May 30, 2006

When You Poke Wild Animals with Sticks, the Results Aren't Always Predictable

One reason among many why I've largely left off the political blogging: Outing.

Outing's a game played by mental 12-year-olds. It's a game in which they strike back at whoever they're arguing with by either taking action against them offline, or by posting their opponent's personal information.

You don't have to be anonymous online to be outed. You can just have some douchebag email your grad school advisor alerting him to comments you made somewhere, in the hopes of sabotaging your academic pursuits. As far as I'm concerned, that's a form of outing. It's taking the online world off, anyway. It's childish, petty, and destructive.

You can be anonymous and have someone else send an anonymous fax to your employer, causing you to lose your job. Outed!

You can be anonymous and have someone post your real name and other identifying details, details you clearly didn't want released to the public, online. That's outing in the classic sense.

What I don't consider outing:

If you make a lot of noise about having served in the military, and people do some basic toddler-level research and find out you're lying about that, and then they post that information online, information that proves you're full of shit--that's not "outing." It's what you get for telling fibs in the first place. It's what I'd expect to happen to me if I'd titled this blog "Ilyka Damen, M.D." I'd assume that someone would take the few seconds required to determine that there is no licensed physician by that name anywhere in the world. And I'd assume they'd go to town with it--but that'd be only a small part of why I wouldn't do a dumb thing like that. The big part would be, I don't need to make shit up about myself to feel good about who I am or what I have to say.

If you make stupid, boastful, false claims about yourself on the internet, I got no pity for you when you're turned into a laughingstock in public. Because there's a simple solution to that problem: Don't make stupid, boastful, false claims about yourself on the internet, assface. That's not outing, to rip the mask off a liar like that. That's just not taking someone's stupid, boastful, false claims at face value. Caveat emptor goes double or triple on the internet.

And so does, "Mind the crazy." A New York subway has nothing on the internet when it comes to crazies. No one's ever threatened to commit suicide to me on a subway car, but they sure have over the internet. No one's ever threatened to kidnap me offline, but they sure have online. Not everyone online has his or her shit together.

What I'd advise people who've been outed isn't what I'd have advised them even 6 months or a year ago, because I think it's getting worse, or at last increasing in frequency. When outing was rare, a bunch of site owners could pile on the outer and shame him or her into knocking it off (or at least deleting all posts related to it, though as the Treacher link above demonstrates, apologies are seldom forthcoming.). But that doesn't work anymore, and it barely worked to begin with. You can't tell someone, "Hey, we don't do that around here" because now, the outer has 3 or 4 or 10 or 12 other examples of outing "by the other side" to point to, which they always, always do point to, because really, what could be more mature and adult than falling back on that favorite rationale of children everywhere, "They did it first?"

Yeah, to hell with who did it first. Who cares? It doesn't change the real problem, which is that outers are assholes. But some of them are also crazy assholes. So if it happened to me, here's what I'd do anymore:


Well, almost nothing. I would do a few things, I guess:

  • I'd delete all references to the outer from my blog.
  • I'd email any of my friends who were posting about the affair online, and ask them to do likewise. I'd specifically ask them, just to be extra-super-duper-clear, to remove any posts about the incident.
  • And then I'd never say another word publicly about my experience again.
  • If it were bad enough, I'd delete my own blog. That depends, I guess. I'm not sure I'd want to do that, but maybe I wouldn't have any choice.
  • But I'd leave off poking any wild-eyed creatures of the internet with a stick. I wouldn't try to retaliate. It only escalates things. It drives more traffic to the very information you wanted concealed in the first place, too. If that makes me a big coward, fine, I'm a big coward. I can totally live with that, because to my mind none of this shit is worth losing a job or getting hounded by a stalker over. None of it.

    Unfortunately, you're never going to convince some folks of that. They're just going to get more and more obsessed with what someone else said about them on this site or in that forum or who knows where all on the internet. They're going to get more and more bent on revenge, until eventually it's going to occur to them to out their enemies. Some people can only fight dirty. They don't know from fair. They don't know that when someone calls you, for example, "a fucking cunt" who "shouldn't be allowed to breed," it's better to point and laugh at 'em than it is to get upset about it, so upset that you go all nuts from it.

    (Besides, what kind of dumbass says a thing like that? Anyone can see just by reading this page that I'm far too busy aborting babies to ever breed them.)

    But the mentals, no. They're going to sign high-minded online integrity pledges and then violate them five minutes later. Why not?--They HAVE no integrity. They're only frightened, tortured little freaks and frankly, just having to live in their own skulls, day in, day out, is probably punishment enough for 'em.

    The web needs to come with a default home page for everyone that just reads, "DO NOT FEED THE CRAZIES." I swear, you can't be reminded of it often enough.

    UPDATE: I was discussing this with someone last night and I realized: Instead of online integrity pledges, you know what system I'd implement if I cared enough? A Hall of Shame.

    I mean no disrespect to the fellows who came up with the original pledge idea--no, wait. Maybe I do, a little. Because voluntary online integrity pledges are a little like U.N. resolutions: They don't do a damn thing except make the signatories feel extra-virtuous about themselves. This is especially dumb when you consider how little justification there is for feeling virtuous about merely practicing the bargain-basement minimum of online courtesy.

    But pledges don't fix what I think is the problem, which is that if this nonsense keeps up, the only people who are going to be willing and able to blog are going to be the kind of people who are willing and able to route through multiple proxies and take advantage of anonymous domain registration. The kind of people who have the time, the know-how, and the resources to be vigilant in guarding their anonymity.

    Or, they're going to be the kinds of people who don't have to worry about controversial blogging, because their jobs are cool with it. That's a very small subset of people: Free-lance journalists, tenured professors, and the independently wealthy come to mind, and not much more.

    And that, in my view, is really going to suck.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:23 PM | Comments (9)

    Dear Shorty McBallSweat

    I remember it as if it were yesterday, Shorty, even though it was last July.

    You entered the workout room in all your flabby middle-aged glory, strutting proud as a peacock, blinding me with your brilliant plumage.

    "Hi!" you shouted to me. "Jesus, it's like a freezer in here, isn't it?"

    And with that introduction, you began dragging an exercise bike over to the wall with the thermostat. You then leapt awkwardly upon the bicycle and stretched your vertically challenged frame all the way up to the thermostat (you know, the thermostat that controls the climate in the workout room, the thermostat that was deliberately placed out of all but Shaquille O'Neal's normal reach, ON PURPOSE, to prevent every Tom, Dick, and Shorty from adjusting it to his own personal comfort zone? That thermostat, yes), and YOU TURNED OFF THE AIR CONDITIONER.

    It was JULY, Shorty. July in the desert.

    Then you used every single weight machine in the place, sweated buckets all over each, and failed to wipe down even one of them. You not only didn't bring a towel in with you, you failed to grab of the nice clean ones stocked in the workout room by the apartment complex management for the purpose of encouraging people to wipe down the equipment when they're done with it.

    Listen, Shorty, there's this thing I want to hip you to, it's called Ashtanga yoga. It's a form of exercise just tailor-made for sweat-lovin' ballsacks like yours. You should take a class! It has everything you love:

  • Exercise
  • Brutally hot temperatures
  • But the workout room, Shorty, it is not for you. Did you notice? Did you notice that over the course of nearly a year now, no one has ever left the thermostat in the "off" position, no matter how many times you have set it there? Do you suppose there's a reason why your quest to maintain a sweat-friendly environment inevitably ends in failure?

    All a roundabout way of saying, Shorty, that if you fucking touch that thermostat again, I'm gonna break your teensy-tiny little hands. And for heaven's sake, buy some longer shorts. It's 2006.



    P.S. Seriously, you fuck, it's SUMMER.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:35 PM | Comments (2)

    May 27, 2006

    Days 1 and 2: Train Going Backwards

    The Shangri-La Diet, Day 1:

    I begin from a baseline weight of 1n6, where "n" is some nonzero digit that is none of your business. Don't worry; if it changes up I will note it "p" and if it changes down I will note it "m," etc.

    We may be getting to "p" a whole heckuva lot sooner than anticipated. But let's begin at the beginning:

    "Piece of cake," I tell the boyfriend after my first shot of 2 tablespoons of canola oil Thursday afternoon. "I don't know what all those people are so grossed out for. It's not like it has any flavor."

    "I can't believe you just did that," he replies.

    "Seriously, it's nothing."

    "It's OIL."

    "It's still easier going down than Jack Daniels."

    The only thing I object to is the oily film over my teeth and gums. I fight off a powerful urge to brush my teeth. The minute my hour's up, I run for the bathroom to Listerine, floss, and brush.

    I suffer none of the, ah, unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects some oil imbibers are reporting. This is easy, I think. Too easy?

    I also note a disinclination to snack throughout the evening, and I eat only half as much chicken saag for dinner as I normally would. It's not that the chicken saag doesn't taste fabulous; it does. I just feel full halfway through.

    Yay! I think. It's working already!

    "By the way," I ask the boyfriend later, "If you go to the store tomorrow, could you pick us up some extra-light olive oil? Extra-light, not extra-virgin. I think maybe I'd rather shoot that than canola."

    "You're insane," my boyfriend mutters, but he puts it on the grocery list all the same.

    Day 1 ends peacefully and painlessly.

    The Shangri-La Diet, Day 2:

    The scale reads 1n7. Up a pound! Well, I didn't work out yesterday. I'll do it today.

    For breakfast I am not especially hungry; I defer it a couple of hours and then decide I don't want anything breakfasty after all. I have a green salad dressed in vinaigrette with cucumber, celery, mushrooms, bell pepper, and hardboiled egg just before work.

    Then I do something stupid: I decide, a couple of hours later, to begin my 2-hour "nothing by mouth but water" window. In the middle of it, I take 3 tablespoons of canola, the boyfriend having not yet procured the extra-light olive oil.

    And then, with only 15 minutes left of my 2 hours, I decide to go work out.

    Say it with me, now: "Ilyka, you hypoglycemia-courting moron."

    In a completely expected turn of events, working out feels HORRIBLE. My legs feel like lead. I get shin splints 15 minutes into the treadmill routine. I break off to do some weights; it feels like I am lifting twice as much as I actually am. Back to the treadmill, where I last only another 5 minutes before returning to the weights. Trying to do the treadmill feels like moving through quicksand. I cycle between the weights and the treadmill a couple more times before finally giving up. It is, hands down, the worst workout of my entire life.

    Back at the apartment, I pour myself an Orange Crush and midway through sipping it, realize that I'm totally going to barf.

    I make it to the bathroom, where I vomit violently for at least a quarter of an hour. Every time I try to assess whether the vomiting is finally done, my body answers in the negative.

    Me: "Hey . . . ah, are we done? Because we're not actually throwing up anything of substance, here, you know? It seems to be mostly water. Yeah, kind of orangey water?"

    Body: "Nah, think I'm gonna ride this train a little longer, actually."

    Me: "But I'm . . . . I'm tired of being hunched over the toilet."

    Body: "Yeah, listen, I've been meaning to tell you--it's like, you don't get a vote? Not a democracy here. Nope."

    Me: "But--"

    Body: "And--FIRE!"

    The boyfriend, meanwhile, is off at the store. At the store, BUYING MORE OIL.

    When the vomiting finally concludes I realize that I am starving. I lay waste to the pantry, eating a plate of buttered saltines, a can of Campbell's Split Pea with Ham and Bacon, and three, count them, THREE homemade chocolate chip cookies (Nestle's Toll House recipe, if you have to know).

    I am extremely frustrated, once I'm done eating, to realize that I am still ravenously hungry. I could eat everything I just ate all over again. So when the boyfriend returns from the store I knock him down to get to a bag of sourdough pretzels peeking out from one of the grocery bags. I then eat WAY, WAY TOO MANY OF THEM. Once my mouth's no longer full, I tell him all about the vomiting. He is, of course, fascinated.

    "I don't know about all this," I conclude. "I mean yes, it was my own stupid fault for trying to work out on an empty stomach, or I mean, a stomach that was empty except for 3 tablespoons of canola oil, okay, that was my bad--but you know, I've worked out on an empty stomach before and it never led to all that vomiting and all this EATING. I'll bet you I've consumed twice as many calories today as I normally do."

    And lo, this morning the scale bore me out:


    I'm up THREE POUNDS. I am starting to feel like Rachel McAdams' character in Mean Girls, when she's all trying to lose weight by eating 5000-calorie Scandinavian nutrition bars.

    And today, Day 3? It's time to reconsider the sugar water. Because if you even say "oil" to me, I will punch you in the face. Yes, over the internet. Really.

    Don't try me.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:54 PM | Comments (6)

    May 26, 2006

    Shangri-La: The Things I Do for Content

    Is this blog dead yet? No, only languishing.

    So I'm clicking around last night and I encounter mention of this thing, you may have heard of it, this so-called "Shangri-La Diet." You've got to love a fad diet named that honestly, after a place too good to be true.

    As nearly as I can tell, the deal with the Shangri-La is that for one 2-hour window each day, you:

  • Take nothing by mouth (that includes cigarettes, Hubris; dude, I KNOW) except water. You don't even brush your teeth.
  • Oh, and in the middle of that 2-hour window, the very middle, you down 2-4 tablespoonfuls of flavorless vegetable oil, i.e, canola or extra-light olive oil, STRAIGHT; OR, you can have a solution of sugar water instead. Don't ask me what the proportions are on the sugar water because, and I know you will not believe me but it's true, I actually think sugar water sounds more disgusting to drink than straight vegetable oil. No, I don't know what's wrong with me either.
  • But other than that, you just eat whatever. If you can stand to, I mean, after shooting plain vegetable oil down your gullet.
  • So I was reading about this whole thing, and I was all "oh please now I've seen everything and besides how disgusting IS that," and that might/should have been the end of it; except then I read this tantrum over at BlogCritics by some raving lunatic who's opposed to the whole thing because, and I believe this is an accurate summary, sugar is BAD and only DIETS THAT RESTRICT SUGAR can EVER EVER WORK, for ANYONE, it's TRUE, JESUS or Siddhartha or somebody TOLD IT TO HER THUS in a vision, AMEN.

    My goodness but I just can't stand me a zealot.

    So even the tiniest chance that my posting this might set her off all over again--well. It is too irresistible to pass up. And here's how I figure it:

  • I have nothing else to write about anyway.
  • I already do everything else they tell you to lose weight: Exercise? 4-5 days every week since being shamed on the Hike of Death, man. Eat more leafy green vegetables? I go through heads and heads of the stuff. Choose from a wide variety of foods? The only foods I absolutely, positively will not eat are bananas, raw fish/sushi, and seafood. Everything else normally considered edible is pretty much fair game. The world is my buffet. Avoid processed foods? Tough to do in the U.S., but I betcha I do a better job of it than you do, if only because, as a rule, processed food costs more.
  • There are 360 calories in 3 tablespoons of oil. An extra 360 calories a day sounds like a bad idea, until you figure that after drinking three tablespoons of straight vegetable oil, that grilled cheese sandwich you were thinking of fixing yourself probably doesn't sound so good anymore. A carrot stick, now, that would be fabulous.
  • Besides, it is too late to talk me out of it because (a) I only intend to do it for 2 weeks, unless of course it works and then okay, maybe 4, TOPS; and (b) I have already done a couple of days, HA, you're too late, too late I tell you!

    More about Days 1 and 2 later. Now, now I must go to do the typing that pays the bills (which is not this typing).

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:44 PM | Comments (5)

    May 25, 2006

    Think I Burnt a Retina

    Seriously. I'm seein' tracers.


    That's normal, right?


    Oh, who cares.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:18 PM | Comments (2)

    May 24, 2006


    Without much added commentary, Jeff at Shape of Days:

    Hear me now, Internet: I do not give a damn about government spending. I donít give a damn about immigration. I donít even give a damn about Iran at the moment. Right now, I canít give a damn about any of those things. Because theyíre just polishing the brass on the Titanic, man. Theyíre just fiddling while Rome burns all around us.

    We have to find a way out. We went down the wrong path after 9/11, and weíre still barreling down the wrong path at full speed.

    More later as I feel inclined to get into it--which I mostly don't, because it's just going to result in all kinds of aggro, huge chunks of which will be of the very exact same kind of aggro that helped drive my fat ass to this point in the first place. But, hey, we'll see.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:22 PM

    May 22, 2006

    The Closest This Blog Will Get to a Jock Post

    Sweet, sweet conclusion to the series between the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs. I wish I could weep harder for San Antonio; they played beautifully and Tim Duncan is a total stud, I mean as a player and as a player. I love Tim Duncan.

    Still, I can't cry too much. I love Tim Duncan, but I love the Mavericks more.

    The funny thing about my watching the game is that for awhile I forgot that I don't live in Dallas anymore. If you go to a bar to watch a game in Dallas, then of course everyone's rooting for the Mavericks. If you go to a bar here to watch a game, though, pretty much the opposite applies. San Antonio fans were all around us, whooping it up. Thus my obsessive politeness kicked in whenever the Mavericks scored.

    Boyfriend: "Fuck YES!"

    Me: "SSSHHHHHH!"

    Boyfriend: "What?!? Didn't you see--"

    Me: "Yes, I saw. But hush! [lowers voice] We're in enemy territory."

    I was also reminded that my boyfriend and I have the same argument every time we watch the Mavericks: I say, they're a painful team to watch because they're too good at getting the big lead early, then blowing the big lead to smithereens and (like tonight) winding up in overtime to try to pull it out. My boyfriend says, okay, maybe, but they're better on defense than they used to be, and when they make the 3s, it's a beautiful thing. And then I say, they could hardly be worse on defense than they used to be, and I wish they'd rely less on the 3-pointers, actually--and then I get distracted by the unbearable fineness of Avery Johnson's suit and then I get all, why can't you dress like that?* Because that's the point of basketball, right? Shaming your boyfriend into dressing like Avery Johnson?

    Anyway, excellent game. I am praying they go up against the Clippers, because I retain a sentimental fondness for the Suns and a few shreds of affection for the hippy-dippy goofiness of Steve Nash, and I would rather not have my loyalties split. But it's okay! No matter what happens, there will still be well-dressed coaches to ogle! Thank you, NBA dress code! I am content.

    *Needless to say, this never happened when Nelson was coach. So this is a fairly recent addition to The Argument, though one I applaud with great fervor.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:42 PM | Comments (3)

    Sick, Wrong Things I Eat

    Hard-boiled eggs, halved, each half spread thinly with horseradish. Because eggs don't have enough fat and cholesterol already, see. You?

    P.S. I am aware that I have asked this before. So what? It's a timeless topic.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:40 PM | Comments (8)

    Couple Things Real Quick-Like

    First: A thorough analysis of the likely unintended consequences of, and questionable science behind, those CDC guidelines for pre-pregnancy care (briefly touched on here) from TP with Page Numbers. Conservatives and libertarians alike ought to be able to sink their teeth into this post; it's one of those I found difficult to excerpt because the whole thing's a beaut, but here's a bit:

    Just as secondhand smoke (a negligible danger) was blown out of proportion ďfor the childrenĒ, you know that everything on this list will be blown out of proportion, too, so that the CDC can continue to expand its bureaucratic scope. If that leads to loss of freedom, such as private businesses being banned from permitting legal activities such as smoking on their premises, so what? Unintended consequences be damned.

    And (I told you it was difficult to excerpt!):

    US low birth weight deaths are generally a result of medical techniques that save high risk fetuses that would be the subject of spontaneous abortions in other countries, and of course those babies die at an increased rate. Sure, some of those deaths are due to poor prenatal care, but not as many as that paragraph would have you believe. The CDC is using those statistics to increase funding for its prevention programs, which are of equivocal value, (given how poor decision making is what led to a lot of these high risk pregnancies in the first place***) and the AMA and every other do-good, anti-freedom group has just been handed a ďfor the childrenĒ excuse to try to regulate the lives of millions of women. For the feminists who believe that the struggle is about freedom, rather than government empowerment, and for the libertarians who believe the same, these guidelines do not bode well.

    [Emphasis mine.] Now THAT, damnit, is what I am talking about. Don't miss the excellent examples of prior CDC shenanigans he provides, either. Hey, did you know you probably have arthritis?

    Second: I was going to do this up as a little comic until I recalled that, sadly, I cannot draw. It is too bad, because sometimes I think you can get ideas over with comics better than you can with boring old words, but what can I do? I can't draw and I don't have time to hunt for clip-art and I'm not funny enough to pull it off besides. So just imagine it this way:

    Your roommate, or your spouse, or whatever--a friend, anyway--brings over a DVD that he raves to you is the last word in Star Wars parodies. "Do they do the whole series?" you ask, quaking a little at the thought of spending over 12 hours in front of the television. "No, no, of course not," your friend assures you, "they just poke fun at everything Star Wars. Runs about 90 minutes."

    "Okay," you agree.

    So you sit down, and you watch a scene in which two monkeys fling poo at each other.

    "Uh . . ." you begin. "Just wait, it gets better," promises your friend.

    Forty-five minutes later you have watched . . . forty-five minutes of monkeys flinging poo at each other. Your friend has been laughing fit to kill the entire time, pausing only to gasp out praises like "perfect" and "oh man exactly."

    "Dude, is this all there is?" you finally ask. "It's just monkeys flinging poo at each other. How is this a Star Wars parody?"

    "Oh man, you just don't get it, do you?"

    "No," you say, "I recollect no monkeys in Star Wars. Ewoks, sure. But they didn't fling poo at each other."

    "The poo is symbolic," your friend explains. "But I mean, other than that, this is just dead-on. I can't believe you don't get it! Everyone loves this movie."

    Now you're suspicious, because you recall that "everyone" has traditionally liked a whole bunch of things that you don't including, at one dark point in history, Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

    "Have you even seen Star Wars?" you demand of your friend.

    "Oh come on," he says, clearly disgusted with your nonstop fun-spoiling, "Everyone's seen Star Wars."

    "But have you seen Star Wars?"

    "I said 'everyone,' didn't I?"

    "I don't think you've seen Star Wars. This is nothing like Star Wars! This is one endless scene of monkeys throwing poo at each other! No robots! No light sabers! No 'Force'! No Jedis! No space ships! NOTHING!"

    "Okay," your friend admits, "I didn't really see any of the Star Wars movies. But I had this dorm mate in college who was really into the whole thing, and he was kind of a slob, the kind of guy who never flushes the toilet? So to me, this is perfect."

    "And the fact that monkeys and poop have nothing to do with the actual Star Wars series, that doesn't bother you a bit."

    "Geez!" your friend shouts. "Would you lighten up? I can't believe you're getting so bent out of shape over a little comedy!"

    Anyway, that is roughly what it is like to do any feminist blogging: Some buttmunch can always be counted upon to point and laugh and go, "Look at the hysterical poo-flinging monkeys! Ha, ha!'"

    Which is pretty funny, until you look at the posts about the CDC from feminist bloggers and realize that they don't live up to the hype. They fail to deliver on the hysteria front, nor do they incorporate poo or monkeys. What they actually do--and I mean no offense with this remark, because consider the subject a minute--is pretty dull. They start from a news article and respond to that, and research some more and respond to that, and bounce some ideas off each other along the way, and just basically do what all bloggers do, feminist or otherwise.

    Though that's not to say you can't find some, ah, very passionate commentary if you look hard enough, something Mr. Bingley apparently did.

    To Mr. Bingley I can say only this: Dude, you're linking blogs from I should not have to say anything else, but I will: Feministe averages 2,724 hits a day - modest by some standards, but nothing to sneeze at (and easily over 10 times what I manage, I should add. But then, I am very lazy.). Pandagon doesn't publish Sitemeter stats, but does very respectably according to Technorati. Bitch, Ph.D. averages 4,492.

    But no, let's go with what that chick on myspace had to say about it. It's like how when you want to tackle the hot conservative issue of the day you go straight to Free Republic instead of to Instapundit or Captain's Quarters, am I right?

    And now I must leave off to do my chores. A woman's work is never done--at least is isn't around here, primarily because it so seldom gets started in the first place.

    Happy Monday, peeps.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:41 PM | Comments (1)

    May 21, 2006

    I Go Berserk!

    Laws, now I've seen everything.

    Let's see: Apparently it's muy bueno to flip the finger to the gub'mint when they're confiscating my firearms, shutting down Christmas, or nagging me to quit smoking and eating fatty foods, but lemme make one little objection to being defined by my reproductive organs, and boom!--I'm an HYSTERICAL FEMINAZI.

    Same shit, different day, huh?

    You would think the Fucked Companeros would have other things to worry about, maybe unemployment or something, but what do I know? Until 'bout five minutes ago I'd forgotten Fucked Company existed. Hey, I thought it was a 90s thing. Go ahead, sue me.

    And then there's this, the title of which invites a remark along the lines of "physician, heal thyself."

    Call me an internet etiquette Nazi, but generally when you want to dispute what someone's written you link what they've written, and not some blockhead's distinctly ignorant paraphrase of it--unless, of course, you've got all the backbone of a jellyfish and you fear that I may presume to wipe the floor with your ass, which in fact I just may.

    So let's recap, as succinctly as possible, some of the feminist blogging coverage of these CDC guidelines. That will save us having to embarrass ourselves by linking to Russell Wardlow in order to get the feminist perspective:

    First you've got Jill's post, which is how I found out about the CDC guidelines, the subject of the Washington Post article Jill's responding to. (Got that?) Jill's berserk too, naturally:

    Avoid cat feces and discuss fetal alcohol syndrome when you arenít pregnant and donít plan to be? Sure, doc, Iíll give up my pets and stop drinking because it might hurt the fetus that Iím not carrying.


    Then, you've got Amanda Marcotte--or St. Amanda of Fornicatus, as she's known in some circles--and, hell, if we can't bank on Amanda to be hysterical, then, then, I just don't know, because it is an article of faith among the right-wing internet community that Amanda is always hysterical. It's like death and taxes, man, death and taxes:

    The guidelines are a little less breathless with excitement over a brand new chance to control women and discriminate against us than [the Washington Post] article implies. They suggest that doctors treating women talk about health care in terms of their own health but also in regards to their reproductive future. The actual article very firmly suggests, and the WaPo skims over this point, that the big recommendation is to emphasize the importance of planning your pregnancies to women.

    And the shrieking and caterwauling, she don't stop:

    So the recommendation is not to scold all women between 12 and 60 never to drink or smoke or own a fucking cat. In fact, while thereís not a lot of language in the actual report condoning social control of all women as a health care initiative, thereís a whole shitload of suggestions to doctors that they discuss the importance of spacing children and preventing unplanned pregnancies. Prepregnancy visits are also encouraged, which again indicates that these guidelines are more about doctors telling women to take conception and pregnancy seriously than they are trying to imply that doctors should assume all women are equal pregnancy risk.

    I mean the way she gets on the mainstream media for misrepresenting the issue and blatantly revealing its insidious biased agenda--OH, WAIT:

    So why did the WaPo misrepresent this report? Hell, they donít even mention how important birth control is to this entire project except in passing at the bottom of the article. I think itís because itís a political hot potato to openly admit that the two most important steps towards reducing the infant mortality rate and improving the health of newborns in general is to get health care to every woman and to empower women with the knowledge and tools they need to get pregnant only when they want to.

    You with me so far? We've got Jill saying "It's stupid to ask me to protect the fetus I'm not carrying," and then we've got Amanda saying "Wait, it's actually not the way it was reported in the press," i.e., the sort of statement which, if you banned conservative bloggers from ever making it again, would reduce the output of conservative blogs by at least 90%; and somewhere in there you've also got a followup post by Zuzu at Feministe, in equally fine crazy-hysterical form:

    What Iím concerned about is that the guidelines will provide more cover for doctors who already do things like withhold effective treatments from their non-pregnant patients on the grounds that the treatments are harmful to a hypothetical fetus, even when the alternative, fetus-safe treatment does not adequately control the condition or has more severe side effects for the patient than the fetus-harming treatment.

    And then--what nerve--she provides an example of exactly that scenario occurring:

    I have been unable to obtain adequate medical care for my epilepsy because I am what they'd call pre-pregnant. As my neurologist puts it, I am a woman of child-bearing age. As such, they flat-out refuse to try me on any medicines other than the ones proven least likely to affect a fetus (read: the ones that are paying off my neurologist). Despite the fact that I have declared my belly a no-fetus zone.

    My neurologist does not trust me to not get pregnant. My neurologist puts a potential fetus's potential health over my health.

    That miserable harpy! With her SOURCING and her FACTS! Take a Valium, Zuzu; you'll never get a man like that!

    As for Bitch, Ph.D., well, her blog title's never fit better. Such emotionalism:

    It seems to me that the biggest news here isn't the CDC; it's the interpretation of this document in the broader context of increasingly conservative ideas that women are primarily baby-factories and mothers, rather than actual human beings whose health care matters for its own sake. Luckily the CDC (and, in my experience, most health care providers, especially in women's health) still belong to the reality-based community.

    How dare she use the word "reality" in such an obviously hormone-fueled screed?

    And then, of course, you have me and my potty mouth, which added bupkis to the discussion and in fact was not worth posting at all, if you think about it (which clearly I seldom do), but it did, however unwittingly, serve one purpose: It provided fresh meat to conservatives who CAN'T READ, the ones who just plug everything vaguely wimmen-related into their tiresome-but-tireless narrative of "Anything feminists object to, I automatically favor, because I am like what would happen if someone invented a robot that was specially, intentionally designed to be retarded." "Anti-intellectual" doesn't even begin to cover it. "Stupid" is inadequate. "Ignorant" is insufficient. "Lobotomized" only just barely approaches applicability.

    The sweet, sweet irony is that there was plenty of material for conservatives to pick on in all this, if only that pesky "reading" activity weren't required to detect it. How 'bout the "no, no, the CDC is a GOOD bureaucracy" attitude prevalent in some of the above posts? It's not one of my pet issues, personally, but I would think a true limited-government aficionado could make hay for days outta that.

    And then there's the wealth of common-cause material: Feminists think the press misrepresents important issues?--Conservatives think the press misrepresents important issues! Feminists think federal guidelines are mostly for shit?--Conservatives think federal guidelines are mostly for shit! Feminists want the feds out of their personal lives?--Conservatives want the feds out of their personal lives! Holy crumb, it's almost like you could all sit around making friendship bracelets or something.

    "I still hate that you oppose same-sex marriage, but the way you point out the jerkiness of the WaPo is like awesome."

    "I know, and I still hate that you abort babies, but the way you tell the federal government to mind its business really moves me."

    But again, that would require laying off the pipe for a minute, you know, the pipe labeled "Almost Half the Population Voted for the Party of Death Last Election and That Makes Almost Half of my Fellow Citizens my Sworn Enemies 4Ever. Now Hit That PayPal Button, Bitches, Because You Can't Get This Kind of Meaningful Discourse Just Anywhere, and Certainly Not on 40,000 Other Blogs Exactly Like This One."

    So. If the goal of Andrea and Russell was to make me think that maybe the liberals who tar all those to the right of Dennis Kucinich as unthinking backwoods reactionaries might just occasionally have a point, congratulations, dears: Goal achieved. Have yourselves a big fat hysterical cookie each. Maybe later I'll take a break from boozing it up, cleaning the cat box, and aborting yet another freakin' baby in order to bake my famous Berserker Brownies: Two cups Hysteria, one and one-third cups Outrage, three-fourths cup Shrieking Incoherence . . . .

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:47 PM | Comments (7)

    May 18, 2006

    The Land That Rain Forgot

    According to the National Weather Service, this was supposed to be a rainy week, where by "rainy" they meant "A 30--no, 20--no, maybe 10% chance of rain somewhere in the vicinity, maybe up in the mountains or somewhere--but all you're gonna get are just enough dusty drops to make it look as though you haven't washed the car in six months."

    rainy season

    Pretty clouds, though.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:28 PM | Comments (2)

    May 17, 2006

    I Don't Understand Modern Medicine

    A few nights ago I had a report, a patient's first visit with a diabetic education counselor. These counselors, they're the people who tell you to take the insulin like this, watch your carbs, watch your fats, blah blah blah.

    The patient's age? North of 90.

    You know what education I have to give to someone over 90? "Try not to get hit by a bus. Otherwise, keep up the good work."

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:16 AM | Comments (1)

    May 16, 2006

    Five-Word, No-Post Post (Because Really, What Else Can I Say?)

    New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

    Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

    Wow, federal government--fuck YOU.

    (Via Jill at Feministe, who does not suffer from such a limited vocabulary.)

    UPDATE: Welcome to the denizens of Visitors may want to see followups here and here (but especially that first link, which makes it clear that blogs by real feminists are kicking, traffic-wise, the flabby asses of blogs by bitter middle-aged men attempting to parody feminist blogs). How nice of me is it to offer you more grist for your mills, huh? I'd say, "Very nice!" I'm a giver! It's what I do.

    Then again, maybe it's really to that second link you ought to direct your attention. That's where I use my amazing powers of Clunky Analogy to compare bad parody to 45 minutes of poo-flinging monkeys, or something. The fact that it's a clunky analogy does not detract from the fact that bad parody is a very sad thing. visitors who'd like to see what actually funny web sites look like are invited to check out Something Awful, Jay Pinkerton, Jim Treacher, Hubris, or any of hundreds of other sites that bother to first scope out what they're parodying in order to parody more effectively.

    Humor is an art, humor is a gift, humor is both blessing and curse, but that's no reason not to always be honing whatever skills God gave you at it. You gotta stay on your game, boys. I'm talking CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENT here.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:47 PM | Comments (36)

    May 14, 2006

    Happy Mother's Day 2006

    Remember to treat your mother right.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

    May 13, 2006

    Rag Mag

    Jay Pinkerton accidentally* picks up a copy of Men's Health and discovers what women have known for over a century already: Magazine publishers hate everything about you:

    To summarize: absolutely everything Iím doing, from sitting to sleeping to eating to walking to talking, is killing me. Everything I do, say, or think about saying to women is wrong, and one of 25 distinct reasons why Iím statistically less than a man in the bedroom. And depression will kill you.

    In my early 20s I alleviated a little of my own depression by vowing never to read another issue of Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, Marie Claire, Allure, Self, or any of the other women's rags again.

    For one thing, they're all the same magazine, just dressed up a little different--you've got your sensibly-shod Ladies Home Journal sharing a rack with strappy slingback-wearin' Cosmopolitan. You get recipes for layer cakes in LHJ and recipes for blowing your man's mind with "the best sex he's ever had" in Cosmopolitan. Big difference, right? Besides, none of these style differences is ever allowed to mask the main message: "You are a REPULSIVE EXCUSE FOR A HUMAN BEING, Reader. And you've got cancer."

    I can't even be all "Ha, ha, guys, welcome to the same hateful shit you've been selling women for decades," about this. It's too depressing to me that every month women willingly fork over money to be told how much they suck. It's no sign of progress that men are now considered fair game for this treatment, too.

    Oh, but I can't leave this alone. About sex, Men's Health says:

    Here I learned that of the sex Iím not having enough of, Iím also not taking long enough to finish, statistically. (Most women, according to Menís Health, would prefer 44 minutes of tender, energetic sex, followed by 60 minutes of cuddling. I hope I speak for any right-thinking man when I say ladies, I appreciate the tip, but that's insane. How much time do you assume we have? I like pizza, but I don't take two hours to eat a slice.)

    AN HOUR, for crying out loud. A solid HOUR of being "cuddled"--tell me that doesn't sound like sheer hell to you. I'm getting claustrophobic just thinking about it. At the risk of sharing too much information with y'all, I've got to say that my upper limit of cuddle time is probably five minutes, and three is preferred. But after five, if you're not thinking "Yes okay that was very nice indeed but that's quite enough lying here all sweaty and icky so how 'bout let's hit the shower RIGHT NOW," then, wow, what's wrong with you? Get out of my bed and never return, Pigpen.

    No, I refuse to accept that any actual woman wrote that nonsense. It sounds more like the sort of thing some pathetic virgin guy would think a woman would say. It just sounds so horribly, awfully wrong.

    *I assume it was an accident, because the only way I could accept Pinkerton reading Men's Health on purpose is if Batman were on the cover.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:19 PM | Comments (10)

    May 10, 2006

    Talk Me Out of This

    Lately I have been thinking I would like a kitten.

    The problem with kittens is, they grow up to be cats. Crabby old sassy-mouthed cats. I ought to know. I have had my share of cats.

    Still, things like this do not help me resist the call of the dark side.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:15 PM | Comments (11)

    May 04, 2006

    Biting the Hand That Feeds

    There are days you couldn't pay me enough to do my job. This is one of them.

    I am past ready for my so-called industry to obsolete itself. Voice recognition? Bring it. Automated charting? Dear sweet heaven above, PLEASE. The faster these little buttmunches have to give themselves carpal tunnel instead of foisting it onto me, the better.

    Oh!--Please note the disclaimer. Because again, I'm not talking about the millions of health care providers out there who are just trying to do their jobs. I'm talking about a certain provider at a certain ultra-snooty facility who needs to quit thinking he can dictate chart notes at me through a mouth full of Quaaludes. I don't care if the dude does regularly arthroscope all manner of sports celebrities, he's still a total fucking hump and I'd like to stab him in the umbilicus with a knife edged in his own teeth, which I will helpfully extract for him beforehand using pliers my cat has peed on. What's that?--NO, SORRY, NO TIME FOR ANESTHETIC TODAY, DR. HUMP.

    You know. One of those days.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:26 PM | Comments (4)