Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Torture, Misogyny, Joss Whedon

Read this article about torture films and misogyny.

Joss Whedon weighs in as well, and he is awesome as always.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sartor Retardus

Behold, fellow sinners in dress, The Modesty Survey.

Please click on the "open questions" link to peruse such progressive sentiments as:

Answers to the question "If you could say one thing to your sisters in Christ about modesty, what would it be?"

Respondent age 18:
First, don't be legalistic about clothing. Don't say that gauchos are always modest or that PJs should never be worn in public. Modesty isn't a list of dos and don'ts but a matter of the heart. Be sure you are in the right place with God and that you aren't trying to make guys stumble and you'll be fine 99% of the time. Secondly, PLEASE, talk with your parents, especially your fathers, about modest dress. Seek advice from older women in your church, your mother, older sisters who can guide you, or experienced friends. If the two conflict, if the survey disagrees with your father, have NO QUALMS about kicking the survey out entirely and following your parents wishes. Don't let this survey force you into an outward looking person who doesn't see the real value of internal modesty. Use it for its purpose (to aid in assessing current fashion and as a tool for parents) and no more.

Respondent age 24:
Sisters in Christ, you really have no concept of the struggles that guys face on a daily basis. Please, please, please take a higher standard in the ways you dress. True, we men are responsible for our thoughts and actions before the Lord, but it is such a blessing when we know that we can spend time with our sisters in Christ, enjoying their fellowship without having to constantly be on guard against ungodly thoughts brought about by the inappropriate ways they sometimes dress. In 1 Corinthians 12 the apostle Paul presents believers as the members of one body - we have to work together. Every Christian has a special role to play in the body of Christ. That goal is to bring glory to the Savior through an obedient, unified body of believers - please don't hurt that unity by dressing in ways that may tempt your brothers in Christ to stumble.

Did I mention that "modesty" applies only to women? But you knew that already.

In fairness, the site does include a question about men's responsibility in these matters, to which we get answers such as that of this enlightened 26 year old:

A girl has been given something for which she is responsible. That gift is a beautiful body and mystique which has power over a man, and so in being responsible with that gift, a girl must give thought to men. This is just like how men have been given bodies with a different power - physical strength. A man is responsible for that strength and must not abuse it or be careless with it - be that in the context of other men and children, or with women. In relation to one another, we are responsible for the gifts and roles God has given us, the power and ability we have, and the godly attitude is to be diligent in ensuring we are responsible and not negligent. That's how we are to treat others.

On the surface it seems promising that a 19 year old responded thusly:

We need to keep our thoughts pure and stop blaming girls for our impure thoughts. And guys can be modest too. Nobody EVER touches on that. We can be just as distracting to a girl as they are to us. Keep your shirt on. Pull your pants up. Seriously.

But...this whole "modesty" obsession is only a symptom of a more distressing disease. What we need for our children is honest sex education, not shame and disgust for bodies and sexuality. When I lament the sartorial choices of young girls it's not worry about "modesty" but worry about buying into the pornification of femininity, the shallow construction of female identity that is the other side of the coin of patriarchal control. Once we're squeezed into those narrow roles of virgin or whore, we've lost ourselves, our right to define ourselves instead of being crafted by Pygmalion for his own ends.

I don't recall what we were reading, but for some reason this virginity thing came up in one of my high school classes last year. They were stunned to hear the history of the cult of virginity, namely that its roots are not moral but economic. In a system wholly dependant upon first born sons for the transfer of wealth, paternity is crucial, as is producing many, many sons--as well as amassing many, many wives to produce them--since babies and wives had an inconvenient habit of dying a lot. And a man wanted to know that everything he owned was going to his actual son, not the spawn of some other guy. Thus, girls were snapped up as soon as they menstruated and were compelled to wave the bloody sheet out the window the morning after their weddings to prove to the community that any resulting offspring would be legitimate.

Does the current lack of such concerns mean teens should be banging each other like it's 1999 now? Of course not. We need to talk to them openly about sex and the consequences of engaging in sex immaturely. There are plenty of good reasons for a 15 year old not to have sex. Reasons that don't depend on self loathing and guilt.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Just wanted to point out...

...that my son doesn't ALWAYS look like Haley Joel Osment.

Here he is at Stonehenge looking nothing like him:

So there. It's a trick of the light, is all.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A. E. Housman predicted exactly how Oklahoma was going to suck someday

I’ve gushed about A. E. Housman here before, and, oh, how he deserves our adoration. How timely is this one?

THE laws of God, the laws of man,
He may keep that will and can;
Not I: let God and man decree
Laws for themselves and not for me;
And if my ways are not as theirs
Let them mind their own affairs.
Their deeds I judge and much condemn,
Yet when did I make laws for them?
Please yourselves, say I , and they
Need only look the other way.
But no, they will not; they must still
Wrest their neighbour to their will,
And make me dance as they desire
With jail and gallows and hell-fire.
And how am I to face the odds
Of man's bedevilment and God's?
I, a stranger and afraid
In a world I never made.
They will be master, right or wrong;
Though both are foolish, both are strong.
And since, my soul, we cannot fly
To Saturn nor to Mercury,
Keep we must, if keep we can,
These foreign laws of God and man.

Guess what I found out this afternoon? The glorious state of Oklahoma, in its medieval wisdom, is throwing its jail and gallows and hell-fire around again. It’s not enough that they’ve amended the state constitution so that it denies rights to citizens instead of granting them. Now the state legislature wants to make it illegal for a state employee to perform an abortion or provide abortion counseling. To anyone with a doctor in the OKC area, this very specifically means the OU Health Sciences Center, a major provider of health services and medical research and—herein lies the rub—funded by public money through its association with the publicly funded state university.

I have no idea what kind of abortions OUHS even performs; I would be very surprised if you could stroll in off the street and receive one there, which means these self-righteous jackasses are probably, in effect, only interfering with abortions recommended and performed by someone’s doctor for a medical reason. God, I hate it here.

Incidentally, the colleague who told me this had just left the capitol, where a legislator had broken their appointment because he had to rush to support this bill and also have, I shit you not, enough time to make the Bible study luncheon down the hall afterward. In the capitol. Catered by fucking Chick-Fil-A.

Housman, take me away.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

My Life Lately; or, You Know You Care

OK, what do you want first, the good news or the bad news? Feel free to scroll.

The Bad: a.k.a. "Work"

I don't usually blog about my job because I have problems with guilt. Freud would be devastated to know that he missed me; I am the most superego-ridden atheist you'll ever encounter. I can feel guilty about anything. So bitching about work, especially because I adore my students, triggers my guilt generators. I feel disloyal and petty.

Thus, I don't usually immortalize my employment-related bitchery in writing. In this particular instance, however, I am disheartened and angry and feel a need to vent here.

I'm the only writing instructor in my school, meaning I'm responsible for, well, a lot, some of which I can't realistically do anything about. One thing I can do is encourage the students to enter high school essay scholarship contests that everyone and her dog offers these days. They don't tend to get many entries, and my kids are talented enough to win them, so I take a few hours each term to compile and distribute a list for them.

This year, the National Council of Teachers of English contest is sponsored by the Queer Foundation. I put it on the list. I always put the NCTE on the list. I'll wait while you gasp and clutch your pearls and collapse from the vapors and loll across your tasteful Victorian fainting couch and allow a servant to revive you with salts....

Better? Here's the link to the contest page: Queer Foundation Essay Contest.

Ghastly, isn't it? All that stuff about rim jobs and blow jobs and Caligula screenshots and hot girl on girl....what's that? You didn't see those bits? Huh. Come to think of it, NEITHER DID I. Because the SHIT'S NOT THERE. It's about writing, of all things, this essay contest.

Guess who got called in and reprimanded for her "lack of judgment"? Yeah, that would be me.

The Good (though I had to wade through some bad to get there)

My new mattress rulez. I bought it last weekend and got it delivered on Monday, which I thought was an impressive turn around. Unfortunately, when the cheery delivery dudes finished setting it up the only thing I could say was, "Um, it's very...high?" Because sleeping in that bed, under my ceiling fan, was a bit too Pit and the Pendulum for my tastes. That thing was up there. Turns out the friendly salesguy neglected to specify the "low profile" box springs for my giant mattress, and giant mattress + giant box springs = Vincent Price.

Then they were supposed to come and switch them out on Thursday, but they gave me a time of 12:45-2:45 and I had class until 1:50. Called the delivery department and offered to reschedule. Stoned guy on the phone assured me, "No problem, I'll just note on here that they should come at the end of that window." I was all, "Are you sure? Because I cannot get there before 2:00. It will not happen." "Don't worry, be happy!" OK.


But all is well now. I called and railed at someone who most likely had nothing to do with any of it, poor thing, and finally got the right box springs yesterday. And I love the new bed. Happy ending.

Bonus Good

I found this picture, which may be the most awesome picture in the world:

How great is that movie, seriously?

The Mildly Disconcerting

For years strangers have stared at my son and stammered excitedly, "Oh, he looks just like that kid! What's his name? From that movie?" They think he looks like Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense. Which, fine, it's not like it's an insult or anything, but isn't it odd how, when we know people well, they really don't look like anyone but themselves to us? You can notice resemblances to famous people in strangers but it's much harder to see them in familiar faces? (Is it just me?)

Here's H.J.O.. then and now:

Basketball season just ended for my son and when we got the team pictures back, I saw this:

And my first thought was, "Huh, he looks like that kid....shit."

Friday, March 09, 2007

Woo hoo!

Two brand new Mr. Deity videos!

Stick around after the credits for number 7.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ann Coulter = all class

Ann Coulter refers to John Edwards as a "faggot," endorses Mitt Romney (who must be thrilled).

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A funny thing happened to me on the way home from work today...

I found myself driving behind this van:

My cell phone camera can't handle action photography, so allow me to point out some particulars. First of all, the reddish rectangular object you see on the van's back window is, in fact, this bumper sticker:

In the interest of full disclosure I should say that I did NOT notice the 700 Club part, but the rest of the sticker is exactly the same. It is that precise sticker.

Enough to make my lip curl in and of itself, as it identifies Mr. Van as a narrow-minded self-righteous prig. Right?

Ah, but our Mr. Van defies such simplistic labels! He is a complex individual indeed. For the white splotch in the corner of the rear window is, I kid you not, one of these:

And he's got another to match on the opposite window.

What does it all mean? A narrow-minded self-righteous prig who makes exceptions in his self-righteous priggishness for nekkid chicks?

The saddest part is, I want there to be a contradiction, an irony, but there really isn't, is there? It makes perfect sense. This guy's context, his ethical system, has a place for objectified soft-core tits and ass AND anti-gay moralizing.

Number of online users in last 3 minutes