Saturday, June 30, 2007

Damned if he did, damned if he didn't

During my blog hiatus, one of the big things I didn't get a chance to comment on was Dan Popkey's hindsight vision of Larry Grant's 2006 campaign for Idaho's open first district congressional seat. Being that I'm so late to the game, a lot of great posts have come out on the issue, including commentary from Julie Fanselow, Grant's 2006 web campaigner, Randy Stapilus, and fellow Idaho blogger IdahoRocks.

I still had some things I wanted to add, however, because I felt the article demonstrated some bad ways of thinking about running Democrats in Idaho. As Julie mentions, Popkey doesn't actually name any of the "ticked" Democrat sources in his article, and he hardly touched the actual campaigners, so it's important to remember that there's no real indication that the attitudes indicated are widespread amongst Idaho Democrats.

But even if they are, they're a poor way of evaluating the Grant campaign. Here's Popkey's analysis of What Went Wrong:
Though he was a first-time candidate, Grant ignored the advice of people he should have listened to, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He also dissed moderate Republicans ready to support a centrist Democrat.

"He blew a great opportunity," said Dean Haagenson, a former GOP lawmaker from Coeur d'Alene. "Sali is way over in the right ditch." Haagenson met with Grant last summer but came away unsatisfied. "Had I been inclined to vote for a Democrat he squelched that" by saying he'd have to "hew the party line" on issues like prevailing wages and health-care reform.

So Grant shied away from national Democrats too much, but also was too loyal to them. Both of these things can't be true. Popkey says (though doesn't reference any quotes or events) that Grant "dissed" moderate Republicans ready to support a moderate Democrat, even if some of us can recall groups like Republicans for Grant, and Grant's blatant attempts to appeal to Republican voters too grossed out by Sali. And even if Grant had been aggressive about courting national Democratic money, why would that have impressed Haagenson? I thought it was pretty clear that Grant was working to create a place for himself apart from Democratic party that Idaho thinks it knows and hates, and apparently that meant keeping his distance from the Democratic establishment. Was that strategy executed well? That's not clear (and given that Grant lost, it obviously needed tweaking), but Haagenson's words would indicate that it's needed in some form.
Grant had watched former Rep. Richard Stallings lose to Dirk Kempthorne in the 1992 Senate race, in part because he hired an outside campaign chief who didn't get Idaho. But it turns out the DCCC's "kid" was an experienced hand in his 30s. With guidance, he could have helped.

And here, we're seeing Grant being tugged in two opposite directions again. Grant needed a campaign consultant who could understand Idaho politics, but he's supposed to pick from DCCC folk who mostly have experience losing? Especially in Idaho?

And speaking of getting Idaho politics, I found this to be awfully disingenuous:
The biggest riddle of 2006: Why, with polls showing a dead heat in October, did DCCC provide Grant no money? Answer: Because he was bullheaded and busy running what he liked to call "a different kind of campaign." Sali, who knew how to play ball despite his rift with the establishment, got $350,000 in October alone from the GOP. On Nov. 7, Sali won, 50 percent to 45 percent.
First of all, the GOP was not Sali's only backer. The Club for Growth poured millions into his campaign, which teaches an important lesson about how many voters care about where a politician's money actually comes from, but it also means that Sali required a huge amount of resources to run his campaign.

And anyway, when was the last time that the GOP had to dump that kind of money into an Idaho congressional race? Coming in second place in an election is awfully cold comfort, but cold comfort is better than what Idaho Democrats have been able to manage in the past few decades. And for that matter, it was a truly craptacular election for Idaho Democrats running for statewide office. The battle for votes like Haagenson's - who ultimately could not stomach a Democrat, not necessarily Grant - is an uphill one.

And that's the key. Popkey portrays the race like it was Grant's to lose, but I don't see the evidence. Grant did lose, and it's important to think about what that means about Idaho politics. Instead, Popkey has served up Grant as a fall guy to take the blame and let the energy that could be spent on better analysis go into personal animosity.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The face says it all

Via The Rotund, this is a capture from a YouTube video wherein two male journalists (and the folks behind the scene in charge of video footage) successfully bully this reporter out of reporting real news ahead of Paris Hilton. Watch the video for the full effect, but this face just about sums it up. I don't have two asshats trying to humiliate me on national television for doing my job better than they do, and even I make this face when I read about Paris Hilton. Uck.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rules for rules' sake?

I'm awfully late to this story, but Huckleberries Online has been buzzing for days about the exceedingly frustrating case of Kendra Goodrick, a recovering meth addict who may soon have to return to jail. The prosecutors on her case and the Idaho attorney general argued successfully that her probation release was illegal, and that she should serve out the rest of her sentence. (Kind of like a certain case we've been hearing a lot about lately. But, uh, not exactly.) In the time since she's been out of custody, she's gotten her meth habit under control, gotten a job, and even married and had a child. Should the order for her return to jail be completed, she would have to be parted with her 6-month-old infant for six months before she could even be granted a clemency hearing. The link above gives a much better picture what's going on than I do, so go ahead and follow it.

I'm somewhat comforted to know that there's more to this story than plain old evil: the judge whose ruling was in the wrong, John Mitchell, has a history of overstepping his bounds in these kinds of decisions. It's fair that the AG would want to keep an eye on Mitchell's misdeeds, and breaking the law is a problem, but given that there's plenty of evidence in other cases I have to question the importance of taking this case so far. My estimation of this situation isn't helped by my general disapproval of drug laws and how addiction and drug use are addressed in this country, but still. A legal system should benefit the lives of the people it regulates, not simply perpetuate itself. Consistency does not trump kindness. We make up the rules in a Democracy, so we don't have much of an excuse for making bad ones.

If you'd like to appeal to our governor, Butch Otter, on behalf of Kendra, you can email him here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Write about myself? I couldn't possibly! Well, if you insist...

Chris (real name?) of Methed Up, has tagged lil' ol' me with a meme. His vigorous arm-twisting (or, okay, just leaving a comment) has lead to this:

The Rules:
1. Each player must post these rules first.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. As a kid, I was an active in 4-H. I did projects with llamas, rabbits, and felt (yeah, felt).

2. I don't exactly "suffer from" but am on occasion annoyed by both Raynaud's disease and Geographic Tongue. This winter for the first time I started experiencing the Raynaud's, which is a weird thing that causes the blood to just drain from my extremities, in my tongue. My tongue turns white and gets tingly if I move from a warm place to a cold one.

3. I swallowed a penny in second grade, in class. I was sitting around not doing anything, and got glared at by my teacher, so I quickly looked away - and the thing fell down my throat. Even as a second-grader, I was an anxious, anxious person. I didn't tell anyone about it because I'd heard from a classmate or some otherwise irreputable source that I might die, though it might happen in a year or two. I was actually an anxious insomniac, so I would lie awake at night afraid that however unlikely, they might have been right, and I was going to die soon.

I had a similar experience with touching a slug.

4. I really, really, really wanted to be a marine biologist who studied sharks as a kid. I went nuts when Shark Week was on the Discovery Channel, and was in general obsessed. I decided against it because it seemed somewhat far-fetched, and only a few months ago realized that ambition isn't completely foolish. Wish I'd thought of that 10 years ago.

5. I have adored every Sims game I've played (I never tried SimHealth, because even now I think that a game about US Healthcare policy would be freaking boring.), except for SimLife, which was just impossible. I'm currently sucked into The Sims Life Stories.

6. For some reason, I'm fascinated with dams. Yeah, the things that stop up rivers. See here.

7. I don't recycle. I try! I do it when I'm at work and when I'm in a public space where there are bins, but I have months-old bottles and boxes and cans on my back porch. There are some things I am responsible enough to do, and recycling isn't one of them. Yet for some reason my mother thinks I would be able to raise her grandchild.

8. I have a total phobia of roller coasters. Anything where I get a similar sense of moving quickly and having little control over it freaks me out. A lot. I've never even been on a roller coaster, in fact, and even have a little trouble with the tilt-a-whirl. I also cannot ski (even cross-country involves too much fast downhill) and hate riding down steep hills on a bike.

As for the tagged:
  • Rose at Cleaning House is a Muscovite who I'm sure will have a tough time whittling her list of interesting things about herself to 8.
  • Josh at States of the Union is a UI Law student, liberal drinker, and in general, fricking awesome. (His most recent post about Idaho drivers licensing and its effect on the poor is awesome, too - go read it!)
  • Chris at the Unequivocal Notion is another booze-swilling Idahoan.
  • fat fu blogs about fat acceptance, with lots of crunchy data.
  • Kate Harding is blogging at Shakesville as well as Shapely Prose now, but probably isn't too good for a meme.
  • Kuri at Thoughtinterrupted has a progressive/feminist blog and ought to give us an interesting list.
  • Geo writes at Feminist Allies, but also has his own blog.
  • Tara at The Political Game is a South Idaho blogger.

"A Russian peculiarity"

This weekend's episode of NPR's On the Media explored the current (rather pathetic) state of freedom of the press in Russia, and it was absolutely fascinating. Listen through the web or download the podcast.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Happy crirthday!

Dammit. I'm going to have to try this birthday thing next weekend.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I have my reasons

I've not been around much lately, but regular posting should resume by next week. I've got a scary and fun week ahead of me, and if it goes at all right, it won't involve any blogging.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

He's seen the light!

I woke up this morning, and not ready to actually get up out of bed but not interested in falling back asleep, I switched on the radio. And was treated to this interview with Andrew Keen, who I can only conclude is some kind of plant to make the mainstream media look as square and awful as possible. Between throwing around "insults" like "neo-Marxist," his condescending, Anglo-accented voice, and his conversion from blogging triumphalism to blogging exterminator, there's really no other possibility. Listen, if you need a giggle.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The problem with making a statement

At Jill's post about marriage (well, the first paragraph or two was about marriage, and the rest was about other people's screwed-up ideas of yet other peoples' marriages) I left this comment, and thought I'd bring it back here, because I really like it. Maybe it willclarify the importance I assign a person's personal habits in judging their feministiness.
One of the frustrating things about this issue is realizing that no matter what we end up doing, people are going to be projecting their own values onto our actions. You can remain single, but I doubt most people will understand why (even if you did lay it out pretty simply in your first sentence).

I’m pretty sure not many will entirely understand why I married, either, and it’s not for lack of trying. The reason I got married at a big wedding was because I liked having a public ceremony to mark the way that my husband and I were becoming a family, a social unit. It was meant to be social and shared and at least slightly important to everyone there. No buying, selling, etc. was meant to be implied, but if I was going to use the symbolic wedding vocabulary that the guests were going to understand (and if I was going to get to do the fun wedding things that I just love, sexism in traditions be damned), any outsider would have a difficult time telling the difference between my wedding and my grandparents’. In fact, I don’t even know that my grandparents noticed, even as I felt I was compromising my message in an attempt to get something across. I have my personal, interrelationship reasons for wanting to get married too, but I definitely don’t think many more people than my husband and I had a good idea of what the whole thing meant to us. I guess I was asking a little too much of symbolic communication.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Things I don't get about religion

How do people tell the difference between God's plan and their God-granted free will? If using birth control is a sin because you're neglecting to bring a child into the world that God wanted you to, why isn't abstaining from sex just as bad?

Just when you least expect it - cheese will strike!

Did the Yes Men strike CNN or what? This is the most hilarious drug-scare article I've ever read, hands-down. I think this is my favorite paragraph:
"Cheese" is not only dangerous. It's cheap. About $2 for a single hit and as little as $10 per gram. The drug can be snorted with a straw or through a ballpoint pen, authorities say. It causes drowsiness and lethargy, as well as euphoria, excessive thirst and disorientation. That is, if the user survives.
Excessive thirst and disorientation? Sign me up!

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Accidentally Good Feminist

This gigantic thread at Feministing about name-changing and this Pandagon post about marriage had me thinking about the "feminist" things I do, and what separates me from the people who don't do them.

For instance, I'm not hugely into shaving. I wear skirts almost daily during the summer, but only shave a few times a week at most. I don't pluck my eyebrows, and I don't really think about it much. You might think it's transgressive to live happily with my stubble and my unkempt brows. On the other hand, I'm of Scandinavian stock, and not very hairy to begin with. For someone whose body didn't comply so naturally with the standards for female hairiness, it would probably be a bigger social challenge to keep the shaving schedule I do. And for that matter, I'm also lazy. I do consciously try to only wear enough makeup that I don't think I look terrible without it, but it's more likely that I come in to work without makeup because I was more interested in 2 minutes of sleep than putting on makeup. In other words, these "feminist" grooming habits are only partially something I work at - the rest is really just me doing what's easiest.

And a lot of the "feminist" things that I do are really no problem for me. Keeping my maiden name really hasn't caused me any trouble. I've always been encouraged to pursue my education, in the field of my choice. I happened to fall in love with a strident feminist. Sometimes I pat myself on the back for these things, but it's really not fair to. All this basically is the result of being in the right place at the right time.

As for the not-so-dogmatically-feminist things I'm attached to, sometimes it's random and sometimes it's selfishness that determines what gets past the feminist filter. I wore a white (well, cream) strapless wedding gown to my formal wedding. I loved it. I still love flouncy formal wedding gowns, and I love them more than I hate the sexist symbolism around them. Is that influenced by a sexist culture? Sure, but it's also not a manifestation of some secret desire to be dominated by patriarchy.

I've also defended the sexualization of breasts in American culture. But I've got big ones, which are dude-approved. And I've never tried to nurse in public. So while I still maintain that the more potential for arousal out there the better, I understand that my perspective may be a little biased.

All this is not to say that I'm some sort of feminist hedonist - I make some conscious and uncomfortable choices because they fit into my moral view of the universe. It's everything from tearing myself away from displays of diamond engagement rings to telling my Grandmother why I stand up for abortion rights. But if I'm going to be honest in my assessment of other women - other feminists - I need to realize what influences the decisions I make, and think about what I'd do with my unibrow or flat chest.


Oh please.

Good news and bad news

Last week's news that scientists have developed a method for creating stem cells from adult animal cells got a lot of people excited - especially folks who aren't pleased with the idea of harvesting stem cells from embryos. Apparently the key part of the method was the insertion of four genes into the cells, which created . There's a catch, though: at least one of those four genes are cancer-causing genes, aka oncogenes.
The other studies might prove even more acceptable to a concerned public as they don’t involve any embryos at all. Instead, a type of connective tissue cell called a fibroblast was coaxed into an ESC-like state through the insertion of four genes: Oct3/4, Sox2, c-myc and Klf4. Once transfected with the new genes, the fibroblasts appear almost identical to ESCs and have the ability to become any number of specialized cell type. The real beauty about this breakthrough is that a patient would need only be subjected to a skin biopsy in order to give scientists the starting point to develop a custom stem cell-based therapy; since the cells would already contain their own DNA, somatic cell nuclear transfer would not be necessary. These studies are an extension of work previously reported here at NI last year. This research is not without drawbacks though. The scientists discovered the cells had a propensity to lead to tumors, due to the presence of c-myc, which is a well-known oncogene. Nature will be launching a subsection of their webpage, Nature Reports Stem Cells, next week, focusing entirely on advances in this research field.
That seems like a mighty big obstacle to me. To my mind, fiddling with any of the genes that control cellular propagation is going to bring up the risk of causing cancer, let alone known oncogenes.

So, the good news is that they might be able to cure your diabetes. The bad news is that they have to give you cancer to do it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Praise the Internet

I was telling someone about having watched an old documentary about graffiti in NYC in the early 80s, and upon googling it, found that the whole thing is online. It's called Style Wars, and now you can watch it.

Cool, huh?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Amen, sister!

Kate Harding rocks:

In terms of my relationship to food, I fit every stereotype of the fat chick: I love to eat. And I love to eat high-fat, high-calorie foods, in addition to dozens of other kinds. Food gives me pleasure and alleviates pain. I use it as a drug sometimes. I eat myself sick sometimes. I order dessert when I’m already full sometimes. I often eat more than my boyfriend, who outweighs me by a significant amount. I eat fast, unless I consciously tell myself to slow down and savor it. (I’m obsessed with tapas and small plates restaurants these days, because they tend to make me slow down and enjoy the food more, without my having to think about it.) I eat more than I need to sometimes. I am fat in part because of the way I eat.

And the question of the day is, what’s wrong with any of that?


But it really is okay. It’s okay to love eating. It’s even okay to love eating food that fat people aren’t supposed to eat, ever. It’s okay to take sensual pleasure in, you know, a sensual pleasure. Fuel is not the only point of food any more than procreation is the only point of sex; if we agreed, as a culture, that it was all about fuel, we would certainly have given up eating and switched over to getting nutrition in pill form by now. We don’t do that because eating tasty food is fucking fun. We all know it, we just don’t all feel comfortable admitting it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Too cynical?

I heard that they'd made more arrests in connection with the Daniel Pearl murder in 2001, and thought to myself, "Pfft, it's just a publicity stunt for the movie."

And then I hurled myself off of a cliff, because I deserved it.

Lousy patriarchy

I kept my last name when I got married (How could I not? My initials spell a word, after all.) It seemed to blow the minds of some of my relatives, but in the almost three years I've been married, it hasn't caused any problems until today. I need my husband to go pick up a package for me, but since we have different last names, they might not let him pick it up.

I Blame The Patriarchy!

UPDATE: Apparently, DHL is happy to fight The Patriarchy, and let him pick up the package. Which is my new computer. With which I found out that f-words looks horrible on a bigger, better screen. I hope to have that fixed soon. Yikes!

Do you have any asprin? My uterus hurts.

Via Jezebel, the NYT has found the most humorless, immature man on the face of the Earth. Some menopausal women at his workplace had noticed his office was unusually cool, and passed the word on to anyone who might find themself in need of relief from a hot flash. It was such a hit with the women that they even put up a sign, designating it the "Hot Flash Room." The office's occupant was not amused:
"I didn't have a clue the women were using the room to cool off," said Peter Caton, 34, the library's network administrator who works out of the room. "I only found out it was the 'Hot Flash Room' after they put up the poster. I was shocked and kind of offended. It's my office. If I was an older man and I put an erectile dysfunction ad on your cubicle, how would you feel?"
If I saw that in my cubicle I would feel harassed and demeaned, because the only two possible implications would be that I was either the cause of or solution to erectile dysfunction: clearly inappropriate. These women have not expressed anything remotely sexual with their sign, but they have committed the grave sin of acknowledging that they are women in the workplace. Next thing you know, women will be asking for complimentary tampons in the restrooms and generally asking the world to stop and accomodate their bodily functions.

Never mind that no one questions that toilet paper is provided for free in men's rooms. Never mind that the number of urinals and toilets in a men's bathroom often outnumbers the number of toilets in the women's bathroom. These are standard accomodations.

Why? Because men are the standard, and women are the freaks. The NYT article about growing public awareness of menopause is a perfect example of the way we treat something that every single woman goes through like some private, unique, secret shame. I realize that Americans are unncessarily squicked out about public talk of bodily functions - I'm one of those Americans - but if I'm able to reference universal bodily complications like the stomach flu, there's no reason I should feel like I have to tailor my reason for needing aspirin to the gender of the person from whom I'm requesting it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

You do have the majority now, you know...

This is beyond the pale. The Democratic-majority House is about to increase funding for abstinence-only sex miseducation in the United States. We know it doesn't work. We know that it enforces creepy retrograde ideas about gender and sexuality. And we know that real education is key in helping people realize their reproductive rights.

So, really, what gives?

UPDATE: Scott says a little about what gives - it's part of a compromise that includes an increase in funding for Planned Parenthood, amongst other things. It makes me curious about who would possibly be so interested in pushing abstinence-only ed, but still be cool with funding Planned Parenthood. If I'm correct in my assumption that the ones pushing the abstinence-only ed disapprove of easy access to reproductive health services (Because kids won't need them if they're not having sex, right? Right?), you'd think they'd drop the ineffective abstinence-only education for a chance to dig at PP, which does stand to make people's sex lives safer and baby-free (and therefore more appealing to godless liberals like me). Why - why why why - hold onto something so clearly useless for everyone?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

When wingnuts overreach

I'm generally not interested in writing rebuttals to Townhall columns, because they all would boil down to "the opposite of what he said," or "man, what a douche," and that's not very interesting. But I have to confess to being fascinated by this anti-feminist rant, via Feministing.

It's straight out of Modern Jackass, and as such, it's left me puzzling about what, exactly, the author believes about feminists and liberals and evolution - and how his beliefs could possibly be linked in such an absurd manner. I will give Mike Adams, the piece's author, this: he says a lot of things that are in a sense correct, if you want to play fast and loose with syntax and logic. For instance, he defines feminism thusly:

Feminism is a minority social movement, whose members murder innocent children in order to obtain sexual gratification.

Now, this may be true but woefully incomplete, in the same sense that opponents of contraception and abortion grant men sexual gratification only on the condition that women's blood, sweat, tears, time, and family structure will be spent on it. The focus of the concern is turned on its head, though I at least got my concept of the way events are ordered in time correctly. I am in fact being too generous here - even allowing abortion to be referred to as "murdering innocent children," it's not like feminists can't have orgasms without first having abortions - there's a problem with the placement of the phrase "in order to," to say the least. And for that matter, it's not like accidental pregnancies preclude feminists' sexual gratification either. Still, I will assume that the spirit and the letter of the above definition diverge, and agree that many feminists are comfortable with the risk of unwanted pregnancy (and one may assume therefore subsequent abortions) that comes with sex.

Clearly, what we have here is a guy who is upset about the sometimes connected concepts of abortion and nonprocreative sex. He doesn't like it that women who terminate pregnancies might have had fun somewhere along the way to that point, and he doesn't like it that they're having abortions to begin with.

That's all well and good, and perfectly within his rights to believe. It is also perfectly within my rights to believe he should go fuck off. Further, it's not very interesting, so I can see why someone looking to sell a piece of writing would be reluctant to put down the keyboard at that point. On the other hand, if all you're going to produce with the keyboard from that point on is nonsense, it's really a better idea to leave us all be.

Oherwise, a person might find themself writing something like this:

My understanding of (and disrespect for) the underpinnings of modern feminism was actually fostered by a biologist who once made a very candid remark about the foundation of his support of Darwinism. When asked about the lack of evidence supporting Darwinism – the fossil record, etc. – he confessed there was a very human reason for his faith in evolutionary theory despite the lack of scientific evidence. He confessed that if Darwinism were not true, he wouldn’t be able to sleep around.

At the heart of his support for Darwinism was a desire to get God out of the picture by any means whatsoever. And his desire to get God out of the picture was in turn motivated by his desire to copulate with as many people as possible without feeling guilty.

At this point, it really is impossible to give Adams the benefit of the doubt, and believe that the problems with his writing are about syntax, and not being batshit crazy. It is the case that many who do not believe in God do also believe in evolution, and that lots of these godless evolutionists have sex without "feeling guilty." But, the notably slutty Charles Darwin aside, a belief in the ability of natural selection to shape the natural world doesn't get anyone laid, even if it may be more highly correlated with a chance of sleeping with me (for example) than not believing in evolution is.

But even if this did make sense: what does it have to do with feminism? Or even abortion? Wouldn't a proper evolutionist be interested in passing his smartass genes on to the next generation? Unless he doesn't want future generations to believe in evolution, in which case...

Am I the only one getting dizzy?

As I think about the candid remarks of the freely fornicating biologist, I am reminded of a sociology professor’s response to a film showing an ultrasound of an abortion being performed on a fetus during its so-called first trimester of development. Without addressing the issue of when life actually begins she pleaded for the preservation of a woman’s right to choose by reminding people that a woman who gets pregnant “might not know” or “might not even like” the man who got her pregnant.

The similarities between the remarks of the freely fornicating biologist and the slut-sympathizer-slash-sociologist are analytically indistinguishable. And the remarks of the latter are a grim reminder that the feminist mantra that a “woman has right to control her body” is not a reference to the fetus at all. It is simply a reference to her own body and her desire to share it with those she “might not know” and “might not even like.”

Again, Adams has got the tiniest bit right here. The fact that a woman has a right to control her body has much more to do woman than the fetus (otherwise the "mantra" would be more about the woman controlling the fetus, eh?). I don't see what's so absurd about that. Adams is concerned that women are having abortions to make it easier to sleep with people they don't know or like - but my understanding is that when you neither know nor like the person who got you pregnant, it's because they raped you. It's not at all outside the realm of possibility that Adams is insinuating that it's sluttiness that gets a person raped, but he's made it very clear that his beliefs do not necessarily have anything to do with reality.

But again, the biggest problem with this column is not Adams' beliefs. He's creeped out by abortion - that's fine, but embellishing it with idiocy doesn't lend strength to his position. The problem is that he's trying to create a unified theory of liberal evil by linking together ideas to which he does not subscribe and does not understand. Ordering facts such that they might make your enemies look bad isn't very useful if in doing so they stop describing reality.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Knocked up

Went out to see it tonight, and I think that the feminist hand-wringing over how abortion was portrayed in the movie was misplaced. They didn't use the word "abortion," it's true. And movies rarely portray a woman's choice to terminate realistically, sure. But this is a comedy, and if there's anything that abortion is not, it's funny. And frankly, I sympathize with the character's opting to have the baby - it wasn't a very convenient time to have a kid, but kids just aren't convenient anyway. I've been ambivalent about the idea of kids for a long time, but when a decision that big is so hard to make (and I have a hard time choosing what to order on a long menu), it makes sense to just go with what you've got sometimes. I think that the movie captured really well that ambivalence isn't always torture. My favorite moment in the movie was a scene where Elizabeth was alone, readying the nursery, and folding the tiny baby clothes on top of her enormous belly.

And - it was funny. And surprisingly tasteful when it comes to sentimentality - I could have gone for more, but I sometimes tear up when the Simpsons gets sentimental.

UPDATE: The one thing that did get my feminist undies all in a bundle were the shots of the baby crowning during delivery. Who the fuck gets a Brazilian before giving birth?! It was portrayed as incredibly disturbing, but it all looked nice and neat, and if you're going to be that graphic, you might as well tone down the porniness. Yeesh.