Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Them Tax Cuts

This bit about the Obama tax cuts is interesting. But what is even more interesting is the question whether tax cuts now would help in fighting the recession.

I doubt it, because of the psychology of recessions. People won't spend those tax cuts, being afraid of times getting worse in the future. I understand that Obama will have to deliver on the tax cuts he promised, but that money would have been better spent through direct public sector projects.

Today's Action Alert

Remember Lily Ledbetter? I got an e-mail today telling us this:

The House of Representatives will vote this week on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Senate will vote next week. These bills will help make pay equity a reality, not just a theory. Let's make sure the House votes FOR fairness to women and FOR helping American families.

If you agree you can write your representatives here.

What A Hoot

This story has all kinds of wrong:

A waitress was barred from working at the Hooters restaurant in Davenport after a violent physical attack left her bruised and unable to meet company standards for maintaining a "glamorous appearance."

The waitress alleges she was fired after taking time off to recover from the assault. Hooters officials say the waitress abandoned her job, but also say that the woman's bruised body made her temporarily ineligible to work as a "Hooters Girl."

An administrative law judge who presided over a recent public hearing dealing with 27-year-old Sara Dye's request for unemployment benefits ruled against the company and awarded benefits to Dye. Judge Teresa Hillary found that Dye's "inability to work due to bruises" did not amount to workplace misconduct.

According to testimony at the hearing, Dye was the victim of several incidents of domestic violence in 2008, the last of which occurred Sept. 3 after she left work for the day. Dye, who lives in Rock Island, Ill., was badly beaten and her assailant - unidentified at the hearing - cut off some of her hair.

The next day, Dye and her managers agreed that at least for the next few weeks she should not be working in the restaurant. General Manager Gina Sheedy testified that Dye's bruises would have been visible outside the Hooters uniform, which is known for being revealing.

"We told her it was probably not in her best interest to work for a while because of the state of her body," Sheedy testified.

The first kind of wrong has to do with the nebulous concept of sick leave, time for a worker to recover before needing to return to work. Yes, it probably isn't something the customers would appreciate to have a server wobble around all beaten up and ill, but I would have thought that the worker wouldn't appreciate going back to work in pain, either.

The second kind of wrong has to do with the way this particular job is defined. It's not just carrying food to waiting customers, nope. It's all about wearing a 'revealing uniform' and more:

Hillary asked Sheedy whether the restaurant would have agreed to a request from Dye to return to work immediately.

"No, probably not," Sheedy replied. "She probably would not be able to work because of her black eye and the bruises on her face. ... Our handbook states you have to have a glamorous appearance. It doesn't actually say, 'Bruises on your face are not allowed.' It does talk about the all-American cheerleader look."

Sheedy said Dye could now resume working at Hooters, assuming she maintained a glamorous appearance.

"And a glamorous appearance to you means you can't have bruises on your face or your body that show outside the uniform?" Hillary asked.

"Correct," Sheedy replied.

You have to look glamorous! Like an all-American scantily clad cheerleader. Actually, like an all-American cheerleader on a date:

Hillary asked Duvall what would happen if a waitress's hair had to be cut as a result of an injury from an accident.

Duvall said that according to the company handbook, a waitress's hair "needs to be styled as if you're going out on a big date on a Saturday night, as if you're preparing for a photo shoot."

So why do we pretend that the women are waitresses only? And if they are waitresses only, why the extra requirements?

The last kind of wrong (of those I can pick out) has to do with the domestic violence that caused Dye's bruises, the hair-cutting incident and so on, and the way this interacts in all sorts of odd ways with the job of looking glamorous and not having short hair and looking accessible to male customers.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Sanjay Gupta For Surgeon General?

That's what Washington Post says:

President-elect Barack Obama has offered the job of surgeon general to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the neurosurgeon and correspondent for CNN and CBS, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation

I have no real opinion on what this might mean, but I remembered posting something earlier on Dr. Gupta. It looks like I might have to keep an eye on him.

Very Much Worth Reading

Is this post by Hecate. Do check it out. I'm not giving away its contents here.

On the other hand, anything about Ann Coulter's new book is very much not worth reading.

My New Year's Promises

I am still working on the list, because in the past my only promise has been not to have any, but right now I'm planning to write a book this year. I am also going to blog a lot more on health care, to grow my wonk credentials. And I promise to try to keep this blog going in some form or another for one more year at least.

Now that is said.

Recommitment Ceremonies

Sometimes a really boring topic can be most important to study. This might be the case with the recent modifications of the 'motion to recommit' in House Rules:

The change that has been made, like all fun legal changes, revolves around a single word: In the past, the minority party could recommit the bill "promptly," which returned it to committee. Now they will be unable to do that, instead recommitting the bill "forthwith," which forces an immediate floor vote (after a short debate) on whatever amendment the minority would like to have attached to the bill, preventing the parliamentary maneuver from holding up the final legislation for long.

The 'promptly' was something Newt Gingrich used when the Republicans were last in the minority. Now the Republicans won't be able to kill legislation by using it but must go through a vote first.

I like this, because it shows that the Democrats are serious about getting something done. In the past they have sorta bended over backwards for the Republican minority.

Although I'm now wondering if the Democrats ever used that handy little 'promptly' while in the minority themselves.

The Presumption of "If"-nonsense by Anthony McCarthy

Holding the presumption of innocence as one of the great principles of our criminal law it was a jolt to hear Rod Blagojevich send up the tell tale red flag of guilt on the radio this morning. Thinking of the times I've heard a politician or other public figure taking refuge in that worst of all poems "If" this was something I really could have done without. I can't recall ever hearing someone giving those flaccid lines imbued with pretended principle unless it was to defend themselves for having done something pretty awful and getting caught at it.

Maybe it's a cultural thing. I remember when Ken Lay was convicted and gave that nauseating presser, taking refuge in a public display of religiosity entirely that was at odds with his grand scale theft and swindles, I thought, "In old New England, he'd have his jacket over his head,". Alas, that admirable practice of the guilty and disgraced has been replaced by the PR practice of brazening it out, in public, on camera, yech!

Considering what a racist imperialist he was it's not any wonder that Kipling would be the hack of last resort for a crooked pol who got caught. For the rest of us there is Hilaire Belloc's most famous effort.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Nathan's Famous. Ida, Not So Much.

You may have eaten Nathan's Famous hot dogs. The 'Nathan' in the name was the founder of the firm, Nathan Handwerker, a young Polish immigrant who began selling hot dogs in 1916 (or perhaps 1913) in Coney Island, New York. The rest is history, or so one might think. From the Nathan's Famous website:

Politicians, show-business personalities, and sports celebrities are often seen and photographed munching Nathan's dogs, and heard singing its praises. Barbra Streisand, actually had Nathan's hot dogs delivered to London, England for a private party. A trip to Nathan's was the focus of a Seinfeld episode created by comedian Jerry Seinfeld. More recently, the ex-mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani declared Nathan's the "World's best hot dog." Shortly after that, Nathan Handwerker was named to the city's top 100- joining the ranks of Joe Namath, Irving Berlin, Andrew Carnegie, Joe DiMaggio and others. Even Jacqueline Kennedy loved Nathan's dogs, and served them at the White House. In his final last will and testament, actor Walter Mathau requested Nathan's hot dogs to be served at his funeral – they were! The point is Nathan's is not just a hot dog, it has history and it is Americana!

Last year there were over 360 million Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs sold! Today, Nathan's is sold and enjoyed in all 50 States and sold at over 20,000 food service and retail outlets.

I have a paper place mat from Nathan's. Here's what the place mat says:

That summer, at Feltman's German Beer Garden - the very first frankfurter restaurant - two young Polish immigrants named Nathan Handwerker and Ida Greenwald first met. Ida was a waitress, and Nathan was a roll slicer. Well, one night Ida caught Nathan's eye and it turned out to be a match in, well, hot dog heaven.

They soon married and in 1916, on the advice of two singing waiters named Jimmy Durante and Eddie Cantor, they plunked down their entire $300 life savings on their very own frankfurter stand.

Note the presence of Ida Greenwald in this story. She is mentioned on the Nathan's Famous website, too:

Nathan's Famous was founded by a Polish immigrant, Nathan Handwerker, and his is truly an authentic "only in America story." He started his business in 1916 with a small hot dog stand in Coney Island, New York. He sold hot dogs that were manufactured based on a recipe developed by his wife, Ida.

The place mat elaborates:

Ida provided Nathan her grandmother's secret recipe and Nathan added good old fashioned American value, selling the country's newest favorite food for just a nickel - half the price of the competition.

It is hard not to see this story as the way women are often written out of history, not necessarily from some vile motives but just because women in general are invisible. That Nathan Handwerker was named to New York City's top 100 is deserved. But was Ida Greenwald also named so? The hot dog recipe, after all, was not Nathan's but Ida's. Or Ida's grandmother's.

Not Tonight, Dennis, I Have A Headache

Dennis Prager, a wingnut pundit, has written a two-part series about why wives should spread their legs for their husbands whether they want sex or not. It's great fun to read.

Indeed, I read it so many times that I didn't get to write the tearing-and-rending until today, though really the delay was because I was looking for that one mind fish swimming deep, deep in the murky parts of my head, the one which can open its tiny fish mouth and vomit out the pearl, the gist of Dennis' message to us wimminfolk. That fish woke me this morning.

If you don't care to go to Townhall to read our boy Prager, here is a set of quotes to summarize his argument:

The subject is one of the most common problems that besets marriages: the wife who is "not in the mood" and the consequently frustrated and hurt husband.

There are marriages with the opposite problem — a wife who is frustrated and hurt because her husband is rarely in the mood. But, as important and as destructive as that problem is, it has different causes and different solutions, and is therefore not addressed here. What is addressed is the far more common problem of "He wants, she doesn't want."

It is an axiom of contemporary marital life that if a wife is not in the mood, she need not have sex with her husband. Here are some arguments why a woman who loves her husband might want to rethink this axiom.

First, women need to recognize how a man understands a wife's refusal to have sex with him: A husband knows that his wife loves him first and foremost by her willingness to give her body to him. This is rarely the case for women. Few women know their husband loves them because he gives her his body (the idea sounds almost funny). This is, therefore, usually a revelation to a woman. Many women think men's natures are similar to theirs, and this is so different from a woman's nature, that few women know this about men unless told about it.

This is a major reason many husbands clam up. A man whose wife frequently denies him sex will first be hurt, then sad, then angry, then quiet. And most men will never tell their wives why they have become quiet and distant. They are afraid to tell their wives. They are often made to feel ashamed of their male sexual nature, and they are humiliated (indeed emasculated) by feeling that they are reduced to having to beg for sex.

In short, Prager wants married women in heterosexual marriages to have sex when their husbands initiate it, barring perhaps the day when they gave birth or received chemotherapy or such.

Note this, dear wifely persons:

"A husband knows that his wife loves him first and foremost by her willingness to give her body to him."

I wonder if an ear or a couple of toes would do? A spare kidney? In any case, the first post in Prager's series argues that men will cry, deep inside themselves, if they don't get sex whenever they want it, and this will ultimately destroy the otherwise happy marriage.

The second post elaborates on all the reasons (eight of them) why women's libidos don't matter in this business of deciding when to fuck. Here's the first reason:

1. If most women wait until they are in the mood before making love with their husband, many women will be waiting a month or more until they next have sex. When most women are young, and for some older women, spontaneously getting in the mood to have sex with the man they love can easily occur. But for most women, for myriad reasons -- female nature, childhood trauma, not feeling sexy, being preoccupied with some problem, fatigue after a day with the children and/or other work, just not being interested -- there is little comparable to a man's "out of nowhere," and seemingly constant, desire for sex.

Don't you just love that list explaining our frigidity? Too much work! Too many memories of sexual abuse! Better just lie there and think of England, because there's no other way for a gal with a husband to get aroused, is there? Hmm.

Prager has most likely written these posts to inflame the minds of goddesses like me. Controversy always pays in these debased times of ours (though all times are debased), and his arguments have all the essential points for controversy about gender roles:

Presenting men as victims of both horrible feminist ideas and their innate animal natures while at the same time demanding that those victims get everything they ask for, including total dominance at home. Women, on the other hand, are not portrayed as victims of their own animal natures (they don't have them) or of late patriarchy. Rather, they emerge as victors, too, though victors who willingly submit themselves to the demands of their husbands. They get to stay married! Happily! Though they have to do sex work.

I wouldn't have given Townhall hits for just the fun of blurting out all that. What makes this post worthwhile is the deeper observation it offered me, chrystalized in these two quotes from Dennis:

Every man who is sexually faithful to his wife already engages in daily heroic self-control. He has married knowing he will have to deny his sexual nature's desire for variety for the rest of his life. To ask that he also regularly deny himself sex with the one woman in the world with whom he is permitted sex is asking far too much. Deny him enough times and he may try to fill this need with another woman. If he is too moral to ever do that, he will match your sexual withdrawal with emotional and other forms of withdrawal.


Why would a loving, wise woman allow mood to determine whether or not she will give her husband one of the most important expressions of love she can show him? What else in life, of such significance, do we allow to be governed by mood?

What if your husband woke up one day and announced that he was not in the mood to go to work? If this happened a few times a year, any wife would have sympathy for her hardworking husband. But what if this happened as often as many wives announce that they are not in the mood to have sex? Most women would gradually stop respecting and therefore eventually stop loving such a man.

I have bolded the sections of importance in these quotes, and important they are. The first one tells us the sacrifices men make to be married: denying their desire for variety. Note the implicit assumption here that women are not making a similar sacrifice. Thus, this male sacrifice is part-and-parcel of what men relinquish for the sake of a long-term relationship with a woman; something they need to get paid for to make the bargain equal-sided. And that something is those spread legs of wives.

Danielle Crittenden (one of those IWF conservative anti-feminist gals) made a similar argument in a book I once somehow ended up reading: Because men give up so much (those other women) to be married, women must give up something equally valuable. In Crittenden's book it was a career that women should give up.

The bolded part in the second quote above tells us more about what it is that women get in the marriage contract conservatives envision: They get money from the work of their husbands, and just as the husbands are expected to go on working whether they want to or not, the wives are expected to go on fucking whether they want it or not.

That the majority of married couples are not of the kind where the wife stays at home is ignored in that argument, of course. Still, it's an interesting revelation about how Prager views the kind of marriage where the woman works at home. Her work there is not seen as the equivalent of the husband's market work. Her real work takes place in the marital bed.

The conservatives have accused some radical feminists of comparing marriage to prostitution, but here they (or at least two of them) seem to make a very clear case for just that interpretation of marriage: Men give up sex in general for sex in particular. They pay for it with long-term financial maintenance and women are expected to be sexually available on a fairly non-stop basis. How very interesting!

Do you believe in synchronicity? I was reading Evangeline Walton's The Mabinogion Tetralogy last night and came across this quote about the new-fangled idea (in the book) of a permanent marriage in that society:

"No good thing in the end," said Gwydion. "Bondage for the women of Gwynedd such as already lies on those of Dyved. To be bound to one man and from looking at all others, forever, and to have your body always at your lord's pleasure whether love burns in you at that hour or not. That is what they call morality." said he.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I Hope This Is the Last Word I’ll Ever Have to Write On This Subject by Anthony McCarthy

I would hate to be the tabloid media, the hate talk radio jocks, or anyone else who harasses or attacks the Obama sisters, at least if my mother is any indication. She’s in love with those girls but, as she put it, she hopes she hears little about them or sees much coverage of them. She wants them to be entirely hands off by the media and she’s already fuming about the little coverage they’ve gotten. She wants them left alone to have as normal and happy a childhood as possible under the circumstances.

If Rush or anyone else attacks them the way they did Chelsea Clinton I think they might have instantly earned the hatred of millions up to and including those who might go to war over it. I’m not talking figuratively, either. So, that’s my last word on the subject, leave those girls be, don’t mess with them, they are off limits, they’ve got many millions of eyes out for their welfare.
And that’s the last word I’ll have on this subject unless the media are as stupid as I’m afraid they might be.

Update: The Death of a Small, Little Noticed Tree by Anthony McCarthy

Going out that way this morning, for the first time since the ice storm almost a month ago, I saw that after it standing for longer than anyone can remember in the old cemetery, the hydrangea tree I wrote about last summer is broken in half and lying like a shadow in the snow. It feels like the whole past died with it, somehow. It feels like the death of nature.

The Art of Adulthood by Anthony McCarthy

or Please, Let’s Don’t Have To Go Through That All Over Again

You probably know the feeling. Sitting with my sister-in-law one afternoon a mutual friend of ours dropped in. Over coffee our friend told us about her recent dates, she’d reached after breakup stage where she was dating again. Lucy (not her real name) complained that she’d had a bad time.

My sister-in law said, “I thought you were seeing Bill. He’s a nice guy, has a good job. Didn’t you like him?”
- Oh yeah, he’s all right. He asked me to go out again.
- Well?
- I don’t know.
- Well, why don’t you go out with him again?
- I don’t know. He’s a real good guy. He’s just not very exciting.

My sister-in-law and I had exactly the same thought at that time, Lucy’s last long term relationship had been with a man who cultivated the semi-outlaw image of the motor head variety. He was all right, never in jail as far as I knew. He stayed with Lucy through a child, a decade of mortgage payments and many turbulent episodes providing considerable excitement. He wasn’t physically abusive or verbally abusive. All right, he was fairly good looking but talking with him tended towards noncommital mono-syllables. After he took up with a younger woman, after Lucy tried, unsuccessfully to get him to marry, they split. His phobia to commitment, which could withstand the bonds of parenting* and buying a house together, couldn’t withstand fifteen minutes in front of a justice of the peace. I suspected that at the bottom of it, he couldn’t square that particular and entirely symbolic act with his outlaw image.

We both thought Lucy could do with considerably less excitement than their relationship had provided. As I said, both of us thought it, only I was impolitic enough to say it

My generation was brought up with two dominant models of men. There were the outlaws, cowboys, bikers, the so-called rugged individualists. The other predominant model was the reliable man, the pillar of the community, the family man. In pop-culture you could differentiate them easily enough, cowboys vs. Father Knows Best. As an aside, for a gay kid, it was mostly noticeable in that cowboys on TV wore impossibly tight pants.**

When the 60s arrived the secret agents became sort of cowboys in service to the establishment, creating a third alternative, though one less available for emulation. Then there was the brief attempt to break out of all of them by a lot of us. It was all very complicated and so confusing and the escape from the bonds of masculine identity was hardly perfect even as newer roles developed, a lot of them just pasted sideburns and facial hair on one of the other identities and went right on.

With that background it was kind of strange for me to see the two-generations removed nostalgia for the family man model that the The Art of Manliness blog represents. What’s wrong with a model that tells men that they should be responsible and mature, that they should take care of their families and be responsible citizens? Oh, it’s hard to say. For a lot of people it might work all right. I’d have loved to have someone attend to the details of house etc, I’d probably have been a much better musician if I’d been relieved of those. But it would have been at a cost.

Doing what’s necessary is a requirement to achieving full adulthood. Being able to fix the plumbing (which I can’t do) or shoveling the driveway, taking responsibility for finances and the other petty details of life might be as necessary to any self-respecting adult as being able to stand up and say you don’t agree with the consensus in a meeting and being able to give a rational reason why.

In the world of the 50s, the Father Knows Best ideal was essentially at odds with women achieving adulthood. Men got to be adults, women were supposed to be as vacuous as June Cleaver or most of the roles that Marilyn Monroe was assigned. Even Eve Arden, sardonic and clever, longed for the day she could hand her adulthood to Mr. Right. I think that in popular culture of the time, there being a prohibition on a woman expressing her own sexual desires, it was replaced by the cult of material and social stability. But to get that, women had to give up their status as autonomous individuals, sublimating their ideas under a blanket of husbandly dominance. The trade-off, largely unavailable to those who chose to go with the outlaw model, was that the man was supposed to “be a man” and provide that security. In practice, that was achieved only in some cases.

I suspect my friend was the victim of that model under which she also grew up. She saw her choice between someone who was exciting and undependable or someone who was stifling but dependable. And that’s what’s wrong with The Art of Manliness. It’s a role that could easily fall back into the 50s model, that clearly hankers after that kind of reliable, maybe even benevolent, daddy-husband. The icky Reagan marriage as archetype.

None of the past models of manliness was worth keeping, none of them worked as advertised. The lives of those who tried to adopt them were either shallow and selfish or impossibly burdensome to men. And they all required roles of women which were, if anything, more destructive. No one should be pressured into sublimating their adulthood, no one outlaw men or women, should be relived of the requirement to grow up. The knowledge that you are being responsible that you are giving up transient, personal wants because it is necessary, of doing things for other people, of facing the truth, of being fully grown up, is a human need as much as sex is. Adults, in the absence of some actual mental disease, are kept healthy by acting like adults. They make themselves likable by acting like adults, by doing what’s responsible. They gain the respect and affection of other people through that. And that is a human requirement of all genders, gender orientations, of any ethnicity, whatever condition of life we find ourselves in.

* As I recall, she did most of the actual parenting, until the kid was old enough to pal around with.

* * If real cowboys wore pants as tight as TV cowboys they’d never have been able to do their chores.
Note: I fell down on some ice and sprained my hand yesterday, that's why I didn't post. It's not broken.

I've got to say, it's the only time in my life that I regretted learning touch typing. My two-finger typing brother can do it, it takes me five times longer to type that way.

Anthony McCarthy

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Bad Poetry Hour

I'm BA-A-A-Ck! (Imagine horrible red eyes winking at you above a large scaley snout. Or a divine goddess with neon-green teeth.)

Anyway, I have spent much of the last week on the road. Hence this old Travel Poem:

I have traveled far
on the I-95
cocooned in my car.

I have eaten
at a hundred McDonalds and Burger Kings,
and chewed on chicken wings
from dozen Kentucky Fried Chickens.

It is the beaten
path I travel.
The plot never thickens.

As in a dream
I have glided past
a hundred times the same shopping center,
floated in a stream
of identical cars, all going too fast
to give way for those who enter.

I have seen the same wary look
on all the passing faces
and on every break I took
in all the resting places
I have sought
an answer to the same horrid thought:

Am I still me
or does my name
belong to someone else
who only looks the same?

Good, eh? Heh.

And here's a religious poem:

There is but one righteous God and that is mine.
I know, I know His gaze.
He speaks through me and His words do shine.
I run, I run in a maze.

There is but one righteous God and He is mine.
I own, I own His rage.
He is hungry and thirsty and I am His shrine.
His war, His war I wage.

There is but one true truth that I have written.
In me, in me put your trust.
And all who doubt it are righteously smitten
By God, by God in my lust.

There is but one true God and I am His servant.
He has spoken to Me but speaks no more.
His silence is fervent and I am its token.
Mine is His Holy War.

That one is a little bit too realistic, sigh.

Friday, January 02, 2009

"The good kind of feminist' (by Suzie)

          Perhaps because I have keen, dog-like hearing, I talk softly. (Why is everyone else shouting??) I dislike confrontation. For much of my life, I was slender. Sometimes I wear skirts and dresses, and I really do think that they can be comfortable and that men should have that option. I’m compulsively* heterosexual. At times, I wear makeup, not because feminism gives me choices, but because I was indoctrinated with the idea that I’m more attractive that way, and I can’t get that out of my head any more than I can shake the idea that I need to be attractive. Sometimes I pull the hair out of my legs with a little torture machine, not because I like smooth legs or think torture is sexy, but because I have enough to deal with, without some idiot making fun of me for having hairy legs.
           Radical feminists may think less of me for these things (sorry! I’m trying!). Like most women, however, I get a lot of positive reinforcement for anything considered feminine. I’ve had liberal/leftist/progressive/feminist men confide that they like me because I’m more feminine than some feminists they know. I want to cry, “That’s not a compliment!” But I don’t because of that problem-with-confrontation.
         I felt that same anguish this week when I read this comment from Comrade Kevin to the author at Liberality:
You're the good kind of feminist. The one I can listen to, I mean. No point in eschewing your femininity and expression of it in the process of seeking empowerment.
         To Kevin and all similar comrades: If I want equal rights and opportunities, including a reduction in the epidemic of male violence against women, will you listen to me only if I wear skirts and smile winningly?
         I'm low income and disabled. If I want to discuss class and disability, will it help if I look demure and speak softly?
        When men talk political theory or philosophy, privilege or oppression, do you listen only to those who do not fear expressing their masculinity? What combination of masculinity and femininity do you require from lesbians and gay men seeking rights?
        Kevin’s comment on femininity relates to my recent post on masculinity. It suggests that men and women are masculine or feminine by nature. In other words, there is something in my genetics that encourages me to wear dresses and makeup, avoid confrontation, etc. If I don't act in ways that society deems feminine, I must be eschewing my femininity, or denying my nature. 
        On his own blog, Kevin calls himself a feminist and criticizes the “second generation.” (That would be the “second wave.” As I’ve said before, these terms are imprecise, but even the first wave included more than one generation.) He says:
Feminism should not be a myopic viewpoint pitting men against women. True feminism is egalitarianism and moves the entire human race forward: women of all colors, creeds, and sexual orientations, and men of all colors, creeds, and sexual orientations.
Once again, we see the idea that feminism must fight all oppressions and not focus (solely? too much?) on gender and women.
          Going back to his comment on empowerment: Some people talk about it as if it's all good! No one has to make any sacrifices! Men and women can both win! Sometimes, however, some people have to give up power in order for others to be empowered. If women had parity in Congress, for example, it would mean fewer men in Congress. The post on masculinity noted that some men feel less powerful when they are no longer needed as providers and protectors.
          The idea that men would listen if only we were "the good kind of feminist" plays into the good-girl trap: If only we tried harder, if only we were more understanding ... It's as if we were asking for special favors, and men had no responsibilities. (Amananta's post on "the latest false woman-dividing dichotomy" also applies here.) If women could win equality by pleasing men – if all we had to do was look at them sweetly and bat our mascaraed eyelashes – the revolution would be over tomorrow.    
*Joke. See “compulsory heterosexuality.”
ETA: See the comments for Kevin's response.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year And Thanks For The Past Year!

Let's work to make it as good as it can possibly be, both for this planet and for all who live on it.

Thank you for your company and for sharing what you know with the greater community that we have built in the spider web of the cyberspace. My life would be poorer for not knowing you. In the emotional and spiritual sense, natch. Add a winky emoticon here.
P.S. This was future posted earlier in the week.