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Monthly Archive: August 2013



August 2013



What I’m Reading – August 29 2013

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A little late on this one. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

– Damnit Group Health. This is not acceptable. I don’t care that it’s still going to be available ‘without increased cost,’ when a group that has come out saying it supports reproductive health, it should SUPPORT REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, not back down. Embarrassing. Group Health to omit abortion coverage on plans sold on state exchange

– Yeah, the man doesn’t have strong decision-making skills: Zimmerman Visits Factory That Made Gun He Used To Kill Trayvon (h/t @raniakhalek)

– It’s despicable how we treat those who don’t earn money by sitting in a cubicle: Largest Strike So Far By Fast-Food Workers Set For Thursday (h/t @scaTX)

– Newsroom had a small story line on this earlier this season. It’s horrifying. People can be such assholes: The Crusading Sisterhood of Revenge-Porn Victims (h/t @JessicaValenti)

– Well this is actually awesome: Treasury Dept.: Married Same-Sex Couples Will Be Respected for Federal Tax Purposes (via @freedomtomarry)

– Interesting take – yeah, relating to someone just because she’s female isn’t my experience either: The Myth of Shared Female Experience and How It Perpetuates Inequality (h/t @sophiaphotos)

– Such great points: “Breast is best” is about race too (h/t @JessicaValenti)

– More on cultural appropriation, and recognizing the differences: From Miley to Macklemore: The Privilege Spectrum (h/t @scaTX)



August 2013



What I’m Reading – August 28 2013

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I gave blood today – second time this summer. If you’re eligible to donate and haven’t in at least eight weeks, you should get on that. You can read these articles while you donate!

– Well this is (sadly) surprising: Private Manning’s Transition (via @nytimes)

– Fast food workers striking for living wages: Courage Is Contagious: Fast Food Workers Expected to Protest Low Wages Nationwide (via @allisonkilkenny)

– Another take on Macklemore: It’s Not Macklemore’s Fault That … (h/t @gradientlair)

– UNACCEPTABLE: Unfit judge rules rape victim who killed herself ‘was as much in control of the situation’ as rapist (h/t @stavvers)

Finally – please watch this if you care at all about online harassment of women: Online Harassment, What Drives it and How it Lowers Visions (via @anitasarkeesian)



August 2013



What I’m Reading – August 27 2013

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Today is an off day. And I really wish my thumb would just be healed already.

– Assange is still an utter shit: Julian Assange Says Being Anti-Choice Represents ‘Non-Violence.’ Non-Violent for Whom? (via @laurenarankin)

– Follow-up from the awesome conversation started a couple of weeks ago: After #solidarityisforwhitewomen: So you want to be an ally, now what? (via @Karnythia)

– Read this: Why I Got Banned from Israel (h/t @PennyRed)

– And for some more utter bull shit: Veterans benefits for gay married couples still denied (h/t @JessicaValenti)


But then the internet gives me this, and so I share with you (h/t @allisonkilkenney)




August 2013



Miss Representation

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Four stars

Miss Representation is a mostly well-done documentary about the portrayal of women in the media. It looks at a whole host of issues, from the roles available the female actresses, to the lack of women in high political office to the dearth of women on the boards of media conglomerates. There are interviews with some extremely high-powered and visible women (such as Condoleezza Rice and Geena Davis) interspersed with profiles of high school-aged women discussing how the ways women are portrayed in the media have impacted them directly.

Before I jump into what I liked, I wanted to take a minute up front to say what I didn’t like. The filmmaker employs a narrative device that was a little cheesy for my tastes. The whole premise is that she’s pregnant and going to have a girl, and she’s wondering about the world this daughter will grow up in. That part I totally get, but the way it’s done is not … great. It feels a little like an SNL parody. Additionally, there isn’t enough intersectionality for my tastes. Secretary Rice does bring up representations of women of color, but the film could have been SO much stronger if it spent some time really focusing on how the ways women of color are marginalized often differ from the ways white women are marginalized.

Beyond that, nearly every part of the documentary spoke to me in some way. From the depressing reminder of how both Palin and Clinton were treated in the 2008 election (that clip from SNL with both Fey and Poehler at the podium still makes me laugh and then want to cry), to the lack of support for female screenwriters and directors who clearly could have a different perspective, to the photo-shopping of women’s bodies to lead us all to believe that a size 2-4 (can’t be TOO skinny, amirite?) with DDD breasts, clear skin and long flowing hair is not only attainable by all women, but should be their goal, it’s all so familiar and really depressing. I think about how much of my own internal monologue (I’m healthy, it’s fine, so I gained ten pounds, ugh I’m fat, no but that’s society and I’m awesome as I am, but still why can’t I look like HER) has been shaped over the years, and how it’s really a daily struggle to fight back against what I’ve been exposed to my whole life.

To pull out one component to share as an example, there is fantastic (albeit fairly short) segment focused on the B.S. idea that men are the default, and anything featuring women is a specialty bit of media. A film with a male lead is meant to be for everyone, but a film with a female lead? That’s for women only, because how could men expect to be interested? It doesn’t help that those female leads are so often searching for a man to complete them, whereas so many of the male-led films are about the man’s quest to find himself or to solve some problem. The example they used was Star Trek (the first in the latest reboot) – it’s not about Kirk finding love, it’s about finding his destiny. Can we have more of that for women?

All of this makes me think about my friends who are having kids and how I can actively promote positive views of women that fall outside the mass media norm. Not talking negatively about people who look different from me is a no-brainer, but even being vocal about non-conventional choices I’ve made to show that there are all sorts of ways to create a happy life is a way to live my feminism and ensure that it isn’t just something I think about. We’re not having kids, and that’s not something to hide; it’s something to share to point out that there are a lot of different ways to have a family. The fact that we now have a blended last name is also very important to me; it shows that the decision of how to create the new family can be an active choice, and one that represents my values. But what else can I do to be supportive of these kids in a way that shows women have value for reasons beyond how they look in a swimsuit?

Some of this, I think, requires us to make more conscious choices about the media we consume. Sure, it’s easy to just go to the blockbuster because it’s out and everyone wants to go – but what if we DON’T go if there aren’t women represented in them with a story line that isn’t focused on their attempt to find a man? The Heat wasn’t the best film I’ve seen in years, but I was thrilled to give it my money because the focus was not on a romantic interest, but on women and their relationships with each other and their work. I don’t think every decision about the media we consume needs to be a political act, but I wonder how much more representative it would be if more of our decisions WERE political acts?

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Below is the trailer – see for yourself. It’s currently streaming on Netflix.




August 2013



What I’m Reading – August 26 2013

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I have a new job. Same office, same team, new work. Woot! Now, on to what I’ve been reading this weekend …

– So, the TSA, FBI and JetBlue all being horrible to this man: Don’t Fly During Ramadan (h/t @allisonkilkenney)

– Ooof. Really, SF? San Francisco Police Department Falsified Racial Statistics For Arrests, Report Finds (h/t @rhaniakhalek)

– What’s wrong with the justice system? So, so much: Raped and Impregnated at 14, Girl Must Now Share Parental Rights with Her Attacker

– Well this is an interesting development… Snowden: UK government now leaking documents about itself (h/t @irevolt)

– This is fascinating. Portraits of Albanian Women Who Have Lived Their Lives As Men (h/t Keren B)

– So, PoC are being targeted with bleach at UT? The hell? Minority Students At University of Texas Attacked By An Epidemic Of ‘Bleach Bombs’ (h/t @allisonkilkenney)

– This could be handy some day: Just Delete Me helps you painlessly wipe out all your Web accounts (h/t @sophiaphotos)

– What’s that? Commercial interests will always win out over racism? Blacks Asked To Leave South Carolina Restaurant Because White Customer Felt Threatened (Video) (h/t @jbouie)

– Janelle Monae They Tried To Make This Pop Star Dress And Sing A Certain Way. She Refused And Said These Words. (h/t @mollycrabapple)

– Out to fix Wikipedia: Can These Students Fix Wikipedia’s Lady Problem? (via @motherjones)

– Cultural appropriation *cough* Miley *cough*: Cultural Appropriation in Music: From Madonna to Miley Cyrus (h/t @DrJaneChi)

– Another point on this: Rosen: The 2013 VMAs Were Dominated by Miley’s Minstrel Show

– And finally this, which, to my mind, the best of the three: Solidarity is For Miley Cyrus: The Racial Implications of her VMA Performance

– More CNN fail on trans* issues: Behind the scenes at CNN: How the media fails on Chelsea Manning’s gender (via @ZJemptv)

– Oh goody. Credit default by association? Oh Facebook. Facebook friends could change your credit score (via @Q13Fox)



August 2013



Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies

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I was not aware of Mr. Kluwe (punter, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings, currently of the Oakland Raiders) until he wrote his now famous letter, posted on Deadspin, ripping a Maryland elected official a new one for suggesting that football players should not be able to speak out in favor of civil rights. In fact, an attempt to replace the vulgarity in that letter (lustful cockmonster) resulted in the title of the book (Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies).


The book is not a memoir; it is a collection of essays – some previously printed, some new for the book. It’s Mr. Kluwe’s way of sharing his thoughts about life. Some chapters focus on football (though not all, nor even most); most focus on his ideas about how we can improve society. He suggests that the things he values most in life are empathy, justice and truth, and spends time discussing his support for equal rights for gay and lesbian people.

I really wanted to like this book. Like, kind of desperately. I follow Mr. Kluwe on Twitter (@ChrisWarcraft), and have enjoyed his 140-character comments. I also fully agree that just because someone is in a position such as he is (celebrity, well-known football player, generally famous person) they don’t forfeit their rights to have an opinion. He seems to be a progressive libertarian, although I’m not sure he’d agree with that, because from reading the book (especially the entertaining chapter ‘Who is John Galt”) I get the idea that he is not a big fan of libertarians. However, possibly accidentally, much of what he says shows a distinct lack of empathy in areas, and a few of his statements read like they came right out of the straight white libertarian bro guidebook.

Perhaps I’m judging him unfairly; I had admittedly high expectations, and since he has cleared the bar of basic human decency of recognizing that gay and lesbian people are, you know, people, I think I was looking for him to hold similarly progressive views in other areas. Perhaps he does, but doesn’t realize how his words come across. Let me share some examples (jotted down into Evernote when I was listening to the book, so I won’t have exact quotes):

– The way he characterizes welfare came across as at least partially buying in to the bullshit ‘welfare queen’ concept. Mr. Kluwe seems to fully recognize that people do need help from others (see the aforementioned John Galt essay), but his words suggest that there’s a short window there, and that if someone is on it longer than his pre-determined length of time, then they are just milking the system. Eh. Really? That’s not a nuanced view.

– One section gave me the impression that he thinks unions are bad, and that union workers are lazy people who have no incentive to work hard. That was definitely off-putting and disappointing.

– He made a prison rape joke (of the ‘don’t drop the soap’ variety). Really? That’s empathy?

– He’s super self-righteous when it comes to atheism. He appeared to willfully misinterpret the definition so that he could claim that he’s morally superior because he calls himself ‘agnostic.’ I’d like to point out to Mr. Kluwe that the majority of atheists out there would certainly believe in god if there were actual evidence; their stance is that CURRENT evidence is insufficient. They aren’t claiming to know definitively that there is not a god, so the argument that they are just as irrational as religious people is not only super old, but super incorrect.

– His go-to voice (I got the audio-book) when he wants the person speaking to sound unintelligent is a southern accent. That’s regionalist and not cool.

– Finally, he REALLY dropped the ball in understanding domestic violence. He essentially assumes people stay in those situations because they think things will get better, and they are just liars lying to themselves. Read up on domestic violence. Learn about it. DO NOT call the survivors who stay ‘liars.’ That’s insulting and shows an utter lack of the real issues around being able to leave. For example, one might certainly know things aren’t going to get better, but fear the whole BEING KILLED BY THEIR PARTNER WHEN THEY LEAVE thing. Not empathetic.

I can’t recommend the book. It’s fine, there are definitely some really good parts, and as I said, the writing is not bad.



August 2013



What I’m Reading – August 22 2013

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Let’s jump in:

– A take on Assange I haven’t seen yet: Law cannot determine whether Assange is guilty of sexual assault (h/t @stavvers)

– This woman is brave in ways I can’t even comprehend: ‘I am Chelsea Manning’ (h/t @laurenarankin)

– Planning on talking about Private Manning? Here’s some info: GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide: A Resource for Journalists, Updated May 2010 (h/t @schemaly)

– I would definitely like to see this become a trend: Clarke seeks slice of soccer team for Orange taxpayers (h/t @maddowblog)

– Wow. Pretty fantastic: The story bigots hate: Antoinette Tuff’s courage (h/t @JamilahLemieux)

– How is this acceptable? How do we change this? Don’t Fly During Ramadan (h/t @allisonkilkenney)

– More on what trans* people face: Chelsea Manning, media bias and cissexism (via @sophiaphotos)



August 2013



What I’m Reading – August 21 2013

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I returned the cable box today – we are free. No TV. It’ll take some getting used to, but I have high hopes that we won’t just end up watching things on Netflix streaming every night. I’m only 15 books away from my first full Cannonball. There is much to do!

Speaking of things to do, why not check these out:

– Oh look: the policies of the NYPD don’t appear to be having an impact on crime. Shocking. SHOCKING: Bloomberg and Kelly Aren’t Going to Like the Latest Research on Stop-and-Frisk (via @NYMag)

– Hey! Management training guides perpetuating the idea that women are responsible for getting creepy men to stop being creepy to them: Manager Training Guide Blames Women For Coworkers Who Come On To Them (via @ThinkProgress)

– Go New Mexico! New Mexico County Clerk Begins Issuing Marriage Licenses To Same-Sex Couples (via @ThinkProgress)

– You know what they say – don’t ask the question if you don’t want to know the answer… Exclusive: Results of Congressional ‘Fishing Expedition’ Show Abortion Is Already Highly Regulated, Overwhelmingly Safe (h/t @laurenrankin)

– Well this is terrifying: Astronaut recounts near-drowning on spacewalk, says he felt all alone, felt like eternity (h/t @UNIXSA)

– UGH: Churchgoers Defend St. Louis Priest Accused of Sex Abuse, Pray in Private Meetup Group (h/t @rebeccawatson)

– This article. THIS ARTICLE. So good. Thin Women: I’ve Got Your Back. Could You Get Mine?

Finally, the last video in the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games ‘Damsel in Distress’ collection:



August 2013



What I’m Reading – August 20 2013

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I’ve got some cookies cooling on the racks. We’ve just cancelled our cable and so will be TV-free (well, non-streaming-TV) as of tomorrow. It feels awesome, especially since now our internet is RIDICULOUSLY fast. All the better to load more articles …

– From the woman who started #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen: On Feminist Solidarity and Community: Where Do We Go from Here? (via @Karnythia)

– Well this is fascinating. We have student loan debt in this house and right now it’s absolutely keeping us from buying a home. Can you imagine if undergraduate education in the US were free? How far to free? (h/t @fakedansavage)

– A critique of Orange is the New Black: Orange is NOT the New Black (via @feministegriote)

– Oh hey, something else the U.S. does with respect to crime that no one else does: The Ex-Con Factor (via @jbouie)

– I read one of Mr. Wise’s books and admit that at the time, I liked it. *shudder*: 9 Ways Tim Wise is Fugging Up (h/t @thetrudz)

– Good analysis of Mayor Bloomberg’s hypocrisy: Stop-and-Frisk City: Does Bloomberg Really Care About Kids’ Safety? (via @mollyknefel)

– Ruh Roh Raggy: US doesn’t know what Snowden took, sources say

– Hey. Dr. Phil perpetuates rape culture. Jackass: The vile tweet Dr. Phil deleted (h/t @JessicaValenti)

– Tonight’s FFS: An NYC High Rise Is Putting In Separate Entrances For Rich And Poor Renters (h/t @AngryBlackLady)

Let’s end on a high note – here’s part 2 of Anita Sarkeesian’s “Damsels in Distress” video (CN: this one has some graphic violence):



August 2013



A Song of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings

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Lollygagger’s #CBR5 Review #37: A Song of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

I didn’t consume this book in the same manner as the first one in the series. It was on an e-reader instead of paperback, so that possibly had something to do with it; it wasn’t staring up at me from my nightstand, begging to be finished so it could take its rightful place on the bookshelf.

[Spoilers ahead]


As the title suggests, this book in the series focuses on the fights between Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon (Lannister). Joffrey continues to be a little shit, Renly makes a brief appearance before taking his leave thanks to a creepy death fog baby, Stannis gets all eaten up by some wildfire (well, his troops at least), and Robb wins some battles and loses some he isn’t even fighting (sorry Winterfell). Theon is also a shit, although one can sort of understand how he came to be shit. I have little sympathy for him, but I can imagine a world where he wouldn’t make such piss-poor decisions. Tyrion, as Hand of the King, makes some great decisions, plays and nearly beats Cersei at her own game, and is rewarded with a missing nose.

The women continue to be complex but also frustratingly bound by duties. Cersei is a fascinating character, and one whose perspective is not readily shared, so she’s also a bit of a mystery. When she loses it, it’s interesting. Sansa and Arya are going about their own adventures, both devastating in their own ways. And Daenerys remains in search of ships, braving some pretty rough going to find people who may help (or may not). Jon is also still beyond the wall, Bran and Rickon are doing … things, and Catelyn believes they are dead.

Much like last time, I found myself speed-reading the chapters focused on Arya and Tyrion. I was less interested in most of the rest, although the chapters providing the perspectives on the Blackwater Battle were difficult to put down. The chapters from Bran and Jon’s perspectives were especially boring to me (I just don’t find the beyond the wall stuff that interesting right now; silly political infighting is so much more my speed) and even Martin’s great writing couldn’t keep me interested if anything remotely shiny or pretty were nearby to distract me.

One thing that was sort of fun was seeing things that didn’t show up until the third season of the TV show. Because I’m still catching up to that, my images are colored by what I’ve seen on HBO; I’m looking forward to book three because I know there are things in there that have not yet made it on screen. As for a recommendation – yes. Of course. Read it if you like the TV show. Read it if you don’t like the TV show. Just read it.