frivoling as the world burns

February 15th, 2009 | Uncategorized

Since I stopped writing Dykes To Watch Out For last spring, I really haven’t been following current events very closely. This seems like the sort of thing one should not admit in public, so I’m not sure why I’m telling you. I didn’t know about the flap over Obama and extraordinary rendition, for example, until I read about it in your comments here, on the last post. I don’t really have an excuse. But I’ve been working hard on my next book, and there doesn’t ever seem to be a good time of day for news intake. I write every morning, and any input from the outside world tends to shatter my concentration. I don’t commute, so there’s no built-in time to listen to the radio. I’ll watch a little Rachel in the evening but I can’t keep paying attention after she does the headlines, plus who can bear watching the news at night when you’re just trying to wind down?

I know, this is all very irresponsible and self-absorbed. But I’m going to consider it an experiment. What insights might arise in this becalmed state, when one is not being constantly buffeted about by the 15 minute news cycle?

Maybe none. Maybe I’ll spend the rest of my life being frivolous, like I was at the Drag Ball last night. Holly and I went as schoolboys. Look, I found the Hogwart’s school crest and photoshopped it to read “Dragwarts.”


Here’s my friend the Queer Theory Professor hemming Holly’s gray flannel bags yesterday afternoon. Doesn’t she look very Tailor-of-Gloucester-like?


Here’s Hol and me in our caps and scarfs. And check out my spirit gum sideburns.

The ball was really fun. Here’s Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, chatting up a sailor. He gave me a copy of The Communist Tranifesto.


Things got pretty wild as the evening progressed. This schoolboy appears to have a penchant for ladies’ lingerie


297 Responses to “frivoling as the world burns”

  1. nobody at all says:

    amusing that my prior comment was deleted. Bechdel should post some sort of comments policy, as I am not sure which of my three observations was verboten

    -that Alison need to concern herself with stuff she doesn’t know anything at all, like national security law

    -that “Queer Studies” etc is actually a pretty bogus academic discipline

    – aging lesbians should not strip and “boogie down” in public or post pictures of them doing so on the internet

  2. marilyn says:

    Let me, then, respond to your prior comment. You were for some reason convinced that the Chinese are wiser than we are. They know everything about national security, they study not Queer Theory but Physics, and never strip in public.

    I am convinced you are wrong: in a few years the Chinese will also study Queer Theory. It comes with progress. And it is called civilization.

  3. Maggie Jochild says:

    Don’t feed trolls, ya’ll.

    Alison, there’s no need to post a comment policy when common politeness and a prohibition against hateful language are agreed to be in play at most blogs.

    The ingestion of news is not essential to art, even art that is based on political commentary if said art represents a cultural stance rather than punditry. We have enough punditry to drown us all, and from Losers who cannot find audiences on their own. (Ahem.) If your art has shifted direction, well, that comes with growing older with beauty and humor — as lesbians in particular are wont to do.

  4. brooke says:

    that’s great. i don’t know about the flap over obama either, and i pay close attention to the news as a way of procrastinating studying for phd comps. btw – holly is beautiful.

  5. Public Health Vet says:

    Alison, I hope you will not be influenced by the ungracious and pain-filled comments posted above. I love the pics, you two are lovely together, and your sweetie looks both happy and gorgeous in ladies’ lingerie. So glad that you enjoyed the evening.

  6. Erika says:

    Life would be pretty boring and unleavened without some frivolity. Thanks for sharing your photos, Alison! You and your friends look great.

  7. nobody at all says:

    the only places in the world where “queer studies” has any following is the US, the UK (unfortunately) and maybe France. Most educated Europeans consider the whole notion laughable. And, no, the Chinese will not take up queer theory, and no, it is a blemish on civilization. Not gayness, but making a psuedo-intellectual fetish over gayness

  8. Dr. Empirical says:

    In contrast, I’ve been ill lately, so I’ve been watching a lot more news than usual. I can’t say I feel any better informed. It’s amazing how cable news can go on for hours about a plane crash without conveying any new information beyond what can be learned in the first five minutes.

    If one relied solely on cable news, one would never learn of important issues like Obama’s weasling out on extraordinary rendition.

    Don’t feed the trolls.

  9. Everyone says:

    I, for one, am very happy that there are drag balls and lovely bejeweled blue pieces of lingerie worn with ties. And even happier that there are “frivolous” blog posts about them. Its never trite to restate that the personal is political. Go on with your queer self, Alison. I’m so over this post-queer stuff.

  10. Donna says:

    Love the pictures and your comments.

    As far as current events go, I’m with you. In fact I’m way beyond you. Or behind you. Actually, I am often afraid of being found out about my lack of current event knowledge. But sometimes I trumpet my flagrant disregard of news-watching and current events, depending on my mood. I have a sort-of excuse: It all started when I moved back to L.A. and was mortified by the difference in news coverage as compared to northern California. L.A. likes to add fuel to the fire is the only way I can put it. Plus, if they can get video of something, it’s on the news, nevermind if it’s newsworthy or not. Then, several years ago, two plane crashes happened one after the other and their salacious coverage pretty much snuffed out any vestiges of obligation to stay current I felt. The sheer delight the anchors seemed to be getting from the detailing of the gruesome facts was incredibly distasteful to me. (On and on about how the plane landed in a shallow swamp in Florida and the divers couldn’t see 4 inches in front of their face until there was one or more body parts floating right in front of their mask; and how, since the swamp was so shallow and the crash so violent, the swamp was chock full of these body parts; and that the divers were traumatized from the whole ordeal and needed psychological counseling afterwards. Oh, and that sort of thing mixed in with every inane detail of Hollywood actors and actresses lives.

    I’ve not heard it put better than this:

    “I know, this is all very irresponsible and self-absorbed. But I’m going to consider it an experiment. What insights might arise in this becalmed state, when one is not being constantly buffeted about by the 15 minute news cycle?”

    Please keep us informed about your experiment. I personally haven’t had many insights, but I think I’m just one of those people who have a low threshold to begin with. I do it to keep sane, not for insights.

  11. nobody at all says:

    oh brother, the cable-news-doesn’t-report-real-news whinge. Cable news is produced for blithering American idiots. Look, read the Economist, the FT, and the NYT, and you’ll know 90% of what you need to know. It takes less than 45 minutes a day. And if you can’t read, then watch BBC, it’s better than nothing.

  12. Frankot says:

    I work in media monitoring and I have to say you don’t learn much by being in the news cycle. Always bear in mind that ANY media only offers a point of view, not the absolute truth. As for Alison not being up to date on current affairs, I can only say : I envy you so much!

  13. nobody at all says:

    wrong: the Economist gets it right close to 100% of the time. In stark contrast to rags like Mother Jones.

    Man, my favorite storyline in MJ was during the war in Kosovo, they argued NATO went to war over some lead mines in Kosovo. Hilarious, a great example why you folks need to eschew any opinions on anything like national security, or economics, law, or public policy. Please, stick to fab drag balls, anal balls, etc etc.

  14. shadocat says:

    I say, party on, Alison! There’s only so much one can worry about at a time, anyway.

  15. Tom Geller says:

    HAHAHA! You look great as Harry Potter. I went as Harry Pothead of Bongwarts one year. Pics at

  16. Tom Geller says:

    Oh, and here’s the crest for Spliffindor (with wizard bong!):

  17. TAF in Cambridge says:

    Not that I normally advocate sticking one’s head in the sand, but Alison, you’ve spent years dissecting the news and laying it out in comic panels for our edification. You’re taking time to concentrate on a new endeavor. This is good. You’re also giving yourself some leeway to have a little fun now that you aren’t traveling so much. This is also good. Eventually you’ll be back to whatever your normal news consumption is – taking a break from it is OK.

    As far as the pic of Holly? As long as she’s cool with it, that should be all that matters – I’m sorry folks don’t agree. She is gorgeous and it looks like the party was a total blast!

  18. Jessica Bessica says:

    the hand reaching for holly’s be-dazzled bra really makes the picture. (well, makes it “better” at least).

  19. bean says:

    1. Free Speech Radio News anybody?

    2. i didn’t vote for obama. i didn’t get inaugural giddiness. i haven’t liked his cabinet and administration picks. (e.g. hillary CLINTON is in charge of our foreign policy?!?!?!) i don’t think we’ll be getting out of iraq anytime soon. i’m fairly certain we won’t be divesting from Israel. and, he’s pro death penalty. tell THAT to stuart and sparrow and ginger! wtf?

    so, i reserve the right to not vote, and to call it a political stand, as i DO believe it only encourages a corrupt system. and, i reserve the right to resent the self-congratulatory, arrogant, ‘tude that voters often meet my decision with. i’m politically active many other days of the year. i just choose to take that one off. deal with it.

    there’s a historical tradition of anarchists not voting. when we explain why, the explanation is surprisingly similar to the reason the overwhelming majority of people (many of whom wouldn’t know an anarchist if one showed up at their thanksgiving table) do not vote. we feel/are alienated from the system. we know our votes don’t count. (florida, 2000, diebold? anyone?) we don’t believe the government has ever done anything good for us. we want change. we don’t think it will come from voting.

    3. i graduated from college in 1990 with a degree in women’s studies. even then, i started to wonder, why didn’t we have departments called “Feminist Studies” if that’s what we womyn were actually talking about? it would have saved so much angst and confusion with the “queer studies,” “gender studies,” and “men’s studies” folks. if we mean feminist studies, we should say feminist studies, and not think that it’s ALL just women’s studies. given that, i’m totally down with a queer studies that understands how much queer liberation theory owes to the feminist movement.

    4. i hope my last comment doesn’t constitute troll-feeding. i’m far more interested in what the intelligent folks on this list have to say about it than the troll.

    5. in that same vein, yay for drag balls, and yay for scantily clad “aging lesbians”!

  20. noominal says:

    Admitting one is “self absorbed” is a sure sign that is not really the case.

    Only Alison would self-chastise for not tuning into the news often enough.

    Good gravy! I think it’s an venerable accomplishment to have found a way to tune it out!

  21. Duncan says:

    Agreed, bean. A lot of people forget that change in this country has rarely come from voting. It’s happened because The People in Charge were afraid of what would happen if they didn’t make things happen. The Civil Rights movement, for example — a bunch of troublemakers, including the radical extremist Martin Luther King Jr., who went on to say that that the United States was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world; and even then, much of the changes in government policy happened because the government was afraid of how US racism made “us” look abroad, that the Communists would be able to exploit it. But from voting in elections? Not a bit.

    Or women’s right to control their bodies, as endangered as that right is. They gained it by organizing and marching, and then the Supreme Court overturned a batch of laws regulating access to contraception and abortion. (As it had earlier overturned democratically-enacted laws against miscegenation, and would later overturn democratically-enacted laws against sodomy.)

    Mass movements make change, not voting, if only by scaring elected and other officials into enacting programs they wouldn’t otherwise have looked at. (And the Obama organization was not a mass movement, but a political machine, as shown by its current helplessness.) Though I’ll qualify this somewhat by agreeing with another of my anarchist exemplars, Noam Chomsky, who argues that the minor differences between two candidates can make big differences in people’s lives, and so it can be worthwhile to vote, with eyes open and without illusions. But I still respect those who choose not to vote for your reasons.

  22. Jessica Bessica says:

    Hm, bean, that’s an interesting take. I guess they’re all “feminist,” or they all could be feminist, but it seems like “gender studies” is the best umbrella term. Under gender is all that other good stuff: men, women, femininity, masculinity, and sexuality-since sexuality (and queer studies) is really all about gender.

    I imagine that “queer studies” is also a fine umbrella term–if it’s referencing queer gender as well as queer sexuality. But, again, it seems like “queer” falls under “gender,” along with the “normative” (without which there would not be a deviant… without which there would not be a normal…)

    The really difficult question, then, is “what is gender?”

  23. Glenn R says:

    I love all of the pictures of course. Rather convincing prep school boys at that. And I find it amusing when people think they are being bold by posting cranky notes to a blog to release some frustration. Yawn.

    I love politics and I have stopped watching the news as closely as I did, for the time being. It’s called burnout Alison! Look how many details you packed into panels, strip after strip, for decades!

    I had never heard of Mary Daly, for starters, until Mo and Lois discussed it as mandatory reading. The vegan talk, the trans talk – finally I could hold up some detail in a conversation with queers or inquisitive straights.

    Back to current events….

    The “worst” news under Obama looks like a sunny day on Sesame Street compared to a “good” day when whatshisname, the semi-recovered alcoholic from Crawford was running our country into the ground. Harry Reid looks like Churchill and Nancy Pelosi looks like Lyndon Johnson when you compare them to the mental dwarves ruining Congress from 1994-2006.

    Take a break, don’t sweat the small stuff. Wiser hands are on the steering wheel. Next stop: the Supreme Court!

  24. ksbel6 says:

    I love to go for days at a time with no news. I’m glad I live in a small town where our station cannot afford those over-the-top crazy lead-ins where you become terrified to eat peas. But occasionally I do watch Rachel for an hour, and then I feel all caught up for another 10 days. Oh, and I have absolutely no idea if I used those hyphens correctly.

    The Harry Potter outfits were amazing, and every now and then I think I should go back to college to get a MA in queer theory. I could be the evil nontraditional student that sets the curve on every test. I remember hating those people when I was 20!

  25. chriso says:

    I’ve not been able to watch a lot of news since I lived in NYC during 9/11. It’s all violently depressing and skewed and frustrating. Not that I don’t watch any, but I can relate to not wanting to be glutted with it 24/7.

    Your photos are hilarious and awesome – Dragwarts rules!

  26. stew1 says:

    nobody at all…

    is a nobody..

    in the same sense a black hole is a nobody…

    all light gone!

    this blog is a delight…

    something i have just begun checking…

    the self-examined life is always worth seeing…

    thank you…

  27. Anarcissie says:

    Definitely don’t watch the news or listen to the news in the afternoon or evening — it can take several hours to recover. It is mostly lies anyway, and what isn’t lies is pretty vacuous. Yes, it was nice that Mr. O got in, in a sort of abstract way, but the brass tacks are still the brass tacks and they’re still trying to make us eat them.

    The photos are cool. Perhaps the Mandate of Heaven will pass to the Chinese with their unQueer physics and we’ll be free.

  28. Kate L says:

    … I still sometimes think that all of us here on this blog are creations of A.B.’s ink pen, different parts of herself that she has spun off to go out into the world, follow current events, and report back to her on a regular basis. How else do explain me getting a ride home last night from Mo and Sydney??? 🙂

  29. C. says:

    Since you were out, let’s all hash over Rick Warren and Melissa Etheridge again for your benefit…

  30. verbal athleticism says:

    Um, you two are adorable in the first photo, and Holly’s HOT in the last. Looks like a night of fun… and eye candy.

  31. Janine says:

    It should be pointed out that an analysis of Obama as having ‘weaseled out’ on extraordinary rendition is somewhat lacking.

    The L.A. Times, for instance, in going after supposed blood in the water, failed to notice that Obama’s executive order includes the following:

    “the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution; the Federal torture statute, 18 U.S.C. 2340 2340A; the War Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. 2441; the Federal assault statute, 18 U.S.C. 113; the Federal maiming statute, 18 U.S.C. 114; the Federal “stalking” statute, 18 U.S.C. 2261A; articles 93, 124, 128, and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. 893, 924, 928, and 934; section 1003 of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, 42 U.S.C. 2000dd; section 6(c) of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Public Law 109 366; the Geneva Conventions; and the Convention Against Torture”

    – which, by extension, prohibits the torture of detainees or their rendition to other countries for the purposes of torture. It also fails to mention that the executive order provides that the US government must provide the International Red Cross with a list of all individuals detained under armed conflict in the custody of or under the effective control of US officials; something the Bush administration did not do.

    So, while it’s important to keep a clear head as regards Obama and / or any governmental figure, let’s not dip him in honey and throw him to the ants before it’s shown that he actually deserves it.

  32. The Cat Pimp says:

    Enough of the arguing! Where did that woman get that *fabulous* blue bra? And more importantly, is it available in red?

  33. B says:

    I second the Cat Pimp. Hooray for ties and fantastic bras!

  34. Ready2Agitate says:

    Holy cow! – if AB is not keeping current with the news, then maybe I can take a break too???

    But I’m kinda intrigued by this new era, so I actually enjoy staying tuned in (I think…).

    In 1985 I took a course called “Theories of Sexual Inequality” – weird title – shoulda been called “Feminist Theory” – but there wasn’t even a Women’s Studies minor at my U. then. I kinda envy the students today. After all, we’re the ones who’s teachin’ ’em!

    Alison, love the cat and girlfriend and birds and de-cluttering and fun ball photos. Reminds us of how much joy there is in life to be had. PLUS, there’s good books to read, that relate not at all to the current drivel on the news. I’m lkg fw to reading yours!

  35. Ready2Agitate says:

    um, sorry, it’s late – not your drivel, your good (upcoming) book!

  36. Alex K says:

    I loved this — “Aging lesbians should not strip and “boogie down” in public or post pictures of them doing so on the internet”.

    When I am an old woman / I shall NOT wear purple / or indeed anything else / should I feel like it.

    Even if I’m not myself out there on the dance floor a-hootin’ an’ a-hollerin’, I really, REALLY enjoy seeing other folks letting loose… Boogie down, everyone!

  37. Mabel says:

    “Nobody at all” reminds me of Cynthia!

  38. NLC says:

    Drago dormiens nunquam titillandus?

    Good one, NLC.

  40. Liza says:

    I skipped the Drag Ball. Too loud, too crowded. Thanks for posting the pix. The dude with the beard is Lenin, who wrote The Communist Tranifesto – “All Prada to the people!”

    I am seriously addicted to the Rachel Maddow show. But her set is hideous. What’s up with that?

  41. Liza says:

    Oh, sorry. Department Of Redundancy Department on Lenin. I missed reading the caption first time around.

  42. Calico says:

    Great Pictures. You two look like you’re fresh out of Charterhouse with those school uniforms!
    Nice pic at the end of your post too. : )

    BTW, too much news gives me a headache and is usually depressing. SS, DD most of the time.

  43. acilius says:

    I wouldn’t follow the news either, if I looked that good.

    “Nobody at all” should really raise his/her game- a right of center voice can be a useful thing to have around, if it is used to make substantial arguments. And if it is well-informed- “THE ECONOMIST gets it right close to 100% of the time”? Erm, no, sorry. Have you ever read an ECONOMIST piece about any topic you had personal knowledge of? It’s immediately obvious that the thing is produced by very young people working under very short deadlines.

  44. Straight Ally says:

    Re the tenor of certain comments above:

    What’s the freakin’ problem? Is it the waning moon or something? And I say that being straight, as indicated, and I suppose comparatively straitlaced as well.

    I have no opinion on how much news AB ought to consume.

  45. sashanator says:

    outstanding looks, both of you.

    Allison, I’m pretty sure taking a media break to write your new book is fine.

    Love that blue bra. Yow!

  46. Calico says:

    And oh yeah! Bianca Kane gets married on AMC.
    I used to watch AMC with my Aunt when I was a kid, and she would flip if she saw this.

  47. lizrdeb says:

    I’m totally hooked on Rachel– hard to stay up that late for a school teacher. I wonder about the back story of Extraordinary Rendition. I’ve been much more able to watch the news since Obama. Maybe it’s all a fallacy, but I feel like I have more of a stake.

  48. Kate L says:

    Sometimes the fact that I inhabit a different timeline than Mo and Sydney is just too difficult to ignore. Take this article in today’s Kansas City Star newspaper about a lesbian discharged from the Kansas Army National Guard because she was seen kissing her girlfriend at the local Wal-Mart. I swear, sometimes DTWOF and its view of LGBT people as folk reminds me of how the original Star Trek gave us 60’s trouble-makers a vision of a more perfect world for race relations.

  49. shadocat says:

    why is it that the trolls of late all have to tell us how fabulous their love life is? Like we care.

  50. I beg of you, my friends. PLEASE do not feed the trolls. It excites them, then they get worse, then I have to delete their nasty messages, which only excites them further.

  51. BrooklynPhil says:

    I’m sensing one or two themes here, something about the tension between individual pursuits and one’s obligation to the greater society.

    Is it incumbent upon all citizens to maintain an active voice in the social discourse, and to do so, does that require us to be all-informed, all the time? I would argue that we are definitely in a media saturated age, and that 1. it’s easy to get behind “the latest” controversy/political gossip, and 2. it’s almost as equally easy to catch up on whatever you’ve missed.

    A related thread of this conversation is: must a discourse (a drag ball, or a queer theory department, for examples) be relevant to all, for it to be relevant to some? I think most people would respond, “Of course not.” Of course, a theory of thought or of practice

  52. BrooklynPhil says:

    [rats! hit too soon!]

    … a theory of thought or a theory of practice certainly gains power if it can be applied in multiple contexts (i.e. “Do the Chinese study queer theory?”). If they do, or if they don’t it doesn’t negate the power of the discourse, at least in our culture (and feel free to define “our culture” however you wish).

    There’s a continuum in life. Several continua, in fact. The continuum of gender roles: from traditional/prescribed to “occasionally non-traditional” (as in, for an occasion, like a drag ball) to atraditional, and perhaps beyond. There’s a continuum of political strategies too. It’s not that we should expect everyone to be on the same point of the continuum, I certainly don’t. But I do think it’s important for anyone who considers her/himself an educated person to 1. recognize that continua exist, and 2. understand where on the continua she/he is situated.

  53. shadocat says:

    sorry AB; wasn’t thinking, I guess.

  54. nobody at all says:

    like I said, a woofer in a shiny bright bra is not a sight fit for public viewing. I’m pretty sure it violates Vermont’s Unattractive Persons’ Dress Code law

  55. falloch says:

    C’mon Allison and NLC, let us in on the translation for ‘Drago dormiens nunquam titillandus’ – my last Latin lesson was in 1972, and I’ve killed a lot of brain cells since then. And I say Holly in a shiny bright bra is truly a lovely sight to behold, esp. with the tie gracefully draped down her back!

  56. Andrew B says:

    falloch, since I’m a complete muggle I had to google it. It means “Never tickle a sleeping dragon”, and it’s the motto of the Hogwarts School.

    Holly should comb her hair back like that sometimes when she isn’t going to a drag party. It looks good.

    Very convincing sideburns. But on a schoolboy?

    The QTP does look like the Tailor. Did Dr W go as the tailor’s cat — a male, as I recall, so it would count as drag?

    Understanding what goes on in the world is good. But consuming the news bears at best an indirect relation to understanding.

  57. falloch says:

    And so, Andrew B, my complete ignorance of Harry Potter is revealed to the world. I’m a ‘His Dark Materials’ girl myself. But thanks!

  58. Ellen says:

    Thanks for letting us know that you are working on your next book. Inspiring, it nudged me toward working on my own latest project this morning.

    Also good to be reminded that we can be wild at any age, blue bras, neckties and all. Forty-eight is arriving for me next month. I’m celebrating with whales and birds in Washington State. Not wild (that is, not party wild) but rejuvenating, I hope.

  59. nobody at all says:

    No, no, you miss the point. Chunky, unattractive aging lesbians should not strip and “boogie down,” ever, but especially not in public. It’s just plain downright sickening.

  60. bi chick to watch out for says:

    1) Anyone who wants to should take off their pants and dance with whoever they want, wherever they want. Life is too short. Also? Alison and Holly are hot. You go on with your bad selves!

    2) Two seconds before reading this update, I was watching Rachel and commenting that I can never get past the headlines either – because she’s so hot that she distracts me from her own brilliance.

    3) I wish I had that blue bra.

    4) I miss DTWOF yet am SO PROUD of you, Alison, for Fun Home and the amazing work you continue to do. The world is a better place for having you in it.

  61. NLC says:

    falloch and Andrew B

    Just to add a small clarification: The Hogwart’s motto is
    “DraCo dormiens nunquam titillandus”. The phrase as given above is (“DraGo …”) is meant to be, well, kind of pun given the current context.

    (Unfortunately, this is all muddied a bit by the fact that the misspelling of the motto –as “DraGo …”– is very common on the ‘net.)

  62. NLC says:

    [let me try that again]

    falloch and Andrew

    Just to add a small clarification: The Hogwart’s motto is
    DraCo dormiens nunquam titillandus”. The phrase as given above is (“DraGo …”) is meant to be, well, kind of pun given the current context.

    (Unfortunately, this is all muddied a bit by the fact that the misspelling of the motto –as “DraGo …” — is very common on the ‘net.)

  63. meg says:

    I haven’t kept up with the news in ages… sometimes it’s embarassing (as when a friend in Glasgow informed me about Katrina – oooops) but generally… it’s so freeing.

    reading the New Yorker is enough for me.

    But – Damn! I wish I’d been at the ball, instead of sick with the flu again. You both look great, and other photos I’ve seen from it just made me jealous…

    Maybe I’ll get the boys in Austin to put me in drag again – now, *that* was a hoot. 🙂

  64. ksbel6 says:

    @Kate L: Stories like that one make me so angry I can’t sit still. Anonymous emails ruined her career? Just makes me sick.

  65. nobody at all says:

    and to be clear, it is also crass for college frat and sorority types to strip, get drunk, and dance in ridiculous boogie style, but older people should be a bit more dignified, and jeepers, one thing aging gay people often lack is dignity and grace

  66. Jessica Bessica says:

    oh goodness: drag, latin lessons, puns, hogwarts, dancing, sequins… I think the only way this blog could be better is if it tasted like bacon.

  67. Churchy says:

    I’m just glad the professor didn’t run out of thread.

  68. meldyke says:

    jeepers! this is the best post in ages (no offense intended to dr. winnicott)! outside of my racing pulse, i now have entirely new realms to explore in my HP fanfic obsession. 😉 thanks AB!

  69. rinky says:

    school boy holly looks hot in her lingerie.
    i’m a bit jealous of those caps and scarves too

  70. Alex K says:

    @Jessica Bessica: **agreement** / **applause**

    Like the Moosewood Cookbook, really: Prepare as directed, then add bacon…kicks those recipes up a couple of notches.

  71. Ready2Agitate says:

    OT: I just saw “Waltz with Bashir,” which if you haven’t already seen/heard about it, is about an Israeli soldier’s memories of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Oh, and it’s animated. So powerful. So good. I hope it wins best foreign flic.

    OK, now where were we? Ah that’s right, drag ball, newsy-shmewsy, and ugh, that story from Kansas (boo-hiss!), oh, and Happy Birthday Ellen next month! 🙂

  72. dc says:

    I have to confess to being addicted to Rachel’s show. Her smart geekery and self deprecating humour sets off synapses I didn’t know existed!

    Drag balls looks fun too! Although – correct me if I’m wrong but – doesn’t drag for butches mean dressing up in pretty pink frocks 🙂

  73. meg says:

    DC – well, it’s what it meant for me! *L*

  74. LEM says:

    Holly is “aging”? I must be ancient.

  75. Ian says:

    First off, Holly’s bra is absolutement fantabulosa! Where did she get it? Or are the jewels a personal customisation? And dc, as Holly went femme last time, shouldn’t AB have gone as Hermione Granger, pink frilly dress n’ all? 😉

    Enjoy the ‘break’ from the news. I’m afraid I stopped watching after Bush won in 2004 – a combination of depression and wanting to put my foot through the TV screen whenever I saw Tony Blair’s smug, self-satisfied fizzog on it. I generally kept myself informed of the main points via the net. Anyway, if you really want to know what’s going on, TV news is the last place to look.

  76. laura says:

    I loved that the exchanges on the blog brought AB some new information , something she had not being informed about. To me, far from showing whether or not she is follwing the news (which may be true, but not the only point here), it shows how great her blog (and the community gathering through it) is.

    It’s like you can count on a group that will talk of everything, frivolous and serious and sad, including things that escape you.

    EVERY single time I read the blog I find out about something I totally ignore or hear a different take from what I think. While I am probably not a good example, since I don’t live in the US at the moment, I must say that it happens even on topics that are not US-specific.

    I am very grateful to AB and to all of you.

  77. Holly says:

    Half a role by dapper Andrews
    Gives away my secret source
    Of Sapphire donned by a don not old
    But aging as all are, of course!

  78. Josiah says:

    Regarding the value or lack thereof of queer studies, let us recall John Adams: “I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and
    philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture,
    navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children
    a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary,
    tapestry and porcelain.”

    Since we are now several generations removed from Adams’ grandchildren, why should we not study drag, transgression, liberation and fabulousness?

  79. noominal says:

    Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Holly looks HOT! I love feisty broads who fearlessly flaunt sexy foundation garments to get the party going. “Nobody” can have her opinion, but I smell jealously.

  80. That’s very odd. I just got back from making a quiche. It was an unusual thing for me to do, especially in the middle of the day, but I just got an overwhelming urge and I had all the ingredients so I got out my trusty old Moosewood book and set to.

    Then I checked the blog, and found Alex’s Moosewood comment, and Jessica Bessica’s wistful paean to bacon.

    If wish I’d had some bacon to throw in the quiche! I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be bacon.

  81. Dr. Empirical says:

    There will come a time when everybody
    who is lonely will be free
    to sing & dance & love (dance and love)

    There will come a time when every evil
    that we know will be an evil
    that we can rise above (rise above)

    Who cares if you’re so poor you can’t afford
    to buy a pair of Mod-a-Go-Go stretch elastic pants?

    There will come a time when you can even
    Take your clothes off when you dance

    Wah Wha Wha Whaaaa…

  82. ksbel6 says:

    Now that’s a fun game, I would pick lemon pepper chicken from the skillet. Yummy.

    @Ginjoint: the puppy mill dog is now coming to me with the slightest of whistles…and in less than a year 🙂

  83. Riotllama says:

    I’m guessing you mean Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria?
    Meaning the bra came from Victoria’s secret.
    Am I right?
    Gosh I love riddles.
    And it’s a sad but true fact that I get all my news these days from the blog over at The Stranger (seattle’s weekly newspaper)
    The commenters over there are not nearly as considerate as here. I don’t even bother reading them normally. It’ll give you a conniption.
    that and discarded NYT sections I find in my sweetheart’s house’s recycling bin.

  84. just a guy says:

    Bacon, huh? Saw this very relevant post a few days back on Open Salon.

    Food Porn – Cupcakes! Chocolate! Bacon?!!?

    With illustrations, no less! They look and sound pretty tasty..

  85. Feminista says:

    *Gasp* Do you mean VELMA’s Secret? Anyway,glad y’all had fun.
    As Emma Goldman said,”If I can’t dance,I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”

    Only saw one Harry Potter film,the first one,with my daughter,so didn’t catch most of the references until they were explained.

    I’m enjoying reading State by State (only 3 months on the library’s waitlist). The Vermont entry is a major standout!

  86. Welsh rarebit says:

    Love the blue bra – and the ‘public boogie-ing’!

    Get in there, girls!

  87. Welsh rarebit says:

    Oh, by the way: “chunky” ?!?

    I must be gargantuan.

  88. Donna says:

    No waiting list at my library, and I have discovered two new writers so far: Maine’s Heidi Julavits (hilarious), and Arizona’s Lydia Millet (reminds me of an edgier Barbara Kingsolver).

    Cool riddle. (but I couldn’t figure it out.) 😮

  89. Ian says:

    Donna, maybe the bra came from Papaya Republic?

    Bacon is the sole reason I can’t be completely vegetarian. I can live without all other meats (although I enjoy them), but there’s nothing so wonderful as a bacon butty – two slices of the most cotton-wool, nutritionally-challenged pieces of white bread spread with lashings of butter that the bacon melts, drizzled with brown sauce, sliced in half down the middle, *never* on the diagonal. *Drools*

  90. Rosie Cheeks says:

    Bacon! Mmmmm, yes please. This is yet another vegetarian lapsed beyond all hope of redemption by the smell of bacon butties sizzling away down the corridor from my (now extinct) Women’s Studies class.

    Agree totally with Ian that the slicing of the butty must be vertical, never diagonal. (He must be a fellow Pom?!) Perhaps this is because to slice diagonally would be to feminise the butty, detracting from its inherent working-class masculity? A diagonally-sliced bacon butty couldn’t possibly be called a butty; its essence would have altered to become, perhaps, a “sandwich au jambon cuit”. And it would have to be served with aioli, of course, not brown sauce (quelle horreur)!

    What do the baby dykes call Women’s Studies nowadays? Post-Feminist Studies? Un-Feminist Studies? The Study of Fluid Sexuality? The Study of Fluidity? I’m sure Ali B has some wonderful suggestions!

    Love Ali B’s photos, love butches and girls in drag, love girlie bras, love The
    L Word – Shane in particular, with that scrummy combination of suits and eyeliner… phew.

  91. Ready2Agitate says:

    i’m vegetarian. also jewish, raised kosher. prompted one person once to say: not only does she not eat meat… she doesn’t eat KOSHER meat! /heh.

  92. Aunt Soozie says:

    I’m with you Chriso. I gave up the news after 9/11.. or rather, during the reporting of 9/11. I sometimes catch something accidentally on tv or online and I listen to the BBC news on the radio every other night. That’s more than enough…
    Sexy goings on in Vermont… naughty boys, indeed!
    Looks like those wizards spend a lot of time in the gym.
    Dr E,
    thanks for posting those lyrics, fun.
    had heard that song before but never knew the exact words…
    what a flashback!
    ps… hope you’re feeling better!!!

  93. minnie says:

    Oh I like Holly’s eloquent riddle. I hope to solve it in my dreams.

    I love bacon and the smell of bacon too (sorry, Babe, Wilbur), only I too am a vegetarian. (But Why? I ask myself every time I smell bacon.)

    However, I’ve found a certain fake bacon that does a great job of satisfying my sometime cravings for a salty smokey crispy treat. I simply ignore the ingredient list — a rare indulgence.

    Ian, have you ever had a chip butty? French Fries between a couple of buttered slices of white bread?

    Feminize the butty? You are funny! Butty Studies in Contemporary Cutlery — er — Culture.

    And I think it would be fun to learn to make undies/lingerie, maybe something with elasto-tulle sheer painted looong sleeves for these 8th-decade arms.

  94. Ready2Agitate says:

    Auntie S & Doctor E, who sang that song?

  95. Maggie Jochild says:

    When my daughter was four, she confounded us by declaring that sandwiches sliced on the diagonal were “Mary Poppins style” while those cut into rectangles were “Annie Oakley”. Further, if we did not ask in advance which style she preferred and she was of the mind to have the other style today, she would not eat the incorrectly sliced sandwich — we had to make a new one. I think she may have made it up herself. At any rate, it stuck. I now ask myself “Do I want this Mary Poppins or Annie Oakley?” Thus, instead of assigning gender to sandwiches, we assigned class.

    Humans are such a puzzle.

    I’ve been long-term close with two ardent vegans who were never tempted by meat or dairy, but would on occasion succumb to bacon. I see validation for their craving in the comments above.

  96. Feminista says:

    Rosie Cheeks:

    In the U.S.,departments that study women and gender are called Women’s Studies,Gender Studies,Women’s and Gender Studies,Queer Studies. Queer Studies may stand alone or be a component of Women’s and/or Gender Studies. A few departments may call themselves Feminist Studies. I think the latter is a better title,but it hasn’t caught on,probably because of the dreaded fear of the “F Word”(I’m not a feminist,but..) NAWA,the National Assoc.of Women’s Studies has kept the same name for 30 years,while continuing to broaden its focus,

    Not the answer you were looking for perhaps,and confusing to many,but there you go.I think AB has got the satiric versions covered with her hilarious course titles and research papers,esp.with Sydney,the MLA conference,and the like. (Gender and Miniature Golf is one I recall.)

    Partial list of my credentials: I’m a 1975 recipient of a women’s studies certificate, did a Masters’ research project about the 3 main social movements of the late 60s and early 70s,former women’s studies instructor,long-time socialist feminist activist & rabble rouser,
    cool mom and grandma. And I love Monty Python videos/DVDs.

  97. Feminista says:

    Oops,that should read NWSA,National Women’s Studies Assoc.,not NAWA,above. It’s getting late…

  98. Zeugma says:

    Maggie, I love your distinction between Mary Poppins and Annie Oakley sandwiches, but am intrigued and tantalized by your calling it a class distinction.

    Mulling this over: Mary Poppins was nominally British servant class, but actually a powerful magical being, and Annie Oakley . . .? Where does an Old West female sharpshooter fit in, in class terms? (Maybe the answer is in the lyrics of “The Girl That I Marry”, from “Annie Get Your Gun”, where Frank Butler describes his ideal woman as the complete opposite of Annie — delicate, pampered, helpless, and definitely a “lady”.)

    Would love for you to elaborate on your comment, if this isn’t too much of a topic hijack.

  99. Leda says:

    How bizzare! I have had bacon on the brain recently as a visiting sibling bought me a large amount from my Mum, who has an organic smallholding in Somerset. I don’t eat much meat apart from hers (I know how its lived and died) so its a lovley treat. The best thing in the world though is Mum’s bacon clamped between two buttery bits of her brown bread which is always completely irregularly shaped so thre is no concept of slcing it Mary Poppins or Annie Oakley style. You just kind of tear it into bits you can fit in your gob withotu too much mess, or not.

  100. Donna says:

    All this talk about bacon and suddenly I started craving bacon and eggs yesterday. It’s either this blog’s fault or the book we’ve started reading in class (or a combo of both). In Lord of the Flies one of the main characters is constantly commenting, “We want meat.” And he injects this comment into every conversation, whether or not it fits. I was thinking Jack was the spokesman for all the vegetarians who don’t want to admit the withdrawls they initially go through. Or maybe not all go through them, but I know I did. (Decades later, I’m back on the meat.) Oh, and the kind of meat Jack is constantly hunting is pork; there are lots of wild pigs on the island.

    Riotllama already solved Holly’s riddle (I think) a ways back. Great job Riotllama!

  101. Ginjoint says:

    Ksbel – that’s fantastic. I’m so glad that dog ended up with you.

  102. Donna says:

    (Lord of the Flies is about a bunch of English schoolboys, which also ties in AB’s drag ball costumes, who were ripped away from their bacon buttys out of the blue and plunked down on an island in the middle of an ocean. They were forced by circumstance to go vegetarian cold-tofurkey! Unless Jack finally gets some meat. And I hope he does because I’m starting to tire of his, “We want meat” mantra.)

  103. Holly says:

    Right-o, Donna. Riotllama, you’re the bomba! I got that blue beauty at V.S. about 12 years ago and it still sparkles like it did on its debut donning.

  104. ksbel6 says:

    I’m pretty sure Annie would be placed in the upper economic class by the end of her adventures (doesn’t she end up with tons of precious medals and jewels after winning all types of shooting events on a tour through Europe?). But, MP behaves with more class. So are we talking social status or economic status? Either way, I like my sandwiches cut into triangles everytime…I just think they are more fun that way…so MP is the one I would chase 🙂

    @Ginjoint: If only I could save them all…

  105. Antoinette says:

    Every month or so, I deliberately go on a news fast and ignore current events like a monkey’s maiden aunt. I do this for the sake of my sanity and that of those around me.

    Both of y’all look very comely in schoolboy drag. The enticingly twinkly blue beauty is also quite fetching.

    For those of you who become excited at the smell of bacon (including both of my dogs), it doesn’t taste nearly as good as it smells.

  106. Dale says:

    I say “Hillshire!” You say “Farms!”
    *wolfs down some bacon* Ahhh…I can feel my arteries clogging already!
    Great pics…reminds me of the few drag king shows I’ve seen. I remember Ginger and Sparrow discussing drag with Lois, debating whether or not it was a critique of gender or a glorification of masculinity. In this case, as in Lois’, it looks like both – and a lot of fun!

  107. Kate L says:


    Looks like you and I are about the same vintage, academically speaking. 🙂

    I keep thinking of the earlier discussion about Sydney going to a dyke symposium thinking it was about queer studies, not the igneous formation. And, I thought of Sydney again last week at my department’s weekly symposium. Our speaker ranted against the reality of global warming, etc. I kept imagining Sydney in one of the wood chairs we in the audience were sitting on, looking around anxiously and wondering when the real program would begin! Hmmm… is it a bad sign when you try to anticipate the reactions of a fictional character to what’s going on around you?

  108. acilius says:

    @ksbel6 (& Maggie, & Zeugma): I think the differing class status of the “Annie Oakley-style” vs “Mary Poppins-style” sandwiches comes not from the class status of Mary Poppins or Annie Oakley, but from what it would mean about your class status if you had your servant Mary Poppins, an extremely rare and desirable employee, prepare a sandwich for you in your London townhouse, as opposed to what it would mean about your class status if you and your friend Annie Oakley, a downright person whom anyone might easily approach, sat down together over sandwiches in your log cabin.

    I am confident that this interpretation reflects the thoughts Maggie’s daughter had in mind at four, since my mind works like a four year old’s. Five year olds and other intellectual snobs tell me so all the time. Fancy-pants know-it-alls think they’re so smart just because they get to go to kindergarten…

  109. Dr. Empirical says:

    Ready2Agitate: It was Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, on their classic third album, We’re Only In it For the Money.

    If anyone seriously wishes to attempt Death-by-Bacon, I recommend:

    I tried it once. Never again.

  110. --MC says:

    Hey. If you’re Harry Potter, where’s your lightning bolt shaped scar?

    I can’t believe nobody’s asked that yet.

  111. Ian says:

    At the risk of bringing religion into this (although R2A has already said bacon’s not kosher), the Vatican has decided that even the way people sin has a gender component:

    Apparently men’s top 3 deadly sins are 1. Lust; 2. Gluttony; and 3. Sloth; whereas for women it is 1. Pride; 2. Envy; and 3. Anger. So no sexist stereotyping there then!

  112. NLC says:

    So this means “Greed” is up for grabs?

  113. ksbel6 says:

    Have you guys seen the info on CNN regarding courses in Georgia universities? Apparently some legislatures are attacking queer theory, sex and society, and other similar titled courses as not appropriate for colleges. Wow, I thought for sure the radical right would shut up for a few years, wishful thinking I suppose.

  114. Kate L says:

    As you may have seen on CNN last night, my employer (the state of Kansas) is in the middle of an artificial budget crisis. The conservative leaders of our state legislature demanded that Governor Kathleen Sebelius agree to larger budget cuts than she wanted before they would agree to authorize the state to continue functioning beyond this Friday. After they meet this afternoon to work out their differences, I find out if I get my paycheck on Friday. And, I’m not the only academic in a state with legislators who like to throw a spanner in the works. Just look at this CNN clip about two legislators in Georgia who want instructors in queer theory courses and courses with sexually explicit subjects fired (“taken out”, to quote one of the legislators):

  115. judybusy says:

    And back to bacon: at our state fair this year, a vendor offered chocolate-dipped bacon. It was OK, not spectacular, we thought, partly because it had to be kept chilled to avoid a huge mess.

    Love how that the Vatican doesn’t want women getting angry. Oh, what could happen, what could happen? Oh, calling the clergy out on their abuse of kids, equal pay, reproductive freedom, and a host of other evils, no doubt. The hypocrisy slays me.

  116. tea says:

    this has nothing to do with trolls, harry potter, or hot dykes eating bacon, but i had to share it with someone:

  117. judybusy says:

    Thanks, Tea– I will have to look at that when I have more time.

  118. Alex K says:

    Hey, baconophiles! Any magyarophiles out there?

    My favourite New Year song is in Hungarian, and begins with the wish that God may grant us everything good in the year to come —

    “Jó kenyeret, szalonnát / tizenkét hónapon át”, good bread and good bacon, twelve months long.

    Now THAT is a culture with its priorities in order. Mmmmm szalonna!

  119. Kate L says:


    My apologies for not reading your post while I was composing my similar one right beneath it! 🙁 I usually pride myself on reading everything posted here before adding something. I didn’t do it this last time. And you are one of the people I look for! Btw, my sister e-mailed me to say that she thinks our budget mess here in Kansas has finally been resolved. Whew!

  120. j.b.t. says:

    Dale and other bacon lovers:

    Your arteries will be fine. In every large scale study done (including the Framingham Heart Study), NO correlation has been found between the consumption of saturated/animal fats or cholesterol and heart disease.

    You can read an article I wrote about it

    I published the article (in the Wedge Co-op newsletter) in 2004, before several new books came out with even better information, such as Gary Taubes book Good Calories, Bad Calories. Any doubts you have about bacon will be put to rest. It’s your friend!

    And also in the good news dept., bacon contains nutrients that help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, too. So yay for everyone’s favorite smoky salty treat!!!


    P.S. I tried the “pig lickers” at the MN State Fair and thought they were tasty, though it did require me to ignore my own only-organic-meat for me rule.

  121. Kate L says:

    I’ve been meaning to post this in counterpoint to my recent depressing items. It’s the youtube video of the kid who had oral surgery. At one point, waking up from the anesthetic, he asks “Is this real life?”. I can’t decide if this video is funny or disturbing, but according to CNN the general public finds it charming. Kind of reminds me of me back in the 60’s…

  122. Natasha Yar-Routh says:

    You both look great in your costumes. Holly is uber sexy in that hot blue bra. But what I really want to know is where can I get a copy of The Communist Tranifesto? I do so want to read it and critique it on my own blog.

    Maybe I should go back to school and major in Queer Studies this time. It’s about time for a career change.

  123. ksbel6 says:

    @Kate L: Sometimes I end up posting at the same time as someone else and it looks very repitive, so no big deal. Can you imagine a college only offering courses some people think are necessary? I’m pretty sure the majority would not be interested in Advanced Algebraic Structures, but I certainly enjoyed it! Those same legislatures would probably want that course cut as a waste of taxpayers money since there were only 4 of us in it.

  124. clarke in says:

    Sorry – back to bacon. Vosges chocolate offers the (un)appropriately(?) named “Mo’s Bacon Bar”. Chocolate and bacon should not work together – but they do.

  125. healing_with_Art says:

    you all make my head spin @@…but its fun

  126. Ready2Agitate says:

    well i didn’t want to watch a “funny” video of a child who seems to be suffering. So wrong. But I did. And then I laughed till I cried (nervous laughter?). I guess that Dad is being so supportive and sweet to this poor l’il kiddo that I didn’t feel too sickly voyeuristic.

    Now I’ve also learned about goings-on in Georgia and Kansas. The wonders of this blog never cease.

    Holly – great riddle.

    And am I the *only* one who’s never tasted bacon?

  127. Maggie Jochild says:

    Yeah, I think the class analysis has to come from a four-year-old’s perspective, as someone astutely noted above. Mary Poppins was technically working class but she was/is (in the Disneyfied version) one of those Edwardian servants who is more snobby and strict about class behavior than were the middle class of the times. (Think Remains Of The Day.) Hence, she represented to my kid, and to me instinctively, the “upper” classes. Whereas Annie grew up in poverty and while she may have earned good money with Wild Bill Cody’s show, she did not (I’m pretty sure) retire in comfort. Had a crappy husband, for one thing, at a time when women didn’t control their own incomes. At any rate, the entire mystique of the Wild West whitefolk charicatures were that they were plain folk without airs, i.e., working class, as compared to the Eastern city dudes who wouldn’t last a day out on the range.

    When my daughter was 2.5 and got her first pair of jeans (a gift from me — up that point, her biological mother had strictly enforced frilly dresses), she declared herself to be Bucky and would not answer to anything else for almost a year. She went back to her real name when, via my influence, no gender prisons were attached to it.

    And after reading all the above, thank g*d I have pork in the house for dinner is all I can say.

  128. Ian says:

    @NLC: Greed is open, but only if it’s bacon-related. You can hog all the bacon you want (pun intended). Or would that be gluttony?

    Btw, I just wondered if any of the British readers are watching the TV series of “Ladies of Letters”? I’m loving it and have no one to talk to about it. 🙁 I’m not sure how to explain it to US (and other) readers, but it’s about two penpals who write to each other about their lives and family crises and it’s so very funny, especially as it’s a love-hate relationship between the pair. I think it’s rather wonderful myself.

  129. Andrew B says:

    Ian, you could speculate in pork belly futures with no intention of taking delivery. That would give you pure bacon-related greed, untainted by gluttony.

  130. Jessica Bessica says:

    greed is for the genderqueers. you learn this in queer studies, obviously.

  131. Andrew B says:

    And am I the only person who wonders why Lenin was handing out copies of Marx and Engel’s work? I would have thought he’d be distributing his own book, “What is to be Donned?”. Duh-duh, CRASH!

    I love chocolate and I like bacon, but all this talk of chocolate-covered bacon is starting to make me think of crunchy frogs. Sorry.

  132. Ready2Agitate says:

    …and for bold bodacious beauts who bedeck in brazen blue brassiers bedazzled. (er, um, that one must be Lust 😉 )

  133. j.b.t. says:

    My sister gave me a bar of the Vosges chocolate with bacon in it for Christmas 2 years ago – the card just said; “Bacon. F*ck Yeah.”

    At the time I was skeptical, but it works. That’s what lead to my trying the chocolate covered bacon on a stick at the Fair, which was yummy in a different way.


  134. j.b.t. says:

    Hey, Holly – how is business going on your website? Have you been effected by the bum economy?

  135. Feminista says:

    Kate L: Yes,I’m sure we would have lots of stories to share.

    ATT: Anyone who’s taken/taught women’s,gender,etc.studies.

    Ms. Magazine’s April issue will include a 16-page spread on what happening with WS & GS across the country. Should be great reading.

    If you want to take the survey Ms. has posted about what women’

    s studies has meant in your life,let me know and I can post the link; will also post deadline when I find out.

  136. Feminista says:

    Kate L: Yes,I’m sure we would have lots of stories to share.

    Andrew: You’re on a roll; esp.liked the Lenin pun. To which John Lennon would reply,”love is all you need.”

    ATT: Anyone who’s taken/taught women’s,gender,etc.studies.

    Ms. Magazine’s April issue will include a 16-page spread on what happening with WS & GS across the country. Should be great reading.If you want to take the survey Ms. has posted about what women’s studies has meant in your life,let me know and I can post the link; will also post deadline when I find out.

  137. Antoinette says:

    Alex K., my maternal grandma was Magyar. Szalonna was one of my mom’s favorite treats. By the grace and teachings of these lovely ladies, I inherited my pastry-making skills. And some awe-inspiring vulgar curses.

  138. NLC says:

    Concerning combining bacon and salt:

    I’ll have to admit that I’ve never tried this, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

    However, I wonder if it’s not actually the salt that combines so well with the chocolate? As a kid one of my guilty pleasures was dipping a potato chip (especially the structurely-stronger “ridge-y” kind) in a chocolate milkshake.

    (Chocolate-coated peanuts are, of course, common. Ditto, I have an aunt who used to send out pretzels coated in chocolate –both milk and white– as Christmas treats. At first glance it sounds grotty, but they were pretty good.)

  139. judybusy says:

    Oh, I can’t believe I forgot about this bacon-related treat: In St. Paul, MN, there is a small restaurant, The Blue Door which serves many lucsious types of burgers. On the menu: the bacon-peanut butter burger. Yes. Peanut butter and bacon. We all said, “Eeeew, but let’s order it!” One of our group did, and it was FANTASTIC. I could go *right now*, even though it’s only 8:40 a.m.

    If you go, plan on a wait for a table. The beer selection: also excellent!

  140. Calico says:

    I have always enjoyed bacon and peanut butter sandwiches on toasted bread, sometimes with tomato. Yum-ola.
    A long time ago Dennis the Menace could be seen putting peanut butter on a burger in several cartoons, but that gag hasn’t been used in a loooong time.

  141. Maggie Jochild says:

    Bacon and peanut butter sandwiches have a long list of folks willing to testify on their behalf. Starting with Elvis Presley. Oh, wait…

  142. acilius says:

    I’m glad I just had lunch, if I were hungry I’d never make it back to the office with all these bacon and peanut butter recipes. Come to think of it, there’s a restaurant a block from here that serves a peanut buttered hamburger. Would anyone really miss me if I ducked out for a half hour…

  143. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L. –

    Take heart in one bit of good news that Kansans (and the rest of us) can appreciate. Our good friends across the puddle have banned Topeka’s resident whacko cleric Fred Phelps et familia from entering the UK.

    Nice write up in The Guardian about it:

    An aside: Many years ago I was on a business trip in Topeka and the Phelps tribe was picketing in the middle of nowhere as we drove by. My work colleague (who had no idea about Phelps, nor of my personal life) asked what he was picketing about. When I explained the Phelps hate-filled theology, my workmate asked, “But why would he be protesting here in the middle of Topeka? I don’t see any gays here.” I bit my tongue as I told him that you can’t “see” gays, they are in every nook and cranny of the universe, and that he probably knew lots of gays and lesbians and didn’t realize it.

    Another Kansas aside: A few years ago I saw a T-shirt in a store in Lawrence KS (or maybe it was a bumper sticker?) which read, “Lawrence Kansas: 20 square miles of reality, surrounded by Kansas.”

    Is that prayer booth that looks like a phone booth still in Lawrence? What’s the story behind it?

  144. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Oh hai, I can haz troll attempt? *Ahem*, here I go:

    Oh, how amusing, all of you people on this big homosexual blog are still totally gay, due to an interminable lack of grace and dignity which you obviously inherited from big libtard education in which you learned to do fancy things with words, or something. Allow me the opportunity to let you bask in the GLORIOUS WISDOM I gained from working in a baltimization plant, uh, I mean as an attache to China. Yep. You see, the Great Red Empire was built on maths, whereas you all spend your time going to noisy parties completely devoid of dignity (ALTHOUGH I TOTALLY GET INVITED TO SO MANY AWESOME PARTIES IT IS HARD FOR ME TO MAKE TIME TO SHARE THESE PEARLS OF WISDOM WITH YOU)

  145. DeLand DeLakes says:

    And while you are dancing with flabby homosheckshuls (who would provide a valuable source of ORGANS in that great nation of amazing achievement, Da Poople’s Republik of Chi-Town) us SMART PPL WHO TTLY HAVE DEGREES IN QUANTUM PHYSICS are forced to take time away from our important research to shake our heads, with dignity, at the disintegration of Our American Intellect. I must go now, as I TTLY HAVE TO GO BANG SOME OF THE MANY HAWT LADDIES WHO PERMANENTLY RESIDE IN MY BEDROOM, BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I DO WHEN I AM NOT TROLLING THE INTERWEBS FOR TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE PICTURES OF SEMI-NUDE LESBIYINS. Also.

  146. NLC says:

    145 posts since Sunday in this thread.

    Bacon, Latin puns, and cool pictures of Holly: Looks like we’ve found the winning combination.

  147. ksbel6 says:

    I too find it amazing that so many posts popped up all at once. I can explain my own frequent posts on the fact that the crappy, cold weather here in MO is keeping me indoors more than I would like for this time of year.

    I did enjoy watching the Cedar Waxwings outside my classroom window yesterday though, so maybe warmer weather is near 🙂

  148. Timmytee says:

    DeLand, you do that REALLY well. Makes one wonder…
    Also: Bacon, peanut butter, and chocolate could be sides of a food triangle. Bacon & p-butter are great together. P-butter & chocolate are also winners. Theretore, we shouldn’t be too surprised if a bacon/chocolate combo works out, right? (I still haven’t tried it, however.)
    Best wishes to all from northwest Pennsylvania, USA.

  149. Aunt Soozie says:

    Am I the only person who finds bacon grotesque? and the thought of bacon and peanut butter or bacon and chocolate or peanut butter on a burger absolutely repulsive? wasn’t it grilled banana and peanut butter sandwiches that Elvis ate?
    I like morningstar farms veggie strips from time to time…
    and NLC… chocolate cover pretzels are totally commonplace here and a complete delight. you can buy them just about anywhere candy is sold.
    if I post this comment replete with vicious bacon criticism, will I become a troll? will I have to let my hair grow, tease it, fluff it up and dye it orange?
    Alright, I confess, I used to eat BLTs when I was a teenager but now, just the thought of it, yuck….

  150. DeLand DeLakes says:


    Trolling is easy and fun! Just follow these four simple steps:

    1. Find a person on the internet whom you do not know. Proceed with the assumption that you possess a superior intellect than theirs in all respects. Esteem their opinions as highly as you would those of a mentally infirm serial rapist.

    2. Don’t be afraid to make the details of your wildly successful life public. Nothing indicates professional and sexual fulfillment like trumpeting it, incessantly, to strangers on the internet.

    3. Express your erudition and passion for a subject with ALL CAPS!!!!

    4. Correct spelling, punctuation and grammar is for fagots. Also.

    NOW WHO WANTS TO GIVE IT A SHOT?!?! Meet me at in five!

  151. Kate L says:


    I don’t know about the booth. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Kansas (which is at Lawrence, near Kansas City) but I teach elsewhere in the state. I’m not sure, but I think that Lawrence even tore down that microwave relay tower that stood for years in the middle of downtown, next to the public library. Is no architectural monument sacred?

  152. Kate L says:

    I just read the article in the Guardian about homophobic Topeka Rev. Fred Phelps being banned from the UK. A good move on Britain’s part, but Oh, God! In the attached photo, that idiot Phelps is wearing a jacket with the jayhawk emblem of the University of Kansas on it! 🙁 Somebody just shoot me in the head…

  153. Timmytee says:

    DeLand, I’ll be on that–thanks!
    Again on the bacon/peanut butter/chocolate axis, all seem to me to have a very satisfying “back-of-the-mouth” taste to them, as do many fatty foods–at least to me. Therefore, I think if we only add sour cream and avocado into the mix, we could have one terrific smoothie (big grin)!

  154. julissa says:

    wow AB you are totally raunchy! loove it.

    i love the drag outfits by the way.

  155. Kelli says:

    I have an idea. Let’s keep all the Women’s Studies and Queer Studies classes and curricula and so forth, and put them all together under a department name like — oh, I don’t know — “Sociology”.

  156. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L.

    Here’s a link to an article (and photo) about the Prayer Booth in Lawrence.

    I happened to be in Lawrence a few days before the vandals knocked over the Prayer Booth. It was Graduation Weekend, the streets of downtown were packed, and I asked a few folks if the booth was an art piece or a serious theological item. Knowing that Phelps et al. were just down the interstate in Topeka, either answer seemed possible. No one seemed to know anything about the Prayer Booth, and it was basically ignored in all the congratulatory whoop up of graduation.

    I Googled ‘Lawrence KS Prayer Booth’ (no quotes) and I found out it was vandalized in Lawrence shortly after I saw it. Boo. The artist, Dylan Mortimer, is a KC Art Institute alum. Check out his website,

  157. Anon says:

    At what point does a dissenter become a troll? I’m asking that as a serious question, not trying to provoke an argument. I didn’t see the original, now deleted, post, but the subsequent ones seem more like rude teasing than true insults. (Holly is clearly in great shape; all that compost turning has given her beautiful upper arms.) I really think n.a.a. was joking, although in a mean way.

    But this blog is a pretty tight clique, y’know? On occasion (like now!) I’ve posted anonymously when I had something negative to say. And zowie! I got jumped on by so many! My arguments were ignored and I was attacked in a personal way. Although I was never called a troll, I was afraid that I was considered one.

    Also–I may be wrong–can’t Alison track everyone’s comments back to their sources? I was under the impression that the owner of a blog can identify the (damn! I’ve forgotten what it’s called. ISP? no, but something like that.) Anyway, I think trolls can be found in their lairs and outed, if the owner of the blog wants to do so.

    “Nobody at all” seems to have some legitimate arguments, interspersed with silly digs. Could it be a former lover of Holly’s, now jealous of the fun that she and Alison are having?

  158. NLC says:


    Perhaps it comes down to a question of subjectivity, but I guess I see it differently. What you describe as N.A.A.’s “joking, although in a mean way” and “silly digs” I read as going well beyond that.

    And assuming that, even if s/he had “legitimate” arguments, any such arguments were rendered useless by the off-putting tone of the messages.

    Now, is it possible that N.A.A. didn’t realize how big a jerk s/he sounded like? Perhaps. Humor is very hard to do –and most people don’t realize how bad they are at it. (And the “context-free” nature of the ‘net exacerbates this.) But if N.A.A. was, as you suggest, just clowning around, then they need to step back and think about it a bit more.

    But, all told, although perhaps not overly outlandish by internet standards, I think the net result was that “Troll” was a reasonable description in this case.

  159. another anon says:

    “Cliquey”? Here? Us?

  160. Hey, Anon.
    The line between dissent and trolldom is a very valid question indeed, and I assure you I give it serious consideration. Flattery is generally more pleasant than criticism, but I don’t want the blog to just be an echo chamber.

    I agree with you that the objectionable comments on this post are more “rude teasing than true insults.” That’s why I allowed them to stand—the ones I deleted contained more egregious personal attacks. I try to be reasonably tolerant of personal attacks on myself, but when they’re directed at other people, or groups of people, I’m quicker to delete.

    And for the record, no, I can’t track comments to their sources. I can get folks’ IP addresses, but there’s no personal information attached to those. That’s why mutual trust is so important in this forum–people really are anonymous.

    I did eventually block N.A.A. from posting–I hate to resort to that, and it’s easy enough for a determined person to just log in from a different computer. But I think it was called for in this case.

  161. Aunt Soozie says:

    That sounds good to me… I was only joking in my post… I assumed not liking bacon would not be cause for dismissal… or hair teasing. That poster had posted some very not nice things in the past that I happened to read before they were deleted… over and above what is considered healthy debate. and we’ve had some raucous debates here, haven’t we?? you know… it’s about that time of year again, isn’t Michigan just around the corner??? Oh boy, just joking you guys. 😉 Now I’m gonna go look at that prayer booth and Holly’s facebook group… see ya later…

  162. Aunt Soozie says:

    and just to be inclusive and thoroughly non-clique-y… if you are a newcomer to this blog please review discussions of the Michigan Women’s Music Festival or use of the terms “guy” and/or “oh boy” for clarification of the ability of participants in these discussions to wholeheartedly disagree with one another.
    I’ve actually deleted “you guys” from my vocabulary and not only am I from Philadelphia… I used to watch the Electric Company on PBS. and it’s all because of this here blog.

  163. DeLand DeLakes says:

    hairball of hope-

    Shit! I went to KCAI with Dylan Mortimer. He was doing very similar work back then, too. He’s actually a real swell guy, very kind. He brought a gospel choir into a gallery space for a show one time, and it actually brought my snarky agnostic ass to tears. Nice to see he’s still working.

  164. Ted says:

    I think AB displayed admirable restraint with NAA. Anon, a troll is simply a person who posts with the hope of disrupting a forum. Ad Hominem statements being a stock in trade of guys like this. And I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut that NAA is a person of the male persuasion. (and yes I do remember the “guys” Brouhaha. And yes I am a guy.)

    Please who else but a troll would make crappy comments about Holly.

  165. hagamemnon says:

    #4: Why does Vladimir Ilyich Lenin hold such a tiny drink?

    #5: I’m fixated on the furtive gesture of Pinkyringhand. Where is that hand going and what is it doing?

  166. Feminista says:

    Alison,thanks for blocking the troll. I know I want this to be a safe place with respectful debate,not callous comments and invasive insults meant to upset people. Goddess knows nearly everyone on this blog has had to deal with covert and/or overt bigotry,harassment,or other forms of hatred because of our beliefs,values and identities.

    Anybody want to talk about Maoist orange cakes,now that we’ve had sufficient discussion of bacon & peanut butter? Or we could discuss our favorite winter fruits. While I’m fond of citrus,this winter I’ve been enjoying small Mandarin oranges. Easy to peel & carry and full of Vitamin C and fiber.

  167. dc says:

    I don’t post very often on this site, but I love reading it and the comments. There is a heartwarming sense of community that is frankly rare on the internet.

    NAA might not be the worst offender online, but I have no doubt that s/he was intentionally poisoning the environment.

    Good call, Alison.

  168. Ginjoint says:

    I believe “hairball of hope” is the best screen name ever.

    That is all.

  169. Ready2Agitate says:

    More thanks for blocking the plastic toy thingie with the bright orange polyester hair. Like dc, I come here for community, and frequently as a needed diversion. I like to see what everyone’s chatting about. And often don’t bother reading the name of each post’s author (I just scroll thru reading each comment). But lately I kept inadvertently reading rude, offensive, upsetting comments, and then realizing I mistakenly gave audience to the plastic toy thingie again. And then I felt the way such thingies aim members of a forum to feel: annoyed, irritated, and, well, abused. No thanks. Let’s keep it controversial, confrontational, unconventional, maybe even coded, but never rudely abusive. ABROCKS. 🙂

  170. Antoinette says:

    I think it’s pretty easy to distinguish honest dissent from trolldom. Trolldom doesn’t make you think about the issue on the table from a different perspective, nor does it do anything to embiggen the discussion.

    As the judge said about the difference between Art and p*rn, I can’t tell you what it is, but I know it when I see it. Or step in it.

  171. judybusy says:

    I’m also glad the PTTWTBOPH (see R2A’s description) got blocked–the comments seemed provocative in a mean way. The smart, respectful, commenters here are a big reason I keep up with the blog. Sometimes I think when we’ve disagreed, the comments seem to get pointy, even snide, but it’s really hard to tell, since it’s all without tone, and visual cues. I have a hard time reading other blogs’ comments because I am used to the very high bar set here!

    Speaking of snarky: Aunt Soozie, your distaste of bacon just means more for the rest of us! Please feel free to forward any bacon you receive as gifts.

    Also, Deland, could you just please be our resident PTTWTBOPH? That was awesome!

  172. acilius says:

    @kelli: Let’s keep all the Women’s Studies and Queer Studies classes… under a department name like… “Sociology”

    I live with a sociologist who seems to lean toward the view that the various “Studies” programs should all be considered subdisciplines of her field. She’s not committed on the question, and I for my part don’t know enough about it even to have a leaning.

    But there may not be much point in trying to secure territory for particular academic departments, even as the disciplines housed in those departments jostle for priority. I strongly suspect that before long, US colleges and universities will start dissolving their departments. A faculty member will then report, not to a department chair who is a senior colleague in her or his own discipline, but to an associate dean. The dean’s offices may expand to include as many associate deans as there once were department chairs, but I doubt there will be any guarantee that any particular discipline will be represented among those associate deans. Indeed, the associate deans, deans, and other management types may not be senior academics at all. Associate Dean might be an entry-level job for a 26 year old with an MBA.

  173. Kelli says:

    @acilius: Actually, the emphasis was on “keep” — and the rest of it was about a way to run under the radar and stay away from the meddling influences of bureaucrats and politicians.

    I think they’re valuable courses, but I have, since my university days, considered it a bad idea to separate them from the mainstream. When you do that, you run the risk of creating a sort of echo chamber, where only people who support your ideas ever sign up for your classes, and so there’s none of the creative dissent that leads to better ideas. It reinforces the separation and keeps progress from being made.

    Don’t give me a Department of Women’s (etc.) Studies; give me WS classes and even emphasis tracks within current sociology departments — but do that along with the integration of many aspects of those classes into the survey courses.

    In fact, the main sociology survey course that most universities have in their basic curriculum should include a unit on alternative baselines for evaluating social behaviors and attitudes.

  174. Jessica Bessica says:

    when a discipline (program, etc.) attains “department” status, there are monetary advantages and the department is able to hire it’s own faculty. Keeping things out of the “main stream” is a problem, but if the larger structures/departments don’t share values in terms of fund allocation and faculty research and support, there are reasons to become institutionally recognized as a department.

  175. f. elliott says:

    Hey, I have that same bra. Under certain shirts, it looks like one has smallpox.

  176. meg says:

    Smallpox! Ooooo, that always makes me feel so *hopeful*.


    (completely off all topics and threads, I know… but it *does*)

  177. The Cat Pimp says:

    (Bummed that the Fabulous Blue Bra is not available at VS)

    Bacon recipe:

    One box of dates.
    Lots of bacon.
    Cookie sheet.
    Turn on broiler.
    Wrap a date with one strip of bacon.
    Secure with toothpick.
    Place on cookie sheet.

    Repleat until you are out of room or bacon or dates.

    Put cookie sheet under broiler. Peek every so often so you know stuff isn’t burnt.

    When the bacon looks done, remove.


    Fight with everyone else at party for last one.

    You’ll thank me later.

  178. ksbel6 says:

    @The Cat Pimp: that sounds amazing, and it is Friday, and I have one hour of school left, and I have…at my house right now a box of dates and a pound of bacon…looks like my Friday evening plan is set!!

  179. acilius says:

    @Jessica Bessica: “when a discipline (program, etc.) attains “department” status, there are monetary advantages and the department is able to hire it’s own faculty.” That’s true, and it’s one of the reasons I hope my prediction is wrong.

    Without the institutional backing department status provides, no discipline would be able to hold its own without substantial support from outside the academy. So, for example, faculty teaching a modern language might be able to do well without a department if they cultivated profitable relationships with wealthy and nationalist-minded speakers of that language. So in an academic world without departments, the model everyone would be required to follow would be the one that business schools have pioneered in their intimate relations with business leaders.

  180. tea says:

    so here is an excellent example of troll (nobody at all) vs. dissenter (kelli), if we assume for the sake of argument that the majority of the forum believe in women’s studies/queer studies departments in universities (which might totally be untrue):

    Troll: ““Queer Studies” etc is actually a pretty bogus academic discipline”

    Dissenter: “I think they’re valuable courses, but I have, since my university days, considered it a bad idea to separate them from the mainstream. When you do that, you run the risk of creating a sort of echo chamber, where only people who support your ideas ever sign up for your classes, and so there’s none of the creative dissent that leads to better ideas. It reinforces the separation and keeps progress from being made.”

    for a troll, there is no way to respond. your academic work is bogus, & for those of us who are doing work in these fields for a living, ten plus years of our lives are worthless. shut up and sit down, basically. also, we are probably fat and lack dignity, or whatever.

    for a dissenter, there’s an argument there – classes are good, departments maybe? – that someone can respond to. there’s a feeling that if one disagrees, it will be with respect to ideas rather than the person.

    i’m sorry, anon, that you felt attacked. i understand the feeling, and have experienced it in various ways all over the internet. (ps. don’t ever read youtube comments.)

    i think, actually, that rachel maddow is a great example of a fantastic debater who really avoids personal attacks.

    AB- good call on the blocking. and frivolity should be highly valued, i think.

  181. DeLand DeLakes says:


    Like many artists, I need a muse to work with. If ABB/Some Wannabe Soviet (they are the same person, I think that’s clear) ever comes back under a new screen name, I will feel free to go bananas. It seems his self-deprecating screen names are in inverse proportion to his self-inflated snarling- anyone care to place bets on what hook he’ll chose next?

  182. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Ha ha, I meant to type NAA earlier. Whatever made me think of ABB? Alison Bumpin’ Bechdel, perhaps?

  183. Ready2Agitate says:

    ok I added a “T” for teased: PTTWTTBOPH

    Something about it sounding like the noise someone like JR, Raffi, or Stella would make (a “raspberry”) at someone like Stuart 🙂 (non-US folk: ‘making a raspberry’ is that sound that comes from sticking your tongue out and spitting/shooting air at the same time… you know: PTTWTTBOPH!).

  184. Kate L says:

    I just came from a citizen’s forum with one of the candidates for our local city commission out here in small-town Kansas. A local civic group is trying to determine which three candidates to support for election in March. This guy actually said that he didn’t think our fair city needed to include LGBT people in its human right’s ordnance because the state and federal government already provide legal protections for us folk. Others in the audience corrected the candidate on his misunderstanding. Then I asked him if he remembered me from a city zoning battle of a few years ago. We were both on the same side of that fight against the developers (we won, btw). He did remember me, and called me by name. I told him that I wanted him to know that the zoning battle was important for my house, but that including LGBT people in the local ordnance was important to me, personally. I think he was shocked. I hope that I, and the others who spoke to him on this matter tonight, were able to put a human face on this issue for him.

    Anybody got any bacon? I’m suddenly hungry for bacon.

  185. Anonymous says:

    No, I don’t believe in Women’s Studies, Queer Studies departments. I would debate, though, that Queer Studies is really about GLBT studies–I have always considered that separate, as being “gay” is an identity and queer studies is about anything but “identities” except as they are deliberately constructed.

    The reason I don’t believe in it is that I am a POME (prisoner of my education). I took a degree in a similar field, and now have no full time job. I teach at four different online colleges–having to abide by their rigid curricula and never meeting any of my students. It is soul-sapping, and being online all day every day with no time off other than five days during winter break, it is literally a killer. I have a friend in the same situation.

    If a person can’t make a living in a field, then there doesn’t need to be a “department” specifically for that field. I believe in the classes, but a “department” doesn’t exist without students who are majors and students who graduate students–and that just saps people’s money and lives.

    I agree that if a discipline can’t create a living relationship with a field which wants graduates from that discipline and which will support it, that maybe that discipline doesn’t need to exist as anything other than an elective course that people take because they find it interesting. The academy lies to people to get warm bodies to fill the graduate program so that professors can have graduate classes which look good on their CVs.

    I am in an English department–walk into an English department that isn’t in California. Look around for the Asians and the straight Black males. Do you see any? Do you see anyone under 50 who doesn’t look like a network news anchor or a color commentator for a cable channel? English departments do not like Asians or straight Black males because both groups tend to be a bit on the conservative side (not howlingly so, but not terribly liberal either).

    They don’t like it when we point out little things like how handing freshmen nothing but anti-PATRIOT ACT articles and not giving them pro-PATRIOT ACT articles skews the class and makes it easier for those who will cater to liberal views (whether they believe them or not) to support their arguments while the conservative students would have to go hunt down their own articles. And, being undergraduates, they rely on crappy Internet sources and wind up with poor grades. This skews the academy left.

    They also don’t like it when we point out that they “moderate” discussions by saying–“Yes, that’s interesting Sally! Robert, what do you think?”–as long as the students are being anti-PATRIOT ACT. But, let little Ana say something in favor of the PATRIOT ACT and the full force of the professor’s intellect will be turned on that student in Socratean dialogue or the class will mob the student into submission. This skews the academy left.

    As bad as this is in English, it is many times worse in Women’s Studies and Queer Theory departments.

    No, I don’t like either one. I like the disciplines. I like the articles. I’d love it if they would allow people to question their core beliefs in a productive clash of viewpoints–but the goosestepping mentality of such departments isn’t really my cup of tea.

    Sorry for the rant–but that’s the way I feel. However, there is nothing like a genuinely different point of view being espoused to expose the underbelly of the supposedly liberal view that “welcomes all voices.” Let the mobbing commence.

  186. Feminista says:

    OK,just my two cents re: departments,mainstreaming,etc.

    Women’s studies programs & departments in the U.S. have cross-listed with other departments since the former were established,usually after considerable effort and struggle within and outside academia.

    When I taught American Women’s History,WS 399,it was cross-listed with HST 399,and students could enroll for credit in either dept. Ethnic studies departments(Black,Latina/o,Asian,etc.) have done the same thing. In some cases,WS,Black Studies,Sociology,etc. courses achieved multiple cross-listings. For example: Black Feminist Political Theories could be listed in in 4 departments: Women’s Studies,Af-Am.Studies,Sociology and Poli Sci.

    The reasoning behind this: 1)to decrease marginalization,2)to increase support from allies,and 3)to increase enrollment and reach more students.

    Does everyone in these classes agree with each other? Hell,no! Again,challenging each others’ ideas, as mentioned above,results in intellectually stimulating courses. Personal attacks are strongly discouraged,and when students work in small groups,cooperation is necessary to fulfill assignments. Thus one class may contain socialist feminists,liberal or radical LGBTQ feminists,students who are exploring their options,& some who only want to fulfill distribution requirements and have no particular political/ideological identities.

    And now it’s after 6 PM PST and time for some serious frivolity. Thanks for the levity,R2A.

  187. Rosie Cheeks says:

    Magyar cooking! I grew up with both Magyar and French cooking, thanks to my fruit salad heritage. Magyar cooking is a rich, salty, oily, beautiful meat-fest, featuring lots of pig, even in our Jewish household, and even in “vegetable” dishes – in short, Magyar cooking is a huge slab of beautiful bacon. Paprikas csirke is my absolute fav – chicken in a rich, salty, oily (etc) sauce with red peppers and tomatoes….

    I shudder to think of the gruesome treats I so gleefully wolfed down as a child – marrow, scraped out from the inside of huge, boiled bones as a brown, quivering jelly, spread onto bread and butter, and heavily salted. Children are such heartless carnivores!

    I read fast and often think I’ve read something that’s not actually there – when I read this:
    Let’s keep all the Women’s Studies and Queer Studies classes… under a department name like… “Sociology”
    I first read that as let’s call it “Sydney”, as in Ali B’s Queer Studies professor – I vote for that, let’s call it “Sydney studies”…

  188. Ginjoint says:

    Ah yes, the old “why don’t you tolerate my intolerance?” argument…been there, seen that, bored with it.

  189. acilius says:

    Some say the best conversations are those which lead to action. Some say the best actions are those which deepen conversations. I say that by either criterion, somethinbg great is happening on this thread. Following these comments led me to take action this morning. At breakfast time. Not perhaps action that our vegetarian friends would approve, but action that still has me licking my lips.

  190. Aunt Soozie says:

    acilius, love it. even if I am a vegetarian, you made me laugh. just looked at the cluster map for this site… hadn’t checked that in awhile… wow… this is truly an international website… how cool is that?

  191. Dr. Empirical says:

    Why is it that some people are surprised that the liberal arts tend to skew liberal?

    I would argue that academic pursuits generally attract more liberals because liberals tend to be motivated by love of learning and desire to share knowledge, while conservatives tend to value more material rewards. If you (society) want to attract more conservatives to academia, start paying teachers as much as you pay executives.

  192. acilius says:

    @Aunt Soozie: Thank you for letting me know I made you laugh! Your comments have made me laugh (and think seriously!) more often than I can count.

    @Dr Empirical: I’m sure you’re right. It’s like Ginger said to Cynthia in a 2005 strip I was just reading, if you want more Republican professors, all you have to do is quadruple faculty salaries.

    I wonder if there is some correlation between the number of years of schooling a person has completed, the income that person earns, and where that person is likely to stand on the political spectrum. I would suspect that people who earn more than average for people of their educational level tend to identify with the Right, while those who earn less than average for people of their educational level tend to identify with the Left.

    I haven’t seen any numbers on that, so I may be completely wrong. It just seems to fit with the emotional states that I’ve seen people exhibit. I know a lot of lefties who tend to be exasperated with the dim-wittedness of people placed above them, an exasperation which can decay into sullen resentment. If you’ve put a lot of effort into acquiring an education, only to find that you are at the mercy of people who didn’t take that trouble, then it would be understandable that you might be disposed to lose patience with people in authority.

    I also know a lot of rightists who tend to be exasperated with the ineptitude of people placed around and beneath them, an exasperation which can decay into panicky unease. I think I can understand their feelings as well. From their point of view, it looks like they are overperformers surrounded by people who started life with opportunities comparable to theirs and who made less of those opportunities than they have done. Once the overperformers decide that their neighbors, associates, and subordinates are a bunch of underachievers, the next thing that comes into their minds is the fear that those underachievers might get themselves into such a mess that they, the overperformers, will be left to take care of them all.

  193. Duncan says:

    “Let the mobbing commence.” Hit me, said the masochist. No, said the sadist.

    acilius: “I also know a lot of rightists who tend to be exasperated with the ineptitude of people placed around and beneath them, an exasperation which can decay into panicky unease.” Hm, I’m a leftist and I tend to be exasperated with the ineptitude of people placed around and beneath me. Or above me, for that matter, though it’s not because they are people who “didn’t take that trouble” of getting an education — often the trouble is that they did. Education is generally indoctrination. Joining institutions is too. I recently read Barack Obama’s “Dreams from my father,” and noticed not only that his prose style has deteriorated since the 1990s as he has become a working politician, but that he’s forgotten a great deal of American history and political reality that he used to know. That comes from hanging around with the people at or near the top, I think.

    But I’d question whether the people you call “overperformers” are in fact overperformers. Look at the corporate CEOs and at Republicans generally, who have screwed this country up quite badly while somehow managing to view themselves as the only people who are holding it together, like Atlas holding up the world. One indication of just how out to lunch they are is their reaction to criticism for giving government-supplied bonuses to their upper managers. “But,” they protest, “if we don’t pay them well, we won’t be able to get the best people!” These “best people” are the very ones who destroyed major banks and investment firms and nearly destroyed (it’s too early to tell for sure) the US economy, along with those of other countries. There’s also the note of entitlement: they just can’t understand why they shouldn’t have all the money and perks they can grab.

  194. Ginjoint says:

    I know a lot of lefties who tend to be exasperated with the dim-wittedness of people placed above them, an exasperation which can decay into sullen resentment.

    What the hell, acilius?! Were you with me at work today?!

  195. acilius says:

    @Duncan: Hear, hear!

    @Ginjoint: LOL!

    Sorry I went on at such length. It’s just that since DTWOF ended, I haven’t been able to tell myself “Oh, you’re starting to sound like Mo” when I throw myself too much into a political argument. So I’ve had to work out the little theory I presented above in order to keep my sense of proportion.

  196. j.b.t. says:

    Judybusy – On your recommendation I went to the Blue Door this afternoon with my family and had a peanut butter-bacon burger. Fantastic. Thank you.

    Cat Pimp – I am so all over the bacon-date recipe. Thank you.

    love to all, J.

  197. hairball_of_hope says:


    Thanks for the screen name praise, but I can’t take any credit for it. Tip o’ the keyboard to AB, who coined the phrase in a strip where Sydney and Madeline were debating the raging Obamamania. Madeline threatened to cough up a giant hairball of hope. I guffawed out loud reading that strip, and it stuck with me.

    How I happened to choose that name was, like most really good things in life, not planned at all. It was a serendipitous choice. I was sitting in the library after watching the inauguration, and I felt impelled to post my first comments ever on DTWOF (long time lurker, first time poster). The screen name just flowed from my fingers to the keyboard, and there we are, now I’m h_o_h.

    I’ve got lots of admiration for the creativity of the screen names around here. Yours reminds me of the now-defunct speakeasy Chumley’s in the Village (Greenwich Village for you non-NYers). Cat Pimp makes me laugh, but my favorite (not to diss anyone else) is DeLandDeLakes. I’ll never look at another stick of butter the same way again.

    De-clique-ification note to non-USAnians: Land O’ Lakes is a brand of butter made in the northern US state of Minnesota. Minnesota has a lot of lakes. I believe they are kettle lakes formed at the end of the last Ice Age when the glacial ice sheet retreated. I know there are some geology geeks on this blog who will set me straight if I’m wrong.

  198. Ginjoint says:

    Hairball of Hope, I’d completely forgotten about that strip! Clever use of it, though. I know Kate L on this blog is a geology geek – can either of you educate me as to what a kettle lake is? (I know I could Google it, but I’m on my way out the door to my “job”, and besides, sometimes it’s just more fun to ask, old-school style.)

  199. Ellen O. says:


    I know what you mean about asking humans vs. Googling. I’ve lost something now that I no longer phone ahead before an out-of-state trip to ask about the weather ( or call to ask directions (google maps). As if I am expected to find out on my own (via Wikipedia or BrainyQuote) the answers to so many of the small questions of the day.

    Other variations on technology are oddly wonderful though. I’ve begun playing real-time Scrabble with my brother and sister who live in Vermont and Pennsylvania (I’m in Colorado.) I feel very close to them as we chat and place tiles. Also sad when we finish and are abruptly back, each in our own worlds. I’ve heard this about Skype visual conversations too.

  200. Frenchie says:

    Nobody at all,

    For what it’s worth, I’ve yet to hear of queer theory being offered as a main course of study in France, or at least of it being labeled as such. One university does offer a graduate degree in gender studies, which to me is close but not quite the same thing. The university where I did undergrad has a Center For Women’s Studies that offers courses on gender roles and attributes. The thing about France is that there just isn’t the kind of vocal queer movement you’d find in the States or even countries like Sweden. Or maybe they’re just not being vocal enough. Point is, not much of a terrain for queer studies, from what I can see, not yet anyways.

  201. Kate L says:

    hairball_of_hope, ginjoint

    Yes, I’ll be talking about kettle lakes a little later in the semester when we cover glaciation. During the last ice age, this part of Kansas was close to the southernmost boundary of the continental ice sheet in North America. Ice sheets like that one exist today in Greenland and Antarctica. A few miles out of town, there are hills that are composed of finely-ground rock brought down by the glaciers and ground to a powder by shearing within the glacial ice. Some boulders were dropped out of the ice when it melted, including boulders of the Sioux Quartzite which outcrops in southeastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota, hundreds of miles to the north of here. Information like this allows geologists to determine the direction of ice flow within the continental ice sheet. People around here collect the Sioux Quartzite boulders and use them in landscaping. Kettle lakes, you say? These are a feature of a plain of glacial debris that hasn’t been deeply eroded. The glacial material around here is about a million years old, and such features are long gone. But the glacial debris in places like Minnesota and Wisconsin are only about 20,000 years old, and such features still exist there. Kettle lakes are where huge blocks of glacial ice took longer than usual to melt as the rest of the continental ice sheet retreated at the end of glaciation. When they finally did melt, they formed depressions in the plain of glacial debris that filled with water if the climate was humid enough.

    Also, I know what anonymous speaks of when she talks about being underpaid and overworked in academia. I’m not tenure track here, although I have a doctorate and as many publications in refereed journals as many tenured professors. My contracts are from semester to semester. It’s always fun to track the right people down for signatures at the end of the Fall semester when people take off for Christmas break. Last semester, I had over 400 students in one class, but no health insurance because they pay me by the class. Now, I teach two hundred students in two classes, and I have health insurance because I’m considered 50% of full-time equivalent. You can see why I was really sweating the recent threat of the conservative state legislature to withold our paycheques because they wanted to punish our liberal governor, Kathleen Sebelius.

    Oh, and here’s a nice touch. We have faculty meetings in my department, but I’m not allowed to attend them. I know, because when I went to one of them I was asked to leave. This is a little awkward because the faculty meeting room is three steps away from my office door.

  202. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L. –

    So glad a real geology geek answered the kettle lake question!

    My passing acquaintance with the glacialfluvial stuff is strictly as it pertains to the local topography and bioecology of the NYC area. Long Island (which geologically speaking, also includes the NYC boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens) is a terminal moraine, the pile of glacial debris left behind when the glacial ice sheet retreated. It’s dotted with kettle lakes and ponds, among them Lake Success, which was the home of the United Nations from 1946-1951.

    I understand your frustration at the inequities of being non-tenured and/or adjunct faculty. I have several folks in my circle of friends and associates who call themselves “gypsy scholars”; they piece together teaching courses at several schools in the NYC area to make a living, but they have no tenure, etc. (No outcry from the Rom community please, the term “gypsy scholar” is not meant as a perjorative, although I agree it’s not exactly PC.)

  203. Jessica Bessica says:

    but, then why is the town of “Land ‘O Lakes” in Wisconsin?

  204. Jessica Bessica says:

    Oh, and Kate L, I teach in the same arrangement. It also sucks that I can’t claim unemployment now that I’m not teaching because, technically, I was never “fired.” Oh well, maybe I’ll be back at 50% this fall and then I can afford to get sick again.

  205. Andrew B says:

    H_o_H, I know what you meant, but I couldn’t help chuckling at at “kettle lakes and ponds, among them Lake Success, which was the home of the United Nations”. It reminds me of when people say a sports event is going to take place in Tampa Bay. Not unless it happens in or on water, it’s not.

  206. Andrew B says:

    Hm, now everybody else can chuckle at “at at”.

  207. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Andrew B.

    Slight difference here… Tampa Bay is the bay located in the city of Tampa. Lake Success is both a kettle lake and the name of the locality in which the lake is located. Therefore I can be correct in saying the UN HQ was in Lake Success.

    Interestingly, I don’t think there’s even a marker to indicate that the UN HQ was located in Lake Success. It was housed in a building on Sperry Gyroscope’s corporate campus (later Sperry Rand, then Unisys), on the corner of Marcus Avenue and Lakeville Road. Many of the original buildings were demolished in the 1970s, and a bland corporate office park sprouted. The site was most recently home to Canon USA, but I think they are relocating further east on Long Island.

    At at…

    Meet me at the
    The smoke ring

    This was a button handed out at the Kool Pavilion of the 1964-65 World’s Fair in NYC. They told us that people who didn’t notice the extra “the” were more intelligent/better readers/more educated. Just like Kool smokers. Yeah right.

  208. hairball_of_hope says:

    In seeing H_O_H in the posts above, the long-lost chemist in me thinks of water molecules and bond angles. And Mickey Mouse. (That’s a P-Chem inside joke… the molecular model for H20 looks like the Disney Rodent.)

  209. Ian says:

    How nice: Sean Penn won the Best Actor Oscar for “Milk”. I really ought to watch that film.

  210. Ready2Agitate says:

    Go Sean – thank you thank you thank you for remembering what the film was for, what it means, and why it’s impt for everyone to have equal rights.

    He was the only political moment of the evening, and it was sorely needed. Good for Hollywood. And for Gus van Sant and Cleve Jones, and for Harvey Milk and all he meant to so many people.

  211. Alex K says:

    @Ian: Indeed you ought.

    It may not be your own history; even were you from the other side of the pond, I imagine you as rather younger than the first wave of post-war children who, loved, indulged, and spocked into empowered entitlement, refused — in sufficient numbers to create a Movement — to believe that their homosexuality or lesbianism was per se “bad”.

    Nor is it Herstory, not by a long shot.

    But it nonetheless belongs to all of us.

  212. rinky says:

    De Land. Loved yr trolling. V funny 🙂

  213. acilius says:

    For me, Sean Penn’s voice was the most important part of an important film. When I first heard him in the love scenes, I was a bit apprehensive. He was so queeny that I was afraid he might be playing the part according to a stereotype. Then came the public scenes, the speeches and debates, and the same voice was commanding, assured, in a very traditional sense “masculine.” When he commits himself to an openly gay life, Harvey does not renounce masculinity- he discovers a deeper, truer masculinity than that which society had prescribed for him.

    So I think Alex K is understating matters to say that it isn’t “Herstory, not by a long shot.” But I also agree with him/her (sorry if you’ve made that clear earlier!) that it “belongs to all of us.” The Harvey Milk character’s reconstructed masculinity represents a direct challenge to every guy who thinks that gay-bashing is the royal road to manliness.

  214. judybusy says:

    @ j.b.t.: glad you liked the Blue Door!

    I also thought the speech by Dustin Black (the screenwriter for Milk) was incredibly touching.

    Has anyone seen Frozen River? I had such a thing for Melissa Leo back when she was on the series, “Homicide: Life on the Streets”

  215. Ginjoint says:

    Kate L – I knew I could count on you. Thanks! However, my jaw dropped when I read of your (and others’) work situations. You deserve so, so much better. Frankly, when they next hold one of their snooty little faculty meetings, I think a well-placed cherry bomb is in order. Something. G’head, indulge your inner ten-year-old.

    Ellen – yeah, I have friends across the country who play games together online, and I’d like to try it, as I miss them very much. But I can see myself feeling that letdown/loneliness afterwards. Perhaps it’s time for a visit.

  216. ksbel6 says:

    @those talking about academic institutiions…I can tell you that public school systems are not any better. The folks who walk the administration path are generallly the folks who didn’t like the classroom (or wanted the extra money). They have graduate degress in various education areas, all of which are worthless as far as I’m concerned. They are then in charge of making sure the teachers teach well, but most of them haven’t been in the classroom for a number of years and weren’t in it that long to begin with. It creates a definite rift between those of us in the trenches, living pay check to pay check, and those that are living quite well and not doing a stitch of actual educating.

  217. ksbel6 says:

    @Ginjoint, Ellen: I play those word games (like Path Words and Word Twist) on facebook with my friends/family. I know facebook seems like a cheesy thing, but it is a great way to keep up to date with those folks.

  218. acilius says:

    @ksbel6: “I can tell you that public school systems are not any better.”

    I am in awe of K-12 teachers. I could never do what you do, not in a million years or for a million dollars, even if the people in charge of the system actually understood what classroom teaching was all about. My hat’s off to you.

    @Kate L: “This is a little awkward because the faculty meeting room is three steps away from my office door.”

    I can sympathize. A few years ago, my office was in an alcove off a conference area. My senior colleagues used this conference room to hold meetings I wasn’t allowed to attend. The alcove had been a storage closet before they put me in there with other contract faculty members and a grad student, so it was separated from the conference room by a door.

    On occasion I would be in there with the door closed when a meeting would start. If I was typing, I could be heard through the door and would be asked to leave. If I was dealing with paper (reading, using a pen to mark papers, etc) I could stay in there and get work done. If I finished while they were still going, I would of course be trapped. Only once was I tempted to eavesdrop, when I overheard my name.

    Since then I’ve been moved. My new office also used to be a storage closet, but at least the door opens directly onto the hallway.

  219. Ginjoint says:

    Acilius – my mind is reeling from the fragility of these senior colleagues of yours. The sound of typing hurts their ears? To the degree that you couldn’t use your office to do your job? And they expected you to stay essentially trapped in your office if you finished before they did?! Aw hell no. I would’ve just politely walked through, saying “excuse me,” which might just have prompted them to advocate for a new office for you. If they protested instead, that’s when you act utterly incredulous – “I’m sorry? You…want me to stay in there if I finish before you? I…I…well.” This is where you let the moment hang there, damn near interminably, blink a couple of times, then, sweetly: “Unfortunately, I do have commitments to honor and cannot remain sequestered. I’m sure you understand. Have a nice afternoon, everyone!” Smile brightly, waltz out. I know you don’t need this advice, acilius, but damn, I just want to smack those people and I can’t, so I’m working it out this way. I hope you don’t mind.

  220. acilius says:

    @Ginjoint: Of course I don’t mind! Just to clarify, my senior colleagues didn’t mind the sound of my typing. They just didn’t want me around.

    The story does have a happy ending though. My current office used to belong to the Director of Women’s Studies. Throughout the 10-15 years that official was housed here, Women’s Studies advocates argued that the program’s location was inappropriately modest. I recall the phrase “badge of servitude.”

    I was a student here in those days, and I have fond memories of this little converted storage closet. Back then I spent many afternoons here folding fliers, stuffing envelopes, and offering reassurance to nervous frat boys who were afraid their friends would catch them listening respectfully to feminists. So I perked up when Women’s Studies moved to a grander setting, with carpet and windows and floor space that measures more than 8 feet by 8 feet, and our department (Classics) was awarded this room. After several years of scheming and angling, I moved in. Some may call occupancy here a badge of servitude, but I call it home.

  221. Kelli says:

    I would have been highly inclined to say, “My typing bothers you? I suppose you don’t need this grant application finished by the deadline, then. Okay, see you tomorrow.”

  222. Kate L says:


    I hear you, sister, in so many ways!

    I, too, have worked for the Women’s Studies Center on my campus. I’m pleased to report that they are in a building that was extensively remodeled and is a quite nice building to be in as well as being an architectural gem. The geology dept. is in another building of the same vintage, but which has not been remodeled.

    My apologies to everyone who has already mentioned Sean Penn’s academy award acceptance speech, but I just read a transcript of the speech where he noted the anti-gay marriage picketers outside the awards ceremony and then said, “For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support… We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.” Good for him! 🙂 Makes me wish that I had been enough of an awards show type of person to have watched his speech myself! 🙂 Let me guess, were the anti-gay protestors from my home state of Kansas? 🙁 Oh, Goddess…

  223. acilius says:

    Thanks for hearing me, Kate! I appreciate you. I would more conventionally be addressed as “brother,” but I’ll take “sister” as a compliment.

  224. Kate L says:

    You’re welcome! Consider it an honorary promotion! 🙂

  225. shadocat says:

    Kate L.; about the Oscar protesters; I thought the very same thing when I heard Sean Penn mention them in the speech, that is “Oh God, it’s the Phelps’ clan again!” They seem to have access to a bottomless well of money to pay for travel expenses around the world (heard they’ve even been to the U.K.).

  226. Feminista says:

    Kate L,acilius,and others in the halls of academe and groves of public schools:

    I never had the huge teaching load as an adjunct that you have,Kate L,but at 2 of the 3 colleges where I taught,none of the adjuncts had offices or desks,just mail boxes. At one,I graded papers and met with students in the small faculty lounge. We are more migrant worker teachers than gypsies,going from school to college to freeway,etc. So I’ve done grading,prep,and some of my research in my study at home. Yes,Virginia (Woolf),I do have a room of my own!

    I could go on and on about more indignities as an adjunct instructor,high school teacher,and substitute teacher,but the thought of it is too depressing.

    Just remember,we DO make a difference! We’re planting seeds for the future.

  227. hairball_of_hope says:

    Ah yes, the Phelps whack-a-doodles were indeed protesting at last night’s Academy Awards:

    Breathe a sigh of relief Kate L., I didn’t see a KU jayhawk on anyone in the photo that accompanied this article. I did note that the woman in the photo who is wearing an American flag upside down as a skirt could have been prosecuted under any of the draconian nationalist laws that were proposed by Congress and various municipalities over the years which purported to ban desecration of the US flag.

    Also protesting (and not getting much attention at all) were a group of disabled activists. They didn’t approve of Jerry Lewis getting the Humanitarian Award. They believe his MDA telethons perpetuate a culture of pity for the physically-challenged, and they also note that MDA does little for people who actually have muscular dystrophy.

  228. dc says:

    Aunt Soozie, my ears pricked up when I read your comment about cluster map (yes, I know that’s mixed metaphors or something…)

    SO my question: what is it, and how do I find it?

  229. Aunt Soozie says:

    oh, scroll up, up, up, up, up to near where Holly is shown in blue bra and someone is reaching out to pet her… uhm… her…. well, it looks like that person may be petting Holly’s arm and then look to the right a bit…. you’ll see something in the right column that used to be a map but now looks like a blue rectangle with a bunch of red circles on it… and it is labeled visitor locations… click on that. if you dare!

  230. Timmytee says:

    According to the Cluster Map, there’s a country named “Reunion”. Is that right? Where’s that? Just curious.

  231. hairball_of_hope says:


    Réunion is a Francophone island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. Technically, they are an overseas department of France, they used to be a colony. I think the difference between the two entities might be mere semantics, but I’m not well-versed in politics of former French colonies. As a kid, I learned my geography via philately.

  232. Timmytee says:


    Thank you. I do see a tiny dot just east of Mada on the ClustrMap! Sounds like a great name for a country, if nothing else. Best to all.

  233. acilius says:

    @hairball: I always thought that Jerry Lewis should have focused his charitable work on cerebral palsy or autism. That way he could have done penance for his act as a “comedian,” if that’s what you call it, since the traits he mocked are mostly symptoms of those two conditions.

    I’ve supported the anti-MDA groups for years now. I remember watching the telethon in the 70s and 80s. Year after year they would introduce Bob Sampson, a vice president of United Airlines, and say that he was an example of what someone with MD can achieve. Mr Sampson’s appearances were supposed to be heartwarming, but to me he always looked like he was humiliated to be reduced from a high-powered corporate executive to an object of pity. It amazed me when the audience applauded at the end of his presentation- I always expected them to storm the stage and do bodily harm to Jerry Lewis and his cronies. I just hope that after those appearances Mr Sampson had the chance to go get some sun on the beaches of Reunion.

  234. ksbel6 says:

    @shadocat: I’m pretty sure they were planning a trip to the UK, but were banned (there is an article about it somewhere on this blog).

  235. laura says:

    @hairball of hope and Timmytee: you’ll find info on the overseas departments of France here

    I have never been in Reunion (or in any other dom or tom as they are “acronymized” in French), so I probably shouldn’t talk, but I guess that the main difference between overseas departments and former colonies is what is implied when they say that dom are France and people who live there are French citizens.

    People are entitled to full French citizenry rights (including education, health, unemployment benefits, support for parenthood), get represented in the French and European Parliaments, and have varying degrees of autonomy in their local governments. Also, they are entitled to citizens’ rights in the European Union. My cousin lives in a dom, and the level of service by the French state she is entitled to amazes me (of course you have to pay taxes).

    I have no idea how this applies in actual situations (many DOM and TOM as far as I know are still poorer than mainland France) and apologize if my comments disturb anyone.

  236. acilius says:

    @Laura: Thanks for the information! I’m not sure how your comments could have disturbed anyone. Did the anti-trolling campaign in the early phases of this thread make you nervous? It made me nervous. As you can see, when I get nervous I get long-winded.

  237. […] on the message board at the Dykes to Watch Out For site.  Topics of my bloviation have included the weaknesses of The Economist; how children think of social class; how much I’d like to have a hamburger dressed with […]

  238. hairball_of_hope says:

    For those who need some stimuli with their peanut butter-covered bacon, check out Shovelwatch:

  239. Ready2Agitate says:

    re: “gypsy professors” & please no flaps from the Rom community….

    Not to pick a fight (or start a flap) but why use a term that you know may not be the most socially responsible one to use in the first place?

    (it doesn’t work for me, fwiw)

  240. Ian says:

    For more stimuli, today is (or was) Srove Tuesday, the day before Lent, when Britain celebrates by making pancakes. As well as the usual crepe style ones, I experimented and for the first time made American style thick pancakes, which came out quite well if I say so myself. The reason I’m telling you this is we had maple syrup all the way from Northampton, Mass., which was a whole new taste sensation for me, only ever having had very highly processed stuff. I’m sure there are posters on this blog who come from Northampton. Some place called Narwalicks (or something like that) Sugar Store!

    I’m sure Stuart would not have approved of the 3,000 miles it travelled, but I’m very glad it did ‘cos it was scrumptious! Just a small example of how globalisation connects us all … 😉

  241. Timmytee says:

    Ian, the U,S. stste of Vermont, where AB produces her comics (and this blog), is FAMOUS for its maple syrup, and this is the peak of the harvesting/production season! It’s a pretty big deal here in rural northwest Pennsylvania, too. I have a bit of last year’s product still in the fridge, and I’ll be having it on buttered French toast tomorrow morning. Great stuff, isn’t it? Best wishes!

  242. Timmytee says:

    Oops, that’s “state of Vermont”, of course, not “stste”.

  243. Ian says:

    @Timmytee: I was told it had come from Vermont, so was prob just bought in Mass. I’ve only ever had the ‘fake’ maple syrup made from corn starch before so it was a revelation I can tell you.

    Oh, and the festival was *Shrove* Tuesday, not Srove lol.

  244. Another Deborah says:

    Ian Could your syrup be from Zawalich’s Sugarhouse? That’s here.

  245. laura says:

    For those of us who live in unreformed countries (or parts of countries), yesterday it was “fat” tuesday: the apex of carnival, the period when the world is upside down, women and/or the poor and/or children rule, identities get confused and can be masked (or unmasked, depending on how you see it), sexual disorder is allowed, and you can eat fabolous, scrumptious food.

    Where I come from, this has unsurprisingly all boiled down to the food, and (just to add my contribution) it is a particularly rich version of lasagna: layers of dough separating masses of ricotta cheese mixed with a little tomato sauce and interspersed with minute meatballs, pieces of thin sausages, mozzarella and other cheeses, and, in some variants, hard boiled eggs.

    And then there are the sweets: one type is a liquid mass made of cocoa, chocolate, milk, sugar, and small pieces of candied oranges, lemons and other citrus, with a sniff of cinnamon (originally the main ingredient used to be gross: blood from pigs, which got slaughtered precisely in this period of the year, but it has been illegal for 30 years to sell it), while another type is extremely simple fried pieces of sweet dough.

  246. acilius says:

    Now we’re back on track. More heavy breakfast food!

  247. hairball_of_hope says:


    You’re right, of course. I was quoting the exact phrase used by one of my acquaintances, and I should have trusted my gut on that one and substituted something else instead of using it verbatim. It made me wince as I typed, which is why I added the disclaimer about it not being intended to be a perjorative.

    I like Feminista’s phrase “migrant worker teacher”, so her apt description of the exploitive reality faced by adjunct staff will make a full circle as I suggest its use to my pal next time I see him (assuming he slows down long enough on his migrant teaching merry-go-round to have a cup of coffee with me!).

  248. hairball_of_hope says:


    Oh my, you’ve never had real maple syrup until now? It’s wonderful stuff. Refrigerate it after opening, or it will grow mold.

    The US grading system for maple syrup is a bit confusing and counter-intuitive. The lower the grade (e.g. grade B), the darker it is and more pronounced the maple flavor. Usually the stuff on the store shelves is grade A amber, but maple syrup junkies go for the intense grade B stuff.

    Don’t restrict it to cooked breakfast foods, either. I like it on top of a bowl of cereal and fruit, or as a sweetener in plain yogurt (two places I might also use honey).

  249. Timmytee says:

    Real maple syrup in real yogurt–YES! (And NOT the low/nonfat kind!)

  250. healing_with_Art says:

    hmmm Im curious ….what has been the most number of posts on a single topic in DTWOF blog hx

  251. hairball_of_hope says:

    Anu Garg at A Word A Day ( must be reading our comments on migrant teachers. Today’s AWAD is ‘peripatetic’.

  252. acilius says:

    @Aunt Soozie:
    in response to this long ago comment:
    “I like morningstar farms veggie strips from time to time”

    I don’t like them. They’re too spicy. It would be okay if the spices could work their way into or through them, but they’re too solid for the first and too thick for the second.

  253. acilius says:

    Also, I have a suggestion for Holly’s next drag costume: the young David Johansen as a New York Doll.

  254. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Aunt Soozie

    You are not the only one who finds bacon revolting. Something in the upbringing of Jewish kids either turns them into pork-a-holics (I think of the Chinese food devotees in my old neighborhood) or grossed out by the stuff. In my case, I think there was some kind of “A Clockwork Orange” conditioning at work, the smell is what really gets to me.


    You’re not missing much in the bacon department. I tasted it once, at age 19, part of my world treyf (non-kosher) food tour. Once I got past the smell, I found it to be an overcooked piece of greasy meat that was too salty and too smoky to appreciate.

    Other treyf wasn’t much to write home about either. Cheeseburger? Eh. What’s all the fuss? All those chitinous-exoskeleton crustaceans? Too much work for too little reward. Crabs? You have to hit this thing with a hammer to eat it? You’ve got to be kidding. Lobster? After struggling with a nut cracker for the claws and eating the tail, there’s not a whole lot there, and it’s nothing special, I suspect many folks simply love the melted butter. Shelled bivalves? You want me to eat this slimy oyster raw? Yuck. Clams? Linguini and clam sauce is not better than linguini in marinara sauce. Fried clams? It’s the breading that you’re tasting. Ditto for scungilli (conch) and other mollusks, except that when overcooked they have the exact consistency of a rubberband. That’s lots of fun to eat… not.

    Pig products… nah. Had a hard time getting past the smell.

    The only things that I found actually tasty and unique were scallops. Imagine a slightly sweet firm white fish. Pretty good stuff.

    But I do love real fish with scales and fins, and there’s several whole oceans of them, so I can easily pass on the scallops.

    Just give me my (salmonella-free) peanut butter, chocolate, and dates, and leave the bacon out of them please.

  255. Aunt Soozie says:

    hoh…. too funny. I have never tasted shellfish and can’t even consider it… you’re right… clockwork orange for sure!

  256. ksbel6 says:

    I can’t believe it is almost 1:00pm central and no one has mentioned the President’s speech last night! I will admit, the bacon debate is much less stressful, but…

    I thought he did a nice job. The only thing I disagreed with was the “merit pay for teachers who are successful.” There is no fair way to judge the success of a teacher.

  257. acilius says:

    @Antoinette (comment vintage 18 February, 10:50am)

    I agree bacon smells better than it tastes. And it’s very hard to clean up after cooking. For those reasons I went years on end without eating bacon when I lived alone.

    @h_o_h: “I tasted it once, at age 19, part of my world treyf (non-kosher) food tour. Once I got past the smell, I found it to be an overcooked piece of greasy meat that was too salty and too smoky to appreciate.” When overcooked, oversmoked, or salted bacon is indeed repellent. But properly cooked bacon is a different story. It wouldn’t surprise me if juicy bacon had undone more vegetarians than any other meat product.

    @ksbel6: I can’t really judge the speech. The sheer fact that it was not delivered by George W. Bush had me so elated that nothing else bothered me. Seriously, Mr O could have set fire to the Capitol and I still would have rated it the best State of the Union address in eight years.

  258. Maggie Jochild says:

    To combine two tangents above into one: For the ultimate in taste sensation (if you’re into the ingredients, of course), brush real maple syrup onto thick bacon before cooking it in the broiler or microwave. From Jacques Pepin, that tip.

  259. acilius says:

    I just saw what I’d written above and realized that I am guilty of a falsehood. While it is true that I went years on end without cooking or buying bacon when I lived alone, I did in those years dine as the guest of people who served me bacon, which I happily ate.

  260. Timmytee says:

    @ Maggie Jochild: “Tangents”? What do you mean? Isn’t this the “Bacon/MapleSyrup” blog?
    @ acilius: Your average piece of cooked bacon is about 4 inches long, three-quarters of an inch wide, and a couple of millimeters thick. Nothing THAT small could POSSIBLY do any serious dietary damage–could it?

  261. Ready2Agitate says:

    omg – the treyf food tour! so while it fascinates me, i have absolutely no desire to try any of it – ever (most especially not bacon) – it’s that much acculturated in me. but oh my, THAT was fun, hairball! 🙂

  262. Ready2Agitate says:

    ps my partner is a treyf-lover (lest you think I lead a sheltered existence) ~ we just have a ‘no treyf in the house’ rule… means no leftovers from the restaurant comes inside….

  263. hairball_of_hope says:


    So if you keep kosher and your partner eats treyf, how long do you have to wait after the meal before kissing? 😉

    De-clique-ification note to Goyim (non-Jews): Jews who observe the dietary laws (Kashrut) don’t mix meat and dairy products in the same meal, on the same plates, or with the same utensils. There are various rules and regulations regarding how long one has to wait to consume dairy after consuming meat.

    More de-clique-ification: Leviticus spells out what food is clean (kosher for Jews, halal for Muslims), and what is forbidden as unclean. Only the pig is specifically mentioned by name as being unclean, everything else is by inference using the criteria given in Leviticus. Nothing that crawls (rules out reptiles, insects, etc.), mammals have to chew their cud and have cloven hooves (cows are ok, horses are not), fish must have scales and fins (salmon are ok, shrimp and clams are not). Scavengers and birds of prey are not kosher.

    Then there are all the rules for slaughter and food preparation. Meat and dairy are never mixed. Pareve foods are neutral, you can eat them with either meat or dairy (eggs, fish, fruit, vegetables, and grains are pareve). If you observe Kashrut, it’s a lot easier and simpler to be a vegetarian.

  264. Anonymous says:

    I’ll bite,,,I watched the President’s speech last night…very moving and refreshing to hear our leader make sense after so much hot air and BS these past 8 years.
    BY the way…a thought crossed my mind….was it for lack of coaching that Mr. Obama jumped the gun on saying “Maadam Speaker” or is it just first time jitters?
    Michelle looked stunning as always 🙂

  265. Healing_with_art says:

    that last one was me 🙂

  266. Titania says:

    WOW, Holly is HOT in that little blue bra

    have you tried the yogurt Fage, it’s like eating cream it is so decadent

  267. Ellen O. says:

    As a child in Hebrew School, I wondered why, if we Jews couldn’t eat shellfish, why could we wear pearls?

  268. Ready2Agitate says:

    …and why is fish lopped into a pile of plant foods (& eggs) as pareve?

  269. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ellen O.

    There’s a mystifying bunch of rules concerning what we can derive benefit from. You can derive benefit from most treyf, which means you can own it, wear it, and even sell it for profit, but you can’t eat it. Therefore you can feed non-kosher meat to your dog and shrimp to your cat without a problem, as long as you keep everything separate from your kosher dishes. But the rules on mixing meat and dairy are more onerous, you can’t derive benefit from them. Therefore no cheeseburger for Fido.


    I asked the same question as a kid and never got an answer I understood. My point (not using the fancy word sentient as a kid, of course) was that fish were clearly sentient beings, so why weren’t they considered fleishig (meat)? And wasn’t an egg a potential sentient being? I think the answer pretty much boiled down to “Because it is written.” 🙁

  270. acilius says:

    @timmytee: I defer to j.b.t.’s comment above (vintage 18 Feb 5:09) on the general question of bacon’s health effects. If you don’t want to scroll back up and search for it:

    Though I must admit, every time I eat bacon or pork (not ham) I feel a bit yucky afterward. And if I look in a mirror a few minutes after eating it, I see that my face is shiny. A little aerobic exercise clears up both the the yuckiness and the shine, but of course those symptoms do make it difficult to believe that the stuff is really healthful.

  271. Calico says:

    HOH – Is squid (Calamari) Kosher?
    If it is breaded and cooked just right, with Marinara sauce it’s absolutely delicious…but the first time I tried it about 25 years ago, it was like eating a salted rubber band.
    It cannot be over-nor undercooked – cooking it must take some practice, like cooking wild rice.

  272. iara says:

    Hey – Check out current New Yorker issue – “dykes” returns 31 hits!

  273. acilius says:

    Is marinara sauce kosher?

  274. hairball_of_hope says:


    Nope, calimari is not kosher, no scales nor fins. And you’re right on the rubberband aspect… if overcooked calimari not only has the texture of a rubberband, it LOOKS like a rubberband.

    What’s really interesting about the lists of permissible and impermissible foods in Leviticus and Deuteronomy is that the ancients seem to have understood taxonomy and evolution several millenia before Linnaeus gave us our current classification system and Darwin formulated the origin of the species.

    The ancients also had a better idea of Pi (3.14…) than the Indiana state legislature. I know there has to be at least one math geek on this blog who is familiar with that story.

  275. hairball_of_hope says:


    Marinara sauce is kosher. It’s vegetarian. And delicious. Watch out for the parmigiano, however. Cheeses that are made with rennet (animal digestive enzyme) are not kosher.

    The only problematic plant food (outside of Passover, when there’s yet another bunch of rules which apply) is the grape.

    Grapes are problematic because they get used for wine, which has all sorts of ritualistic things attached to it. No problem eating raw grapes, but once you crush or cook them, you’ve got special rules and regulations to follow to make them kosher.

    How did this turn from the bacon/maple syrup/PTTWTTBOH blog into the Kashrut blog?

    Also, disclaimer on my Kashrut answers… IANAR (I Am Not A Rabbi).

  276. hairball_of_hope says:

    Damn, I hosed that acronym, it’s supposed to be PTTWTTBOPH.

  277. acilius says:


    Thanks for the information!

  278. ksbel6 says:

    I’m a math geek who will bite, what’s the Indiana story?

  279. Anonymous says:


    I knew there was a math geek on this blog. Short version of the story is, in 1897, the Indiana state legislature debated a bill which purported to define the value of Pi. It did not become law because a math professor from Purdue happened to be in the state assembly that day and he debunked it before the state senate could vote on it.

    Which just goes to show you that innumeracy (John Allen Paulos’ term) has been a prerequisite to becoming an elected offical for quite some time.

    Check out the Wiki article:

    Somewhere on my shelves are “A History of Pi”, “The Joy of Pi”, and for variety, “Zero, The Biography of a Dangerous Idea”. Fun reading.

  280. M says:

    Aunt Soozie, where are the Michfest, guys, and oh boy posts you refer to?

  281. Aunt Soozie says:

    hmmm…. just got in from work…. lemme go eat some non-bacon dinner items and then I’ll be back to research blog archives and post the links for you. : )

  282. j.b.t. says:

    iara – which new yorker? (what’s on the cover?)

  283. ksbel6 says:

    @the math geek with all the great books on the shelf…my favorite license plate was “1 div 0” on an Infinity 🙂

  284. hairball_of_hope says:


    That’s a fabulous license plate on exactly the right car!

    A second choice for the license plate… “tan 90 deg”

  285. hairball_of_hope says:

    Damn, that was me as the anonymous math geek above.

  286. Dr. Empirical says:

    During the year my parents thought I’d shape up if sent to an all-male Catholic high school, I was informed by a zealous theology teacher that God can do anything.

    I replied “Can he divide by zero?”

    There’s a reason it only lasted a year.

  287. Ellen O. says:

    Dr. E —

    I remember this question going around when I was in fourth grade: Can God create a boulder so huge that even he can’t roll it?

  288. iara says:

    j.b.t. it’s the current issue of the New Yorker, but AB (and others) discuss it in a lot more detail in the next posting.

  289. Natkat says:


    What is the meaning of that acronym?

    I have spent the last three hours reading this entire thread. Thank you for the most entertaining three hours I’ve had since my honeymoon.

  290. Hannah says:

    Acilius, hi.
    Wanted to respond to the anti MDA post. While I cannot argue with the fact that Jerry Lewis and the MDA telethon are culturally grotesque and possibly sensationally abusive, I have to point out that when the nerve wracking hype is over, very quietly during the rest of the year the things that the foundation accomplishes are incredible. My exhusband died of Muscular dystrophy and his medical care and dr.s visits and the support group he attended for years were all covered through MDA, plus the fact that they got his sister, who also had the illness a free motorized wheel chair (go google what THOSE cost!) which she and her elderly mother could never have afforded. They also helped equip a van for handicap access for them. None of this would have been possible for them and for us who were in their lives at all, without the MDA foundation. So I avoid the telethon, make my donation privately and give thanks for what MDA does through out the rest of the year.

  291. acilius says:

    Hannah: I’m glad MDA does do some good, and especially glad they helped your ex and his sister.

    As it happens, I know exactly what motorized wheelchairs cost; my girlfriend uses one. She has spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. Not only do I know what motorized wheelchairs cost, I have also learned from her what they are worth. Most of the time, she’s a vital, dynamic, accomplished young woman. When her chair is in the shop, she suddenly finds herself in a state of abject dependence. If I ever suffered a tenth as much of a loss of mobility as she suffers when her chair is gone, I would regress to infancy. That she has the courage still to be recognizable as an adult and functional as a professional leaves me gaping in wonder.

    I don’t want to harp on the evils of the Jerry Lewis telethin, but really, compare it to fundraising efforts by United Cerebral Palsy and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Those organizations have at least as good a rate of return on the dollars they devote to fundraising as does MDA, and it’s been years since I’ve seen them depict a person with CP or MS in the maudlin fashion that is still the telethon’s default mode.

  292. Hannah says:

    I don’t know whether you will make it back to read this, but I am amazed at your girlfriends courage and strength and I hope I was not insensitive to what you have experienced in your lives. There is indeed a lack of dignity surrounding the Jerry Lewis telethon that other fundraising organizations rise far above.
    You also show much courage in being in relationship with her and in your positive regard of her strength and wholeness in the face of devestating circumstances. I had a small taste of such a scenario – I spent 4 years of my childhood, age 6 to age 10, in leg braces, wheelchair, body cast and infinite hospitalization and traction. I went free finally, altho it was I was to learn to my horror years later that it was a misdiagnosis of a syndrome I never had, and therefore should not have had to go through the abusive medical interventions. (turned out I have a series of birth defects.) However, it was to shape my world and my life forever after, to this day, 41 years later, I still veiw the world through a different set values because of those days. The question of “would you go back in time and change it so it did not happen” is not entirely academic to me…I really didn’t have the illness and the treatments were entirely unnessary and left me with physical and emotional changes and scars. Would I change it if I could. No. Because it made me into a person who sees a different world. Not everyone feels that way. Not everyone should feel that way. But I am grateful for the work of groups like United Cerebral Palsy and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and even buffoons like Jerry Lewis. Even he plays a part. Maybe he is reaching people that other methods won’t reach. It will be interesting to see who takes over in when he passes and how that will change the nature of the Telethon, or if it will survive in his absence. Only time will tell. Blessings to you both. You are heroes.

  293. acilius says:

    Hannah: Thank you for your kind words. I hate to disagree with anything you say, but I must- I am absolutely not a hero. All I show by being in a relationship with her is an ability to recognize a good thing when I see it.

    I read your message to my g/f and she says that she understands what you mean by horrible circumstances helping to make you who you are. When I read to her the part about your childhood, she said “I’m trying not to cry,” while crying. She also says:

    “I can’t imagine what I’d feel if all that I went through had been for nothing. For nothing as far as the physical goes. I think I’d be a very bitter person. That she isn’t shows her courage.”

    We’re so glad you found value in your experiences, and our blessings are on you. Peace be with you!

  294. Hannah says:

    acilus, my email is – My name is Hannah Webb. If you wish, email me so we don’t have to keep diving back and forth to this section of the blog. (it’s also a reasonably private way to pass you my email.) Your words have moved me more than I can say. Blessings also to you both. You are amazing!

  295. acilius says:

    Thank you so much, Hannah. We’ll be in touch.

  296. Reverend Tex B. Acon says:

    I found your blog on Google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Bacon News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.
    Rev. Tex B. Acon
    First Pastor of Baconpops – Maple Bacon Lollipops
    WWBD – What Would Bacon Do?