Monday, July 24, 2006
That's right, it was the 2006 Miss Universe pageant, yeeeeeeaaaah!!!
I tuned into City TV (one of the half-dozen channels I still get, what with the cable being cut and all) hoping for a decent Sunday night movie - and instead happened across this strange throwback extravaganza. Doubly strange was the fact that watching the first hour didn't make me nearly as angry as one would think (that one would be DD, who was visibly cringing as soon as the credits rolled - waiting for the inevitable "GGGGRRRRR PATRIARCHY" comment that was quickly at my lips, but which never fully-formed because - pretty! Costumes!)
Continuing that thought outside the brackets - oh, the costumes...they were very pretty. My personal favorite was Miss Trinidad & Tobago, which made her look like she was surrounded by these giant, gorgeous, black and red floating butterflies. I also liked Miss Japan because she was dressed up like a samurai, albeit a sexy one, because we are talking about the grrrr patriarchy here. But she had a sword! C'mon! And Miss...Peru, I think, had a big spear. I am all for arming these women, and I'm not just talking about when Trump's around.
I sat through the swimsuit competition, mostly to hear some former Miss USA try to convince Carson Kressley that his enjoyment of said competition meant he was a closted heterosexual - to which he did not retort (much to my chagrin) that she seemed to be enjoying it just as much. Honestly, people, it's a freakin' swimsuit show, not an infallible sexuality barometre (YEAH, that's right, I said it, DONALD TRUMP).
Anyway, like I said, I only watched the first hour, but I did tune in long enough to catch the mini-bios of the top ten contestants, in which I learned that Miss Canada was 6'1, Miss Japan spoke 4 langauges, and Miss Bolivia's interests included "Making people happy." I wonder if she also lives in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane? And then other women listed things like "Learning about new people" and "helping other people" and I finally snapped and snarked "Why don't they just list "Giving blowjobs" or "taking it up the a**"?" Grr...you know the rest...
But really, I stopped watching more out of boredom than anything else, because at the end of the day, 95% of these women were pretty much indistinguishable from each other, and were all basically trying to compete to fit the mold of "most attractive woman in the world according to standards set by insecure Viagra-addicts who build giant phallic buildings named after themselves, which, incidentally, rhymes with "frump"", and it was just generally kind of boring and a little depressing, but the women themselves seemed mostly pretty cool, and will probably accomplish a lot with their lives, and generally raise the status of women everywhere, as long as they are stunningly beautiful.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
However, it also provides an outlet for some of the most mind-numbingly asinine asshats to spout their stupidity, an example of which I came across recently in response to an article about anti-abortion groups buying out abortion clinics' leases to shut them down. A self-proclaimed atheist pro-lifer was arguing against abortion based on his own misguided version of property rights:
Pro choice = pro destruction of shared property. Its half the fathers DNA too, making it not "part of her body". It is "part of her body" in the sense that when you deposit money into the bank it is "part of the bank".Now there's a thoughtful, egalitarian and realistic view of reproduction: Women are like ATMs! You put in $100! A month later, you take out $100.05! And that's how babies are made! It's a fun update on the "Magic Sperm" view of gestation. If you've never heard of that one before, it's kind of like the belief that each sperm is a mini-baby, kind of like a pack of "magic grow" sponges. Stick one in a woman/put them in a bowl of water, and poof! Dinosaurs! Er, or babies, depending on the package.
Sure, the bank is housing your money like the woman is housing your uterus. Sure the bank adds its own money onto yours as the woman adds her own DNA to the child. The fact that it happens to be temporarily residing in one place should not give the right to unilateral destruction.
This view - that women are passive baby containers - is at the heart of many anti-abortion arguments. And, like many other views at the heart of anti-abortion arguments, it is entirely false. Men and women do not contribute equally to the creation of a child. Men contribute 1 (one) (uno) (ein) sperm. That is it - one sex cell. That is it. That is all. The human body has anywhere from 10-100 TRILLION cells. At birth, you have anywhere between 5-10% of that (based on size), and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE CAME FROM YOUR MOM. They came from the food she ate, what she drank, the contents of her blood, the air she breathed, the substances that permeated her skin.
Forget about that "magic sperm" of yours, buddy - you didn't make a deposit in a bank. Making a baby is like building a house, and the man drops off half of the design plans, while the woman supplies the other half, as well as the concrete, the bricks, the mortar, the steel girders, the 2x4s, the nuts and bolts, the drywall, the shingles, the paint, the curtains, the major appliances, a couple of nice throw rugs, etc. Congratulations - you have viable gametes. But you didn't "make" a baby - she did. You just supplied part of the blueprint.
And to the ladies - be wary of misogynists who hide behind atheism - anti-abortion arguments are anti-women, and religion (or lack thereof) is just a convenient smokescreen for people who really just want those sluts to get what they deserve.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Now, before anyone accuses me of encouraging pregnant women to smoke, that is obviously not the case. (Furthermore, that's not even relevant - am I a freakin' doctor? Who cares about my recommendations for pregnancy?) The issue here is that, if these raving fundies have their way, all of us will have countless inalienable rights as little cell clusters in the womb, and none when we're actual living, breathing human beings.
A pregnant woman has just as much right to smoke as anyone else. She has just as much a right to not smoke, or be exposed to smoke, as anyone else. She is still a person, she is still a FREAKIN' HUMAN BEING, and she is fully entitled to make the decision whether or not to smoke, or drink, or eat sushi, or play sports, or ride a bicycle, or have crazy hot sex. She also has the right to be presented with accurate, unbiased, scientifically-proven information regarding fetal development, so that she can have the tools to make the best decisions possible.
The logical progression of this type of thinking - that is, the "protect the fetus from all potential harms, real or imaginary" - is truly terrifying. I mean, so this law prevents pregnant women from smoking, and we get others that force them to adhere to a specific diet, specific activities, specific thoughts, etc. But what about other people? We could pass anti-smoking laws everywhere a pregnant woman might go, which would cover - well, everywhere. Probably just easier to ban pregnant women from these places. Easiest, in fact, to round them all up in one place where all these various laws regulating their activities can be enforced. Sure, lady, you're giving up all personal autonomy and living like a prisoner for commiting the heinous crime of fertility, but it's for THE GOOD OF THE FETUS. You must live your life for THE GOOD OF THE FETUS otherwise you are a terrible person. Of course, you're probably a terrible person anyway, because God made you woman.
This quotation almost hits the nail on the head, but then misses the point at the last second:
Even Mathis, the Arkansas legislator, harbors doubts about the state's ability to enforce an anti-smoking law. "The more I think about it... you might end up with a fat lip" if police approach a smoker who is overweight but not pregnant, he said.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Those of you who know me are likely aware that, despite having grown up on an temperate island with plenty of lakes and rivers, I am a piss-poor swimmer. But don't blame me! Blame my irrational fear, generated in early childhood by seeing the poster for the movie Jaws, of being attacked by a shark. Try as they might, my Bubbling Beetle swim instructors cold not get me to float on my back, and I never told them why, because even back then I knew it was a stupid reason. But still, deep down inside, I felt that if I turned my back to the water...that was when the shark would get me. And before anyone asks the obvious question - yes, I was in a pool. So what? Sharks are SMART. They'll find a way.
Of course I'm hardly the only person in this world to have this irrational fear - and it's certainly not the only irrational fear that people have. So I was smugly superior when I read this article about the six most feared but least likely causes of death. After all, one out of six isn't bad, right? Because I've never been scared of flying...or falling...or earthquakes...or axe murderes in my closet...or terrorists...gaaaahhh...okay, now I've got to finish my post from under my desk...
But, really, people get pretty freaked out over harmless things. Like with mad cow disease and avian flu and people getting all freaked out about how burgers and KFC will kill them. Which, it will, but just not in the way they think.
But that's the difference, isn't it? If it's our lifestyle that gets us in the end - we wind up killing ourselves. (Aside - the best retort I ever heard to the snottily-asked question "Why do you smoke?" was "I'm suicidal, but also a procrastinator.") If anything, we should be scared of us. Every time I go to the pool I should be afraid, but not of sharks - of my own reflection in the water. "Omigod! There's the person who's eventually going to get me! AAAAIIIIEEE!!!!"
Anyway - I guess all I'm saying is that it's pretty funny how people, on the whole, tend to fixate on way-out-there bizzarro things that are incredibly unlikely, and ignore the things which are actually dangerous.
Not that it matters - we're all going to be killed by a giant asteroid, anyway.