This place matters

This place matters

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Phenomenal woman

We should all be appalled, but should not be surprised by the hate campaign being waged against Comedian Leslie Jones. Jones, who has been making racist man-children cry bitter white tears over her role in the all female Ghostbusters reboot, has faced an organized campaign of cyber-terror in recent weeks. This week, hackers took psychopathy to a whole new level when they hacked her website and iCloud account. They got into her personal photos and published the most intimate ones. They flooded her page with racist memes comparing her to a gorilla. They even posted screen grabs of her passport and driver's license. 
And we shouldn't be surprised. Leslie Jones is everything sexist douchbags want women to be ashamed of, and she is beautifully unapologetic. She is big in a culture in which women are ordered to take up as little space as possible. She doesn't hide her size by slumping or slouching or wearing flats. She doesn't hide her figure under mumsy gowns that scream flattering and sensible - she slays in custom Christian Siriano.
Leslie Jones is a loud voice coming through the televisions of men who think women should sit down and shut up. Her hilariousness makes liars of men who insist that women just aren't as funny as men. She's older in an industry that worships youth, she's openly opinionated in a society that prefers its women, and its people of color, meek and mild. And worst of all, she doesn't care what you think about it.
Leslie Jones doesn't care if you think she's pretty. Leslie Jones doesn't care if you think she's funny. She doesn't care how many bitter white tears you cry over a damn movie remake. She's busy going to movie premiers and covering the Olympics for NBC and performing at feminist events. Leslie Jones is busy being Leslie Jones and the racist, woman-hating weasels of the Internet can't handle it. 
So they tried to chase her off Twitter, even succeeded for a moment, but then she came back to tweet the Olympics - and so well, apparently, that NBC flew her down to cover it live. But the sniveling man children could have that - it was no fun hating her when she couldn't be bothered to care. So they got her attention - and they did it in the most cruel, dehumanizing, and menacing way they could. Congrats, trolls, you've got the news media to stand behind her. Got half of Hollywood standing up for her. Gotten people who didn't even know about her to care about her.
I can't even imagine what holy hell Jones is going through right now. I can't imagine how sick and devastated and violated she is feeling. It is an incredibly shitty time to be Leslie Jones, but I've got a feeling she's gonna rise up and when she does, the whole world's gonna be cheering her on.

Monday, August 22, 2016

and your unpunchable face

Well, it's back to school time, and you know what that means! Time to teach our nation's young girls how to keep from distracting the boys and getting themselves raped and sexually harassed! Recently, a Facebook friend shared a social media post about a school that recently got in hot water when it was found that boys were taking intimate photos of their female classmates without their consent, and then posting those photos on social media. Luckily, the school took quick and decisive action, placing the blame right where it belongs - on the girls, of course!
The school introduced a new dress code policy that requires female students to cover up their filthy bodies so as not to tempt boys into photographing them. Everybody knows that teen boys are completely unable to control their behavior with a shoulder or a thigh in plain view - and it's unfair to ask them to. Girls who wear skirts that don't come down to their knees are a distraction to boys - and male teachers - and it's just not fair. 
I know there will be those among you who think this is "victim blaming" or "body shaming," but this is the safety and integrity of our girls we're talking about. I for one don't think the school's policies go far enough. 

Might this also be a great solution to the problem of bullying? Schools could pull all the unpopular kids aside and give them some guidelines on how to not get beaten up by the popular kids. Everybody knows that popular kids just can't help themselves in the presence of a nerd or a loser, and having to look at nerds and losers is really an unfair distraction. These social lepers can help solve this problem by simply having less punchable faces. 
No one beats this guy up anymore!
Yes, I believe schools should amend their dress codes to require that freaks and geeks hide their faces at all times. I know it seems "cool" and "fun" to go flaunting one's face in public, but honestly, these losers need to have a little self respect and pull on a nice respectable ski mask. Or maybe a snazzy balaklava. Heck, even a clown mask! Sure, it seems unfair that a kid should have to go to such lengths to not get punched in the face, but it's really the only option. You can't exactly expect popular kids to be responsible for their own actions, can you? Preposterous!
Schools need to take a stance against bullying. That's why they should pull the unpopulars aside and measure the eye holes on their masks, just to make sure they're not showing off too much nose or forehead. Losers who don't conform to this dress code can go home or they can wear a school-supplied plastic garbage bag over their faces for the day. Their choice! Everybody wins!
I never leave home without
my purrtection!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Whistling Dixie

I was passing through the downtown shopping district of a small town once. It was one of those pretty little places with brightly lit toy stores and fragrant popcorn shops and grinning shopkeepers and friendly pedestrians. And then I passed a storefront that proudly displayed a Confederate flag in the window. 
Now keep in mind, I live in Ohio. Anybody around here who waves a Confederate flag is doing it for a reason, and that reason is not their war hero of a great grandpappy. And the one word that came into my head when my eyes landed on that flag was unkind. Pretend for a minute that that symbol isn't meant as a star-spangled middle finger in the face of any brown person who drives through town. It is still so damn unkind. Sure, you've got a right to be unkind. Your constitution promises you the right to your unkind words and signs and store displays. But why the hell do you want to expend all that energy on being small and mean and hurtful? What's the point in making a point to be unkind?
To be kind in an unkind world, to be kind when when others are cruel, to be kind when doing so puts you in danger, to be kind and not count the cost... that's heroism. Kindness is the quality I admire most in my folks, my ancestors. That's the kind of flag I want to hang in my window.



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Comparative equine dental hygiene

Today I read a blog post subtitled "The 'sibling gift' trend is turning our kids into spoiled brats," in which the author complains about people giving gifts to her children. The author was having a shower for her second child, you see, and objected to the fact that one of the guests bought a gift for her first child, then a toddler.
Now I know exactly two things about the rules of etiquette - one involves forks, and I've never been at a party fancy enough to use it. The other is that you do not get a shower for your second kid. I don't give a crap from etiquette, but I do think that if you're getting showered with gifts when etiquette dictates you shouldn't, you've got no business complaining when some of those gifts splash onto the wrong kid. A beef I'd probably not consider blog-worthy had it not been for this sentence.
Still, the perpetrators of this offense typically don’t have kids of their own and I can’t possibly expect them to see things from my perspective if I am not going to explain it to them.
You have no idea how insulting it is to tell an intelligent, well-meaning person that they are deficient, incomplete just because of her reproductive choices. As if shoving a human being from your nethers gives you some special magical wisdom that those of us without children can never have.  
This woman isn't just looking a gift horse in the mouth, she's sharing pictures of her free horse's teeth on the internet so she can flaunt how much more special and wise she is compared to her poor kid-free friends. She could quite easily say "please don't give my kids gifts because I think it spoils them," but instead she chose to make examples of them online. 
I don't think the children are the spoiled ones in this scenario. The woman's blessed with a bunch of friends and family members who want to do nice stuff for her kids, and she's bitching about how terrible it is.
And here's a little bit of etiquette I do care about: never, ever tell a person that they can't understand something because they're not parents. Recently someone tried to justify her casual bigotry to me using the old "you'd understand if you had kids." And all I could think was that this lady didn't know me. I'm kid-free by choice, but she didn't know that. She didn't know if I was struggling with infertility or if I'd had miscarriages. She spat those words out without knowing a single thing about my story.
Look, gift horse lady, maybe your friends are spoiling your kids because they don't have kids of their own to spoil. Or because they found something they knew your kid would love and couldn't wait to give it to them. Or because they had some beloved aunt who did sibling gifts and they want to carry on the tradition. You're free to ask them not to do it, but don't assume that their decision to buy your kid a gift is the result of some fundamental foolishness or inadequacy. It is rude and insulting.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

You just turn the crank and snap the plank

The Swedish band Wintergatan specializes in creating musical instruments more impractical than you ever thought possible, and they are breathtaking.

Like, just why would you do that? Who even thinks of that? More to the point, who thinks of that and then thinks "Yeah, this is a thing that could clearly exist in real life; where can I buy ten million ball bearings?"
There's also this:
This one in particularly made me think of the book Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut, and how it both did and did not predict the future. Okay, so I don't remember the book all that well. I was living on the road when I read it, and it's possible I read more in the two years I spent on the road than in the rest of my life combined. But I do remember that it expressed Vonnegut's fear that technology would gradually replace human ingenuity, that artists and creators would be crowded out by contraptions and distractions and we'd all be the dumber and the duller for it. 

And he was right; we waste so much of our lives staring at little glowing screens that it's kind of tragic. But yet universal access to these gadgets allows folks like Wintergatan to share their absurdly unnecessary contraptions with the world and possibly make enough money from YouTube ads to cover at least some of their ball bearing expenses.
And yet it's absurdly hard for a truly talented musician to make a living at it, and pirating, underpaying streaming services, and an extremely saturated market are making it so much worse. And as cool as it is that these guys make crazy money doing this:

it's not entirely fair that they're achieving great success while orchestras languish. 
But then, it's not entirely fair that Britney Spears is a gazzillionaire while most of us have never even heard of RenĂ©e Fleming (myself included, I just Googled "greatest opera singers alive"); and that's not the Internet's fault. It has kind of always been that way, hasn't it? It's weird though.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Olio

Little known fact: the Crossword Puzzle Writers Association of America are the world's largest purchaser of size EEE shoes, as their continued existence is vital to their careers.
I'm pretty sure that Will Shortz, puzzlemaster of the New York Times, secretly financed the movie Ulee's Gold so that it could be used as a way to squish more vowels into crossword puzzles for the rest of time. 
All of which is to say that the headline of my post, olio is defined as "a miscellaneous mixture," and was almost certainly made up by crossword writers (not to be confused with oleo, another word for margarine, also made up by crossword writers). 
Dog was actually named Leland Stumbleduck
Oneshoe before the powerful crossword lobby
had their say about it.

**
A couple days ago the new Miss Teen USA was inexplicably not stripped of her crown after it was found she'd tweeted out the n-word multiple times a while back. Is it any wonder, though, that she'd make value judgments about people based on superficial criteria, considering she spends her life clopping around on a stage like a show pony, begging to be found worthy based on superficial criteria? 
**
My grad school residency was amazing, exhausting, and a little terrifying. Something I don't get - a few years ago I took a job that had me out of state for months at a time. Now I get crippling homesick after being gone a couple of days. This is definitely probably not a sign that I have a horribly codependent relationship with my cats. 
You'd be codependent too.

ShareThis