if she can hit me," and rape apologism comments.

There was a point when I was willing to approve these comments (to a degree) simply to illustrate the type of ignorance and hatred that was not welcome here, but now I've decided that giving voice to those who try to silence me and my readers doesn't accomplish anything here. Most of these comments are from anonymous people who appear only long enough to comment once and then never return, which means that any response to them will go unseen (generally speaking).

I welcome differences in opinion so long as they are respectful. What is not welcome is hate-speech. So, to all trolls: go ahead. Write me a nasty comment, but know it will be a useless endeavor because it will never appear on this site.

Napalm Nacey declares war on Evony

I'm sure you've seen the ads for Evony by now. These ads are part of the reason why I deleted my adsense account, seeing as how they're bordering on the ridiculous and are certainly offensive. Anyway, via Feministe, I found Nacey's declaration of all out war on the game's advertisers (please note that link is considered NSFW). Nacey appropriately states:

And just because you're a guy, don't think that these ads don't affect you. I think it's a great disservice to men, thinking they can lure them in with the promise of breasts and subservient women. It's insulting to men, it's insulting to women. It's the lowest common denomenator and I don't think people want that shit on their mainstream, non-porny websites.
Anyway, Nacey has the best response to these ads:

They're missing out on half the market. Isn't it time they start urging the wimminz to join their awesome-sauce browser game?! Where's our princes? Here's where, bitchez:

Oh, it gets so much better:

Click here for the rest of the pics. I think the last one is the best, but since my mother is a frequent reader here, I'll keep the shock to a minimum.

Looking for...

Often have I (and certainly others) have been accused of looking for racism, of looking for sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and a ton of other things when I've criticized movie, a book, a commercial, etc. Some gentle troll usually points out that "of course you'll find [insert offensive thing] if you're looking for it," followed by the accusation that I'm looking too much into it.

Normally I don't think about this stuff very much since it's all a silencing technique that those of ignorant minds employ because they'd rather not acknowledge the ways in which they're privileged, much less have a discussion about it, confront it, work on seeing the ways in which they're privileged and doing something about that. But this has been nagging at me for a while now.

Yes, if I look for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc., generally I'm "rewarded" in finding it. You know why that is? BECAUSE IT'S THERE. It's such an ignorant thing to say that if you look for it you'll find it. I can look for anything and find it--I see racism in Transformers and in our daily treatment of non-white children; I see sexism in tons of ads, I hear sexism and anti-feminism in daily conversations, and homophobia in a movie that's supposed to challenge it. BECAUSE IT'S ALL THERE. I'm not making shit up--I'm finding something that exists and I'm confronting it, challenging it, and all I get is silencing techniques.

I challenge stereotypes because they're in our television shows, commercials, ads, and conversations. They're ignorant and they do not represent all people of a given group. I challenge homophobia and transphobia and sexism because white, cisgendered, straight male is not the fucking standard, and all others a deviation from that standard. There's pervasive hate everywhere; obviously I have no trouble finding it.

Yes, I'm looking for offensive othering commentary because I'm not content with ignorantly gobbling this shit up. I look for it and find it, just as I can look for an object near me and find it. OMG! There's my cat! I was looking for her, and I found her! What do you know? Just like how I found racism in this comic. Amazing!

The City & The City: breaching gender, race, and duality

Spoiler Alert: While I do not give a full plot summary, some of the topics I discuss in this essay will undoubtedly be revealing; if you're currently reading the novel or plan to (and you should all plan to!), turn away now, because I'd hate to ruin it for you, especially since I give away the murderer.

What can I say about China Miéville's latest novel, The City & The City, that would do a justice to its utter magnificence? I don't know if one word will do it. Please enjoy my review/analysis/praise of this novel.

I: Borlú and the dead woman
Miéville's determination to write a book in every genre (while still keeping one foot in the realm of fantasy) is pretty damn awesome. The City & The City is his epic crime drama. The story opens at the crime scene, where the body of a woman is discovered, dumped near some buildings underneath a filthy mattress (I'm not sure if this was intended to reflect Poe at all, but it's certainly interesting that the novel just happens to be centered on the death of a beautiful (and really really smart!!) woman--which Poe asserted was the most poetic subject--the beautiful part that is--he apparently didn't give a shit about her intelligence so long as she was gorgeous).

Inevitably there is issue with this. Why does the novel have to begin with the discovery of a woman's body, complete with face slashes, head wounds, and chest stabbings--clear results of violence against a woman whom we never meet in the novel. She's dead throughout, and the novel follows the first-person narrative of the male detective, Tyador Borlú, trying to solve her murder.

But Miéville does his best to treat the victim with respect, and even awe. As Borlú continues his investigation of this strange and impossible murder, we discover more and more that this woman, Mahalia Geary, was a driven, intelligent woman--so smart in fact, that in her investigations into Orciny (the mythical city between the title cities Beszel* and Ul Qoma) lead her to figure out that she's been part of an elaborate hoax; she's so smart that it dooms her.

In this, we have a problem. We're presented with a victim who is intelligent: professors admire her, though her studies cause them to worry since Orciny is a subject not believed to be scholarly. That we only see her as a corpse speaks volumes--she's ultimately punished for her intelligence. She knew too much; she was dangerous to a male professor, Bowden, who once believed in Orciny, and wrote a book on it titled Between the City and the City, and Buric, a man on the Chamber of Commerce, who had enlisted Bowden's help to acquire artifacts from the Ul Qoman dig, Bol Ye'an, where Mahalia worked and had access to. Mahalia's intellect is used to convince her that Orciny is real to get her to effectively steal back the artifacts she thought belonged to Orciny; her intelligence is also an agent of her murder. The people responsible for her use and murder are all men. She is used for the acquisition of rare objects, and is summarily punished for her exceptional intelligence following her discovery that she'd been tricked.

II: The women
There's no shortage of female characters in this novel. To keep it simple, I've prepared a list with a brief description of them, in no particular order.

  • Mrs. Geary: Mahalia's mother, who arrives in Beszel shortly after Mahalia's body is identified. She's hardly more than a devastated mother, and rightly so, yet I'm struck by the presentation of her. Comparatively, she's passive, while her husband's active. He's found a list of his own suspects, and even sneaks out of their hotel to track some people down. But he and his wife are foreigners who do not know the boundaries, and he breaches (more on this later). At any rate, he's unconscious during our final seen with the couple, leaving Mrs. Geary with the voice . She tells Borlú " 'My husband was going to investigate' "(96). In fact, the reader does not see a conscious Mr. Geary again, leaving only Mrs. Geary (the woman) to interact with Borlú.
  • Biszaya and Sariska: I've lumped these two women together because they're so similar--in fact, any mention of one, and you have the other in the same sentence; there is rarely an instance where Borlú only thinks of one. Technically they're not in the novel at all except filtered through Borlú to us. He reflects on his simultaneous relationships with both women, stating "An economic historian at Beszel University; a writer for an art magazine. They did not know of each other but would not have minded" (25). Once in a while Borlú will miss one or the other, but they seem interchangeable to him. We only "see" them near the end of the novel in recorded interviews which are played to Borlú. This occurs in a four-sentence paragraph on page 250--brief but still strikes me. They exist in the book, they're mentioned by our narrator, and yet the reader never officially meets them--hell, we don't even get to see how Borlú interacts with them.
  • Lizbyet Corwi: Constable in the Beszel Extreme Crime Squad. Borlú sort of requisitions her at the beginning, noting "she wasn't much older than the dead woman" and acknowledging her experience on previous cases (9). By page 10, he tells her he wants her on the case. It's refreshing that he needs her throughout the novel. Even when the investigation takes Borlú to Ul Qoma, he frequently calls her to keep her updated on what he's found out. When he tries to get Yolanda across the border into Beszel, he again recruits Corwi to help him (" 'Come on. Corwi, I need you' " (219)), and again when he tries to get Bowden (294).
  • Yolanda: Mahalia's best friend. She is not as good a student as Mahalia, but she was working on a PhD, which she called "Representing Gender and the Other in Precursor Age Artefacts" (170), which makes her awesome. However, she is murdered on the way to Beszel. Her murder leads to Borlú's breach.
  • Yallya: Dhatt's wife. She seems to exist in a way that is counter to Borlú's relationships: a traditional, monogomous relationship, which gives Borlu pause: "Watching Yallya and Dhatt made me think of Sariska and Biszaya" (197). We only see her as the host (Miéville has made a point not to use the feminine "hostess," for which I commend him (197)), and chatty wife.
Miéville presents us with a group of women who are independent and intelligent, the majority of which get an independent voice in the novel. Yet two out of seven of them are murdered, both for that oh-so-troubling crime of "knowing too much."

III: The Ultimate Crime
There is one crime in Beszel and Ul Qoma that is above all others, and that is breach, which invokes Breach. Breach (captital B) is the beings that investigate breach, that reinforce the existence of the borders between the cities. Citizens of both cities live in fear of Breach, breach being an act which allows the guilty person to experience part of one city while being legally in the other (though in many places, one could technically be in both cities, as in the crosshatched areas). Breach (lowercase) is the act of crossing the border. These acts can even be as seemingly innocent as looking at something across the borders, which is why all citizens have learned to "unsee" the other city. Outsiders are only admitted into either city after rigorous training and testing, as they have not had the life-long experience with unseeing.

In typical Miéville fashion, there is never great rationalization. He never answers why. Everything just is. These are the cities that share almost the same space; you do not breach, or Breach will come for you. The only way to legally cross the borders is to go through that no-man's land of Copula Hall. This is what it is. This is what it does. There is no why.

Though these things exist (at least as far as the world in the novel is concerned), is the reader all that convinced that these borders are real? What's to say that it's all some conspiracy? That these two cities are really just one and the citizens of both are needlessly ignoring one another? Certainly Breach exists, but they're former breachers who enforce not-breaching. So then, if the two cities are really one, why enforce borders at all? Why is the ultimate crime breaching? Unfortunately, the narrator is a citizen of one of the cities, not some omniscent all-knowing outsider.

That breaching is a crime even more heinous than murder speaks volumes of what Breach enforces. Breach is only concerned about breach. Mahalia's murder case was not handed over to Breach when it was discovered that the van that transported her body did so legally by crossing through Copula Hall. Borlú was taken in by Breach when he shot Yolanda's murderer across borders, from Ul Qoma when his victim stood in Beszel. But this is all from a legal standpoint. Legally they're in one city or another. But physically they were standing right in front of one another when Borlú pulled the trigger. The only law that Breach is interested in enforcing is the separation of the cities.

IV: Duality (again).
What's highly intriguing about Borlú's character is that he seems to need things in pairs: two women, two partners, two cities (though this one isn't really in his control). This is classic Miéville duality, where we are presented with pairs of people or things that basically represent something similar. What I love most is how Borlú needs more women than men: Dhatt is the minority of Borlú's relationships.

The two cities themselves represent an obvious duality, being in roughly the same space, yet both have separate borders and people and cultures and languages, with Copula Hall being the sole connecting point.

Perhaps the best demonstration of these pairings is the scene where Borlú is hunting down Bowden (post-Borlú's breach). The Beszel policzai and the Ul Qoma militsya are both unable to touch him, as one character laters states, " 'Maybe it took an outsider to really see how citizens mark themselves, so as to walk between it' " (308). Borlú calls Corwi and Dhatt to follow him, though he knows neither can touch him without knowing what city he's in (fearing Breach). At any rate, Borlú, while in Breach (between the cities), walks near them:

I held out my hand as I walked, and I did not slow down, but Corwi gripped it and we met each other's gaze a moment. Looking back I saw her and Dhatt, metres apart in different cities, staring at me (296-7).
Then you have Breach and breach--two different aspects of border control: one, the thing that enforces the borders, and the act that invokes it.

V: Race and stereotyping
There's only a few mentions of race in the novel: "The blackface character on my French drinking chocolate smiled at me" (42), and a mention of north African refugees going through Ul Qoma (280). Though there is no overt mention of race of most of the characters beyond what can be assumed (as in Yolanda), most of the characters are understood to be white (though this might just be my whitewashed interpretation--I try to figure out whether the author is guilty of the "white as standard" or if I am. Given many of the strange names in this novel, I acknowledge that it could be all me).

There's also stereotyping in the novel, in ways that distinguish who's in what city. Borlú acknowledges that in the past these stereotypes would not only include behaviors and clothing, but whose "physiognomies [were] Ul Qoman, Besz, or 'Other' (Jewish, Muslim, Russian, Greek, whatever, depending on the ethnic anxieties of the time)" (134).

VI: Miscellaneous
This novel is another example of Miéville's techniques. He's a frequent user of fragments, but they exist in a compelling sort of human disconnect that makes them lovely and poetic. He's learned the rules, and learned how to effectively break them.

There's also his starting a chapter by jumping ahead a bit, then a few paragraphs later the narrator takes a few steps back to fill the reader in, which establishes a flash-forward present.

One last semi-random thought that has been in my mind for the past month since reading it: How utterly enraged must Bowden have been to strike Mahalia with a priceless artifact? He almost strikes me as deeply sympathetic character, and for a minute I actually believed he was remorseful he utters the simple " 'It broke. When I' " (297). The most concise phrases are often the most powerful for me. Yet still, he was enraged, enough to justify his brutal murder of Mahalia, leaving me torn between "serves you right, asshole," and "damn, that's irreplaceable."


*The spelling for this is not accurate in my analysis. There's a coding issue where I was unable to get the accent over the "z," and so I wrote it without one.


Works Cited
Miéville, China. The City & The City. New York: Ballatine Books, 2009.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lazy Sunday

If you have yet to discover the utter cuteness of Simon's Cat, then I'm certainly doing you a favor with these. Enjoy!

H/T: Cute Overload

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Showin' some link love

Again, I apologize for the scant postings. I finally have some time off, and you'd think I would post something of value so this week doesn't look so piddly, but my lethargy has set it, and I've chosen to lay around watching cartoons rather than work on anything. Well, I am doing some cross-stitch, but that's not really what I'd call productive. Anyway, since I don't do link roundups very often, I thought it was time for one (especially since many people have been very nice and linked to me).

First, RMJ is calling for submissions for her 50 Books for Problematic Times. This is a response to Newsweek's list of 50 must-reads, which is pretty white and male--so if you have any suggestions for authors check out her post. I personally can't wait for this list.

I'd also like to direct you to Craig Brimm's brief post Honkies & Homies. It's pretty funny. And if you haven't done so already, I strongly recommend checking out his whole blog, kiss my black ads.

Next, check out DaisyDeadhead's post Women have the right to be shirtless. It's pretty awesome, as are the comments to the post. I particularly love the "omg what about the menz popping boners" argument. Whoops, don't care.

Because my hatred for this movie runs deep, here's a post about the presentation of race in the new Transformers movie, written by Gary Collins and published as a guest post over at Macon D's stuff white people do (also highly recommended).

And finally, check out this post about superhero poses. It's a little...infuriating. But, a very helpful lady has a follow-up to this how-to book, in which she's switched the sexes of the poses to illustrate how absolutely fucking ridiculous they are. It's highly entertaining.

Hope everyone else is having a lazy weekend. Don't worry, I'll get back on track eventually.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Random late-night post

My fiance's working late at the hospital, so I'm here alone with my kitty and cranky ass turtle. It's always when he's gone that I find scary things. Mostly spiders. I just found one hanging from the ceiling of my closet. I thought about leaving it, but my nauseating fear of them means that I cannot rest in a house if I know there's a spider lurking there. I know I know: I'm always in proximity to bugs and spiders blah blah blah; but if I see it, it has to die.

Anyway, this spider was at least three inches around (icky long legs attributing to most of that size). So, I bravely and necessarily slew the beast with my mighty Swiffer.

Honestly, I think I use that thing more for killing bugs and spiders than for what it's actually meant for. But hey, it gets the job done. I have yet to introduce myself to my new upstairs neighbor--I really hope he doesn't think I think he's being too noisy. Sorry dude, just killin' some spiders!

Time to cozy up in bed with some lovely horror stories by H.P. Lovecraft. Tonight: "Herbert West--Reanimator."

Fuzz Therapy

It's that time of week again: Fuzz Therapy!! I don't know about anyone else, but I certainly need it. I'm exhausted, and tired of working--seriously, I worked all weekend. Thankfully this weekend, I'm not scheduled at all, so I'm looking forward to the time off. That, and I'm counting down till my trip to Florida to see my parents. Only 11 days to go...:::sigh:::

Here, we see the Princess preparing to swat her cellophane-dragonfly toy. I'm still amazed at her activeness--I mean, I have to keep reminding myself that she's sixteen. Okay, so she's only active so long as something's worth her attention, but still. Better than nothing.

And now she's sick of this game...


***Submit your fuzzy (or not so fuzzy) friend to be featured in Fuzz Therapy. See Submission Guidelines.***

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In what world is this news??

Can you detect what is wrong with the following headline?

Obama on Mom Jeans: "They're Comfortable"

Uh, really?

First the obvious: what the hell are "mom jeans"? Are we really going to not only gender clothing, but attribute a female role/identity to it in order to insult a man?

Second, who the fuck cares? Our president's wardrobe choice is not news. Further, the fact that his choice of jeans has somehow made it necessary for him to respond at all saddens me.

LOL you're a feminist!

A conversation with a male co-worker made me realize something: apparently me being open about my feminist inclinations is nothing more than ammunition for my co-workers, and even friends.

As a woman who frequently refers to her own feminist beliefs, I've encountered all kinds. Other feminists, and certainly womanists (especially since this term is not yet widely known, many people simply say this word doesn't exist, which is bullshit and shows that they know nothing about the nature of language) will know what I'm talking about. "Feminism" is a bad word. I've encountered men who are immediately turned off by that, writing me off as not worth the trouble--which is a good way to weed out men, as their reaction indicates to me that I'm saving myself a lot of frustration. I've also met my share of women who abhor not only the word "feminist" but the imagery it conjures up: the stereotypes of unshaven, unattractive women (I use these terms in the relative sense); the myth of angry bra-burners, cause some women to jerk away from this label, and even insult or ridicule the women that are open about their push for equality. I've encountered several that were afraid of being seen as a feminist, fearing it would deter dating prospects.

I've lost count of how many times I've had a woman laugh at me and say, "Oh, you're a feminist?"

So, I'm joking around with this co-worker, and he tells me and another male co-worker that he wants to quit his job and become a pimp, citing some made up income as reason enough to have "a couple of hoes." I laughed, and said, "Do you really want to have this conversation with a feminist?" To which he replied: "That's why I said it, because I know you're a feminist."

What's interesting to me about this exchange is actually a couple of things:

1). I am the only woman he said this "joke" to, specifically because I'm feminist, which made me realize that despite the numerous women I work with (I'd say that there's even a majority of women there) I'm the one he singled out with his obvious sexism and misogyny in the loving form of the "joke." I'm the lone woman muttering about women's rights.

2). This is another example of someone telling me something sexist and misogynist in the guise of a "joke," in a supposed illustration of their non-sexism. I could be wrong, but there are better ways to show someone you're not sexist. I know this co-worker was not being sincere, and he has indicated to me a number of times that he certainly respects women, and is not at all intimidated by successful women; so then, why make this joke?

3). My feminism is treated like an anomaly in which people prod at. It's almost like they expect me to be ashamed as they point it out and make jokes meant to incite that part of me. It's like they think it should be an insecurity that's fair game to all. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the compulsion some people have to knowingly say something offensive to purposely annoy someone. But then, I don't really understand this desire to be "edgy" either.

Apparently having the audacity to believe that women are not lesser than men warrants teasing. But then I'm feminist, and can't take a joke, right?

The inane extremism of the pro-life camp

Yeah, I'm pretty sure this isn't going to fly, but nonetheless I'm disgusted that it's even being discussed:

An Ohio lawmaker has re-introduced legislation that would include a father's rights in the abortion decision-making process. Under Roe v. Wade, fathers are left out of the equation when a woman considers whether or not to have an abortion that would end the life of their child.

Rep. John Adams, a Republican from Sidney, wants to change that and the legislation he introduced today, House Bill 252, would require the biological father's consent before an abortion can be done.

The bill would apply to any abortion and would require written consent before it can be done.

Adams told the Daily Reporter newspaper that abortion centers would "need to get consent from the biological father" before the abortion can proceed and he called the measure a "father's right bill" to protect the interest of fathers who are given no say in the abortion process.

He also said the bill provides for criminal penalties for women seeking abortions who do not obtain consent properly.

"Providing a false biological father would be a first-degree misdemeanor the first time, which means not more than six months and jail, and a maximum $1,000 fine," Adams said. "And on the second occasion, providing false information would be considered a fifth-degree felony."

Adams told the newspaper that, in cases when the mother does not know the identity of the father, the abortion would be prohibited.

"There needs to be responsibility for actions," Adams said. "As someone who is pro-life, this is also an attempt and a hope to keep the two people who have created that child together, and I suppose if you just go back to the simple beginning, there is merit to chastity, and to young men and women waiting until marriage."

Adams said the bill offers exceptions in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is threatened by the pregnancy.

Yeah, so if this guy gets his way, women have to get permission from the sperm-donor in order to undergo a procedure that directly involves the woman. No. No no no. No fucking way. No man owns any woman's body simply because he squirted his sperm into her. No woman should have to get fucking permission from any man for anything, least of all this.

And the part about a woman being "prohibited" from getting an abortion if she doesn't know the father reads like "Too bad, slut; shoulda kept your damn legs shut." To which I respond with a resounding, FUCK YOU.

H/T Alas, a Blog

Monday, July 20, 2009

File under "things that piss me off"

First, I want to apologize for the scant postings recently. My fiance had the weekend off, and trying to write anything of worth while he's in my face is...difficult (seriously--last night he made me watch "He's just not that into you." I spent the duration of the movie banging my head on the floor, screaming "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??" and trying to get the cat to play with me, just so I wouldn't have to watch that shit-fest--the only good thing about that movie was I got to stare at Jennifer Connelly here and there. Needless to say, I will not be writing my usual review, since I've deemed it not worth so much of my precious precious time).

Anyway, here are a few things I thought I'd share with my readership in place of an actual post.

First, Chris Brown apologizes,'s less than convincing:

While I'm all about men seeking help and guidance to correct their behavior so that they do not lay hand upon a woman again (though it shouldn't happen in the first place), I have mixed feelings about this apology. Now, I don't know Chris Brown, so I have no idea how sincere any of this is; but I am intimidated by him when he says "I told Rihanna..." Even without that, I still feel like this is lacking. He talks about how all of this has affected him; not once does he acknowledge that what he did to Rihanna was wrong, that she didn't deserve such treatment from him. He instead says that his "mother and spiritual teachers" have taught him better than that without really acknowledging why these people might have taught him not to hit a woman. He's interested in maintaining regaining his status as a role model without delving into what that means. He's just apologizing, but isn't doing his audience any favor by not going into the whys. I don't know; perhaps I'm expecting more from him. A 2-minute video just doesn't seem like enough.

H/T to PostBourgie

Trigger warning for this next one:

Yet another example of victim-blaming when a woman has the audacity to leave her husband. Thanks to CaitieCat for the link, who also offers this:

Next time someone says "Why didn't she just leave?", send them this link.
Seriously. I know I'm sick of some man telling me how stupid women are for staying in abusive relationships, absolving the man of any semblance of responsibility for his own actions. Not to mention that women are well-aware of these consequences of leaving a man in a patriarchal society that unthinkingly engages in victim-blaming, and clearly doesn't give a shit about our lives.

I'm done. I will get back on track this week, I promise.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fuzz Therapy (Partial Guest Fuzz)

Happy Wednesday everyone. As usual, here's your dose of Fuzz therapy.

Princess is doing much better this week. In fact, she gained 1/4 lb in one week, the little chub-monster. I thought the following pic was just perfect. I've long since given up my coveted Pirates of the Caribbean fleece to my Princess. As much as I love wrapping Johnny Depp around me, Princess appreciates it, and I'm not all that stupid as to try and take it back from her. I think this has just become my new favorite picture of Princess:

(Click for bigger pic)

Then there's this picture that I stole from my mommy, which is just too darn adorable to pass up:

This is my stepdad, Ted, with his kitty, Rascal. They're smooshing faces in some adorable snorgliness. Dudes that love cats are totally cool (sure wish my fiance would get on board with that--he pretends like Princess isn't really there until I smack him and make him acknowledge her fluffy cuteness).

Rascal looks like a cuddly boy. I think I might steal him when I visit in August (yo mommy--trade you the turtle? I know you want her back).


Want to submit your own pics to Fuzz Therapy? See Submission Guidelines for info.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy 10th Birthday Spongebob!!!!

I can't believe it's been ten years already. This has been my favorite cartoon since it first aired (I was thirteen!). My brother and I still call each other and quote lines from episodes, and flawlessly insert them into everyday conversations.

Spongebob is adorable, but I know if he was my neighbor in real life, I'd be Squidward (though there are lots of days when I feel like I am Squidward). Plus, he's got a snail that meows, a stupid friend with whom he can act like a child, a cheap-ass boss, and a totally kick-ass lady friend. He's totally content with being great at an otherwise mediocre job. That kind of happiness is enviable.

So, Spongebob: thanks for the last ten years. Here's to many more. I hope that should I choose to have kids instead of getting the dog I really want, you'll still be there so I can watch you with them.

This is one of my favorite eps (I tried to find my favorite, That's No Lady, but the only ones were edited or had offensive titles, and that's not welcome here). There's a slight gross-out warning, but it's a great example of Spongebob's naivity, his fear of losing his job, Squidward's evilness, and Patrick's...uh, Patrickness.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pervasiveness of rape culture and acceptance of "not-rape"

Trigger Warning
I've said before, we're soaking in a rape culture. At every turn we see examples of how women's bodies are viewed as available, constantly sexual.

I just read this post by SugarLeigh, which was a guest post for Shakesville. I read every word. And every word has been swimming around in my head all day as it made me think of the men I've been with, and even those I never had sex with. There's rape, and then there's not-rape. I'm glad to have read SugarLeigh's post, since it's finally spurred me to write something personal to share (regular readers will notice how not many of my posts are personal).

Many parts of SugharLeigh's post were so familiar to me:

That place in between, where it feels good... but it doesn't. When I'm excited and I want it... but I'm intimidated and unsure too. Should I say no? Do I want to? Surely it's too late now, at any rate. Or what about "duty sex?" Going through the motions, smile here, moan there, pulling lines from a script and spitting them out so he thinks I'm into it but I'm miles away. Doesn't feel good anymore, maybe it hurts even, but sex isn't always good, and sometimes you gotta take one for the team, right? You don't just stop when you're in the middle of things. Once your clothes are off and his hands are on your breasts, it's kind of a foregone conclusion. Once he's in, you might as well stick it out.
I never used to question why I was suddenly uncomfortable--was it the place? Was it the guilt? Yes, guilt. I've heard the nice things, and when that didn't work, when I still was unsure, I heard "Well, I hope I don't have to cheat on you." What sort of intimacy could I have with that weighing on my mind? It wasn't until I met my fiance that I realized that sex wasn't just about the man's experience, that we can both engage in it emotionally and physically. I didn't understand that I was being coerced. I didn't know about not-rape.

~ We're newly dating; we're making out. It's good. I like the way he bites me on the neck, except he does it too hard sometimes, and when I say "Easy!" he laughs, and does it again. Now he's just kissing, gently, and I'm on fire, it feels so nice. His lips brush my collarbone. For some reason I cry out. I still don't know why. A gasped "No," almost a whisper. He chuckles into my throat, "So that's how you like it."
What's more fresh in my mind in this not-rape line of thought is something that happened about three years ago while I was still in college, when a once-trusted professor crossed a line when I made a visit to his office. I had gone there many times to discuss the class, or what I was writing at the time. I looked up to him. I trusted him. Which is probably why I didn't notice how the lights were off one day when I went with him to his office--it was still light out, after all; or how I didn't think anything of the door being closed, or how he chose to sit in the chair next to me instead of professionally keeping his desk between us.

And then I remember that sudden wave of fear envelop me when he stroked my shoulder, and his face turned to something...else. He said something--complimented my writing or something, I don't remember. I didn't know what happened, how the situation had turned to this. I panicked, grabbed my backpack and made some pitiful excuse as I grappled for the door. He made no move to stop me.

I don't know what he could have been thinking. I wondered that as I rushed out of the building. I went to work early, went into the library and sat at the desk. I remember that this was a Friday because I was anticipating going home--I had told him that. I wanted to go there then, and tell my mom, but then I didn't want to tell my mom. I didn't want to tell anyone, because I was so ashamed.

While I anxiously yearned for time to pass where my shift would be over and I could be speeding home, desiring physical distance, I played around on the computer, checked my email. Not ten minutes had passed, and there was an email sitting in my inbox from that professor. Dread washed over me in fresh waves. I don't know why I clicked on it. Curiosity, I guess.

It was an apology.

I cried when I told my parents and brother. I cried when I told my boyfriend (now fiance) on the phone. I expected everyone to blame me--why should I think any different? I was so ashamed--ashamed, like it was my fault. And what really stung was that I would miss out on my favorite class of the semester because I knew that I couldn't face him ever again.

When I went back to school, I skipped his class. Shortly after the class supposedly ended, I received another email. This time he was urging me to return to class, apologizing again and stating that he hoped that his actions would interfere with my education. Yeah, thanks.

My family and fiance were supportive. I went to another professor, and with his aid we went to the VP of student affairs. I was grateful, because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to report it. The VP was...less than understanding. He upset me more because it was like I wasn't worth his time. He asked questions that were of no consequence--why I had gone to the office, was that the first time I had gone to his office, how was I doing in the class? What did any of that have to do with anything? I was taken advantage of. What if I hadn't fled when I had the chance? What if he had tried to stop me from getting to the door?

I could have gotten the professor fired, but I didn't. The only thing that happened was that the incident went on his record. I didn't want anyone to know. It was a small campus--people talk.

I just wanted to forget it ever happened.

What has happened to me was not rape. But it was a culmination of attitudes and words and actions, and it was nurtured by family, friends, peers, teachers, media, a society at large in which I was not given an atmosphere that supported me standing up for myself. Why should I? Anyone else standing up for me was few and far between (I have some good friends too, but they can't make up for EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD I'VE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH). And it's not like you can point the lack of support out to them, because they will just respond that I should stand up for myself; what am I, a weakling? And then when I did stand up, I was a whiner, complaining, overreacting, overemotional, and the slut who asked for it. So if I'm always wrong anyway, why bother? And I stopped bothering. And I was ripe for the picking. And it's a color that so many men know how to see, and for which so few can resist reaching once they see it.
While my family and fiance were supportive, I didn't think other people would be if I made a fuss. The VP of fucking student affairs wasn't, why should my peers? I didn't want other people thinking I led him on, or I asked for it, or whatever else people assume when they engage in victim-blaming and slut-shaming. And it's a real fear that women face daily when they're victimized, even if it doesn't involve actual rape. It's inevitable, because of the pervasiveness of our rape culture.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Public Enemies: Race and male aggression

Spoiler Alert and Trigger Warning: While I do not give a full plot summary, parts of this post may reveal key plot points. Also, this is a violent and graphic movie, which I will discuss also, and may be triggering to some readers.

I would like to start this post by saying I'm glad I saw this movie (I got to pick this time, and thankfully it was not the train wreck that the last movie was--which the fiance picked). It was exciting, and I got to stare at Johnny Depp for 2+ hours.

I went into it fully aware that it was high on the masculinity scale (it's generally a safe bet that any movie with men and guns is going to be masculine, what with all the phallic imagery and aggression going on). I enjoyed it immensely, since Johnny Depp is my favorite actor, and he plays "bad" characters very well. As in Secret Window, Depp's performance in Public Enemies put me in the situation that I am torn between wanting his character to die because of the atrocities he's committed to other characters, while simultaneously rooting for him to get away and be free.

Other characters were not painted in so romantic a light as Dillinger: the cops came off as buffoons, who more than once let Dillinger walk away--even when he strolled into the Dillinger crime office and took a peek at all the neat stuff they collected on him. Those silly cops were more interested in listening to the game! The other gangsters seemed to defer to Dillinger, and Baby Face Nelson was moronically trigger-happy to the point where even Dillinger was frightened of him, and was adamant to break ties with him.

Still, I wish there had been more of the women. Sheriff Lillian Holley could have been a complex character--she was a sheriff in a male-dominated profession, and seemed to have had to face reminders of that consistently, yet she got very little attention in this movie (though she does facilitate the rescue of Billie from the asshole cop). And the prostitute Anna, who sets Dillinger up at the end, is no more complex than a woman who risks deportation, when she was certainly more than that. She was Dillinger's trusted friend, and the decision to have to choose staying in the country over him could not have been so two-dimensional. Plus I'm certain there was more to her than her over-riding identity as a whore. Billie was important to Dillinger, but I don't think we saw enough of her to really understand this connection. They met, he said she was his girl, and boom! Deep relationship happens.

I was worried for Billie's safety as well. When Dillinger goes to claim her at her job, he assaults the impatient man demanding his coat, then in a weird way becomes a knight in shining armor to Billie, rescuing her from her horrible poor-girl life. What the hell? I spent the rest of the movie in an "oh god" mode, waiting for Dillinger's anger and aggression to manifest itself on Billie's body (he never hit her, thankfully). But Billie is later assaulted by the cop who was supposed to be surveillancing her; his assault of her is his revenge for making him look like an inadequate cop. After her arrest, he "interrogates" her, and brutally attacks her when she taunts him that he can't catch Dillinger.

That being said, I did find it interesting that the cops were just as dark and vicious as the gangsters they were trying to capture (or kill, whichever happened first). The first instance we meet Bale's character, Purvis, he's hunted down and killed Pretty Boy Floyd. The cops and gangsters are all killers, but only one side has the law, and the other is uplifted into romantic idolatry.

I'm not sure what to think of Purvis. He's gunned down his share of criminals, and he allows an injured criminal to be tortured by another cop by denying medical care to the man, as well as inflicting more pain on him. Yet he comes in just before the asshole cop can hit Billie again, and carries her out like a hero. He's bent on capturing Dillinger, yet seems saddened when Dillinger's ultimately gunned down at the end.

Then there's race. Billie is French and Native American. She mentions growing up on the reservations "and nothing happens" and then she goes to Chicago. When she first tells Dillinger of her Native American heritage, she is almost spiteful of it, telling him that most people don't like it. But then that is the end of it.

And Herbert Youngblood is treated almost negligently in the film, as one of only two black men in the film. It is with Youngblood's help that Dillinger escapes prison the second time in the film, and later appears to have joined up with Dillinger. Then he disappears and I only find out he's dead when Dillinger walks into the police station and sees the pictures of his friends stamped "deceased." When the hell did that happen?? So this seemingly important character who seemed to have a connection with Dillinger (since he helped him escape and all) dies mysteriously after very little attention in the film. Well, who knows. Maybe he's got a deleted scene somewhere that they're saving for the DVD release--but either way, that we don't know what happens to him in the actual film illustrates that his (black) character was expendable.

While I was watching it, I thought of movies depicting gangsters, and how we see the white ones as valiant (Dillinger was historically viewed as Robin Hood, though he did not give any of the money he stole to the poor) and wondered does this differ from how we see non-white gangsters? Are the white bad guys romantic figures, while non-white bad guys are really bad? I think American Gangster did a decent job of portraying a black gangster romantically, but I feel like if it's a white guy doing it (or a guy passing for white), it gets more of a following. Think of Heath Ledger's psychotic Joker--how many people have posters of him hanging in their dorms? How many people have Denzel Washington's Frank Lucas posters? Are there even posters for his character?

As I write this last bit, I'm thinking of Macon D's post about piracy, where it's romanticized heroism when whites are engaged in it, but when POC engage in it, suddenly it's an evil threat. Go read it. Johnny Depp's discussed there as well.

Delta red dress double-fail

I just came across this article, which is about Delta's failure to provide larger sizes of their signature red dress for the flight attendants to wear. I would like to point out that the article itself is fail, with the title "Some NWA flight attendants want to wear red dress." By "some" I assume you mean the ones that can't squeeze into the sizes offered. It's discrimination and this dress is being denied to them because they're apparently too big.

The union that represents flight attendants who worked for Northwest Airlines before it was bought by Delta Air Lines is crying foul over Delta's failure to offer bigger sizes for its signature red dress uniform designed by Richard Tyler.

When he was hired to create his uniform collection, Tyler said he wanted them to "look sexy and great."

The Northwest chapter of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA has filed a grievance with the world's largest airline operator, asking it to offer the red dress up to size 28. The union hopes the grievance will go to mediation in August.

The red dress currently is only offered up to size 18, though a Delta spokeswoman said the airline offers a range of outfits in other colors and styles up to size 28 that flight attendants can wear.

Patricia Reller, who handles grievances for the union's executive committee, said Friday that even if there was only one flight attendant who wore a size over 18, that person should be able to wear the stylish red dress.

"I think red is an eye-popping color and it's not subtle, and to me by not offering it in a size over 18, Delta is saying, 'We don't want you wearing that if you are over size 18,'" Reller said. "But the job isn't about being sexy. It's about safety."

So, first the dress is designed to be eye-poppingly sexy. And is clearly only about women looking sexy, because I have a feeling if a man decided to wear the dress Delta would have a fit. There's another quote by Patricia Reller in this article is particularly spot-on:

“Red is a color that attracts attention and someone, somewhere has made a decision that they don’t want to attract attention to someone in a dress that’s larger than a size 18,” said Patricia Reller, vice chairwoman of the grievance committee at the flight attendants union’s executive council at Northwest. “I’m very offended by it.”

This dress is made to make the flight attendants look sexy and appealing, yet the fact that it isn't offered above a size 18 certainly says that anyone over that size doesn't get to wear the sexy dress, leaving one with the implication that fat people are disgusting and decidedly unsexy. Oh, but it's okay, because there are other colors the uniform comes in for the fatties, so if you were unaware of your fatitude, you get to wear a different color from your sexier co-workers as a sort of color-coded shame. Fucking. Lovely.

Then there's this issue of sexiness being important to a job that is about maintaining the safety of the passengers: uh, why? This sexiness is clearly being played to the male fantasy of the sexy flight attendant, which removes any semblance of professionalism from these women. Their job is to be hot and available.

So there you have it: a double-fail. If this wasn't about reducing women to their bodies then they'd offer their uniform for women of all sizes. And it wouldn't be about their damn looks either. I'm surprised Delta hasn't gone and said "Fatties need not apply." Well, yet, anyway.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In a "post-racial" world, black kids kicked out of a pool club

Hopefully you've already heard this, but even so, it bears repeating.

"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child,'" said camper Dymire Baylor. The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers' first visit to the pool suggested otherwise.

"When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

The next day the club told the camp director that the camp's membership was being suspended and their money would be refunded.

Oh, but discrimination is okay as long as white people get their fancy private clubs that can exclude minorities.

Renee over at "Womanist Musings" states:

Gee…what if all that scary Blackness rubs off? What if the white children should learn that all of the privilege that the world is intent on offering them based in the constructed idea that Blacks are inferior, is a steaming pile of bullshit? The world certainly could not survive children learning from one another and sharing experiences; that might lead to equality and we cannot possibly have that.

The club has yet to offer an apology though they have refunded the money spent by The Creative Steps Day Camp. Even if they were to apologize to the parents and the children; they could never undo the harm that their racist actions have caused. Actions like this are exactly why children of color learn to see Whiteness as good and Blackness as bad. This can have lifelong effects, and is extremely emotionally damaging.

Macon D at the blog "stuff white people do" illustrates how this recent bigotry is rooted in our racist history:

During the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, a key site of struggle for desegregation of separate-but-obviously-unequal spaces was the public swimming pool. As the Movement gained undeniable credibility with most white Americans, one particular mode of racial interaction took white Americans an extra-long time to get used to -- getting in the water with black people, and especially letting one's kids get in the water with black kids.

In many places, white-controlled pools remained segregated longer than other nearby public facilities. Private swimming pools typically stayed that way for even longer.

By now, in our supposedly "postracial" times, you might think that white discomfort with swimming alongside black people would be long gone. But if you do think that, you'd best think again.

The interviews with these kids are just heartbreaking. It's disgusting how people justify denying these children the same fun that white children get to participate in, and then sit there and marvel at our lovely post-racial world.

View more news videos at:

Fuzz Therapy (Guest Fuzz)

This submission is from Intransigentia, which couldn't have come at a better time, since my Princess is recovering. Rather than risk the medicine dropper, she's chosen to hide under the bed, which is wedged into our bedroom in such a way that it's impossible to move without moving all the other furniture. Thus, I've been unable to get new pics of my kitty. Oh well.

Says sender-inner:

This is Lilith. She is a bit of a mean kitty. She is a master of the trick where she lures you in with her fuzzy belly, and then when you let down your guard she reminds you why cats get five attacks per round. I think she has borderline personality disorder, because one minute she's all "love me, love me, love me" and then without warning she switches to "I hate you, die! die! die!". In our ten years together, I've learned to read her well enough to be mostly safe, but pretty much everybody else is scared of her.

In the attached picture, she's not actually belly-baiting. She was having a snooze in the sunbeam, totally splayed out on her back, but the camera beep woke her up.
Soooo cute! It's almost unbearable how adorable and tempting a kitty's belly can be. Of course it's all a trap, since you end up having to bandage something, but we can't help it. The desire to snorgle a fuzzy kitty belly/neck/tummy/etc. is the deadly people-equivalent of moth-to-flame/deer-in-headlights.

Sounds like Lilith and Princess could be best friends if I didn't think they'd both sit in opposite corners of the room hissing at one another.

I encourage everyone else to submit your pets to Fuzz Therapy. Princess doesn't really need so much attention; she thinks she's special enough. See the Submission Guidelines for details!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Broadview Security protects the ladies from teh evil dudes

What the hell is going on with the Brinks/Broadview commercials lately? (or not so lately; this probably dates back pretty far). In the last seven months alone these types of commercials have been uploaded onto Youtube, and have been played on our t.v.'s. Each time one of them comes on I watch them with confusion, and disgust. It didn't take me long to figure out what all these scenarios have in common.

In case you can't view the videos, here's the run-down:

Mom and daughter (or just single lady) are/is alone in their / her big ass house.
There are no men in the house, illustrating a vulnerability on the part of the woman / women.
Scary man in hoodie / knit cap / rain soaked flannel shirt kicks / elbows in door.
Scary man looks scary.
Scary man is scared off by alarm after sending a threatening look at the woman / women.
Phone rings.
Woman runs and hides. Answers phone.
Mark / Tom / Rick is on the other end to ask if you / everything are / is okay/secure.
Mark / Tom / Rick sends cops.
All is well.

What they've painted here is the supposed vulnerability of women being alone in a house (a freakin nice house at that), sometimes with a daughter (note, not a son--that would ruin the vulnerability they're trying to convince the viewers of having). Then you have the predatory men. They're uber-aggressive. They break doors down with seemingly little effort. Despite this, however, it's the sound of the alarm that chases them off.

But they're not trying to be anti-man. In fact, they're elevating masculinity in an obviously familiar way. Men are supposed to provide for and protect their families, which is assumed to be his female partner and their children. There is no husband around to protect the mothers. The boyfriend has just left his girlfriend's house. They're all vulnerable. But not to fear! This security system is THE MAN when others are absent. And they will protect the precious womens from other men!

I think what makes me most uncomfortable in these ads is the sense of intrusion--these men are forcing themselves into the women's homes. The looks they shoot at the women just before they bolt are particularly frightening since it sort of hints not only of almost-theft, but almost-rape (which is also theft). But the women were safe all along. Not only do they have a blaring alarm system, there's always going to be a Mark, Tom, or Rick to call and reassure them of their safety, as well as sending the police (guess what? More men!).

Oh yeah, and they're all white women. Clearly these are the only women worth protecting (POC and other white men don't need alarms, apparently). I have a feeling that if Broadview attempts to diversify their ads, the would-be aggressive thief will be the token person of color. I challenge Broadview to prove me wrong.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Princess' pain in the ass

In case anyone is interested in updates on Fuzz Therapy's feature, Princess, she went to the vet today. Last night I had a panic attack when I discovered her licking blood from her bottom. I immediately went into my freak-out mode while my doctor-to-be fiance took a look at her and tried to calm me down. After we cleaned her up we were able to see it was coming from what appeared to be a cut (which made me feel a little better since it meant it wasn't in her stool--I had also checked the litter box). My fiance thought it might be an abscess, but he's more accustomed to looking at people butts, not kitty butts--and especially not one so fluffy as Princess'.

After my shift at work today, I came home and took Princess to the vet. She gets very scared when she's out of her house (yes, her) and while I had her up on the table she crouched near me, growling (I warned everyone previously that she's been known to bite) as the vet inspected her behind. Which is understandable--she is a princess after all, and having someone peer up your ass is just a little undignified. But we've all been there...

The vet said her scent glands had filled with infection, and she burst the one last night. So they took her to the back, shaved her ass, and drained them both. I admit, in my relief that it wasn't more serious, I was giggling in that waiting room. I mean, the idea of my prissy little princess getting her ass shaved--this same little fluffy cat that for the last sixteen years has strutted about my house/dorm room/apartment with an air of pride that would suggest she's always been very much aware of her beauty and status as my cat--was just too hilarious.

I am very relieved though. I didn't sleep at all last night, fearing for my precious kitty. She does have an infection, and she'll have to go back next Monday to get them drained again, and I've got to force antibiotics and painkillers down her throat till then (and probably after). It's true that my bank account is dry until next payday, but this is a cat who has never had any serious health problems before now, and I certainly think she's worth that much to me. In truth, she's worth much more. Some people don't understand this desire to spend money on ensuring the health of my pet (I once took my dying rat to the vet in an effort to save his life; the vet bill far outweighed the actual cost of acquiring him, but I couldn't not try). But then, they're probably also the people that don't know the satisfaction of owning and loving a


Oh, while I was waiting for them to bring Princess back, I noticed a poster on the wall that read "Cats are angels with fur." I laughed and text messaged this to my mom, with the addition "Whose cat?" Princess is no angel, but I love her anyway.