Thursday, April 29, 2010

BitchBuzz: Tubes

I had tried to call my latest column for BitchBuzz "Strong Men Also Cry" because it's always good to make a Lebowski reference, but from the start, it was really all about the tubes:

What is it with men and tubes? Particularly when they're men who hold powerful offices and feel the need to wield that power in a grandstanding gesture so everyone knows just what they have in their hands—it can be an embarrassing display.

It's Mad Men in a kind of perverse wish fulfillment for a time that never really existed except of course on television. But if they can send women back a few decades, it will be a first step in creating that paradise apparently.

The oppressive abortion laws passed in Oklahoma have apparently already give rise to copycat legislation in Texas. Never mind that regular access to birth control has made the abortion rates fall; it's the idea that women can just willy nilly start or stop a pregnancy that has these types in an uproar. Good god, what if women could just have sex whenever they wanted without having life-threatening consequences?! It would change everything…


As always, read the remainder over at BBHQ; and why not share it with your friends on Twitter or Facebook?

As you might guess, I am more than a little fed up with politicians of late. Okay, let's admit it: I am always fed up with politicians. I'm tired of opportunistic miscreants feeding on pig-ignorant fear. Yes, maybe it's always been that way. But it's particularly dispiriting to see this country trying so hard to go backwards. Let's just say it clearly: Leave it to Beaver was a television show and that world never existed except on television. Health care is a good thing for all people to have. Rich people and the banks they run are not there to help you (um, unless you are also a rich person who runs a bank).

At least in Britain they have the Lib Dems as a third party with some effect. If you've not been following the news there, you're missing a fun show that demonstrates the influence of social media. The Tory attempt to spin things their way with slick advertising resulted in hilarious mash-ups instead. Brown's inadvertent mic insult spawned a host of unexpected responses that filled Twitter.

It gives me a little hope, I guess, that the voice of the people (at least those with internet access and sufficient time on their hands) is being heard a bit more and a bit more quickly, but the madness of crowds is no assurance of "democracy" any more than the smoke-filled room.

At least teaching is over (as those on Facebook heard me WHOOHOO loudly) and there's just finals to get through, the first one tomorrow morning. Right after it, I head off to Connecticut to see Miss Wendy before she moves to Mississippi (sob!), Marko, the QoE, Johnny 10X and the rest of the gang (i.e. whoever's going to be around). Will be fun -- always is.

15 comments:

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

Congrats on the end of the semester! My husband is a professor so we always breathe a massive sigh of relief when classes end. (And then wonder why we celebrated so early because the grading is always, always a nightmare!)

K. A. Laity said...

Hey, thanks Rebecca! Yeah, the end of teaching is a big sigh. I don't mind the final grading because 1) I don't have to write comments on the papers as they seldom pick them up and 2) I assign things I actually look forward to reading, so it's fun for me.

Todd Mason said...

I'm going to give the folks who are anti-abortion for late or even midterm fetuses the benefit of the doubt...those who oppose contraception and even anti-implantation methods for others (do what you will for yourself), I have considerably less patience with. Also, not too much sympathy for those who think the women should give up their lives for the fetuses, when it comes down to one or the other.

Of course, everything already changed toward more effortless sexual freedom quite some time back...some folks do want to find a way to change it back. Good luck with that.

Jack C. Young said...

Added congrats on the end of classes! I hope you can forget about it all during a long, restful break.
I agree with Todd that old guard mysoginysts are Canutes forbidding the tide to roll in. Our DNA has already determined that we're sexual beings. I would have thought that the Prohibition era had taught us all something about keeping humans from being humans. It appears I was wrong.
We CAN learn, but first we must admit that 1) we don't know everything about ourselves, and 2)that we might be wrong in what we think we do know.
Enjoy the vacation anyway. Forget the politicians, who will continue to hamstring themselves as they always have. (And give thanks to whichever gods you follow that there are no Marii, Sullas or Pompeys--or Ceasars for that matter--to REALLY mess things up.)
LOL.

K. A. Laity said...

LOL - thanks guys. This is how I survive: by surrounding myself with intelligent insightful people of any gender, who may not always agree but can conduct themselves with civility and without belittling others.

And I should mention, Jack, that far from being a long vacation, summer is the time when I really have to get cracking on all the writing I can't get done during the academic year. But it is nice to sleep in and work in my pajamas most of the time.

K. A. Laity said...

Oh and I was going to say that I would like to think that widespread birth control and some sexual education has improved things, but it's kind of shocking how little things have changed: a woman is still a "slut" if she isn't a virgin -- and a man is laughable if he is.

Todd Mason said...

I must be hanging with a more enlightened crowd. My office is filled with 20-something hipsters.

K. A. Laity said...

Who am I to argue with 20-something hipsters?

Todd Mason said...

I get a Lot less sense of a sexual double-standard in terms of sexual activity among my work colleagues, and certainly among my friends. My most reactionary political buddies are still quite comfortable with sexual liberty. What comes of hanging with youngish hipster in the office and intellectuals, rather than Real Good Americans, in one's daily life.

I suppose thes smae idiots who want to keep women from determining their own self-control overlap heavily with the ones who want to perpetuate men sleep around, women don't, it's Just Nature myth...but since I don't hang out with Chris Rock or Phyllis Schlafly, I don
t come across it daily. At least not in person, as opposed to from the snippets of Fox News Channel I see on THE DAILY SHOW and Colbert, or the snippets from goon culture I see on THE SOUP. I should probably consider myself lucky thus.

K. A. Laity said...

My teen/20s students seem to cleave pretty close to the traditional norm -- at least when it comes to castigating public figures.

Todd Mason said...

Among the cognitive dissonances that comes up with some of the crime-fiction-oriented bloggers I hang with, at least the older ones, is that they tend to still see mention of homosexuslity, particularly, as insulting. I have to check myself...as in, oh, he's thinking that if I refer to k. d. lang's lesbianism, I'm trying to insult or besmirch her...which, of course, doesn't even register for me till I get into the Mental/Societal WayBack Machine momentarily to translate.

K. A. Laity said...

And romance readers -- apparently they still expect heroines to be either virginal or experienced-but-never-satisfied because there can only be ONE, of course [I base this on a book I'm reading about the genre].

K. A. Laity said...

-- except for the genre of "Kick Ass Heroines" I guess.

Todd Mason said...

Well, when the field is devoted, at least among the commercial publishers (and is anyone swimming against that tide?) in a feedback loop to readers who don't want their heroines to be much if any happier than they are, at least till the happy resolution...when I was reviewing for THE FIX, I noted that the best of the romantic suspense novellas I'd read would build deftly toward suspense, and then, particularly among the junior writers in the novella collections, they'd undermine themselves, or at least inject something into the story to reassure the theoretically unnerved reader that This All Shouldn't Be Taken Seriously. (Slightly more experienced writers in the field, or ones without overcautious editors standing over them, might contribute stories to FIVE GREAT ROMANCES magazine that were very much like good ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE stories with more sex in them.)

Ah, well. Is the book illuminating?

K. A. Laity said...

In many ways, yes. Let us hope, more importantly, that it is effective.