Posted on | March 31, 2015 | 12 Comments
Caroline Narby is “five feet tall and pudgy,” she tells us at the beginning of her article “My Butchness,” a rather solipsistic 2,000-word discussion of her sexual identity. Of course, I graduated from a third-tier state university in Alabama, where using a fancy word like “solipsistic” would be considered kind of a show-off move, but Caroline Narby is an alumna of Wellesley College, ranked No. 4 among liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report. Annual tuition at Wellesley is $45,078, so when Carolina Narby (Class of 2011) gets solipsistic, buddy, she goes whole-hog. Among other things, she informs us that Wellesley has “a vibrant and visible LGBT community on campus,” and her first semester she took a course entitled “Gay Writing from Sappho to Stonewall.”
This is some high-class intellectual navel-gazing, y’all:
After agonizing over the matter and consulting and commiserating with other butch women, I’ve come to realize that butchness doesn’t need to be understood as “masculinity” at all. Its form and substance don’t have to be defined by its opposition to femininity.
Sometimes I like to think of butchness as a kind of satire. Not as a parody — not as a clownish imitation of manhood–but as part of a purposeful endeavor to dismantle the popular conception of masculinity and the hegemony that it represents. . . . [B]utchness works to deconstruct maleness and masculinity by co-opting behaviors and aesthetics that men have tried to monopolize. Butch is a trickster gender — and so, in a similar way, is femme. Lesbian gender expressions do not emulate heteropatriarchy, they subvert it. Femme removes femininity from the discursive shadow of masculinity and thereby strips from it any connotation of subordination or inferiority. Butch takes markers of “masculinity” and divests them of their association with maleness or manhood. Butchness works against the gender binary — the masculine/feminine paradigm — and reclaims for women the full breadth of possibilities when it comes to gender expression.
Other times, honestly, I just don’t like to think about my gender as a conscious political undertaking at all. I know that “the personal is political.” I know that no action or belief can possibly be apolitical because every social institution on every scale is steeped in ideology. But sometimes I just get so tired. Sometimes I want to just be.
You probably want to read the whole thing, complete with her description of Girl Scout Camp “where it seemed as though 99% of the staff were lesbians.” But you knew that, right?
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Caroline Narby is the blogger we met earlier, complaining of the “dehumanizing” nature of “sexuality under heteropatriarchy.” She now has a master’s degree in Gender and Cultural Studies and is “currently finishing up a second master’s in public policy,” because I guess after paying $45,078 a year to get your bachelor’s degree at Wellesley, you need two master’s degrees before you can be bothered to get an actual job. Meanwhile, she’s a blogger, and you might want to read her contributions at Bitch magazine:
The aim of this blog is to explore and interrogate popular representations of autistic sexuality and gender performance from a queer, autistic perspective.
Let’s don’t and say we did.
Nevertheless, there’s “Erasure and Asexuality”:
In my previous post, I remarked that an examination of cultural representations of queer autistic sexuality will inevitably end up as a discussion about lack and absence, because so few representations exist. . . . This reflects and reinforces the presumption that autistic people are too “childlike” or socially stunted to comprehend the idea of sexuality, let alone to actually have sex. The result of prevailing cultural attitudes is that autistic people are perceived as inherently non-sexual. . . .
What popular culture tends to do is to deny that autistic people possess the agency and self-awareness to think about and establish sexual identities. Ableism combines with the general erasure of asexuality, and the assumption that a lack of interest in sex equates to naïveté, to produce the idea that asexual-identified autists must be asexual because they are autistic. They are asexual not because they are self-aware individuals who happen to express a particular sexuality, but because somehow their autism renders them too naïve, “innocent,” or socially inept for sex. They are not asexual because that’s what they happen to be, they are non-sexual because they have no choice.
This assumption robs asexual autists of all romantic dispositions of agency and recognition.
To repeat: $45,078 a year it costs to learn to write that stuff.
Feminists have come up with an elaborate nomenclature for different sexualities. All of these terms are really just synonyms for "weirdo."
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) March 31, 2015
Until I started studying radical feminism, I never thought of "normal" as an achievement.
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) April 1, 2015
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) March 28, 2015
Posted on | March 31, 2015 | 3 Comments
by Sissypuss the Blog Kitty
The Cosmos Club wasn’t packed. The power elite of Washington gather rarely, and the guest list for this little party was the sort who value space and privacy almost as much as power. Getting into a joint this posh had meant infiltrating at a truly unreasonable hour, and staying well hidden.
The room had a stage at one end, an eating area in the middle, and seating at the other end. Real plants in large urns, along with the subdued lighting, made staying concealed fairly easy. The party was a raucous Bacchanalia, the kind that requires a Cone Of No Paparazzi. My sharp eyes took in Tony Scambilloni in his tux with the rest of Chin Music on the stage, playing world-class chamber music, while the crowd and the conversation steadily got wilder.
Unable to keep up with the heavy partying, Joe and Jill Biden sat down on the couch in front of me. In between the Bidens and Scambilloni was a who’s who of Progressive elites. Jon Corzine, so mysteriously incapable of showing up on film, had a flute of champaign. Tom Steyer, of course, held a scotch as he held forth on the weather. Jonathan Gruber must have been trolling for customers–I’d have thought him too small-potatoes for this crowd. Was that a Budwiser?
In the opposite corner of the seating end of the room, under a pile of nubile flesh, was Dominique Strauss-Kahn, clinging bitterly to his clothes and the club’s rules of decorum. More bitter than Strauss-Kahn was Bill Clinton standing nearby, threatening to leak from his eyes, mouth, and elsewhere at the sight of so many young women. Bitterest of all was Hillary, standing next to Bill in a pantsuit. Who had done her hair in a Nurse Ratched? There was no need for my Egyptian charm to read any of these minds, even if it had this sort of range. Conspicuous in their absence were the Obamas, but no one seemed to care a whit.
Harry and Landra Reid made the scene, and there was a subtle shift in the party, an expectation. Harry looked as comfortable as a Haisidic Rabbi at a Madrassa. Grey suit, blue tie. Even if the guy wasn’t Mormon, he’d still be the antithesis of a party animal, regardless of age. The room was all: “Why’s HE here?” as the music paused.
And then SHE entered. Monica Lewinsky. No: a jet black cocktail dress. Afar off, Tony nodded, and Chin Music leaned into “Kashmir”
Monica looked at Harry, standing there with a diet ginger ale, and lifted a microphone:
Weren’t my son put beatdown on my face, stars filled my head,
I’m a legislator of both crime and farce, to say what I have said.
To sit with elders of the Progressive race, this world has seldom seen.
They talk of debt for which they sit and wait, when Cthulhu’ll be revealed. . .
First of all, the lady had taken some singing lessons since the Clinton administration–my ears can detect any soundboard trick. Second of all, Reid had all the popularity of a Y chromosome at a feminist conference, even amongst his ilk. The tipsy room threatened to roll over laughing at Reid’s embarrassment.
Reid’s face went very dark, but what was he to say? The people who owned his dented little peach pit of a soul, who had paid Tony to afford him such personal attention, were in this very room. He bowed his head and sulked. There was no humanity left in the room, as one who had ruthlessly built power so many decades was rejected without hope of redemption by his peers.
The band continued expertly through the rest of the tune, oblivious to the human wreckage that was Harry Reid. Lewinsky sang on, but not a word I heard could I relate–the story was quite clear. Until Monica started slinking toward her old boss. It didn’t sound like she was doing a parody anymore, exactly:
Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, when I’m down…
Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, well I’m down, so down
Ooh, my baby, oooh, my baby, let me take you there
Let me take you there. Let me take you there
It almost seemed as though Lewinsky had some sub-textual meaning going on, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it might be. Whatever it was, both Bill and Hillary were both fire engine red, though I think for different reasons.
The song ended, and the spell was broken in a crescendo of applause. A dust mote that may have once been Harry Reid blew toward the exit. He warbled over his shoulder: “Romney didn’t win, did he?“.
And then I heard Joe Biden say to Jill: “Wow. I never new Bruce Jenner had fronted Black Sabbath. But at least the transition seems to be going nicely.”
Posted on | March 31, 2015 | 17 Comments
If women are systematically oppressed by males, as feminist theory insists, the perpetrators and beneficiaries of this oppression — i.e., males — must be selfish and cruel. Quod erat demonstrandum.
After my previously described encounter with a Wellesley graduate, I continued my tour of the online lunatic asylum that is Feminist Tumblr, and came across this 171-word anti-male rant:
Ladies, here is a tip from me to you, some information that is going to set you free: men are never going to take you seriously. Men are conditioned from day one to see you as less than, to think you’re a joke, you’re weak, you’re stupid, you’re irrational, and you’re deficient. Most men never even attempt to unlearn that conditioning, let alone actually manage to do it. The second you stop shaping your life and your choices and your wants and yourself around how best to make men take you seriously is the second you can start actually living. Don’t play their shell-game. Don’t waste your energy or your brain space trying to figure out how to calibrate your actions to get the best reaction out of them. Stop doing everything you can to make your back as flat as possible so they have a smooth trip walking all over you. Demand your space, stop apologizing and accommodating, and let them figure out how the f–k to deal with it.
You might want to bookmark that one. It could come in handy the next time someone tells you that feminism isn’t about hating men.
Posted on | March 31, 2015 | 49 Comments
Studying feminist theory requires an ability to maintain sanity in the constant presence of madness. Today while making my rounds inside the online feminist lunatic asylum, I encountered this:
When women say “But I like to be objectified! Doesn’t everybody, sometimes?” it used to annoy me, but now it just breaks my heart a little. Because she can’t disentangle being desired or loved from being treated like a thing. And she’s right. That’s the world we live in: We cannot conceptualize desiring a woman without dehumanizing her. That is sexuality under heteropatriarchy.
Who thinks this way? What strange structures have you built into your mental universe so that aesthetic admiration or erotic interest toward another person means you have “objectified” them, reduced them to “being treated like a thing”? On what basis does one discern the difference between love/desire (good) and dehumanized objectification (bad)? Does it not occur to people who talk this way that they are simply overthinking this stuff? Only very unhappy people, deficient in ordinary animal vigor, could permit their minds to become so cluttered with intellectual theory that they view sexual attraction in such terms.
So, who thinks this way? An autistic 26-year-old white “butch” lesbian who is “still figuring out gender stuff,” that’s who.
They’re defective. Darwinian errors. “Broken people.”
Scratch a feminist and a kook bleeds.
UPDATE: How did I miss this? The same person who wrote that quote also blogs as “The Freelance Feminist,” and describes herself:
I hold a BA in Women’s and Gender Studies from Wellesley College and an MA in Gender and Cultural Studies. I’m currently finishing up a second master’s in public policy because I don’t want to stay trapped forever in the echo-chamber of academia.
More importantly, I’m an autistic butch lesbian. My politics are shaped much more by my own experience in the world than they are by my academic background. My work focuses on the intersection of gender, sexuality, disability, and embodiment. I have extensive experience with media analysis, and in my academic life I am trying to synthesize that with policy analysis. I want to draw attention to how cultural narratives inform collective attitudes which, in turn, shape policy. Stories are vitally important, and they reverberate through every aspect of our private, public, and civic lives.
Which just confirms everything I said previously, of course.
Posted on | March 31, 2015 | 31 Comments
That’s not the headline in the Washington Post, however:
We’re conducting diplomacy by referendum now? Exactly how much does the average American know about the details of this “deal”? Are folks sitting around over dinner at the Olive Garden chatting about centrifuges and enriched uranium? Have random adults suddenly become experts in foreign policy? Isn’t this rather a specialized field of endeavor? Isn’t it true that Americans have historically been “turned off” by foreign policy discussions and prone to isolationism? Don’t questions about foreign policy usually break down along partisan lines, so that when a Republican is in the White House, Democrats disapprove (e.g., “Bush is Hitler” and “No war for oil”) and vice-versa?
The decision to go to war in Iraq — which nearly all Democrats and not a few Republicans now consider a mistake — was hugely popular in 2003. George W. Bush’s approval ratings soared as the bombs started falling in Baghdad. And yet this “vox populi, vox dei“ attitude, whereby the liberal media now push a “deal” with Iran, was not at all evident among liberals in 2003. No sir. When a Republican was in the White House, dissent was celebrated as a patriotic duty. Certainly, with a Republican president we didn’t see this synchronicity of purpose between the political regime and the media class that is so apparent today.
Anyone who thinks that Barack Obama and John Kerry are wise stewards of America’s world interests is a damned fool. Period.
They have created a phony self-imposed “deadline” for this Iran deal, and experience suggests we’d be better of with no deal.
Posted on | March 31, 2015 | 38 Comments
CNN has been giving hourly updates to hype claims that a religious freedom law in Indiana could unleash hateful discrimination against gay people. This appears to be a media-driven hysteria. Nineteen other states have laws similar to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which is modeled after a federal law Bill Clinton signed. Yet the question needs to be asked: Exactly how much workplace discrimination do gay people face and what is its impact?
This chart is from the Germany-based Institute for the Study of Labor, and is from a study which found that lesbians in the United States earn 20% more than do heterosexual woman. Although I’m not sure if I trust these findings, let us stipulate that the study is accurate and ask: Why is this so? Is it because employers are pro-lesbian? Are companies prejudiced against heterosexual women?
Keep in mind the oft-quoted claim that women earn 77 cents on the dollar in comparison to men. As critics of that statistic point out, once you account for differences in education, occupation and other variables, the male-female “wage gap” disappears. That is to say, actual differences between men and women — not sexist discrimination — explain the disparity of earnings. Could this also be true in regard to the lesbian/straight “wage gap” among women? Yes, obviously so.
One reason for the male-female “wage gap” is simply the fact that women are more likely to leave the work force and stay home with their children. Women have a lower work force participation rate than men and, if motherhood explains most of the “wage gap,” it is obvious that this factor would benefit lesbians, who are less likely to become mothers. Interestingly, we find that a very different scenario is evident in the institute’s findings about the earnings of gay men.
According to the same study, gay men earn 16% less than do their heterosexual male counterparts. If earning differentials were caused by discrimination inspired by anti-gay prejudice, we might expect that both male and female homosexuals would show less income than heterosexuals. Yet it appears otherwise, and we can only conclude that other variables — not prejudicial anti-gay discrimination — are the decisive factor in this pattern. What are those variables? We don’t know, but permit me to suggest a controversial hypothesis: Differences in sexual orientation are not random and insignificant; rather, sexuality tends to be a sort of psychological dye-marker for personality types, and differences in personality result in differences in behavior that, in turn, produce differences in earnings.
We need not think in terms of sexist or homophobic stereotypes to accept this hypothesis. Gay men and lesbians often joke about the differences between them. There is a well-known joke:
What does a lesbian bring to a second date?
What does a gay man bring to a second date?
What’s a ‘second date’?
In other words, gay male culture is notoriously promiscuous, whereas lesbians are equally notorious for their preference for long-term intimate relationships, so that by the second date, they’re ready to move in together. And the legalization of same-sex marriage has demonstrated this tendency, as 64% of such unions are between two women, so that lesbian weddings outnumber gay male weddings nearly 2-to-1.
Doesn’t this data offer potential clues about the income differentials between these two groups? That is to say, if lesbians earn substantially more than straight women but gay men earn substantially less than straight men, isn’t it possible that this is due to the same personality and behavioral differences we observe in the data about same-sex marriage? Once we accept the premise that differences between men and women are both real and significant — rather than imaginary or artificial “social constructs” — it stands to reason that sexual preference would reflect differences that are also real and significant. Correlation is not causation, but neither are correlations in social-science data entirely random.
Angry protests about the possibility of anti-gay “discrimination” in Indiana fail to take into account the question of whether policies that forbid discrimination are either necessary or efficacious. As we have seen most recently in the Ellen Pao case, “equal opportunity” law has the effect of inciting lawsuits by disgruntled employees who cannot prove they are victims of prejudice. If we are willing to accept that general differences between men and women (or between gays and lesbians) are both real and significant, a lot of what might otherwise appear to be “discrimination” is really nothing of the kind.
“Actually, it’s mostly about satisfying the Democrats’ core constituencies’ bottomless desire to feel morally superior.”
— Professor Glenn Reynolds
Those of us who favor economic liberty believe that human beings are capable of acting rationally in their own self-interest. We believe that businesses should have wide latitude in their personnel policies for this reason. The managers of an enterprise have the responsibility of maximizing productivity, and decisions about hiring and promotion are essential to that responsibility. Managers ought not have their personnel decisions constantly subjected to scrutiny by quota-mongering “social justice” activists who have no responsibility to anyone other than themselves and slogan-shouting protest mobs.
Men and women are different. Gays and lesbians are different. It is not “hate” to say so. It is simply the truth.
Posted on | March 30, 2015 | 10 Comments
by Sissypuss the Blog Kitty
I got word via Her Majesty’s spy network (what’s a little ‘stealth outsourcing’ between frenemies, eh?) that Tony Scambilloni had a flight booked for Dulles. This within hours of the surprise announcement that Harry “the Cadaver” Reid was not intending to transition from un- to fully-dead right there on the Senate floor, railing about the Koch brothers or some other invented anti-Progressive bugbear. No, Poor, Poor, Pitiful Reid would leave his final trail of embalming fluid in the Senate halls after the 2016 election, and return to afflict Searchlight, Nevada with his lousy personality.
In stark contrast, how can you not love a Renaissance thug like Tony, whose art forgeries cost almost as much as an evening engagement with his chamber quartet, Chin Music? Of course, he had no hourly rate for his “professional services”, which ran the gamut of consulting from matters of body, to mind, to soul.
Access to the 5th floor ventilation in the Hart Building, especially on such short notice, would have been relatively hard for anyone bigger than a feline. Especially without the correct connections. However, arrangements were made, and a helpful security guard “let the cat out of the bag”. (Oh, shut up! You’d’ve used that gag, too.)
The wait was less than an hour there, behind the ventilation grill in the corner of room 522. Harry sat at his desk, illuminated by a banker’s lamp, his good side in profile, one chair and the door in view. Reid, shaking and wheezing, worked at a stack of paper, and swore with more rhythm and passion than one would have thought him incapable of mustering, based upon the usual stream of porridge he emitted on the Senate floor.
The door opened abruptly, with a precisely measured fury. The hall light flooding the room mostly shadowed a man in a black suit bearing an instrument case. Tony.
Reid’s remaining good eye got squinty. “What the philharmonic are you doing here?” he demanded, as Tony shut the door firmly, then strode over to sit in the visible chair. He could have been visiting a junior college professor, and not the United States Senate Minority Leader, for all the waves of disdain exuded. The instrument case occupied what I presumed was another chair on the opposite desk corner. The light of the banker’s lamp on the desk somehow moved Tony’s look away from Robert DeNiro and more toward a Harvey Keitel.
Credit “The Cadaver”: he came out with guns blazing. “You tell Sam Nazarian that, if he wants to see his dreams realized, he’d better learn to be patient.”
Tony never took his eyes off of Reid, but leaned over toward the other chair. I heard the latches thump open, and my heart raced. Had there ever been violence in a Senator’s office? Tony raised an object to his face, and I thought it was some sort of barrel pointing at Reid until the bow started into a slow, perfect rendition of Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell, from Requiem for a Dream.
After a few minutes, the ever-cultured Harry Reid was having none of it. “Who in the name of Robert Byrd do you think you are?” Tony paused while Reid drew breath. “You come into my office–where is my security?!?!?!–like you came into my home, threatening me with this Charlie Daniels crap, and I’m supposed to take you seriously? I don’t fear you. If they wanted me dead, I’d be room temperature. If they want me to carry through on the deal, they can just quit sending your to bully me, and let me get things done!” Reed took off his glasses and threw them on the desk. Taking Tony out of focus was one way to deal with the sudden wave of fear washing over him. Tony stood, and carefully set his fine instrument and bow back in the case.
Reid was visibly trembling as Tony turned abruptly and leaned over the desk. His bow hand came down flat on Reid’s glasses, deliberately crushing them, before he whisked the debris off the desk to SLAP! against the wall. Tony got in Harry’s face “Catherine Cortez Masto had better understand that, if she assumes your seat, she assumes your debt.”
“There’s no way she’s going to have the skill to work off that kind of dead horse,” said Reid with a mixture of realism and pride. Oh, and a jigger of fear.
“She’s your disciple, isn’t she? Tell her it’s a student loan.” With that, Tony swung brought his left arm around slowly, and touched the ravaged right side of Reid’s face with his pinky finger, eliciting a gasp.
“Here,” said Tony, handing Reid an invitation. “Since I ‘accidentally’ broke your glasses, I’ll help you. It’s for tomorrow tonight at 9 P.M., at the Cosmos Club. Come hear a little Chin Music. Bring the wife. She deserves a little culture for having to tolerate a pernicious swine like you.”
I made good my escape from the Hart Building. Once outside, I laughed like Joe Biden convincing an unwitting child to pull his finger.
Posted on | March 30, 2015 | 53 Comments
“Affordable housing” is one of those phrases, like “social justice” and “sexual equality,” that sounds like a good thing, until you realize it’s a license for totalitarianism. For most of us, “affordable housing” means living someplace where we can afford the rent. The advocates of “affordable housing,” however, always want to live someplace we couldn’t afford to live — a trendy urban location — and demand a system of taxpayer subsidies and/or burdensome regulations to force others to allow them to live in a high-rent community at below-market rates. To put it as simply as possible, they’re moochers and “affordable housing” is about protecting their right to mooch.
The enemy of affordable housing is “gentrification,” which is what happens when people with actual jobs who can afford to pay rent at market value start moving into a trendy urban location where the moochers live. Regular Right Guy calls our attention to the gentrification crisis in San Francisco:
On a sunny Monday afternoon in early March, tenants from Station 40, an affordable housing complex in San Francisco’s rapidly gentrifying Mission District, joined with activists from the Housing Rights Committee and Anti-Eviction Mapping Project to hold a press conference condemning one of the latest evictions happening in the city. In late February, Station 40 tenants were slapped with an eviction notice from their landlords, Ahuva, Emanuel and Barak Jolish.
The complex houses more than a dozen tenants at 3030B 16th Street in the Mission. It sits right across the street from the 16th Street Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stop. Station 40 has provided affordable housing for its residents for the past 11 years. It is also known for housing members of activist groups like Food Not Bombs, which shares home-cooked, free meals on the 16th Street BART plaza every week, and Coffee Not Cops, which shares free coffee and pastries at the same plaza and organizes against police patrols in the area.
“Station 40 has been home to anarchist, queer and transgender refugees, broke people, veterans against war, those healing from the prison system, lifelong San Franciscans, immigrants, people with disabilities, and those who were previously homeless,” according to the groups’ press statement. Station 40 has also “hosted and/or organized hundreds of anticapitalist-oriented events, including fund-raiser, critical discussions, film screenings and performances, assemblies, book releases, art shows and workshops, and indie media projects, contributing to the rebel spirit of the Bay Area.”
Gosh, we’re sorry to hear about the end of your anti-police/anti-capitalist “anarchist, queer and transgender” scene, hipsters.
"Affordable Housing" = "I majored in liberal arts and need taxpayer subsidies so I can live in a trendy ZIP code." https://t.co/Tq5pe3gSXJ
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) March 30, 2015
Maybe you can organize for social justice in Mom’s basement.
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