DTWOF episode #521

January 22nd, 2008 | Uncategorized

521 detail

I’m running this out of order, before 520, just because I feel like it.

(This is another in the Speculative Episode series.)

130 Responses to “DTWOF episode #521”

  1. Deena in OR says:

    I realize it’s a speculative episode…but I am glad that there’s some thought being given to having Sydney’s dad have a diagnostic workup.

  2. Blushing Girl says:

    I got a little frisson out of the possibility of being the first to comment, but then I realized… in none of these scenarios does being first count.

  3. Duncan says:

    Running ’em out of sequence, eh? As we say in Indiana: Well, see how y’are?

  4. JenK says:

    As the primary partner is following the political horserace most feverishly, I sent a YOU MUST READ THIS IMMEDIATELY message as soon as this apppeared…

    Well done!

  5. Ellen O. says:

    Another sobering and funny strip.

    I love “Old Maybe.” And the white paint on Ginger’s shirt.

    Is it true that the Brits limit campaign time to three months before the election?

  6. ready2agitate says:

    Oh man (oops) have you nailed it again, AB! Rearranging the deck chairs on the old USA Titanic – oy!

    (Of course the other big story is the “race card vs. gender card” game the Dems are playing so that the GOP can say, see? they can’t stop fighting amongst themselves – what you all need is a good ole white boy to run this here country! But, I digress…)

    JR’s face has gotten longer, which kids always do at about her age – bravo.

    And let’s hope it doesn’t look pretty much the same two years from now. Wanting change… hoping for change…

  7. ready2agitate says:

    Oh, happy MLK Day everyone! (Did you know there was an enormous debate in 1980 in order to make it a national holiday?) Freedom best, R2A

  8. K.B. says:

    O dear. I’m disappointed that these “speculative” episodes aren’t “canon”. (I missed that “speculative episodes” discussion before. My bubble just burst now.) It quite diminishes my enjoyment of dtwof. All the most fun bits of the story never happened? Only the boring parts are real? That sux.

    And btw, doublethink was one of my all-time favourites, what with the classic line: “it’s not cheating if it happens at a conference”.

  9. Nele says:

    What is “Kucinich”?

  10. Alex K says:



  11. Chris says:

    What is “Kucinich”?

    [devil’s advocate]Ya mean besides a 61-year-old white dude with a 30-year-old wife? Who accepted campaign money from Larry Flynt?[/devil’s advocate]

  12. gatheringwater says:

    Fluttering fruitbats! Did Stuart take over the strip?

    I suppose I wouldn’t mind feeling preached at so much if I shared the cynicism and despair pervading the sermon. Sure, I’d like to see the electoral college reformed, too, but with three strong (and yes, electable) Democrat candidates vying for the Presidency, is this really the time for liberals to complain it doesn’t matter who captains a sinking ship? Can anyone not wearing a Utilikilt as a matter of principle seriously think Clinton, Obama, or Edwards are interchangeable with Romney, McCain, or Huckabee?

    I think it is time for a whole generation of liberals to grow up. It isn’t enough to just question authority. Sometimes, you have to become authority. Kucinich is a great guy and I get off on the idea of having a first lady with a piercing, but we need to win because I’m not ready to have President Huckabee changing the Constitution to define me out of the definition of family. We need to win, and that means a President that can govern the whole country, not just the minority of people who share my little subculture’s politics.

    Now, what was I saying about a sermon? Sorry! I hope this strip is repeated two years from now, when folks stop caring about the electoral collage. Yes, let’s change it, but can we please wait until the Republican administration is out of office?

  13. Ayala says:

    I didnt really understand all of it. (Thats what you get for not being a US citisen – look, i dont even know how to spell this word).

    Don’t worry about it though, democracy usually sucks everywhere. not just the US.

    (I dedicate this episode to me, since it was my birthday yesterday and all I could do was ly in bed with a fever).

  14. Maggie Jochild says:

    I sure hope Sparklepony is one of the majors available to J.R.

    Had to hit Wiki to find out exactly what aubergine looked like. Way better than taupe.

    Happy birthday, Ayala.

  15. Susan says:

    I’m afraid I totally agree with Gathering Water.

    I’m a little fatigued with those elitists who think that the Dems are just rearranging the furniture when really such issues as ENDA (ya know some equal rights protections for queer folk), and climate change and global warming (ya know saving the planet, for real), and a few little crumbs to possibly provide homeless people with a place outside of the freezing rain and snow to get protection…
    Yes, in the pure political worlds, the dems suck…..but in the real world where every little bit of change leads to more change, and perhaps hope for change, and perhaps energy to make more change..there’s a HUGE difference between when ANY Dem is running this country and ANY repub is running it.

  16. Chris says:

    Yep. One lesser evil, coming up. That’s my cheer, in time for Super Tuesday. (thanks, AB!)

  17. Michelle says:

    where the episode #520 is??? Out of order??? huh?

  18. Ayala says:

    thanks for the happy birthday wish. 🙂

    Michelle – there isn’t episode #520 (yet?). that number was skipped.

  19. Ianscot says:

    Diebold — correctly identified here as the company that jury rigs (ahem, programs and supports) those controversial voting machines — actually manufactures ATMs. That’s their original, core business, as far as I know.

    Look for the little metal plate on the next machine you use. They seem to make most of ’em around here.

    (And yes, the voting machines run on Windows. The Ohio examples people talked about prior to 2004 actually stored their vote tallies in Excel. Holy moly.)

  20. Renata says:

    About the voting machines… In Brazil we implemented this system about ten years ago, which runs on an open software, not Windows. You should see the improvements made in the election! In the last two presidential elections, we knew the results by the end of the day, with total transparency as we followed the tallying of the votes live. And so you don’t go around thinking conspiracy thoughts, the elected on both turns was a very leftist,labor party, against oligarchies, candidate. If there was any kind of manipulation of votes, it would certainly be in favor of the other candidates, believe me.
    Seems to me that those improvements would be welcomed in the US elections…

  21. Lisa (Calico) says:

    Heh – “Old Maybe.” Nice.

    Plus S.O.L. – guess Kucinich knows that acronym too! 😛

    Stuart is a perfect example of being so liberal, he’s becoming conservative-sort of like a philisophical black hole. He annoys me 90% of the time but I think you’ve done an excellent job of portraying this kind of personality.

  22. Risa says:

    Oh boy, oh boy, are they going to start being more electin-focused like the good old days? …or considering how the past two elections have turned out in this country, maybe those are (soon-to-be) the bad old days? Regardless, pleased as punch to see some politicking back in the script. It’s been great to probe their ever-fascinating domesting lives, but I’m yearning for a good Hillary V Barack debate with a little Mo+Kucinich=Mo+Nader-in-04.

  23. Aunt Soozie says:

    Crack me up! Old Maybe! anything you want under $25 and not too baggy!
    iMRItronic! runs on windows! (as a mac user I get an extra laugh there)
    I confess I see myself in the aubergine versus taupe… who should I support? does it even matter? who can get elected? how pitiful is that?
    Maybe Duncan is correct, they all suck and we should either leave the country or end our misery now. There has to be another option…move to Vermont and secede from the union? Meg would help us with the heating/carbon monoxide issues and knowing when it’s safe to use the blimey roof rake.

    Key West might be a better venue… seeing that tree down in the road in Alison’s last video wasn’t too inviting. Do you travel with a chain saw in your vehicle up North?

  24. tas says:

    “we need to win because I’m not ready to have President Huckabee changing the Constitution to define me out of the definition of family”: A-freaking-men.

    Did anyone read the comment he made last week about gay marriage leading to marriage to children and to animals (cause that’s “gay,” I guess)? Aside from every obvious argument one can make about that old and tired claim, I suppose he knows some gay politician with his eye on a little boy and a penchant for horses who’s going to change the Constitution to allow children and animals legal rights to sign marriage documents? WTF?

  25. tas says:

    PS: the “live there” Key West community is _notoriously_ homophobic.

  26. Karin says:

    Since I´m not from USA, I don´t know all the connotations, what does “Old Maybe” and SOL, signifie”?

  27. jayinchicago says:

    quote: “ENDA (ya know some equal rights protections for queer folk)”

    Personally, I think ENDA is a symptom of this political settling–without the protections for trans and gender-nonconforming folks, it’s really rather toothless. political liability, don’t cha know.

  28. mulieribus says:

    Kucinich is my man, but I’m still not sure I’ll really vote for him…I donated to his campaign though. The wife said you may as well leave your money in the middle of Massachusetts Ave. (big street) in a pile. I might just vote for him. Some of us need to be sending the dems the message that he’s what we would really want in an ideal world.

  29. mulieribus says:

    Of course, I already live in Massachusetts where our votes haven’t had much national impact in recent elections anyway.

  30. Eva says:

    I am just so happy that the biweekly strips are back. It seems like before I even have time to blink, there is a new one. Thank you so much for bringing them back. I was going a little stir crazy waiting the whole month.

  31. Kate L says:

    My understanding is that federal elections in Canada still rely on the paper ballot. Low tech, but reliable, and in keeping with the idea of using appropriate technology. Meanwhile, south of the border, last year our county election clerk used thousands in taxpayer dollars to replace our reliable scantron (pencil in the bubbles) voting system with computerized booths using touch screens. He told us what an advacement that was. Until this year, that is, when an important city issue was decided (at the request of the city commission) by mailing out paper ballots to all registered voters. Clever, these Canadians.

  32. mulieribus says:

    Also love Acme: Imagining Solutions (since 1953 in Looney Tunes!)

  33. Xena Fan says:


    Old Maybe stands for the store, Old Navy. SOL stands for sh*t out of luck.


  34. mulieribus says:

    1935, I mean. See thye whole acme catalog here:http://home.nc.rr.com/tuco/looney/acme/acme.html The next edition will have to include the iMRItronic.

  35. Norwegian Black Metal says:

    AB, admit it. This strip really takes place in Ithaca, New York, doesn’t it? Stuart is frighteningly similar to many Ithacans with his ingrown-liberalism turned narrow-minded conservatism. All or nothing- incremental change is not valid? Yikes.

  36. (Sir Real) says:

    Norwegian Black Metal – As with ENDA and gender-nonconformingness, it depends on what end of the increment you’re on. Somehow, some of us keep on seeming to be SOL…

  37. Andrew B says:

    Karin, “shit out of luck” is a vulgar way to say you’re not going to get what you want, there’s no reason why not, and there’s nothing you can do about it. No electric company representative would tell a customer she’s SOL, although they do act like it sometimes.

    Alison, obviously you will post your strips in whatever order you damn well please. But making 521 come before 520… isn’t that a little autocratic? Seriously. A Wildean contempt for vulgar rule-bound arithmetic is not consistent with democracy. If 6 was 9, then Bush might as well have been the winner in Florida in 2000. I mean, what if we conducted our everyday lives the same way we do our electoral system?

    Either leftists/liberals/”progressives” are in favor of democracy, warts, rules, procedures, and all, or we aren’t.

  38. Stef says:

    Runs on Windows, eek!

    I think a lot of people do the “taupe over aubergine” thing. They go “It will improve the resale value of the house.” Conformity over joy.

  39. charlie brown says:

    Yep, in the UK the Prime Minister is elected every four years with an average of 3-4 month build up campaign. Cannot imagine what it’s like for it to be any longer???!! Of course, there wasn’t much of an election in UK last year (Brown-clone taking over from Blair-clone)

    US cultural references also go over my British head too but cannot deny the universiality of these characters – American or otherwise….

    By the way, i happened to be in US when that story broke about the Republican senator who was found in mens toliet tapping the police officers foot. Can’t remember his name. Was fascinated by the media coverage…..

  40. Xena Fan says:

    Charlie Brown: It was Senator Larry Craig of Idaho. I read a humor article that stated Craig should have claimed to have a restless leg syndrome.

    Could the spectulive nature be that Samia and Ginger have a chance to leave the neighborhood/city/etc.? Or maybe Toni will have financial problems and Raffi goes with Clarice? This is fun!!!

  41. Xena Fan says:

    Sorry for the incorrect spelling. It’s speculative, not spectulive. I need a spell checker.

  42. lulu says:

    As one who was in fact born in North Dakota, I do not necessarily find it offensive that the electoral college gives less populated regions some additional clout. As Alexis de Toqueville pointed out, in America you run into the danger of having a dictatorship of the majority. The majority always wins, but the majority isn’t always right. One city block in New York probably has a higher population than all of ND but believe me, the people on that block have no idea at all about this year’s wheat crop–no small issue, if you want to eat.

    As for electability, I don’t just want someone I can deal with. I want someone that America as a whole can deal with. And (my parting shot, this) if you don’t think America, politics, and the world are dramatically changing, then you need to get out more and look at something other than your apartment walls.

  43. ksbel6 says:

    I prefer Linux…Firefox is terrific…

  44. Evelyn says:

    Does anyone do remember why Sparrow could fell in love with Stuart? He gets more and more annoying.

  45. Carter says:

    I guess the long and the short of it is: it’s worth it not to get the GREATER evil. If you’re the least bit anti-capitalist (i.e. think that growth and development are frequently not such great things) it is very very hard to like any mainstream Democrat, especially any follower of Clintonism.

  46. Carter says:

    Oh yes, and even though you have to compromise come November, try to vote your heart during the primary.

  47. Jaibe says:

    Incidentally, the UK Prime Minister is *not* elected. Elections are for (essentially) the house of representatives only. Then whatever party controls the house gets to pick the prime minister. Thus Brown replaced Blair with no popular election, just the consent of his party.

    And though I love the strip in general, I agree with Susan and gatheringwater. Anyone who thinks the parties are the same should look at the economy, at Haliburton & Raytheon’s profits, at income disparity, at the number of civilians dying in Iraq (or any other invaded country e.g. Kosov@), at the supreme court and its decisions, at who is paying taxes, at the deficit, at the NSF or NEA or PBS budget, at the FCC rules… need I really go on?

    Here’s a chart of unemployment marked by which party is president (doesn’t show congress, sadly)


  48. Jana C.H. says:

    You’re right, Carter, no candidate is anti-capitalist, but John Edwards, the other forgotten candidate, is by far the most progressive of the Big Three. Sure, he’s a rich white guy, but so was Franklin Roosevelt. He’s publically financed and takes not one cent from corporate lobbyists. And now that the media have ignored Kucinich to death, they’re trying to do the same with Edwards. Arg!

    Okay, rant is over. (Calm down, Jana!)

    As for Stuart’s obnoxiousness– remember, none of this is happening. It’s an Imaginary Tale. AB has exaggerated Stuart’s fanaticism beyond even its usual highly-annoying level for political purposes.

    Many thousand thanks to Mulieribus for the Acme Catalog link. I want the atom scrambler!

    Jana C.H.
    Saith JcH: He ain’t Robin Hood, but he IS Little John

  49. Cynthia-Symp says:

    I caucused for John Edwards in 2004, but I found his comments about Dick Cheney’s “gay daughter” in the vice-presidential debate to be the worst kind of dog-whistle appeal to homophobia. That was the end of my sympathy for the guy.

  50. CJ says:

    Actually, it never became clear why Sparrow fell for Stuart. She did it off the scene just to be found entering the house with him when she thought both Lois and Ginger were out.
    Thanks for explaning SOL.
    Don’t know how the american voting machines are build, but the chaos computer club just proved a few months ago that the ones used in the Netherlands (and some parts of Germany) can be manipulated awfully quick. The took about three minutes to get it to play chess ;-).

    Might be a stupid question, but is there anything you can buy at old navy for $25?

  51. ChrisB says:

    On a lighter note……Awesome mention of “Gossip Girl”!!!

  52. Annika in Canada says:

    I LOVE the scary finger-quotin’ Stewart! Terrifying!

  53. ready2agitate says:

    I’m totally down with the speculative genre. In measured does, it’s quite the nail-on-the-head thing to do!

    And oh my, I just heard that Heath Ledger was found dead in his NYC apt. – at 28 years old – how dreadfully sad!

  54. Anonymous says:

    Maybe half of what’s at Old Navy is under $25, CJ.

  55. Jana C.H. says:

    Crucial question: Is “Sufferin’ Suffrage!” supposed to make us think of Sylvester (“Sufferin’ Succotash!”) or Diana (“Sufferin’ Sappho!”)?

    Just wondering.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith JcH: If I can’t have Big Al, gimme Little John!

  56. Deena in OR says:


    I saw it too. What a waste of a life and talent, and how sad for his daughter.

  57. cdw says:

    …not quite getting why Sydney’s dad’s MRI is getting lumped together with the evil Diebold voting machines. Call me an idealist who believes in her job (nuclear medicine research), but nuclear medicine (and i’ll lump MRI in this this), in my opinion, benefits both individuals and society. It isn’t the end-all be-all solution to our collective medical problems, and it certainly is expensive, but its good. I can understand conspiracy theorists who demonize private for-profit businesses that push “full body scans” on people for no good reason (or, if you saw the recent Nightline on psychiatric medication and kids, that clinic that did full SPECT scans on children in order to push drugs on them… yech), but MRI has been used to make some stunning images of Alzheimers disease (and hence, invaluable prognoses & diagnoses) and will be instrumental (no pun intended) in finding a cure. Unlike Diebold voting machines, there is no big-crazy-for-profit-military-industrial-complex that is going to rig the results of your MRI, and these instruments are hardly shoddy. There is also a never-ebbing on-going dialogue in the medical industry over when expensive tests like MRI and nuclear medical imaging are necessary. We know that it isn’t always called for, but it’s a hell of alot less expensive and traumatic to do a cardiac CT angiogram on someone than an unneccessary catheterization.

    sheesh. I cringe every time my wonderful liberal brethtren go all knee-jerky against innovation and manifest themselves as Luddites.

    Dr. CDW, PhD, Radiological specialist

    (p.s. Alison- I love you anyway!)

  58. cdw says:

    oops- that was a Frontline, not Nightline


  59. cdw says:

    …and one last thing. I would much rather than DTWOF occasionally push my buttons and ‘offend me’, than be all bland and common denominator and the Muzak of comics and excedingly P.C.- at the very least, it gives me something to get on my soap box and rant back at (something all liberals love to do)! 🙂

  60. shadocat says:

    Ah, there’s Sydney and her Dad….never though I’d end up having so much in common with her.

    Is it me, or does J.R look a little “Seussian”?

  61. dzieger says:

    Jana C.H. — I’m pretty sure “Sufferin’ Suffrage” is a reference to the Schoolhouse Rock song “Sufferin’ Until Suffrage,” which, oddly enough, seems to be the one S.R. clip _not_ available on YouTube at the moment. Here’s a link to the song’s composer, Bob Dorough, and the “Bobettes” performing the song (audio only).


    In addition to being a nice, if necessarily perfunctory history lesson, the song’s chorus is one of the greatest hooks in the history of pop music.

  62. dzieger says:

    Correction: the clip is not audio only. It just leaves the title screen on long enough to give that impression to someone moving too quickly to watch the whole clip before linking to it.

  63. Maggie Jochild says:

    cdw, I didn’t take the linking of Diebold to MRIs as a slam on MRIs — in fact, quite the opposite, that we’d never tolerate leaving such essential medical equipment to an easily hacked and corrupt manufacturer like Diebold. I thought that was the point.

    John Edwards still has my support (rich white guy and all) because he will fucking use the words poverty and class.

    My preference would be go to to mail-in paper ballots, like Oregon has. Works well, brings in all the voters who can’t take off from work or get out of the house to vote (which is why Republicans go clammy at the very thought, because those tend to be Democrats), and is not easily stolen.

    And, regarding ENDA — we already have gender-noncomformity protection in this country, via Title VII. Let’s not give away that right by pretending it isn’t covered; it’s already been tested and won. Feminists in the 70s completely understood that forcing us to “look like” someone else’s idea of female (or male) was inherently sexist, and we got that law passed to cover that, among other things. Check it out and USE it, if you need it.

  64. dzieger says:

    Xena Fan, Re: Larry Craig

    Finally, an opening! For a long time, I’ve wanted to point the readers of this blog to the songs of Roy Zimmerman, arguably the best musical political satirist in the country right now.

    His fans include Tom Lehrer, Joni Mitchell, Weird Al, and Jeff Penalty (of the Dead Kennedys). His band, The Foremen, was with Reprise/Warner Bros. in the 90s…basically, what I’m saying is, this is not just some YouTube guy with a guitar and a Webcam. He’s the best in the business.

    Anyway, his song, “Larry Craig is Completely Heterosexual” is actually a sequel to “Ted Haggard is Completely Heterosexual.” (links to both below)

    But the song I’ve really wanted to point out is “Defenders of Marriage,” which is about as concise and eloquent (and yes, funny) a statement on the subject as you’re likely to hear anywhere.

    Anyway, here are the links. Of the two “Heterosexual” songs, I’d listen to the “Ted Haggard” one first, it’s the original, and the Larry Craig one is a variation on it.

    Actually, since the subject is the election, I’ll also link to “My TV.”

    Basically, just listen to this guy’s stuff.


    “Defenders of Marriage”

    “Ted Haggard is Completely Heterosexual”

    “Larry Craig is Completely Heterosexual”

    “My TV”

  65. Suzanonymous says:

    This episode was amazing. Really superb.

    It especially resonated for me because, a few days ago, I visited the Kucinich site and tried this test they link to: he led the pack for me. I thought other candidates would have similar tests on their sites, but the ones I checked did not. I looked into the test and it was made by some blogger last summer. What if the candidate whose (honest) views most matched most Americans was the candidate who actually won? It could be that person is Kucinich: the blogger said most of the test results are for Kucinich. The country and the world would be different. Yet Kucinich does not stand a chance of winning the presidency.

    All of the factors covered in this episode show how the ideal of democracy has been all but obliterated. People can talk about being realistic, but that is also a realistic observation. Kudos!

  66. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Hey peeps, if you find the existing political candidates abhorrent, don’t get mad, get CAUCUSIN’! The more involved people are at politics on the local level, the more influence the people have over the politicians who actually make it to the White House!

  67. Kelli says:

    Cynthia-Symp: I don’t get what you mean. What did he say when he mentioned Dick Cheney’s daughter?

  68. Annie in Hawaii says:

    Classic! Great strip as usual; speculative or not. Kucinich came in 2nd in Hawaii caucus last time around but probably not this year since Obama is a native son here. Aloha laters.

  69. naomi in canada says:

    i think the dtwof is the only comic that i read for the american politics. interesting that mo didn’t make an appearance this episode.

  70. Aunt Soozie says:

    I took it the same way that Maggie did…that we would never tolerate that kind of shoddy system when it comes to our health, that we expect state of the art equipment…and that we have amazing technology available to us, except when it comes to voting.
    re Old Navy…I just bought my kid a bunch of things there on sale and nothing was over $25. but i think that in the adult dept. when things aren’t yet on sale they would be more expensive.

  71. David in Cambridge says:

    AB: May I be the first to congratulate you on having a choice of episodes to deploy?


  72. Jana C.H. says:

    Lulu is right about the electoral college: it is not totally senseless. Without something of this sort, local issues in Vermont and North Dakota, and even Washington (which, in terms of population is the second-biggest Pacific-coast state) would be ignored by presidential candidates going for the states with huge populations. That doesn’t, however, mean the system is perfect the way it is. One improvement would be to give the winner of the total popular vote an extra hundred electoral votes, so we wouldn’t have another Bush v. Gore.

    The whole front-loaded primary/caucus season is another issue. I haven’t studied it closely, but rotating regional primaries and caucuses sounds like a good idea.

    I also noticed the absence of Mo in this strip. I suspect AB is setting us up for a surprise with Mo’s presidential choice. Holding out for Kucinich after all hope vanishes would be too much like her support for Nader in 2000. Mo is still the Great Idealist, but she HAS changed in eight years. And I don’t think AB will want to tell the same story a second time.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith JcH: If I can’t have Big Al, gimme Little John.

  73. Ian says:

    I think the rest of the world would just be happy if you voted in someone who’s not PNAC and would stabilise your economy.

    To whoever asked, technically in Britain, political parties ar only allowed to campaign for 1 month, after the announcement of the general election. It’s starting to be ignored, and the parties start their planning 2 years in advance, but that’s what’s meant to happen.

    One question though: if you truly live in a democracy, why should you have to settle for a lesser evil? Bigger picture I agree with, but why settle for so little?

  74. Deena in OR says:


    PNAC?? Definition, please…

  75. kate mckinnon says:

    Kick-ass strip, A, and very timely. Nicely done.

  76. Ery says:

    Maggie Jochild:
    Would you care to point out the section and sentence in “Title VII” that protects “gender-noncomformity”? Because I’m reading Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/vii.html), and it only seems to protect “race, color, religion, sex, [and] national origin”.

    It doesn’t protect trans people, or genderqueer people, or even butch women, any more than the gutted version of ENDA (with the old language protecting gender expression stripped out) that the House passed does. Neither of those laws would prevent a person from being fired for looking too butch, or too femme, or just too hard to categorize (especially if the employer had a token gender-conforming homosexual on staff for contrast).

  77. Ian says:

    Deena: not signed up to, or employs people connected to Project for a New American Century. Or whatever that imperialist thinktank’s called.

    Btw, I also have the same criticisms of British ‘democracy’. It’s only a democracy when the politicians actually listen to and act on behalf of the people they represent, not who funded their campaigns …

  78. Maggie Jochild says:

    Ery, first of all, Title VII has been amended since 1964 to also cover disability.

    Second, the protection with regard to sex extends to “gender non-conforming conduct”, as was handed down in Sixth Circuit re Smith. This does not apply, in the amended version, to transsexuals specifically because the court presumes someone identifying as transsexual is deliberately attempting to conform to gender. However, in the case of anyone else being discriminated against because their gender appearance or conduct does not “conform” to whatever the discriminator interprets as appropriate for their gender, folks have claimed and won cases under Title VII. (Specifically, “butch” women have won.)

    Because: The definition of what appearance and conduct belongs to “female” is up to the individual, and attempts to enforce it from the outside are inherently sexist. The sidelining of female autonomy to define for ourselves what woman means/looks like to trans struggles instead of leaving it in the realm of sexism is not serving us long-term. Gender (i.e., sex) may be a biological reality, but gender behavior (including feminine/masculine myths) is acquired and cannot be denied someone under the law.

    I’d love to see us, as a movement, pursue legal remedy under this statute much more vigorously instead of waiting on niche protections. It will open the whole discussion of gender wide, and while of course the right’s stance is essentialist, as are all proponents of biological determinism, the main point of feminism — that biology is not destiny — has never been lost by many of us.

  79. Maggie Jochild says:

    For more detailed analysis of the Title VII possibilities, see http://www.abanet.org/irr/hr/summer04/protectlgbt.html — the options don’t extend to being protected against discrimination for being lesbian/gay/bi, but the gender protection is being accumulated in caselaw, outlined in this source.

  80. C. says:

    naomi in canada- Obviously, Mo (not Stuart) is writing the strip ala “Duck Amuck”.

  81. Ery says:

    Protection for “gender non-conforming conduct” that can exclude transsexuals merely because they attempt to conform seems like very fragile protection indeed. After all, if they were successfully conforming, there would be no means to single them out for discriminatory hiring or firing in the first place. Thus, if they are being discriminated against, they are being discriminated against for failure to conform.

    However, on further reading, unless I’m missing another decision, it seems like that case you were referring to has been reversed on appeal, and transsexuals do in fact qualify for those protections (http://www.transgenderlaw.org/cases/smithvsalem.pdf).
    While this seems like a positive judgment to me, the fact that such legal protections can be gained or lost so easily and so quietly in one court case just further illustrates the fragility of legal interpretations as opposed to explicitly written laws.

    Also, I have to say that I think that the ability to “define for ourselves what woman means/looks like” is absolutely central to trans issues. A woman asserting newfound independence via non-conforming behavior and appearance, and a woman who has always been non-conforming and is now searching for acceptance and commonality, are on the same path, they’re just starting at different points. It would be profoundly unjust to use the power inherent in one’s position as a socially accepted woman to define womanhood in a manner that would deny others the chance to define their own womanhood for themselves.

  82. ksbel6 says:

    Ian, the US is not truly a democracy, it is a republic. Folks here like to spout about democracy, but I’ve never understood why because we don’t have it. When Bushites go all “we need to spread democracy” over war issues, I always say, why don’t we start here…everyone will get to vote on every issue 🙂 My favorite “republic action” of the past ten years or so is that in the state of Missouri the people voted against the “right to carry a concealed weapon” (by a landslide). Once Matt Blunt became governer and the house and senate were both repulican majority, they passed a law to allow people with permits to carry concealed weapons. Now everywhere you go in this state there are signs up saying whether or not you can carry concealed weapons into a particular building. As a teacher I was a little disappointed when they put the one up on our front door. I thought it would be good for students to not know for sure whether we teachers had guns in our desks! Republics suck.

  83. (Sir Real) says:

    Maggie Jochild, I see that title VII has been a tool in pursuing protection for gender-non-conforming people. However, it appears to have been of variable utility, as Ery points out. Depending upon the opinions of judges – especially judges appointed of late – seems to me a precarious strategy.

  84. (Sir Real) says:

    Further, per the idea of incremental rights, and the omission of transgender and non-gender-conforming folks from ENDA.

    In a way, I can see the logic. While those who are most reviled, feared and discriminated against most need legal protections, it is exactly those people who are most difficult to get legislative support for.

    So, the thinking goes, it is only practical to start with protections for the least controvertial folks. That is, straight-acting and appearing individuals, who love/partner with people of the same sex, but who otherwise align with gender norms. The others are just too difficult to get support for – now. Not yet. Please wait your turn, it’s just not practical.

    However, I notice that Barney Frank and many other people who prefer to exclude those controvertial trans and other gender-non-conforming folks from ENDA, are firm marriage-rights proponents. Is that not, uh, controvertial? It appears to me that the drive for equal marriage protections has riled up concervative voters to take anti-LGBTQ action in great, perhaps unprecedented numbers, to support those various hateful state constitution amendments that have been passed.

    I call for anyone who wants to limit ENDA to sexual orientation to rebuke the struggle for equal marriage. It’s just too unpopular. They’re selfishly damaging the movement for the rest of us.

  85. Jana C.H. says:

    ksbel6– As I remember it from Political Science 101 back in 1972, we are a democratic republic, as contrasted with the oligarchic republic of ancient Rome. Republic is the form, democracy is how it functions. That’s the ideal, of course. The U.S. is highly oligarchic is real life, especially as you get farther away from the local level.

    The case you cited about the gun law is an example of representative democracy versus direct democracy. The U.S. is mostly former but we do have bits of the latter, such as the initiative process. That has its problems, too, as we have discovered here in Washington State. No system of government is flawless.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Mark Twain: All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, on account of personal experience and heredity.

  86. falloch says:

    just to let you know, you’re namechecked today in the Guardian in an article about
    ‘The rise of the heroine in comic books’ 🙂

    just a wee namecheck, but inneresting article.

  87. Ian says:

    The Guardian article is here:


    Very interesting reading.

  88. falloch says:

    thanks ian, ‘puter acting up tonight, wouldn’t let me get back in to find the Grauniad website :-)!

  89. Ianscot says:

    Tell me that, in living rooms across America, taupe or “off-white” walls aren’t being chosen. In fact people will actually justify making such a lackluster decision for reasons that map pretty well to “electability”; they’ll say colorful walls are risky in terms of resale value.

    People do think this way about their lives. It’s pathetic, but they surely do.

  90. ready2agitate says:

    Shado – agreed, she looks a little Seussian. Maggie, Jana, Ery, and Dzieger – wonderful posts, all. Thanks.

  91. Jaibe says:

    Thanks for the Guardian post (and I agree on Seussian too). But back to action — are there any computer games with action heroines that aren’t really aimed at pre-teen males? Characters ordinary or geeky girls could identify with?

  92. Jaibe says:

    With respect to the Guardian article, it seems to me that female characters weren’t just tortured and killed off to motivate their boyfriend’s next adventure, but rather so that the boyfriend had time to do something interesting and world changing, not just nurture a relationship. Like when the love interest gets knocked out in the first 3 minutes of “Back to the Future II” or dump the heroes 10 minutes into “Bill and Ted II”. I’ve always been impressed Shrek keeps most of the characters fully involved, both friends and lovers (though again the Dragon was off camera for the whole second movie.)

    To this extent I think had I found DTWOF as a kid it would have totally bored me (after I got over the novelty of an all women cast and the sex) and I would have been back to identifying with the male characters in batman, spiderman, star trek and dr. who, and being annoyed when they briefly got involved in obviously-irrelevant relationship crap just to titillate the boring parts of the audience.

    I don’t know what changed, but when I think about it I’m kind of incredulous that my favorite comics now are essentially soap operas hybrid with intelligentsia themes. I don’t think it was just puberty, because it happened when I was around 25! Maybe when you are younger you can only focus on one thing, but as you get older you get more impressed by people juggling everything.

    PS is Hilary using Bill as Cheyney or what?

  93. katrin says:

    thanks Alison for keeping the good old days of debating the Marxist “Reine Lehre” alive ;-.)

    @karin and us other american-english as 2nd language users, here’s useful site to unscramble acronyms: http://www.acronymfinder.com/?source=awad

    you’ll get 5 pages of SOL … some of them very useful!

  94. Lizzie from London says:

    Enjoyed the strip – have marginally been following the presidential race (eary stages sof) via Radio 4 – our sublime Public Service Broadcasting service – one aspect of, for as long as it’s allowed to last. Small point: we have The House of Commons and the House of Lords (though hereditary peers have been abolished now, or at least they don’t get to sit in the Lords automatically). But the people who sit in the Lords are still called Lord. And yes, electioneering is limited in time though I can’t give you chapter and verse on the constitutional regulations. But of course all parties have a constant eye to the next election.

    We’re all a bit disillusioned with party politics here. In my old age I’m actually beginning to wonder whether the hereeditary principle is actually any worse. The American Presidency is looking somewhat hereditary to me these days though at least there’s no sign of a baby Bush in view.

  95. ksbel6 says:

    Give the Bush’s 8 years to reload. Jeb will be up next. That is the main reason I’m not a Hillary supporter. I mean, go women and all, but really, do we need another Clinton? We have either had a Clinton or a Bush in office since 1988. Wow that was a long time ago. I’m ready for someone new…Edwards or Obama either one would make me happy.

    Also, Jana CH, thanks for the lesson 🙂

  96. James says:

    Holy Crap! I read Fun Home for my Creative Non-Fiction class two semesters ago and I loved it. This is awesome.

  97. Metal Prophet says:

    I think that it’s EXCEEDINGLY unlikely that Jeb Bush will run for national office. Bush has brought so much disgrace to the country that he’ll be remembered like Nixon or Hoover. Maybe eight years is a long time, but remember, by then, Jeb might well be off the national scene, in any case.

  98. Susan says:

    Jay in Chicago..


    No, I don’t know.

    Protections for lesbians and gay men will help lesbians and gay men.

    The incredible outpouring of support for including trans and non-conforming gender people will eventually result in their/our rights being protected, too.



  99. Susan says:

    re: ENDA.
    I am one of the many, many lesbians who considers herself queer (and maybe trans in the news definition of the word),
    but I never wanted to be a man, I just wanted to be able to have the privileges and opportunities of a man….Or thought I was a man in the body of a woman.
    Hey, I look kind of butch, but have some femme qualities..

    As such, I totally supported amending ENDA to include all the issues about trans and gender non conformity, etc. etc.
    But I can’t object to ENDA being passed without it…might give some of us women who are living and loving somen some rights and protections…..would that be so dreadful?


  100. Jana C.H. says:

    ksbel6– Thanks for taking my mini-dissertation with a grin. I knew it was too lecture-like, but I was trying to keep it short. That’s what happens when you try to give information as concisely as possible: Lectureville!

    I remember being so excited about it all back in 1972 when I first took political science. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I can still get pretty excited about politics. We may be technically a fascist dictatorship, but somehow I can’t give up. Stupid of me, I know, but here I am at 54, ringing doorbells for John Edwards just like I did for George McGovern.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Arthur Pinero: Where there is tea, there is hope.

  101. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Oh dear, everybody’s favorite lame-duck candidate dropped out of the race today. Sorry, lady holding a paint bucket in panel 1! (I guess veganism alone does not a viable progressive candidate make.)

    Hey Jana C.H.- my mom went door-knocking for McGovern back in college, too! You go!

  102. Alex the Bold says:

    Finally! Stuart gets with the program.

  103. Ellen O. says:

    I found this definition of “Taupe” in Wikipedia. Pretty clever metaphor for the candidate and electorial process, Alison!

    Taupe is a vague, unscientific color term which may be used to refer to almost any grayish-brown, brownish-gray, or warm gray color. It often overlaps with tan and even people who use color professionally (such as designers and artists) frequently disagree as to what “taupe” means. There is no single, generally recognized authority for such terms.

    The word “taupe” derives from the French name for the European Mole, Talpa europaea.

  104. Butch Fatale says:

    Oh (SirReal). My crush on your rhetoric continues unabated.

  105. PETAPocket says:

    Calling taupe a “vague” color is a glaring example of the institutionalized disrespect shown to Furry Animals of Variegated Epidermis (FAVE).

    Of COURSE there is no single “generally recognized authority” for their color. They are OUTSIDE the authority of rigid human linearity. It is YOUR authority that is not “generally recognized!”

  106. Minnie says:

    Dr. CDW’s comments about radio imagery reminded me of an article somewhere that mentioned how some of us oldies, still ticking on all cylinders intellectually, have similar shrinkage gaps in our brains as do those of us older folk who are slipping down on our luck mentally.

    Politics here in the USA? Now if I can just remember to keep my passport up-to-date… Huckabee and his supporters are shockingly scary, and we have been insulated here for so long I worry about our inaction.

    I love DTWOF and this blog as it continues to lift me from numb psychic isolation. Tiramisu, grazie, Ms. Bechdel and y’all!
    OH! Where can I buy the Italian-language “Fun Home”? Anyone?

  107. laura says:

    It’s widely sold and read, as far as I can see, here in Italy. how can I get it to you?

  108. Minnie says:

    Mille grazie, Laura, what I need is the address of an online bookstore in Italy — OR just the Italian title of the book..
    Aha! Here it is: “Fun Home, una tragicommedia familiare”

    Found it at last through AbeBooks.com.
    This time, I clicked “More Search Options”, entered our good author’s name, nothing more.
    Then, for “Bookseller Country” I narrowed it to Italy only.

    Woohoo! It’ll be here in no time. What a way to revive those beloved, fading language lessons!
    Cheers and thanks again, Laura.

  109. tHe LaTeNt LeNs says:

    stuart’s shirt scares me!

  110. tHe LaTeNt LeNs says:

    ……..but i love the couch hairs

  111. Marj says:

    dzeiger – thank you so much for the Roy Zimmerman links. Never come across him before. Like others on this side of the pond, I’m relying on Radio 4 for my US political background – well in the end it affects us all…

  112. LondonBoy says:

    This is mostly for Jana C.H., but also for various other posters (this website, passim):
    Jana writes: “We may be technically a fascist dictatorship…”
    No you aren’t. You live in a moderately well-functioning democracy, with all the good and bad points that that entails. Certainly, the democratic process has turned up some poor choices from time to time ( none, in my opinion, poorer than your current president ), but to make the assertion that “technically” you live in a fascist state, or under a dictatorship, is just plain wrong. To engage in a knee-jerk cry of “fascist” whenever a Republican is elected, or to say “dictator” when a president works to get legislation passed on a party-whip basis, seems to me to be factually incorrect, and, worse, just plain lazy-minded. I don’t like what’s going on in the USA any more than you do, but you’ve got to smarten up your ideas if you’re going to win the battles ahead. It seems to me that sloganeering has contributed a lot to the current mess, so maybe it would be time to stop.

    All through college I had to cope with left-wing students telling me that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were fascists and dictators. The left has been shouting this kind of thing for so long that no-one pays any attention any more. Shouting something pretty obviously false over and over again, as some on the left tend to do, just makes them look stupid, and makes it more likely that any sensible and true comments will be ignored.

    Finally, there’s the obvious point that effectively bracketing Bush with Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mugabe, Franco, Peron, Castro and the rest has the effect of devaluing the experiences of those who suffered under genuine fascism and genuine dictatorships.

    Sorry to rant at you in this way, but it really annoys me when people have so little confidence in their point of view that they resort to this kind of rhetoric.

    P.S. Of course, there is the separate point that although the US is a democracy, a case can be made that Bush didn’t win election to the presidency. I’m not talking about 2000, although I’m not happy about the procedures; I’m talking about 2004, where the Ohio vote was almost certainly corrupted ( although I haven’t performed a complete analysis myself, I have reviewed such an analysis and am fully professionally qualified to review the conclusions presented ). This, however, is a problem with the execution of the democratic process, and is not a sign that the US is not a democracy. If you really want to fight the Republicans, make sure that likely non-Republicans are fully educated in the voting process and their rights during the voting process, and *get voters registered*. I’d particularly encourage Hispanic voter registration: other minority groups have large outreach programmes working for them, but Hispanic groups are beginning to lag behind.

  113. Em says:

    On a somewhat shallow note, Clarice needn’t worry about Raffi getting anything “too baggy”- it’s all about the tight, skinny jeans now. And even knowing it’s a speculative strip, I have such a fierce hatred for anything taupe or beige that it pains me to see someone choosing that color for their room.

  114. Jana C.H. says:

    Londonboy– I was using the word fascist for its original meaning: a fusion of state and corporate power. This is the situation we have. As for dictatorship, the doctrine of “unitary executive” is just that. The president ignores the Congress, dominates the Supreme Court, and decides on his own exactly which laws he will obey and which he will not.

    The Bush Administration has shredded our Constitution. That is why it is so important that Bush and Cheney be impeached. Not because of Bush and Cheney themselves, but to establish, as legal precedent, that their warping of the Constitution is illegitimate and must not be allowed to stand. There will be no impeachment, of course, and all the unconstitutional practices will remain in place.

    I know what you mean about left-wingers yelling “fascist” when all they mean is “right-wing government I don’t like.” I said the U.S. is “technically” a fascist dictatorship to indicate that I was using the words for their actual, technical meaning, not just as a matter of name-calling. The necessary laws and signing statements are in place. Relatively few people, most of them Muslim, have felt the impact yet, which is why we have to turn it around NOW, while there’s still considerable democracy left. There’s no point in waiting until they come for liberal Democrats. That will be the last thing they do.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Mark Twain: You tell me whar a man gits his corn-pone, en I’ll tell you what his ’pinions is.

  115. Maggie Jochild says:

    Re ITMFA news:

    “Brattleboro residents will vote at town meeting on whether President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney should be indicted and arrested for war crimes, perjury or obstruction of justice if they ever step foot in Vermont.”

  116. Maggie Jochild says:

    And, on a completely different note — hoping that some literary lesbian-feminist can help me with what a search of my poetry shelves and Google has not: I’m looking for a line or two of poetry that says something like “your daughters are not safe with me”, I thought by either Olga Broumas or Ellen Marie Bissert. Ring any bells out there?

  117. Hee Haw says:

    I want episode 520! Boo Hoo Hoo…

  118. hetero genus says:

    Londonboy, well articulated! The good news is that only in a democracy can people banter about such terms, much as a secure child in a loving home can mouth off to their parents with impunity: Perhaps it gives a sense of soldarity with truly repressed and abused kids who dare not speak out. As long as we can still sign our names to letters of protest of our government without fear of danger to ourselves or our families, or entire comunities in some cases, or even suggest such a measure as Maggie J. relates, we ought to appreciate and not take for granted this fragile thing we have strenthened to the point we consider it an entitlement. May it ever be so. Questioning and criticism, free speech and open protest are excercises that keep democracy strong. Don’t be too quick to destroy something because it isn’t perfect or doesn’t gratify our specific need. Be thankful the venue for change is built in and utilize it, but make an effort to become familiar with something before equating it garbage. And, far left, far right: different ideals, same willingness to absorb unexamined sound bites. If one doesn’t have time or inclination to verify or challenge one’s notions vs. the realities of dictatorships and fascism. Check the newsservices of those countries and see how much govermental criticism exists, or how many gather to protest the jailing and deaths of their fellow “citizens” (not of those who protested with bombs, but with words like authors, or cartoonists). Countries where people are free to protest and murder the adversaries to the system, but dare not challenge the status quo as we all have the opportunity to do right here. OK, now i am sounding “preachy”. Just want those who detest ourselves to really consider if they are indeed on the side that represents their values. I say this as one who used to claim environmental issue were the one and only important issues affecting my vote, because without healthy air and water there is nothing. That is still number one, but not one and only, anymore. At least not for me.

  119. Hammerwoman says:

    Tight, skinny jeans are in?! Can you say “Landlubbers”?

    BTW, most of us gendertrash are so used to being tossed over to lighten up the ol’ boat that we were in our swimmy suits long before the ENDA deal went down. The worst thing about Sweet Old Barney (we just use the initials around our house) endorsing the non-inclusive version was that many of our friends in Congress thought that since he was for it, it must be okay.

    Still, I will never, ever, encourage anyone to work against full marriage equality just because I got used for a human bargaining chip in a rigged game. Those who seek to keep us down will eventually defeat themselves; it was only the meanness of my birth state’s health department that led to my being able to legally marry my wonderful butch dyke partner (with me listed as the groom- which, if you know me, is fairly hilarious).

  120. Feminista says:

    A general plea to all your perceptive posters:

    PLEASE use paragraphs! Especially if it’s a long post. Otherwise many,including me,will skip over it in order to save our vision.

    Thanks. We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

  121. bre says:

    I guess I’m idealistic in thinking this election might actually result in change.


  122. Duncan says:

    Of course you aren’t! Obama is a bringer of change! And even if he isn’t nominated or elected, the Democrats will bring change … just as they did when they regained control of Congress in 2006.

  123. Pope Snarky says:

    Hail Eris!

    LondonBoy: Two words: Habeas corpus. (Anyone remember that?)

    Certain others who shall remain nameless: Hillary was linked to certain anti-abortionists (with Dominionist (Christian Reconstructionist) connections) some three years ago, so I think calling her any kind of “lesser evil” would be a huge mistake. As it is, she’s beginning to resemble Cthulhu…Mind you, I have little doubt that McCain has his own Dom connections, and Romney certainly does. Dominionists like to play all available sides, as much as they can.

    Yes, I think “fascist dictatorship” might well be a decent description of the US these days. Change is inevitable (and chaos a certainty), but as any con artist knows, you never give the money back (or, in this case, the power).


  124. athenegirl says:

    Hail Eris indeed. Yes, I finally realized who JR reminds me of…I was wondering if it were a conscious homage or an unconscious one…and Eris is her patron saint…

    It’s Eloise.

    Plaza Hotel. In Paris. And like that.

    And on the presidential front. I was an Edwards girl. Now gotta vote for someone else. So my two cents is—please please PLEEEEZ vote for the one person you think can win. Over the Republican candidate.

    Which is gonna probably be McCain, who has a lot of traction with the tiny slice of “independent”, vascillating voters in the middle who make most of the presidential decisions in this country. Huck doesn’t, Romney won’t, but McCain actually does. So who can win them back from McCain? It’s not Hillary. They…hate her. I don’t hate her, there are things I don’t like about her, but I don’t hate her because Hillary Hate is 99% confused misogyny and irrational. So that just has to be considered here. Going with what they can handle. This is cold-blooded stuff here.

    I still like John. And Elizabeth. But even though studies showed he had more traction with that Independent Slice than Hillary, he’s no longer a candidate. So I’m thinking, how can I increase Edwards’ influence at the convention and afterward? I think it’s not by voting for Hillary. I think it’s by going the other way. Obama isn’t really an anti-Hillary, but he’s an opposite version of Public Evil Image of Hillary. So that’s my thinking at this point four days before Super Tuesday.

    Furthermore, “lesser evil” is really, really an OK thing. There is no perfectability, never gonna be. Have to get over wanting the perfect candidate or even the perfect leader. I’ll settle for the Democratic leader. Any. People who wanted the perfect candidate–I remember a bunch of them. They voted for Nader. Think about it. How did that turn out?

  125. Maggie Jochild says:

    I agree that it is critically important to use the terms fascist and fascism accurately, especially since one rightwing nutjob has just published a book about his invention, “liberal fascism”. I know I plug Orcinus blog everywhere I go, seems like, but on fascism their essays and posts are equal to none, both in defining the meaning and illustrating where it exists in America today. http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/ For me, it’s the most important political and cultural blog I read every day. It teaches without losing hope, and, most importantly, it fights misogyny.

    Woman-hating is key to fascism. Woman-hating includes hating any version of queer; it includes incest, child abuse, and the sexualization of minors by adults; in includes justification of raping the environment; it includes rigid hierarchies based on age, class, race and belief systems because authoritarianism is the security it offers those to pledge allegiance to it. Woman-hating is NOT opposed to femininity, because femininity is seen as a necessary (though less) servant to masculinity, which is worshipped by fascism. Believing in essentialism and the gender binary is necessary to fascism, and promoting that belief is widely supported in fascist cultures.

    I find it interesting that the right-wing shitstorm against Hillary finds permission to be overt in its woman-hating (check out Feministing or Pandagon for some of the T-shirt and other misogynstic products hitting the market) but its attacks on Obama are, though no less, more covert in its racism. At least, so far. The viral e-mails about him being Muslim, the persistent use of his middle name, the talk radio insertion of seemingly innocuous references to spade, coon, drugs, etc. in paragraphs that also have his name — it’s still required to maintain a veneer of “oh, no, we’re not racist” in national media. At least temporarily.

    What this indicates to me is NOT that one oppression is worse than the other, but that our strategy in tearing off the scabs must be different. The name fascism derives from the meaning for bundle. They are good are bundling together disparate groups to destroy free thought — i.e., the Republican party of the past 30 years. Check out Sara Robinson’s brilliant post on the GOP at Group News Blog for this history at http://www.groupnewsblog.net/2008/01/gop-from-big-tent-to-three-ring-circus.html.

    But as the GOP cannibalizes itself because each of its three top contenders — McCain, Romney and Huckabee — represent one and only one branch of its heretofore trinity of constituents — we still face grave threat from the rise of a third party candidate diluting Democractic strength, the very real possibility that Bush & Co will suspend the 2008 election on some pretext (he’s stated over and over that dictatorship is what he’d prefer), and the failure of our existing Democratic leaders (including both Hillary and Obama) to comprehend the depth of the mess we’re in.

    So, the question I keep asking myself about a candidate is, Who will have the smarts, maturity, guts and resource network to do the job ahead? (Not just vision or expertise.) My answer prior to this week was John Edwards. Now I have to rethink it. Fighting fascism will be a learning process for us all, and I’m willing to grant us all some mistakes. But who had demonstrated an ability to learn from mistakes? That’s who will get my vote.

  126. Oly says:

    I wish for a “None of the Above” tab on the voting machine. Even the French get to have a vote of no confidence to remove idiots from office.

  127. Em says:

    I see it as a choice between “evil” and “the inability to stop evil”. Still, I am excited for Super Tuesday because for once there is no front runner and everything is so wonderfully chaotic (though I do hope and pray there isn’t chaos with the voting machines themselves. Which is likely a futile prayer. Sigh.) At least my polling place is literally right next door and I can vote before my 8 AM class. And I love wearing that “I voted!” sticker all day cause I’m still a big fat dork who gets excited about stickers.

  128. Fatigues says:

    I love speculative episodes!
    And this analogic piece of work really kicked electoral-system-ass!

    And by the way, have anyone considered Mike Gravel as a candidate?

  129. Travis Johnson says:

    Really, Ali…that’s the way school is NOW.

  130. Susanna says:

    Why did you use the subjunctive?
    I hope I used the right word in English (“Konjunktiv” in German).
    Why did you write “What if we conducted …”? Don’t we do this already?