September 15, 2005

I Get Emails

For some time after I wrote this, I got emails. I do not want to quote any of them directly here, as I have not obtained permission from their authors to do so; besides, they could all be fairly paraphrased as below:

Thank you for writing that. I have been weblogging since [date]. I take the time to make sure what I have to say is clear, concise, sourced, and researched. I don't mean to sound boastful, but I think I can honestly say that the work I do is as good or better than that of some of the male bloggers out there.

It really makes me mad when some guy like [male blogger] says either that there aren't any women bloggers, or that the women bloggers out there aren't any good. There are many of us who are highly readable, but these guys will not give us links. They're too busy reading each other even to notice we're here.

Anyway, just wanted to say 'thanks.' I'm glad it's not just me who has noticed what sexist jerks they are.

No, I would think, it's not just you.

But for some reason, it is "just me" who will say it in public.

Some of you aren't going to like this; but then, I think some of you need to toughen up and face a few unpleasant facts. Starting with this one:

You know what I like best about Ms. Lauren and Jill?

They don't send me emails.

Lauren and Jill don't send me emails because they don't have to send me emails. On their side of the aisle, something very basic, very simple, and very just is widely understood to be inarguable:

Sexism is wrong.


This is the part where some eager beaver clicks the "Comments" link in a frenzy to tell me that a commenter at feministe called Michelle Malkin that word! BECAUSE OF THE HYPOCRISY!

You know what the difference between that guy and Jeff is?

That guy acknowledged it was wrong. Publicly.

Whereas Jeff never will.

Jeff will never apologize because that's not what real men do.

What real men do is call women bimbos in a purely ironic sense in order to highlight the hypocrisy.

Let's try that ourselves:

Adam Sandler comments on remarks by Protein Wisdom's "Jeff" arguing that, because someone at feministe called Michelle Malkin a cunt (which had nothing to do with the post's author, who had not done so herself) on a supposedly feminist weblog, his calling the author a "bimbo" is not worthy of response by angry, humorless feminists:

"Gee! And I thought I was an unfunny Jew."

Yep. I can hear the laughter all the way from here.

Sexism is wrong. Anti-semitism is wrong. Racism is wrong. That's why it's such a good thing none of them exist anymore.

The real problem in America today is identity politics.

I agree with most of Jeff's arguments about identity politics, actually. It's partly what got me arguing with Amanda Marcotte (and later Lauren--yes that Lauren) here and here. Somehow I managed to get through it without calling anyone a bimbo or a cunt. Didn't even need a thesaurus.

I think that might be because I stuck to attacking the arguments. Which is just what Jeff advocated with regard to Cindy Sheehan:

The left’s attempt to turn Sheehan into a martyr should not—NOT—be met with anything less than a barrage of accurate counterfactuals, including the constant publication and dissemination of her writings, speeches, etc., as well as a dispassionate and straightforward analysis of her attendants, handlers, and the rhetorical strategies they have adopted to push her narrative.
So it's jarring to read the same man reject "a barrage of counterfactuals" in favor of a recurring joke that was never that funny to begin with.

I suppose one argument against breaking out the "counterfactuals" against Jill might run like this:

"Look, if she honestly doesn't understand why the events of September 11 were acts of war, not acts of terrorism, then obviously the two sides aren't even speaking the same language anymore, and there's just no point even debating the issue."

That's why people maintain political weblogs, that's why they all read each other's weblogs, and that's why they link to posts they find there: So they can not even debate stuff.

Glad that's been cleared up.

I am not going to get any emails on this post, unless I get one kicking me out of the Cotillion. I don't think that I will, but I could be wrong. Beth is pretty tolerant, pretty laissez-faire. You have to be, to keep a group of that many women from killing each other. Anyway, she knew I was a man-hating freak with an axe to grind when she signed me up.

I am not going to get any emails on this post because what I have learned is this:

  • Most women on the right agree that sexism continues to be a problem, but

  • No two women on the right can agree that sexism continues to be a problem at the same time.

    Sexism continues to be a problem, in the minds of some women, only when sexism happens to them. Until then, no es problema.

    When it is a problem? That's when I get emails.

    Well, pardon the language but fuck that shit. Where's my cape? Where's my boots? Where's my mask? Where's my superpower? Who told you to call me?

    You know what you can do the next time a man on the internet disregards what you said in favor of attacking you for who you are?

    You can go back through your archives, read every word you ever wrote about how feminism has ruined America, and choke on each and every one.

    And before any of you shake any fingers of outrage at me and ask how I can defend those lefty bitches! When they called Michelle Malkin that word!, you can recall that when I say sexism is wrong, I say it no matter which direction it's coming from.

    Which is a polite way of saying I've been a lot more logically consistent than some of you have been.

    You might be asking yourself something like this:

    "I don't get it. Why're you dragging conservative women into this? What did they do in any of this? They didn't do anything!"

    Thank you for making my point.

    Sexism is wrong. I've run out of clever ways to say it. Luckily I don't need to find new ones. Jeff's searched his heart; his conscience is clear that he wasn't demeaning women with his post.

    We should conduct criminal investigations this way. We'll just ask the accused if he's searched his heart and whether his conscience is clear. The best part?

    No more jury duty!

    This was really just a long preamble to saying that I'm quitting this blog.

    I'm getting a sex change. Not in real life, but in internet life. I intend to come back as a man.

    I'm not worried about whether I can pull it off. I'm pretty sure I can. Perhaps it won't work and I'll wind up unmasked, exposed--a Libertarian Girl in reverse (but, dear God, I do hope with better writing, and definitely with better ideas).

    I don't care. It will be nice to have a some time, however much time that works out being, to see what it's like to just not deal with the bullshit. To see what it's like when the worst you're ever called is a "fucking idiot" instead of a "fat disgruntled chick" or a "self-loathing skank." To see what it's like when someone says "great post" instead of "can I be your stalker?" To see what it's like when someone visits to see what you wrote, not to see whether you've put up a picture on the "About" page yet.

    It will be so nice to just not deal with the laugh-out-loud hilarity of bimbo jokes. As a man, I'll be able to ignore all that. Even if I don't ignore all that, my objections will be far more likely to be met with "I disagree, but I respect your opinion" than "I can pretty much guarantee these ladies / girls / women / wymyn / people don’t want to goad me into a debate on feminism and identity politics."

    No more bullshit. No more crying and complaining from women who whip out that word with a quickness at each other, but then can't figure out why suddenly some guy's treating them like a 10-cent whore.

    "All . . . all I did was p-p-post a p-p-picture! Why's everyone leering? Why won't they read what I wrote? Oh, this never happens to Instapundit! Oh, why? Why is that jerk so . . . so hateful?"

    Because he watched you, dumbass. YOU. He watched that pronoun beginning with "y," ending in "u," and containing one "o" in the middle. He watched you do it, so he figured he could.

    "She won't mind. She's no . . . feminist."

    You all have fun not being feminists. I'm off to get me a virtual dick.

    I intend to swing that fucker like you wouldn't believe.

    ELSEWHERE: Hubris.

    ALSO: Cassandra, Meryl, Judith, Sadie, and Jeff "How Can I Work My Injured Psyche Into This News Story?" Goldstein. Cassandra may be amused to learn that her post title gets truncated to "time_for_an_ass" on the ol' Sitemeter (and then again she may not, 'cause we're all humorless harpies in these parts). Meryl left third-degree burns on . . . somebody. Judith is probably the closest you'll get to "fair and balanced" in this whole (as she puts it) kerfluffle (I love that word. It's fun to say. Try it!). And Sadie said way too many nice things about me. I am embarrassed.

    As for Jeff, perhaps some bad poetry will cheer him:

    Western Civ slides headlong into dhimmitude
    Down its slippery slopes, we bump and we groove
    Singing those Allah-in-the-ice-cream-cone blues
    As we slide down the hillside to dhimmitude

    It begins with a simple request for respect
    (That we keep getting told we just haven't earned yet)
    "Quit bitching and moaning! You're getting upset!
    You hysterical womyn! All ugly, I'll bet!

    "Besides, after all, who started it first?
    'Bimbo' or 'cunt'--now which one is worse?

    "Identity politics will ruin this land
    Suck it dry of all freedoms--I must make my stand
    'Gainst bitches and bimbos who'd scatter like sand
    All that I hold dear, all that makes me--a MAN."

    So know this, amigas, if you dare to complain
    There's a very good chance you'll drive some guy insane
    To the point that jihadists and
    you, he will claim
    Are so few steps removed that they're almost the same.

    Down, down the hillside to dhimmitude
    And it's
    your fault for saying folks shouldn't be rude
    Here is your burqa, your prayer mat. Don't brood!--
    It's just what you asked for, you man-hating prude.

    Have a great week, everybody.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:12 AM | TrackBack
  • September 13, 2005

    Hack Work

    One of those things that irritates me, and I'm wondering if I'm in the minority or the majority about it:

    Does it bother you when a blogger quotes several--more than 4, let's say--paragraphs from a major media source like the New York Times, and caps it off with only a sentence or two of his own above and below the excerpt?

    I understand not having faith that your readers will indeed "read the whole thing" as you've asked them to, and I somewhat understand not wanting them to leave your site to go read that awful awful mainstream media THAT WE DON'T NEED ANYMORE, because BLOGGING IS CITIZEN JOURNALISM. (Obviously I don't agree with that last point; all I'm saying is that I understand some webloggers feel this way.)

    Hate the mainstream media all you like; it's still poor form to quote more than 4-5 paragraphs of someone else's material, and even quoting that much is pushing it--though there are exceptions, and we'll get to one in a second here.

    What's really objectionable is quoting more than 4-5 paragraphs from a mainstream media outlet and then not even having the wit to add any of your own thinking to it. In a less charitable mood than I'm in today (it is beautiful out today! Just thought I'd mention that), I'd call it thinly-disguised plagiarism--which I rank well below outright, I'm-not-even-trying-to-hide-it plagiarism.

    But so no one gets the wrong idea, let me give you an example of what I'm not talking about: Quoting from other sources extensively when those sources are used as support for a point you're trying to make--a point you develop and explore thoroughly, a point which is, uh, the point of the post in the first place. I'm all for that. When the quoted material plays a supporting role in a post that could stand on its own (and would, in the hands of a weblogger less meticulous about providing evidence for his or her assertions), it's appropriate.

    It also has the effect of making me more likely to indeed "read the whole thing," because now the weblogger has shown me he's genuinely interested in the material. If it's got him thinking, I reason, it might get me thinking.

    So I'm not talking about just extensive quoting; it can have its place. I'm talking about extensive quoting to which you add no thought of your own. No thought besides "that was a good article," I mean.

    The most annoying habit is webloggers linking to other webloggers' posts that are literally nothing but half a New York Times article framed by one sentence of introduction and one sentence in conclusion. That's revolting. I get annoyed when I click a link someone's provided, only to see that I must now either (1) click a link to the New York Times and read the whole thing, or (2) content myself with the 1/2 to 2/3 of the article "helpfully" reprinted by the weblogger in his excerpt.

    Look: If you know another weblogger has put up one of these half-assed, read-the-whole-thing-(but-here's-2/3-of-it-in-case-you-don't) posts, why on earth would you link that? Why reward poor effort? Do you get a secret thrill out of linking another weblogger (a true independent! A real maverick! Someone not answerable to The Man!) over those nassssty journalists?

    Then grow up. Next time, bypass his lazy ass and go right to the source. Give credit where credit is due. Otherwise you're just jerking your readers around, showing them no respect. Isn't that part of what earned professional journalism a poor reputation in the first place?

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:32 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

    Feel the Beat From the Tamborine

    Cotillion time! This week presented by:


    Portia Rediscovered (who's responsible for the ABBA reference in the title)

    TFS Magnum

    Townhall C-Log

    What exactly was ABBA talking about with that tamborine line in "Dancing Queen," anyhow? "Feel the beat from the tamborine?" Don't you normally hit a tamborine on the off beat? I know nothing about music and I'm not sure, on reflection, that I want to set off a discussion about the Abba catalog, as some of you will doubtless say mean things about it. You will be correct in your assessment, and I will go on liking all their dumb songs anyway. That's just the way it is.

    Click any of the links to this week's hostesses or just stuff yourself here. Enjoy!

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:20 PM

    September 12, 2005

    A Chunk of My Identity Just Turned Black and Fell Off

    I have long believed two things about myself: I like to read, and I like to cook.

    The first one might be a lie--as I realized when the other night I couldn't name the last novel I'd enjoyed--but the second one is definitely a lie. All this time, I've been kidding myself.

    I hate to cook.

    Really. Many's the night I've turned in with my stomach growling because I couldn't be bothered to throw a couple of slices of bread in the toaster before bed. Or because there weren't any slices of bread in the house, and making anything more complex than toast was just too much work.

    I hate to cook. What I like, I've decided, is having something to do with my hands while people talk to me. And I like eating good food, and I can't really afford restaurants, so if I want something good to eat there's no delegating the chore of cooking--either I'm fixing dinner or no one is.

    Lately, no one is. Here, this is the most complicated thing I've made lately: An enormous pot of posole. This is basically a stew-like soup of pork and hominy and massive amounts of chile. It's not really complicated at all, in other words. I expended the effort to put that together because why? Because I knew I could spend the next three weeks not cooking anything but merely warming up a cup of posole here and there when I got peckish.

    It's actually surprisingly good as breakfast.

    I used to make fun of women in the grocery store who'd have one head of lettuce, one box of low-fat cereal bars, one 12-pack of Diet Coke, and 17 Lean Cuisine dinners in their carts, with nothing else--but by gum, I can see now how it could happen. I could wind up like that, except I wouldn't buy Lean Cuisines, I'd buy Marie Callenders. I loves me some country-fried pork chop, Marie!

    This is terrible. I used to list cooking as a hobby. "Oh, don't you like cooking?" I'd inquire nosily, when a coworker would complain about having to make dinner that night. "I think it's so . . . relaxing, actually! I really enjoy it. It helps me unwind. Plus, at the end, you have something wonderful to eat!"

    I was so full of it.

    I have garlic. I have onions. I have mushrooms. I have tomatoes. I have lemons. I have vinegars, red wine and white wine and rice wine and balsamic. I could be making something really fabulous right now.

    Wanna place bets on whether I'm going to?

    UPDATE: Okay, I'm going to. But my gosh, I'm rusty. Having a hard time remembering what to do first or do next, that kind of thing.

    I may update this afterwards and tell you what I fixed. Why? Because I may feel like it. And also because if that Greg Gutfeld character can post something like "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!" on his double secret hidden blog or whatever, well, I like when others lower the bar for me like that. It relieves my performance anxiety. Please don't take that as "Oh, she hates Greg Gutfeld" because no, she does not. I love him (and belated happy birthday to the man). I'm just saying.

    ANOTHER UPDATE: I am at a crossroads and you are all asleep and can't help me--except maybe Pixy, who has just announced our engagement in the comments here. Four words: FREE LIFETIME TECH SUPPORT. I'm so there!

    But my dilemma: Basically either I food process the mixture of spinach/onions/tomatoes/garlic I just sauteed before I throw it on top of the chicken, or I don't. I think I'll like it better if I give it a few quick pulses, but that will mean more dishes, and I am not good at dishes--one more argument against my ever cooking again. The boyfriend used to do them all. Don't ask me how I worked that stroke of luck out because if I knew, I wouldn't be here; I would be negotiating the advance for my soon-to-be bestseller, How to Get Your Man to Clean Up (After Your Ass). I would have speaking engagements. Women would trample each other to get me to heal their sick children.

    Well, at least two weeks hence there definitely won't be any cooking. How rude would it be to bring a doggy bag . . . ?

    AND ANOTHER: There, in the oven. We Will See.

    I pulsed, by the way. This turned out to be a good thing as I'd forgotten I'd need to dump the whole mess in a half-cup of white sauce. I don't think it would have blended as nicely if I'd left the spinach leaves whole and, anyway, I hate stems.

    It's a bad thing in the sense that the dishwasher is full (and running) and I still have a sink-and-a-half's worth of stuff to clean. I don't know why some people get so excited about stem cell research and nanotechnology when clearly what America's scientists should be working on is cloning my boyfriend.

    I aborted the panzanella I was going to make with this. What am I, a pig? Well, yes. But I used two pounds of spinach in this dish. That's enough greenery for one day I think.

    Recipes in the extended entry.

    Spinach-Smothered Chicken

    NOTE: I crib heavily from this recipe. Credit where credit is due and all that.

    2 lbs fresh spinach
    1/2 white onion
    3 cloves garlic
    3 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
    Some button mushrooms--I don't know, say 5 or 6?--halved and sliced
    1/2 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and quartered
    Cooking oil, and I don't care what you use honestly
    1/2 C milk
    1 T flour
    1 T butter
    2/3 C grated parmesan
    Seasonings of a vaguely Italian type (see below)
    And about a pound of chicken breasts, or at least 3 of them, pounded to tenderize

    Mince your garlic and chop your half an onion.

    Peel and seed your plum tomatoes. I score an "X" into the bottoms, drop them in a pan of boiling water for 15-30 seconds, remove them (WITH TONGS!) to a bowl of cold water, let 'em cool a sec, and peel them that way. To deseed, slice off the tops, then slice in half vertically, and squeeze. Seeds-B-Gone. Purists may moan that the tomatoes get too much water into them this way. Purists can go to hell.

    Oh!--and when done peeling and seeding, dice them. Not too finely.

    Halve and slice your mushrooms. Drain, rinse, and quarter your half-can artichokes.

    Now throw some oil into a nice Dutch oven sort of pot, let it heat over medium, and then toss all the above in. Okay technically, you will want to start with onions and garlic, stir stir stir, then mushrooms, stir stir stir, and then tomatoes and 'chokes. Stir around, do a little dance, make a little love--no, don't do that last one. The garlic might burn. Don't let the garlic burn!

    Pat yourself on the back (read: have a beer) for having got this far. Then throw in the spinach. I would give you that "washed three times well and dried" business here, but you know to do that anyway, right? Or just do what I do and buy the prewashed 20-ounce packet and throw very nearly all of it in, so as to kid yourself that you will use the remainder later "in an omelet or something" instead of "throwing it away two weeks later, after it's started growing horrible, awful things all over it."

    Cook the spinach just until it's cooked down. You really aren't cooking it so much as wilting it.

    Throw the whole mess into a colander and drain off the worst of the liquid. Don't knock yourself out draining all the liquid; you'll need some of that later.

    Now either food-process it all or keep it rustic, meaning, don't do anything to it.

    Wipe out the Dutch oven pot in the lazy sort of way we all do when we think no one like the health department is looking. Put it back on medium-low and make half a cup of white sauce, which is in this instance: 1 T butter, 1 T flour, stir stir stir, and the slow addition of 1/2 cup milk. You can even use skim here because it's such a small amount. See if I care!

    Into this throw the chopped (not pureed!) spinach mixture. Stir stir stir, just to coat. Enough! Take it off the heat and remember you forgot to pound the damn chicken breasts.

    Pound the damn chicken breasts. Coat these in a mixture of grated parmesan, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. For the love of man do not ask me to specify the proportions (although I just realized, I tend to go in the order listed, most to least). Use your judgment.

    Lay the chicken breasts in a casserole dish which, believe it or not, you do not need to grease first. The recipe I cribbed from specifies an 8 x 8 x 2 inch size dish. I don't know what chickens that lady is buying, but every time I go to the grocery store anymore, I am amazed and horrified by the steroid-packin' chickens we have in this country, and 3 chicken breasts pounded out will not fit in an 8 x 8 x 2. I have to use, ah, whatever the next size up is. Is it 13 x 9 x 2? Anyway, it's oblong and I recommend it. Or I suppose you could roll up the breasts and hope the whole thing doesn't overflow, but given what a mess I make in a kitchen anyway I do not myself choose to risk it.

    Spread spinach mixture over breasts to cover.

    Bake, 350 degrees, 45 minutes. You do not have to cover it! That's the neat part. Let cool when finished. Eat. Be shocked that something relatively nutritious tastes THAT good. Which it does. I've made this several times and it's never failed.

    Panzanella, or, what to do with the rest of those artichokes

    You remember the other half-can of artichokes? Good. Mine are sitting in a small Tupperware at the moment but that's no reason yours should. You will need:

    Some sturdy bread. Technically, day-old. I've been lazy about making bread from scratch so I never have day-old around anymore and you can't get it in stores here.

    Which reminds me, a note to all back-East cooks: Not all of us have these marvelous bakeries you people take for granted. In fact, most of the country does not have these marvelous bakeries you people take for granted. So please shut the fuck up about day-old bread and how easy it is to procure. It is not. I am talking to you, Rachel Ray.

    There, I feel better. Anyway, cube the bread, crouton-fashion. Now where were we? Right.

    4 plum tomatoes
    2 roasted red bell peppers (or just take some from a jar of roasted sweet peppers)
    That other half-a-can of artichokes, drained, rinsed, quartered
    Olives if you like them (I don't, and please don't get on my ass about that)
    Some lettuce that you like
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4-1/3 part red wine vinegar
    3/4-2/3 part olive oil
    Seasonings for the vinegar-and-olive oil like, say, basil oregano salt pepper and maybe thyme and just possibly crushed red pepper, depending

    Whisk together the minced garlic, vinegar, oil and seasonings to taste. And do taste it, if you don't make vinaigrettes all the time and know already pretty much what you like. If you don't like the taste now, you won't like it later, and you will have ruined perfectly good other things with it. This is the sort of thing that gives old Italian women (and/or Mario Battali) heart attacks to hear, but you know something? Every once in awhile, when I can't get one to come out the way I want it to, I have been known to (ssssh!) sneak about 1/8 teaspoon of sugar into it. Fixes it every time. But no telling!

    Chop the tomatoes as coarsely or as finely as you like. No peeling and seeding this time, hooray.

    Do whatever it is you olive-eaters do with olives. Ugh.

    Combine tomatoes, bell peppers, artichokes, and actually anything else you feel like throwing in, vegetable-wise. I'm planning on adding seeded, sliced cucumbers when I get around to doing this tomorrow, AS WE ALL KNOW I CERTAINLY WILL. Oh!--and add the cubed bread which may or may not be strictly day-old but whatever.

    Pour some dressing over. I don't know, 1/3 C? 1/2? I always make a cup, use whatever amount I think is right for whatever I'm doing that minute, and save the rest for later. Anyway, toss it. That's right. I said toss the salad. You may all have your Beavis and Butthead moment now.

    Put some lettuce on a plate or in a bowl or whatever you prefer--use a sippy cup if you insist--and put dressed bread-cubes-and-assorted-veggies on top of it. Very good stuff. Unless you fucked it up, in which case, that's all your fault.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:33 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

    To Whoever Got Here Via a Search for "Shut Up You Stupid Goth"


    Posted by Ilyka at 07:23 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Perhaps You Would Like a Pointless Story from My Childhood: An Exercise in Traffic Reduction

    I really don't have anything else today. It is my day off. Still, I'm very sorry. You might try reading a good weblog next time.

    In the fourth grade I had a cruel teacher, Ms. Chan--legendarily mean, the kind who caused third graders to wet themselves at the prospect of being assigned to her the following year. And lucky me, I went from second to fourth directly, and had no fellow third graders to warn me what lay ahead--which was basically a year of terror in which I do not remember a thing except learning to do whatever it was I did, all of it, everything, Ms. Chan's way and no other.

    To do otherwise was to risk The Screaming. I'm telling you, I could pick out Ms. Chan's uvula from a line up to this day, that's how wide her mouth would open, and that's how often her mouth was that wide open, doing what it did best: Letting the screams out, occasionally shaping them to form a name here or a vowel there, but seldom into anything else intelligible. You'd be practicing your cursive (head DOWN! For pity's sake you didn't want to risk looking at her, who knows what you might set off doing a thing like that), and Ms. Chan would be at her desk grading spelling tests, and all of sudden you'd hear "THOMMMM-MAAAAS! Aaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeee! Ooooooooooooooooo! Eeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuu!" In the end the principal would come, and probably Thomas' mother too at some point, and it would be determined that Thomas would have to write 200 repetitions of the same sentence by Friday only, his would have to contain consonants and words and suchlike.

    This was in 1977-1978, and no other teacher at my school in Sacramento, California, at that time referred to herself as "Ms." But you would address Ms. Chan as "Ms." or she'd take your head off with a look. Also, no sense risking the screaming over two measly letters, right?

    If I started out in life associating the prefix "Ms." with unholy fire-breathing she-devils who could really, really scream awfully, awfully loud very, very often, it is Ms. Chan's fault.

    I eventually ingratiated myself with the other fourth-graders, who hated me for that whole skipped-third thing (parents: Please do not do this to your children. Do not do it even if you often catch them reading textbooks on particle physics with flashlights under the covers at night. Restrain thy vanity and just don't do it. The utter ruin of my entire scholastic career began right fucking here.). I won quite a few of them over through my formulation of the Chan Eyeshadow Hypothesis, which was declared Theory by year's end. It went like this:

    Ms. Chan wore three different patterns of eyeshadow, rotated at random (or . . . was it?). While every other teacher was aiming for the nude look in makeup, the fresh-faced California outdoors, healthy glow, pale frosty eyeshadow, beige lip gloss look, Ms. Chan was inflicting upon her eyelids . . . tragedy. Tragedy in Technicolor. Depending on who-knows-what, Ms. Chan's eyelids were either:

  • Turquoise blue and mint green

  • Cornflower blue and violet, or

  • Cotton-candy pink and purple

    So what I went around telling all the kids was that I had been studying this (so much for that "gifted" bullshit), and that it seemed to me I could correlate Ms. Chan's mood with her eyeshadow combinations. Which, now that I think of it, is not really that out-there. I probably make myself up differently depending on what mood I'm in, although not since the please-let-them-die 80s has pink and purple eyeshadow figured anywhere into the ol' makeup bag, thank goodness.

    According to the Chan Eyeshadow Hypothesis, the pink/purple combination heralded a good day--naturally, Ms. Chan wore this one the least often. Blue/violet, which she wore most often, indicated an average day--so, some screaming, but nothing out of the ordinary. Turquoise/green, fake a stomachache and go to the nurse's office, or (if you were me and would only wind up sent back to class if you tried that) keep your head down and do not look at her, do not speak to her, do not breathe at her unless ordered to do so by Satan's handmaiden made flesh herself.

    And so . . . bleah. This is where I either tack on a Thoughtful Reflection:

    Looking back, however, I see Ms. Chan not so much as a terrible, frightening ogre, but as simply A Woman and A Teacher, a victim of an educational system that still held teaching to be neither profession nor calling, but simply a waste-heap for unmarriageable women . . . .
    . . . or hit you with a Segue:
    I was thinking of Ms. Ultrabitch today as I admonished myself for watching Food Network in the workout room, which only makes me more hungry following the workout. Ms. Chan would likely have prescribed her standard punishment of 50 Sentences: I will not watch Food Network while on the treadmill. I will not watch . . . .

    . . . or a Punch Line:

    Only when Ms. Chan was rushed from the playground, where she'd been monitoring a tetherball championship, to the local emergency room did we learn the awful truth: The very eyeshadow we'd been using to predict her moods turned out to contain ENORMOUS QUANTITIES OF LEAD. Ms. Chan survived, sued Noxzema Corporation, won a bundle, and became someone's Mrs., but still drools a little out one side of her mouth when she gets too excited, such as whenever Maury Povich comes on.
    Unfortunately I don't have any of those, and I don't feel much like making something up. I seem to have hit a wall here, Chan-wise. I guess what we can get out of this should-never-have-left-draft-mode mess is:

  • Some of those early stereotypes about feminists being all bitchy and stuff?--Were sometimes true.


  • Eyeshadow based on any of the primary colors is almost always a terrible idea.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:58 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack
  • September 11, 2005

    And You'll Not Find a Better

    Sheila O'Malley's September 11 post.

    I like Sheila's writing because it isn't anything at all like I write and in fact it isn't anything at all like most webloggers write--at least, not that I've seen. Sheila will throw any damn detail in--like I was reading this and initially going, "Sheila, what does Catch-22 have to do with that day?"--but she makes it fit, she makes it work. And it has the effect of putting you right there with her.

    Somber and beautiful. If I had anything to compare to it I'd certainly post it, but I don't. So there you go.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:24 AM

    September 10, 2005

    Fearless Overachiever Alert


    Go keep him company. I gotta work.

    UPDATE: Not that this is helping with the work thing. Seriously, you can kind of just sit there and keep hitting "refresh."

    Also, a plan to heal the political divide in these so-called United States appears to have been proposed. Who said liquor never solved anything?

    UPDATE II: And I think at last I understand what you "disco sucks" people were on about--see Lauren's link in comment #16. Oy.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 09, 2005

    For Pet People

    Ith pointed me to this:

    The thing I want to say is simply that there are thousands upon thousands of animals stuck out here, on car roofs, on porches, cats on roofs of houses. We saw no other animal rescue orgs anywhere. I know they’re all doing good work on the peripheries … but, oh man … you see and hear these fluff pieces on TV of people being reunited with their pets, and you look around out here on the boats at this vast, endless wasteland of toxic water and animals hanging on, 11 days after the hurricane, and their time is running out.
    So see what you can do, huh? I used to give to Best Friends regularly, and they're a great outfit. I'm not surprised to find out they're right there in the thick of the things, trying to help.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    The Marvelous, Magical Reappearance of the Post That Went Missing

    It's like this:

    I get real pissy when someone argues with me by claiming I wrote things I didn't actually write. I'm willing to defend what I write. I'm not willing to get into a pissing match of the form "You said that!" "I did not say that, I said this." "Yes you did say that!" "Where?" "Right here." "That's not what it says here." "Yes it is!"

    That's some tedious business right there. No thank you. I'll pass.

    I also get real pissy when I try to do something collaborative or cooperative and someone reacts to it with chest-thumping machismo.

    "PUSSY! You folded, folded 'cause you're a pussy! I was right and you were wrong!"

    No, you're a macho asshole and I'm sick of your dumb shit.

    But that's no reason this shouldn't be up for the rest of you to read. So--again thanks to Ms. Lauren, who saved it--here it is.

    I realize plenty of bloggers generate over 60 comments per post on most of their posts, every day, seven days a week, but I'm not accustomed to that action. I'm not even certain I like it, as after about comment 30 the ADD kicks in and I can no longer follow what anyone's talking about.

    What were you all talking about?

    Right--the subject that's perceived as carrying too much weight on the left and too little weight on the right: Race relations. "Those leftist race-baiters play the race card at every opportunity, even when it makes no sense," grouse the conservatives. "Those wingnuts keep trying to sweep the racists in their midst under the rug, but it won't work this time!" holler the progressives. We talk too much about race! We don't talk enough about race! Shut up! Say something!

    So the subject that everyone is dying to talk about it or is thoroughly sick of talking about, depending, generated the most comments ever here. You're all lucky I don't declare it Race Relations Week. It's only my terrific laziness that keeps me from becoming a repulsive, opportunistic blog whore.

    In the course of talking about what no one wanted to talk about, Ms. Lauren offered to share her personal experiences with racism, partly as explanation, I think, for some of the views she expressed in the comments.

    And I jumped on that offer, you better believe. I never write a blog entry that someone else could largely write for me. I hit paydirt, too. I got three articles for the price of one (which is no price, which is the best part of the whole scam right there, but you know what I mean.).

    Let me head off one criticism at the outset:

    Yes, these are her personal experiences, so could the smartass who jumped out of his seat to object to the inttroduction of "anecdotal evidence" please sit down? Thank you. For one thing, if you ever skimmed the blogroll you'd note that the ratio of personal blogs to political ones is fairly even; obviously, your hostess doesn't get the heebies when people get personal.

    For another thing, personal experience (are you sitting down for this?) shapes people, offering a much better explanation for why one person sees race issues where another does not than "because that lying bastard, Jesse Jackson, didn't waste a minute playing the race card," or "because they're all mooooooooooon-bats."

    In that spirit, here are Ms. Lauren's three posts:

    Life in a Red State, As I Know It

    Ms. Lauren currently attends Purdue University in Indiana. Her experiences living there are recounted in response to a particularly poor David Brooks column, in which Mr. Stereotype asks, "why is it that people who are completely closed-minded talk endlessly about how open-minded they are?" This is her answer.

    Rick Santorum and Pitting the Working Mothers Against the "Non-Losers"

    This post has nothing to do with race, something to do with class, and everything to do with feminism (and to any of you who may have just vomited at the reappearance of the f-word in this blog: Go get a bucket and clean that up. Now.). It's included also because it demonstrates the kinds of debates that play out in the letters to the editor section of Ms. Lauren's local paper, and how that political climate has affected her view of conservatism.

    Whiteness As I Know It

    This, I'll let the excerpt speak for itself:

    suddenly, the topics strayed from the literary readings and began to focus on the class’s personal experiences of race and racism. the n-word began getting thrown around with surprising freedom (the students maintained that it pertained to the discussion although it made many of us uncomfortable) and one day, a student admitted to having lots of friends in the KKK. “in fact,” he declared one day, “my boy scout troop used to camp on KKK camping ground every year. they were really nice people.” he then added that he did not consider himself racist.
    [Emphasis mine.] Because of my age and my own "personal experiences" growing up, the Klan always seemed like a purely historical entity to me--they don't really matter anymore, right? Their numbers have dwindled to the point of irrelevancy, right? No one's actually in the thing besides a bunch of old racists left over from the dark ages, right?

    Maybe wrong.

    Final thing here--if you visit feministe, please be respectful and not, you know, a raging wingnut asshole. Sometimes it's terrific fun to be a raging wingnut asshole--I know, I know, believe me--but there are plenty other places to do that on the internet, besides the one I'm sending you to because I think what she writes is worth reading. It'd be like if I said, "Go see so-and-so about a car, I think you'll like the model he's driving" and you went over there and pissed on the tires. Why do a thing like that?

    Act at least housebroken, is all I'm saying. I think you'll find she can handle disagreement with equanimity.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:19 PM | Comments (12)

    I Don't Know, You Title It

    I'm not really getting this post by Jane Galt, probably because I'm not buying at least half the assertions she makes. The poor are areligious?

    The poor were less likely to have cars, or know people with access to cars. They are less likely to be connected with churches or other social organisations that could have functioned to make sure they got out.
    The whole post is like that--one assertion that has me nodding my head ("less likely to have cars") followed immediately by one that has me scratching it ("less likely to be connected with churches"). Jane wrote this once, so she can't be entirely ignorant of life in the cheap seats. Well, maybe it's different in New York, or maybe she knows something I don't, but in general, it has not been my experience that the poor are "less likely to be connected with churches."

    And then there's this harping on education:

    The poor do not listen to news as frequently, or as intently, as the middle class, meaning that they had a much hazier idea of what was going on, even if they had had the education to understand what a Class Five hurricane was.
    Pardon me, but how much education does one need to "understand" what a Class Five hurricane is? I'm not even sure how much native intelligence you need--all you're asking anyone to grasp is that Class Five is very big and very bad. I can't figure out how to get out of Dodge without my Master's now, is that it? No, I am not buying this one--obviously education isn't all that if someone who actually has some is claiming it's required in order to get your head around "Class Five hurricane."

    As for this:

    The poor are vastly less responsive to public education efforts than the middle class (I've seen few good theories as to why). This meant that they didn't take evacuation warnings seriously.
    I have a theory as to why: Maybe because they resent being condescended to by the people providing public education. Maybe the people in charge of providing that public education are exhibiting some of the same attitude I'm finding in . . . this post. Maybe they lose sleep nights over whether someone with a GED can comprehend a hurricane severity scale that goes from 1 to 5.

    "Harold, I'm worried. These people have so little education!"

    UPDATE: One of those she-said-it-better-than-I-did moments. From the comments, Moebius Stripper on that whole they-won't-respond-to-public-education thang:

    The statements that the poor don't listen to the news frequently, and that they're less responsive to public education efforts, were the ones that blew my mind the most. This might have something to do with the fact that the bulk of my exposure to The Poor has been with impoverished immigrants and refugees, and I've never met a group of people who took better advantage of public education efforts of all flavours. In particular, I'm acquainted with a mother and daughter who moved to Canada less than three years ago, and didn't speak a word of English at the time. They live in a bachelor apartment, and sleep on a double mattress - in other words, these folks are not rich. And they have the radio on constantly, and all of the librarians knew them by name because they're at the library several times a week. Because, well, listening to the news and borrowing books from the library are ways to educate oneself for free. But if there were a major earthquake in our neck of the woods, I don't know if they'd be able to get out of town. They don't have cars, and although they have close ties to their community, most of the members of that community are carless immigrants too.
    And while education might eventually relieve some of those circumstances--obviously the immigrant families haunting the library believe it will--it's not going to be the kind of education you can provide in a two-minute public service announcement.

    I think in that earlier racism thread I said something about wanting to identify concrete causes before dealing with abstract ones. That's just my nature, but this backs me up on it, because "The poor are vastly less responsive to public education efforts" is just the sort of sentence that results when you weight the abstract more heavily than the concrete; in this case, the assumed relative knowledge and comprehension of an economic class before the more practical issue of lack of transportation.

    Whether having high school diplomas instead of GEDs might have helped people achieve higher incomes, enabling them to own cars, is not really something I consider important in this context, in the immediate aftermath when folks are trying to pin down what all went wrong. "The poor won't listen to us" strikes me as something of a copout here.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:56 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

    If You've Come for the Hate-a-thon You're in the Wrong Place, Baby

    Permit me to direct you to the right one.

    A few weeks ago, I think, Judith Weiss linked something-or-other of Andrea's and remarked:

    (I don’t mean to slight the lovely Ilyka, but I think she’d agree that neither of us is worthy of the Great Andrea and Meryl.)
    And I would agree. I do agree. I didn't leave a comment to that effect only because I happen to have this little thing called an ego, and saying "I agree! By comparison, I suck!" was asking a bit much of it. But is Judith right? Yes. She's right.

    For some reason I always get stuck explaining this. I get some variant of the question, "How can you like her when she's such a bitch?" The too-easy, too-simple answer (but nonetheless the one that leaps to mind reflexively) is, "Because she's such a bitch."

    A better one might be, at least partially, this: Because I'm a slut for writing ability. I roll right over for the deft turn of phrase and good simile makes me shiver. I know people who are trying to flex those muscles in their writing--me for one--and watching that process occur is like watching me on the treadmill: sad, sad, sad. They reach too far or they try too hard, and they wind up collapsed in a heap on the floor, three feet from a dead cockroach, gasping for an inhaler.

    I like to think Andrea went through some such early period herself--it helps me maintain delusions of competence--but my point is, she's not in it now, and it shows:

    Anyway, the use of the tears ‘n’ slop soundtrack [on cable news channels] is especially annoying in this context, because there exists a much more apropos musical genre which is readily available at any cd store. But except for a few broadcasts here and there of displaced NOLA jazz musicians playing on Larry King Live and the like it’s as if Mississippi Delta blues, jazz, and zydeco never existed. What do you people think all those sad songs were written about, stuff people made up? Also, it might give a little dignity to the plight of the survivors, and remind people of the good things about New Orleans. There’s a reason that despite the massive corruption, graft, poverty, and general crappiness that ran through the city like mold through bleu cheese there was also quite a bit of that “culture” Our Liberal Betters are always blatting about. But instead we get the theme to “Oprah.”
    And now you know why I don't see the point of paying for cable. It's bad enough I pay $45 a month for DSL, but at least with the internet, if something annoys me, it's my own damn fault for clicking on it. If cable news annoys me, what choice have I got? Every other channel is going to be just as annoying. People who make distinctions between FOX and CNN amaze me. They both suck; it's just that one works the tongue against the right side of the head and the other works it against the left. But the ways in which they are similarly crappy outnumber the ways in which they are differently so. The only time I see cable news is when I'm in the workout room, and then I have to endure the sighs and harrumphs from the kids in there with me who are mad that they're missing MADE. It's easier to just tune it to HGTV and really piss them off.

    Anyway: Andrea's is where you want to go for true, authentic, homestyle right-wing hate. Of course, she'll delete anything offensive you say to her, and ban you from viewing the site at all if you annoy her excessively. But in that sense, it should feel just like home.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:32 AM

    September 08, 2005

    Any Way You Slice It

    . . . he comes up dead.

    Someone's kitty-cats are getting tuna tonight, I'll bet.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:53 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Oh, I Don't Think So

    Wouldn't you much rather read something you already agree with? Something that supports you, something that enforces your existing beliefs, something . . . soothing? Of course you would. Of course you would. Sshh, sshh . . . go back to sleep. That's a good baby.

    UPDATE: Still feeling optimistic? Then keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:52 PM

    September 07, 2005

    Countdown to the Opening Bars of "I Hate This Country, Americans Are Just a Bunch of Jesusfreak SHEEPLE"

    Begins now.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:37 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Now That's Good News

    Hallelujah, Rob and his family are doing okay.

    Sounds like they have some very good friends and neighbors down there, too. Excellent.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    I Did Not Know That

    Really, I was completely unaware--

    Long Hours 'Impair Doctors' Skills'

    Long hours impair everyone's skills. That's why so many truckers have methamphetamine problems.

    Smoking, Drinking: Young Kids Learn From Adults

    I thought they learnt it from evil space tobacconists and the ghost of Jim Beam. No . . . ? Well, chalk it up to another of my delusions, then.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 06, 2005


    This week it's about celebrating the heroes ("great and small," as Merri puts it) in the face of disaster. Annika. Merri. Right Girl. Stacy. All great stuff, with all the class and flair you've come to expect from these women.

    Check it out here, here, and here if you prefer. Just--check it out.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Possibly of Interest to the Medically Oriented

    . . . though hopefully of interest to everyone following the tragedy in Louisiana: Kellipundit shares her battle to get medications to patients in need:

    Yesterday I spent about 5 hours in the triage room at a local shelter. I was at an unrelated hospital function and the CEO walks in and tells a group of us (me, a pharmacist, and the rest Docs) that 400 'patients' had just been dropped off at a local shelter. We all boarded ambulances and went out there. Words can not describe what I walked into.
    Read it. Read it. I'm afraid this is another episode that doesn't speak well of the American Red Cross. Told by a major pharmaceutical company that vouchers from the Red Cross would suffice in lieu of copayment for medications, Kellipundit promptly contacts the Red Cross regional office:
    Okay, so then I'm off to talk with the Red Cross to ask where these magical vouchers could be located.

    Regional director American Red Cross: "We're still working on that, but our national office has to approve it."

    What the hell??


    Snagged from this week's Cotillion. I'll put up the usual notice about that, but I admit it--I wanted to single this one out. People are running out of insulin, out of asthma medication--but the national office has to approve vouchers.

    You see why I'm for more power in the hands of those who are on-scene, local, and could actually do some good wielding it?--You see why I'm not in favor of centralizing it all? This is why. Don't kid yourself that this is unique to the Red Cross--when all the power's held by those far from the scene, you can't grab 'em by the lapels and shake 'em into action.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:08 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    September 05, 2005

    Racists, Racists Everywhere

    They've completely infected the right. COMPLETELY. Their poison is seeping into the discourse of mainstream conservatism. Hey, I didn't say it--this guy did:

    Like something that came crawling out of the flooded cellars, the ugly side of right-wing extremism has surfaced in the wake of the disaster in New Orleans -- and, as usual, it's beginning to seep into the discourse from mainstream conservatism too.
    As evidence, the author provides links and excerpts to and from the following:

  • David Duke. We know how beloved this man is on our side, hey, righties? We know how lovingly he's been quoted and linked to by Instapundit, Captain's Quarters, Little Green Footballs--and that regular column he has at National Review, why, I read it every week. Haven't missed a one. This man is deity among mainstream conservatives.

  • American Renaissance. What do you mean, "I've never heard of American Renaissance?" Why of course you have! It's linked everywhere and sourced continually. You've just . . . forgotten. Yes, that's it.

  • George Neumayr of the American Spectator. Well, now we're getting somewhere--I'm at least passingly familiar with American Spectator. Unfortunately, I'm having difficulty seeing the tidal wave of race hatred I'm told I'll find in this column. Is it where he says--

    Conservative black leaders have been mau-maued into silence whenever they tell the truth about this barbarism and call for dramatic reform. But they are the ones who must lead the city now, and the phonies at organizations like the NAACP who despite all their rhetoric haven't done a thing to help the black underclass should step aside. Hurricane Katrina has made vivid the civilizational collapse they have long tried to conceal.
    . . . ? I'm guessing it is. I guess now calling for more authority for black leaders makes you a racist--provided those leaders are conservative. Besides, he knocked the NAACP, and we all know having a beef with the NAACP makes you a racist automatically.

  • Some article by some Jamaican guy--look, I'm running out of patience already. He's not a "conservative," let alone a mainstream one. And if you ask me, he's a Jamaican like "John Adams of Los Angeles" was a U.S. citizen. Not buying it. If he really is a Jamaican--

    Desperation? Yeah, right. I am beginning to believe that black people, no matter where in the world they are, are cursed with a genetic predisposition to steal, murder, and create mayhem.
    --may he burn in Hell for eternity for such a disgusting, despicable statement (actually, may he burn whatever his background). Anyway, ech, let's continue.

  • A commenter named "Jeeves."

    Let me repeat that, because I suspect some folks out there are getting a little desensitized to the insanity, not that I blame them--but:

    A blog commenter. Named "Jeeves." Is cited. As evidence. That racism is seeping into mainstream conservatism.

    A dude on the internet.

    Yeah, I'm familiar with ol' Jeeves. He's a racist. He came to my old blog after I'd linked a post by Solotude. He gave me some hassle, I told him to fuck off, end of story.

    He's a mainstream conservative like every denizen of Democratic Underground is a mainstream liberal. Do you want us to start beating that drum again, lefties? I seem to recall many of you were embarrassed, angry, and resentful about being lumped in with some of the crazy to be found on that forum--as well you ought to have been. Just as I'm embarrassed, angry, and resentful that some racist dickhead who hasn't so much as a weblog of his own is now being held up as an example of "mainstream conservatism."

    Except for one thing: I'm not embarrassed; I'm furious. I don't have anything to be embarrassed about. I am not a racist, and this man does not represent me, my views, or "my side." And you on the left who have tried to put him there--you're like preschoolers trying to stuff the square block into the triangular hole, and that's the charitable view of it--that you're just that ignorant.

    The uncharitable view of it is that you are malicious liars.

    Anyhow, no link for Jeeves because, having dealt with him before, I am loathe to deal with him again. It's very tedious dealing with racists--tedious and ugly. I prefer, when possible, simply depriving them of a forum in which to spread their hate.

    Besides, I'm afraid we're not done yet. Continuing:

  • A commenter named "Mark J." at Jane Galt's site. Have I already dealt with the idiocy of holding up every deranged hatemonger on the internet as a "mainstream conservative?" I would ask why Orcinus overlooked the other 91 commenters who weren't racists a la Mark J., except that I know perfectly well why he overlooked them, and you do too: Because it didn't shore up his point. "Make the data fit"--that's the modus operandi here.

    Having begun by promising his readers they'd see racism "beginning to seep into the discourse from mainstream conservatism too," Orcinus now--after six examples--moves the goalposts:

    Meanwhile, the same meme is spreading to mainstream conservatives
    Oh now wait, WAIT. So those weren't mainstream conservatives up above? Fine, then. Let's see how the mainstream's really represented:

  • Free Republic--also much-beloved on the right, very mainstream. Saying "Free Republic" to most conservatives leads to a heavy sigh much as you'd hear coming from the mother of a fractious four year-old if you greeted her with, "Your son, Brandon . . . ." It's not that mom doesn't like Brandon; it's just that he causes so much trouble sometimes. So it is with Free Republic, generally--they get a thumbs-up when they're exposing fake memos and a thumbs down, oh, say, once a week or so. Sometimes more, sometimes less--but pretty regularly.

    Anyway, apparently the problem with Free Republic is that some of the posters there are decrying "gangsta culture."


    So look: Just slap my fanny and call me a racist, then, because I don't like "gangsta culture." I don't believe anyone who likes African-Americans and prefers them, you know, alive, can honestly claim to like "gangsta culture." Gangsta culture might annoy some white folks, but it primarily kills black men. And promoting that's not racist?

    Anyone who says, "Oh, there is no such thing--that's a media invention" is a privileged asshole who's been luckier than he or she knows. Much luckier. Gangstas ruin everything. They rob, they beat people up, they kill each other and too often take the innocent with them, they bring down the neighborhood--ganstas suck. There are entire reggae albums dedicated to saying exactly that, but those artists, naturally, are not racist. Black people can't be racist--except when they can. Except when they're conservative.

  • And then some guy named Clayton Cramer used the adjective "savagery" to describe some of the bad behavior, and you know that whenever anyone calls something "savage," it's really just white-people code for "too black." Which is why this guy should have his column renamed--because it's racist.

    And I know you're as tired of this refrain as I am but no, actually, I had never heard of Mr. Cramer before today. Had you?

    'Cause that's the end of Orcinus's examples of mainstream conservatives who are racist.

    That's it.

    The very helpful Orcinus I found via a very helpful link from the very helpful Ms. Lauren of feministe in the comments at the very helpful Pandagon post linked here previously.

    Ms. Lauren cites Orcinus' post as evidence of "patent racism," which it is, as is the other link she provides (another site I've never heard of, incidentally. I'm really falling behind in Rightwing Racism 101 this semester!).

    What it is not is evidence that racism is practiced and promoted by mainstream conservatives.

    What it is not is evidence that racism is behind every complaint against looting. (And, as Jeff Goldstein pointed out in those same comments, how racist it is to ascribe African-American heritage to all looters in the first place, as though not one Caucasian stole anything.)

    What it is not is a reason to lay "the blame on [sic] the feet of every stupid asshole who complained about looting," if Jabbar Gibson is prosecuted for "stealing" a New Orleans city bus. Which, incidentally--I can't find a thing anywhere saying he will be.

    It is evidence that racism exists, and that some of those racists lean right.

    Just like when I link to pieces that espouse hatred of the United States, I can't help but notice many of them lean left.

    Do you like being lumped in with that crowd?

    Neither do I like being lumped in with racists.

    And I get especially angry when I see things like this that demonstrate unquestionably the willingness of right-leaning webloggers and their audiences to put their wallets where their virtual mouths are for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

    To put it another way: The leading webloggers for raising donations as of this writing are Instapundit, Hugh Hewitt, and Michelle Malkin.

    Are they suddenly not mainstream conservatives anymore? If they aren't, I'll have to remind you of that the next time you're designing spoof web sites of them.

    "Eh, it ain't worth the time. Let it go. It's not like she's a mainstream conservative or anything."

    Do you believe their readers are completely ignorant of the demographics of New Orleans?

    Do you believe racists freely give money to suffering people, despite knowing that many of them are African-Americans?

    Do you believe racists freely give over $450,000 to suffering people, despite knowing that many of them are African-Americans? Because that's how much has been donated via those top three weblogs alone.

    What do you believe about conservatives, exactly?

    And how often do those beliefs coincide with reality?

    They aren't on the same page with it presently, I can tell you that--anymore than Atrios, Daily Kos, or Oliver Willis appear anywhere on that leader board.

    I do hope their absence is nothing to do with racism.

    UPDATE: A commenter points out that liberal webloggers have their own fundraisers going and are thus not represented at NZ Bear's. I wondered about that when I wrote this and should have checked before saying anything. Anyway, one such effort is here for those of you of a mind to donate.

    (As to the rest of the comment, said commenter is cordially invited to perform upon him- or herself a lobotomy with a rusted railroad spike. I mean, if you're not gonna use the material anyway . . . .)

    ANOTHER UPDATE: Well, either there's a two-comment maximum in effect for the right-leaning over at Pandagon, or someone objected to me responding to a guy whose idea of a pointed zinger was "I'll bet you shop off the rack at Wal-mart," I don't know which. There was, however, a comment I really did want to respond to, in which Tacitus is held up to me as an example of a guy who "gets it." Tacitus writes in part:

    . . . it must be stated forthrightly that [racism] is an enduring problem of the modern right. But it is not inherent to conservatism, nor even necessary to that movement.
    And I agree--which you happy Pandagoners would learn if you, say, read the discussion in the comments below.

    (Incidentally, at this blog I have deleted precisely two comments in as many years, and both were from people who know me offline and referenced information I considered too personal to be shared online. So don't be shy! You aren't going into a moderation queue and unless you really overreach yourself, you aren't getting deleted. Some of us can take a little back-and-forth on these here internets.)

    Where was I?--Yes, racism on the right. Well, some of that ground I've also covered here as well, though because it's so long I'll just excerpt the relevant bit, where I talk about an unhappy experience posting on the FOX News message boards during the unraveling of the 2000 election:

    My friends and I reasoned that, well, maybe this was inevitable--now that it was all over, everyone who had better things to do than fret over the gay agenda was off doing those better things. This was probably just the fringe element, the nutters who eventually take over any public forum. Most Republicans, we said, weren't like this.

    Some white supremacists had started posting openly, too, but, geez, they weren't the backbone of the party either. Couldn't be! Right? Right? It was the Dixiecrats who'd catered to and stoked the racists in their midst. The Democratic Party, not the Republican one. Gee, everybody knew that.

    Most Republicans weren't gay-bashers. Most Republicans weren't racists. But the ones who were, shouted the loudest. Eventually, no one else could be heard.

    So if you've come here to educate me that there are racists on the right, rest thy weary fingers a spell, kid, because I know there are racists on the right--and it's telling that so few are interested in determining why that is or what can be done about it; but then, it's as politically useful for the left that the right has a few racists as it is for the right that the left has a few America-haters.

    That racism exists and tends to gravitate rightward, however, was not the cudgel I took up in this post. The point of this post was to dispute that racism had seeped into the discourse of mainstream conservatism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, in general; and that racism had seeped into the discourse of mainstream conservatism based on the examples provided by Orcinus, in specific.

    And to that end, I do continue to think I've done a far better job shoring up my points than Amanda has done shoring up hers. And I've done it without deleting comments or relying on ad hominem--which, yes, her response is. It is not argument to repeat "if you believe [x], you're as delusional as Ilyka Damen." I'm sorry; I didn't make that rule. Talk to the people centuries dead who did.

    Enjoy your stay. Oh!--and yes: I do shop off the rack at Wal-mart. I have to. And really, I can't tell you how tickled pink I am that this disgusts former supporters of the man who sees two Americas. Y'all just go right on ahead and keep that rhetoric coming . . . and if you could step it up some starting about, oh, 2007?--Gracias!

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:44 PM | Comments (70) | TrackBack
  • And Now, Comic Relief

    "Cool layout!" cried the commenter. "Are you using a custom template?"

    From the first comment on a post about . . . comment spam. You can see where this is going, can't you?

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:28 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    September 04, 2005

    Sillier and Sillier

    How bad is it down in the gulf?--Bad enough that I just received this from a supervisor at work:

    "We are receiving reports of an influx of hurricane victims at [healthcare facility]."

    Here's the location of [healthcare facility].

    So if you're anything like me, you probably read that and thought, "Wow, this is really serious! We'd better all sit down and patiently explain to Republicans how it's their fault for being racist."

    I mean, right?

    For sheer silliness it's hard to beat this back-and-forth between Ace of Spades and Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon. Ace sez Amanda accuses conservatives of wanting to tar and feather the man who helped evacuate people with a stolen bus--which obviously, we don't. I first read about Stolen Bus Hero here, and I detect an admiring tone from that particular conservative; how 'bout you?

    Anyway, Ace gets a little angry:

    This little cocksucker claims that we evil racist conservatives are angry because a kid "stole" an abandoned bus and used it to evacuate people.

    Who the hell made such a charge? No one, that's who. From the beginning of this mess, conservatives have been pretty solid on the distinction between survival-driven "borrowing" and true looting.

    No one is going to bring charges against this kid, asshole. No one is going to call for charges against this kid. You call him a hero. Guess what, idiot? Everyone fucking agrees with you.

    Which, as nearly as I can tell, everyone does.

    That said, I am not seeing where Amanda accuses the right of being against the young hero. She does clumsily try to tie it together with the early looters/finders distinction:

    That's not stealing and that's not looting. This is beyond ridiculous. That's heroism. If this kid gets arrested for being a fucking hero and single-handedly saving 100 people, then I am laying the blame on the feet of every stupid asshole who complained about looting.
    And this being America, Amanda's welcome to do that--but dear sweet heavens above, do not let this woman anywhere near a courtroom, ever. Because in no dimension does "boneheaded officials wanna arrest him" result as effect from the cause of "you know, I thought that guy with the 10 pairs of jeans on his shoulder was a little out of order," or "Could we maybe try not shooting at the rescue helicopters?" or any of the dozens of sane, reasonable objections to actual bad behavior, in New Orleans particularly, that I have read this last week.

    Boneheaded officials wanna arrest him because that's bureaucracy, baby. That's government--something progressives generally clamor for more of. Well, you've got it; now do something with it. Write or call the city of New Orleans and tell 'em to quit being boneheaded if you don't like it. Or call the ACLU. Ask your readers--I hear Pandagon has a few--if they know any lawyers in the area who'd jump at the chance to make a national name for themselves for the low, low cost of a little pro bono work--I suspect you'll be flooded, ha ha, with responses to that one.

    For the last time: You have a participatory form of government. PARTICIPATE. Or:

    When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' You are.
    But then, the woman who wrote that was not a progressive, so we can ignore her.

    Of course, if a dead Russian immigrant says people gotta take a little repsonsibility, she's just a nut who never got over that whole Soviet Union thing. If a black woman says people gotta take a little responsibility, she's a self-loathing racist:

    Back when I was growing up, real men took charge and made decisions. They protected women and children--especially their own children--and got them out of harm’s way; out of the way of things like hurricanes, especially when they had days of advance warning. And if they made the wrong decision, they tried to make things right and/or took the consequences. Like young Jabbar Gibson. [Oh, hey, didn't we tar and feather that boy yet?--ed.]

    They didn’t expect someone else to be the protector—be the man—and then whine about how the substitute man wasn’t being the substitute man fast enough.

    No one should wonder that gangs of thieves, terrorists, rapists and murderers plagued the refugees. Such are the rotten fruit of fatherless societies--societies with a dearth of real men.

    The response from various commenters then proceeds to blow your mind, and not in the fun way:

  • You fucking right wing dirtball. What a disgusting piece of shit the average Republican is, and you're no exception. Fuck you.

  • So, would you cringe if Jews in concentration camps didn't stand up for themselves? Do you think a leader should have arisen at Auschwitz to combat the Nazis? Was there something defective in their society that let them be persecuted by the Germans?

  • Here we go again with "blame the victim" and the thinly veiled racism.
  • And so on and so forth.

    What Baldilocks is describing--the scenes of men complaining that no one will help them, the mothers clearly without fathers--is applicable specifically to the people of New Orleans, many of whom are black.

    But what she's describing generally is the inevitable consequence of decades of rewarding dependence and passivity while punishing independence and action.

    That's what states do (and by "states," I do not mean specifically these united ones but governments in general), the more power you give them. It is difficult for states to manage large numbers of people; it is impossible for them to manage large numbers of people who are independent, self-motivated, and active. When you clamor for states to exhibit more of those qualities themselves--be more active on our behalf! Do more without having to be told! Decide what's best without all that dithering and filibustering!--you necessarily decrease those qualities in the populace. So help me, I didn't make that rule. It just is.

    Be more active on our behalf! means you empower government to decide what "your behalf" is.

    Do more without having to be told! means you empower government to take action without first seeking your input.

    Decide what's best without all that dithering and filibustering! means you empower government to ignore opposing viewpoints and conflicting data.

    This is what you wanted. This is what you get. It's not racist for Baldilocks to report what the news is showing her and react to it. It is racist to take any minority group and declare it a ward of the state, sentence it to permanent childhood, deny it independence.

    Which, when you apologize for behavior in one group that you wouldn't tolerate from a member of your own group--when you make the "they cain't help it, the poor oppressed Negroes" argument--is what you're doing.

    So enough already. GIVE. Pitch in and do what you can.

    Be grownups.

    A VERY NONGROWNUP UPDATE: It's remarked upon in the comments at Pandagon that Ace didn't leave a trackback.

    Yeah, you know, funny thing 'bout that: I recently turned off trackback autodiscovery, so I have to enter trackback links manually. On purpose.

    And there's only one trackback link in this post that doesn't want to go through. Which one could it be?

    Good thing Pandagon doesn't have a reputation for similar prior incidents, or folks might get to wondering just exactly whose dissent is being crushed by whom.

    MORE GROWNUPPER UPDATE: Then again, maybe the Red Cross shouldn't be your pick for charitable giving:

    There were several busses full of survivors from Louisiana brought to Georgia Tech tonight. As the first bus load arrived, there was an owner from a local restaurant there with enough hot meals for everyone. He was turned away and told that the Red Cross had enough rations, and he'd be better off selling the meals and sending the cash instead. This was told to others as they brought truckloads of diapers, clothes, toiletries, blankets, compassion, understanding and love. Those that offered to open their homes to them were told to put their names on a list until they could screen the people to see who could be trusted with other people.
    Read the whole thing. Thanks to Diamond Dave, guestposting at Snooze Button Dreams.
    Posted by Ilyka at 05:30 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

    September 03, 2005

    For Jim

    . . . who's a little teed off at his fellow Atlanteans for driving up gasoline prices: Jane Galt suggests thanking them:

    But it hurts! I hear you moan. "What about my Labor Day driving?" Let me translate. What you're really saying when you say "I don't want to pay more for gas" is "I don't want to either use less gas, or use less of anything else". But as a society, we have to use less gas. You, or someone else, is going to have to consume less of the stuff, because we have less than we used to. If you don't want to be one of the people using less gas, then you have to be one of the people using less of everything else. Thus will the market pretty efficiently strip out driving by those who value it least.

    Or to put it another way, "Yes, of course it hurts. If it didn't hurt, no one would stop driving."

    If you do not read it all, please, at least read the next paragraph, which explains why that's not such a bad thing.

    (I'm just needling Jim. I know he's pro free market. Pro free market, anti dumb-animal panic buying.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:43 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    September 02, 2005

    Competence: Could We Get Some?

    Read something today in which it was suggested that Guiliani would be a better choice to lead recovery efforts in New Orleans and other areas devastated by Katrina. Hold on, let me find it--yeah, here we go:

    [Newt Gingrich] urged Bush to name former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as the White House point person for relief efforts. "We need to get the job done now, and I don't think anybody is better prepared to do that psychologically and otherwise than Rudy Giuliani," Gingrich told The Associated Press.
    This is meant in no way as criticism of Giuliani, but look: Instead of putting a superhero costume on the former New York mayor, why can't we look at what made him "prepared to do that" in the first place?

    Here's a hint: I don't think it was anything "psychological."

    It's easy to forget now, but Giuliani took some grief for ensuring New York's disaster-preparedness. Every dime spent there was a dime not being spent on [insert need here]. And even after September 11, some people still weren't happy--though in the case of one of those links, they were socialists, and as we well know, socialists are never happy. You could put Santa Claus in charge of effecting wealth redistribution and nationalized healthcare, and a true socialist would merely say it was offensive to non-Christians and didn't go far enough besides.

    Giuliani, last I looked, is mortal. One day he's not going to be around to be suggested as a better choice than Michael Brown. Actually, at this point I'd put forth all kinds of unlikely candidates as a better choice than Michael Brown, whose stock response is just a variation on "everything's fine," when everything is clearly not fine.

    If we want more capable, competent people in government and fewer ineffective spokespersons, we have to start acting like we deserve them. We have to start demanding them. Right now, we aren't. We're complaining that Bush didn't strike the right tone in his first speech about Katrina when, frankly, that should be the last thing we care about. I'm sorry the "laundry list" of supplies being sent to the affected areas Bush provided was so "Arbor Day," but I'm lots sorrier that editorials in the New York Times now feature all the thought and gravitas of forum postings about the next season of The Real World.

    Because I'm a wingnut, and therefore required by law to do so at least once a week, I blame Clinton--that's who got us hooked on the fantasy of A President Who Really Cares. I don't want a president who really cares; I want a president who will get to work right away. But apparently, some of us miss the Guy Who Really Cared. We wish he were talking to us all right now, biting his lip and clearly fighting back a tear or two, unloading a truckload of--not food, water, medicine, or anything useful, but sympathy, hope, optimism, and other sweet, abstract notions you can't use to eat, drink, or cure cholera.

    We shouldn't care about any of that. We should care about the inadequate response; we should care about what's being done and what's not being done, and we should demand that our leaders tell us the truth about these things. And then we should quit plugging our fingers into our ears and screaming "I ain't tryin' to hear that!" when sometimes that truth is distasteful.

    Otherwise we're just in for more months of Michael Brown saying he's had "no reports of unrest," when I could sit one of my cats down at this computer, place her paw at some random point on the keyboard, and pull up a story of "unrest" in New Orleans.

    The people suffering there deserve better than that.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:29 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

    September 01, 2005

    You Are Big Boys and Girls

    You can find the Hurricane Katrina blogburst participants and the charitable organizations they're boosting all by your own grownup selves, right? Right? Because I went to link NZ Bear's list of participating webloggers, on account of it's Thursday and this is supposed to be the big day for getting the relief flowing . . . but I got a MySQL error. I imagine the database is taking quite a beating with all this.

    Anyway, as I've been having sentiments like these the last couple days--

    So if I don’t put up a big long list of charities, it’s because I figure you can find them yourself – the Red Cross isn’t exactly hiding in a shack in Utah waving a shotgun at anyone who comes up the road, and the Salvation Army can probably be summoned if you stand on a street corner with a Bible and a tuba and start belting out “Bringing in the Sheaves.”
    --I said to hell with it; if you folks want a blogburst, I trust you to find yourselves one. (Incidentally, the charity endorsed by Hugh Hewitt, as mentioned in that piece, looks utterly worthy and yes, I said Hugh Hewitt, and no, I don't wanna hear none of your snark, and yes, that admonishment is also directed at myself, a habitual offender in that regard. Like the man says, though, they send food to kids. I can't fault that and if you can, please go away now.)

    Personally, I'm getting a little nervous that Rob hasn't been back online for awhile. Be safe, Rob and family. Be well. And for pity's sake find some way to give a holler out somewhere if you need anything. We're listening.

    (Oh, never mind--the NZ Bear list came up this time. Give it a try if you like. If you can't find a worthy charity on that list, I don't know what would please you.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    And Remember, Keep it Clean

    Else you'll be spoken to.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:20 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    The Music List Thing, Yes AGAIN

    In the comments here, Helen says her year (1992) oughtta win for Worst Year on account of the inclusion, at #15, of this song.

    You have to admit, that's a formidable contender.

    But have you seen Geek Empire's list? It's got your Britney. It's got your Christina Aguilera. It's got your Backstreet Boys, it's got your N'Sync, it's got your R. Kelly/Celine Dion duet that I didn't know ever even happened.

    I can't even imagine what that sounds like. I mean, she is the best singer in the world!

    Party like it's 1999--yeah, how can you, with that soundtrack? Did I mention . . . the Whitney Houston/Mariah Carey duet? That I also did not know ever even happened?

    (Though it does have one of my favorites on there--that mean ol' Francis crossed out, him and his Goo Goo Dolls-lovin' self. How could you, Francis. How could you. You heartless bastard.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:07 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    With Apologies to Those of You Who Came Here Seeking the Grace, Wisdom, and Light I So Regularly Dispense

    --but oh my heavenly days, am I feeling rageful. And before that one guy asks (or, worse, sends me a poem about it), NO, IT IS NOT THAT TIME OF THE MONTH.

    Please, gentlemen, let me provide just this one tiny bit of advice that, so help me, I wish never needed to be provided. But it does, so I will, and here it is: Do not send the ladies poetry about their menses. Ever. Not for Arbor Day, not for V-E Day, not for any occasion at all. Yes I know the colors of Christmas are green and red BUT NO, NOT EVEN THEN. Okay? OKAY.

    Whew. That's taken the edge off a little bit.

    But you know what would help more?

    You telling me what you're mad about.

    GO. And hurry up--because if you haven't noticed I'm not feeling real super-patient today, either.

    NEVER MIND, I AM ALL BETTER NOW UPDATE: Blogrolled by The Fake Doctor! Sweet. Must try to actually earn that distinction sometime.

    You are all reading The Fake Doctor daily and enjoying the humorous dispatches very much, yes yes? And if you are of the nice young Jewish females, you are the sending of the naked pictures of yourself to him with great haste and frequency also, yes? You are using the digital photography and the email and perhaps even the FedEx for the 8 x 10 glossies? Good, good. We want to keep that man happy, so off with la ropa, chicas. And you, Meryl--send the nice man some readers. I know you've got a nice Jewish girl or two lurking about somewhere on that blog.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:45 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack