Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Where Everybody Poops. Except Donald Trump.

No day can be completely wasted when it begins with a Google search for the definition of "schlonged," right?  Imagine that in some other context than in the presidential debates of the still-most powerful nation on earth (cue:  tiny whips).

Then imagine it in its actual context:  The deep utterances of Donald Trump, a man who wants to be the most powerful person on this planet:

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump used a campaign stop in Michigan on Monday to make astonishingly sexist attacks against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
At one point, Trump told the Grand Rapids crowd that Clinton got “schlonged” by President Obama during their 2008 Democratic primary race.
“Even her race to Obama. She was going to beat Obama. I don’t know who’d be worse. I don’t know. How does it get worse? She was favored to win and she got schlonged. She lost. She lost,” Trump said.
“Schlong” is a well-known reference to a man’s genitals. There are no alternative definitions for the word, according to Merriam-Webster.
Trump also used his speech to attack Clinton for using the bathroom.
Discussing her brief disappearance during Saturday’s Democratic debate while she was using the lavatory, Trump told the crowd, “Where did Hillary go? They had to start the debate without her. Phase two. Why? I know where she went. It’s disgusting. I don’t want to talk about it. It’s too disgusting. Don’t say it, it’s disgusting. We want to be very, very straight up.”
But wait!  It gets even more hilarious.  Andrea Tantaros, one of the many identical-looking* beautiful women in the stable of conservative Fox News, asked this deep, deep question about how Hillary Clinton should respond to Trump or how she might respond to Trump:

HARRIS FAULKNER (HOST): Donald Trump, talking about -- and I don't know if you guys watched it. Saturday night, the debate, there was a little bathroom break with Hillary Clinton. Watch.
ANDREA TANTAROS (HOST): He shouldn't have said it. He -- I think that he doesn't need to say those type of things, because he knows that historically Hillary likes to play the victim, and he knows that now her campaign's talking about this. But this campaign season's different. People don't care about political correctness. They don't. And, frankly, I think what he's doing may be smart because it baits Hillary to come out and look like a wimp. A whiny, weak female. And her campaign has to make up its mind. Is she a strong leader who can handle criticism about going to the potty or not? Or is she a victim? Can she handle ISIS or can't she? And you know what, Trump knows that and he's baiting her and it's masterful. I have to say. She's going to lose this one.
TANTAROS: She looks very, very weak and victim-like. And in this environment, that is a losing strategy.

Emphasis is mine, and I cannot stop laughing.  Can she handle criticism about going to the potty or not?  When, as they say, "everybody poops"?

Can our Donald handle that criticism?  And why on earth would he wish to criticize someone for doing what all human beings (living ones) have to do?  I'd be very worried about someone being a pod-person or an alien in disguise if they never had to go to the lavatory!  Or about the resulting constipation and how that might make someone press the nuclear button.

But of course this is  about Hillary Clinton's genitals (she has no schlong!).  Trump is an open sexist, often on the level of a nasty teenager, and he is disgusted by the idea of a woman urinating or defecating.  Disgusted!  I wonder if he has support staff for those functions himself?  Now I feel disgusted.**

Ah, the whiny weak female who has to go potty.  How low have the conservatives fallen, with their rebel boy, Donald?  How inane can American political debate turn?  Well, here's your answer, my sweet friends.

*  Because the women are selected based on the same criteria (looks and long legs) and then made up to look the same.  Or so I suspect.  Fox News where all the women are beautiful and all the men look like they came out of a crumpled paper bag.  Now that's how you do sexism!

**  There are arguments that disgusting things provoke strong reactions in more conservative test subjects in studies.  I haven't read in that field so I cannot tell if that is true, but in any case the disgust doesn't appear to stretch to dead bodies, what with the war supporters among the conservatives.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Where Echidne Confesses Her Laziness About The US Presidential Debates. And on "Full Vagina Ahead."

This post has to do with all the presidential debates.  I haven't followed them this year.  In past elections I used to write long posts about the debates, with lots of research, but I got the impression that they weren't that popular.

So laziness set in, and also the fear of getting elections burnout before the actual races (rat races?) even begin.  I need to treasure the small political flame which still sputters in my brain, and part of that is not to keep thinking that I've seen this Déjà vu all over again...

Because stuff does repeat.

I promise to do better next year.  Still, I can't resist commenting on that "full vagina right away" statement, in the context of the last Republican debate.  It came from Ed Deace, a religious conservative radio host from Iowa, and referred to Carly Fiorina, the only female Republican candidate for the presidency.  As in "she went full vagina right away,"  by mentioning aspects of her life which linked to her being a woman.  Which seems to be a no-no for Deace.

But imagine, for a minute, that the connotations of all this wouldn't be so bad!*  I think (says Echidne, worriedly peeking over the edge of her desk) that the term could have had grrrl power!  Like having a jet engine or a giant vacuum cleaner.

For instance, imagine Echidne going "full vagina" at Deace, vacuuming up any head hair he has and wheeling him around like a tornado, just to make him appreciate his own invention, then spitting him out!  Quite safely, of course.

* Some of the bad aspects are obvious, as they link to the war against women.  Others you can think of for yourself.  It's not necessarily bad to have a full vagina, of course (even the reverse!), but that, my friends, is not the business of Ed Deace.

What Motivates The Harassment and Violence Against Muslim Women in the US?

Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley writes in the Time Magazine about the violence and harassment of Muslim women in the aftermath of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. The headline (not usually picked by the author) argues that violence against Muslim women is racist and misogynist.

I feel like a worm for picking this particular article* as the example for my thesis (to be covered below), because Tinsley's message is mostly about the need for women to stand together and to defend those who are exposed to various hate crimes. She addresses women of color, in particular, and refers to the recent case of Larycia Hawkins, a Christian Wheaton College professor, who was suspended by the college for wearing the Muslim veil (in solidarity) during the Christian Advent period. And it can indeed be true that some anti-Muslim bigotry interacts with racism and misogyny.

At the same time, I disagree with the headline, because violence against Muslim women would probably exist even if** there was no racist or misogynist aspect in it. That's because it is largely fueled by anti-Muslim bigotry and general (and media-stoked) fear of Muslims.

These hate-attacks would be equally aimed at men if it was as easy to spot men of Muslim faith. But traditional Muslim women are much easier to spot, because their dress differs more from the general dress in the United States. The men have a certain privilege (heh) here, and can more easily become invisible to the haters.

This, in turn, links to the way the three ancient Abrahamic religions have coded female and male behavior, how literal interpretations of their holy texts place the burden of controlling sexuality on women, their dress and their general behavior, and how forgetting about those underlying injustices can color today's debates about religious freedom or religious rights, especially for women.

*  The reason I do it at all is that it helps to be precise in naming what might be behind certain types of hatred. 
** It's naturally impossible to know what's in the mind of someone harassing or attacking Muslim women. But I doubt that their first motive would be anything but religion-based.