So not focused on blogging. So links!
•Four women have just completed marine infantry training for the first time. And for those who wonder, meeting the same standards as the men.
•Florida congressman Trey Radel advocates drug tests for anyone receiving food stamps and cutting off aid if they flunk. He’s just been convicted on cocaine possession. I wonder if he’d consider making his Congressional benefits and salary conditional on passing drug tests?
•If you’re an American Christian here’s a test to see if you’ve been persecuted.
•Anyone who claims Christians have been reading the Bible the way we do know “for 2,000 years” is wrong.
•There’s a lot of nostalgia for the Reagan years when supposedly everyone in DC on either side of the political gulf got along. Not so.
•Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, some Kentucky rural residents are insured for the first time ever (“I might have that colonoscopy done. My mom had colon cancer twice. I never had money to do it.”)
•There’s been a lot of debate on whether the Senate killing the filibuster for judicial nominees and executive-branch appointments is good for liberals. Here’s a persuasive argument it is.
•I’ve written before about how treating the fetus as having rights erodes the rights of women. Here’s a new twist: A pregnant woman moves out of state to start school, the father sues and a judge (overturned on appeal) declares “While (McKenna) did not ‘abduct’ the child, her appropriation of the child while in utero was irresponsible, reprehensible.”
•A federal judge just ruled that tax-free housing payments for clergy are unconstitutional. More discussion here. While I tend to think of little Jane Austen-era vicarages when this topic comes up, some megachurch pastors are getting more in tax-free housing than my salary.
•New York jailed a teenager for three years without trial. I’d say “happily” they dismissed the case and released him recently,but three years in Rikers? Not so happy.
•Author Gershon Gorenberg says Israel’s Netanyahu’s outrage at the new Iran nuclear agreement is understandable, but wrong.
•A Florida school tells a black student to cut her hair or leave.
•Some conservatives are horrified by something called the Knockout Game (in which a black kid assaults a white and knocks them cold) seeing yet more proof of a race war. One knocker-out has been charged with a hate crime (no, those laws don’t just protect minorities). NPR points out these attacks aren’t new, freaking out about them isn’t new and that they’re only a fraction of violent crimes.
•Apparently one outgrowth of the religious right’s fondness for courtship is child marriage.
Category Archives: Undead sexist cliches
So not focused on blogging. So links!
Echidne of the Snakes looks at the Bechdel test, and people who are shocked, shocked and appalled that anyone thinks this standard is a worthwhile one.
•Here, the Goddess of Snakes points out how evolutionary-psychology cliches reinforces sexism and misogyny (something I’ve discussed in the past, here for example). Here’s a post from a multi-part series on the same topic (regarding claims that women use bitchiness to target sexual rivals)
•British universities say that if a speaker’s religion requires a gender-segregated audience, the university is obligated to make students comply because religious freedom!
•A New Jersey town settled a lawsuit over housing discrimination. LGM celebrates, because the settlement means the Supreme Court won’t get a shot.
•Part of the outrage over insurance plans getting canceled may relate to insurers omitting facts—like possible alternatives to being switched to a higher-priced policy.
•Google neglected to inform people about cookie-tracking their underlying behaviour.
•Liberals who argue politics at Thanksgiving are fascists! Because only fascists do that!
•SF author John Wright mansplains that female characters who are warriors, scientists, or have lots of sex aren’t real women, they’re male characters in drag! Here’s a list of other authors with anti-semitic/anti-muslim/anti-gay views (Wright’s in there too, asserting that if racism is bad, then so is homosexuality).
•Florida’s governor really hates Obamacare.
•Kenneth Copeland, who claims veterans shouldn’t seek help for mental problems, isn’t too keen on rendering unto Caesar.
•Oh, and here’s an argument worrying about sexual assault in the military just makes women weak. And it’s not really a crisis, so there!
•My latest And column covers voting rights and Republican distaste for them. My next column is going to focus on Repub hate for sexually active women, which makes this blog post relevant.
•Digby argues that while a majority of Americans say they oppose liberalism, that’s not set in stone (or even exactly true—specific liberal positions command a lot of support).
So as you’ve probably heard, the Obama administration has negotiated a six-month nuclear deal with Iran. Not really an end to hostilities, but certainly a step away from them. And unsurprisingly, right-bloggers are horrified. As Roy Edroso notes at the link, Obama is simultaneously fascist—Dems killing the filibuster in the Senate is exactly like the Third Reich—and a wimpy Neville Chamberlain appeaser. It’s Munich all over again!
Okay, I admit Chamberlain made a bad call, though as plenty of people have pointed out, there were no good calls. Nobody knew how bad Hitler would be; there was no support for going to war against him if it could be avoided. But my point is not to defend Chamberlain but to wonder if right-wingers (and pretty much everyone else who invokes Munich) isn’t blithely ignoring America’s conduct back in the day. Because it’s not as if the United States was champing at the bit to tackle Hitler. Lots of Americans saw getting involved in Europe again as a bad idea, period. And some saw it as a bad idea specifically because it would be a “Jewish war” for the benefit of European Jews, and of no interest to America. Irish Americans saw Hitler blasting England to bits as a wonderful thing (according to David Brinkley in Washington Goes to War).
Heck, even after World War II began, America continued trading with the Axis. It was only after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Germany declared war on the US that America got involved (and as the excellent book Trading With the Enemy points out, some companies kept right on doing business with the Nazis). So remove the beam from your own eye, why don’t you?
That aside, I think this blog post sums up the hysterical reaction: It’s not enough for them to oppose a policy — they have to persuade themselves that they’re the only ones preventing the destruction of civilization as we know it. So every foreign foe is Hitler, every deviation from laissez-faire is the brutal crushing of economic freedom, every immigration proposal is the takeover of America by vicious globalists. Red Dawn isn’t a movie — it’s what happens every time any non-conservative obtains any power whatsoever and dares to use it.”
•What fuels white rage? This Salon article argues that it works partly by using race as a substitute for class: It’s not that the poor and middle-class are getting squeezed by the rich, it’s the white people getting oppressed! This makes it easier to support capitalism no matter how it hurts, while blaming everything on blacks, Hispanics or Jews.
•A really good post from Film Critic Hulk on rape and rape culture.
He includes a link to yet another guy on another news show discussing how a 14-year-old girl who goes out drinking pretty much has it coming: What did she expect to happen when she got to drinking?
To paraphrase Critic Hulk, suppose that a gang of thieves were ripping off homes at night, when the owners were out. Joseph DiBenedetto (the rape apologist in question) is out for dinner, comes home, finds himself ripped off. Anyone would think he’d nod sagely and agree if people said “Well, what did you think would happen? You knew there was a risk.” Or if the cops announced that people in DiBenedetto’s neighborhood should not leave their homes at night, and implied anyone who did was at fault for the robbery. Somehow I doubt he’d see it the same way (unfortunately I don’t know he’d make the connection to the crap he spews, either).
And as I’ve pointed out before, a healthy society is one that protects 14-year-olds from the results of their youth and inexperience.
Religion Dispatches reports on a new Pakistani cartoon, The Burka Avenger and links to a YouTube of the first episode, with subtitles.
The protagonist is a schoolteacher orphaned as a toddler (I think the visuals imply a religious riot, but I’m not sure) and raised by a kindly couple who taught her a martial-arts system that uses books and pens as weapons. Now she dedicates her skills to fighting the corrupt officials and religious zealots determined to shut down schools for girls: Truth, justice and equal rights to education!
The first episode reminds me somewhat of a lot of cartoons and comics from World War II. It’s subtle as a brick about who the bad guys are, and makes them buffoonish too. But I’m okay with that. People who want to deny girls an education deserve to wear the black hats.
The fact Jiya wears a burka in action has generated a lot of attention. My impression from the first episode is that it’s just a practical way to hide her identity (she doesn’t wear one in her secret identity).
As a life-long comics fan, I do love seeing what another country and culture does with the super-hero concept. As Kurt Busiek once said, if super-heroes are normally a power fantasy for teenage boys, they can be adapted to a hundred other uses: gay rights, growing old, left-wing causes, right-wing causes and here a fantasy for girls. Or really for anyone who wants to believe that someone will stand up when oppression strikes.
As a final thought, I wonder how badly the right wing would freak out if a Wonder Woman cartoon took stances like this?
•JD Salinger had a predatory relationship with a number of young women. The article discusses how people who know the facts about a predator may simply work around it (like not treading on a weak stair you haven’t fixed) but newbies get into trouble.
•A survey in India finds a common attitude in rapists is that they’re entitled to sex.
•Here’s some ways society police boys to avoid them being too girly.
•The US isn’t the only nation where people fixate on the birthrate not being big enough (which is not unique to the US) so women need to be breeders.
•A blogger explains why some women look at any strange man and don’t give him the benefit of the doubt.
•The religious right continues to insist women belong in the home. And that gay marriage is bad because it implies kids don’t need fathers. Curiously, I’ve never heard the anti-gays argue that it implies kids can get by fine without a mother. In any case, as I’ve noted before, arguing that their sexist views are confirmed by nature is wrong.
•Another allegation of priestly abuse in the Catholic Church. In another case, memos show the Church knew about a priest molesting kids between 2006 and 2012 and did nothing until one of the victims went public. The Vicar General for the parish still insists it was handled correctly. And here’s a third case, undone by the statute of limitations.
•Illinois approves gay marriage. State Rep. Dwight Kay asserts this is wrong because this nation’s Constitution was built on the Bible. Short answer: no it wasn’t. Then we have Catholic Bishop Paprocki proclaiming he will hold an exorcism to fight for repeal. I’m not quite sure who or what he’s going to exorcise, but as Slacktivist notes, we’ve gone a long way from when Jesus exorcised demons to free people from suffering; Paprocki only wants to increase pain. Also noted at Slacktivist, why not exorcise corrupt CEOS, crooked bankers or warmongers?
•Bill de Blasio isn’t mayor of New York yet, but he’s already destroying the city and causing crime to rise!
•Remember Ken Starr, the independent prosecutor assigned to investigate the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky case? In the case of a Virginia child molester recently sentenced to 43 years, Starr thinks the judge should have gone easy on him. Over in Alabama, which has the third-highest number of lifers serving time for nonviolent crimes, a man who raped a teenage girl won’t do jail time.
Another linkpost, just ’cause I’m lazy.
•A company fails to deliver a mail-order product. When the customers complain, it slaps them with a $3,500 fine which goes on their credit history as an unpaid debt. The rationale? The contract says you can’t badmouth them (Consumerist at the link doubts this will hold up).
•Religious conservatives David Barton and Kenneth Copeland tell soldiers with PTSD to stop taking drugs and seeing counselors because the Bible says God is all they need. I think the term for these gentlemen is “douchebag.” Well in Barton’s case liar works well too.
•Boeing CEO Jim McNerny says we need to raise the retirement age for Social Security because retirement leaves too few people in the workforce. I presume what he means is that having the option to retire makes it easier to pass up shit wages and that’s all American business wants to pay them.
•An Iowa imam has been charged with sexual assault for feeling up a teenager he was counseling. He claims it was a religious service so First Amendment! end of story.
•Republicans won’t let Obama appoint any judges if they can help it.
•Here’s to companies that don’t require workers to show up on Thanksgiving.
•Digby links to and discusses a piece by Rick Perlstein arguing that the Tea Party isn’t that different from the right-wings of the past. LGM weighs in too.
•The Atlanta Braves are getting a new (heavily taxpayer supported stadium) in Cobb County. But Cobb County is very, very, very concerned that it might bring people to Cobb County from Atlanta. But I’m sure they don’t mean “black people” because we’re a post-racial society now. A local reporter suggests this is why Atlanta doesn’t have more regional mass transit.
•Earlier this week, I mentioned Richard Cohen’s column where he says that gagging at the sight of interracial couples is a conventional reaction. One Slate columnist argues Cohen is trying to distinguish the tea party from the real racists, but as LGM points out, saying “they’re not racist, they’re just disgusted by interracial marriage” isn’t really an improvement. Salon guts Cohen’s defense (he’s really, really hurt by being called a racist!).
•Now for something cheerful: Congressional democrats have proposed a bill that would pre-empt state restrictions on abortion. Not much chance of passage, but it’s good to see them stand up for this.
First off, we have Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, who writes in a column that conservative Iowa Republicans guarantee the primary there will go to someone far to the right of NJ Governor Chris Christie. And that while these Repubs are totally not racists, they’re very upset about the “the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children.”
I’m not sure if Cohen genuinely thinks being disgusted by interracial marriage is indeed a normal reaction or if he’s trying to avoid accusing Republican conservatives of racism. Given his views on black shoplifters and cops stopping black men based purely on their race, I’m probably being overly charitable (and did I mention he was recently stunned to realize slavery was cruel?). Oh, as noted at the initial link, he’s also wrong about most Americans being horrified by the mingling of the races.
•The defeat of Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s anti-sodomy, anti-abortion candidate for governor has freaked out a lot of conservatives. Rush Limbaugh’s explanation: that old undead sexist cliché, women want government to take care of them! Oh, and also the Dem candidate appealed to people who desire “all the sex without consequences they wanted.”
The interesting thing is, Limbaugh says it as if sex without consequences is a bad thing. Is it simply a code phrase for “they want insurance to pay for birth control” or is he, as they say, just venting what people are thinking. Because a lot of conservatives do think sex “without consequences” is a baaad thing.
•Lori Gottlieb, a West Coast author, learned from her insurer that she’d have to pay $5,400 more under Obamacare than her old plan, which would certainly be bad. But as noted at LGM, she says nothing about actually checking the California exchange to see if that’s true. And makes several odd statements, such as complaining that if she came down with cancer, she’d be covered despite pre-existing conditions. This is a bad thing? Oh, and while she bitches about paying for other people’s insurance, she was fine getting maternity benefits as long as she needed them and then dropping them (apparently under the illusion none of her insurance premiums would go to anyone else’s maternity care). And according to the LGM comments, she’s much more wealthy than the struggling single Mom she presents herself as (although that said, I don’t blame her for being pissed if she does, in fact, end up paying more).
•Alicublog catches James Taranto complaining that Democrats are equally bigoted whether they support white people or black people. Another conservative (author Andrew Klavan) objects that by not throwing around names like “slut” or “retard” the way conservatives do, liberals actually prove themselves the more eeevil group.
•So eeevil that asking questions about NFL players and the risk of concussions is just part of the evil scheme to castrate American manhood and make us soft!
•Tony Perkins forgets that the Pilgrims were not the same people as the Founding Fathers. And in fact they took a dim view of other peoples’ religious liberties (but then, so does Perkins).
•Texas law makes it harder for women to vote because they change their name after marriage. Which is good for conservatives.
•A Senator declares that gay rights violates the most fundamental beliefs of Christian employers. As Slacktivist says, “Forget the Bible. Forget the creeds. Forget loving God and your neighbor. Screw that Jesus guy. The “very most deeply held” belief, according to Dan Coats, is being anti-gay.” Another example of religion being reduced to pure tribalism.
•Right-wing think-tanker Frank Gaffney claims that registering the poor is “creeping socialism” and “the end of America as we know it” because they’re all moochers. Um, you mean like the Atlanta Braves?
Definitely feeling better than yesterday. I even got to walk outside, or as TYG put it once when sick “I get to go out in the big blue room!”
Still draggy, but at least I didn’t fritter my time away. When I worked, I worked. When I didn’t work, I either relaxed or slept. None of the frustrating in-betweenness.
But rather than do anything thoughtful, it’s time for a linkpost:
•Bill de Blasio won the New York mayorship despite opposing the city’s stop-and-frisk program and calling for higher taxes on the rich. Right-wingers proclaim that he’s a dyed-in-the-wool Communist and that without cops hassling every black man who walks the streets, New York will slide into chaos! He won’t keep us safe like Giulani (ignoring that having Rudy G. for mayor on 9/11 didn’t actually stop 9/11).
•Over in Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli lost the race for governor. While white married women voted for him, he lost pretty much all other women over his opposition to abortion and no-fault divorce. I’m sure his support for criminalizing sodomy didn’t help. More here.
On divorce, I’m wondering now if that isn’t a reflection of the right-wing love of gender hierarchy. After all, if women can’t get out of a marriage easily, they’re that much easier to control once they tie the knot.
•Contrary to some media accounts, the Tea Party did not originate with Republican outrage over George W. Bush policy,it began when Obama took the White House.
•Businesses marketing online courses apparently think teaching is so easy, they can just hire actors to read the lectures.
•Some judges side with businesses that claim a right not to cover contraceptives in insurance. As LGM says, judicial appointments matter.
•Letting the NSA collect your e-data protects your privacy! Because if corporate America keeps it, who knows what they might do with it, but you can trust the NSA, right?
•Doctors anally rape a man to check whether he has drugs stuffed up his butt. No. Not kidding.
•Tom Tomorrow on the free market in health care.
•The Catholic Church insists it opposes unfair discrimination against gays. But you know, firing them for being gay is totally not unfair.
•Slacktivist rips into the idea that libertarians, unlike social conservatives, are not moralistic and judgmental.
A woman posts a video to FB showing her water coming out of the tap yellow. The water company sues for defamation. Suing to shut up critics was something companies did a lot in the 1990s (SLAPP—Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation),so I’m not surprised they’re still trying it.
•A profile of an 86-year-old who works to find money for women who can’t afford an abortion. If that cheers you up too much, here’s a look at a pregnant former drug addict forced into a treatment program despite not using drugs during pregnancy. The fetus got a lawyer. She didn’t (not unusual). And this Oklahoma woman had to spend $3,000 traveling out of state to get an abortion for a fetus afflicted with holoprosencephaly (might be born alive, definitely won’t live out the first year).
•Obama nominates judges to vacant judgeships. Unsurprisingly the GOP cries oppression. Topping that we have a right-wing blogger accusing civil-rights activist John Lewis of being Bull Conner and unleashing police dogs and firehouses on freedom-loving Americans. Because Lewis supports Obamacare and that’s Just Like Slavery.
•The Wall Street Journal explains the problem with the economy is that we don’t have enough males working. If more of them don’t find jobs soon, unemployment will stay high!
•One company is arguing corporations should be able to take defective-product cases to court in secret. Which company? We don’t know. It’s secret.
•Another right-wing white terrorist.
•Here’s a lovely fellow: the head of an Oxford rugby club says that for an upcoming dinner event, club members should bring a woman and a bottle of wine “to be tampered with.” Even if this was some kind of joke it’s not even remotely funny.
•Phil Kline, a rabidly anti-abortion Kansas attorney general, has been suspended from practicing law for three years, due to some of his anti-abortion investigations. Unfortunately a Kansas doctor who provided a required second opinion in some abortion cases has lost hers. One of the cases involved a 10-year-old girl who’d been raped by a family member.
•An overview of the religious-liberty argument for corporations to not cover birth control in their insurance.
•Newest loss-of-privacy news: NSA was tapping private data centers run by Google and Yahoo.
•A Christian blogger points out there’s no Biblical injunction against baking wedding cakes or providing other services to gay couples.
A post by Letha Dawson Scanzoni on Christian Feminism today discusses the religious right’s love of hierarchy.
The author’s examples include an old British hymn that talks about how poor and rich are all set in place by God, and similar sentiments about segregation in the South. Plus a lot on Christians who argue this applies especially to the importance of women submitting to men. I can think of others, such as right-winger Ralph Reed saying Biblical injunctions on slavery apply to the conduct of employees (” Christians have a responsibility to submit to the authority of their employers, since they are designated as part of God’s plan for the exercise of authority on the earth by man.”).
Scanzoni says many Christians embrace this hierarchical view because they believe it’s God’s will (she disagrees), and that some Christians are terrified that without a clear set of Godly rules, they won’t know what to do. I agree, but I think for some people, the fear is much wider in scope.
In The Authoritarians Robert Altemeyer says “authoritarian followers”—people who want strong, powerful leaders—see society as a house of cards in a strong breeze. Remove one card and everything topples. Black is black, white is white and if people cross into black,suggest there’s also grey or question where the line is drawn, the leaders must smack them down. They don’t just fear their actions, they fear everyone’s: if marriage (for example) isn’t one man/one woman, then some people really can’t see any way to ban pedophilia or man-on-dog.
Mary Douglas, in Purity and Danger, makes the same point more generally: societies, particularly religious-dominated ones, want nice sharp boundaries between clean and unclean. Fish that don’t have fins or scales, for example? In the Old Testament they’re unclean because, Douglas argues, they breach the boundaries, both fish and not-fish. As I noted last year, past eras have shown the same fixation on class. Under sumptuary laws, the poor can’t dress like the rich and the nouveau rich can’t dress like aristocrats, so that you can tell at a glance who’s who and aristocrats have visual proof of their own superiority.
Another factor, I suspect, is that for many people change to the hierarchy means losing status. The book Hellfire Nation quotes slavery advocates in the 19th century saying slavery stabilizes society: even the poorest white guy can look at a rich white guy and think of them as brothers in non-blackness. Likewise, in the 20th century, being a white Christian male didn’t guarantee you’d be at the front of the line, but you’d never be at the back of it. Slacktivist quotes several writers arguing this was a big factor in the shutdown. Conservative WASP Republican voters who know they’re transitioning from majority status to one of many minorities see their status (and possibly their actual power) disappearing and they’re terrified.
It’s particularly acute with gender issues because those affect individual men so personally. If a man defines himself by patriarchal authority over his family, a world where women are free not to submit to him takes away his power. That stretches way beyond Christianity (though having religious approval for the view doesn’t hurt). One of the reasons a Forbes columnist once warned against marrying professional women, for instance, was that if she’s unhappy with the marriage, she can afford to walk out. The same applies, in different ways, to men who define themselves as guys because they’re doing Stuff Women Don’t Do.
As the blogger Jeanne d’Arc once said, the belief “that certain groups of people have a ‘place’ in society that exists outside of the context of what they are best at and how much potential they have to contribute to society – and regardless of how awkwardly they fit into that ‘place’” is never anything a destructive one.