Category Archives: Undead sexist cliches

I totally did not see these plot twists coming (#SFWApro)

Plot twist the first: after a big get together last weekend, TYG came down with a nasty cold. As of today, it appears I’ve caught it too, but in much less virulent form (that’s how it usually works with us). I felt like all I want to do is nothing, but I’m not hacking or sneezing any. So yay for small mercies.

Plot twist the second: I routinely submit query letters to various non-fiction magazines, but my success rate is so low I’ve often wondered if writing and finishing more fiction wouldn’t be smarter. But this week, guess what? I got a go-ahead from History magazine for an article proposal. After the initial panic at having committed myself (I’m so used to working without deadlines or obligations these days) I took a deep breath, relaxed, and enjoyed the moment.

PT the third: I also apply for freelance gigs through the Journalism Jobs website, usually without much success. But this week I pitched Screen Rant on a gig writing about comic books, and they liked my stuff. It’ll be a trial run at first to see if it really works out on both sides, but writing about comic books (list-style articles) is like a dream job. More details when I have something posted.

This, of course, leaves me with the challenge of adjusting my schedule for the new assignments. That’s tougher than you’d think, simply because I don’t want to give up time on fiction — but most probably, work on short stories will take the hit. Next to actual paying gigs, Southern Discomforts is the top priority, lesser projects will have to go on stand-by.

Speaking of which, this week’s replotting went reasonably well. I have a rough outline of how things should happen and how everyone reaches their endpoints. I do not have, however, the scene by scene breakdown that I wanted; my vague outlines tend to fall so far apart midbook that I have to give up and start over, and I don’t want that. I’ll continue scene-by-sceneing it but I may start work on the early, well-detailed chapters as well. But I’m still concerned that I may be losing some of the sense of Pharisee as a community outside the plot of the story. I’ll have to watch that as things progress.

I delivered my next And column, though it’s not out yet, and got another 12,000 words written on Undead Sexist Clichés: The Book (not how it will be titled, but it’s the simplest way to distinguish from the same name blog-post series). I also took care of getting a second opinion on one household project (major repairs not necessary for a while, whoot!), and took the car in for its annual inspection.

A good week. With surprises that were mostly pleasant ones. I’m as happy as a plush dog chewing on a stick.


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Hilary Clinton, sexism, and fighting sexism

I was tentatively hopeful last year that America would finally put a woman in the Oval Office. November dashed that hope, but I take some comfort from remembering that the majority voted for the woman. But as Echidne of the Snakes points out, sexism made a difference (Rebecca Solnit has more). Including pre-election arguments that Clinton winning wouldn’t matter to regular women: she’s just a routine politician, and putting women in office doesn’t benefit women anyway. So no big. And at the same time, she’s held to higher standards than any male politician (as I’ve pointed out myself).

Plus we have two decades of right wingers painting as a hybrid of bin Laden, Lex Luthor and D&D’s Demogorgon. Several Trump supporters have said they despise her for not condemning Clinton’s infidelities, but if she had done so the script wouldn’t change. Instead of the bitch who destroys other women to further her ambitions she’d be the bitch who betrayed her spouse to further her ambitions.

Electing her wouldn’t have mattered to women? Seriously?  She’d promised to axe the Hyde Amendment, which bans any federal spending (Medicaid, say, or federally subsidized ACA insurance) on abortion. The House has just voted to make the amendment permanent (it had to be regularly renewed before). And Trump has reinstated a rule that bans money going to family planning groups overseas if their services include abortions or abortion counseling (at the link, the Dutch government announces an international initiative to make up the funding). And in fact he’s made it worse, applying not only to groups that provide family planning but any medical aid (mosquito netting, vaccines, childhood nutirtion programs). Not to mention possibly cutting grant programs that fight violence against women. But who cares? It’s biased to say Republicans have gone off the rails.

•Women protested Trump this weekend, and right-bloggers have freaked out (I know, they always do) that the women’s protest marches outperformed Trump’s inaugural address. Concern troll columnist David Brooks is shocked, shocked and appalled that the women were addressing the wrong issues — reproductive rights, affordable health care, equal pay — when the important matters are “balancing the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality.” Because capitalism is under siege and that’s much worse than worrying about women’s rights and “identity politics.” Besides, real change has to come through legitimate political parties, not street protests. Brooks always wants people to work that way, even if it doesn’t get results. Because we must accept the superiority of our leaders. And our leaders must impose unity top-down — we can’t have a united movement rising from the streets.

•Jere are some of Jezebel’s favorite protest signs.

•After the march organizers passed on including a right-to-life group, people objected feminism should be a big tent. Samantha Field agrees it should — but draws the line pro-lifers who want to restrict abortion and birth control because that gets women killed. She has another post on protesting to change culture, not just the law (more examples here).

•One woman who claimed Trump assaulted her is suing him for defamation, for saying he lied. And Christopher von Keyseling, a Greenwich, Connecticut town official (and Republican) has been charged with grabbing a woman’s crotch and telling her he no longer has to be politically correct about such things. An assault von Kesyersling apparently admitted to in his legal response (it was just a joke! Why does everyone have to be so PC?)

•But never mind, according to the right-wing Acculturated, Ivanka is such an awesome mom she proves feminism is bullshit. Or something like that. Fortunately, as Quartz points out, women’s magazines have been covering serious issues for a while now — it’s not just Teen Vogue. I particularly liked the point about the sexism implicit in assuming that fashion articles and serious writing can’t possibly be compatible.

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How not to fight Trump, Republican sexism and my new And column

Professor Mark Lilla got a lot of flak for his recent claim that Democrats spend too much time on “identity politics,” issues that benefit only blacks, Latinos, gays, women, and that this is why they lost the election. If only they’d pitched policies that would benefit all Americans, Clinton might be president today! This is what they must do to win in the future!

In this And column, I argue that compromising on equality — which is what Lilla’s talking about — isn’t going to win over Trump voters. In a Vox interview, Lilla makes a more nuanced argument, that he’s not saying to abandon minority issues, just to reframe them. Don’t discuss how black motorists are pulled over arbitrarily: start from a general position (“Everyone should be free of arbitrary police harassment, right?”) and then lead them to see how black drivers are being arbitrarily harassed. Then the person you’re working on will have to agree with you.

I think that’s bullshit. There’s no shortage of stories about right-to-lifers who believe their abortion is different from everyone else’s. Or who agree freedom of religion is important, but of course that doesn’t apply to Muslims. Or the right-wingers who support a war on terror, but squeal like stuck pigs if right-wing terrorism is the target. And how exactly do you make pro-choice issues into something that applies to men?

Millions of Americans throughout history have believed “all men are created equal” doesn’t apply to blacks. Or Latinos. And if you read some of Martin Luther King’s speeches, you’ll notice the civil rights movement called on America to deal with the problems of black America not some vague call for universal equality. Not to mention that Clinton did make proposals to benefit everyone, such as a higher minimum wage. In short, I think Lilla’s full of crap. For better suggestions about how to win, check this post.

Shakezula points out that while Trump lashes out when provoked, he’ll lash out when not provoked. We can’t stop him getting angry, so don’t worry about it. To a large extent, I think this applies to the hardcore Trump supporters. As long as we’re not in the 1950s, as long as blacks, women, Muslims, gays and other groups don’t Know Their Place, they’re going to get angry.

•Trump’s health-care advisor Katy Talento, is yet another forced-birther who thinks birth control is baaaaad for women. And since birth control interferes with nature, isn’t that wrong by definition? Oh, and the reason men abandon women to raise babies alone is birth control! Because it never happened before the Pill came along! As many conservatives pretend.

•In more Republican sexism, Rep. Congressman Mark Meadows wants Trump to roll back Obama’s rules for how colleges handle sexual assault charges. Because they’re too hard on the accused, which reduces the chance victims will report rapes (no, it didn’t make sense). And besides, most of them are just date rapes, so no big.

•And here’s a memorable listing of great Republican quotes about rape.

•Digby points out that Trump’s business debts could give Wall Street a lot of influence over his presidency. And that despite his boasts about the factory jobs he’s saving, the shit-gibbon isn’t doing much about thousands of retail jobs that are being lost.

•Under a revived Congressional rule, the House can now pass appropriation bills that slash the pay of specific, individual federal employees. To as low as $1. I think I’d be happier with that if voters could do the same to Congress.

•Florida AG Pam Bondi announced a couple of years back that she was thinking of suing Trump University (which as noted at the link, has paid out $25 million in a settlement with students), while at the same time soliciting donations from the shit-gibbon. So the Trump Foundation donated to Bondi’s campaign…and Bondi is now being considered for a Trump administration post. Thank god we were spared the corruption of a Hilary Clinton presidency.

That sort of thing, Bill O’Reilly, is why the left wants a profound change in how the country is run.

(There will be another link post today as I clear out old links).

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It snowed on me. You won’t believe—actually, what happened next is pretty believable (#SFWApro)

But first, some PR: annual Raleigh-Durham Illogicon is here again. And as I have been the past few years, I’m on some panels:

Friday 7pm: Magic Systems in High(ish) Fantasy
Saturday 10am” Repeating Itself: Historical Fiction
6pm: Writing Real People and Places (or, That Looks Familiar!)
Sunday 11am Reading: Fraser Sherman
12pm: Time Management for Writers.

And here’s the Illogicon mascot, Schrodinger, from last year:

professor2Now, the week. As  I mentioned this morning, I was snowed in with the dogs until Tuesday evening. To put it mildly, that did not work out well for me: Tuesday work I pretty much zoned out (I love the pups, but constant confinement for four days with them got to be a little much. Okay, a lot much). Happily it thawed out enough that I could make writers’ group Tuesday night. It’s always fun to hang out, more so after not getting to go anywhere.

What I did get done was the first chapter of my book version of Undead Sexist Cliches. I hadn’t planned to put that much work into it this month, but I was kind of zoned Monday too, and nonfiction is easier.

The rest of the week I worked primarily on Southern Discomfort, thinking about the character arcs, the characters and some of the plot holes. My brain moved slower than I wanted, but it did move and I got a lot of thinking and revising and changing accomplished. I’ll probably discuss it next week.

Then Thursday TYG had an unexpected schedule glitch. So she was up late. So I was up late. Trust me with the dogs there’s no way for her or me to slip quietly into bed. So I was pretty zonked today. I’d planned to work on Trouble and Glass but wound up mostly doing more thinking about Southern Discomfort. I definitely think I’d have made more progress if I hadn’t been so thrown off by schedule.

One distraction did work out well. We had to take Plushie in to the vet to check his kidney levels — they were a little high last year — but it turns out that the kidney food we put him on did the trick. They’re fine. So yay.

And by the time you read this, I’ll probably be at Illogicon while TYG gets to make up all her lost time with the pups.


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Now why on Earth would the rape victim refuse to cooperate with this guy?

Explaining a lack of arrests in one set of rape cases, NYPD Captain Pete Rose explains that it’s because the victims decide not to press charges, or give up on cooperating with the cops. But the uptick in rape cases is not a big deal: “It’s not a trend that we’re too worried about because out of 13 [sex attacks], only two were true stranger rapes .. If there’s a true stranger rape, a random guy picks up a stranger off the street, those are the troubling ones. That person has, like, no moral standards.” In contrast, the ones without arrests are those where it was just a coworker raping the woman, or a casual hookup — you know, rapists who have some ethical standards.

I can see why victims might recoil from working with the police if that’s the attitude.

Hat tip to LGM.

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Radicalizing white guys online (and other links)

We hear a lot about how Muslims are radicalized online, but a Vox article says the same is true of “alt right” radicalizing white guys for the white supremacist movement: lonely guys looking for bonding and support (e.g., “incels” or “involuntary celibates”) are introduced first to online misogyny, then into white supremacy. Though even if they stop at misogyny, that’s horrifying enough: just check out We Hunted the Mammoth, with its ongoing chronicle of rants from the online misogynist world, for example fantasies that when the economy collapses under Trump, it will be great for men, as it will restore patriarchy and force women back into their 1950s roles. A post from Atomic Junk Shop discusses some of the underlying frustrations that can push men that way.

•Trump’s election is radicalizing men in a different way: he’s proof they can get away with it. Check out the douchebag quoted in this Echidne post, who brags that after Trump’s election, he knows he can rape a woman and get away with it. You can find more examples in this list of harassment incidents (race, religion, gender, orientation) from the first ten days after the election. Trump, of course, assures us he’s completely shocked and has no idea why so many harassers are invoking his name.

•Amanda Robb argues that Robert Dear, the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter, was radicalized by the right, but because he’s white and Christian we don’t see it.

•Roy Edroso looks at the general idiocy of the right-wing post-election, including the ongoing claims that Trump won the popular vote. Oh, and there’s a batshit claim that the Central Park Five —whom Trump insists are guilty, despite DNA evidence — haven’t really been exonerated just because the system dropped the charges, vacated the sentences and set them free.

•Susan Faludi looks at how the racist far-right has presented itself in Hungary.

•So the mother of white supremacist Richard Spencer claims her real-estate business has tanked due to backlash over her son’s policies. One neo-Nazi website’s solution: take action against the Jews! Which is the sort of thing that encourages Jews in America to join forces with Muslims.

•The LA Times apologizes for printing letters defending the Japanese internment. (if you want some research on that topic, check here).

•In the US we face a fight over putting any women on our money. In Canada, the issue is not having more than one.

•Late astronaut and senator John Glenn was ahead of the curve in another way, supporting women of color at NASA.

•With no other way to reach her husband, a woman tries serving divorce papers on Facebook.

•Fake news sites make money through ads. Unfortunately it’s not so easy to shut down the money spigot.

•Human Rights Watch calls on Trump to show his claimed respect for women by supporting women’s rights.

•A driver in Arizona pulls over when his friend in another car is stopped by cops. Cops arrest the driver (who wasn’t stopped) for not showing them his license when asked. A court rules the driver was right, but an appeals court found for the cops, on the grounds they could reasonably assume they were entitled to see the license. Fortunately there’s no way any cop could abuse that kind of legal principle …

•Trump attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions is virulently anti-marijuana. Nevertheless, the legal pot industry is hoping he won’t bother them if they don’t annoy him.

•Echidne on why Trump ignoring the norms of politics is a bad thing.

•Joy. Continuing Trump’s preference for clueless inexperienced people, he’s picked Larry Kudlow as chief economic adviser. As Jonathan Chait details, Kudlow is a fanatical believer in tax cuts for the rich, whose predictions on the economy (Clinton’s tax hikes will ruin us! Bush’s tax cuts will boost the economy! The housing bubble is a myth!) are invariably wrong.

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Undead sexist cliches: it takes a village to decide whether to pop out a baby

(This is the political post that would normally have gone on Monday, if my brain hadn’t been fried by indexing).

Echidne of the Snakes sums up the right-wing view of pregnancy thus: “The right-wing in this country wants to socialize decisions about conception, about pregnancy and even about giving birth, but once a child is born, everything should be privatized:  Almost all responsibility is saddled on the shoulders of the mothers, while the wider conservative society, in general, refuses to budge one inch from its traditional gendered expectations about the role of mothers” (hence the title of this post).

As noted at the link, Ohio has just passed a law banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detectable — never mind that heartbeat isn’t a measure of life (hospitals can harvest organs from brain-dead people with functioning hearts). And similar extreme bills are on the way.

As I pointed out in one of my older And columns, the rights of the fetus aren’t simply being considered, they’re being used (whether that’s the intent or not) to strip away the rights of any pregnant woman. The right not to confine herself to bed rest without a second medical opinion. To not have a Caesarian. To have a legal drink. Women have gotten into legal trouble for exercising all those rights. As Echidne has put it, the women are being treated as aquariums — their bodies are simply convenient containers for the real person inside. For example, we have media discussions of how women of childbearing age should consider themselves potentially pregnant — they might be pregnant without knowing it, so maybe they’d better skip those prescription painkillers (or whatever).

Birth control can help with that, of course, but Trump’s new healthcare nominee, Tom Price, is a forced-birther. As is Mike Pence, who thinks all miscarriages should be given burial or cremation, mandatory, as if they were actual children (Slacktivist has pointed out what a weird concept that is). And contrary to the right-to-life movement’s lies, they are punishing the mothers.

Meanwhile Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, says mothers shouldn’t take high-powered jobs (in the White House say), though she later said the context was distorted and of course women are welcome in the White House (of course saying so doesn’t prove anything — but much as I loathe the new administration, it’s worth noting). But as Echidne says, the right-wing’s been pretty clear on how women should stay home and breed, the white nationalists who adore Trump even more so (gotta breed children for the Reich, so to speak). Making it harder for women to avoid pregnancy (at least without staying virgin or sticking to oral sex) then excluding them from jobs because they’re pregnant would suit much of the right just fine.

And yet it’s a safe bet that for all the concern about the suffering fetuses, Republicans will do nothing to help with prenatal care or treatment — in fact their proposed changes to ACA could make things worse for women needing maternity care. Like Echidne says, privatizing the costs. Even if a rape victim gets pregnant — something that’s clearly not her choice — and the government refuses to let her abort, the right will still squeal at the thought of paying any medical bills. Never mind that good care is expensive, and important for both parties. All we’ll hear is about how sure, they’d love to help, but some slut might just exploit “Uncle Sugar” (in theocrat Mike Huckabee’s words) and get him to give her a freebie when she wasn’t raped at all.

Because if it was real rape she wouldn’t get pregnant.

Because all the sluts just cry rape all the time in Republicanverse because they get so many goodies.

Because God arranged that rape so she’d better have the baby.

And better a thousand women and their children suffer from lack of medical care than one human being get something she’s not entitled to.

Maybe it’s time for us to stop playing nice and get as extreme as the forced-birthers. No compromise on women’s rights to choose: if she’s in labor and changes her mind, just kill the fetus. Then we’ll graciously compromise from that position to something less extreme. Hey, it worked for the other side!

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