Category Archives: Undead sexist cliches

Political miscellanea

Mindy Kaling’s brother, Vijay Chokal-Ingam claims he was able to win admission to medical school by pretending to be black on his admissions forms, when the real him couldn’t make the cut. This article shows that it’s nonsense—among other things, Chokal-Ingam didn’t apply to the same schools as himself, so how does he know?

And of course, if it were possible to fake being a legacy admission and get admission that way, surely it would be just as un-meritocratic, but critics of affirmative action just skip over that bit.

•Tucker Carlson of the Daily Caller

has a brother, Buckley who’s charming message to a New York official is described here. Suffice to say, he implies she’s some kind of frigid bitch who has never engaged in certain sexual acts, which proves she’s worth of mockery.

Tucker Carlson says his brother meant it in “the nicest way.” I am … unconvinced. And he can’t imagine why anyone thinks this is worthy of fuss and ooh, his brother has been very hurt by the public response.

Cry me a river.

•Textbooks used in Texas schools must emphasize how the Bible and Moses are the foundations of American democracy.  Never mind facts when you can force religion on schoolkids.

•A conservative predicts how gay marriage and birth control (except the rhythm method which is totally different from all other birth control) will destroy America. Meanwhile, over in Iran, the religious authorities continue restricting access to birth control and abortion (as well as not meeting clothing rules and other mandates).

•As I’ve mentioned before, when men snap, some people are willing to blame women. Some men’s rights activists in fact think it makes perfect sense to take violent action against the oppressor feminists.

•Libertarians frequently invoke the danger of ridiculous customer lawsuits to justify tort reform. They rarely acknowledge that lawsuits and the threat of lawsuits can be just as bad in business-to-business courtroom action. Like the Italian pizza-making association threatening to sue McDonalds for a commercial implying kids prefer burgers to pizza. Or patent trolls who claim to have patented podcasting so everyone better pay up.

•A number of companies have adopted an on-call approach to retail work: workers don’t know until right before their shift whether they’re actually working or not (which makes a mess of both scheduling and budgeting). New York’s attorney general is looking into the legality.

•Equally nasty, Amazon makes warehouse workers sign non-compete agreements that ban them from working with any company that sells competing products for 18 months after they leave Amazon (as the article notes, what products don’t compete with Amazon). Non-compete agreements are supposed to protect against employees walking off with trade secrets; targeting warehouse workers feels more like a way to discourage them quitting grueling jobs that pay poorly for the work.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

The coming Republican race and other links

Digby catches a Washington Post article about high-powered Republican donors who were serious players in 2008 and 2012, but now they can’t get anyone to return their calls. Poor millionaires just can’t compete with billionaires who can dash off a seven-figure check without thinking about it. Which is actually scary, in a way, but damn, it’s also funny.

Given the scary part, I agree with another Digby post that it’s not entirely a bad thing religious conservatves are organizing to anoint its own chosen candidate, specifically positioning themselves in opposition to the Big Money (as Digby notes, this is an old, old conflict). Sure, anyone the religious right wants will be someone who makes me vomit, but they’re well within their rights to fight for the candidate of their dreams.

Case in point, Ted Cruz’ views utterly repel me. And they didn’t even include his proclamation that America needs 100 more Jesse Helms in the Senate (here’s some background on why that stinks). Although LGM links to some discussion that concludes Cruz doesn’t have enough support, even among the Republican base.

•Richard Cohen proclaims that liberal outrage over Ferguson is as absurd as Republican outrage over Benghazi. As noted at the link, Cohen’s views on race include that biracial families trigger a natural gag reflex and this in no way indicates bigotry.

•My own latest And article, on the topic of right-to-lifers who think rape is a beautiful way for God to give some lucky woman a baby.

•Roy Edroso often mocks right-bloggers (deservedly) for the fondness for proclaiming This Show/Music/Movie I Love Is Really Conservative!” Case in point, just because Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible about McCarthyism, if he were writing it today, he’d undoubtedly be attacking liberals! In point of fact he rewrote the play heavily for the 1990s movie adaptation and no, he didn’t suddenly become conservative.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

The sleep of reason

Despite all the insistence that the business world is a meritocracy, it ain’t. Hullabaloo links to a Guardian piece reporting that Wall Street bonuses have gone up the second years straight, while profits have continued to sink. Because they have to retain valued employees, dammit (the Guardian piece points out that’s not so). One might think the employees can’t be so great if profits are down, but the standard explanation for that (in the past, the Guardian doesn’t offer this as a quote) is “well, it’s been a rough year, they did the best they could.” Which somehow never applies when the years are flush, then the employees are super-geniuses.

The article says 40 to 50 percent of revenue raised by the Wall Street firms goes out in bonuses.

•Yet another Republican says rape can create a beautiful child. He’s not unique.

•The true leader of America and the free world? According to some conservatives, it’s the leader of Israel. So much for all that stuff about how Obama defers to much to foreign leaders … just kidding, that’s totally different.

•The federal investigation concludes Darren Wilson was indeed acting in self-defense when he shot Michael Brown (which doesn’t justify portraying Brown as a thug in the media because he liked rap). However it also finds massive problems and racism in the PD in general. Bill O’Reilly agrees the force was targeting black citizens. More here.

•Another police department claims medical-privacy laws prevent it saying anything about a man who died in custody.

•The White House has cracked down hard on leakers. Except when they’re someone important, of course.

•Michael Schiavo on the nightmare of trying to disconnect his wife from her life support (with court approval) when Jeb Bush didn’t want him to.

•Big business’s power to arbitrate our complaints is gutting the right to sue them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

As twilight falls, I link politically

It’s common for the religious right to refer to evolutionary theory as “Darwinism,” implying it’s just some kind of cultish belief (it has “ism” on the end, just like Muhammedanism!). Jonah Goldberg not only uses the word, he accuses liberals of using evolution to “other” religious true believers. In other words conservatives are the real victims, as always.

•Lenovo laptops come with a pre-installed adware program that’s also a big security hole.

•A judge has ruled that American Express merchant agreements that prevent retailers from favoring cards with lower merchant fees violate antitrust law.

•Samantha Fields posts about consent, kink and boundaries for people who haven’t had much training or experience in them.

•The airline industry claims we love having fees for things like checking bags instead of one bulk price because that way we can carry onboard and save money. Consumerist disagrees.

•Echidne of the Snakes on sexist jokes.

•Despite the conviction of some conservatives that Obama not doing everything Israel wants from the US is some kind of abomination, Reagan was willing to disagree with the Israelis, vehemently. Although Franklin Graham still thinks the White House has been infiltrated by Muslims—why, they might have access to the president.

•No, the Republicans are not going to fix Obamacare if the Supreme Court kills it.

Another non-Muslim terrorist plot.

•Even though we’re dropping bombs on ISIS, some conservatives insist we haven’t taken military action.

•Yesterday I linked to David Brooks’ column on how we need to teach the poor better morals. Of course he doesn’t seem to think big banks that file inaccurate documents (leading to a $50 million settlement) indicates an ethical flaw. Nor the ethics of gutting workers comp. Or preventing cities from requiring businesses offer sick leave. Echidne also dissects Brooks’ theories.

•A right-wing blogger insists Todd Akin was right that rape can’t get women pregnant. After citing one theory that only a few hundred rape victims get pregnant (rather than the thousands in some estimates), said blogger asserts that nobody knows the true number but obviously the smaller one is right. How does he know this if the true number is unknown? Don’t ask.

And while the implication, I think, is that with so few rape victims, it’s not a big deal, doesn’t that cut both ways? Wouldn’t that also mean that a few abortions would be no big deal? I’m sure if asked the writer would say no. It’s the same logic by which the deaths of 9/11 were an unimaginable tragedy, but the deaths of even more soldiers in the Iraq war were nothing (“That’s less people than die in traffic accidents every year!”).

•A really detailed analysis by Echidne of ISIS’ views on women. And part two on the group’s views of sexual slavery and rape.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

Still whirling

So I’ve spent the past week visiting friends back in Ft. Walton Beach where I used to live. Now I’m home in the frigid, snow-covered wasteland we call Durham. Even so, I’m glad to be back, but I’m not focused enough to post about my trip yet. So, some political links!

The FCC authorizes a couple of cities to launch their own broadband network despite state laws against it (and complaints from dissenting commissioners that this destroys capitalism!). It’s a ruling of limited effect, though, as other cities covered by the laws will have to petition the FCC for permission. Still, better than the alternative.

•The FCC has also signed off on net neutrality, though there are some questions about what the final rule will look like. Consumerist looks at the fallout.
•Morgan Stanley has settled a Justice Department investigation into whether the bank sold securities backed by unsound mortgages. A number of right-wingers have insisted that the fault lies in the federal government forcing banks to issue mortgages to poor non-white people who can’t afford to pay them off. But shit like securitizing the mortgages clearly has nothing to do with anything but banks’ yen for profit.

•Yet another right-winger mansplains how feminism is all about sex, and that’s bad. Oh, and also pathetic. Plus every woman who complains about sexism in videogames is fat.

•Privacy rights advocates call for an investigation into Samsung’s smart TVs and their voice recognition technology.

•Cereal sales are generally down, and Kellogg in particularly has lost its luster. Though I’ve seen enough companies written off, then recover, not to count Battle Creek out yet.

•Go, Denver! The article describes students walking out of school in protest of proposed new standards that would focus history classes on such topics as ““promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights” (OK, the last one sounds fine). No wonder one Fox news host thinks we should have no public schools at all.

•A Nevada lawmaker explains cancer is a fungus so kill it with fungicide and flush it out of your body!

•Idaho State Rep. Christie Perry says parents should have the right to take their children to faith healers and deny them conventional medical treatment. And if it’s a choice of conventional treatment or death, well, everyone dies eventually so what does it matter? And forcing parents to save their kids is an attack on Christianity. Unless they’re fetuses, apparently, because Perry is also pro-life, er at least that’s how she defines herself. If I were cynical I’d suggest it’s less any standard related to life and more to “what do right-wing Christians think parents should be allowed to do.”

•Meanwhile, Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman wants a bill that identifies unmarried parenthood as a cause of child abuse.

•So if a job applicant wears a hijab or a turban (for example) but doesn’t specify it’s for religious reasons, can the company reject them for violating the dress code? The Supreme Court discusses.

•Slacktivist once again discusses the problem of assuming that hardliners in a religion represent the purest, truest manifestation of the faith (links to early discussions in the post).

•Chicago police have maintained a black site where they can interrogate prisoners without reporting the arrest, notifying anyone or letting the prisoner contact a lawyer.

•Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker asserts that as he can stare down protesters opposed to his policies, he’d be the kind of commander-in-chief who could take down ISIS.

•The NCAA’s no-compensation rules for college athletes impose a burden other students don’t have (a music student can sell records or perform for pay, forinstance).

1 Comment

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

Undead sexist cliches: Prosecuting rape is an attack on men

This cliche is truly a very, very old chestnut—that making rape charges is a tool women use to destroy innocent men. And therefore getting aggressive about rape prosecution puts innocent men through hell.

I’m not sure who first said “rape is an easy charge to make but a hard one to prove” but that was the staple view for years. A woman would make up rape charges because the man didn’t call the next day. Or because he broke up with her and she wanted to get even. Or because she was asking for it, he provided it and then the slut changed her mind. I remember a case from the 1980s where the lawyer for the rapist professed outrage over a verdict that a woman could actually go up to a man’s apartment, make out and then choose not to have sex—how was it unreasonable for the guy to make her have sex?

From some TV shows and movie I remember back in the 1970s, people apparently thought it was plausible that a woman would threaten to make rape accusations when there was no sex involved: to force someone to give them money, to discredit an obnoxious official, to force a detective to back off from asking them questions. The reality that rape was more likely to leave the woman discredited and slut-shamed was never touched on.

Warren Farrell, one of the veterans of the men’s rights movement, claimed in one of his books that his totally objective research proved 90 percent of rape accusations were false, typically made up by bitter girlfriends. Of course, Farrell also believed being cock-teased and being fired were just as traumatic for a man as rape was for a woman, so it’s possible he’s biased.

While society is a lot better at thinking about and prosecuting rape than it used to be, the argument still crops up. Right-winger Mona Charren asserted once that any date-rape charge is a lie: the woman simply woke up in the morning, couldn’t deal with the fact she was now a slutty, slutty tramp, and went into denial. Or Todd Akin with his conviction that if the victim got pregnant, it wasn’t a legitimate rape. And James Taranto has complained that making an issue of sexual assault in the military is, indeed, an attack on men and male sexuality.

Which is part of the problem, that men who rape are just doing what comes naturally. That rape is, as Scott Adams put it, as natural as lions eating gazelles. So criminalizing it is totally unfair to men, because they’re just being guys. And a guy can’t be expected to think about shit like consent when he has a hard dick. And you can’t expect him to back off just because maybe the woman’s too drunk or otherwise incapacitated  to say yes. After all, she didn’t say no.

For a recent example we have this recent column by British attorney David Osborne that trying harder to prosecute rape will “have serious consequences for all red-bloodied males who are out on the rut.” After all, the reason most prosecutions fail is because the jury “did not believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim did not consent,” which clearly proves not that juries might be biased against victims but the victims are a bunch of liars.

Osborne also finds it “distasteful and unattractive the suggestion that as the victim was blind drunk she therefore unable to give her consent to sex.” In fact, if the victim was drunk or high when the rape happened, that should be a 100 percent bullet-proof defense for her assailant. After all, “you’ve got to bear in mind that walking the streets provocatively dressed can in some circumstances be an invitation to a red blooded bloke.” And how can it be fair to punish red-blooded he-men for doing what comes naturally?

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

Identity Crises of Women in Refrigerators, Part Three (#SFWApro)

(Part One and Part Two if you haven’t seen ’em) Before she became a comics writer, Gail Simone coined the phrase “women in refrigerators” to refer to the way some female characters were killed in comics. A “woman in refrigerators” story is one where the woman is brutally murdered, often graphically, but the emphasis isn’t on her: it’s on the gigantic manpain her death causes her husband/boyfriend/father. She’s a McGuffin in someone else’s story. Her fridging is the inspiration for the hero’s grief or revenge or heroism or whatever. For example:

•Shortly after Kyle Rainer acquired his power ring, his girlfriend Alex is murdered and stuffed in a refrigerator by Major Force (the origin of the trope’s name). Ambivalent about being a Green Lantern, he has to man up and prove himself to bring Force to justice.

•Green Lantern villain Star Sapphire hacks and murders Katma Tui, ex-GL. Not because she’s an ex-GL but because of how much pain her death will inflict on Hal Jordan and John Stewart.

•Major Force (again) murders ex-GL Arisia because of the pain it’ll cause super-hero and ex-GL Guy Gardner. I don’t know it’s a particular thing with GLs, more likely just the randomness of my reading choices.

•The Joker shoots and cripples Barbara Gordon, AKA Batgirl, not because she’s Batgirl but as part of a plot against Commissioner Gordon (although she isn’t killed, I think it qualifies).

Like most terms of criticism, there are other definitions, and different victim lists and arguments the whole concept is nonsense. But it’s my blog, so that’s how I’m defining it. And I’ve got to say, Identity Crisis’ treatment of Sue Dibney fits the concept perfectly.

identitycrisis7In the first issue, we get several pages of Ralph discussing what he feels about Sue. Sue herself, we see for a couple of pages, preparing for Ralph to get home. Then she’s dead. Identity Crisis isn’t about Sue, it’s about Ralph’s pain and the grief he and the other heroes feel. By contrast, Firestorm gets to die fighting heroically (and no, Mr. Metlzer, he doesn’t blow up if he’s cut, but that’s a minor point by comparison). Tim Drake’s father goes down fighting and we get several scenes before he dies of him and Tim interacting in the present; Mr. Drake’s there as a person, not as Tim’s memory.

And then there’s the rape scene. While there’s no skin showing, Sue’s pain and suffering is graphically dramatized in her face, her body language—and then the story forgets about her. Nothing about her healing, nothing about her at all until Jean murders her. The importance of the rape isn’t that she was raped, it was that this provoked the JLA to try reprogramming Light, which fuels much of the rest of the plot.

Sue Dibney was fridged. She deserved better.

Cover by Michael Turner, all rights with current holder.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comics, Undead sexist cliches