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the power of search results
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Anytime you're feeling powerless, or even just cranky, a peek at the things that drew people to your site is always delightful.
Well, most of the time.
[As a complete sidebar, I just tried to spell "delightfull" the way my great grandmother would have done. I don't know if she'd be proud or what.]
For instance, I am the number one search result for "inspiring rant".
And I appear (not surprisingly) in searches for the "meaning of persephone", which also pulls up a Jungian interpretation of eating disorders via Alice in Wonderland. You might also wonder how the people tried to please persephone, as at least one person did. Sounds a little naughty to me.
I also turn up darn close to Kerri if you look for blog feminism, which also has a number of interesting results.
tangents about sex
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Here's something that irks me: holding up "The Greeks" (meaning classical Greeks, nothing to do with sororities or fraternities) as a culture tolerant of a wide range of sexualities.
It irks me because, well, it just doesn't appear to be true. I mean, yes, classical Greece accepted men having sex with me - but only to an extent. Classical sexuality was understood more in terms of power than love, and people with power [men of age, the only Greeks really referred to as "citizens"] could penetrate the less powerful objects of their choice. Who a citizen could associate with was not so much a question of gender, though marriage between people of the same sex was hardly even considered. Marriage was a social and procreative necessity; the notion of marriage as a commitment born of love simply didn't exist.
And yes, there were those who spoke of love between equals (for instance Plato, though he only advocated love between equal men), but that would have been a radical philosophy.
It annoys me when we bend history to fit what we wish it had been. I'm sure I have some distorted ideas about how things went down at various points in the past. I haven't researched everything in detail, and it frustrates me to have to do so in order to be sure I get an unbiased perspective. Shouldn't I have gotten that in history class?
[Yes, I can just imagine a frank discussion of classical perspectives on sexuality along with the seventh grade social studies examination of gods, goddesses and architecture. It would go over so well.]
Anyhow, I read someone somewhere talking about how the Greeks were just totally cool with homosexuality, and of course I had to open my big mouth and sound educated.
It also made me think of something Rev said recently, about the words we use to insult people. We say fuck you and we're screwed and bite me (well, maybe no one says "bite me" anymore).
And these are all essentially words that talk about sex classical-style. That is, sex where one person has the power and does the action, and the other is a passive vessel. Taken in a contemporary context, these words really do imply abuse and rape. We use them so often that they've practically lost any meaning. But it's still pretty creepy.
I mean, I won't even let people say vagina around me, because its meaning offends me [not what it means now, what it used to mean - "sheath"], but I say fuck a lot. Enough that I wish I hadn't thought about this - what will I fill my potty mouth with now?
I don't know whether these words incite us to violence (I'm certain they don't directly, but indirect effect is much harder to pin down), and I don't know what the taboos around these words say about our attitudes towards sex and violence (maybe nothing), but I do think it's worth considering your word choice.
five percent, schmive percent.
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Not only does Apple's OS represent more than the mysterious "5%" [you hear this all the time from Windows users, who obviously Know This Sort of Thing] of the operating system market, if you look at it in just the right light, Apple is the number one computer in the world.
we've got issues, yeah.
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Kerri's collab post for this week goes a little something like this:
What are your issues? It can be assumed that since you are posting on a feminist collab, that women's issues are important to you, but what in specific, or in addition?
I may actually have too many issues. That is - I care pretty passionately about a lot of different things. So go ahead and grab yourself some hot cocoa before you launch into this one...
but wait! there's more »
1. Social equality. That means: feminism, the men's movement, queer rights, fat acceptance, acceptance of ethnic, racial, and religious diversity. When I talk about feminism, I'm usually talking about all these things. And when I talk about any of these things, I'm also talking about feminism.
So why do I even bother to call myself a feminist in the first place? Because I think (and I've said this again and again) that feminism needs people to understand how inextricably linked it is to other aspects of social equality.
Career Any career choice should be open to people, as long as they are able to perform the tasks of the job. That includes the military and any other profession typically open only to one gender, race, etc.
Family I think families need to be able to structure themselves based on who's best at and who wants to do what. That the definition of "family" isn't just a mother and father, but a community of people who have chosen each other.
Sexuality Just as religion is a choice we defend without forcing people to prove they have a "gene" that causes Catholicism, Judaism, or any other ism, sexuality is a continuum of choices that every individual needs to feel free to make. Period. It is a personal choice, I don't care where you got it, and I don't give a damn if it's contagious (though seriously, it's not).
Gender See "sexuality". Same thing. Gender isn't M/F anymore, and we need to accept the choices of people who fall somewhere between those poles.
I think that, ultimately, everyone needs to be free to make whatever choices make sense. Social equity is largely about choices, and goes hand in hand with economic equality.
2. Economic equality. That means: raising minimum wage to a living wage, welfare reform with real meaning, an end to economic discrimination based on any of the social equality factors I mentioned. This also ties back to career choices (see above).
I do not have an issue with corporate greed. Corporations may be as greedy as they like. But, as long as they control most of the ways our government money is spent, thereby eliminating most of the supportive, socialistic programs that once characterized US domestic spending, they need to pay up. I think most of the fiscal responsibility for improving wages and employability for working poor americans needs to fall on our corporate citizens. After all, they're the ones who stand to benefit most from increasing the productivity of the poor.
This is the main reason I support Ralph Nader (who, let's face it, is something of a wild and crazy alarmist): everyone else who talks about "corporate accountability" is thinking about shareholder value. Fine, but we need Ralph and people like him to think about workers.
3. Death. I'm pro-death. This is my morbid way of saying I support: the right to abortion, the right to assisted suicide, and the right of the people of your state/country to kill your sorry ass if you commit a truly heinous crime.
I think abortions need to be readily available. No debate, no requirement that a pregnant thirteen year old tell her abusive father, no need to prove you've been raped or any of that other crap. Just - available. And available from your average medical provider, not just the free clinic. Abortion needs to be depoliticized. Because the truth is, it's still barely legal. That's not an acceptable position for a medical procedure: it puts barriers between women and the truth about abortion (like that it hurts, might be better done in a hospital setting than in a "grab and go" clinic).
I think all the same things apply to assisted suicide.
And I think that being pro-death penalty is complicated, considering the inequities of the legal system. I'm certainly not opposed to a moratorium on the death penalty while we take some time to figure out why we kill so many black men. Honestly, the current system is fucked up. But I do not believe that the death penalty is morally wrong.
4. Beauty. Health. Consumption. All that stuff. America is blessed and cursed with a vast number of buying options. The result is a sale of beauty and health as commodities. Which leads to what?
Well, the establishment of fat as equivalent to ugliness and disease, the last politically correct thing to hate. Misinformation about what constitutes a healthy diet and lifestyle, most notably in products that can instantly grant you all the benefits of both (which is, of course, a lie). The notion that exercise is a litany of pain resulting in a perfect body product - unless you, the buyer, fail the program.
The fat acceptance movement tackles one tiny corner of this vast issue. There is much, much more. The notion of a single, narrow range of body types as acceptable, beautiful, and healthy is part of the larger culture of buy-and-sell. We can try to change one without the other, but the truth is we need to think about both.
5. Citizenship. Civil rights. Free speech. Free political action. Leonard Peltier and Mumia abu-Jamal out of prison. Expecting accountability from our government officials, not about who they screw, but how they vote. Demanding that appointed officials [say, John Ashcroft] understand and abide by the rules of the Constitution.
Essentially, all of these things revolve around the need to us as individuals to understand and enforce our power over the government. If we buy soundbytes and red-striped ties, that is what they will sell us. You have a responsibility to know who represents you, and to give consistent feedback on those peoples' performance.
6. Education. It's not good enough. In fact, we increasingly teach our kids only to be good little consumers (which is, I suppose, what passes for citizenship). We need to teach them (and ourselves) to be literate, capable debaters. To analyze situations and make logical decisions.
Essentially, we need to train all our minds to inspect and to question, not to spit out facts. School sucks, plain and simple. And while there are plenty of teachers working to improve that, they are constrained by a system that replaces funding and solid support with standardized tests and the Ten Commandments in every school lobby.
When we as adults start thinking the way we should - as citizens who look at the value of their $300 tax refund compared to the value of that money poured into schools - we will change this. But I suspect we can't do it without changing ourselves first.
« get it out of my sight!
les miz silliness
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If I were a character from Les Miserables, I'd be Enjolras. Duh.
A person with a cause, I charm everyone around me with my revolutionary ideas (not to mention my natural charisma). Unfortunately, I don't have very good social skills, and my impulsiveness is liable to get me in over my head.
I got that from someone who was using that damned pink blogger template I made a while ago. I don't remember who. It's both satisfying and sad to know that several hundred people are all using the same template you designed.
something light and fizzy
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So, the September 11 anniversary thing has me sad and thinking the world pretty much sucks.
But you can dodge that feeling (briefly) at the Pop vs. Soda Page, which maps where those two terms are used based on respondents' zip codes and answer to that age old question.
Did you know that sixty percent of Virginians say "soda"? You do now. And if you grew up in the Tidewater or bay region, you'd also know that most Southeastern Virginians say it with a round Canadian "o". We're scotsirish like that.
[To those in the audience who'd like to contend that Virginia is, in fact, no longer the South, the saying of "soda" over the more appropriately Southern (and doubtless influenced by said brand-named company's strong presence in the region) "coke" is significant ammunition. That's right: 60% of Kentuckians, 84% of Georgians, 85% of uh, People From Alabama and Tennessee say "coke". Proof! Proof that we're not Southerners! If only the confederate-minded conservatives of Richmond could grasp this; we'd have to secede.]
turn it off.
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I'm choosing to mark the anniversary of grief grief grief by turning it off. Off with the television and the radio and anything that wants to sell me something to magically morph sad into patriotic fury.
Sometimes there's a place for patriotic fury, and sometimes there isn't. This is an isn't. And I don't want to listen to anyone who won't let me talk back today. None of that push push media for me.
That said, I think grief is important. I think marking it is important. I won't wear a mass-produced "day of remembrance" button, nor does my car cry out for a magnetic flag. I won't co-opt the legitimate loss of people for whom this day is really really hard because my life isn't that emotional and I need a good cry.
why i'm not a member of PETA
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I think PETA has finally secured itself the "We May Be Liberal, but We're Still Assholes" award.
Quite some time ago, they managed to alienate a large portion of their former women members (self included) when they started run ad after ad capitalizing on the usual misogynistic advertising schlock - and shockingly enough, managing to be as offensive as a Calvin Klein underpants billboard. (check out nostatusquo.com for some vintage PETA advertising). Personally, I wasn't so much offended as annoyed by the shear, persistent tackiness of it all.
But now, they're just being fat-hating idiots. Check out the latest in fat-bashing misinformation. As sizeacceptance.org points out (as does nearly everyone who's referenced PETA's "Go Veg" campaign), there are plenty of fat vegetarians. To add to the absurdity, PETA has latched on to the notion of meat = fat at a time when that outdated notion has already been replaced with the trendy (and gimmicky, and unhealthy) Atkin's diet and such.
I'm also just overjoyed by the now hip and funky use of The Anoymous Fat Belly. It's not just a PETA thing; it's a new trend in news and advertising media. Enough of a trend that it's been officially mocked on The Daily Show, even. Could we be any more rudely anti-fat?
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I just read something that included the phrase "become the SME" (pronounced smee).
This strikes me as so funny I think everyone needs to hear it. Doesn't it sound like science fiction?
Before you can use the force, you must become the Smee...
I must pass these challenges so I can achieve enlightenment and become the Smee...
Maybe it's just me. In any case, it's just corporate jargon for "subject matter expert", meaning "to know something very well".
Sometimes corporate speak approaches true beauty. It's like illuminated manuscripts. So abstract, so distant from plain language.
some girls give to charity
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Some Girls Design is hosting another charity design auction this weekend.
I'm too booked to participate, but I hope you're not. It's always a great site and a great cause.
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I suppose it's a mark of my naivete that I'm surprised by Israel is deporting family members of Palestinian bombers.
Yes, I can see Israel is desperate, trying anything that might work.
But still, I'm surprised to see a country whose origin is in apologism for the terrible abuses of human rights (by Nazis) during World War II using this sort of rhetoric. See, these people are a real threat [they might be]. They're not being deported, they've been reassigned residences. If you put another name on it, it's no longer a civil rights violation.
I can't imagine where Israel might have gotten these ideas. It certainly couldn't be from fellow bully nation America. Of course not. We have a stellar history of upholding civil rights. At least, as long as there's a big enough group to complain about it on television. And, unlike the Pope, we never feel the need to apologize for our past embarassments. I'm sure that, if it could escape international media attention, there would be serious talk in the conservative media about deporting people of Iraqi descent (though I like to imagine that this serious talk would be overridden by serious people).
Okay. So I'm cynical on some counts. It still disappoints me when other countries follow our impeccably modeled bad behavior.