Links of Great Interest: I got some mythology for ya.

The Washington Post has a contest for Peep-based dioramas. This year’s best are now available online.

More on the prom that wasn’t. In order to keep a lesbian teen from coming to prom with her girlfriend, the entire school (admin included) gave her the wrong intel re: the prom’s location etc., and moved prom to a secret location. Then all the girls secretly made out... at the gay free prom… then, they made a Facebook page. But, hey, it’s a really friendly town… just not for LGBT-identified teens.

LKH_Lashouts is analyzing Ardeur, the essay collection analyzing the Anita Blake series. ISB is talking about the last issue of The Laughing Corpse.

Here’s some clippings talking about dating advice for single ladies in the 1930s. Seriously, take heed. All my dates go poorly once I pass out after giving the head waiter my number.

The myth of the mean girl is just a myth. WHO KNEW? Oh, WAIT, everybody did!! That’s why series like the Babysitters’ Club, which placed female friendship front and center, were so damn successful. (I don’t care what anybody says. I am a Mary Anne and I am proud of it! Somebody’s got to be the loyal nerd, and I am HONORED — honored I tell you!! — that I get to be that for my friends.)

From Legible Susan: More on the murder of Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar.

Have you ever thought about NOT calling the police? Hm.

The color/gender/sex correlation of Pern’s dragons explained. Sort of.

Capoeira helps kids across the world!

I bet you just wanted some honest talk about your reproductive options. I’d like to GIVE you some honest talk about your reproductive options. HAHA JUST KIDDING!

Anyways, men cheat because of their genes.

Demi Moore calls out Kim Kardashian for glorifying pimps. In the ensuing OMG TWO FEMALE STARS HATE EACH OTHER!!! shitstorm, there’s no analysis of Demi’s point. Of course. That’s silly. I think there’s ’bout to be a what? A GIRLFIGHT.

Once again, the Church FAILS its Native constituents. WTF WTF WTF WTF. In other news: this is Confederate History month. Yay… chattel slavery?

More on racebending.

Dude. He killed and ATE his 16 yr old girlfriend.


  1. says

    1) There is an essay book on Anita Blake?

    2) The thing with clinics not disclosing they’re against abortion and birth control is infuriating, as is much of why the Catholic Church is in the news lately.

    3) The Constance McMillen thing… and they not only sent her to the wrong prom, but the two kids with learning disabilities, too, proving just how much of an asshole they are.

    4) There is an essay book on Anita Blake?

    5) I, as a white man, am hesitant to call the police, but sadly the essay is written by someone not believing in prisons at all, whereas I’m just critical of their methods and the kind of people they attract.

    6) Finally, men and women cheat because they all think sexual monogamy is the only true way even if they were more comfortable in some kind of open relationship (swinging, poly, threesomes, whatever), and thinking you have to save yourself for marriage only makes the possibility of being sexually incompatible with your partner even higher, and since you can’t ask your partner to have someone else fulfill your needs, you secretly look elsewhere.

  2. Havoc says

    I really want an epic lesbian dragonriders story now. With two gold riders who are desperately in love with each other, and who shut themselves away together when their queens are mating. I WOULD BUY THAT. Urgh. Anne McCaffrey, please stop with the icky fail there.

    Dragons apparently don’t mentally bond with the personality best suited for them. (Mind you, that’s what Grade School Age Havoc thought.) No, no, we can’t have that. They smell your sweat to see if you’re afflicted with Teh Gay, and, if you are, you have to suck it, because you don’t get to be in charge. EVER. Nyah!

    I now feel a little sick about having fallen in love with those books when I was wee.

    • Maria says

      I’d be okay with a queer dragonriders story with an extremely femme gold, a boi blue rider, and their BFF the genderqueer green. <3 <3 <3 Lessa's brain would EXPLODE. I bet she'd go clean something.

  3. Anemone says

    I really liked the Mean Girls article.

    The essay on not calling the police seemed really bizarre to me. Not holding someone accountable for mugging someone? Really? A shift from prison time to ankle-bracelet/house arrest for lesser crimes, sure, but not calling the cops at all? This writer came across as seriously privileged to me, police racism or no police racism.

  4. Havoc says

    @Maria I’d love all of those characters!

    Except the trashing Lessa bit. I hate character bashing. Ugh.

    • Maria says

      LOL I wasn’t trashing Lessa!! I think it’s hilarious how controlling she is and how much she frikkin’ cleans. All I remember from All the Weyrs of Pern is Robinton dying and Lessa being short, angry, an assertive leader, and really, really into dusting.

  5. Maria says

    She made me think of that part in Conquest where Andrea Smith is talking about a different paradigm for community accountability. It’s difficult for me to see it working, and I think the argument *feels* different depending on the speaker, but at the same time, prison doesn’t work. And as a system it’s all tied up in the finances of the country in a way where you start to think, Oh, man, this is a system that’s not MEANT to work — it’s financially and politically useful to keep the prisons as full as possible.

    I mean, if you think the prison industrial complex is a real thing, you have to question calling the police as a kneejerk response.

    At the same time, you can’t make that call on your own. What I think the author’s neglecting to highlight is that this philosophy has to be a communal response to a communal problem.

  6. says

    re the prom thing. it seems less the school admin were scared of being at the dance with lesbians, and more scared of possible cross dressing. Given that they had expelled a trans student for crossdressing earlier in the year, and constance had organized a number of other students to cross dress in solidarity with the trans student.

  7. says

    The Good:

    Peeps! The BSC! I am somewhere between a Mary Anne and a Claudia, personally. Glitter glue on your history timeline FTW! It’s always been a little bit of a secret dream to have ALL the BSC books. And the Babysitter’s Little Sister books. And I can still sing the TV show’s theme song… DON’T YOU JUDGE ME. Also, yay to the death of the mean girl myth! In all my life, I’ve only had two girls not related to me threaten me with violence, and I shut one of them down by basically calling her bluff. Post-pubescence, I’ve only had one girl try to bully me without physical violence, and I showed her up and made her cry. WHAT? I use passive agression. And… Unintentionally hilarious dating advice! Demi Moore! Adora Svitak! Arts education in Haiti!! For therapeutic use!!! My heart, it melts.

    The Bad, The Ugly:

    …I’m not actually sure if all the Anitaverse craze is the same amount of bad as the Twicraze. I mean, on the one hand, Twilight in all its abusive “poor-secretly-gorgeous-me” craziness is marketed to impressionable tweens. But by the time you are reading Anita Blake, you should know better, so you (the reader) and Hamilton are all codependent enabler-y. Plus, if grown-ups can’t be depended on to rise above the perpetually-superior-victim abuse-is-love mentality, who’s going to make sure kids don’t get into it? I KNOW I’M AWESOME, BUT I CAN’T BE EVERYWHERE AT ONCE, YOU GUYS. Time to resignedly re-read the Southern Vampire Mysteries, which both acknowledge themselves as romance AND show that people can actually be giant fuckin’ dicks in their relationships, while maintaining that the supernatural is dangerous and actually not to be fucked with unless you LIKE being in the hospital for long stretches of time. I prefer my fiction without “Sisyphean masochism,” thank you. I shouldn’t have to urge to “autocorrect” the dialogue and action in what I’m reading. And adding as I go through the LJ comments!: No black vampires in the LKH books? At all? Charlaine Harris has that. Hell, Stephenie Meyers has that. YOU WANT THAT RACEFAILSAUCE ON THE SIDE?

    Still, not as bad as the secret hetero prom with not-so-secret homophobes, followed up by the driving out of any traces of LGBTQ. I’d say it was a Lifetime movie, but I know better even from personal experience. Small towns suuuuuuck. Translating that same xenophobia into a fantasy world? TRIPLE LAME. All I’m saying is in How To Train Your Dragon, the dragons didn’t discriminate too much except for who gave the best belly rubs. Dreamworks did not need pseudoscience to explain why America Fererra had to be a blonde Viking as long as she was not LGBTQ, in which case Toothless would turn green. And I don’t think Anne McCaffrey knows too many Catholics, unless I’ve been resisting my natural urge to only have sex when I want to procreate, and then only with someone who wrestles me down on my way to Precalc. Also, stereotypes, cultural structures of gender, et al. NOT COOL. If I wanted all that with my dragons, I’d read Tolkien.

    And while I’d love to be shocked by the article in “The Stranger,” I’m just appalled. Calling the personnel files on these priests “the hell files” is succinct and accurate. For indigenous groups to not get the shit end of the stick would require a massive cultural restructuring and to give these groups at least enough power to enforce their own autonomy. I remember when I was studying Sociology, the statistics we were given for undesirable behaviors, afflictions, etc. was 1:3 White & Asian-American vs Black & Hispanic and Up to 99% of the American Indian population. There was no ratio given. The book I was using just basically said, “If it’s a problem– unemployment, drug use, whatever– Native peoples are just fucked.” The sugar on this shitstack is that the month of my birth is now Confederate History Month. Don’t tell me that’s a donut. It’s still sugar on shit.

    The Very, Very Confusing:

    I get that there are class and race issues, to put it very lightly, anytime the police get involved with… anything ever. But the extent of the “don’t call the police” mentality boggles me. A world without prisons or police is not a crime-free world, and a world without state-sanctioned power structures is not a world where the powerful do not prey on the weak. Self-policing would only allow individuals’ personal prejudices to potentially lead to increased race- and class-related brutality and mistreatment, not to mention other prejudices like gender, sexual orientation, etc. I can’t trust or depend on the police, but I can’t trust or depend on my neighbors, either. And while none of those people would necessarily have my best interests in mind, at least if I call the police I’m at minimum attempting to call back on a legal system that gives me certain protections. I’m not saying I’d call the cops if I heard a weird noise outside my apartment in NYC– I’ve been to New York and have a passing familiarity with its craziness, and I’m self-reliant enough that I would just stay awake and keep myself armed–, but I’d call if I had been mugged, or if I saw someone being beaten, or knew of someone being beaten or abused. I know lots of people would not. And I would participate in the process of locking the perpetrators up.

    …I’d just like to let you know this is usually the most depressing and rage-inducing part of my week, Maria. *sadeyes* So… good job?

  8. Maria says

    Oh, dear Niji! Your twitchy rants are the most LOLTASTIC part of my week. When do you think people will figure out that we’re related????

    Anyways re: the prison industrial complex. Yo, neither me or the OP are saying omg no structures no punishments!! What we’re saying is that the present system, as is, does not work. What I’m suggesting and the OP is suggesting is that instead of having it be a punishment only system where it’s all nos nos nos, it might be nice to imagine otherwise in a world where personal accountability and injury to your fellow man is a COMMUNITY ISSUE, not just a LEGAL one. Neither she nor me is talking about lack of accountability, or anarchy. Idealism, hooooo!

  9. says

    9 OUT OF 10 REALISTS SAY IDEALISM IS NOT REALISTIC! Your plan for personal responsibility and community involvement doesn’t account for prejudiced dicks! It’s like babyproofing an oven only to realize the bloodthirsty chimp is tall enough to turn on the stove anyway. Only the baby has a tendency to falsely arrest people, and the chimp is your upstairs neighbor.

    And since you’re puttin’ my business all out there, Tori says “hello,” but that your plan only works if everyone is robots, or communists. But mostly just “hello.”

  10. Anemone says

    I remember reading about something when I was in Ottawa (Canada) where the police had a program where kids who got caught breaking and entering (stealing from people’s homes) were sometimes given a chance to talk to the people they robbed, and it sometimes helped them to realize why what they were doing was wrong. Sorry I don’t remember much about it. And I know Native groups here sometimes use the sacred circle to deal with crimes, which is community-based. But I think it’s only safe to do that for some crimes, e.g. something impersonal like break and enter, and probably not for other crimes, like sexual abuse. And everything I read about went through the legal system on its way to a community-based approach.

    So I think community-based approaches can work, but I get the heebie-jeebies thinking about them bypassing the legal system rather than working through it, because then where is the accountability? And how do you maintain standards?

  11. Maria says

    LOL I never said it’d be realized in my lifetime!! I think making the social changes I envision as being a necessary first step for a concentrated dismantling of the prison industrial is a process that will take generations. In the US we are only just considering universal health care. We can’t even talk about access to healthy food, quality child care, decent education, solidly funded arts programs etc without GIGGLING a little bit, let alone seriously consider the humanities of our own disenfrachised citizens as being remotely comparable to our own.

    I don’t think we need to be commies to make that work. I do think that we need to be HAPPY, and that it needs to be a permanent kind of social happiness that’ll take GENERATIONS to enact.

    I’m like a generation ship of love, you guys. I take the long view, and my long view is optimistically joyous.

  12. says

    Idealism is nice, but idealistic. Ideally (ha!), the system should be set up so that even people who don’t want to do the right thing do it anyway.

    As for justice systems, in my opinion there is too much emphasis on punishment, when in fact I would like the focus to be on restitution, prevention and re-integration of the culprit. So the current prison system would have to be majorly revamped.

  13. Robin says

    The more I hear about Itawamba, the more appalled I get. It’s bad enough when children do this kind of thing to each other, but when parents and authority figures condone and collude in it, it’s a sign that something is Very Wrong Indeed in that community. Before the comments on that article devolved into a sexuality-vs-religion debate, they pointed out multiple examples of the town’s hypocrisy beyond the obvious “straight girls making out after they excluded the lesbians” stupidity.

    Subject matter aside, the writing in that dating manual could use a good copy editor. The condescending tone of the text is quite irritating, though. Of course, not snagging the rearview for a makeup check is still good advice today. Also, not keeping one’s mouth closed while chewing gum is one of my pet peeves. So, y’know, some points of courtesy never go out of style.

    Priests sexually abusing kids is bad enough, but doing so in a hospital?! After said kid has shot herself and attempted an overdose in order to get away from neglectful, alcoholic parents? Just awful. I can’t believe the Catholic Church continues to aid and abet these serial offenders.

  14. Charles RB says

    The “try not calling the police” lost me entirely when he described being angry with his acquaintance sending a mugger to jail. “Neither of us could imagine sending someone to jail or prison, and certainly not for the act in question”.

    Mugging is the act of taking something from someone via threat of violence or actual violence. The victim of the mugging is at risk of mild to severe trauma, injury and potential hospitalisation, and sometimes death (whether the mugger intends to kill or not). If the mugger frequently mugs people, that’s what they’ve done and/or will do; if they’re in jail, they can’t do it for obvious reasons.

    On top of that, maybe the woman who was mugged _did_ feel better that the mugger was in jail. I would assume that’s more likely than the opposite, since it showed someone had seen what happened and actually stepped forward, a sign that people noticed you were in the shit and wanted to help. Who is this article writer to say this is “no difference”? That’s pretty arrogant. I could even say it was priveleged – she’s not the victim, and she’s putting her personal ideology over that victim.

    (Plus, to echo nijireiki, the police aren’t inherently trustworthy but neither are my neighbours or any given immediate bystander. On personal experience, the police turn up and that puts them one up on pretty much everyone in town.)

  15. Eileen says

    I’m entirely unconvinced by the “don’t call the police” article. I certainly like the idea of encouraging people, particularly those in positions of privilege, to be circumspect. Noise calls? Unnecessary. Don’t call the police for noise.

    But violent crimes? No, sell that somewhere else. If my family is threatened the police will be involved.

  16. says

    Anne “Tentpeg” McCaffrey. Lord. I liked those books when I was young, but now the Harper Hall trilogy is the only one I can read without cringing. Heroine’s a little Sueish, but she’s also smart and independent, and her eventual hookup is not being raped until she likes it. (It *is* both parties getting hit with Magical Aphrodesiac, of course, but at least the guy apologizes and the woman consents before anything actually happens. Not enlightened sexual agency, but a world better than F’lar/Lessa or, God help us, F’nor/Brekke.)

    Also what Charles said. My sister got robbed at knifepoint a few years ago. She was really really lucky and didn’t actually get physically harmed, but she still had panic attacks for years. They never caught the guy who did it, but if they did, I would want him to go to jail for a long time. (Actually, I’d *want* to stab him in the face, but I think that’s an urge better restrained.)

    I always liked Claudia and Stacy a lot myself.

    And Itawamba…yeah. I don’t know what to say that isn’t going to come out as a string of rageful consonants.

  17. says

    I’m entirely unconvinced by the “don’t call the police” article. I certainly like the idea of encouraging people, particularly those in positions of privilege, to be circumspect. Noise calls? Unnecessary. Don’t call the police for noise.

    I always consider privilege issues before calling the police, but:

    What if you have rich white kids for neighbors who party all night every night, and tell you to fuck off when you politely ask them to abide by city noise rules, and you can’t afford to pay a lawyer to sue them, and even if you did they wouldn’t care because they’re so filthy rich? (And if you’re renting, assume your landlord refuses to do a thing about it – mine was in there partying with them.) You’re advised there is no option but to call the police.

    This was my situation a year ago, and I’m still struggling to recover from the 8-month sleep loss. I’ve been in a new apartment months now, but still, just thinking, “I’ll go to bed early because I need some sleep” triggers a PTSD state where my heart races all night because every time I tried to catch up on sleep in that other apartment, the rich white asshole squad would start up their thrum thrum thrum bass that came shuddering up through the floor and walls (yes, they were BELOW me). Because I have no regrets at all about calling the LAPD on them. The police were always fair, never arrested anyone, and I believe fined them over $500 a couple of times, but they were so rich it didn’t phase them.

    My situation is not unique. Lots of people complaining about noisy neighbors online talk about privileged kids and adults who think they have the right to do whatever they like inside their homes (not true in most municipalities, certainly not densely urban areas like L.A.) Sometimes the situation you’re describing, the privilege works EXACTLY the reverse. I hesitated to call the police at all since it’s the LAPD, and I always let people know I’m going to if they don’t shut up. Sadly, I have noticed anecdotally that African-American noise makers (yes, I’ve had a LOT of noisy neighbors over the years) always shut up after hearing this threat, whereas people of other races (including Hispanic/Latino) tend to get MORE belligerent. I see the police as an equalizer in some situations, and abetters of privilege in others. Additionally, the cops who investigate noise complaints are a very different breed than the ones who make headlines for beating suspects – these are trained in stuff like calming domestic disputes, and I’ve found them all very diplomatic (I’m thinking also of other neighbors’ noise incidents, and cops I’ve seen called to where people were verbally fighting over a parking space, or having a domestic fight in a public area.)

    Sorry that was long, and it probably sounds angry because it’s still triggery for me, but I just wanted to make the point: once in a great while, the function of police really IS to help the less privileged get on equal footing with the more privileged.

  18. Maria says

    once in a great while, the function of police really IS to help the less privileged get on equal footing with the more privileged.

    And I think that’s the point that this particular post is missing — I think that even tho Angela Davis is one of the best known ppl in carceral studies, it’s a conversation that can get really bound up in whiteness and can start to feel like… I think I want to say invalidating? when you think about groups who DIDN’T have access to the police as a safe figure of authority and who now (somewhat) do. It’s more complicated than just don’t call — the one time I’ve had to call the police, it really guilted me out because I was doing it on a man of color but at the same time he was beating his girlfriend on the street and I was the only witness. I didn’t WANT to call but I did, and even now I’m glad that you can SOMETIMES call the police in DV situations and they can help.

    At the same time, you hear constantly about women in DV situations calling the police and getting imprisoned. Or about instances of police brutality or racial profiling. Or about police endorsed sexual assault of trans people or other queer bodies. Or about prison complicity with the finances of the state. Or about how prison doesn’t rehab you — just set you up for a life where it’s difficult to escape the in and out cycle of jail. Or how it can hurt families. Because of these things, I value her question at the end about what options you have besides calling the police. I think it’s a good point to begin brainstorming and thinking through what kinds of social change you’d need to make prisons a less constitutive part of our social system.

    LOL I actually talked about this offline with my fiance and he told me I was a hippie. I said I was an educator taking down the prison system one kid at a time. :)

    This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot — if I find a better post I’ll definitely link it, because this conversation has been really helpful to me.

  19. Charles RB says

    “Because of these things, I value her question at the end about what options you have besides calling the police”

    If there’s violence going on, the other options boil down to “ignore it”, “step in yourself”, or “just call an ambulance”. In the case of Jennifer’s noisy neighbours, you could ask them to stop and… well, I’ve got no idea what you do if they say “no”.

  20. Maria says

    I think that’s one of the reasons I find her version of critique a little frustrating. The kind of anti-prison work I’m engaged in is more community building — I’m envisoning the kind of performative change she’s talking about RIGHT NOW as taking a good 60 yrs to really come into effect, since this would be a drastic paradigm shift for society. That’s silly. There’s building blocks that need to be put into place, even down to how we build cities and complexes in the US because they’re set up in such a way architecturally that the community structures that would cut down on crime — the community eyes on the streets that Jane Jacobs ( so praised — don’t/cant exist. I think ignoring those factors really weakens her argument, because she’s making it sound like a “right now” conversation, vs a “okay, what work needs to happen that I can effect safely in my present moment to break down the prison industrial complex?”

  21. Charles RB says

    Oh yeah, the sort of work that needs to be done is definately going to take generations – it’s a big job and there’s a lot of crap to clean up.

  22. says

    In the case of Jennifer’s noisy neighbours, you could ask them to stop and… well, I’ve got no idea what you do if they say “no”.

    I forgot to mention I tried the building manager, but it turned out he was accepting cash from the noisy neighbors to let them do whatever they liked. I tried to go over his head by several layers, and got no response. After that, it was either call the cops, sue them (not an option because I couldn’t afford it) or resort to violence.

    I DO agree calling the police needs to be a last resort in any situation. There are usually, I would guess, at least two solutions you can attempt before declaring there’s no other choice but to involve the police. Not just because of the concerns raised in the article, but because police are our tax dollars at work and I don’t want their time wasted on situations people ought to be able to settle by pretending they’re adults for five minutes.

  23. Scarlett says

    Jennifer, I was reading an advice column – the subject was completely unrelated but a comment was made that was relevent – about how some countries fine people according to their income. The idea is that since a fine is meant to be of enough financial hurt to discourage you from doing it, it’s only fair that the rich get fined more than the poor. It’s way open to abuse, I know, and it would never work in the US – *but we’re being penalised for working harder and making more money* – but I do like the idea that the rich can’t just do what they like and suck up the fine ‘cos they can afford it more than the poor.

  24. Charles RB says

    I don’t think we do that sort of fine on this side of the pond either. I think we should though, for the reason you give – especially when dealing with corporations who’ve broken the law (such as environmental regs), where we really should be fining them a set percentage of their income for that year.

  25. Scarlett says

    Yeah, I think it was somewhere in Asia they were talking about – it was just a point about how people shouldn’t, so to speak, do the crime just ‘cos they can afford the fine, and unfortunately there are a LOT of people out there who aren’t discouraged by fines ‘cos they’re wealthy enough just to cough up rather than behave in the first place. So the idea is that, in theory at least, a fine should hit everyone the same proportionally irregardless of income. But I can’t see it working in somewhere as market-driven as the US ‘cos it’s so anti-capitalist.

  26. Charles RB says

    America does seem to be aggressively pro-rich – I keep seeing people who are not rich and would benefit arguing against taxation reform or the health reform bill because of the perceived damage it will do to the rich and businesses. There’s some cultural programming going on there.

  27. says

    Scarlett, I’ve heard that too – it’s a great idea in theory, but I know some TV stars who technically only make $1 a year after taking all their legal tax shelters and loopholes. Gosh, they live well on that salary! 😀 But yeah, if you could get past the practical issues of determining just what one’s income is, fines should be a percentage of that income rather than a set amount. If you were filthy rich, you might look at a $60 parking ticket as a little fee for parking wherever you like. If you’re poor, however, that’s one of your utilities shut of this month.

    CharlesRB, I believe the “aggressively pro-rich” stance (I like your term there) comes from a macrocosmic abuse cycle. Just as an abused kid may internalize his abuse, figure it’s his fault, and try to behave more like his abuser and support the things his abuser supports – mistaking this for allying with strength – poor Americans take great twisted pride in thinking like (they think) rich people think. Another factor is that we are propagandized ad nauseum to believe “anyone can get rich in America, the land of opportunity, if they just try hard enough.” We’re told you can’t accomplish the same level of wealth in Europe because of high taxes, that no country has it as good as we do, etc. And we’re told this is because we work ourselves into an early grave instead of taking those obscene vacations Europeans take, and because God sides with us, and assorted other bullshit the Republican party has co-opted to gain support for their pro-rich economic policies.

  28. Charles RB says

    I like how that’s still a national mythology when studies on social mobility show America’s lagging behind a number of other nations, including some of the highest-taxed European ones.

    Internalising the abuse would make sense, looking at the idea that it’s morally wrong to reform healthcare because it’s too punitive and it’ll encourage Bad Life Choices. That’s someone internalising the bullshit they’ve been told so someone doesn’t have to give them proper care.

  29. Scarlett says

    Jenn, yeah, that’s the massive practical fail of it. Not only is it impossible to gauge someone’s income, it would also be easy to get someone in a lesser income bracket to take the rap for you in many instances. In an ideal world, fines would be set by the person’s daily/weekly/monthly income, but if we lived in an ideal world, we wouldn’t need this blog :p

    From what little I understand of American history there’s also a strong mantra of ‘the communists are coming!’ that can be used whenever anyone tried to do something that means rich and poor get treated alike. ‘Cos, you know, you can’t have a strong welfare system AND a free market. Just ask, well, pretty much anyone in Europe:p

  30. says

    CharlesRB, those aren’t the studies our allegedly liberal media reports. 😉

    Interestingly, a British ex-pat here in the US once explained to me NHS was the reason he and so many other Brits smoked. If they had to pay for treatment, he seemed to think, they would think twice about smoking. This struck me as pretty absurd since there’s about fuck-all a doctor can do about the effects of smoking, no matter who’s paying for the treatment.

  31. Charles RB says

    They bloody are the studies OURS reports, pointing out “hey, look how low down the UK is!” whether I want to know or not. (Last time I saw it, we were slightly worse than the States)

    I’ve not heard that one before. I think so many other Brits smoke just because they like smoking, and it was historically a popular hobby. The smoking bans in public places seem to have reduced the amount of smoking though, because who wants to go stand outside all the time?

  32. Scarlett says

    Ah, so THAT’S why so many Australians under 40 have taken up smoking even though people have known for 30 years how dangerous it is to your health. It’s not because they picked up the habit when they were teenagers and too young and dumb to know better, it’s because they know that the public health scheme will take care of them :p

  33. says

    CharlesRB, I believe you. There is powerful manipulation of our supposedly free press in this country. Some good examples of carefully selected studies being misreported to suit a political agenda can be found in Susan Faludi’s “Backlash.” I read the BBC website as my primary news source on the US because it strikes me as the least biased reporting, then check sites like CNN to see how we’re distorting or picking and choosing the news over here.

    Additionally, it’s just assumed that Americans are painfully stupid, therefore tabloid news and dramatic personal stories about some dude that did some thing always trump stories about politics and war and stuff. When I moved to L.A., I was stunned to find all the local news was pretty much “Celebrity did this celebrity did that celebrity’s husband said blah and there was a shooting in North Hollywood and what are celebrities wearing to the Oscars this year?” It’s not like we don’t have major crimes committed daily – it has to be, like a triple rape-homicide to make the news at all, let alone maybe beat out the latest on some celeb feud for the top spot.

    Scarlett, exactly! Clearly, if you have a national health service, IT HAS THE CURE TO LUNG CANCER and is simply withholding it from everyone who has to pay for their own healthcare. /eye-roll

  34. Charles RB says

    The BBC is required by law to be objective and unbiased, and faces political shitstorms if it ever is perceived to not be. As a result, they’ve reached the point where Thatcher called them “unacceptably even-handed” during wartime!

    So, what was the explanation for why people in the States like smoking?

  35. Elee says

    After having my thoughts nearly constantly return to the catholic church and child abuse nearly all weekend, what gem does gmx link me to this morning? British atheists looking into a possibility of going to international court in Den Haag.
    Original article in german, and the source in english. (If html hates me again, Jennifer, please fix it). Wonder, if they’ll actually follow through with it. And if it will be enough of a scandal to finally bring a change.

  36. Lindsay says

    What I’d like to know, then, is what exactly is keeping blue and brown dragons (I suppose bronze would be too much to ask for ;p) from impressing masculine women, then? I mean, if the dragon hatchlings are going purely off of hormone/pheromone/whatever cues, would that not also include butch women as well as femme men? Meh. Inconsistencies in fantasy worlds are somewhat of a pet peeve for me. Because I’m an incurable nerd. 😉

    I loved the Pern series as a kid – around age 12ish, I think? Now I reflect on it as an adult and I’m quite disappointed. From a gender perspective, the Pern series isn’t exactly the most enlightened or egalitarian material. There’s even a lengthy entry with great comments at this feminist sci-fi blog, one of which includes quoted excerpts from the books about happy topics like rape and domestic abuse that make you go “BUH?!” with disbelief. Did she really write that?! Apparently she did… :O

    Also troublesome is the alleged quote of McCaffrey’s infamous “tent peg theory” on homosexuality –

    “It’s a proven fact that a single anal sex experience causes one to be homosexual. The hormones released by a sexual situation involving the anus being broached, are the same hormones found in large quantities in effeminate homosexual males. For example, when I was much younger I knew a young man who was for all intents and purposes, heterosexual. He was mugged, and involved in a rape situation involving a tent peg. This one event was enough to have him start on a road that eventually led to him becoming effeminate and gay.”

    It’s still unclear whether McCaffrey actually said this and her family has subsequently made an attempt to squelch all evidence, or if it’s all just total bunk. I really want to believe the latter, but I’m not 100% certain… :/

  37. says

    The BBC is required by law to be objective and unbiased, and faces political shitstorms if it ever is perceived to not be.

    So is ours, of course! Which means: IF the media presents one political agenda, they must pick the stupidest person they can find from the other side of the issue to represent it so that it looks ridiculous. However, when they’re reporting “studies”, they can pick and choose what they want to report, and they don’t have to report any contradictory studies.

    A couple of years ago, Sweden did a study where they put young healthy people on fast food diets to see what happened. They anticipated the saturated fat would cause elevated bad cholesterol, weight gain and various internal organ issues. The internal organ issues turned out worse than expected – some people had to be removed from the study before liver damage could occur. But this turned out to be from the soda sugar, not the saturated fat. The fat actually elevated GOOD cholesterol, in contradiction of everything scientists have assumed for years. Other countries reported the study as needing additional data to reach firm conclusions, but certainly suggesting previous conclusions weren’t the full story.

    But how did the US report it? No mention of sugar. Every report of this study was on how fat is bad, fat will kill you, fat causes everything from acne to spontaneous combustion. Check this out:

    Studies have shown that a diet high in fat and calories — the magic recipe for delicious, greasy fast food — puts people at greater risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes, both of which can lead to cardiovascular diseases and heart failure.

    This isn’t even factually accurate. SUGAR and refined carbs are the main factor in Type 2 diabetes – the fact that many people who consume lots of that also consume lots of fat and calories is correlation, not causation. But in the US, we’re on a mission to prove that fat – both what appears on one’s body and the fat we eat – is evil evil evil and if only we would eliminate fat COMPLETELY from the face of the earth everything would be fine and, by the way, you can blame FAT PEOPLE for everything that has ever gone wrong ever since life began.

    We don’t want facts: we want an excuse to blame something for everything. That’s what underlies all our politics and all our stupor-inducing “entertainment” and everything else that marks American culture.

  38. says

    Lindsay, so when my OB-GYN sticks a finger up my ass to probe for whatever it is they’re probing for when they do that, if I experience a fleeting misfiring in the nether regions and kinda enjoy it, I will turn into a gay man? Good to know!

    *pounding the desk laughing*

  39. Maria says

    OMG PERN. I loved Renegades of Pern and then I kept re-reading it obsessively to try and make sense of why Aramina didn’t use her I HEAR DRAGONS power in a way that made any sense whatsoever. Why the shit does she depend on Jayge to save her? It’s like this vast anti-feminist metaphor, where Aramina’s personal abilities are keeping her from having the life she always wanted — a country life where she has a lot of babies and does hard physical labor like all the time.

  40. Havoc says

    @Maria What? She wasn’t? I thought she was being set up to become Master Harper! This was before I broke up with Pern, mind you, which was years ago.

    Ugh, so disillusioned now.

  41. Maria says

    No, her husband Sebell does… who’s so like their mutual mentor Robinton it’s creepy.

    Gah. I’ve been debating reading the new books (Aramina pisses me off but for some reason I really identified with her, and I’m curious how she and her family is doing) but can’t quite handle that.

  42. Havoc says

    Okay, Sebell shouldn’t be Master Harper. Ugh, why?

    This reminds me of all those 80s era science fiction novels where the men are the Awesomest Ever At What They Do, and their women love interests are invariably the Awesomest Ever Except For The Man They’re Paired With. And of course the confidence of the women is built up in spades by the very paternalistic discussions that they have with their loves, the Awesomest Man Ever. (I have a rant. It’s a very long, very vitriolic rant about how the women are never allowed to be more awesome than the men.)

    But Anne McCaffrey wrote Sebell becoming Master Harper AFTER the 80s. I had hoped she’d learned better. I thought she had learned it was okay to write an awesome female character, what with Lessa in the first two books being so awesome.

    Menolly was the more creative of the two of them. She certainly should have been able to earn the title of Master Harper.

    I…have no idea who Aramina is. Sadly.

  43. Maria says

    Aramina is Lessa’s cousin, who like Lessa can hear all dragons and also hear dolphins. Unlike Lessa, Aramina doesn’t want to become a Weyrwoman. Instead, she wants to like, be Jayge’s wife or some shit? Anyways, he and his uncle rescue her when she gets kidnapped by the evil baddies who want to exploit her for her powers. Then her and Jayge flee to the South and start a hold there.

    It’s funny — she’s a major plot point in Renegades, but is ultimately a pretty minor character, since she’s important for what she IS (the girl who can hear dragons!!) vs. what she DOES (escape and create her own life with her husband in a new land, which I think I really admired as a tween).

    Also, speaking of the South… what a colonialist fantasy to have an entire continent empty of people where it turns out it was yours all along because you’d colonized it ages ago and just forgot.

  44. Lindsay says

    Haha – exactly, Jennifer! For such a talented and – what I had thought, anyway – intelligent writer as she is, McCaffrey sure seems to possess some rather backwards and screwy views. It leaves me at a loss for words if the woman really did say that about gay men – and believes it, to boot! O_o

    The female characters brought up in the comments gets me to thinkin’ again about the girls in the series – Menolly, Aramina, Mirrim, etc. – and it pains me to read of their eventual fates as characters within the overall chronicle. I remember Menolly being an especially exceptional musician… and yet her husband becomes the next Master Harper? What a ham-fisted patriarchal maneuver! *grumble* It also seems that the vast majority of women in the books, no matter how significant a character they were, dream of nothing more than domestic bliss in which they cook and clean for Teh Mens and have lots of Teh Behbehs… because that’s what every woman wants, right? e_e

    I also think about the “bad” females in the books, who were coded as such by being fat or “slutty.” Even the most spotlit woman of the novels – Lessa – is often an hysterical shrew who has to be controlled by her Most Manliest of Men partner – someone she’s not exactly with by choice. I remember being irritated by her character even as a kid – wondering why she would be freaking out all the time, and such. And of course, female sexuality – symbolized by the queen dragons in heat, among other things – is a fearful and nigh uncontrollable thing to be mastered. *sigh*

    I still have my old Pern books stored away in a box; I meant to read them through one more time before getting rid of them. Now I’m not sure I should even bother. :p

  45. Maria says

    It’s not what every woman wants — it’s what every woman who’s been forced to be strong/independent wants. I think that’s the poisonous part of the message. Menolly cannot be happy having escaped an abusive household and impressing a bunch of fire lizards. No — the way she’s truly conquered her past is to spawn.

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