Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hey, didja hear she was faking?

I posted about a report of an assault on the WSU campus, and since then there have been two more reports. I not only got two e-mails about how the third report was later recanted, but I also got a text message on my phone. Has some unsafe campus got a guilty conscience?

Monday, August 24, 2009

The cankle default

It pains me to use the term "cankle," but I had the poor judgement to click on a link to a news article about the triviality of the size of one's ankle. I noticed something interesting in the wording of one paragraph:
According to podiatrists, the average ankle size is about 10 to 11 inches around; men's ankles may be a little larger. The American Podiatric Medical Association does not recognize cankles as a medical problem, but according to Dr. Kathya Zinszer, a physician at Temple University's School of Podiatric Medicine, cankles can be caused by all types of medical issues.
If we're going to keep to a simple gender binary, the "average" ankle being written about is a woman's, and it's the size of a man's ankle that's the tacked-on side note. Well, bare minority of human beings, look who's "average" now.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Amazing, brilliant magazine editor lets up on body-fascism for one photo, is lionized

Fair warning: every link I'm using in this post has pictures of naked ladies on it.

Via Jezebel, Glamour magazine is making waves with a photo of a naked lady with a tummy. (Maybe NSFW) It's really a lovely photo, and I've never seen anything like it in a women's/fashion mag. The editor's blog entry about all of the glowing praise she's gotten for including the photo is overly-self-congratulatory. Include one photo of a happy naked lady, and we'll forget all about the decades of body-image-assassination that your industry thrives on. She asks rhetorically:

With all the six-packs out there, do you even know what a normal belly looks like anymore—other than the one you see in the mirror?
I'd like to answer that question. I never really knew what a fat woman's body looks like until I had one, which made it a continual disappointment until I wised up. Plus-sized models are carefully arranged so as not to create the rolls of fat that everyone acts like are so unsightly. Sure I've been in locker rooms and stuff, but there's almost no media representation of what actual fat(esque) female bodies look like. The diversity of female bodies is completely steamrolled in media; Things like this really don't need to be a revelation.

Photography projects like Shape of a Mother, Adipositivity, the "normal breasts gallery" were a real shock to me in my early twenties. I really didn't know what stretch marks were. I vividly remember my horror as a teenager when I actually tried out a few yoga poses in the nude, and decided it was thoroughly unerotic.

To conclude: this all pisses me off quite a lot, like when feminists are supposed to fall all over themselves thanking men for understanding that women are people. Stopping active harm is good, but it's not exactly charity.

Public Service Announcement

I got an email about a reported assault on a woman on WSU's Glen Terrell Mall, and wanted to reproduce some useful information (in a manner I am stealing directly from one Penny Dreadful, via Shakesville):


[WSU Police] remind potential perpetrators of assault to be vigilant [and polite] at all times; don't walk alone; stay in well-lighted areas and to use safe transportation whenever possible.

Anyone with information about the assailant is urged to call WSU Police at 335-8548 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.

This information is released as a service to the WSU Community and in compliance with Clery Act requirements.
The original sign that Penny found is a lot more amusing and to-the-point. The release WSU sent out wasn't all that malleable, but I think it would be perfectly appropriate to hang up copies of it at wazzu.

'Regrettably, due to a number of recent incidents, it is necessary to remind men walking alone through the park not to rob, rape, threaten or assault anyone. Thank you in advance for behaving like decent human beings. Signed, single women who refuse to live in fear'.

Monday, August 17, 2009

You have to admit it's getting better

When Obama backs off, he really backs off, but I think I need to recognize that I should take what I can get for now. No public option!? This will do the opposite of reducing health care costs in this country, and just get more premium-payers contributing to Aetna (or whoever)'s massive bloat. I wish I knew more about nonprofit health insurance companies/co-ops, but as someone who's paying a massive premium to stay on Group Health's rolls, I know remarkably little. I will say this, though: the people praising Group Health are basically on the money. It doesn't come cheap, but this is American medicine here. I've run into only a few people who complain about GH, but most docs I've been to have been delighted when they found out the entity with which I am insured. I have a lot of half-baked theories as to why I've had such a good experience with them, but it can't hurt that they approve almost anything a doctor orders. When they reject it, they reject it, so I have spent almost no time fighting with them. I've had to show some rather expensive good-faith, but they've been pretty go-along get-along.

Talking about health care is getting extremely old, but it's kind of like looking at a car crash (or, really, the bills from the ER after a car crash).

The major failing in the "dialog" has been almost no serious proposals for reducing costs. And those that I've seen, like a general policy to skip ineffective treatments, have caused Republicans to scream bloody murder.

In other news, I've started working a part-time job at the U of Idaho - I'm training to caption classes for students who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, and even the training is kind of fun. I recently got serious about a job hunt again, and scored two interviews. One was for this job and the other for one at a local biotech, basically doing the exact things I disliked about my previous job; I don't think I was really in the running for that one, though, and I think I'd have really hated it. This is a completely new direction for me, and takes better advantage of my natural talents.

As it is, I'm working just less than half-time, and I am a gajillion times more productive regarding things like housework when I am working outside the home at least a little. This is a new thing for me - I don't think I've had a part-time job while not doing anything else since I was 19 - and I'm going to take advantage of the fact that I can pretty much afford it. (I think the new "We'll live on love" is "We'll live on loans.").

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Satire begins to Resemble Stenography

I went to see District 9 last night and went in with kind of a bad attitude, but came out having seen a movie I liked. I was prepared for the worst after the first twenty minutes of dull, earnest satire. There was no way I could sit through two hours of that with the volume set at 11. Somehow, Daniel Engber of Slate was disappointed that the political agenda of the movie never went anywhere, but even after reading his entire article, and especially after seeing the movie, I have no idea why. After the overly-political setup, the movie completely veers off into a narrative about a dude stuck behind enemy lines. Every review's comparison of Wikus Van der Merwe to Michael Scott is perfect.

Wikus is ambitious, desperate for everyone to love him, and basically a pretty nice guy. But he's incompetent. There's a really strong George W. vibe with Wikus. He seems to think he should go ahead and try to do this humanitarian intervention thing, since he really wants things to work out and to be a part of that, and maybe he'll make a few friends along the way. As he bungles his way through evicting the residents of the District 9 slum, he accidentally steals a key piece of alien technology that infects him and begins a process that begins metamorphosizing his biology into that of the "prawn." The process is revolting, painful, and scary.

Between prawn and man Wikus loses some of his illusions about his mission at MNU, and allies with an alien named Christopher Johnson that may be able to a) get the prawns off of this godawful planet and b) reverse Wikus' prawnification process.

This isn't because Wikus is a good person. He's basically acting out of self-interest, and giving a hand up to the prawns in the process is a lucky coincidence. If his life didn't depend on working with Christopher, there's no indication that he'd be able to pull off the crazy moves it took to further the cause of the prawn. Essentially, The Man is what's keeping the prawn down, and people and prawn alike needed this coincidence to save them all. If the prawn technology had been completely lost, MNU would have gone merrily on its way to genocide, and the prawns would have missed their chance at fixing this whole disaster.

If you go, be aware that it's incredibly gory and long. Plus, the prawn language sounds to me a lot like burping or vomiting.