Links of Great Interest: Safe! FOR NOW

In a safehouse with my cat. Traded shelter for seeds. I can’t believe no one else thought of hitting a grocery store’s gardening section. No cans left, but tons and tons of seeds, dirt, and pots. Will stay long enough to see the seedlings sprout, and show the cohabitors the basics of rooftop, container, and hydroponic gardening. Maybe knitting, too. Crocheting? I don’t know. Maybe we should hunker down here. Ms. Sprinkles, at least, is a surprisingly proficient mouser. They like her, and are okay that I obviously don’t want her going outside. But it’s boring. I’ve read everything I have at least once, now, and under Our Fearless Leader’s off-key singing, I can still hear the gnashing of the teeth of the dead, and the low growl of those animals we once all loved.

Survivor check in: other Hathorians, are you okay? I haven’t heard from Revena or Gena — have any of you?

Avoid the highways, cities, hospitals, and malls. They seem empty, but they’re everywhere. The dead are everywhere — sometimes it’s like they’re hibernating, until they scent you. It’s like they’re fleas, and can smell your carbon dioxide and feel your warmth. The pets… well. They know where we congregate and how we think. I’m lucky that my sweet Ms. Sprinkles has never gotten on with other cats and has thrown her lot in with me.

Dispatches from readers:

Patrick reports that Massachusetts has fallen.

Aerin reminds us that in even in times of great disaster, segregation must be challenged.

Shaun points out an alternative kind of heroine, and that giants have touched down across the globe. More on that here.

Charles RB warns against mind control viruses coming down from the North. Winter is coming, readers. Beware the White Walkers.

Everything seems really trivial now. Why wouldn’t they let the Iranian team play? Why couldn’t FIFA be as reasonable as the IWF?

I’m haunted by the images in World War III Illustrated: they seem to have come true.

Goddammit. Here’s more dispatches I’ve gotten from other survivors.

What survivors there are still need our support. Their stories must be celebrated, and they are on the lookout for resources.

In this age of horrors ranging from zombies to beasts of the night — we need to stop judging others’ joy. EMBRACE FRIENDSHIP AS MAGIC.

Imaginary beings can still hurt you, but may offer unseen benefits.

We are up such a shitty creek if Megan Fox is too feminist.

Even during the apocalypse it matters if you are a man or a woman.

IN CONCLUSION: What potential does imaginative play offer us now?

Remember, fellow survivors: there are monsters out there.

ETA: Welcome to Blog Like It’s the Apocalypse 2011! :D

Comments

  1. Shaun says

    Fleeing north to Austin on Saturday, there’s a refuge there. Our surviving driver is the weakest one; I’ll navigate a new route to avoid the highways.

    Even after an Apocalypse, should we survive it, it matters who gets to tell the stories. With a new creator lineup that’s 2% female and only ONE female writer among 61+ writing spots, DC doesn’t appear to care about the stories of women in the new aeon either. More evidence here: http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post/6594939788/supergirl

  2. Maria says

    Casey,

    According to Jenn K., they’re afraid of the power of the voter and small business people. STARTING AN ETSY IS YOUR ONLY HOPE!

    Shaun,

    I suspect that the rejection of women’s creativity so endemic to contemporary American culture is what opened the gateway allowing these monsters to re-emerge from our shared nightmares. OH GOD OH GOD the dinosaurs are next.

  3. says

    Maria, I haven’t heard from Gena, but Revena’s texting me now and again to let me know they’re still okay.

    Shaun, thanks for that IMF story – explains a lot of what’s been going on since WWII. An interesting contrast to Malawi: Botswana was never a colony of Britain. When it stopped being a protectorate, its government took over its diamond trade and used that profit to spend lavishly on education and services for people. Numerous orphans stranded without family by HIV were raised to be healthy adults who’d known genuine affection in their orphanages. This country is doing very well, and why? Because it was eventually LEFT THE FUCK ALONE by the “first world.” Interesting, no?

    Oh, yes, Megan Fox IS too feminist – for Hollywood. Their tolerance level for female cooperation ends somewhere between, “Oh, sure, Mr. Dude, whatever you want, and can I blow you, pleeeeease?” and “Uh, well, you see, that’s not really in my job description.” The basic thrust of that article is that Fox wasn’t “comfortable” with being objectified, so Bay needed to find someone who was, because of course that was a shortcoming in Fox, not Hollywood/Bay. I love how we’re lacking self-esteem if we sell ourselves into objectification, and lacking self-esteem if we’re uncomfortable with being sold into it. How can we demonstrate we have self-esteem? We can’t. Because if we don’t have low self-esteem, we’re entitled narcissistic bitches.

    I think the zombies are coming. If we survive this siege, I’ve got to write a serious of articles on narcissistic personality disorder, and why it’s a feminist issue, and how to protect yourself from them. After a lifetime of fighting NPDs off, I must say this whole zombie thing is cake.

  4. sbg says

    Jennifer Kesler,
    When that interview/article posted on Yahoo!, the number of commenters calling Fox stupid for putting her foot down about working with Michael Bay was appalling. Hear that, ladies? It’s stupid to stand up for yourself! You’ll have your looks, your pretty face, and don’t underestimate the importance of body language. Shut up and look pretty. Never mind that LaBeouf had it wrong – it wasn’t being a sex symbol Fox had a problem with, it was the blatant misogyny.

    I roll my eyes every time I see the trailer for the new Transformers movie, which has a booming voiceover announcing it as a Michael Bay film in that way that insinuates it’s GOT to be good, because he’s a film god, don’tcha know.

  5. Gabriella says

    sbg,

    When I first read the article I was like ‘OMG, they actually tried to spin it that *FOX* was to blame for Bay’s misogyny. And either I’ve been a feminist too long or they didn’t even do a particularly GOOD spin job because I saw right through LaBeof’s explanation to *actually* mean ‘she wasn’t happy being a sexual doormat’.

  6. Jenny Islander says

    Tangent: My first inkling that the Battlestar Galactica remake was not going to be my cup of tea came very early on, when President Roslin announced that she had identified the top priority of the remnant of humanity. Was it immediately assigning three apprentices to each skilled professional? Was it a complete inventory of every ship with an eye toward storing duplicate items on separate vessels, just in case? Or, perhaps, figuring out which plants aboard that landscaped space liner were edible and putting pots of dirt under every full-spectrum light in the Fleet? No, it was having more babies. And nobody called her an idiot.

    My first inkling that the BBC Survivors remake was going to be good was when the characters got a visit from the last surviving minister and the camera focused on their faces as she talked about her top priority: “full restoration of government.” She went on to brush off “planting seeds and digging ditches” as makework for people who were otherwise useless. The main characters had their heads on straight. IIRC one of them as good as called the minister stupid.

    Hope the zombies don’t get you! We don’t have any up here, but we miss out on all the apocalypses due to being very far away from anywhere else. Unless zombies can swim . . .

  7. says

    Jenny Islander: No, it was having more babies. And nobody called her an idiot.

    THANK YOU. Something instinctively made me keep that show at arm’s length, and I never quite figured it out – you’ve named it. Making babies is NOT the first step, ever, because pregnant women and babies need to be fed and protected. Food and protection/shelter are the first priorities.

    I am underwhelmed that the minister you describe in the Survivors remake is a woman being ridiculous, but otherwise that makes me consider giving it a chance. The original series started off great.

  8. Kalica says

    Maria,

    Ugh, tell me about it! The first thing my husband did when I mentioned I was going to learn how to crochet, had already bought the yarn and a couple hooks, was to caution me that no one will take it seriously, even if I reach a “Masters” level of skill. Simply because it is gendered as female. I’m tired of gendered female as being a no-go; for years I was scared that future employers would never hire me if they discovered I played with Barbies as a kid!

    Screw that. Zed are at the door, we’re off to survive. Let’s face it, socks are important, I can crochet up several for trading with other groups, or use that skill to get us a place in a small bunker. Painting won’t keep you warm in winter, blankets will. ^_^V

  9. Maria says

    Kalica,

    BASICALLY! We’re using crochet baskets to increase the amount of farmable space, and I’m trying to make large enough blankets to act as insulating curtains during the winter, since the walls here are concrete. CROCHET HOOKERS UNITE!

  10. says

    Kalica,

    It’s funny you mention this, since I’m halfway through writing an article for my personal blog about how in my teens I rejected all forms of traditional femininity, determined to prove myself as good as the boys. Then I slowly realized that this was just my internalization of society’s sexist standards. Why did I believe that knitting was useless and carpentry useful, since both create items for household use? Who decided end tables were better than sweaters? Now I crochet, and I’m damn proud of myself. :D

    A few nights ago I was babysitting my neighbor’s two and a half year old. He was fascinated by my crocheting and with my guidance managed to crochet one chain stitch. I mentioned this to his mother, a little leery of her reaction, and she said, “That’s awesome! I hope he does learn to crochet. His uncle crochets, he sends us handmade baby gifts. He learned it in the army when he had so much time on his hands.”

    Maria,

    *secret crochet hooker handshake*

    Jenny Islander,

    What made me uneasy about that storyline wasn’t necessarily the “moar bebbies” in and of itself. Given the in-universe mythology about children succeeding their parents and the hype built up around Hera as the all-mother or whatever she was supposed to be, I could see why the characters might believe outbreeding the Cylons was a path to species survival, even if I saw some logical flaws. What bothered me was the total lack of accommodations for pregnancy and childcare. Roslin put zero thought into it, as if they were all in The Sims and a baby would pop out of Mommy with no more disruption to her routine besides some possible vomiting. In the real world, pregnancy slows women down, and for most of history (that I’m aware of – cultural bias certainly possible!) men have been the ones to decide how much work a pregnant woman can do, working her at full capacity or treating her like a glass ornament at their whim.

    Pregnancy has also slowed women down socially. I read one study of modern society that indicated each case of maternity leave delayed a woman’s promotional prospects by five years. BSG’s society doesn’t seem that much more advanced than ours on gender issues. When the creepy doctor asked Starbuck if she wanted to be a mother, she replied that she’d never want to give up piloting. It seems their society still has the “family or career, not both” for women. (And I’m not touching the creepiness of the show’s other hang-ups about family, especially in the case of Starbucks and her mother.) And once the babies are born, someone has to care for them. Our society assumes it has to be the mother, but there’s no reason it can’t be the father or an aunt or a professional caregiver.

    Now I have seen some sci-fi address this issue well. They make parenthood a job subsidized by the state, provide incentives for pregnancy, or hire caretakers to provide free childcare for everyone. They make a space for children and compensate those expected to care for them. One story had the basic family unit as two or more mothers and their children, the women trading off childcare and income-earning with each other, their lovers/fathers totally optional and seldom in the picture for long.

    Roslin did nothing. She just made this declaration with no plan. She expected women to do women’s work (read: unpaid, unrespected yet essential labor) while still maintaining the level of work they were doing at their other careers. Granted, she might not have realized it would be women doing the domestic work, but she sure didn’t look into the matter. If she really believed babies were that essential for species survival, why didn’t she plan for it? Why not set up free childcare centers and offer paid maternity leave?

  11. Shaun says

    Jenny Islander,

    I haven’t seen the first episode recently and I may be misremembering the wording, but I don’t think she implied that was their FIRST priority. Contextually I recall that Adama wanted immediately re-engage and continue the war effort, and Roslin was like, no, we need to GTFO and start having babies. I agree that babies as a first plan is not the greatest plan, but “space is a big place, let’s find some other place to be and continue our civilization” is not a bad one.

  12. Shaun says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    Yeah, I agree with that. Some fans think they shouldn’t have been having babies AT ALL while on the run and I don’t think that makes sense either, given they have no idea how long that will be, and humans have had children during famine times before (lots of animals do). Also a human population of much less than 50,000 (10,000?) isn’t really genetically viable (or so we assume).

    But there wasn’t any kind of on-screen, “Let’s divide labor and have career caretakers to assist with child-rearing” or whatever. I do think the show TRIED to portray a gender-neutral society, I just think the writers fell flat on their faces a lot due to the influences of their own societies. As for Starbuck, it’s also possible she felt like a temporary unavailability was unacceptable, or more likely she wasn’t willing to form that kind of attachment, especially considering she considered her life pretty much expendable.

    Come to think of it, though, Roslin was also making decisions about things that wouldn’t impact her. This was the case in the labor episode as well.

  13. says

    Shaun,

    The rule of thumb is 50/500. 50 individuals for short term survival, 500 for long term. Also, the latest research I heard on humanity’s origins indicated we’re all descended from 10,000 individuals in Africa. So I think BSG’s humans did have a viable population if they could just keep themselves from being whittled down by war. Babies probably wouldn’t be your short term goal but it could be your mid term goal, and one you should be planning ahead for while you complete your short term goals.

    Shaun: I do think the show TRIED to portray a gender-neutral society, I just think the writers fell flat on their faces a lot due to the influences of their own societies.

    Quoted for truth. They had female fighter pilots and unisex bathrooms, but it’s like they didn’t do any thinking beyond the surface. The one that really got me was when everyone insulted Roslin by calling her a schoolteacher. Because 1) she wasn’t, she was the Minister of Education and a perfectly competent administrator, 2) why is schoolteacher still considered less valuable work than workplace trainer, since I didn’t see anyone insulting the on-the-job trainers and 3) schoolteacher is a gendered insult, or at least a problematic one, because the older the students, the more prestige in the work and the greater the proportion of males to females. Most schoolteachers are women and most professors are men.

    As for Starbuck, she didn’t want to become a parent because of her own mother’s abuse. Which could have been a great storyline about how the victims of abuse are not destined to become abusers, but instead turned into a lecture on how speshul Starbuck is so she won’t fall into that trap. *gag*

  14. says

    Sylvia Sybil: Roslin put zero thought into it, as if they were all in The Sims and a baby would pop out of Mommy with no more disruption to her routine besides some possible vomiting. In the real world, pregnancy slows women down, and for most of history (that I’m aware of – cultural bias certainly possible!) men have been the ones to decide how much work a pregnant woman can do, working her at full capacity or treating her like a glass ornament at their whim.

    Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. I don’t remember details of the early episodes, but I remember watching them assess their situation, and thinking they didn’t have enough people to do everything that needed doing, so right now, they needed everyone working in whatever capacity they could. Pregnancy isn’t very compatible with that goal. Now, there’s a whole big statistical discussion in the original Survivors series which suggests (assuming the stats are correct) that repopulating did need to be a high priority. But in both Survivors and BSG, I didn’t see how it could be #1 right out of the gate.

  15. Shaun says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    All of this could have been fixed with a little more work and a little more thought. Like, they could have rectified (the insults to Roslin) in the pilot by presenting the majority of schoolteachers as male… which would of course challenged assumptions that women are naturally more suited to raising children, which could have destabilized that whole foundation. And it was random stuff like… the female Cylons being attractive so they could influence men in positions of power. OK, if you have just as many women in positions of power, shouldn’t the male Cylons have been attractive too? That’s right, women aren’t visual, never mind.

    I was thinking of the 10,000 figure when I wrote that. I’ve seen it speculated that’s near the limit of how many people a human population needs to be viable.

  16. says

    Jennifer Kesler: they needed everyone working in whatever capacity they could. Pregnancy isn’t very compatible with that goal.

    Well, I do know several women whose biggest complaint about workplace maternity leave is that it’s all or nothing, when the women felt they had weeks or months when they could/should have worked part time. So pregnant women are often capable of working more than we as a society think they should, especially if it’s a desk job. Just part of how we tell women they’re not allowed to control their own bodies and lives.

    But I agree, if you need everyone at 100%, probably not the time to start your Moar Bebbies plan, especially if you haven’t exactly planned it.

    Shaun,

    Right. Exactly right about the female Cylon thing. The scene where 8 does naked Tai Chi was nice, but where’s the scene with…shit, did they even have any attractive male Cylons? *scrolls through Wikipedia entry* Well, I wouldn’t kick 4 out of my bed. So where’s the scene with 4 stripping his shirt off? He doesn’t even need a plausible excuse; 8 didn’t have one. (Notice I’m settling for half-nude males to balance out full-rear-nude females; even in my fantasies I don’t believe we could get full equality on this show.)

    And ordinarily I’d be ecstatic that a show had a female villain who wasn’t sexualized, especially when she was compared and contrasted to show how easily Our Heroes could have fallen down her path and we’re Not So Different…except that wait, never mind, she’s a psycho lesbian.

  17. Gabriella says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    Actually, that’s what I liked about The Tudors. There was a LOT of male nudity. Not even close to equal. but pretty revolutionary by current standards.

  18. I.A. Scott says

    Gads the IMF is doing exactly that in Greece RIGHT NOW.

    Also reading the week’s news I’m certain the zombies are here. DX

  19. Quib says

    Kalica:
    Maria,

    Ugh, tell me about it!The first thing my husband did when I mentioned I was going to learn how to crochet, had already bought the yarn and a couple hooks, was to caution me that no one will take it seriously, even if I reach a “Masters” level of skill.

    That is an odd (and mean) criticism to make of someone’s hobby. Crochet is plenty serious.
    Crochet, knitting, sewing etc. (I’ve been looking for a term that describes all that stuff, or at least knitting and crochet, even though “I knit” would get the idea across, I don’t want to encourage people to confuse the two) deserve way more respect than they get.

  20. says

    Quib,

    “Needlework” is what’s commonly used to refer to crochet, knitting, embroidery, needlepoint, tatting/lacemaking, and sewing, but I haven’t actually heard it used in day-to-day conversation. Topatoco has a few good t-shirts, though. :)

  21. says

    I use “handwork” to describe my crochet. I think needlework would be a more precise subdivision of that, since handwork would also cover whittling, pottery and jewelry. My mom disagrees with me, she thinks handwork is synonymous with needlework. A quick Google images search for “handwork” returns the majority of images as needlework but there are a few pieces of painting and jewelry mixed in there.

    Quib,

    I would guess her husband was building off the social perception that the art typically created by women (embroidery, tapestry, lace) is less valuable than the art typically created by men (carpentry, sculpture, painting). Doesn’t make him right but it makes him not alone. Drives me batty, especially when it’s reinforced by women; if I hear “air-headed noblewoman who was only interested in embroidery” one more time…. Although happily, I think this is changing; I’ve heard of several quilting museums, see above re: my neighbor’s brother-in-law learning crochet in the army, etc.

    Gena,

    I love that “knitting is sitting for creative people” shirt. I’ve said countless times that I crochet because I can’t sit still. :)

    • Maria says

      @Sylvia Sybil –

      That’s one of the things I love about Cecelia Holland’s Great Maria (besides the obvious :preens:). The Maria in question is pretty into sewing/embroidering/needlework and actively looks for inspiration in the places where her husband’s conquered, in a move that nicely echoes this OTHER author (who I’m of course forgetting the name of!) and her arguments that handwork by women was an important part of the conquest of the American West.

  22. Shaun says

    Until this thread I thought crochet was the sport with the mallet that you use to hit the ball through the little metal hoops.

    So what the hell is the sport?

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