Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Politicians on facebook

I was happy to see this on my facebook news feed:

I've seen debates about the usefulness of politicians making profiles on Facebook and Myspace, but seeing notes about what a politician is doing - Jim Hansen tends to do this a lot - via the status updates on Facebook is pretty convenient. I'm not sure when I got so lazy that clicking on an email was too much work, but the idea that I could get an update on what a politician is doing in three or four words while I'm doing my normal time-wasting stuff - I like that. Keep up the good work.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Har har

You know what's hilarious? Violence against women!

BoingBoing calls it absurd, (as Shakespeare's Sister might have predicted), but I'm going with offensive, personally.

UPDATE: A commenter "Gerdien" who claims to have been part of the ad campaign (and I'm happy to believe her, though a commenter leaving only her first name has only so much credibility) says this about the ad campaign:

Hi Sara,

I want to react because I'am one of the people responsible for the jealouscomputers campaign. Being a woman myself I don't think violence against women is something hilarious! I'am fiercly against it! In fact the picture with the keyboard marks is made by three women. A female photographer (Margi Geerlinks), the model Nadia and me (Gerdien). Because of the absurdity we didn't feel the link with abuse. I hope you understand and I feel sorry that we offended you.

With kind regards,


My response:
Gerdien, thanks so much for commenting. I've been thinking of how to better articulate what bothers me, because I've seen similar spoofs on PSAs that haven't bothered me. I think the central thing that doesn't work about this is that given how ineffective awareness-raising campaigns about domestic violence actually are at combating it*, it comes off as making fun of the campaigns. To a world that wants to ignore domestic violence, the ads can be read as saying that violently jealous computers are equally dangerous and hilarious as violently jealous partners. Spoofing over-the-top and dishonest PSAs about drugs would make more sense, because smoking pot once doesn't actually make you into a raving lunatic. A mock local news report about a crime wave makes more sense because local news is notorious for sensationalizing that sort of thing. Your joke, though, just falls flat in the face of how unfunny it is that domestic violence continues to be a problem.

*Not that I expect PSAs to be especially effective at changing deep-seated problems in society.
Anyone else looking to add something in the comments is welcome, but I'd like to explicitly request that the comments remain respectful and civil. I appreciate and accept Gerdien's apology even as I maintain my objection to the ads, and am thrilled that my adventures in humorless feminism might actually get me somewhere other than frustrated.

Did you know that...?

...the US has detained an Al-Jazeera journalist at various places, but mostly Guantanamo bay, for over 5 years with ever-changing charges, interrogation only about the inner workings of Al-Jazeera, and no trial?

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Whose idea was this cover? (Via Racialicious)Because it really stinks. I get the impression that it's supposed to come across as sarcastic-but-not-sarcastic, but I'm not sure what sarcasm gymnastics could be performed to make it acceptable. Or even make any sense. Bad move, Edwards.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

We've tried nothin' and we're all out of ideas

Kate Harding's douchehound of the day reminded me of something that drives me nuts about hand-wringing over the fatness of the American people. Quoth the douchehound:
OK, how can you dismiss doctors who ask for lifestyle changes when you havent even attempted to make them?
Because for one reason or another, doctors asking for lifestyle changes has little to no long-term effect on patients' weight or health. If doctors are serious about the need for their patients to lose weight, they need to find methods that work (instead of methods that would work if they worked). What should be dismissed is the idea that dispensing instructions that are either ignored or impossible to follow at all resembles medical care.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Simply Recipes

My favorite food blog lately has been Simply Recipes. The photos are wonderful, and it seems like the author's cooking sensibility is a lot like mine - an emphasis on cooking simple favorites very well, and inspired variations on the basics. In fact, I was thinking about making lemon bars for a picnic on the river tomorrow, and thought I should add some ginger to them. I googled "ginger lemon bars" and one of Elise's posts was the first result.

I'm going to make them tonight, and promise to report back with pictures.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Man, those wait times for receiving medical care...

I called to make an appointment with my doctor today, and the soonest available was on August 23. Boy, am I glad that we get to pass up rationing and wait times for our top-of-the-line(ish) medical care system!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Here in the real world

I was totally stoked to see Jezebel's unveiling of the un-photoshopped Redbook cover, as well as their explanation of why the photoshopping drives them nuts. The thing that makes me so perplexed is the fact that the things that were photoshopped away weren't even flaws, nothing that I'd have even noticed in the original picture. So what's the point? Why do we persist in smoothing out wrinkles and folds that everyone knows about and lives with in their daily life?

A few months ago, I saw a People magazine (maybe?) in the checkout line at the grocery store that featured an article about stars' best and worst beach bodies. I wish I could find the cover, because as far as I could tell, the best and the worst looked EXACTLY THE SAME. I get caught up in the misanthropic thrill of criticizing stars' appearances, but my heart isn't exactly in it. And I'm not sure whose is - if the majority of Americans are overweight or obese, and the vast majority of Americans have muffin tops and pimples and wrinkles and back fat - how are we all getting laid? Clearly, we don't think that we're all as ugly as we say we are.

There are parts of me that have a hard time accepting that anyone could really be attracted to me, when I never see bodies anything like mine in the media. It's hard to feel attractive when you feel invisible. All of this is why I love the project (via Nudemuse), Adipositivity. It's a photographic series aimed at portraying the often beautiful reality of fat bodies. It's so rare that we're exposed to what people really look like that it's rather shocking to see folds of flesh and stretch marks actually on film.

So, really, let's give up this pretending. It might be easy to get worked up into a froth of disgust about fat people when you're talking to them on the internet, but when it's your girlfriend or your sister or your teacher or your nephew, it's a lot harder. Take your nose out of the tabloid, and enjoy what's here in the real world.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Unlike some other feminists, I'm sad to see JANE go. I let my subscription run out long ago (the shrugging off of Dov Charney's sexual harassment was a little too much, even for $8 a year), but it was the women's mag on the grocery store shelf that fit me best. Gawker media has been giving it an appropriately gossipy burial, and I'll continue my conflicted stair-stepper reading with Cosmo.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th!

May we enjoy all the Democracy, whisky and sexy we desire!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hooray for passing judgement!

I am in love with the Jezebel feature "Crap email from a dude." Not only is it a fantastic way to get even more gossip into your diet, but they even coined the perfect term, "emosogynist," which I nominate to replace the imprecise "Nice Guy(TM)."

Monday, July 02, 2007


Via Shakesville, this line from a blog entry at Gender Blank about dudes fretting about the possibility of human reproduction not involving men:
He goes on to say that men are nearly irrelevant now, what with all the neglect they experience at the hands of women who are interested in something other than men's every fucking desire. But he sees a place for a few lucky fellers down the road. "Frankly, you only need a small tribe of us guys equipped with porn magazines and plastic cups. You could feed us, groom us and give us a little exercise — pretty much like you do now," he says. Isn't it cute how he envisions himself as one of the Chosen Ones we'd keep around, well-fed and plied with porn? What I want to know, among other things, is why after this inevitable revolution women will STILL be expected to feed and groom men. Can women never escape this lot? Fuck you, sir.
Made me laugh out loud.

It's like people are supposed to use their own feelings to gauge what makes them happy.

This new survey on American attitudes towards marriage expresses a lot of things that I'd expect: Americans don't believe that the presence of children indicates a "successful marriage," but that sharing household chores does, and that the purpose of marriage is "'mutual happiness and fulfillment' of adults."

That's all well and good - it reflects peoples' behavior, and peoples' choices. The thing that made me laugh out loud was this:
"The popular culture is increasingly oriented to fulfilling the X-rated fantasies and desires of adults," she [Barbara Dafoe Whitehead of Rutgers University's National Marriage Project] wrote in a recent report. "Child-rearing values -- sacrifice, stability, dependability, maturity -- seem stale and musty by comparison."
Uh, what's wrong with fulfilling the desires of adults? How does it exclude "sacrifice, stability, dependability," and "maturity?" Or even child-rearing?

The reality is that people can have happy, stable marriages, have as much of whatever kind of sex they want, and not necessarily have children in the process. If you define success as having children and only a minimally-enjoyable sex life, yeah, Americans have terrible marriages. But why define personal success by something that not everyone wants?

UPDATE: Oh God, oh God, not only was Wendy Shalit on Diane Rehm today, but now Laura Sessions Stepp is on Talk of the Nation blabbering about how it was only wussy dudes who answered this survey, and guys are so scared by self-actualized women that they'll actually pull their own weight (which is apparently a bad thing). Does it ever stop?!

UPDATE II: Oh great, they ditch Stepp for an editor of Maxim! Kill me now!

Why not just move to Lake Wobegon...

...and be done with it already? I suppose it's one thing to bemoan changes in your own town, where you've chosen to make your life, but you don't get to hold a town hostage in 1966 so you won't be tempted to read Perez Hilton while you're on vacation there.