Friday, October 24, 2008

Shopping List: Pick Me Up a Rape Kit!

So much has been made of Sarah Palin's - or should I say the RNC's - shopping spree to make the Republican Vice Presidential nominee look perty, and I've got some problems with this:

1. Who cares?
Sure, individuals make donations to the RNC assuming their hard-earned money will be spent to elect some anti-abortionist or guns-rightist or anti-gay marriage (ist?). But, when you give money to an organization (any organization), unless you provide guidelines on what the money is to be used for, the organization is free to do with it what it will. Plus, I'm not going to shed a tear about Republican cash being spent at Neiman's instead of on electing some conservative.

2. It's sexist.
I know plenty of time was spent talking about John Edwards' pricey haircut, but let's not pretend that coverage of the Sarah Palin shopping spree is ungendered. If she were a dude, people would look the other way. Perhaps more of the outrage should be used to belie Palin's claims that she is working class (she's not) than complaining about misuse of donor's cash.

3. The real issues.
Sarah Palin might have a new, high-class wardrobe, but the truth is she's the same broad who thinks all women should be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, who thinks rape survivors ought to foot the bill for their own rape kits, who believes that "marriage" should only be available to one "Maverick Governor" and one "First Dude," who argues against sex ed in schools (see Exhibit A: Bristol Palin), and who likes to shoot animals with high-powered rifles from a helicopter.

Bitch is crazy.

And once this race is over, she can go back to Wasilla and her faux-leather patchwork jackets and keep her crazy to Alaska.

So maybe a little shopping spree isn't such a big deal.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Fuck It!"

The other afternoon, FD, Monkey, and I were sitting in our bed, probably talking about the presidential race. Well, FD and I were talking about the presidential race. Monkey was sitting next to us, reading - and gnawing on - books.

One of us . . . okay, I said the word "fuck" as I'm wont to do from time to time, and Monkey looked at us - absolutely gleeful - and said, "Fuck." Clear as day. Like she's been waiting months and months to say it and finally, finally, Mama and Dada gave her the chance and she could let it out.

Let me tell you, if you've never had the pleasure, there is absolutely nothing cuter than a chubby-cheeked baby happily saying "Fuck," so FD and I lost it.

So she said it again and again: "Fuck. Fuck. Fuck." Pause. "Fuck it!"

Will "That One" Put the Final Nail in the "Maverick's" Coffin?

Oh, in the words of Mrs. Chasen, "I should saaaay so!"

Tonight is the final presidential debate and I am equal parts excited and terrified. I've always been superstitious (What? You don't think knocking on wood and doing the sign of the cross prevents tragedy?), so to see the recent poll numbers, which put Obama well ahead of McCain, makes me worry that there's still a chance for an Old-Geezer Upset. On the other hand, the more stable, rational part of my mind (which, admittedly, takes up less space) says, "No way! Our guy's ahead! He's going to do it. He's going to win. You can sleep at night. The Supreme Court isn't going to be overtaken by a cadre of young, Stepfordianly handsome white dudes whose wives wear plaid blazers and whose pals talk about the plight of the unborn." But...but what if too many of the folks polled as Obama supporters suddenly realize he's Black. Will they still vote for him? What if the crazy Right-wingers who love Palin come out in droves? Will that turn the tide in swing states?

So, while I've always been superstitious, I've never been particularly religious, but tonight, and for the next 19 nights, I am praying to the tiny, infant Jesus to wave his magic wand or scepter or trident or whatever the hell he wields and let my guy win. For once.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sarah Palin: Pimping Out Trig One Speech at a Time

So, I'm watching a video of Sarah Palin deliver some bullshit speech on abortion in front of a pack of Right-wing nut-jobs in Pennsylvania.

As we all know, among Palin's 40 kids is an infant with Down syndrome, Trig. In addition to keeping Trig up all hours of the night so that she can parade him around a stage after a pitiful debate performance or speech, she's decided to use baby Trig to get some lusty applause out of the audience, because, let's face it, there's nothing evangelical Christians love more than a developmentally disabled baby they can use to their own end. So she tells her story about finding out during her pregnancy that her baby would be born with Down syndrom, mentions time and time again that God thinks Trig is perfect, and implicitly condemns women who would choose to abort in the same situation.

As a mother, it makes me sick to see this woman exploit her own sweet child. As a woman, it makes me sick to see Palin boast about her own choices while arguing that other women don't have a right to their own. And as a feminist, it just makes me want to grab this bitch by the beehive, take her out back, and beat the shit out of her!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Raising a Feminist

Below is a comment I made on API Speaks, the Attachment Parenting blog:
I'm the mother of a spectacular 15-month-old baby girl who is, of course, the center of my life. But I regularly interact with moms who take a frighteningly hands-off approach to parenting their babies. I've heard the word "spoiled" and "demanding" applied to my daughter because she wants my attention she has it.

I do believe that at the heart of this parenting phenomenon is anti-feminism. Motherhood is routinely lauded by the Right, but the type of motherhood they mean is traditional, conventional motherhood that doesn't respect the child or the mother. It's not about ensuring that children are engaged and loved, or that women have power to make choices, and the right to care for their children in intuitive ways. It's about mommy-is-at-home/daddy-is-at-work.

As a feminist, I think of active, engaged, loving mothering of my daughter as something that enriches us both, that is powerful for both of us, that makes the choices I've made to eschew the social norms of cribs and formula and crying-it-out and authoritarian parenting, valuable.

Parenting - mothering, really - is something I think about a lot from my feminist perspective. I am constantly wondering what my choices mean for both my daughter and me. How do I behave and react in ways that not only help my daughter figure out how to handle the world around her and treat the people in it, but also affirm her own choices, agency (I know, I went to college in the 90s), power? Being a feminist is hard. Raising a feminist is harder.

Monday, October 6, 2008

My Twisted Obsession

It's something I've tried to keep hidden for years now, I've been ashamed. But it's been too difficult. I think it's time that I reveal it to the Internets . . . I am obsessed with the Duggar Family of TLC's "17 Kids and Counting."

For those of you who aren't familiar with TLC, you're missing out. The network features programs about the morbidly obese, women carrying full-term calcified fetuses for 45 years, and "Little People" living in a "Big World." But I think the hallmark of TLC is the variety of shows centered around abnormally large families. Whether it's the Gosselins of Pennsylvania or the Duggars of Arkansas, enormous families are to be celebrated!

Here's some background on the Duggars:
- Jim Bob (yep) and Michelle live in Arkansas in this McMansion the family built with their own hands and without any credit thanks to a financial freedom seminar
- They're ultra-conservative Christians (obviously)
- They have 17 kids and one is on the way. All 17 of the kids have names beginning with the letter "J" and many of them are appropriately biblical (e.g., Jedidiah)
- Michelle home-schools the kids.
- They don't believe in any premarital contact between a couple beyond hand-holding
- But perhaps my favorite story about the Duggars is the beautiful story of how they killed one of their babies:

Then, Michelle went back on the pill, but she conceived and had a miscarriage. At that point they talked with a Christian medical doctor and read the fine print in the contraceptives package. They found that while taking the pill you can get pregnant and then miscarry. They were grieved! They were Christians! They were pro-life! They realized that their selfish actions had taken the life of their child.

So, yeah, these people are insane! And watching the show is entertaining, but it can also be a little sad. It's upsetting to look at these little girls in the family who are being raised to believe that their major - perhaps, sole - priority is to grow up to be a mommy and wife, oh, and a servant of the Lord. Sure, it's clear this family loves one another, and the world could use more of that. And it's wonderful that Michelle (the Mom) seems to be fulfilled by her role. But to watch little girls and young women whose futures are so tightly constrained by crazy, conservative ideas about what womanhood, what femininity, mean just makes me want to grab them and shake them and scream, "You can be whatever you want! College professors, doctors, Lesbians!"

If you need more Duggar action, check them out here.

Yard Sale Madness

So I live in a city (it's a small city, but still technically a city) that can best be described as a combination of artsy and crunchy. Crartsy? And I have a bunch of junk. These two facts came together beautifully this past Saturday, when all of the junk FD and I have accumulated over the past several years found its way into our driveway.

Our yard sale was scheduled for 8am. By 7:30, some old lady in a windbreaker was robbing us. FD caught her, but kind of let it go. What are you going to do when a centenarian wants a plastic rosary or a book on Irish Wit and Wisdom, chase her back to her white Buick?

Aside from the elderly bandit, among the 40 or 50 people who dropped by were two former landladies, a co-juror, and several neighbors - some of them proved to be remarkably pleasant despite their creepy demeanor; others were even creepier than we thought!

Our daughter, "Monkey" thought the whole thing was a blast! She sat in an old director's chair that I painted for my sister in 1993 (a true artist dates her work) and insisted it was a "rocker." She blissfully ate a wheat bagel while she people-watched. And when it got too cold outside and I brought her inside, she waved and talked to Dada through the window.

But what we really took away from this yard sale was the realization that people will buy absolutely anything if it's cheap enough: Older woman wants fire-breathing dragon lounge pants that will never fit. Two bucks? Check! Guy with strange hat is interested in the tangle of wires and dog hair. Five bucks? He'll take 'em!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It's Christmas Eve

I feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve, hiding under my covers with my eyes wide open and my heart racing in anticipation . . . What will Santa bring me? How many more hours do I need to pretend to be asleep? Are those sleighbells?

Tonight is, finally, the vice presidential debate! And my Santa is Joe Biden and if that bastard doesn't bring me the biggest, fattest box full of Sarah Palin's remains, I'm done with holidays!

I realize this is pretty dramatic language, all over a vice presidential debate, but I've had enough of gleaning Palin's positions on everything from Pakistan to abortion in choppy segments of her interviews with Katie Couric and - even worse - some dude's camera phone video that's been supplemented with a transcript. Of course, the McCain camp pressed for a debate format that includes very little one-on-one interactions with her opponent, I'm guessing that Joe Biden isn't going to make her cry (although I've got my fingers crossed), and it's true that her biggest mistake might be looking too much like she "crammed" for the debate, so I guess it could turn into the worst let-down ever. But if I know my pal Sarah, she'll manage to look like the vacant, ignorant "Joe Six-Pack" she claims to represent. Now, I need to go pick up some beer and popcorn and get ready for the show!