Monday, June 30, 2008

John McKerry: War Hero

Is it just me or is John McCain running his campaign on the same "How can you not elect a war hero?" sentiment as John Kerry did in 2004? It didn't work then, and...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Who knew Big Brother was such a perv?

I'll bet some of us could have guessed.
The Guardian's Marina Hyde discusses the rampant abuse of CCTV spy-cameras placed by local governments -- the junior G-Men who use cameras to follow women with cute butts around town.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tenessee Judge: Heller decision means it's your fault if someone attacks you

He told a woman who had been pulled from her car and beaten in the head that she or her mother needed to "purchase a weapon, obtain a gun permit and learn to protect yourself." The woman moved back in with her mother after the May 4 incident on E. 17th Street.

Judge Moon said, "The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that all citizens have a right to purchase a weapon to defend themselves, their families and their homes - unless there is some disqualification that prevents them from owning a weapon."

Goodbye, invalid days

I get to start work on Monday (half-time at first, then working up to full-time over several weeks)! Woo!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I was starting to feel a little guilty about how much traffic I get via the fatosphere, considering how little I add to the conversation

We've all heard of the mythical creature the supportive strapless bra.

Since my recent conversion to Lane Bryant's line of undergarments, I've been amazed to find out that my DD cups can be made to defy gravity (and actually create cleavage) with the aid of the seamless 6-way convertible bra by Cacique. I can report with relief that it is not a long-line bra, but it is still a challenge to get the thing on.

Now I finally get why I see so many plus-sized tube tops for sale.

I'd link, but I can't find one. I'd suggest a trip to a mall to see this modern miracle work.

Idaho can tell kids not to have sex without the guidance of the federal government, thank you very much.

Great news! Idaho has rejected federal funds for abstinence-only education. It has zero effect on teens' sexual behavior, so what's the point? Our national policy towards preventing teen pregnancy is basically a tautology: telling kids not to get pregnant (not how to avoid it) and waiting for that to happen.

If there's an objective reason that feminism can't work or I should be a jerk to gay people, I'd like to know about it, personally.

Today's post at Feministing by Miriam entitled "Why I don't like scientific studies about sexuality" really demonstrated one of my pet peeves - progressives playing along with the naturalistic fallacy that some homophobic Idahoans are all too happy to use to buttress their homophobia. (Oooh, call me non-normative - I'll get you for that!)

Miriam sez:
Why do they bug me? Because the premise behind studying the why of sexual difference is unfair. When we decide to look for the cause of queer sexual orientations to me that says "here we have a problem. let's find the root cause!" Queer sexualities are not a problem, or an abnormality, or a disease that we need to cure.
Queer sexualities are a problem for science, where everything not well-understood is referred to as a problem.

As for the "abnormality" thing, let's appreciate that most people aren't queer. But so what if some people are? The chips have fallen in such an arrangement where we've got gay people all around us. In itself, this is not morally meaningful. It makes you think a little about how the term "deviant" is used in our culture, and how much importance we place on conformity.

I kinda hate to do it, but I have to refer back to a post I wrote last summer about this subject (In which, I feel complelled to explain, the "zombie fat" subject was a bit of a tangent, and not me stamping my feet and demanding everyone believe it.) I said:

I have a lot of faith in my socio-political understanding of the world. I think that my feelings about equality and justice and race and gender and class are borne out by reality. This is sometimes true because the reality that controls how these things affect us is entirely human-created: why would we want to use a legal system that puts men and women on unequal footing? Other times, it's empirically true: women are perfectly capable of changing the oil in their cars.
So when some conservative who fancies himself a rebel brings out the "dangerous truths" that liberals can't handle, I shrug so hard that people think I'm having a seizure.*

*I swear, I'm not. I just took my Keppra, thanks.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Happy birthday to me!

I'm pretty impressed with myself for making it to the ripe old age of 26 this year.

Your homo-money's not good enough for my mayonnaise!

Via Andrew Sullivan, Heinz has pulled an ad featuring a family headed by a (male) same-sex couple on the American Family Association's urging. Not being a homophobic weirdo, I just can't understand what's going on with the AFA here - it reminds me of that old controversey surrounding the PBS kids' show spinoff of the Arthur series, involving Buster Bunny visiting a friend in Vermont whose parents were civilly-uni(fied or oned?) and not freaking the fuck out. How is inserting an anti-gay tantrum into a mayonnaise ad going to help anything, AFA? Surely, Heinz would like people of all walks of life to purchase their products. Would refraining from portraying same-sex-headed households push them out of existence?

The AFA item says Heinz is pushing gay marriage - nope. Heinz is pushing mayonnaise to gay people. Heinz pushes food products, not social legislation.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gag gifts for yourself*

Today's Diane Rehm program was on the subject of marketing and the way people use consumption to define themselves to the world and to themselves. The subject of Axe men's hygiene products (har, why isn't there a "masculine hygiene products" aisle in the grocery store) came up, and the guest (Rob Walker, who writes the Consumed column in the NYT magazine) mentioned that the marketers of Axe did not aim to compete with other manufacturers of deodorants, but he said they are competing with "popular culture." I've always attributed the success of Axe products to the absurd in-joke the marketing tries to produce. "We all know buying this product is not going to make women want to sleep with you, but we're going to pretend that we think it will, and pretend that you think so, too." Pretend all the way to the bank.

When you buy an absurd product tie-in like Family Guy breath mints (something I have actually seen for sale), you're actually forking over your $8/hour-earned money for the privilege of propagating the brand. The people getting rich off of their clever practical jokes about the emptiness of marketing aren't just sarcastically pretending to get rich off of the shameless money-grubbing.

Maybe three or four years ago, I was shopping in a hipstery neighborhood in Portland, OR, and was amazed at the ubiquity of Bettie Page's likeness on every random item it could possibly be plastered across.

I just can't see handing my money over to the makers of Axe as a joke. (I should point out that I'm kind of phobic about spending money. It terrifies me.) This may make me a total liberal crank* (like the dude who doesn't even have a cell phone or a TV), but for all these reasons, I totally hate getting/giving gag gifts. They're probably made by slave labor in a developing country, and will eventually take up space in the Latah County landfill (which is just gorgeous this time of year, I've found out, being that I just moved out of the first apartment I ever lived in.) when I move.

If the jokey Axe marketing works (and it does!), people know exactly what they're getting when they buy a can of deodorant. If you're amused by bringing your lunch to work in a Bettie Page lunch box, I'm not trying to deny it. If the emotions that marketing depends on weren't real, no one would bother with branding. I can admit that I will forgo the opportunity to put caffeine in my body if I'm at a restaurant that only serves Pepsi brand soft drinks (I'm a Diet Coke loyalist, it's true.).

*I've been trying my hardest to write this post without being a total asshole. Not sure if it's possible, but I tried!