deep in the heart

November 6th, 2008 | Uncategorized

Have you seen these cool election cartograms?

I’m posting this from Austin TX, in the middle of that purple circle down there to the east of that bluish Texan protrusion. See me? I’m doing some visiting writer stuff at the University of Texas. Speaking tonight, in case you’re in the neighborhood. Though apparently I’m up against not just kd lang, but local icon Gretchen Phillips. I’m gonna catch Gretchen’s show Manlove tomorrow night.

Sorry I never got it together to do any election night cartooning. I was just completely crazed getting ready for this trip, and my head’s still spinning. Oh. I’m starting my Essential Dykes To Watch Out For book tour. Check the schedule! I’m coming soon to Portland, SF, LA, Chicago, New York, Boston, and Northampton. Look, the book got a nice mention in Salon today.

Okay, I have to go get ready for my talk. I know I had a bunch of other stuff to say, like what happened with Prop 8? But I can’t focus.

95 Responses to “deep in the heart”

  1. indigirl says:

    wow, am i the first?! prop 8 passed 🙁
    our side is already taking it to court.

  2. Heidi says:

    The cartograms are so cool! Not only informative but also beautiful. Have fun in Austin, Alison. If you get a chance, try to have a meal at Eastside Cafe on Manor Road. I think it’s very close to the Vortex, where the Gretchen Phillips showing is playing.

  3. shadocat says:

    I too, seem to be in a purple circle, right in mid-country.

  4. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Pretty! But I’m actually here because I want to confess that I am a bit annoyed at some of the negative Nellies who took the last post as an opportunity to start immediately groaning about how Obama is going to disappoint us. Now Duncan, et. all, I still think you’re swell. (SomeRetard, eh, not so much.) But consider this:

    1. We elected a son of an African Muslim named Barack Hussein Obama to the presidency. This is, as others have pointed out, a fucking miracle. And no, it is NOT the same thing as electing Condoleeza Rice or Colin Powell to the presidency. If the last eight years have taught us anything, it is that minority politicians do not equal increased opportunities for minorities- Bush had the most diverse cabinet in the history of the American presidency, and it meant precisely dick. Obama’s victory is significant precisely because he is an African-American progressive. His supporters know it, and this is why they were working their asses off to make him and not Condi President.

    2. We will finally have a President who will not waste precious resources and energy trying to police the reproductive lives of American citizens. Ladies, let that sink in for a minute: for the first time in eight years, you do not have to worry about the President dictating when and if you have children. And now the Supreme Court is safe: Ginsburg and the remaining liberal judges can finally fucking retire and we don’t have to worry about their replacements. This is important for so many reasons: if even one more Justice like Roberts or Alito were to be appointed, it would effectively destroy the system of checks and balances and give the Executive branch supreme power. Bullet dodged.

    3. Speaking of bullets- a McCain campaign insider recently revealed that Sarah Palin was unaware of the fact that Africa is a continent and not a country. Think for a minute where we would be today if she were sitting one heart attack away from the presidency.

    4. Obama IS committed to ending the war in Iraq, but it has to happen in a careful, premeditated way. Even more people could die if the pullout happened abruptly. My stepbrother just returned home from his tour last summer, and we want everyone else home safe too.

    5. We will have a President who actually believes global warming exists. I think we can expect to see the economic, energy, and climate crises tackled simultaneously with a green job revolution similar to what is already begun in Europe.

    6. The bad news with Prop. 8 nonwithstanding, the culture wars are going to become more than insignificant over the next few years. Simply put, we are in too desperate of an economic and global situation to dick around with identity politics. This is a result of something much bigger than Obama, but at least he has the good judgment to realize it and not spend millions of federal dollars in encouraging people to, oh, get married, like our current Potus did.

    7. Don’t whine about how you are bound to be disappointed: ask yourself what you can do, in your own way, to make the next four years a success and do it. Sorry to get all nostalgic on your asses, but “Ask not what your country can do for you….”

    Didn’t mean to turn into the Reverend DeLakes on y’all, but seriously, buck the fuck up. We got this guy elected through working across cultural differences to form the most vibrant political movement in a lifetime; let’s not let that slide. If we do, we will really have lost. This is a new day for the left– Obama’s campaign changed the landscape from a bunch of small interest groups fighting for a slice of the pie to a political landscape of people uniting across their differences because, well, we realize we are all in serious trouble. Oh yes we WILL!

  5. simmonsgal says:

    Unbelievable. Thank you for posting this. Its powerful and so useful!

  6. Louise says:

    DeLandDeLakes,right on!!! We’re all going to have to work to help make Obama’s presidency successful, and I for one am ON BOARD.

    I volunteered for Obama the entire day election day and loved every second of it.

    Amazing maps, Alison–thanks for passing that along.

  7. Natkat says:

    Wow I’m 3 hours away from Austin. I wish I had known you’d be here. I had the day off and a trip to Austin would have rocked.

    Maybe next trip. Sorry I missed you.

  8. Heidi says:

    Very well said, DeLandDeLakes. I completely agree, and I’m surprised how many people seem to see this entire election as a failure because of Prop 8 and the other ballot measures. Sure, that’s a step back, but electing a Democrat who seems to be a natural leader is a huge step forward. Thank God I can stop worrying about the next Supreme Court appointments! I’m so excited I’m thinking of going to DC for the inauguration.

  9. K.B. says:

    I love these cartograms. And maybe you won’t mind me saying this (as AB never seems to leave out a phallic reference in DTWOF), but I can’t help but notice how much better hung America is in them. (hehe)

  10. Feminista says:

    The maps are great teaching tools,and literally put things into perspective. Muchas gracias.

    Will attend Live Wire,a local pbs**live** radio show,on Sat. night 11/8. AB will be one of the show’s guests!

    Any NW people attending Wordstock and/or Live Wire in Portland that weekend,please let me know. Our attempt to organize a meet-up has,shall we say,received an underwhelming response.

  11. Ted says:

    There was an interesting map on “Hardball” today. It showed all counties that voted more Democratic than in the Kerry election. Not that they had gone democratic but had voted in larger numbers. The map was almost entirely blue.

    Also 9 out of 10 “ease up on pot laws” passed. As Rachael M. said it seemed that people cared more about pot than gays.

  12. Ivy says:

    Please come back to Austin on your book tour! My girlfriend and I live in San Marcos and she has an exam tomorrow so we could not come up tonight. BookPeople is a good place for a book signing.

    There is also tasty food at Hyde Park Bar & Grill near 42nd and Duval. They are marked by a large fork.

  13. Heidi says:

    Ivy, if you look at the appearances page, there is a book signing tomorrow evening at BookPeople at 5 pm. Hopefully you can make it up for that!

  14. Charlotte says:

    Really pretty!
    Btw- I saw that you’re coming to Barnes and Noble I work at in New York, and I’m beyond excited! The new book looks amazing!

  15. Alex K says:

    @Rev DeLakes –

    Preach it, sistah!

    We’re going to have MOments of despondency (yes, typography intentional) as one or another compromise / betrayal smacks us in the face; all the more reason to work harder in serving the cause (yes, non-DTWOF AB-oeuvre reference also intentional).

    I saw a YouTube of the Fox heads talking at each other – “insiders say Palin this and Palin that”. Hmmm. Credibility level: Canard that Dan Quayle believed Latin was the language of Latin America. Or: It may be true, oh Lord let it NOT be true…

    AB, is this tour thingie taking you to London? Don’t be a stranger!

    Time to get the cat fed and snorgled. She’s been very YOU LEFT ME HOW COULD YOU LEAVE ME WHEN I LOVE YOU SO MUCH DON’T EVER EVER LEAVE ME AGAIN MIAOUW MIAOUW since we got back from our big fat same-sex six-day marriage (screenplay in development). Then work. Bleagh.

  16. Clara Lemlich says:

    Ricardo Levins Morales wrote the following on another blog where people were discussing a recent piece by Tim Wise (see ) It’s directly related to DeLandDeLakes’ post so I thought I’d post it here. I realize it’s ridiculously long, but it’s also brilliant and deserves to be read in full.
    Tim Wise passes a harsh sentence on those he accuses of dismissing the “difference between Obama and McCain, between Democrats and Republicans, between Biden and Palin.” He declares: “those who cannot appreciate what has just transpired are so eaten up with nihilistic rage and hopelessness that I cannot but think that they are a waste of carbon, and actively thieving oxygen that could be put to better use by others.”

    It seems from his piece that his outrage is founded on a mixture of heartfelt frustrations and shallow analysis. The moment we are living is very complex and people respond to it differently based on their particular histories and the scars of struggle that they carry. Wise is responding to the veterans of Civil Rights struggles, such as Jesse Jackson, moved to tears by the ascendance of a dark-skinned man to the heights of the US political system. And who can fail to be moved at the spectacle of an elder whose parents were born into slavery casting a ballot for an African-descended president? It is an amazing vision. There are others who carry equally deep scars that owe to the betrayals of the Liberal power structure and the illusions so eagerly grasped by those who can afford them. The Black Power, Puerto Rican Independence, American Indian and other struggles have shouldered their share of suffering in the cause of justice. Theirs are also valid concerns. In an atmosphere of universal celebration it is natural that those who have survived past betrayals will emphasize caution. We see this around the world. The joy in central Africa at the astounding symbolism is countered with skepticism in the Middle East and West Asia where the foreign policy rubber meets the village road. Should our activist friends in those lands also be deprived of their right to oxygen because they demonstrate insufficient jubilation?

    To appreciate this historical moment requires holding two thoughts – which are in tension with each other – in our minds at the same time. This is not an exercise that USAmericans are traditionally comfortable with. Obama’s election indeed struck a blow to the ultra-Right sound machine. This is good and will be a rich source of insights. It is also of profound importance that for the first time the US Left has mobilized to elect a candidate the centerpiece of whose foreign policy is expanding a war Asia (a war in west Asia about control of oil and gas markets). It may well be studied by our opponents as a model for securing grassroots complicity with imperial foreign policies (Obama has voiced admiration for both Kennedy and Reagan as leaders who mobilized domestic unity in the service of interventionism). This may seem a trivial issue to Tim Wise but probably should not justify revoking the right to oxygen for people to whom it matters.

    It is not “nihilistic rage and hopelessness” to be aware of Obama ideological and practical commitments to some of the most reactionary forces in Latin America, Israel and Wall Street. It does not render us “all but useless to the liberation movement.” Actually, my brother, such awareness is the best antidote to cynicism. It is not yet fashionable to think these thoughts, but it is necessary.

    When Martin Luther King’s was cut down by assassins’ bullets, the leadership of the Civil Rights movement passed from a visionary revolutionary into the hands of the militant reformists who were the second tier of the movement. They aligned more closely with the Democratic politicians and many embraced the neo-liberal Bill Clinton administration. This does not take away anything from their sacrifices and their contributions to the struggle, but their emotional release does not excuse us from our scared calling to critical thinking and discussion. The stakes are too high for that.

    Tim is right; there are people in left politics who do not fully appreciate the deep symbolic significance of Obama’s election in this most racist land. There are others (I think Tim Wise included) who cannot see past it to the practical working of an empire in crisis which Obama has sworn to faithfully administer. I believe that we are about to witness the construction of an imperial unity government. This will be clearer within a week or two as the ministers are selected.

    We should understand that we are celebrating a symbolic victory but fighting a concrete battle. That is how we must try to heed Dr. King’s warning when he said that the American people “have been persuaded to accept token victories as indicative of genuine and satisfactory progress.” He went on:
    “But tokenism can now be seen not only as a useless, but as a genuine menace. It is a palliative which relieves emotional distress, but leaves the disease and its ravages unaffected.”

    To move on from here I suggest that we need to honor both dimensions of Dr. King’s equation; the emotional relief and the underlying power politics. It is possible to appreciate Obama’s win as the fruit of decades of heroic struggle while remaining sober about the new president’s alliances and loyalties. In fact it is the only way to truly honor that struggle.

    We will need to do more than just “get back to work.” The challenges ahead will call for re-envisioning what a real opposition movement could look like. They will also require us to demonstrate generosity of spirit and respect for each other’s legitimate perspectives if we are to hope to make it across a complex and poorly illuminated landscape.

  17. Rachel says:

    “As Rachael M. said it seemed that people cared more about pot than gays.”

    In California, they cared more about chickens than about gays.

    On the other hand, I have to say that every time I’ve seen Saxby Chambliss mentioned this election (and given how tight a race it’s been in Georgia, that has been often), I’ve thought of Raffi in DTWOF episode #404.

  18. June says:

    DeLandDeLakes, who are you? I will seriously read anything else you have on the web. That was beautiful.

  19. Jana C.H. says:

    When people become emotionally ecstatic about politics, my doubt-meter immediately starts buzzing. I can’t do anything about it; that’s just the way I am. I’ve been cranking down the volume on this blog and elsewhere, but the buzzer never quite stops, despite my desire not to be a wet blanket.

    Of course people should be allowed their celebrations; I celebrated on election night, too, and still break into a silly grin every once in a while. But I’m concerned about the reaction of many of the ecstatic ones when Obama proves to be an ordinary centrist politician trying to deal with enormously difficult problems in a tangled political environment. Some people will be let down hard.

    Having more reasonable hopes to begin with might help people to hang on and keep working when the going gets tough. (I am not, by the way, referring to anyone specific on this blog.) I hope those who are floating on air will allow their own doubt-meters to bring them back down to earth soon enough that they don’t end up getting slapped down. In the meantime, please allow me to heed my own alarm buzzer as I see fit. It’s part of the hardware.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith WSG: Nothing is so conductive to toleration as the knowledge that one’s bread depends upon it.

  20. Chris (in Massachusetts) says:

    So, President Obama is now able to tell Ginsberg and Stevens, “Well Done! A grateful nation thanks you for hanging on and keeping the Constitution on life support. You can rest now, it’s in good hands.”

    So, I’m thinking, sometime in 2010 (at the latest) the Prop 8 case (or similar) comes before the Court.

    “Ah, lets see… Right, Section One of Amendment 14 says it all. YOU CAN’T DENY EQUAL PROTECTION TO ANYONE! Now get the fuck out of here and crawl back under the rock from whence you came!” (Well, in MY universe, that’s what the majority opinion would say.)

    2010: The Year The Homophobes Get Slapped Down, HARD!

  21. Mame says:

    Just a short reminder…some republicans are our friends too.

    There is a wonderful, stirring legal analysis of how denying the word “marriage” to civil unioned gay couples is wrong in former New Jersey Chief Justice Deborah Poritz’s dissent in the NJ landmark case of Lewis v. Harris. This was the NJ case that decided NJ’s domestic partnership law wasn’t good enough because it was discrimantory AGAINST gay people. The Court did not change the law but mandated that the legislature review it within 60 days.

    The legislative review created the civil union law in NJ.

    Cheif Justice Poritz dissented because she was actually more activist in her view than the majority and wanted the Supreme Court to rule that denial of marriage called “marriage” was a denial of equal rights.

    Chief Justice Portiz, once NJ’s Attorney General appointed by Governor Christie Whitman, was and is a republican.

    Not all republicans are against us.

    Not all republican women have to learn there are actually countries on continents.

    Not all democrats that elected President-elect Obama think we deserve a place at the table too.

  22. Jessica Bessica says:

    Well said DeLand.

    And I’m posting a link from Savage. He’s a little angry about Prop 8 (who’s not) but the link has a good point. The mormon church should NOT have tax exempt status. Their mobilization in favor of Prop 8 just called out attention to it.

  23. chris says:

    i actually dreamed that clarice will have a comeback because of the elections (except prop 8).

  24. Jim D. says:

    Alison – please add Washington, DC to your book tour!

    Washington, DC

  25. vj says:

    I am so excited that AB is coming to Portland!

    Feminista, I am going to be at Wordstock (and hoping to be at LiveWire) with bells on. E me at vickijean at that google mail thingee…

  26. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for that election cartogram info.
    Also Ian Harvey has a theory about what’s up with the Prop 8 thing.
    It’s here:

  27. sapphicapuella says:

    Can’t you add the UK to your book tour? Please? Please? (etc.)

  28. aek says:

    Us poor souls in Alaska would like a part of the map, too! But Alaska is pretty damned big, if painted to scale; it would stretch the length of the entire U.S., if you include the Aleutian Islands.

    DeLakes, I think you are right; and Prop 8 serves as a reminder of how much we still have to do. I’m in one of the states with a marriage prohibition, and it blows, but the nation will look to California on how to defeat these terrible amendments. Perhaps a defeat of Prop 8 in California will be an example to all of us on how to go about getting rid of the damned things once they are in the state constitutions.

  29. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Thoughts on the many posts above- I actually agree with Jana- I think Obama with largely govern from the center, but I also feel that this is inevitable, and indeed the wisest thing to do in this case- some of my earlier remarks were inspired by a Washington Post article I read which pointed out that the Great Depression largely put an end to the culture wars of the 1920s- faced with an enormous economic crisis, differences over Prohibition and immigration suddenly didn’t matter as much. The brutal reality is that people tend to pull together in a crisis of this magnitude, and I think this is bound to happen. Chris in MA is right on- the tasks performed by the President himself are really not as significant as those performed by the 3,000-odd people he will appoint, and the Supreme Court Justices will undoubtedly be some off the most important.

    June, you are so sweet. I’m just a Minnesota gal who is working towards a Ph.D in Art History. I don’t even have a website, although I’ve been meaning to get a Livejournal page to post my own cartoons, which are mostly about being a negligent grad student prone to bouts of drunken procrastination. I’ll post the link here if I ever get that up.

  30. NickelJoey says:

    Maybe I’m just flunking a Rorschach test, but does that cartogram look to anyone else like a big purplish phoenix?

  31. jen in California says:

    Woot, an SF appearance! AB, one of the many Jens in San Fran who ask you to sign an Essential DTWOF just might be me. (Hopefully that didn’t come off as stalky, just shy).

    I completely agree with Chris in Massachusetts, Justice Stevens and Ginsberg’s doctors have been the only things saving us from Constitutional Armageddon. Now the poor things can retire in peace, having truly served their country. I can only pray to the nature spirits that Obama doesn’t give in to pressure to elect some “non-activist” judges. We need some heavy activism all up in the Supreme Court’s grill to undo all the evil Scalia and Thomas damage.

    @NickelJoey, it takes some special talent to flunk a Rorschach. I saw a smiley face in the Idaho area, and a blue Illuminati pyramid in Louisiana. Fee free to tell me what that means about me.

  32. an australian in london says:

    Flying Spaghetti Monster I love this blog and you people and your intelligent opinions!

  33. The Cat Pimp says:

    AB – if you can, I’d love seeing what your tour schedule is. I hope I can get a chance to say hi when you are in San Francisco. (Better yet, come to Berkeley!)

    (PS – Tell your assistant to send me my DTWOF copy – yes, I *am* greedy :0))

  34. Danyell says:

    Wow, see how big NYC gets! But where are Alaska & Hawaii? I mean, I guess it doesn’t make for such an effective image, but they’re states and should still count!

    Idk what to say about Prop or all the other anti-gay initiatives that passed. Especially in Colorado (I think) where gay adoption was banned. Seriously. WTF?

  35. Ydnic says:

    I ran across those fascinating cartograms in a link from Infosthetics. There are all kinds of election maps and data linked there, for us geogeeks.

    Yikes, you’re in San Francisco on Monday! I wonder if I can get the day off and go… Wish I could be at Wordstock. You + Lynda Barry? Pure awesome.

  36. Ellen O. says:

    Here’s an uplifting note from the NPR web page.

    Obama Administration to Change Hiring Policies

    The transition Web site for President-elect Barack Obama says the new administration will not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

    That’s a change from previous federal hiring policies.

    Some categories in the statement are already in nondiscrimination laws: race, and religion, and disability, for example.

    But the list also includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Employment lawyer Daniel Schwartz says gender identity nondiscrimination has never been part of federal hiring policies before.

    “For people that were waiting until inauguration day for change to happen, change is already here,” Schwartz says. “It started with their transition Web site, and there’s no more visible way on that than, hey, look, for the people we’re hiring for our new administration we’re not going to discriminate based on gender identity.”

    The platform includes changing nondiscrimination laws to include gays, lesbians, and transgendered people.

  37. Ellen O. says:

    Cat Pimp and everyone else who wants to know–

    Check the Appearances section of this blog for AB’s schedule of talks. (Second choice on the upper right of this page.)

  38. Jana C.H. says:

    It took me a while to see a bird, but once I figured out that Michigan is the head and Florida is the tail it all fell together. I keep seeing a fierce dog-like beast with one large front leg (Florida), one tiny hind leg (Texas), and a tail like a turkey (the West Coast). This only works if you mentally fill in the Great Lakes. I won’t mention what the Mississippi Delta looks like.

    Alaska might be that tiny spot above Puget Sound and Hawaii one of those flecks off the California coast. No, I’m not putting that forward seriously, but both states have small populations and won’t show well on a cartogram of this sort. One of the problems with cartograms is that they don’t handle detached territories well.

    Anyone who wants to be brought down to earth with a thump can check out Ted Rall’s latest column: I agree with him, but if you’d like to keep celebrating the election a bit longer you should wait a few more days before reading it. Then we all need to go to work keeping Obama’s feet to the progressive fire.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Simone Andrus: Geographers make the world go ’round.

  39. Em says:

    Ellen and DeLand, thanks for the good cheer! I was so bummed about Prop 8 and some other stupid ballot initiatives that passed (in missouri, denial of MetroLink expansion and a thing to write in our constitution that ALL state documents have to be in english)that I forgot why I was so cheerful Tuesday night in the first place.
    It’s been hard to articulate, but I also see Obama’s victory as not just about race but as a blow for _anyone_ who’s been “the other”, anyone who has had their “American-ness” questioned because they seem foreign. I’m white but ethnic-looking enough that people have stopped me on the street to demand to know my nationality, cause it’s just not good enough for them that yes, I was born in St. Louis but surely I’m not really “American”. However the next four-hopefully-eight years pan out, it is beyond amazing that we finally have a president who speaks to us ALL as Americans.

  40. Ginjoint says:

    Thanks DeLand. You nailed it.

    Regarding the Mormons – for the last 20 years, any time I’ve been interrupted or inconvenienced by Mormons ringing my doorbell, I’ve always been polite despite our differences – and despite my aggravation. “No thank you,” I said to them, “I already have a religion I’m happy with.” They would accept that and move along.

    No more. After this, the rules of engagement have changed.

    Next time, I’m going to make them look at me, look me in the eye, and explain why they believe that I am less. Explain why they felt that $20 million dollars, which could have done so much good, was instead spent on subjugating their fellow humans. I won’t let them slink away. I will question, harass, and yes, belittle, if they can’t come up with a reasonable explanation, which they won’t. I will follow them down the block. Maybe I will throw an item or two. Perhaps a body slam will occur. Mayhap, the words “remains” and “dumpster” and “asphyxiated” and “white shirt” will appear in the next day’s newspaper, along with the phrase “apparent forced coffee enema.”

    There will be blood.

  41. Pam I says:

    GJ – trouble is, they’ll know where you live.

    We dont get mormons in sunny Tottenham (so far), just jehovas witnesses. What’s their position? Let me guess…. Sometimes when I send them away, I say, you wouldn’t want me, I’m a bourgeois deviant. But then I say that to the socialist workers, too.

  42. Ready2Agitate says:

    @NickelJoey: Phoenix. Totally.

    @Danyell: I think that was Arkansas. wtf indeed. I keep thinking, jeezum crow (uh oh, am I starting to sound like AB?), there are so many single moms in this country… shouldn’t we be elated when adoptive parents can offer a child the love of TWO moms??

    @Em: Sorry to hair-split, but I think technically every human being has an ethnicity, or “is ethnic.” White folks, are ethnically Irish, German, Italian, Jewish, French, Danish, English, Russian, etc. (at least today… there were times historically when many of these groups did not qualify as “white”). But I get your meaning — that you look enough like a person of color that you suffer indignations over your nationality and whether or not ‘yer one of “us” (us=white). So I’m with you – Obama is a major score for the “other.” And I’m with Jana on holding his feet to the fire — he will rise to occasion only with continued popular pressure. And I’m with Ginjoint, just cuz’ she’s fun. 🙂

  43. rinky says:

    Remember to bring your book tour to Melbourne, Australia. You can stay with us. Holly can come play in our compost heap!

  44. Em says:

    Yeah, language is weird like that though… there’s the value neutral term that does apply to everyone, then there’s the unmistakable overtones of “well, you look too ethnic to be an actual American!” that one just internalizes after awhile. It’s why I always felt weird about any overt display of patriotism, why I feel awkward singing the national anthem (though I do swell up with joy during that infamous rendition of it in Shortbus;). I mean, when I first heard the infamous Michelle Obama quote “For the first time in my life, I’m really proud to be an American!” I knew EXACTLY what she meant!

    Ginjoint, right on, oh hell yes right on. You by chance didn’t get the phrase “coffee enemas” from the second Futurama movie, did you?

  45. Ready2Agitate says:

    @Clara Lemlich: Thx for Ricardo’s response and the link to Tim Wise’s initial piece, both of which were very good and thought-provoking (plus Racialicious is a very cool blog).

  46. Hey, everybody. My book tour info is here, on the Appearances page but I haven’t had a chance to update it with more details yet. I’ll do that asap. It’s 4:4am in Austin and I’m heading off to Portland.

  47. Darryl says:

    Congrats on the book Alison, it’s fabulous as expected. I would’ve loved to catch one of your talks but unfortunately I live all the way in Montreal, Canada =[

  48. clarke in says:

    Ginjoint: had a chuckle at the image of you following the Mormon down the street seeking an explanation. Reminded me of the time I went after our local Conservative candidate to hand him back his campaign flyer when they were campaigning on a promise to repeal same-sex marriage in Canada. He looked rather shocked when I told him that my wife and I had no use for his materials 🙂
    Come to think of it, I don’t think we’ve been visited by a Conservative since…

  49. Holly says:

    Please. Dumpsters? In Section 101.C of the Compost Maven’s Handbook for Radical Composting we find that, ‘Any “waste” that was once alive can and should be composted.’

  50. Ian says:

    So, Holly, we should shred it and put it on the compost heap? *Flashback to Fargo*

  51. Holly says:

    Well, Ian, let’s just say that Prop Hate spewed by Prop Haters is utter and complete BS, a well-known source of nitrogen for any compost pile. If we could just harness all the BS and compost it! I guess that’s my own little poli sci fi fantasy.

    Anyway, Go Ginjoint!, and everyone else pissed off enough to do something (non-violent!) about this. Kate Clinton’s recent blog has a nice ring to it and Melissa E. is ready for civil disobedience. Very cool. I’m ready for a good old march in DC.

  52. notpeanut says:

    Em, as an antidote to the internalization of “ethnic” as not applying to White/ European-Americans, I always remember a friend of mine who said his favorite ethnic food was Rice Krispy treats.

  53. Ready2Agitate says:

    Love it. Love you all. :p

  54. LondonBoy says:

    It pains me to say this, because I know some fine and decent LDSs, and there is, I believe, much wisdom in their teachings, but I do feel that the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was wrong on Proposition 8.

    Although it is clearly not all that needs to be done, part of what we need to do is win LDSs to our side, just as we try to do with the more reasonable-minded christians. I suggest that one way to tackle LDSs you meet would be to ask how the church can square its leadership’s position with specific teachings of Joseph Smith. As a starting point, consider the spirit in which Joseph Smith preached in Nauvoo at the funeral of Elder King Follett. Ask LDSs how they can reconcile Smith’s earnest exhortations in favour of freedom of religion with current LDS exhortations *against* other people’s freedoms. And once you’ve got them interested in what you’ve got to say, hit them with this:
    “We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government…” This is a direct quotation from Joseph Smith himself, writing in the mormon Doctrine and Covenants, Section 134, v.9. The full quotation is “We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.” From context several interpretations are possible, but the key thing is to start the debate: if people believe that you’re taking their beliefs seriously, they are more likely to listen to what you’ve got to say. After that, consider Mosiah, Ch.4, which includes some clear advice to mormons on the spirit of mutuality in which they should conduct their relationships with other people. You can also use the old Ecclesiastes Ch.7 v.13 argument from your debates with christians, of course; this is echoed in Mosiah Ch.4 v.9. It’s also well-worth noting that Alma Ch.39, which is where the main LDS teachings on sexual morality are to be found, makes no mention of homosexuality. I’m not a scholar, but it seems to me that there is scope for a lively debate with LDSs on the exact meaning of the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 134, which deals substantially with the relationship between religion and democratic society.

    I’m sure that there will be some of us who think “why should we waste time on this?”, but I think the answer is simple: as in the rest of society, opposition to same-sex marriage in the LDS community is a generational issue. Younger LDSs are more tolerant of homosexuality and open to the idea of same-sex marriage than are their elders. The more we can foster debate on this issue the quicker it will be questioned within the church, and the quicker opposition to same-sex marriage will erode. So the next time you meet a LDS, engage them in conversation on this issue, taking their views and cultural tradition seriously. You may not win the immediate argument, but each questioning seedling planted will eventually grow.

  55. Alex K says:

    @LondonBoy: With affection, and out of some cicatricial experience, I’d like to disagree.

    Among the tenets of Mormonism are that if one does the right things (which include a 10% tithe of gross, not net, income to the Church, ka-ching!) on death one becomes a god, creates his own universe (not “one’s”, his; sorry, ladies! This is a Patriarchy with a capital P), copulates with one’s “eternally sealed” spouse, and generates “spirit children” to populate the newly created universe.

    People sign on to Mormonism because they believe that it will let them fuck when they are dead. Full stop.

    Living and working for two years in Salt Lake City, the one blue fleck in that reddest of states, left me in utter awe of the damage that this religion has created. Nowhere else have I so often, with a new acquaintance, had to move the childseat out of the back so that we could have sex in the car. F’r instance. Mind you, if guilt creates tension and sex relieves tension, this has its good side, but still. Jeezo man!

    A mind open enough to take Mormon views and cultural traditions seriously… well, in theory, that’s lovely. In practice, again, I can’t follow you there, mate.

  56. Ginjoint says:

    LondonBoy, fuck seedlings.

    O.K., O.K., I take that back, I love to garden, and I love you too. But I’m still just too pissed off to be all gentle and engaging and understanding. In fact, I feel as if some sort of sea change has occurred in me recently. I’ve always taken just the route you propose – and for what, exactly? So that my fellow citizens could declare me somehow not worthy of the rights they themselves enjoy? Several weeks ago, sex columnist Dan Savage berated a letter writer for not standing up to the writer’s 13-year-old nephew, who was forever disparaging gay people. Savage’s advice? “Stop being such a liberal pussy.” I took those words to heart, despite my aggravation with once again seeing the word “pussy” used to mean something weak. IMO, there’s nothing stronger on earth than a pussy.

    Anyway. Holly, it’s striking to me that you bring up Melissa E., because her song “Beloved”, which deals with just this issue, has been relentlessly in my head for the last several days. And of course you’re right about the composting! I mean, Jesus, here I am, someone who plans to donate her body to science because I think a body is a terrible thing to waste, going ahead and squandering bodies like that! I could bury them in my shade garden. My God, the hostas and coleus and impatiens would be lovely.

  57. Em says:

    Hahaha Rice Krispie Treats, I love that!

  58. LondonBoy says:

    I thought I might meet a little resistance there, but my point, in part, is that we haven’t been engaging LDSs in dialogue. I’d bet good money that no-one reading this blog has had the kind of chapter-and-verse discussion with a LDS that we’ve all done with christians. Part of the reason I made the citations above is to start giving people the tools they need to do that. What would certainly be unwise is any kind of serious “fuck you very much” response to the sponsorship of Proposition 8: if the gay community, or even a prominent subset, starts going after the Church of Jesus Christ of LDSs (say by questioning their charitable status), we end up opening a truly horrible can of worms labelled “Gay People Seek to Attack Religion”. Of course, you and I know that that’s not what we’d be trying to do, but that’s the way it would be spun in the media, and it’s a battle that we would quite possibly lose. The best approach is surely to adopt the angle that we’ve adopted so far: it’s an “equal human rights” issue. This approach has the huge advantage of fitting naturally into most democratic societies’ basic ethics without any trouble, and has the added benefit of being true. What I feel we should do is play to that angle, whilst gradually neutralising negative religious feeling by helping people of faith find the parts of their creeds that support our aims. And to do that requires dialogue.

    I suppose I more or less count myself as some sort of christian, and doctrinally I think that LDSs have got things wrong. But I am also well aware that their beliefs are intrinsically no more or less plausible than mine, and I am sympathetic to, and supportive of, their attempts to understand who they are and their place in the universe. There are passages of great wisdom in the Book of Mormon (the parable of the olive grove comes to mind, and some parts of the Books of Alma and Mosiah), just as there are in many other scriptures. As I remarked a couple of threads back, I do feel we make more progress when we try to respect those with whom we disagree. I would rather build a bridge between our community and the LDS community than a wall.

  59. Ellen O. says:

    Well, you could spend hours, days and years engaging the Mormon Church in dialogue, if that is your thing, but you could also spend that time educating queer couples on how to write up a living will and power of attorney. This would give them some of the same protections that marriage privileges did.

    In fact, everyone, single and coupled, queer and straight, should have living wills and a “designated partner” to speak for them if they are disabled.

  60. Some Russian says:

    God I don’t have time to reply to every bit of igrance nonsense I see here. But for starters: Roe is dead, has been for ages, and abortion is defacto illegal in about 20 states, and niether McCain or Obama court appointments changes that. Foreign policy will not be dramtically diferrent, and Obama’s flowery we are the world rhetoric is for consumption of fools i.e. you. And he may very likely badly fuck up. Oh, and there are plenty of reasons why there are no womyn or black people in any major physics department, don’t blame Larry Summers for your failures.

  61. Alex K says:

    @LondonBoy: Well, good luck.

    Mormonism has at its core a doctrine of apotheosis and eternal life through (heterosexual) copulation and procreation.

    If a Mormon takes his / her religion seriously, he / she necessarily views gays and lesbians as lost. Necessarily. All dialogue foreclosed.

    Ginjoint, put on a pot of coffee. See down there at the end of the street? Those two nice young men in the white shirts? They’re heading this way.

  62. Alex K says:

    Oh – in parting – I just read on-line an interview with Wolf Biermann, published in DIE WELT on the seventieth anniversary of Kristallnacht. One line seems very much worth sharing.

    “Ich glaube nicht an Gott“, sagt er, “sondern an die Menschen, das ist noch absurder.”

    I don’t believe in God, but in people – which is even more absurd.

  63. Pam I says:

    Some Russian – whenever I get cynical about what the election of Obama means, I pick up those images of elderly Black people quietly weeping as they watched his victory speech. They know what it means, more than you and I do.

  64. Maggie Jochild says:

    I agree that Mormons see themselves as a persecuted people, because they definitely were once and are still, by a lot of people, considered bastard christians. But — most fundamentalist christians also see themselves as a persecuted group. Reality check: Too much of the right-wing structure in this country, especially in the CIA/FBI/Bush government, is headed by Mormons. It’s not about the religion, it’s about the abuse of power.

    I’ve been writing about this, and learning a lot from commenters, over at Group News Blog. Couple of things to pass on: Check out Mormons For Marriage and their courageous stance against marriage inequality. Kat, who comments here as well as at Meta Watershed and who has Mormon kin, has a long comment about how the Oakland Stake opposed Prop (h)8, standing up to the church in an unprecedented manner. I think it’s as important to lend our support to progressives within the LDS as it is to force them to give up their tax-free status if they’re going to engage in political coercion the way they are.

    As lesbians and gays, I think it’s also critically important for us to acknowledge the failure of outreach by mainstream “queer” organizations to people of color. We seem to buy the stereotype that we are mostly white, and we are piss-poor at dealing with the racism in our own “community”. The only time our biggest organizations speak about race is to either ask non-gay people of color to support our rights or to compare our liberation struggle to theirs (it’s NOT the same, folks). As long as we stay single-issue in this way, we’re going to keep having defeats like those in our otherwise ground-breaking election. Gender, class and race are all constructs whose status is determined by an interlocking institutionalized oppression. “The politics worth having, the relationships worth having, demand that we delve still deeper.”

  65. Ginjoint says:

    Meggars, you just brought up the race angle to all this, which has been weighing heavily on my mind lately as well. I want to comment, but right now I need to run off to my McJob. More later, O.K.?

  66. Maggie Jochild says:

    Have a good day at work, Ginjoint. Catcha later.

  67. The Cat Pimp says:

    Thanks EO and AB for the pointer to the events page. I saw it and am hoping to persuade a couple of other blog followers in my neck of the woods to come to the Booksmith reading.

    If you are a taxpayer like me who is angry at the national debt, be aware that there are organizations who should be losing their tax exempt status for lobbying.

    Here is a how-to link on reporting such organizations to the IRS.

  68. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Dear Troll:

    Fuck off. We are all friends on this blog, and even when we disagree we do not come here for the sole purpose of belittling and insulting each other. There is plenty of room for bellicose mouth-breathers like you over at AOL, Michelle Malkin, et. all. I’m sure you will be even more pleased with the quality of your own intelligence when you are in dialogue with people whose most stinging rejoinders include “YOUR A FAGOT.” If you want to talk down to perfect strangers, go do it with all the other Bitters who need to get a fucking life.

  69. JenOttawa says:

    Hi Allison,

    I’m seconding Darryl, would love to see you up in Canada, either Montreal &/or Toronto (Ottawa even!? and heck, Vancouver & Halifax if you want!). What does it take to get you here? An invite and a venue all set up? Your strip runs nationally in Xtra and I’m sure there are independant booksellers or community groups that would host. Let us know what has to happen on our end so that we can see you too! Cheers, Jen

  70. ksbel6 says:

    Ginjoint: You could just do what I do. Invite them in, ask them if they want something to drink while letting them sit at the kitchen table. After they get themselves comfy, I open the fridge, pull out a Budlight, grab a cigarette from the pack I keep in the freezer (because I don’t smoke them fast enough and I want to keep them fresh) and light it up. They don’t seem to want to hang around long after that 🙂 No messy bodies to compost, but they get the same message.

  71. Elizabeth says:

    Alison, just wanted to say thank you again. It was great to meet you, and I hope you like the video. You can see it at:

  72. Dr. Empirical says:

    DeLandDeLakes: Trolls LOVE to be told to Fuck Off. It gives meaning to their sad, empty lives.

    To those requesting Bechdel appearances: The publisher sets those up. Alison has no control over them.

    Mormons, like most zealots, are fully capable of holding multiple contradictory ideas in their heads at the same time. They can’t see the contradictions any more than a dog can tell Shakespeare from Milton. When my family moved to the outskirts of Salt Lake many years ago, the neighbors came by and introduced themselves, as good neighbors do, but when we turned out not to be Of The Faith, we suddenly didn’t exist. Similarly, happy, faithful gay couples raising healthy well-adjusted children don’t exist for them.

  73. BrooklynPhil says:

    Hey AB!
    Which Barnes & Noble (aka Bunns & Noodle) will you be reading at in NYC? There are like 12 of them! (Including Park Slope, Brooklyn).


  74. LondonBoy says:

    The glorious tool that is Wikiquote helped me to find the quotation I wanted in seconds:
    “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
    I can hold two contradictory ideas in my head and believe them both to be true, and I don’t think I’m a zealot. (For example, I believe the Bible to be true even though I also believe that it’s false.)

  75. rinky says:

    Alison, Thanks for my book. It’s very exciting to have it. It will feel weird and kind of not proper, reading it in the double page format. I’m looking forward to reading the intro. Hey, is Sydney named after your agent?

    BrooklynPhil, I can’t ever manage to call Borders Borders. It always comes into my head as Bounders because I knew about the DTWOF version first. (They haven’t been in Aus all that long)

  76. Some Russian says:

    Pam, no offense, but how ridiculous. Some old black geezer weeping because someone who shares his skin color is elected to political office. I don’t need to base my preferences and hopes on people suceeding who happen to share mmy race, gender, ethnic identity, etc. It reflects a dumb and primitive worldview.

    as for DeLandbalhbalhblah, your comments in particular deserve scrutiny, you speak with smug certainty about thigs you obviously know nothing of.

    And I certainly could care less what anyone thinks about me, except my GF and her daughter. And I enjoy a great life, for starters I have a GF 17 years younger who adores me and comes pretty much non-stop. God, I dated 2 American chicks, and it took me some effort to teach them the simplist things about sex, it was like they had never known what a good fuck was. And it was not easy, American girls are as frigid as Russian girls are naturals in bed.

  77. JimB says:

    BrooklynPhil: Alison will be at the Barnes & Noble at 82nd & Broadway.

  78. Some Russian says:

    oh and speaking of Mormons and other zealots. Square this: Roe, and respect for democratic process. (hint: you dumb bunnies don’t even understand exactly what Roe stands for, any more than you understand the WTO. That’s really why I stopped by, to ask you to please shut up about things of which you are entirely ignorant.) Man, feminists, African-American fruitcakes like Wright and Cornel West, gay people (Barney Frank excepted) are worse zealots than Mormaons, who are really just silly and largely harmless.

  79. judybusy says:

    Hey Deland, thanks so much for the above post! My partner and played a game this weekend identifying things we don’t ahve to worry about now, and you touched on a lot of them.

    In my view, one of the most negative impacts of the Bush admin has been the appointment of people in all of the agencies supposedly designed to protect us, but ended up getting run by people whose first priority was protecting/promoting business interests.

    Ginjoint, thanks for the image of you runnin’ off the Mormons! It was a great way to start my Monday! And LondonBoy, I guess in theory your encouraging engagement makes sense, but I’m so angry with the LDS massive involvement with prop 8 (1 of every 5 dollars was given by Mormons!), it’ll take a while to get there. Well, I might never, because I personally believe Joseph Smith was mentally ill, harbored delusions, and managed to make a lot of people believe in him and start a whole new religion.

  80. Fester Bestertester says:

    Some Russian

    Do you guys get “30 Rock” over there? You must, right? Do you watch it?

    What do you think of the cast changes this season? I thought it was OK, but I’m still waiting to make up my mind. What do you think?

  81. Fester Bestertester says:

    Some Russian

    Yeah I know just what you mean. And you GF’s daughter, did she ever play with KidPix when she was younger. My daughters just loved that program. Lots of cool features, especially the stamp program. Did you know that you can make your own stamps in v2.2?? Neat, huh. How about the “Twilight” books, does she really like them? All of my daughters’ friends can’t get enough of them. Do you think they’re too scary for younger kids?

  82. geogeek says:

    On an unrelated note, I just got my copy of the big DTWOF volume in the mail (hooray!) and I was surprised at how many strips had been left out. Was this already discussed and I missed it, or does anyone else have thought on this?

  83. judybusy says:

    Totally off topic, but if anybody would want to know, it’s the folks on this site: Studs Terkel died on Friday. At least he got to see the election results–

  84. Em says:

    Actually judy, he died the friday _before_ the elction, sadly.

  85. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Better watch it, Fester. An abusive barrage about how Americans don’t know how to use KidPix worth a damn due to the fact that we are all black, feminist, gay and dumb is sure to follow. 🙂

  86. Ginjoint says:

    Judybusy, I brought my copy of Hope Dies Last with me when I went to vote. Studs’ absentee ballot arrived the morning he died, and so he didn’t get to vote. I wanted him present in some way, and that’s all I could do.

    Ksbel, I like your idea, but I really do need the extra nutrients in my soil. The garden’s on a parkway, see, and has 4 very mature trees planted on it. They’re forever sucking up all the good stuff, leaving little for my plants. A couple of bodies would definitely help out – the ultimate time-release fertilizer. Now, how’s that puppy doing?

    Meggars, I know I said I’d comment on the race angle, but I am too tired and too confused to figure out my feelings right now. (The last couple of days at work have been very long and very hectic, plus I’ve a short road trip tomorrow morning.) I did find you over at Group News Blog (liked it, bookmarked it!), plus I’ve been meaning to catch up at the Watershed; there’s just not enough time to read everything I want to. I’ll try and do better. I just need to mull this whole thing over.

  87. LondonBoy says:

    Fester: I stand in mute amazement, then bow deeply in your direction. If I could make a useful contribution I would.

  88. Yeah, here’s Maggie’s blog. Check it out.

    One day I’ll get it together to do a proper blogroll here.

  89. Some Russian says:

    oh some US TV shows are here, but the only one I watch is Spongebob. And falwell, or Dobson, whichever, is right, by the way, Spongebob is gay as a three dollar bill. And my GF’s daughter probably knows every software program on earth, but the GF and I spend our time fucking and reading.

    And really, you peopole have no idea how little you understand your own country, much less the wider world.

  90. Fester Bestertester says:

    Some Russian

    Yeah, I know what you mean. When I was in grade school there was this student, Terry. Terry was one of a pair of twins. They were supposed to be identical but everyone could always tell them apart. Unlike the Eccoff twins (their father owned a local trucking company). Everybody always said they could never tell them apart. They were always pulling jokes on teachers. But somehow I could tell the difference. Strange, huh. So one day everyone went on picnic to the local park. Terry was there (but not the Eccoff twins, this was before they moved to town) and he had the pocket knife that he loved on this long lanyard. (Do you understand “lanyard”?) So the knife (and the lanyard, of course) fell out of his pocket and one of the class-supervisors found it. So everyone was standing around and we heard the supervisor yell “Hey Terry” and we looked and the supervisor was standing next to a pipe that was sticking out of the ground, I don’t know what it was for but, it was just sticking out of the ground, and the supervisor guy was standing behind it holding the lanyard with the knife dangling over the open top of the pipe and about a second after everyone looked he let go of the lanyard and it dropped down the pipe. Everyone shrieked and ran over to the pipe and the knife was lying on the ground behind the pipe. It was all a big joke but it sure scared everyone.

  91. Some Russian says:

    oh mildly amusing I suppose, a bit of faux sophistication.

    Meanwhile I am planning to take the GF to Paris, while you losers can blather on about how fab it is being gay and and Obama blahblahblah.

  92. Fester Bestertester says:

    Some Russian

    Gotcha. Do you know what the next number is in this sequence:
    3, 3, 5, 4, 4, 3, 5, 5, 4, ???
    This is a neat one.

  93. Some Russian says:

    well, a question for you:

    how many lesbians or African-Americans have won either

    the Fields Medal?
    the John Bates Clark medal?
    a Nobel in econonomic or physics?

  94. Fester Bestertester says:

    Some Russian

    Can I ask you something if this isn’t too personal a question:

    Your name “Some Russian” has all five vowels (A, E, I, O, U)
    and three S’s (S, S, S).

    How on “Earth” do you make an anagram out of that?
    It must be really hard!

    (Get it? The other letters are MNR. That’s “Earth”
    in Russian, right, except that the N is backwards?)