happy new year

January 3rd, 2010 | Uncategorized

259 Responses to “happy new year”

  1. cd in Madison says:

    Oh, but Vivaldi’s “Spring” makes a great accompaniment to a story about birds! (Am I first?)

  2. Andi says:


    How about a bigger bird feeder? I have one with four holes, and it’s big enough for the finches and chickadees to share.

    Here’s a little two-minute movie I made during our Halloween blizzard in Boulder, featuring the bird feeder, Bob Dylan, and two really cute dogs. Woo Woo! It’s my first movie.


    Happy Bird Watching,


  3. The Cat Pimp says:

    The solution is simple. More bird feeders! I used to have one, but rodents got into it. I discovered that the chickadees and finches loved the tree anyway, because certain times of the year, the tree would bloom (it is a pine) and the birds would eat the flowers.

    Happy New Year’s to you, AB, and all the other DTWOF followers here!

  4. Ready2Agitate says:

    Nice video, Andi! 🙂

  5. Ready2Agitate says:

    oops – nice vid Alison too! Sorry it’s stressing you out, though.

    Reminds me of my partner saving mice when the cat is mercilessly batting one around outside. Somehow I feel they should be allowed to slaughter their kill (we disagree on this).

    When I had a bird feeder here in the city, the viciousness of the birds outside the kitchen window while I was eating completely freaked me out, so I removed it (actually, they looked like voracious rodents). Plus, well, a lot of them became easy kill for the cats as they hopped around below for seed droppings. (That’s when we renamed our neighbor’s darling sweet little kittie Minnie, Minnie the murderer.)

  6. I have a whole slew of other feeders up, four of them just outside this window.


    But for some inexplicable reason the birds seem to prefer the tiny single feeder hanging way off under the deck.

  7. Andi says:

    How about a little experiment – move the smaller feeder to the other spot and put the bigger one outside your office window?

    Hey, remember this stuff about The Experimental Method from high school? Ah, geek girl memories…

    “An experiment is a study of cause and effect. It differs from non-experimental methods in that it involves the deliberate manipulation of one variable, while trying to keep all other variables constant.”

    Mm, but how do you keep the Kitty Variable constant? Scientific dilemma…

  8. kate the kid says:

    i like andi’s idea to switch the larger/smaller feeders…sounds like a good idea/experiment, geek-girl, says the fish-girl (smile).

    cats are horrible to keep outside with the birds…i have 4 cats now and the are all inside cats…i grew up with indoor-outdoor cats and we lost many birds and squirrels and rabbits, etc. i understand that cats like to go outside, but i just can’t justify it to myself anymore…periodicly i will take them outside and let them run around, but with supervision…sigh. they *really* like to watch out the windows too. not to say that the cats don’t get some wildlife in the house; we seem to have mice during the winter and crickets/spiders otherwise, so the cats do have some things to do in the house, but not outside…they can be very distructive to the wildlife in the area…but to each their own, plus we live on a fairly busy street and i hate to see kitty-pancakes (or other beasties for that matter), but the kitties are the worst.

  9. Cathy says:

    Some reasons the birds might prefer one feeder to another:

    1. they feel less vulnerable to predator birds (e.g., one feeder is under cover of foliage or otherwise less visible to hawks and owls),

    2. the feeder is cleaner (e.g., no odor of rancid bird seed) or made of a more attractive material,

    3. the perches are more comfortable.

    I’m curious about what would happen if you merely switched feeders from the different locations around your home–that would indicate whether the preference is for the feeder itself or the location.

  10. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    But I’ve observed the very same behavior when we used to keep bird feeders (too attractive to bears in my neighborhood). The finches would sit and ruminate and chew the cud and the chickadees would dart in, grab a seed, and sit some ways off on a branch and gnaw the seed. And the feeder had plenty of perches. Finches are ruminators and chickadees are flitters and sippers.

    And a New Year’s Three cheers to Dr. Winnicott for the Leap! Pity it isn’t a leap year.

  11. Alex K says:

    Mike the Cat sits at the window and grumbles at birds.

    When she is outside, under the clothesline (and our supervision), the birds abuse her freely. Some come overhanging-branch close to make sure that she hears every defamatory word.

    Her grumbling upshifts then, and I have been frankly shocked, shocked!, by some of her vocabulary, directed with flattened ears and upturned eyes at her persecutors. Certainly neither of her adoptive parents has ever talked like that around her.

    We are grateful, of course, to those with whom she lived during her first few years, but — well, we’d have done Some Things Differently. As much as we love Mike, she does tend to lapse from the ideally genteel.

    So far, the dawn chorus is in abeyance. (“Yo! These are MY bushes! These are MY bugs! I’ll fucking KILL you if you come near my bushes or my bugs!” Sweet birdsong — Dr Doolittle must have borne with all sorts of indelicacies.) But roll on Spring. From the first-storey window I convinced myself today that the least bit of petticoat was showing inside our peach tree’s buds. I was so excited! Rather like a mullah who sees an instep briefly twinkle beneath a burqa — oh, oh!

  12. hairball_of_hope says:

    Semi off-topic, but in the theme of New Year’s celebrations… the USA’s top economists are partying this weekend in Atlanta at the annual American Economic Association convention.

    According to the article in the Wall Street Journal, the reason the annual convention is held the first weekend after New Year’s Day is because economists are cheapskates. Hotel rates are lowest on that weekend.


    Amazing how cheap these folks are in their own lives, but how much public money they threw at the corporate scallywags in the name of financial meltdown rescue.

    Quoting from the article:

    Some of the world’s most famous economists were famously frugal. After a dinner thrown by the British economic giant John Maynard Keynes, writer Virginia Woolf complained that the guests had to pick “the bones of Maynard’s grouse of which there were three to eleven people.” Milton Friedman, the late Nobel laureate, routinely returned reporters’ calls collect.

    Children of economists recall how tightfisted their parents were. Lauren Weber, author of a recent book titled, “In Cheap We Trust,” says her economist father kept the thermostat so low that her mother threatened at one point to take the family to a motel. “My father gave in because it would have been more expensive,” she says.

    “Where do I begin?” says Marisa Kasriel when asked about the lengths to which her father, Northern Trust Co. economist Paul Kasriel, will go to save a buck: private-label groceries, off-brand tennis shoes and his 1995 Subaru, with a piece of electrical tape covering the “check engine” light.

    Mr. Kasriel says he buys off-brand shoes “so that my lovely children could have Nikes.”

    David Colander, an economist at Middlebury College in Vermont, says his wife — his first one, that is — was miffed when he went shopping for the cheapest diamond.

    Reading about how economists exercise their cheapness in their personal lives gave me the hives. Imagine growing up in that environment. The stories make Art Spiegelman’s father look like a spendthrift.

  13. Ready2Agitate says:

    Uh, yeah, imagine…. 🙁

  14. hairball_of_hope says:

    Oh, cheers for the New Year and the latest crop of FoxNews idiocy. We could all use a good laugh to start the New Year.

    Brit Hume, former FoxNews managing editor and now FoxNews mouthpiece/talking head, proclaimed that Tiger Woods cannot recover from his marital woes because Woods is a Buddhist, and only acceptance of Jesus will allow him to recover.

    Look for the blogosphere and pundits to have fun with this one. Here’s a sample from HuffPo:


    (… goes back to waiting for someone to show up on Hume’s Appalachian Trail …)

  15. Ian says:

    How do you guys imagine rich people get rich (legally)? They don’t spend money. It’s like those periodic stories you get about strange old hermits who hoarded everything and never wore new clothes, etc, end up leaving millions to animal sanctuaries.

    You don’t get rich by spending money needlessly. And no one NEEDS diamonds or Nike shoes! I would have thought those exalting the frugal lifestyle a post or two ago would appreciate this aspect of the economists’ cheapness … 😉

  16. Tom says:

    I grew up hearing from my father (and then lived enough to see with my own eyes) this: “none gets legally to become really rich”. At most, one who studies hard, works hard and pleases hard the fortune goddess, will get means to live with comfort, no lack of important things, and sleeping nights calm enough. Anything beyond this is not achievable but breaking or bending laws.
    I also noticed this: if you don’t spend what you earn in goods for yourself or for others (charity included), you save it, of course, but money unspent beyond the reasonable savings for emergencies may become a curse, as it indulges idleness of those who expect to inherit it, and encourages envious feelings and actions of those who would like to have (and spend) it.
    This rule may have (and I’m sure it has) its exceptions, but they must be due to the exceptional goodness, ability or luck of some people, way above the medium human being, and far more rare than it would be necessary to include me, and most people I know.
    But maybe all is different here in Brazil…
    Happy new year for all you people!

  17. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ian (#15)

    There’s a vast difference between being frugal and being cheap. Some of the behaviors described in the article are insensitive, boorish, and just plain selfish, in addition to being cheap.

    Keeping the thermostat down and wearing a sweater? Frugal. Keeping the house so cold that the wife and kids threaten to leave for a motel? Cheap.

    The economist who wanted to hire someone to decorate the Christmas tree instead of doing it with his wife? Boorish and cheap.

    Ditto for the economist who totally missed the point about the emotional baggage associated with the diamond ring. Diamonds aren’t necessary, of course, but if the couple weren’t on the same wavelength about such basic values, it’s no wonder the marriage didn’t last.

    And then there are the issues of charity and fair play. Consider these quotes from the article:

    In recent research, University of Washington economists Yoram Bauman and Elaina Rose found that economics majors were less likely to donate money to charity than students who majored in other fields. After majors in other fields took an introductory economics course, their propensity to give also fell.

    [… snip …]

    Economists long have studied “free riders,” the sort of people who take more than their fair share of something when circumstances permit. Think of the person who orders the most expensive entrée at a restaurant, knowing that the check will be shared equally among companions.

    University of Wisconsin sociologists Gerald Marwell and Ruth Ames, in a 1981 paper, found that in experiments, economics students showed a much higher propensity to free ride than other students. In questioning after the experiment, the sociologists found that for many of the economics students, the concept of investing fairly “was somewhat alien.”

    Well, that explains why our financial system imploded in the past few years. The economists and financial whizzes who designed the products and systems never learned basic concepts of fair play in kindergarten. And they never learned to consider anyone other than themselves.

    People who mooch off others push my buttons. I dealt with freeloaders for years (schnorrer is the Yiddish word) in the post-synagogue services coffee klatsch. I got tired of getting stuck with paying far beyond my share because of folks who didn’t pay at all, paid way too little, who didn’t leave enough for tax and tip, etc. and had no compunction about screwing others so they could freeload. I finally quit going out with the gang after one schnorrer was overheard boasting to someone else, “Oh, I just put a dollar in, she has a good job, she can afford it.” This guy always ate around $8 food each week, and he also had “a good job.” I was already paying the check for several folks who didn’t have means so they could join us in a meal, but I resented (and still resent) being taken advantage of.

    For the record, I don’t wear Nikes. I put my money where my mouth is. I wear New Balance 992s, made in USA by people earning a living wage, not made in some Chinese sweatshop. New Balance has five US factories. New Balance also has a UK factory, so you too can buy footwear that is made by local people earning a living wage. (They also manufacture in low-wage countries, so make sure you check the label for the specific shoe model.)

  18. Ian says:

    Erm … my post was flippant and not meant particularly seriously you know! I’m not quite a locavore, as long as things originate on the same continent I’m reasonably happy. Although over Christmas I was uncomfortably aware of how much of the crap I could potentially buy was made in China. Also, strawberries from Egypt. In December. Hmmmm.

    But I think my post still stands about economists – no one ever got rich spending their own money. If this makes them cheap (or tight as they say in my neck of the woods; from the expression, “as tight as a duck’s arse”), fair enough. I’m just saying it’s a general principle. I have met one billionaire in my life and he was generally pretty generous to local charities. But when you work out that what’s being given is less than 1% of his total holdings then it gets put into perspective. But at least he was giving from a sense of duty that you have to give something, which is better than nothing.

  19. Jaibe says:

    Maybe the birds feel safer knowing where the cat is.

  20. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ian (#18)

    Yup, no one ever gets rich spending her/his own money, but those damned economists have no problem spending *our* public monies to bail out the financial establishment fatcats.

    Speaking of wealthy and cheap, check out the Wiki on Hetty Green.


    I knew the story about her son’s leg being amputated because she was so cheap she tried to have him treated at a charity hospital, but I didn’t realize she was likely the first woman to have forced a pre-nuptial agreement on her future husband (and also on her future son-in-law).

  21. Antoinette says:

    My cats remain indoors because Blue (my cranky old man) just gets unhappy being leashed. He’s a former street stray who adopted us. He can sulk for days.

    Both he and Agnes deMitten, the Monster Kitten, are content to polish their killing bite skills (what cats are doing when they wiggle their bottom jaw and make ack-ack sounds) at the windows. The feeders hang under the awnings, so the birds aren’t bothered by the neighborhood hawks and owls.

  22. Khatgrrl says:

    I have to agree with the others. It is a new feeder and relatively cat free. Is the new feeder on the same side of the house as the old feeders? Perhaps it is in a more sheltered location.

  23. Calico says:

    #17 – I’ve heard, usually from those in the diamond retail business, that a diamond engagement ring should cost about 2 months’ salary. At least.

    #21 – Love tha ack-ack cat sounds. I call it “Kitty Morse Code.”

  24. Anonymous says:

    From what I’ve learned, people become rich from being born into rich families. Frugality helps though.

  25. Alex K says:

    @ 21 / Antoinette:

    “Killing bite skills”! For the win!

  26. Kat says:

    Calico, the cost is so high because the diamond business purposefully manipulates supply so that the stones seem rare. Also the virtual monopoly of De Beers…

  27. Ellen says:

    Diamond engagement ring, estate jewelry, cost me only $150. My spouse and I were on the same wavelength about no new gold or diamonds, about using our money for buying a house, and the ring is beautiful. The diamond and gold industry just wants our money (and to poison lots of poor people).

    The two month salary rule is a hogwash.

  28. Khatgrrl says:

    How much snow did you get over the weekend? According to our local news, Albany, NY, Burlington received 33″. Yikes! That is a lot of snow to deal with in a single storm. I was trying to figure out your thermometer and finally realized that it was for determining what type of wax to use nordic / cross country skiing. Much easier than having to refer to a chart. Not really enough snow here for skiing, too many bare spots with all the recent wind.

  29. mija says:

    Ah, the engagement ring rule! I think I ought to have held out for that. Instead, I found a ring with 4 marquis sapphires arranged in a circle and a round diamond in the middle. It was so cool when I saw it in the case at the Rock shop in Bellefonte, I just couldn’t resist. I began dropping silly hints about it immediately (august of 08), not really believing that this wonderful person I was involved with would ever want to marry me. I figured the relationship would implode like all the others. When he pulled it out of his pocket and got down on one knee at Free Spirit Gathering this past June, I about shit myself.

    It is a very unique piece and it thrills me. Unfortunately, the only type of band it will work with is a plain gold band. Man, he gets off easy. I know Kitty at the rock shop gave him a good deal and the plain bands can run between $80-$150. He likes the 2-tone fancy bands that are 6-8 times that. But, he really is worth it!

  30. brigid says:

    Alison: I think you need to consider the different feeding habits of the chickadees versus the finches. I suspect that the finches prefer to chow down while perched on a rod but the chickadees can grab on to metal mesh and hang without a “perch”. they are also able/willing to go inside a “cage” type feeder. I have never seen a finch inside one of these but wrens, nuthatches and chikadees will go in. perhaps you already have a variety of feeder types but design and feeding strategy is more important than just number or location
    happy new year

  31. NLC says:

    Khatgrrl #28:

    In point of fact the snowfall in Burlingon –33.1 in– was it’s heaviest one-day snowfall ever
    (hey, this is Vermont we’re talking about here).

    OTOH, the craziest snowfall amounts were pretty localized. There was a sharp fall-off in the snow-boundaries and the up-sloping effect caused by the mountains seemed to make a lot of difference. For example here in Brattleboro (catty-corner across the state) we got about three inches (and that was only a problem because the wind and the snow made things kind of slick).

  32. j.b.t. says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one to stress out over the bird feeders! And to learn I’m in such estimable company was quite a thrill.

    My biggest issue has been house sparrows – greedy invasive birds that kill the young of native species and thrive in the city. I learned this year that it’s worse for the environment/birds to put feeders out if you get a lot of sparrows than to not feed the birds at all.

    And since my feeders had recently turned into sparrow slums, I’ve been in a tizzy about what to do.

    But I have found the answer, gracias Minnsota DNR! I rigged up my two back feeders with squirrel baffles that have fishing line hanging down from them attached to weights. It disrupts the sparrows flight patterns, but doesn’t bother the other birds! For the front feeder, which is on a pulley to the second floor, I bought a “magic halo” which is a metal ring with fishing line attached.

    It’s working like a charm! I have cardinals, chickadees, juncos, nuthatches, downy wookdpeckers and finches. And NO house sparrows! I’ll try and post a link to a great site about it all….


  33. j.b.t. says:

    Here’s the link:


    This whole site is good.


  34. j.b.t. says:

    One more post and then I promise I’ll stop…

    New word of the day: synanthrope. It’s a species that does better in close proximity to people, in urban environments, than in the “wild.” I.e, house sparrows, rats, crows, cockroaches and pigeons. Of that bunch, only crows are native species. Oy.


  35. Dr. Empirical says:

    In las week’s Man of the Year issue, Time magazine pointed out that Fed Chairman Berneke and his wife own just one car between them: a Ford Focus that’s almost paid off.

    HoH (#17): I’ve always been a freeloader, when I could get away with it, but I draw the line at outright mooching. That is, I’ll make a meal of the free Happy Hour food, but I’d never pay less than a bit more than my fair share when splitting a check.

    Seminar food got me through grad school. I’d attend a lecture on any subject if they served pizza there. I quickly found out that it was bad form to eat the food and then bail on the lecture. As a result, I know more about Elizabethan costume design than a hetero male really should.

  36. C. says:

    Wonderful use of a classical standby there…

  37. C. says:

    Did you clear the recording? The record labels are hunting YouTube looking for would-be offenders…

  38. jesss says:

    I’ve recently been agonising over the right bird-feeder too. I’ve got a flock of a dozen Rose-ringed Parakeets that seem to be hanging around the trees behind my house – they’re neon green! (Which is pretty exciting for London, UK)


    I can’t decide if I’ll regret luring them in with a bird-feeder – they’re pretty screechy!

  39. Ginjoint says:

    Rest in peace, Mary Daly.

  40. Calico says:

    #26, #27 – Yes, what worries me is the blood diamond trade.
    I don’t know how good DeBeers is or not in staying out of that ugly loop.
    Wasn’t there a movie made recently about the dark side of the diamond trade?

    As for birds and feeders, yay!

  41. hairball_of_hope says:

    Ref #39

    Mary Daly’s probably raising Hell. Or whatever.


  42. Cathy says:

    Thank, j.b.t.! Battling the house sparrow (HOSP in bird banding argot) is a worthy cause. When I began to monitor bluebird nestboxes, I learned how vicious and relentless HOSPs can be. Alison, if watching chickadees attack finches distresses you, you may not be able to handle learning that a HOSP will happily peck a nesting bluebird on the head until it kills it, then build its own nest atop the bluebird’s body. Not much fun to see THAT when you open a nestbox to count bluebird eggs. HOSPs are little bigots, too–I once saw a flock of HOSPs attack and chase after an albino HOSP that came to my yard, never to return.

  43. freyakat says:

    (On my way to teach, but checking in here first)
    @39: Ginjoint, thank you for alerting me(us).

    Yes indeed, rest in peace Mary Daly, you were
    one special woman/thinker. Or, perhaps more likely, agitate or do what you will….

  44. --MC says:

    “Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu’ il a été proprement fait.” Balzac said that. “The secret of a great fortune without an obvious source is a crime that was very well hidden.”
    RIP Mary Daly. I love that obit picture of her swinging a big old two-headed axe.

  45. Suzanonymous says:

    Happy New Year everyone!

  46. Kat says:

    @#40 (Calico)
    De beers has done everything it can to be the ONLY source of diamonds (I don’t know if they’re succeeding). They were instrumental in supporting apartheid in South Africa and in exploiting other African nations and people in their quest for world diamond domination….I think (but can’t say for sure) that their hands are far from clean in the “blood diamond” problem.

  47. Kate L says:

    My friend the director of the campus Women’s Center was talking about bird feeders today. Could she be a reader of this blog?

    I’m at the public library, again. I was just at the university library, and FoxFire informed me that the connection kept getting “reset” as the dtwof web page was loading. What does that mean?

    Ginjoint (#39), hairball (#41). I actually knew a Mary Daly at the university where I received my Ph.D. We were both geologists.

  48. Kate L says:

    According to the Huffington Post, the radical right is going nuts over President Obama appointing a transsexual woman to his administration. You must admit, this person really made a personal statement against patriarchy! Maybe that’s why they are so upset:

  49. Kate L says:

    (Diamond-related.) There are other diamond pipes (“kimberlites”, named for Kimberly, South Africa) in the world. In fact, about a dozen are located within 35 miles of where I am right now. But as soon as one shows diamond-producing potential, DeBeer’s tries to buy out its operators.

  50. Bookbird says:

    Happy New Year, Alison!

    I wouldn’t worry about the chickadee. They’re adventurous agressive little birds when they put their minds to it (maybe you have to be if you’re that small).

  51. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#48)

    Hmmm… Falwell’s camp may have unwittingly signed on in favor of affirmative action. Let’s watch them try to Texas Two-Step their way out of that one.

    Quoting from the article:

    Matt Barber, associate dean at Jerry Fallwell’s Liberty University, said the appointment “boggles the mind” and said that while African-Americans might deserve special treatment, transgender people don’t.

    “This isn’t like appointing an African-American in order to try to provide diversity and right some kind of discriminatory wrong,” he said. “This is about political correctness.”

  52. Marj says:

    #23 – I’m sure it used to be ONE month’s salary. Inflation.

  53. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Dr E (#35)

    The fact that you picked up on the social cue that it was bad form to eat the lecture-provided pizza and then cut out is probably related to your chosen profession as a scientist, one who observes phenomena and changes the experimental parameters to suit.

    An economist, on the other hand, may not have picked up on the social cue, or would have ignored the social cue because of her/his perception that the value of getting something for nothing (no time invested in learning about Elizabethan costume in order to glom a few slices of pizza) outweighed the opprobrium.

    I’m reminded of the scene in “You’ve Got Mail,” where the Tom Hanks character scoops up all the caviar at the smorgasbord and dumps it on his plate, while the Meg Ryan character yells at him that it’s supposed to be a garnish. Hanks is behaving like an economist.


    (… goes off singing that Cab Calloway classic, “Minnie the Moocher” …)

  54. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Dr. E (#53)

    Now that I’ve read the Time puff piece on Bernanke, http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1946375_1947251,00.html, I’m quite surprised to learn he and his wife “recently refinanced their Capitol Hill townhouse after their adjustable-rate mortgage exploded, switching to a 30-year fixed rate of about 5%.”

    He didn’t see that coming? DUH. If the guy with a bunch of money supply levers in his hands couldn’t figure out that his home mortgage was way too risky for his own finances, what hope have we that he will see the big stuff coming down the pike for the economy? Note to Bernanke: That light at the end of the tunnel just might be an oncoming train.

    Another quote from the article:

    He is not, in other words, a typical Beltway power broker. He’s shy. He doesn’t do the D.C. dinner-party circuit; he prefers to eat at home with his wife, who still makes him do the dishes and take out the trash. Then they do crosswords or read. Because Ben Bernanke is a nerd.

    He just happens to be the most powerful nerd on the planet.

    [… snip …]

    So here he is inside his marble fortress, a technocrat in an ink-stained shirt and an off-the-rack suit, explaining what he’s done, where we are and what might happen next.

    Is it just me, or should one half of a coupled relationship be responsible enough to do some household chores without being *made* to “do the dishes and take out the trash.” Is that the [male] author’s sexist bias (would he have written that Bernanke *makes* his wife cook dinner and do laundry?)? Or is that how Bernanke expressed himself and the division of household tasks?

    Hooray for nerds. Gee, now we can all aspire to wear ink-stained shirts and off-the-rack suits.

    (… goes back to her own nerdly existence …)

  55. Ready2Agitate says:

    Yes, friends, it was sparrows, or HOSP’s, that were scavenging at my at my urban kitchen window and freaking me out. JBT, you’ve got more drive on this one than I. I promptly abandoned having bird feeders.

    And Oh! I am SO sad about Mary Daly!!! Did she not impact all of us coming of age as feminists and radicals and queers and women’s studies students, and students of the power of language! Gyn/Ecology! Wikidery! Now SHE was a woman was ready to agitate!

  56. Ready2Agitate says:


    Wickedary! – she was the ancestor to wiki’ness and a wicked wick herself.

  57. Ginjoint says:

    That news about Bernanke and his mortgage makes my jaw freaking DROP. And Hairball, I agree about the language used with regard to the chores. Subterfuge like this is part of why all – and I do mean all – American T.V. commercials for cleaning products feature women only.

    R2A, I was glad to see your sentiments about Mary Daly. The lack of coverage about her death in both mainstream (well, that’s kind of expected) and progressive media is depressing, as are many of the comments being made about her. Yeah, subterfuge in language…

  58. Dr. Empirical says:

    Who the Hell would wear an off-the-rack suit when you can get one cheaper at the Salvation Army?

  59. Andrew B says:

    Hoh, 54, where did you find that quote about Bernanke refinancing? It’s not (now) in the article you linked to. Is it in another article? Did Time edit the one you linked to?

    There are all kinds of things wrong with the Fed, and arguably with Bernanke’s leadership of it, but there is no way that he got trapped by a teaser mortgage rate. Whatever the story is, it can’t be that.

    Definitely agree with you about the chores. It’s condescending toward Bernanke’s wife, because one can’t help comparing her power (she can “make” him take out the trash) with his (he probably has more influence on the entire world’s economy than any one other individual). She’s very powerful indeed, Time tells us — so long as she stays in her proper sphere.

  60. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Kate L:
    I’m sure the Right aren’t the only ones working up a lather over Obama’s appointment of a trans woman. Mary Daly is probably turning over in her grave. Hey-o!

  61. Ginjoint says:

    You stay classy, DeLand.

  62. DeLand DeLakes says:

    I’m not the classy individual who referred to transfolk as “Frankensteinian”; that would be the dear departed Daly.

  63. Ready2Agitate says:

    Touche, DeLand!

  64. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Andrew B (#59)

    The quote about Bernanke’s mortgage is on page 5 of the linked article, in the sixth paragraph, which starts with the subheader ‘The Buying Binge,’ second-to-last sentence. It’s in parentheses.

  65. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Andrew B (#59)

    I don’t think Bernanke’s mortgage was a teaser rate. It was an ARM (adjustable rate mortgage), where the interest rate is variable and periodically resets based on some other lending rate (e.g. LIBOR, US Prime rate, etc.). But in some sense, all ARMs are teasers, the initial low rate for the first year or two is what usually hooks the mortgagee into signing on the dotted line.

    The conventional advice given by so-called money gurus is that an ARM can make sense if fixed interest rate mortgages are high and you only intend to stay in the house for about five years or less.

    But plenty of folks use ARMs to buy more house than they can otherwise afford, because the initial payments are lower, intending to refinance a few years down the road to a fixed rate mortgage (and taking the risks that the ARM won’t reset to something astronomical in the interim, and that an affordable fixed rate mortgage will be available a few years later).

    I doubt Bernanke had one of those Alt-A mortgages, such as an option ARM, where one can skip payments and have them added to the principal, or an interest-only ARM, where one is paying only interest and no principal.

    Nonetheless, I think Bernanke’s choice of an ARM is an example of poor financial decision-making. The Bernankes fit into the situation of living in the townhouse for 5-7 years, where the conventional wisdom says an ARM might make sense, but with rates at historical lows before the economic meltdown, I think it was foolish (and risky) not to lock in a decent fixed rate (or was it his all-powerful wife’s choice, she who can make him take out the trash and do dishes?).

  66. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ginjoint (#57)

    True, the overwhelming majority of cleaning products are pitched by women in North American advertisements.

    Perhaps that’s why the few products that are pitched by men are so successful. I’m thinking in particular of the success of OxiClean and OrangeGlo, pitched by the late Billy Mays http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Mays.

    Of course, Mays was the consumate pitchman, in the best tradition of carnival barkers and itinerant salespersons, but I think his gender also helped set those ads apart from the female cleaning product spokesperson ghetto.

    (… goes off looking for Josephine the Plumber …)

  67. Ginjoint says:

    I’m not going to write off, or celebrate the death of, a loud woman who helped other women become loud too, because some of her beliefs don’t mesh with mine. Everyone from Emma Goldman to Margaret Sanger had aspects that were truly critique-worthy, and I’m not going to write them off either. Right now, I’m appreciating a woman who confronted the Catholic Church (my late lamented church, for a whole lotta obvious reasons), and who wasn’t afraid to put women first in her life and career.

    I saw this comment posted at the blog Notorious Ph.D. by a person named Julian Real:
    “She deserves that level of recognition and respect, imo. White dudes get it all the freakin’ time, for writing misogynist racist bs. Whole courses surrounding their writings, and trying to understand the depths of meaning hidden in them. Why isn’t this so with Daly and Dworkin’s work?”

    Whole lotta misogyny goin’ on.

  68. Kate L says:

    Ginjoint, Deland, Ready2Agitate (#60 to #63)

    The sad truth is, it is possible for someone to be progressive in some sense, and oppressive in others. Even within the LGBT community. Unless Daly meant “frankensteinian” in a good way.

  69. Kate L says:

    This just in. David Letterman has joined the transphobic bandwagon:

  70. cd in Madison says:

    My introduction to Mary Daly came from an excitable, fast-talking freshman at a Catholic college who was giving an enthusiastic review of “Beyond God the Father”. I thought the book sounded fascinating, but I kept thinking “How on earth could the mayor of Chicago have written such an out-there book? (Mayor Daley)……

    I read the book, was blown away. A few years later I rushed to the feminist bookstore in town, A Room of One’s Own (still extant, yay) to buy “Gyn/Ecology” and have Mary Daly autograph it. She made her appearance, gave an inspiring speech, but then held up her writing hand, which had on it a large cast. She had fallen and broken her wrist — there would be no signing that night. I’ve always regretted missing that opportunity.

  71. To interject some actual facts instead of smears to the subject of honoring Mary Daly — I’ll use site names you can find on Google to get past the only-one-URL block here (which I understand is to stop spam):

    The quote of “Frankensteinian” attributed to her that is being parroted across the blogosphere, especially by so-called feminists (some of whom at other sites are clearly trolls), is not accurate. If you haven’t actually read her work, I’d suggest you stop demonstrating at best your ignorance and at worst your willingness to join in groupthink womanhating by repeating it.

    According to KatRose’s piece on Daly at Pam’s House Blend:
    ‘Well, many trans folks are (or should be) aware that Daly (late-70s hyper-transphobia compadre of uber paranoid transphobe Janice Raymond), in her book Gyn/Ecology, likened male-to-female transsexuals to Frankenstein’s Monster.


    ‘In the section of the book entitled “Boundary Violation and the Frankenstein Phenomenon”; Daly wrote: “Transsexualism is an example of male surgical siring which invades the female world with substitutes. Male-mothered genetic engineering is an attempt to ‘create’ without women. The projected manufacture by men of artificial wombs, of cyborgs which will be part flesh, part robot, of clones – all are manifestations of phallotechnic boundary violation.”‘

    I appreciate her going for the exact quote, even though she tries to amp it up by dragging in Janice Raymond, gender studies “proof” that the entire lesbian-feminist second wave was “anti-trans”. And, of course, she links Daly to opponents of same-sex marriage, because anyone who utterly stands up against all patriarchal religion and takes on the Catholic Church must be philosophically equivalent to the Christian Right. For a similar analogy, see Obama = Hitler.
    Or, because of the few things Darwin got wrong, Evolutionary Theory Is Completely Bogus.

    Or, see DeLand DeLakes’ comment above — It’s okay for me to disrespect everything she did because I believe she opposed human rights for “transfolk”.

    Her quoted comment refers to male to female transsexualism’s approach at the time of her writing (when the surgical ethos and criteria are NOT the same as today — and the term/concept transfolk or even basic transgender theory had not been created/articulated) and compares it to Frankenstein’s Monster. I’m NOT arguing it’s less offensivee. I’m just being precise because precision of language and dissection of idea was part of her life’s work. If you speak as a feminist today, you are using her ideas and language revision, whether or not you are bright and honest enough to admit it.

    The quote in question comes from Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism, one of the most revolutionary and philosophically important books of the 20th century. Published in 1978, it broke incredible ground. If you want to discount her entire oevre (six major, world-changing works that put the entire patriarchy on alert) because she was in serious error on one or more issues, that’s your right. But please be aware that the main hatred of Daly out there is because she had a primary interest in women and gynocentric thought, not men and androcentric thought, and the main impetus to discredit her comes from those who are furious with that decision on her part.

    The “Frankensteinian” attribution appears to be coming from Wikipedia, but there is no citation to back it up at Wiki. Instead, I think this is someone’s paraphrase — there is a critical difference between Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s Monster. The only link at Wiki is to Gyn/Ecology excerpted online in a section about medical/patriarchal assaults on women in “American Gynecology: Gynocide by the Holy Ghosts of Medicine”, where the only mention of transsexualism is in a footnote quoting Janice Raymond, apparently crime enough to justify any label we want to slap on Daly.

    Instead, the actual quote above seems to come from Chapter One, “Deadly Deception: Mystification Through Myth”. I don’t have the book in front of me so I can’t be more accurate than that. (And I welcome anyone else’s documented correction/clarification.) However, if you’re tossing around the “Frankensteinian” echo, I’m going to assume you never read the book and are quoting a Wikipedia assertion that is inaccurate, simply to be part of the crowd refusing to take an honest overall look at Daly’s contributions.

    Which is what lesbian-feminists of my generation can expect if we die right now. It’s absolutely okay to take a dump on our accomplishments if we fucked up in any way over the past 35 years. We are the Enemy and never considered to have possibly changed our minds along the way.

    Therefore, to follow that logic, I expect that when Alison dies, it will be mandatory for modern “feminists” to refuse to allow homage to her work because she actually DARED to draw a copy of Gyn/Ecology in a panel in Fun Home as part of what shaped who she was. Oh, and she went to Michigan too, and LIKED it. Shun, shun.

    For a well-linked take on this whole revisionist phenomena, I recommend reading Historiann’s Why Blogs Suck.

  72. Ian says:

    I’ve not read Mary Daly but I had read the Wiki article which seems at best ambivalent about her career. Whoever put it together doesn’t seem to know whether to champion her and her achievements, or be disapproving of her controversy.

    Still, influential though she is, I don’t see why people can’t disagree with her work in the way they do for Andrea Dworkin should they want to.

  73. Ginjoint says:

    Said it before, say it again – I wish I could write like you, Maggie.

    If you speak as a feminist today, you are using her ideas and language revision, whether or not you are bright and honest enough to admit it.

    Word. I like to think of feminism as mitochondrial DNA – within us all are bits of the women who came before us. Unfortunately, this seems to aggravate many third-wave feminists to no end, to my utter bafflement. (FWIW, I don’t know whether I’d be considered second- or third-wave. I was a child during the seventies, but identified as feminist even then. I’m kind of in the middle, I guess.) Every time I see yet another “feminist” blog bashing a figure active in the women’s movement during the seventies, or feminism as a whole from that era, I cringe. My mother was a working mom, and I saw all she went through and the paths she and women like her cleared. There is no way I am going to dis those women, who made my working life easier. My personal life too, actually.

  74. Ginjoint says:

    Also, thanks Maggie for introducing me to Historiann.

  75. Absolutely disagree according to your own thinking. There are many ways Mary Daly did not speak for me. But (1) don’t assume because you disagree with a powerful woman leader, it’s okay to say they would oppose X rights unless they actually made a CAREER out of opposing those rights — and Daly’s career was opposing phallocracy, which makes it interesting, to say the least, that her chief attackers now on feminist blogs are using the trans-hating charge, ever so much more malleable than the man-hating charge among feminists) and (2) back up your critique with, like, actually quoting what she SAID or DID.

    Not everyone who criticizes Barack Obama’s leadership is a racist. I say that with the admission I criticuze him frequently. But the backlash against him Out There is racist in its core, and the language disconnect, the sources quoted, will give away where someone is coming from.

    Paying homage to the accumulated work of Mary Daly is not transphobic. Or manhating. Prioritizing women is not automatically manhating, although you will assuredly draw the lightning of that charge in a male-fetishizing world. As my friend Maria Limon says, “Drop the pitchforks, people.”

  76. FYI — Rachel Maddow is going to be on Letterman tonight. He’s such a mixed bag, often astonishingly progressive but then he’ll cone out with anti-trans and anti-woman shit with depressing regularity. Let’s see if Rachel nails him on any of it.

  77. Kate L says:

    When I said it was possible to be progressive in some ways, and oppressive in others, I was thinking largely of my own family. My father was a young faculty agitator for racial integration back in the 50’s and 60’s. So much so that when he would tell my mother of his latest efforts, I would jokingly call him a “troublemaker”, although I was never prouder of anything he did. Flash forward to the late 70’s. I’m home on break from Indiana University, and I find that my parents have contributed money to Anita Bryant’s anti-LGBT campaigns. I wanted to ask, “Who are you people, and what have you done with my parents???” And, I should own up to the fact that I used to be on the transphobic bandwagon, particularly when it came to female-to-male transsexuals. I was dismissive, disrespectful, all of that. Why would someone born with a complete set of X chromosomes want to be male? Then, I had my own ephiphany when a friend sat me down and had me watch “Boys Don’t Cry” without telling me what the ending would be. Ever since then, I’ve realized that a female-to-male transsexual’s body image is just as legitimate as my own. I remember telling this to a young woman who was interviewing me for the local student paper a few years ago, when I was doing things like campaigning against the Kansas anti-gay marriage amendment. She just sat there for a moment, apparently deeply affected by what I had just said. I had to wonder later if she was a F-to-M transsexual herself.

  78. Fester Bestertester says:

    Since a couple people have brought up Letterman:

    I see the show very rarely, but looking at the link above it’s worth noting the person who delivers the “joke” is Alan Kalter whose “on-show character” is that of a complete asshole (not unlike the show’s “Lyle the Intern”; witness Kalter’s “celebrity interviews”).

    I’m not going to pretend that Letterman’s show was attempting to make any profound statement (it’s network TV, he’s clearly going for the cheap laugh) but I think it’s not unreasonable to suggest that 1] clumsy as it was, the intended butt of the bit was Kalter’s “character”; and 2] saying that something spoken by Kalter’s character represents the views of Letterman is not unlike saying that a line spoken by Archie Bunker represents the actual views of Norman Lear Productions.

  79. anna says:

    The NJ Senate just legally prohibited LGBTQ people from getting married:(

  80. Ready2Agitate says:

    Was it Maggie who asked what daily blogs we each peruse? Well, I was feeling kinda shy and embarassed, cuz, um, I don’t read blogs!

    So – means I’m not really aware of the size of the backlash against Mary Daly going on out there right now. But friends have been reminiscing about how much we were each affected by Mary Daly when we were assigned or picked up her works/words during the 1980s (Ginjoint, you and I are roughly peers).

    Which isn’t to say we weren’t also reading Audre Lorde’s famous rebuttal to Mary Daly that critiqued Daly’s universalization of white women’s experience, and relegation of women of color to mystical magical roles that demeaned them.

    Anyway, I am just so saddened about Daly’s passing, knowing that her work profoundly affected me, imperfect as it was.

    Feminista, where you at, girl?

  81. Ready2Agitate says:

    Oh, I almost forgot. I came here to recommend a book reading that is soon coming to the West Coast (Seattle, Portland, and SF, among other places). The poet is a Jewish Mexican man and the translator is a Jewish American man (and a good friend of mine).

    I thought some literati on this blog might enjoy the works.

    http://www.beforesaying.com/ and click on “Tour Information”.

    (Just supporting my peeps. 🙂

  82. j.b.t. says:

    Thanks for the interesting conversation, Maggie. Though I don’t think DeLand’s comment was meant to be disrespectful in any way – she wasn’t condemning all of Daly’s work – just noting one thing.

    I remember reading Daly in college (I was a Women’s Studies major) and then hearing English in a totally different way. It blew my mind.

    Thanks, Ginjoint, for reminding us all to respect our foremothers! It drives me crazy how so many young women today don’t even want to call themselves “feminists.” I heard a radio program about this issue on public radio last fall and had to pull over from driving it got me so upset. Like the bumper sticker says, “I’ll be post-feminist in the post-patriarchy.”


  83. Feminista says:

    #0n Ready: Well,after returning from my big trip to Mexico and CA,I’ve been taking care of bizness around the house and cuddling the cats. Oh,and goofing off on the Net,of course.I appreciate you thinking of me.

    On the night of 1/5, I got an email from my sister with sad news: my niece Emily’s boyfriend of over 7 years,Tom S.,was killed in a helicopter crash that day. He was a scientific aide working with two wildlife biologists in the CA Dept.of Fish and Game on a deer-counting project. In order to do an accurate count,including IDing gender by the presence or absence of antlers,the helicopter must fly quite low.

    The experienced pilot ran into some unmarked wires,and the ‘copter crashed and burned,killing all 4. This occurred south of Yosemite Nat’l Park in I think Madera County.

    Emily is crushed,but is getting lots of support from her immediate family and friends.

    So right now I don’t have much to say about Mary Daly,other than she was a courageous woman who rightfully made some of the entrenched Catholic hierarchy/patriarchy pay attention. My recovering Catholic friend M,who at 72 is still bitter about Catholicism, counts Daly as a major influence.

    I read excerpts of her work,but no complete books;the theoretical works that grabbed my attention in the 70s were by socialist feminists like Sheila Rowbotham and Zillah Eisenstein.

  84. Feminista says:

    #81 Ready: Thanks for the heads up on David Huerta’s west coast tour.

  85. Ready2Agitate says:

    🙁 RIP Emily’s boyfriend, F’nista…

  86. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Um, Maggie, presuming the generic “you” to whom your screed is directed is me– I don’t quite know how you got from my comment to imagining my savaging Ms. Bechdel’s reputation after her death.(??) It became clear somewhere between your comparing my thought to evolutionist deniers and LaRouchies with Obama-Hitler pics that perhaps you have a few pitchforks of your own that could be pointing in the wrong places. To ignore your conflating me with a “blogosphere” that has you clearly upset, I think only these points actually concern me:

    1. We agree that Daly’s work was dismissive of transsexualism. Thank you for furnishing the quote.

    2. We diverge on the notion that Daly should be exempt from critical interrogation because, according to you, “the term/concept transfolk or even basic transgender theory had not been created/articulated.” Sorry, non-gender conforming people have been around a lot longer than Mary Daly. I am also curious as to why you apparently believe Daly’s concept of transgenderism to be antecedent to trans consciousness itself?

    3. I can handle your questioning both my intelligence and honesty in demanding my fealty to Daly as a feminist thinker. Yet the fact is that most of the scholarship that has informed my thinking on gender has sought to address things Daly takes for granted, like the stability of the essentialist, biological category of “woman”. That is what smart scholarship is: it examines the fallacies and blind spots of influential texts as well as the useful parts in order to build from them. Selectively tossing out aspects of Daly’s work in order to uncritically canonize her genius (Hemingway: what a great, if perhaps unintentional comparison, Ginjoint!) frankly isn’t smart, and it certainly isn’t honest.

  87. Deland, that was a very good reply, I appreciate it.

    Most of what you think was directed at you was not, and it’s my fault for not making that clearer. I read a lot of other blogs out there trying to track down what Daly actually said, and I was reacting mostly to them — folks who were saying exactly the same Wikipedia dustortion over and over, folks who said Daly was equivalent Focus On The Family, folks who had not a single clue about what she had actually written and seemed to take pride in their ignorance, folks who were accusing bloggers who did not utterly condemn Daly of being hatemongers themselves. It was a shitstorm I didn’t want to spread here. I’m truly sorry I gave the impression you were engaging in that behavior.

    I did object to your assumption that Mary Daly would in the afterlife be upset by the herstoric appointment Obama made. It’s a serious slam that I don’t think we have evidence for, and it was especially hurtful in the face of people mourning her passing.

    I can’t say definitively that transgender theory and identity as we now comprehend it did not exist in 1978 but I can say that I, a voracious reader of all feminist and lesbian/gay writing, did not encounter anything like it until the 1990s. Riki Wilchins also asserts it’s a new construct — not the reality of the existence, but the way we now define it. An analogy would be that MY definition of lesbian, particular to my generation, was in fact constructed by us, and to use our definition to critique the thinking and writing of lesbians in the 1940s would be way out of line. Although, of course, we did just that in the 1970s. Women-loving-women have always existed but they certainly didn’t have a modern view of what that meant to them.

    My personal experience prior to 1978 with what is now labeled “trans” (a huge category that includes diverse populations who often define the term in contradictory ways, which is why I always ask for precision) included, to use modern terms, MtF drag performers, male drag performers who portrayed women but identified as gay men, a handful of butches who identified as straight men, and MtF transexuals who identified as heterosexual. In not a single instance did these folks I knew call themselves feminist, and the language I heard from them about women was routinely misogynistic. From what I’ve read and discussed with other members of my generation, this was common. Feminist trans theory arrived later, just as feminist definitions of lesbianism weren’t really available on a general cultural level until at least the mid to late 60s.

    So, for a generation of women whose primary identity was that of feminist, these negative experiences with MtF transsexuals seemed as strong proof of us vs. them as the misogyny we were battered with in most gay male settings. Separatism was the norm then because the alternative was listening to stereotypes about women we were desperately trying to scrub from our own conditioning.

    Things have changed — though not everywhere, in all circumstances. It’s important to acknowledge context even as we press for continued change and growth. And if it’s a context which existed before you were born or adult enough to experience it, I ask that you consult/listen to more than one side before you solidify your opinions. Revisionism regarding 1970s feminism has hit from two directions, from the Right which absolutely wants to eradicate the change we set in motion and from a later generation who wants to set itself apart from our failures (and not incidentally sell books/acquire degrees/garner reputations as a consequence of playing along with the backlash.)

    Not all separatists were essentialists. In my experience, most were not. We were (and I still am) dedicated to the revolutionary hope of nurture over nature, that altering conditioning would free us all from gender prisons. For me, woman is whatever the fuck I say it is — “Look at me as if you not never seen a woman before” — and the way I live defies biology as destiny. For me, that means outward appearance is irrelevant to identity, and I think that is another basic 1970’s feminist precept — that trying to define yourself/others by how you/they look is inherently playing into the lies. But as a disabled, poor, fat, white dyke I make my personal choices and don’t insist my path be yours for me to work in alliance and solidarity with you, or for me to learn from you.

    I haven’t read Daly’s main works in many years. She was clearly a separatist, of the ilk (as I was) who prioritized women rather than rejected men which is an important energetic distinction. I’m not sure she was an essentialist. Her life work was to dis/cover ideas which would alter the world’s misery, and even for an intellectual misanthrope (as I think she often was) that goal has hope for change in it that, in my mind, contradicts essentialism. But I could well be papering over limitations by wishful thinking, I do that.

    I’m not tossing out Daly’s flaws. I weigh them against the enormity of what she took on and accomplished. (To quote Rich, these are the forces arrayed against us, these are the forces arrayed within us.) And yes, I do cut extra slack for warriors who are being singled out because of a category they belong to. Daly was a “woman who’s indifferent to men”, a dangerous way to live — similar to the expendable category of Black Power warriors who refused to pretend at making nice to white people. So when I feel the urge to point out how wrong, WRONG someone in such a position might be, I take a step back and consider how larger world conditioning might be inflaming my perception. I ask that of other feminists and progressives as well.

    The rush to make sure Daly’s work is critiqued or silenced before its impact is acknowledged after her death looks very much to me like the “let’s be rigorously objective” attitude which is applied disproportionately to deviant women and nonaccommodating people of color.

    Thank you for this conversation. It’s a gift, I know that.

  88. Ginjoint says:

    First, condolence and comfort to you, Feminista, for the loss in your family. It’s always especially tragic when someone dies very young, I think.

    Next, a confession to DeLand: totally unintentional. I had to scroll back through my comments to suss out your allusion to Hemingway, thinking, dammit, I knew I wasn’t smart enough to participate in this conversation! Then I saw the quote from Julian Real, and thought, yes. Hemingway, perfect example on your part, DeLand.

    I was hurt at the time by your comment about Daly. You said it as I was feeling sad about her death, and it stung. However, unlike a lot of the feminist bloggers around today, I’m no hothouse flower. If you stand by it, so be it. I think I’ll live, and I think we’ll still be able to converse.

    Maggie, you brought up the shitstorm going on at other blogs re: Daly. I’m about to stop reading many of the blogs I’ve frequently visited, some for several years, due to the level of ass-speak (as in, talking out of one’s) so prevalent. And the aforementioned hothouse flower syndrome, and the groupthink. I’ve more to say, but once again, I have to get to work. Stay warm, everyone.

  89. Aunt Soozie says:

    I don’t read blogs either RTA… other than this one.

    It seems right that the bird feeder placed by the office window, where you want to get all down with your work… placed there to help you ground yourself, be one with the peaceful natural world, focus in… is the one where the birdies opt to create discord… to reveal the not so loverly side of mother earth’s precious creatures.

    I suspect that no matter what you do, hang ninety feeders, change the food in there, take the feeder down, nature will find some way to fuck with your process.

    Though, do persevere my dear Alison, try not to fret, we (and your publisher) await your next memoir with salacious anticipation… okay, wait, I take it back, no pressure… both in terms of getting your work completed and with regard to making your relationship history all hot and steamy. : )

  90. DeLand DeLakes says:

    I hear you, I just don’t have the energy to respond paragraph for paragraph. Peace out.

  91. Calico says:

    #66 – Spead the power of Billy!

    This reminds me of the bumper stickers in VT during the 90’s that simply said “Spread Fred.”
    (I think this sticker was based on the late great awesome Fred Tuttle)

  92. Kate L says:

    Maggie (#87) Your comment about how feminists once viewed the transgendered explains a lot, and asking someone who identifies as “transgendered” to be more specific makes a lot of sense. Transgendered seems to be an umbrella term, including everyone from people who appear to be wired since birth to identify with the opposite sex (opposite to their birth gender), to performance artists who seem to be parodying the opposite sex. I’ve actually made myself unpopular in parts of the local LGBT community by saying that I believe drag queen reviews are insulting to women. That, and by my making a point of saying “LGBT” instead of “GLBT”. I figure males get top billing often enough without it happening in the community. I’m sorry if I insulted anyone on this blog. I’ve had a lot of time to think about things since yesterday. I was at the dentist’s for 3 and a half hours yesterday afternoon, while he used a saw to cut away some 36-year-old crowns that needed replacement. He kept commenting on how well I was tolerating the discomfort. Someone from the dentist’s office even called this morning to see if I was ok. I’m fine, and I hope you all are as well. And, Feminista (#83), I’m sorry for your niece’s loss!

  93. Marj says:

    Feminista – so sorry. What an awful way to start the year.

    Maggie & DeLand – thank you for the bracing exchange! I didn’t read Daly at the time; her prose was too difficult for me then. I think it may be time for me to try.

    Kate L – I used to buy into the transphobic thing too, until one of my best friends got a job running the only NHS gender clinic in the country, and later another came out as ftm. THAT was a steep learning curve…

  94. Ian says:

    Feminista – so sorry for the loss in your family. Not a good way to start the year at all. I’m always short on good words of comfort at times like these and it puts the rest of our troubles in perspective.

  95. Pam I says:

    Blog hijack, especially for UK readers, but then a global response would be good too – I’m looking for quotes about people’s experience of Gay / LGBT Pride. I’ve been commissioned to produce an exhibition of my years + years of photos of Pride in London. LGBT History Month is February here (Black H M is October) so I have a week….

    A sentence ot two to include in with the panels of photos is what I need. Please see my blog entry or click the Pam I link.

    And yes, UK initials sequence has been LGBT since we started not just calling it Gay in about 1985.

  96. Mona says:

    back to the finches and bird feeders and stuff…..are US “chickadees” the same as UK “tits”????

  97. NLC says:


    According to Wikipedia, they are are all part of one large family:

    Except that (apparently) tits are British, while titmices (titmouses?) and chickadees are exclusive to North America.

    This is different some shared names (for example, “Robins”) which means something entirely different depend which side of the Atlantic you are on.

    (Bear in mind that this is the total extent of my knowledge in this area, so YMMV. With regard to birds I adhere to the philosophy as expressed by an interviewee on a Vermont Public Radio show:
    There are four class classes of birds: “Little Brown Birds”, “Big Brown Birds”, “Ducks” and “Other”.)

  98. Andrew B says:

    HoH, 64 and 65, thanks for helping me find the quote. (I hadn’t noticed the article had multiple pages — d’oh!) It doesn’t provide the context I hoped it would.

    Neither you nor I was looking over the Bernankes’ shoulders when they arranged their mortgage. The odds that Ben Bernanke needs me to help him with his personal finances seem to me about the same as the odds that Christiane Amanpour would need me to help her arrange a vacation in a third world country. Conceivable — maybe she’s completely dependent on CNN fixers when she travels for work. But not likely.

    The crisis raises a lot of deep issues: false theories of perfect markets, regulatory capture of the Washington Fed, the structure of the Fed’s branches (which were intentionally designed for regulatory capture), Congressional interference in regulatory efforts (led by Republicans, notably Phil Gramm, although Dems have nothing to be proud of), etc. We shouldn’t be distracted by speculation about Bernanke’s personal finances.

  99. Mona, in my part of the US we call ’em hooters.


  100. Calico says:

    #96 – But lucky you, in the UK you have Abi Titmuss…LOL! : D
    Woo hoo!

  101. Zoe Brain says:

    “The Dionysian solution for women, which is violation of our own Hag-ocratic boundaries, is The Final Solution.”

    “Dionysus sometimes assumed a girl-like form. The phenomenon of the drag queen dramatically demonstrates such boundary violation. Like whites playing “black face,” he incorporates the oppressed role without being incorporated in it. In the phenomenon of transsexualism, the incorporation/confusion is deeper. As ethicist Janice Raymond has pointed out, the majority of transsexuals are “male to female,” while transsexed females basically function as tokens, and are used by the rulers of the transsexual empire to hide the real nature of the game. In transsexualism, males put on “female” bodies (which are in fact pseudofemale).”
    – Gyn/Ecology.

    Mary Daly’s pupil, Janice Raymond, was responsible for a Federal report on transsexuality that led to medical treatment being withheld for over 100,000 now merely “pseudo-female” people between the Carter Era and today.

    Approximately 50,000 died directly because of that, and because of the philosophy that Daily and Raymond espoused. Some estimates put the figures of people affected, and the consequent deaths, much higher. Those figures are minima.

    Gyn/Ecology was influential, profound and thought-provoking, not to say provocative. As provocative, influential and thought-provoking as another, similar great Utopian Philosophy text, “My Struggle”, written in the 1920’s.

    It’s better known by its German title.

  102. Junia says:

    Oh my. Would it be safe say that “Godwin’s Law” is now in effect?

  103. hairball_of_hope says:

    (… Opera alert …)

    Totally off-topic…

    Today (9-Jan-2010) at 1PM Eastern, the Metropolitan Opera live broadcast will be Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier” with Renée Fleming and Susan Graham singing the leads. It should be fabulous, although I’ve heard that Graham has a cold and will be soldiering through the performance. If you’ve got access to the live stream, a local radio broadcast, or one of the HD theatre broadcasts, don’t miss it.


    Even if you are a newbie to opera and/or don’t understand a word of German or Italian, this is a fun one. The part of Octavian is what is commonly called a “trouser role,” performed by a female mezzo-soprano in drag (Graham’s role in today’s performance).

    (… goes back to wondering whatever happened to JanaCH …)

  104. Zoe Brain says:

    Here’s the other reference:

    “Today the Frankenstein phenomenon is omnipresent not only in religious myth, but in its offspring, phallocratic technology. The insane desire for power, the madness of boundary violation, is the mark of necrophiliacs who sense the lack of soul/spirit/life-loving principle with themselves and therefore try to invade and kill off all spirit, substituting conglomerates of corpses. This necrophilic invasion/elimination takes a variety of forms. Transsexualism is an example of male surgical siring which invades the female world with substitutes.”” – Gyn/Ecology.

    Thus Transsexualism is Frankensteinian. And Necrophiliac.

    I really think you should read “My Struggle” after this. The tone, language and symbology is too similar to be coincidental.

    Consider these quotes:
    “All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people.”

    “Was there any form of filth or profligacy, particularly in cultural life, without at least one Transsexual involved in it? If you cut even cautiously into such an abscess, you found, like a maggot in a rotting body, often dazzled by the sudden light – a Tranny!”

    (the latter has 2 words changed from the original)

  105. Mentor says:

    [HOH: The original message #103 (which had problems with the spam-filter) has been approved and the follow-ups removed. If this is a problem please let me know.]

  106. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Zoe Brain (#101)


    Gyn/Ecology was influential, profound and thought-provoking, not to say provocative. As provocative, influential and thought-provoking as another, similar great Utopian Philosophy text, “My Struggle”, written in the 1920’s.

    It’s better known by its German title.

    I don’t think a comparison between “Gyn/Ecology” and “Mein Kampf” is directly analogous or proportional. Yes, I’m Jewish and have heightened sensitivity to the effects of Nazi actions and philosophies, both in the general sense and in the personal sense of their actions against my extended family, but I think this comparison is over the top and unwarranted.

    Yes, I get it that as a so-called “cis-woman” I can’t possibly be fully aware of what trans [gender/sexual/identity] people go through on a daily basis, just as I can’t possibly can’t possibly be fully aware of what a person of color goes through. But that does not mean that I, as a nominally white woman, am insensitive or unaware of the daily struggles in lives unlike my own.

    What basis do you have for the statistics you cited, that 100,000 people were denied treatment and 50,000 died?

  107. Junia says:

    To answer my own question above at 102, I think the answer is “Yes”.

  108. Kate L says:

    Junia (#102)

    Radiacally different approaches to transsexuality are still being practiced by the medical community, as shown in this May, 2008, report on National Public Radio: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90247842

  109. hairball_of_hope says:

    Thank you Mentor. Who knew that opera could be such a perceived threat to the blogosphere?

    Renée Fleming is singing right now, gotta go get my fix of operatic ogling. I’ll be back in about five hours, when the opera ends.

    (… in honor of JanaCH, wherever she is – “If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor”)

  110. Zoe, I’ll bite: How is it that withholding surgery and/or hormonal treatment has DIRECTLY led to over 50,000 deaths?

    I ask as someone with a lifelong hormonal imbalance which has only recently been reduced to somewhat dusabling from potentially life-threatening, and who has received hormonal treatment by excellent physicians who told me the science does not exist to justify the experimentation being done on us — only theories usually put forth by essentialists and biological determinists (whom you support) that gender is more biologically determined than a social construct.

    I’ve checked in at your blog before. Notice you’re no longer including Little Green Footballs on your blogroll. Your blogroll doesn’t have a category for feminist, you don’t list any of the major feminist blogs (Feministe, Feministing, Pandagon, Shakesville), and under your labels you have only six posts for “Feminism”, four of which are neutral but two of which are negative, one of which seriously uses the term Feminazi. So, that illustrates a profound philosophical difference between us. And indicates a past prediliction for Godwin’s Law, aptly confirming my earlier Obama = Hitler reference.

    Daly’s last name doesn’t have an I in it. And yes, your quote is from 1978. Got anything more recent?

  111. hairball_of_hope says:

    Wiki on Godwin’s Law:


    (You’ll have to do a cut-and-paste instead of clicking on the link, WordPress munged up the URL because of the apostrophe… thank you AAG and the Preview function!)

    [URL patched by your friendly neighborhood Mentor.]

  112. Zoe Brain says:

    It is my thesis that Mary Daly deliberately adopted the style and technique of “My Struggle”, trying to use it for a Good purpose.

    Because it was effective at opening people’s eyes, of radicalising them. As a tool, morally neutral: the morality depends upon the purpose.

    Since she genuinely believed that Transsexuals were Frankensteinian and Necrophilliac, power-crazed individuals “who sense the lack of soul/spirit/life-loving principle with themselves and therefore try to invade and kill off all spirit, substituting conglomerates of corpses.” then they were perfectly placed to be described using the same language reserved for another group with similar attributes (as perceived by the author) in “My Struggle”.

    And it worked. Not as effectively as the original, perhaps, but well enough. Many women were radicalised by it. An evil (as perceived by Mary Daly) diminished too, but that was a (probably unexpected) by-product, and I suspect not greatly to her taste in latter years from some accounts.

    The problem with Utopian philosophies is the messiness attendant in taking them to their logical conclusion. Separatism as a pipe-dream is one thing: dealing with a mountain of *actual* decaying corpses, rather than the *idea* of them, another. Mary Daly was, in the end, far too human to take her extreme philosophy to its logical end. That says much to her credit. While her works have much in common with “My Struggle”, her resemblance to the author of that work ended there.

    She saw a great wrong, and attempted to right it with the most effective tools she had to hand.

  113. Kate L, I remember listening to that NPR broadcast and being very upset by it.

    I think Zucker’s approach is outright child abuse and should be made illegal. The issue is NOT what “gender” a child is, the issue is gender ROLES. Any child who wants to expand their gender ROLE to include any and all behaviors mistakenly attributed to another gender in our culture should not only be alloqed to do so, they should have the ardent advocacy of the adults who love them in paving their way. This does NOT mean a medical or therapeutic approach, in my opinion. It means continually pointing out that gender ROLES are lies and helping that child pursue their own identity, with support for the extreme negativity they are going to encounter.

    Slapping a transgender label on a small child is no different than slapping a binary gender on them. As long as they are bucking the sytem, let them define themselves fluidly and creatively (kids will change from minute to minute if given that freedom), instead of projecting this generation’s acceptable explanation for why gender is a myth onto their backs.

    But that kind of parenting — and therapy — is abhorrent to the status quo. Better to fit them into one of the boxes, eh?

  114. Zoe Brain says:

    As regards my blog – LGF’s Anti-Idiotarians have always been there – see the wayback machine. Unless I’ve accidentally corrupted the template, they should still be there. I’ve never linked to LGF as a separate link, as it’s only one click removed.

    “Feminazi” is in fact the term used by notable follower of Mary Daly’s philosophy , miss Andrea, in her blog http://feminazi.wordpress.com/

    See her article

    Personally, I don’t think she qualifies. Those at A Room Of Our Own do, as does DirtyWhiteBoi.

    You are correct – I should have a separate category of links for Feminist blogs. Certainly Feministing and Feministe. I considered the calls for boycott both unfair and unproductive, and I read them regularly. They should have URLs on my blogroll just for that – so I can access them quickly.

    For what it’s worth, I have Julie Bindell as a friend on Facebook, and really must have a good conversation with her some time. Unfortunately, I’ve been a bit busy. I’m writing this at 0540 in the morning, just finished some work on my PhD, and need some sleep before resuming work on it at 0900.

    I blog on space exploration, neurology, computer science (far too little of that too, recently), science (especially that of sex and gender), and some feminism now and then when I have time, because it’s so important. I’m still a learner there as regards Feminist theory. I hit the glass ceiling from the top, remember?

    I believe I should do more listening before wading in. I only have put my toes in the water in areas which I know something about. That’s not very much, as you can see. Practical matters, such as the economics of the loss of male privilege. How to encourage more girls into areas they have natural talents for, even if those are not “traditionally female” areas only because the majority of women don’t have the same talents they do. And definitely into those areas not “traditionally female” simply because they have power and prestige that women aren’t deemed fit for by the oppressors.

    Now pardon me, I need sleep.

    [Message moved out of spam/URL limbo. – Mentor]

  115. Kate L says:

    Maggie (#113) Dr. Zucker has since been appointmented to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) revisions group, as chair the workgroup for the DSM-V’s Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders section. Far from being made illegal, Zucker’s approach may become the standard of care in DSM-V.

  116. Kate L says:

    DSM-V is the subject of a rather scathing letter in the current on-line edition of Psychiatric Times. The letter is written by Dr Allen Frances, former chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and of the department of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC. He is currently professor emeritus at Duke. Dr. Frances did not mention “gender identity disorder” in his letter, but it seems like he has a lot to criticize about the way in which DSM-V is being prepared.

  117. Kat says:

    Hairball, Susan Graham could have the cold of the century, be in a bathrobe, blowing her nose on stage every two seconds, and I’d still pay an arm and a leg to see it….

    The only reason that I’m skipping the Met simulcast this morning is because I’ve seen Fleming and Graham sing Rosenkavalier live at SF Opera in the fall (winter?) of 2000. It was mind blowing.

    Seriously, people, look this one up, and since by now you’ve missed the movie theater simulcast, see if you can listen to the recording that Graham, Fleming and Barbara Bonney did of some excerpts. I think the album is called “Renee Fleming, Strauss Heroines.”

    (Richard Strauss, that is, not Johann. Johann Strauss wrote all of those annoying Viennese waltzes that PBS plays on New Year’s Eve frequently)

  118. The medicalization of human difference is integral to patriarchal power. The DSM process is deeply flawed and mostly determined by economics and politics, I think. Disabled people split along liberal/conservative lines about the ethics of allowing our identities to be defined by “science” and medicine rather than insisting on social change to accommodate all difference without the push for “treatment” — i.e., radical wheelchair users who demand accessibility (which trust me mostly does not exist) vs those who will undergo dozens of surgeries to kinda sorta walk.

  119. Junia says:

    Kate L (#108):

    I certainly grant your point.
    However, I think the relevant issue here is that advocates of those differing approaches don’t tend to imply that their opponents are Hitler.

  120. Ian says:

    I was going to post that someone had just pointed out to me the sexist symbolism of the Sarlacc Pit in Return of the Jedi. However, in view of the discussion above it’s probably inappropriate …

  121. Kate L says:

    Junia (#119). Oh, never mind, then*. 🙂

    * – how many of us can place this catch phrase of several decades ago?

  122. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#121)

    The late great Gilda Radner, in her role as Emily Litella.


    (… goes back to Act 3 of Rosenkavalier …)

  123. Ian, it’s well-known that George Lucas is Goehring.

  124. Alex K says:

    @110 / Maggie Jochild:

    Yeah, I’m interested in those numbers too. Maybe they’re correctly extrapolated from work in a small study? But I’d like to know who pulled them together, and from what primary data.

    @112 / Zoe Brain:

    Agreement here re: Dangers of putting ideas before people.


    Whenever I check back in at AB’s blogspace, to see that you’ve made a new contribution makes me feel good.

  125. hairball_of_hope says:


    Wow, you’ve had a busy afternoon. Thanks.

    @Kat (#117)

    If Susan Graham had a cold, it was impossible to tell, even during the interview between acts. Fabulous singing by all.

    Since you’re in the Bay Area, I was wondering if there are still Max’s restaurants in the area. I used to frequent the various outposts of Max’s when I had my regularly scheduled work travel to CA. Good food, and lots of fun operatic singing by the waitstaff in between serving food.

  126. Zoe Brain says:

    Something a bit later than the 1970’s. 1999, in fact, an interview.

    “WIE: In Quintessence, your idyllic continent is inhabited by women only, but the rest of the world is inhabited by women and men.

    MD: I didn’t say how many men were there.

    WIE: Which brings us to another question I wanted to ask you. Sally Miller Gearhart, in her article “The Future—If There Is One—Is Female” writes: “At least three further requirements supplement the strategies of environmentalists if we were to create and preserve a less violent world. 1) Every culture must begin to affirm the female future. 2) Species responsibility must be returned to women in every culture. 3) The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately ten percent of the human race.” What do you think about this statement?

    MD: I think it’s not a bad idea at all. If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males. People are afraid to say that kind of stuff anymore.”


  127. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Yay! Opera made it into my favorite blog! And the opera I spent the afternoon watching, too. I loved Renee’s characterization of the Marschallin, and Susan Grham did a terrific job with Octavian, cold or no. My only serious complaint was that the Sophie looked older than Fleming. She sang like a champ and was appropriately spit fire-ish in her reaction to that oaf Ochs, but an ingenue she was not. I did NOT like De Waart’s approach to Strauss, but then my friend Mark was waxing lyrical about Carlos Kleiber’s approach to Strauss, and you can’t beat Kleiber, the conductor regnant. (I made up that word, ought to be pronounced as if in French.) Pity he’s dead.

    Who knew that opera could bring in so many of the stars of this blog! I love you all!

  128. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Therry and St. Jerome (#127)

    Perhaps your brain recesses are a little too recessed?

    reg•nant (reg’nƒnt) adj.

    1. reigning; ruling (usually used following the noun it modifies) : a queen regnant.
    2. exercising authority, rule, or influence.
    3. prevalent; widespread.

    [1590–1600; < L regnant- (s. of regn€ns) , prp. of regn€re to rule; see REIGN, -ANT]

    Yeah, I know the weird characters aren't displaying properly. The one in the pronunciation guide is supposed to be a schwa, the little upside-down e thingy.

    Also, I dunno about "stars of this blog." This is a pretty special group of folks, all of whom shine, as far as I'm concerned.

    (… for the Kansans and Latinists among us… ad astra per aspera …)

  129. Feminista says:

    Thanks for all the kind words about my family’s recent loss. Tom was 31,full of ideas and energy.

    Another great Gilda Radner quote from her SNL days: “It’s always something.”

    Ain’t that the truth? And ain’t I a woman?

  130. Kat says:

    Hairball, There are a couple of Max’s (Max’ss? Maxes’? Maxxxxssss’s’s’s?). One in SF, and I think one on the peninsula. Many, many, many of my friends have worked there.

    I always resisted, because the thought of having to talk over restaurant noise all evening, and then sing didn’t sound healthy. Also because I have a very strict policy against working as a server.

    I noticed when I was a bank teller that people were bonkers when it came to their money, and guessed that they’d be even worse when it came to their food.

    Now, of course, I work around their children, so…um…that might be the pinnacle of bonkers-ness.

    Therry and St. Jerome, I can’t speak to this particular production, because I missed this morning’s simulcast, but Susan Graham is close to 50. All 3 women are portraying characters far younger than themselves. I think the Marschallin is supposed to be about 30, Octavian is 17 or so, and Sophie around 15.

    I’ve never been able to deal with him running off with Sophie. She seems so ditzy and boring. Pretty, though, so it’s realistic that a dumb adolescent boy would go for her….

  131. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#130)

    According to their Wikis, their ages are as follows:

    Christine Schäfer (Sophie) is 45, born in 1965.

    Renée Fleming (the Marschallin) is 51, born in 1959.

    Susan Graham (Octavian) is 50, born in 1960.

    While you may not have been able to deal with Octavian running off with Sophie (actually, the Marschallin pretty much gives Octavian to Sophie, she doesn’t fight off the younger woman at all), note that Baron Ochs chasing anything in a skirt is quite believable. :(.

  132. hairball_of_hope says:


    Did you feel the earthquake today? It was up near Eureka, somewhere offshore where Kate L was researching all those years ago.

  133. Ready2Agitate says:

    Can I just say that I LOVE that Mary Daly quote?? She is pushing the envelope, people!!! I am not a separatist or a mysangdronist (?) (heck – I’m bisexual and partnered with a male!), and I just lOVE her audacity, provocativeness, willingness to not be polite, determination to not bow to the culture’s patriarchal dominance. Good G-d, people, she was awesome!

    3) The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately ten percent of the human race.” What do you think about this statement?

    MD: I think it’s not a bad idea at all. If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males. People are afraid to say that kind of stuff anymore.”

  134. Ready2Agitate says:

    Today on WZBC Newton, which is Boston College community radio, the host of the Sunday morning program, “Sounds of Dissent” (a friend of mine) eulogized Mary Daly (who apparently was a regular listener to his show):

    Go here~

    Saturday January 9th 2010
    Sounds of Dissent

    click on
    12:00pm LISTEN

    eulogy starts at 4:20 – enjoy!

  135. hairball_of_hope says:

    @R2A (#134)

    I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this one, R2A (and I do mean respectfully, as I have the highest regard for your ideas and opinions).

    I don’t think tinkering with male/female population ratios is the answer. Advocating some predefined proportion of males seems to indicate a belief in biological determinism, essentialism, whatever, and that environment, culture, conditioning, education have little to no effect on attitudes and behavior.

    I don’t buy that for one minute.

    Pity the person (of whatever gender/sex) who cannot learn, grow, adapt, change, evolve. I think the answer is to change the culture and conditioning, not to fall prey to the “biology is destiny” trap.

    And exactly who gets to decide which 10% males are chosen anyway? It all smacks of some terrible futuristic totalitarian state.

    My sniff test for this sort of thing is to reverse the scenario; how would I feel if someone were advocating limiting females to 10% of the population? Pardon the obvious pun, but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    Witness present day practices in China, where the male/female ratio is greatly skewed (about 1.2 males per female).

    Sex-selection practices in the PRC (female fetuses are aborted) and/or female babies are given up for adoption, so as to have a male heir under the “one child” laws.

    That can’t possibly be good for the country, the society, and anyone who wishes to partner with a person of the opposite gender. It’s also likely bad for women of any sexual orientation; not enough lesbian partners for the lesbians, lots of pressure to couple/marry for the straight women who might want to remain single, and of course, way too many men seeking way too few women. Ugh.


    And all this assumes that there is a binary distinction between male and female in the first place. I don’t buy that either. I think gender, like sexual orientation, is a continuum. Maggie wrote a few months back, “the choice between trans or cis leaves me out in the cold. I don’t claim either one, and I very much resent the further division of people into yet another ill-defined binary.”

    Lastly, the hyperbolic language of Mary Daly in advocating the “decontamination of the Earth” ought to be anathema to all right-thinking and moral persons everywhere. We are talking about humans, not bacteria. Devaluation and debasement of an entire group of human beings is never right or justified. Substitute the historically-despised group of your choice in her words and see if you don’t squirm. (That was Zoe Brain’s point earlier in this thread, but I objected to the direct analogy to Mein Kampf.)

  136. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#129)

    May his memory be a blessing.

    I found this interesting article on Tom’s memorial, and it has a picture of your niece Emily:


    Quoting from the article:

    Tom Stolberg, one of four men who died in a helicopter crash last week, was remembered cheerfully in an unusual memorial service Saturday.

    Friends and family wore costumes from medieval times and Star Trek shows, reflecting some of his interests. Co-workers wore the same type of khaki uniform he donned as a scientific aide at the California Department of Fish and Game. Fellow Eagle Scouts showed up in uniform, too.

    [… snip …]

    Stolberg’s service was filled with laughter and tears. He was remembered as someone who loved garlic and the author Hunter S. Thompson, a raconteur and a misfit. His family told participants to wear their respective uniforms and costumes as a celebration of his life and spirit, said Sherry Stolberg, his aunt

    [… snip …]

    He loved to cook, and his catchphrase was, “Needs more garlic.” The memorial service featured a potluck — dishes of food made in Stolberg’s honor lined the Sportsmen’s Club wall.

  137. Ginjoint says:

    Alex K: thank you! What a sweet thing to say.

    Hairball, Ready2Agitate was quoting Daly in post #133, that you responded to in #135. Those words were not coming out of R2A’s mouth, but Daly’s. I wasn’t sure if you saw that.

    To Zoe Brain: I’ve visited your site, and I’ve seen you around the web as well. Anytime there’s a conversation involving transsexualism that doesn’t absolutely, 100% adhere to your beliefs, here comes Zoe with the cutting-and-pasting of the same “scientific data” and statistics that came from only God knows where. (At least 50,000 people dead because of Raymond’s words? Uh-huh. Speaking for myself, when you say things like that, it makes me believe very little of anything else you say, which I don’t think is your goal.)

    In many of your posts (and I’ve seen them EVERYWHERE) you’re very intent on stressing how learned you are, with the implication being that we the plebes should therefore believe everything you say. However, instead of swaying me to your point of view, I feel bullied by you. Luckily, I’m not easily intimidated. Also, it’s interesting how you only show up when this topic arises, which I guess is a good use of Google alert. Or a good use of stalking skills, which is the impression you risk you leaving when you make it your duty to hound down each and every internet discussion about transsexualism.

  138. Kat says:

    Hairball (#131/132),

    The scenario is believable on most counts, but I happen not to like it particularly! That’s likely due to my continued dislike and discomfort around the “perky pretty girl” types….

    I did not feel the earthquake, but I was in the car at the time. Only one local Facebook Friend mentioned it (contrary to the little earthquakes we during the middle/end of the work week. Facebook was all a-twitter (oops, bad pun) with people talking about them). The epicenter was off the coast of Eureka, and it was quite strong. 6.5, I think.

    The town of Arcata was hit pretty hard, and one antique store owner joked that she’d have to have a sale on broken china “for those who like to do mosaics.”

  139. HoH, thank you so much for the article about Tom Stolberg. I appreciate getting a glimpse of the man.

    On other topics:
    (1) Eliminationist rhetoric is poisoning to community values, and is clearly a flaw. I never condone it. However, I do make a disctinction between “they need to die” talk which incites to action — as the current kind of teabagger rhetoric does, with an intentional hope of someone assassinating Obama and/or others whom they name as the enemy — and rhetoric which says “I can’t see how to fix things with them around” which covers Daly’s comment and that of many, many commenters who wait and hope for my generation of lesbian-feminists to die off. The latter is ugly and reflects fear/despair but does not, I believe, lead even indirectly to the deaths of those who are openly hated. The patriarchal cultural practices of China are not equivalent to a woman-only concert, for instance. All power is not equal.
    (2) Daly was clearly a separatist. I think that’s her real crime among those who are determined to make sure any discussion of her is overwhelmingly negative. When the charges of racist and transphobic aren’t enough to derail a thread, then the truth comes out: She was a MANHATER. Ultimate crime in the patriarchy. And no, not equivalent to woman-hater. One kind of bias results in millions of deaths, the other results in a lifetime of retaliation for those who speak it/believe it but not the death or abuse of others. Daly said she hoped for decontamination of earth (which means many things, to my mind), FOLLOWED by her conviction that an evolutionary process which would reduce men to 10%. Not cause and effect, and not asking us to perform the reduction — still ugly, but not a call to action. Since we ARE being surrounded by right-wing calls to action, I try to separate out ugly from actual danger. If the day ever comes that women begin picking up guns to initiate violence against men or passing legislation that kills men in any number, instead of it being overwhelmingly the other way around, I’ll speak out against the reversal as an actual threat.
    (3) Daly had a history of never apologizing for her statements. She was under siege for decades, which tends to create a certain kind of bunkered mentality — an explanation, not an excuse. She DID write back to Audre Lorde, apparently, about the problems Lorde brought to her attention, a response Lorde concealed but has been found among her papers. (Shit like that happened a lot back then.) I also read on one thread the remarks of one graduate student who worked with Daly claiming she had, of course, shifted entirely in her attitudes toward transgender theory. Those claims are as yet undocumented, but so is anything about trans identity that Daly said post 1979. And no, separatism does not equal transphobia — interesting, though, how the charges of manhater are conflated with transphobic by those who are justifiably furious about being conflated with male. Conditioning and internalized oppression are complicated realities that seep through ideology every time.
    (4) Essentialism and biological determinism are hopelessness in an elemental form. Despair believes it must infect to insure safety.
    (5) I stand by my belief that the unhinged fervor of the criticism of Daly (see example on this thread) is part of the backlash against feminism and its creators in general. If you were active, writing and speaking against male domination in 1978, expect to be vilified on your death no matter what you’ve said since. Sally Gearheart is a good example, since she was attempted to be smeared above. Gearheart has been very painfully public in her apology for and taking back of anti-male statements she made circa 1979 — one of which was quoted 20 years later by the interviewer to goad a response from Daly. I was present at one such apology by Gearheart in the late 1990s to a group of lesbian-feminists, where she received resounding applause for her explanation of how she had been wrong. But apparently there is no belief in our essential humanity or the likelihood of our continued growth and learning.
    (6) Finally, there is a myth that trans identity and theory as it has been collected in the 1990s and is presented today was known about and attacked in the seventies. Here’s one piece of documentation to the comtrary, from original source records: Judy Dlugasz, original member of the groundbreaking Olivia Records collective and still President of Olivia, in the July 1988 interview for Hot Wire titled “If It Weren’t For The Music: 15 Years of Olivia Records”, explains how in 1976 when they were recording BeBe K’Roche, a phone call from someone else in the industry informed Judy that their current engineer, Sandy Stone, was a transsexual. Judy relates she “didn’t know what that was” and had to call a friend to find out. Sandy had not relayed this information to the collective and, as Judy says, “most of us had never even heard of this.” So here, at the heart of the most significant cultural icon of lesbian-feminism at the time, these long-time and savvy activists had never even heard of MtF transsexuals. That fits with what I remember and what I’ve heard from the vast majority of my cohort. We might have heard of Christine Jorgenson, we (I) knew of what we called “passing women” which was often a class/economic decision more than an issue of gender identity, and drag queens existed in the gay male community, but transsexuals in the women’s community? A revelation. I’m not saying our ignorance wasn’t oppressive, but neither can it be called an organized, movement-wide discussion. That didn’t begin until Olivia decided to lie to its financial base, in contravention of its basic charter, and to keep in its employ someone whose experience was entirely the product of male privilege (Sandy had, for instance, worked with Jimi Hendrix recordings, hardly a woman-positive environment), another contravention of Olivia’s mission statement and charter. Once the deception came out, the question of why someone would lie to infiltrate the most beloved of lesbian-feminist institutions became a topic of much discussion, and it was then that a few individuals ascribed it to transsexualism itself — a view that was not, in fact, widely held and clearly erroneous. As can be proved by reading the bulk of literature at the time instead of focusing on a handful of 1978-79 examples. (To read the article above, it’s online at Queer Music Heritage — there’s my one URL for this post.)

  140. Pam I says:

    Zoe Brain left out this bit from blog quotes posted here, #101 et seq: [MD says] People are afraid to say that kind of stuff anymore.
    […] [ZB] I’d be glad that anyone seriously espousing such views is dead. Any mother of a boy child would.
    Seems to have had second thoughts about wishing Daly dead on this blog. Hmmm.
    I’m a separatist, compromised by the need to work for money. Should I be dead?

  141. Ian says:

    NASA has it’s uses: have you seen this amazing photo of Great Britain completely covered in snow taken by a NASA satellite?


    We’ve had a bit of snow lately. But I think it was the early 80s when this last happened. Note that Ireland stays green, no matter what the weather.

  142. Yeah, Ian, Marj from the commenters here posted that photo over at Facebook. Looks a bit Ice Age-ish, doesn’t it? I’m even more afraid for the coming summer, where the extreme may go in the other directions, with death as a consequence among poor people.

  143. --MC says:

    Wait. Go back. Somebody mentioned a book called “My Struggle” — was it the one by Mark Mothersbaugh?

  144. Alex K says:

    @141 / Ian:

    Well, look at that! There’s Ireland peeking out all leprechaunish and twinkling and emerald and Kelly. The luck o’ the Oirish, to be sure. Damn them and their first crack at the warmth of the Gulf Stream. There will be SO MANY HOLES in my herbaceous borders thanks to half-hardy plants having proved totally mortal. I really am worried for the calla lilies.

  145. Kate L says:

    Hairball (#132; Kat (#138) I’ve never set foot in your neck of the woods, but I feel like my spirit has, so I felt a second-sight kinship to the folk in the northern California earthquake as the reports began to make the national media. Hairball is right – I was on a research cruise back in ’93 that sailed up the coast from (Big-Time Oceanographic Institution) near San Diego all the way up to Cape Mendocino. On the Fourth of July, 1993, I was thoroughly sea-sick and about a mile off Eureka. I actually debated swimming for shore, but realized the hypothermia would get me.

  146. One of my old friends lives in Arcata — I used to visit the region 2-3 times a year when I lived in SF. She and her wife and their 3 kids are all fine, but she sent this link to a LA Times article with more info:
    Eureka Quake

  147. Ready2Agitate says:

    My point was: Daly had audacity! courage! ovaries! chutzpadik! I love her!

    I’m not advocating for a reduction of the male population. I’m enjoying her endless trouble-making for the patriarchy.

    I’ve a bad cold, so I can’t write a lot, but in terms of – “how would it feel in the reverse?” The analogy doesn’t work! The power differential is the reason!

    Imagine: A group of angry folks of color get together to discuss the dehumanizing and daily life-threatening impact of racism upon them and their families. They start to exclaim, “Kill Whitie!” This is NOT the same as white folks screaming “Kill all folks of color!” – why? Because whites already DO kill folks of color with our insitutionalized, enculturated, entrenched, empowered, backed by all national and social institutions – racism. Every day! It’s NOT the same thing! Women saying “men are hopelessly violent – let’s get rid of them!” is just not the same as men saying “let’s subordinate women!” The patriarchy already DOES subordinate women!

    Please go back and listen to my friend’s “in memoriam” to Mary Daly on his radio show yesterday (#134). I think this (straight white male) actually got it right.

    ps I’m not willing to dis Audre Lorde. My guess is that Daly suffered from some unconscious white supremacy and probably tried to grow from it during the course of her life, but I don’t know.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go back to sneezing and blowing.

  148. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ginjoint (#137)

    re: post numbering. Mentor did some cleanup/release early this AM. My original post #128 was in spam-filter limbo, I had another post #128 which kvetched about it, Mentor switched the two (the kvetch post is now gone), so I don’t think that changed the numbering, but there may have been another post that got moved around, or my brain got it wrong. Dunno. But you’re right, I was replying to what is now #133.

    Update: Now I see what happened… when Mentor released the original #128, he marked the kvetch #128 as awaiting moderation. When I’m in preview mode for another post, both of the #128s show up (the kvetch post is numbered #129), skewing the numbering as I am editing my latest post. And then when I hit ‘Post’ the kvetch post (awaiting moderation) disappears. Oy.

    I did wonder about how Zoe Brain manages to show up only when we are talking trans. It happened last June, during the Chaz discussion. Google Alerts… now why didn’t I think of that?

    @Maggie (#139)

    You’re right about the distinction between an evolutionary process which results in a male/female ratio reduction vs. an actively created one. I realized I didn’t make myself clear after I hit ‘Post’, and was too tired to start writing about it again.

    I interpreted Daly’s usage of the word “evolution” in the non-scientific sense that it usually carries. That is, a gradual process, which could be caused or facilitated by human intervention, e.g. the sex-selection practices in the PRC, India, and some other countries, as opposed to the scientific meaning of evolution via genetic recombination, mutation, selection pressure, adaptation, etc.

    I’m not well-versed enough in Daly’s writings to know which meaning she likely intended. And shame on me (thank you Pam I!) for not reading the material which Zoe Brain linked to before responding. I’m usually much more thorough (anal?) in my reading, and I really should have read it before responding, especially since there appeared to be quotes taken out of context, selectively quoted, etc. (which should have set off my BS detectors), and I should have verified the material. I know better, but I think my visceral reaction (starting with the reference to Mein Kampf) got the better of me. (Kicks self.)

    I agree with you how the separatist ideas and the charges of manhater are conflated with transphobia, and I honestly don’t see how anyone can logically make the leap from A to B to H. Does not compute.

    I’m not a separatist. I understand why it seemed like a good idea at the time, and how a community of folks who were trying to construct a new dynamic of life, language, and supportive space and relationships would try to do so by exclusion and separation.

    Communities of like-minded folks can form organically by choice (think ethnic enclaves in a major city), sometimes from discrimination, prejudice, and economics (think Chinatown, El Barrio, Harlem), and sometimes by group inclusion rules (think Shaker, Amish, Methodist, Chasidic communities). Sometimes the reasons for these formations overlap (e.g. language and discrimination in the case of Chinatown).

    I understand why a group of like-minded individuals who are trying to create a safe and nurturing space would opt to do so in isolation from the larger community.

    But I think that isolating the larger community from interaction with the members of the self-selected group harms both groups.

    It’s much easier for the larger community to be prejudiced and non-accomodative if all the “others” keep to themselves in their own little spheres and enclaves. It’s easier to dehumanize those whom we do not know. There would be less prejudice against LGBT if ordinary folks interacted with LGBT every day and discovered that beloved Uncle Fred happens to be a gay man, the secretary is MtF, the computer geek is a feminist lesbian, and none of this really matters, it’s the person who counts.

    There are plenty of practical and logistical arguments for maintaining separate communities; language, culture, and dietary requirements being the primary ones in the communities I mentioned above. But there don’t have to be walls and gates (literal or metaphoric) separating communities.

    In the smaller community, equally harmful prejudices and dehumanization of the larger group can also occur. And in some sense, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy – because each group rarely has to interact or deal with one another, they can assume the worst about each other and make no attempt at rational discourse.

    I’ve evolved (in the non-scientific sense) over the decades on this. I’m now much more inclined to work within the system to change the system.

    Every day I go to work as a female in a male-dominated field, and I change minds and open eyes just by being who I am and doing what I do.

    I take the opportunity whenever I can to make sure that folks and TPTB take into account people unlike themselves and create a more inclusive and welcoming work environment; whether it’s making sure there are food options at the table suitable for vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Muslims, and Jews (and folks who have medical issues), to making sure they order tools and supplies sized for females and smaller persons, to making sure that our computer systems and reports can be effectively used by people with vision and motion impairments.

    It’s all I know how to do, and frankly, all I can do with the energy I have.

    There won’t be any books written about me (at least I hope not!). And I hope I’m not judged today by what I might have said, thought, and done in 1978. I reserve the right to change my mind, to grow, and yes, to evolve. Along the way, I’ve learned to admit mistakes, apologize, and move on. Hopefully, I’ve become a better and more thoughtful person, and one who’s easier to be around.

    So, if I’ve erred or offended anyone here, I am sorry for that. Show me where my mistakes are, so I can learn and grow.

    (… goes back to wishing she could write as authoritatively as Maggie …)

  149. hairball_of_hope says:

    @MC (#143)

    No, the “My Struggle” that ZB was referring to was the translated title of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography and political manifesto, “Mein Kampf.”

    That’s also why there’s mention of Godwin’s Law above.

    It was more than a little disingenuous that ZB tried to get the title and the ideas analogy under the radar by referring to the book by its English-translated title. On most other blogs, I assume that the readers would not pick up on that AT ALL.

    Of course, on *this* blog, with its merry band of erudite and well-read characters, nothing goes unnoticed.

    (… goes back to admiring the cast of characters, and wishing she could actually live in a community like this one, or DTWOF …)

  150. Ian says:

    Rather embarrassingly, I never realised that “Mein Kampf” meant “my struggle” until a few years ago. Not something either my history teacher or my German teacher ever mentioned. I think there was a kind of “don’t mention the war!” in operation …

  151. Feminista says:

    Hoh #136: Thanks so much for the link;it sounds like a fitting tribute. I’d been reading different web-posted stories for further info,but hadn’t heard anything from Emily or my sister.

  152. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#151)

    Tom sounds like a really neat person. My heart goes out to Emily, his family, friends, and colleagues. Tom’s catchphrase, “Needs more garlic” would be a great name for a blog.

    (… wonders what her own catchphrase would be… “Needs more chocolate” or perhaps “Needs Tabasco” …)

  153. Dr. Empirical says:


    Who caught the Tintin reference on the Simpsons tonight?

  154. Ginjoint says:

    I did! I did!!

  155. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#118)

    I’ve been thinking about your post regarding the “medicalization of human difference” and the split in various disabled communities over the ethics of various treatment modalities, and how that plays into disabled separatist communities.

    In particular, I’m thinking of the two disabled communities I’m most familiar with, deaf/hearing-impaired, and blind/visually-impaired.

    Both of these communities have major splits in how they train/educate children. There’s one approach that attempts to integrate the child into the so-called mainstream world, another which emphasizes staying within the deaf or blind community and creating an insular community of like-abled individuals.

    In the case of the deaf/hearing-impaired, the split is between teaching children to lipread and speak (and also sign), vs. teaching only signing.

    Growing up, both of my best friend’s parents were (and still are) deaf, so I got to see some of this split close up.

    Her mother learned to speak reasonably well, could lipread perfectly, and spoke French and English (she could read German, but couldn’t speak it), in addition to ASL (American Sign Language). She graduated from Gallaudet Univ., and later got a Master’s in a mainstream university setting and became a teacher after raising kids.

    Her father, on the other hand, was educated only in signing, and had a much harder time in the world, both the deaf world and the hearing world. He was not a good speaker, and had trouble lipreading. His ASL skills are adequate, but he is not a very expressive person. His deafness was genetic (all that Jewish inbreeding in the Deep South) and he actually had a bit of residual hearing, he could hear loud clicks and cars backfiring, but not much else. Since he had lots of family members with roughly the same level of deafness, and he worked in the family business, he didn’t really see the need to do much to improve his adaptive skills out in the mainstream world. Then his family business shut down, and he was jobhunting. Not a pretty scene at all.

    Fast forward a bunch of years and scientific/medical advances have created these things called cochlear implants. Basically, for certain types of deafness, these are gizmos that doctors can implant in the heads of deaf persons to give them some sound sensitivity. (N.B. Sound sensitivity does NOT mean ability to hear. There are all sorts of neuronal pathways which form during our earliest years that give us the cognitive connections to actually HEAR.)

    Now comes the huge uproar from the various factions of the deaf community. The fear is that deaf culture will suffer. There are well-meaning parents (usually hearing) who want their young deaf children to have the cochlear implants so they can learn language and fit in better with the hearing world, vs. deaf activists who see this as cultural genocide. There are also deaf adults who are considering the implants to improve their economic choices (had implants been available when my friend’s father was out of work, I think he might have felt pressured to have them installed).

    In the blind/visually-impaired world, there’s a similar split between learning Braille and learning to use adaptive voice-enabled technology.

    At present, there are no implantable gizmos to provide some version of vision, but that will probably happen in my lifetime, and the blind/visually-impaired community will likely have the same uproar that the deaf community has experienced.

    My Braille-reading acquaintances talk about how they love Braille, and how more and more material is no longer produced in Braille. It’s very expensive to produce Braille editions, vs. making things that are audio or voice-enabled.

    It’s not an either/or thing, of course. Braille readers also use speech-enabled technology. All these smartphones, screen readers, and other adaptive technology doodads have opened up worlds for the blind and visually-impaired. But they are not inexpensive, and in the case of screen readers (JAWS comes to mind for the Windoze world), poor computer interface and website design can make it damn near impossible to use adaptive technology effectively (“graphic-image-spacer-dot-gif” chanted ad nauseam, a bazillion useless links to navigate the basic Google page, Java pop-ups, pop-unders, etc.).

    Your point about making the world easier to navigate for the disabled vs. enduring lots of surgery to “sorta kinda” walk/hear/see is a powerful one.

    I don’t see why we can’t have both. A world where accessibility is built-in, not an afterthought, and where the choice (if the technology/science/medicine exists) to do surgical procedures for functional reasons remains a CHOICE, not something that disabled folks feel they MUST do because it’s so damn hard to get around and/or make a living.

  156. shadocat says:

    hairball (109)

    I miss Jana C.H. too. I hope she is just busy, and not able to check in on us right now

  157. Ginjoint says:

    I miss Jana as well.

    Hairball, have you ever seen the documentary Sound and Fury? It’s about a family comprised of both hearing and deaf members, and the infighting they have with regard to cochlear implants. It had me gnashing my teeth. Also, I bought a box of Band-Aids the other day, and it had Braille stamped on it, which I thought was cool (and about time). I recently saw another product with Braille on the label too, but I just can’t remember what it was.

    My 6-month-old kitten is in my lap as I type this, and he’s throwing his head back oddly – I guess enjoying the upside-down view. I think he’s proud that he finally lost his baby fang on one side; for a while he had both his baby and his adult fang – which he still has on the other side. I think the two-fanged look is quite awesome, actually. Poor little bugger’s due to be neutered soon.

  158. Kat says:

    Me too, me too!!!

  159. Kat says:

    (“Me too” refers to the Tintin enquiry…)

  160. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ginjoint (#157)

    No, I haven’t seen the documentary. The dynamic between hearing and deaf family members can be a real bitch to deal with, no matter which generation is which.

    In my friend’s case, she and her brother often had to translate for their parents in the mainstream world when they were kids. Before there were TDD (Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf), they had to do all the phone calls. They had to translate when their parents went to the doctor or the dentist. Very awkward and personal stuff for both parents and kids.

    I remember the day in 1970 or so when her parents bought a used TTY (teletype) and had to rent this big orange acoustic coupling modem from the phone company to hook it up.

    The TTY was this huge machine bought secondhand from a newspaper wire service (for you young ‘uns, see the last scene of “All The President’s Men” to see what a teletype machine looks like). It vibrated the floor as it typed on rolls of yellow teletype paper, and stood about four feet tall with a heavy brown crinkled steel finish.

    But it was the most liberating and amazing technology for that household. Now her parents could chat with their friends directly, instead of strange and strained conversations held between the kids of both sets of adults over a phone line, translating for their parents.

    Of course, kids and pranksters that we were, we immediately set about making prank phone calls via TTY to this entire population of deaf people who had no idea of what a prank call was.

    Something like this (keep in mind the conversations were all in uppercase, GA is Go Ahead, SK is Goodbye):






    Then we laughed ourselves silly as we hung up.

    We still laugh about it. Yeah, I know it wasn’t nice, but it was a very kid thing to do.

    (… goes back to thinking about all the other crazy things we did as kids …)

  161. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#159)

    Glad you cleared that up. I was hoping you weren’t waiting for your second set of fangs to fall out, or were soon to be neutered. ;).

  162. Kat says:


    When I was a kid I had to wait for ages after my 3 middle bottom adult teeth came in, and before the baby ones fell out, so yeah, I did have to wait for my second fangs to fall out. They weren’t the canines, though. That would have been awesome!

    Not awesome would be getting neutered. Don’t think that’s possible for a girl, though, right?

  163. Kat says:

    @ HoH #155
    “A world where accessibility is built-in”

    yes, this!

    I had thought about accessibility issues from time to time, but it wasn’t until recently that I really realized the extent of the problem.

    A good, but new-ish friend of mine is a wheelchair user, and the ridiculous ways in which her life is made more difficult and complicated every day are pretty mind blowing.

    She works for the dining services at the university, and was going to be transferred to the cafe in the brand-spanking-new engineering building. Literally brand new.

    We were super excited because that building is where Boyfriend’s office is, and so they would get to hang out, and I could go over and hang with both of them in a central location.

    Except that that brand new cafe in the brand new building is not accessible. The space behind the counter is so narrow that an able bodied person has to kind of turn sideways to get through….

    If it were one of the original buildings on campus (which date from between 1896 and about 1920), it would suck, but be kind of understandable that there would be accessibility issues, but this building was completed in August. Of this year!!!

  164. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#163)

    That really does suck. Some of the powered chairs are a little bit wider or need a slightly larger space for their turning radius, so some bathrooms that are accessible for a manual chair are not accessible for a power chair.

    No excuse in the cafe, however. It should have been designed with ADA compliance from the get go (which mandates doorways, aisles, etc., wide enough for either type of chair).

    It doesn’t take needing a wheelchair to experience ridiculous accessibility issues. Recovering from a foot injury, I encountered doors so heavy that I could not push or pull them open on one leg and a cane. Recovering from a hand injury, I found bathroom doors that required two hands to close the door and latch. And if you’re a wheelchair user, a little six inch step might as well be a 600 foot mountain.

    Have you read John Hockenberry’s memoir, “Moving Violations?” Very good read.

    De-clique-ification note for non-USAnians: John Hockenberry is a US network news correspondent who has used a wheelchair since his late teens. He was an international correspondent for many years, covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, among other things. He was selected to be the first “Journalist in Space” as part of NASA’s program to put ordinary folks in space. That program ended when the first of these ordinary folks, the first “Teacher in Space” Christa McAuliffe, perished in the Challenger Shuttle explosion in January 1986.

  165. Ted says:

    Hairball (155)

    Very good post. One of my many cousins is deaf. He teaches ASL at two local community colleges. You are certainly right about the rift between the pro and con implant groups. To an outsider it seems to be rather strange since who wouldn’t want to hear if it was possible. There are also some deafies that think that marriage to a non deaf person is a really bad idea.

    About “hearing impaired.” One of the biggest laughs I ever got was due to referring to my cousin as hearing impaired. His sister started laughing and signed to my cousin and his girl friend what I had said. Then they started laughing. I was told (he speaks well) not to be so PC. That they were deaf and there was nothing wrong with the word.

    With texting so easy to do the old TTY seems to be on the way out. My cousin never has the cell out of his hands.

  166. Ready2Agitate says:

    Hairball, you must have had an ASL name no doubt. (Now if your spoken name were indeed Hairball, how wouldja sign it? 😉 )

  167. hairball_of_hope says:

    @R2A (#166)

    Considering the origins of my lovely handle, it would have to be the signs for CAT + VOMIT. Note to self: Next time pick a name that translates better to ASL. Or I suppose it could be the signs for long hair and a ball.

    As for my real ASL name, I happened to be one of three friends with the same first name, so each of us got a unique and strangely spelled sign so we didn’t have to be identified by our last initial when signing. My sign ended up being a weirdly spelled variant of my nickname, the last letter being a glissando of sorts that really translated into about half dozen of the same letter.

    About ten years ago, I was in a museum and I thought I saw my friend’s mom from behind. Not wanting to make a total ass of myself if it wasn’t her, I did the universal deaf stomp-on-the-floor-a-few-times thing to get her attention (I figured if it wasn’t her, she wouldn’t turn around). Sure enough, it was her, and her first words and sign were the old nickname from way back when.

  168. Ian says:

    @HOH(152): Clearly the cooking catchphrase for us gentiles/non-kosher/omnivores on the blog would be “needs more bacon”.

  169. Laurel says:

    Nice feeder. I was trying hard to get finches this year but no luck yet. Am watching cranes on webcam as consolation at http://www.operationmigration.org/trike-cam.html

  170. Kate L says:

    Somewhere in this blog, someone talked about our V’s. Did you know that in geology there is a “Rule of V’s”, stating that contour lines always bend upstream when they cross a stream or river? Great, now I’ll giggle like a ninny when I teach the kids about stream flow this semester! 🙂

    Hairball (#128)Yes, “Ad aspera per aspera” (“To the stars through difficulty”), is the state motto of Kansas. It’s even on the state flag! However, I’ve always thought that it would be more appropriate as “To the stars through the dirt”!

  171. Acilius says:

    Wow, what a thread. Let’s see if I’ve caught up-

    -AB is trying to keep finches from monopolizing her bird feeder.
    -Some have suggestions about what she might do.
    -OMG Mary Daly is dead!
    -We all owe so much to Mary Daly.
    -Republicans are being mean to a prominent transgendered person.
    -Mary Daly wasn’t always so nice to transgendered persons.
    -How dare you be mean to Mary Daly.
    -Mary Daly called transsexuals “frankensteinian.”
    -How dare you call transsexuals “frankensteinian.”
    -Differences among people shouldn’t be medicated away.
    -Why don’t people comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act already, so that public places will be accessible to people of more than one set of physical abilities?

    Seems to bring us full circle. How can Alison make her bird feeder accessible to chickadees, not just finches?

  172. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Acilius (#171)

    Very good synopsis. I’d add that the musical accompaniment is a mix of Antonio Vivaldi’s “Le Quattro Stagioni” and Richard Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier,” and the name of the thread should be “Needs more bacon” or “Needs more garlic,” depending on one’s gustatory preferences.

    (… goes back to her own likely thread name, “Needs more money” with the musical accompaniment of the Beatles’ version of Money [That’s What I Want] …)

  173. Some of us don’t want to have to choose between garlic or bacon. Or syrup.

  174. Kat says:

    Hairball, yes, Moving Violations is fantastic. I read it in 12th grade for an English elective called “Memoir and Autobiography.” It was a pretty crappy class, and John Hockenberry’s was the only book in the course that I enjoyed. Which for me is Very. Rare.

  175. Kat says:

    I can totally leave out syrup, Maggie. Bacon and garlic, though? Not a chance….

  176. anon et al says:

    (#171) love the digest version, Acilius!

  177. Acilius says:

    @h_o_h, anon et al, glad you liked the digest.

    In case of life imitating blog thread, this afternoon Mrs Acilius’ power wheelchair got stuck in the snow on an unshoveled sidewalk. She’d wanted to go through the street, but had let me convince her that the snow on the sidewalk looked to be worn down enough that she could get through. It worked just fine, until the very end, when she hit a narrow pass in the snow and couldn’t move forward or back. She drove forward and back while I pushed, but it wasn’t budging. Two people converged on us, a fashionably dressed woman of about 60 and a thin man of about 20 with a thousand-yard stare and summer clothes, obviously just back from someplace much colder and much scarier than our college town. (“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive”…)

    Anyway, the two of them greeted us with offers to help push. The first words out of Mrs Acilius’ mouth were “I’m going to live here from now on, apparently.” The young man couldn’t bring himself to believe that pushing wouldn’t solve the problem, and kept looking for ways to grab hold of the chair.

    The woman said that what we needed was a shovel. She looked at the business next to the sidewalk, a funky little used-record store, and said it was too bad they didn’t have a snow shovel. “I bet you a nickel they do have a shovel,” I said. “Well, look at their ramp,” she said. The ramp was covered with snow, but she went in anyway, perhaps curious to see whether I’d pay that nickel.

    We waited a moment. I told Mrs Acilius that I supposed she had been right about using the street. She reminded me that it was my idea to use the sidewalk. Channeling General Buck Turgidson, I said I din’t think it was fair to indict an entire plan because of one failure. She seemed to think that was funny.

    The young man asked me if we could grab the small wheels on the front of Mrs Acilius’ chair. Mrs Acilius wasn’t opposed to this plan, but before we could put it into effect the woman came out of the store, followed by its proprietor bearing a snow shovel. I took the shovel and dislodged Mrs Acilius’ chair.

  178. Acilius says:

    I just read comment #177 to Mrs Acilius, who wanted me to add that the young man did push her forward once I’d broken up the snow.

  179. Ian says:

    Maggie, clearly the binary choice of bacon or garlic is an outdated, oppressive culinary construct and people should be free to have either bacon, garlic, syrup or chocolate, or even the whole damn deli if they want to! Curiously, wingnuts and culinary essentialists appear to agree that the only choices ARE bacon or garlic.

    And yes, whenever I see that photo of Great Britain covered in snow from Land’s End to John O’Groats I keep thinking of the film “The Day After Tomorrow”. Although if my rescue came in the form of Jake Gyllenhaal, or Dennis Quaid for that matter, I’d be quite happy!

  180. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Acilius (#177)

    “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive”…

    From AC Doyle; Sherlock Holmes’ remark to Dr. Watson upon first meeting him, yes?

    Alas, Afghanistan has been the folly of many nations through the centuries, Britain, USSR, and the US being the most recent examples.

    Of course, the periodic forays into Afghanistan helped coin the term ‘Afghanistanism’ which, for obvious reasons, cannot be used today.

    Quoting from the OED:

    (1961) H. B. Jackson Mass Communications Dict. 6 “Afghanistanism, a criticism leveled against newspaper editors for avoiding community causes and issues and for advocating causes and issues far enough away to remain unchallenged by unoriented readers.”

  181. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#174)

    Pretty adventurous 12th grade reading assignment… As I recall, Hockenberry was graphic in his description of catheter usage, and the story of him inadvertently bearing witness to his ex-GF’s tryst (from under the bed) might have called out the school censors.

    Perhaps that class now has “Fun Home” in the curriculum.

  182. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Acilius (#177)

    Just what Mrs. Acilius needs… a TankChair:


    No word if it comes with heat-seeking missles aimed at those who don’t shovel their sidewalks.

  183. Kat says:

    Yep, it was very frank.

    This is the same school, though, that put “I know Why the Caged Bird Sings” on the 9th grade curriculum, Toni Morisson’s “Beloved” and Jim Welch’s “Fool’s Crow” in 10th. 11th grade was the Bible as Literature with a heavy focus on the Book of Job, the Odyssey, the Aeneid (on which our teacher had written his dissertation), and Hamlet. 12th grade was electives, where I did Modern Drama and Playwriting (we read several that I don’t remember, but also Ionesco’s the Bald Soprano, Stringberg’s Miss Julie and Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour), and Memoir and Autobiography (which was the only non-fantastic english class of my whole school career. Besides Hockenberry, we read Angela’s Ashes, which I hated, and several other not-particularly-interesting-nor-insightful books).

    If only Fun Home had been around, then! If the class still exists, let’s hope it’s now on the list!!

    Yes, I’m over-educated….why do you ask??

  184. Zoe Brain says:

    Digest : Pithy. Accurate.

  185. Acilius says:

    @h_o_h: Thanks for letting us know about “The Tank Chair.” Mrs Acilius howled with laughter, first at your comment about heat-seeking missiles, then at the sight of the thing. I’ve put a post about it on my blog.

  186. MrsAcilius says:

    @h_o_h: Thanks for the picture of the TANK CHAIR! (The all-caps and the exclamation point represents the attitude with which I say TANK CHAIR!) I plan on sharing this story with nearly everyone so they can laugh too when I say TANK CHAIR!

  187. Ginjoint says:

    Acilius, if the lines in your digest “OMG Mary Daly is dead!” or “How dare you be mean to Mary Daly” are referring to my posts, and I’m not sure if they are, then no, that digest is not accurate. Nowhere in my posts did I invoke the kind of emotion conveyed by those lines.

    Why does this matter to me? Why am I being a persnickety little shit about this? Because it smacks of paternalism. As in, a female (in this case, me) expresses a sentiment clearly and calmly, only to have it distorted into…uh-oh…I’m gonna say it…I’m gonna use THE word…hysteria! This occurs many times in most women’s lives, and it’s aggravating, to say the least.
    Now I’m going back to listening to “Blues Breakers” on the radio.

    P.S. The TANK CHAIR! is a thousand kinds of awesome. If it doesn’t come with heat-seeking missiles, one can always do figure eights on a non-shoveler’s lawn in the spring.

  188. shadocat says:

    off subject, I know, but Miep Gies died today.

  189. Acilius says:

    @Ginjoint: Oh, I certainly didn’t mean to characterize your posts in particular. Sorry if the way I phrased it left that impression. The last thing I would want to do is put you down.

    As for “hysterical,” if you had in fact written “OMG Mary Daly is dead!” I wouldn’t have called that hysterical, or even inapt. This is a blog thread after all, so abbreviations like “OMG” are not out of place. And it surely is worth an expletive and an exclamation point when we lose someone like Mary Daly.

  190. Ginjoint says:

    Thanks, Acilius. I really appreciate the clarification.

    As for Miep Gies – now that’s courage.

  191. freyakat says:

    (I don’t check in with the blog every day, so this follows the thread from a bit back.)

    @HOH #160 and Ginjoint (#157): Josh Aronson’s film “Sound and Fury” is indeed a wonderful film depicting some very fraught issues in the deaf community. It is sometimes very hard to watch, because — at least in my opinion — you start seeing the dimming of the hopes of a sparkling very very bright little girl, because of fears and frustrations on the part of members of her family — fears and frustrations that to be sure are based on reality and past experiences, but the film is heart-wrenching. When I first saw it I thought of the Sweet Honey in The Rock song “On Children”: ‘You can give them your love but not your thoughts/They have their own thoughts/They have their own thoughts….’

    We sometimes try so hard to help, but we don’t notice that our fears get in the way of helping.

    POSSIBLE SPOILER: I few years ago Josh Aronson spoke at another screening of “Sound and Fury”.
    He said that the little girl got a cochlear implant a few years later, but that probably because of the delay she is not able to speak or be understood with complete ease. And (of course) the family has not been destroyed by the girl having the cochlear implant…..

    I recommend another wonderful film, this one by the great French director Nicolas Philibert:
    “Le pays des sourds” or “In The Land of The Deaf”. I don’t think it is available in the USA DVD format, but if you have a multi-region DVD player you can see it. Or your library might have an old VHS copy.

  192. Ginjoint says:

    Yes, freyakat – what the parents were doing (or rather, not doing) with that little girl is why I almost ground my teeth down to nubs. She was so smart, adorable, and full of personality. IMHO, her parent’s selfishness and self-centeredness was astonishing, and extremely hard to watch.

  193. Acilius says:

    @Ginjoint: Thank you for accepting my apology. Should we ask Mentor to remove #171? I’d hate to have it there if it really bothers you.

  194. Ginjoint says:

    Nah, I’m long since over it. But thanks for the thought. Really.

  195. Ready2Agitate says:

    All eyes on Haiti.

  196. 1-888-407-4747 is the otline in the U.S. for those with family in Haiti. Reported by CNN.

    To donate online for relief work in Haiti right now, consider OxFam America which has a long history there.

  197. Calico says:

    I know, poor Haiti.
    As if they don’t have enough to deal with anyway.
    Thanks for the link Maggie – and hope you’re feeling and doing all right these days! : )

  198. Acilius says:

    Thanks for the link Maggie! OxFam is certainly a logical choice for donations to help Haiti.

    Another group people with money to spare might consider is MADRE. MADRE partners with Zanmi Lasante, a network of nine community health centers in Haiti. Like the organizations MADRE works with in other parts of the world, Zanmi Lasante is led by people who live in the country where it operates and prioritizes the interests of women and girls. Their Proje Sante Fanm was the first women’s health clinic founded in central Haiti, and is today one of the largest providers of gynecological and other medical services to women on the island. Let’s hope they can continue their operations in this time of need.


    PS- @Ginjoint- Thanks for being so gracious. You’re one of the main reasons I keep coming back to this forum.

  199. --MC says:


  200. hairball_of_hope says:

    Opinion piece from Bloomberg on Prop 8 and the current trial, entitled “If Marriage Is So Special, Then Spread It Around”:


    What’s interesting to me is the generally supportive tone of business publications toward LGBT issues. I read a lot of financial/business news, and the corporate community seems to have discovered that LGBT equity is good business and good for business. Benefits for LGBT partners provides a hiring/retention advantage for talented personnel, for example. Targeting LGBT customers with appropriate products and messaging engenders consumer good will, product/brand loyalty, and increased profits.

    I think ultimately, like most things in this country, LGBT parity/equity/rights issues will boil down to economics; if business figures out it’s good for business, they’ll be behind it and will be the tipping force in the legislative process.

  201. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Acilius (#177)

    “Channeling General Buck Turgidson…”

    Oh DUH. I just reread your post and got the Dr. Strangelove reference. No wonder Mrs. A thought it was funny.

  202. hairball_of_hope says:

    More Prop 8 news… the US Supreme Court has blocked plans to broadcast video of the Prop 8 trial. The justices split along ideological lines, with the conservative/right-wing justices all voting against it.


    Isn’t it funny that this time the conservatives all want to hide in the closet and the LGBT folks want to be out front-and-center?

    None of this crop of black-robed misanthropes will ever be mistaken for defenders of the Constitution.

    (… goes back to recalling Justice Louis Brandeis, who said, “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.” …)

  203. Ian says:

    The wedding industry is a billion dollar business. Expanding the customer base expands the market. What’s not to like for a capitalist?

  204. Kat says:

    Ian, I like to call it the “wedding industrial complex”…

    in unrelated news, why is being sick so damned annoying????? I’ve been home all week with what may or may not be strep throat. When I got to a doctor yesterday (after much drama), they took a throat swab, and then instead of sending it to the lab, they lost it.

    yay! I love being miserable and not having a clue what the hell is wrong with me…..sigh….

  205. I am passing along messages I’m receiving from women of color friends about good ways to respond to the crisis in Haiti. The second URL I inserted “DOT” instead of the usual so this will pass through the spam filter:

    Red Cross needs creole speaking volunteers for a 24 Hours phone bank. Call Mr. Wilfrid @ 305-776-6900. ASAP.

    TEXT the DISNEY CORPORATE OFFICES===> (818)-560-1000 and ask them to stand by their “corporate responsibility” pledge. Disney owns an island abt. 400 miles north of Haiti — “Castaway Cay” (aka “Gordo Cay”) — and desalinates ocean water for their guests. Put pressure on Disney to provide potable water to Haiti via Dis…ney cruise ships as long as is needed.

    Give to the Lambi Fund for Haiti Earthquake relief efforts: http://www.lambifund.org. Especially activist folks of color–show some solidarity for the first independent post-colonial Black nation in the world!

    Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now!” recommends Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, HERF (wwwDOThaitiactionDOTnet) as a reliable source to send donations for relief work in Haiti.

  206. Ginjoint says:

    Thanks very much for the links, all.

  207. HoH, I think you speak every bit as eloquently as I do. I think there are many, many of us here who do. I count on it.

    I agree with much of what’s been said about the raised deaf vs cochlear implant divide. I was for 4 year in a writing and performing troupe with folks on both sides of the opinion, and learned much from their dialogue. I remember how when the two raised-deaf folks were trying to help our signer figure out how to interpret a piece I’d written where I did an Elvis imitation, it came out that one of them had no idea who Elvis was. They had no iconic means of conveying a reference to Elvis to the larger deaf community. But the reality of human beings is that wherever we on the outside might perceive a void (imagine a world where you’d never heard of Elvis), human culture will have flooded that space with other, equally rich and valuable shared experience.

    I had an uncle who went deaf as a baby in 1915 and was sent to be raised at the Texas State School for the Deaf. At that time, disabled = freak and mentally substandard, and signing was not allowed. He was damaged the rest of his life by that upbringing. ASL has meant language and brain development and community and life itself for generations now. I am reluctant to think of it as a ghetto, even though my entire existence centers on English.

    And almost every parent who ever lived chooses to raise their child in the best world possible — which usually, logically, means the world occupied by the parents themselves. It’s a rare parent who tries to prepare their little ones to leave them behind for travel to alien realms.

    Respecting the rights of others to self-definition, fighting for human decency on their behalf and being their true allies does not mean we have to agree with their definitions. It particularly does not mean if we define ourselves differently, that is inherently oppressive. (Depends on who holds power and how it is wielded.) We have to allow one another more breathing room than that. At this stage of my life, I very much want to hear the thinking of those who disagree with me as long as it is THEIR thinking (not doberman groupspeak or parroted from Wikipedia) and not based on the idea that all nonadherents are damned/infidels/hitler/’phobes. This blog is an oasis in that regard.

    Regarding Acilius’s synopsis, I took it as light-hearted and trying not to offend. Which may be a self-defeating goal. (grin) I personally believe this thread will mostly be remembered as the one where someone maintained, to our faces, that an internationally famous feminist theologian, who received a powerfully positive obituary in the New York Times, had deliberately, consciously based her ground-breaking opus on the writing style of Adolph Hitler. Honestly, isn’t that the elephant in the room?

    And the back-up argument for this insanity was that Daly had, you know, not liked men. (Enough.) Just to remind us all what lines we are supposed to remain within. Whatever your ideology or identification, that kind of justification threatens your freedom of thought.

    We have this week painful evidence of similar hate-based blame with the vicious comments if Limbaugh and Robertson about why Haiti “deserves it” (I’m not going to provide links). Similar but not identical, because in their case I think it’s not merely overspilling delusion but a cynical lie tossed as red meat to their racist base, AND they have a destructive megaphone via corporate media. The harm THEY do is legion, no matter how clearly they reveal their own damaged conditioning. We must grieve it, clear our heads, and stand up against the lies as best each of us can.

  208. Calico says:

    Here’s a link to another org that is helping Haiti, both short-and long-term:
    (English page available-look on the upeer right of the index page for link)

  209. Ginjoint says:

    Yeah, I had a feeling I’d be challenged on my anger toward the deaf parents. But, I stand by it. I know, how could I, as a hearing person, possibly understand their situation? (For those who haven’t seen the movie, it involves a family with both deaf and hearing members. One of the adult children who’s deaf is married to a deaf woman. They have a little 4-year-old {or thereabouts} girl, also deaf, for whom they refuse to get a cochlear implant. They wish for her to remain with them in the deaf community in which they have very much sequestered themselves; they fear that if she gets the implant, she will be separate from them. Time is of the essence, however, as I’m sure you all know that human brains are formatted to really learn language at a young age. Wait too long for the implant, and her speech will be forever adversely affected – and therefore, her interactions with the world at large.)

    I think the primary role of a parent is to prepare the kid for life on its own. A responsible parent tries to give the kid every advantage possible, not hold her back for the parents’ own emotional needs. Is this rare? Maybe. I don’t know. I do think that a disabled person is just as capable of being selfish or an asshole as a non-disabled person, however. And I think taking one’s right to self-definition to the degree of using one’s power over a smaller person to deny her the chance at an easier life is selfish, asshole behavior. The little girl can later reject the use of the implant if she so chooses – that, to me, would truly be closer to the right to self-definition.

    So, Meggars, I disagree with you but I still love you.

  210. Back atcha, Ginjoint. And I’m not sure how much we disagree. The rights of parents over their children is full of abuse, a very imperfect system — as most of us know firsthand,

  211. Ian says:

    Maggie, thanks for the links about Haiti. I’ve already channelled my donation through Oxfam UK. As you say, they have a presence there already. What may hurt the recovery is that UN and other NGO HQs appear to have been badly damaged in Port-au-Prince. Oxfam have already sent out emails soliciting donations.

    I’m afraid I had to turn off the TV when they were showing film of the immediate aftermath. I couldn’t let it in. Does that make me a wimp? Although I can’t imagine how anyone could sit there and watch it and not want to do anything to help out if they could.

  212. Two more reliable, already-in-Haiti organizations taking donations and offering immediate relief are Doctors Without Borders (being promoted by Democracy For America) and Partners In Health. I found the URL for the latter by going to the main page of ColorOfChange dot org.

    Ian, I would never think you are a wimp.

  213. Andrew B says:

    Ian, if not wanting to watch disaster porn makes you a wimp, the world could use more wimps.

  214. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Andrew B (#214)

    Disaster porn! Brilliant. I was eating lunch in a diner the other day, and I had to have my back to the TV so I could eat without having to see horrific images of the Haiti earthquake aftermath, so put me in the “disaster porn wimp” queue as well.

    I was mulling over the consequences of a century of US-fueled/aided/abetted political corruption and dictatorship in Haiti, and I thought about the similar situation in Nicaragua after the 1972 earthquake.

    The bungling and blatant corruption in the post-1972 relief efforts are what finally turned the Nicaraguan middle class and business leaders against Somoza and helped to topple the dictatorship.

    I do hope the Haitians learn from some of the Nicaraguan experience and don’t repeat some of their mistakes, and the US keeps its “prop up US-friendly dictators at all costs” foreign policy out of the picture. That will be the real test of Obama’s mettle.

  215. Ready2Agitate says:

    Money’s not the only thing we can do to help. There’s a critical window of oppty right now to press upon Washington to grant temporary protective status (TPS) to US Haitians currently under threat of deportation.

    It’s in the Administration’s hands. I’d direct demands to the President and Sec’y of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.


    Many good op/eds about TPS starting to emerge. Please help jump on this moment, people – TPS for Haitians now!

  216. Ready2Agitate says:

    “I very much want to hear the thinking of those who disagree with me…” (Maggie, up above somewhere)

    Well, I’m happy to oblige, Mz. Maggie ;)…

    To wit – “Give to the Lambi Fund for Haiti Earthquake relief efforts. Especially activist folks of color–show some solidarity for the first independent post-colonial Black nation in the world!”

    Yikes. Who are we white folks to tell folks of color to step up to the plate? (To amp it up a bit further, do we really think very many activists of color are reading this blog? Sorry – but this seems like a pretty white space…. I’m just sayin’).

    Anyway, kinda got my hackles up. Woulda rather heard this: “esp. white folks, show some solidarity with the only nation founded by slaves who revolted against white slavery!”

    Nope. Folks of color are no more obliged to respond to this disaster than the rest of us. Sorry.

  217. R2A, I thought I made it clear I was reposting messages I’d gotten from women of color about their recommendations regarding helping Haiti. That wasn’t my voice, that was from a Chicana Tejana activist poet, her words copied and pasted. She specifically asked me to repost her message wherever I could. Maybe I should have put it in quotes, but all the different messages in that entry from me would have need separate quotes and I thought I covered it by my introductory statement.

    And yeah, the voices here are mostly white but I know for a fact it’s not just white folks reading here.

  218. Mona says:

    Andrew B (#214) – thank you for a new addition to my own internal dictionary…..”disaster porn” describes it brilliantly and I am with all you that can’t/won’t watch it.

  219. Ian says:

    Thanks for the reassurance on my (lack of) wimpery folks! Andrew B – Disaster Porn – I love the phrase!

    Funnily enough there’s a right wing newspaper here called the Daily Mail that is the ONLY national newspaper NOT to put the Haiti earthquake on its front page. Instead there were articles on a new eye test for Alzheimer’s, a fluff piece on Beyonce and an advert for a DVD offer they’re running. Not a single word about 50,000 people dying in the Caribbean and not a word about the many thousands more suffering in the aftermath.

    Various media commentators are not very impressed.

  220. Pam I says:

    @Ian, the Daily Mail now has news from Haiti at the top of its online version. Headline? “Haiti earthquake: Looters, machete gangs and fights for water”. When will someone burn down the wretched rag?

  221. Alex K says:

    @220 / Ian:

    I quite like you.

  222. Ian says:

    @ Pam I: I love the way the Daily Hate claims it’s not racist. At all. In any shape or form. Oh no. Bring back the Black & White Minstrel Show. Oops! Delete that last one.

    And Alex K (222): Awwww, thank you! I quite like you too!

  223. Ready2Agitate says:

    Got it, Maggie. Seemed uncharacteristic of you, actually. glad I was wrong on that one!

    BTW, this evening, Sec’y Napolitano granted TPS for Haitians in the country before Jan. 12, 2010. TPS for Haitians – finally!

    ps MJC – didn’t say that only white voices or readers are here (I know that’s not true) – just but that it’s a pretty white space….

  224. hairball_of_hope says:

    Will wonders never cease… our pals at FoxNews actually posted an opinion piece in FAVOR of Prop 8 and the current Federal trial.


    Quoting from the article:

    Some Republicans support gay rights, but prefer progress through legislative action or majority rule at the ballot box, rather than judicial action. But what if a democratic election imposes mandates that violate a citizen’s constitutional freedom? In the event that majority rule insufficiently protects individual liberty, our system of checks and balances puts forth that it is the role of the courts, to guarantee and protect the rights to individual Americans.

    That’s why the Supreme Court, in 1967 Loving v. Virginia, legalized interracial marriage –six years after our current president was born to an interracial couple. At that time 73% of the population opposed “miscegenation.” How long would it have taken to change popular opinion, for the minority to democratically win their constitutional rights? As Martin Luther King, Jr. famously asserted, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

    For those of you who would label me a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only) for taking this stand, I direct you to Vice President Cheney, whose conservative credentials are impeccable, and who answered a question on the topic before the National Press Club audience on June 1, 2009 by saying simply, “…freedom means freedom for everyone.”

  225. Bechadelic says:

    225 comments against a Happy New Year video of birds feeding. Wow! I’m not going to read all of them and a scan says most of them have nothing to do with the turn of the decade eh?

    Me, I’m new around here and just stopping by to wish Alison a terrific year through 2010. Cheers 😀

  226. hairball_of_hope says:

    Hey Bechadelic, welcome aboard. Off-topic is more or less the routine around here, and the segues are often amazing. Stick around and read, this here bunch of folks is one unique community, quite a bit like the cast of characters in DTWOF itself.

  227. Bechadelic says:

    Thanks for the welcome hairball_of_hope! You just got me rather interested with that description. I may not contribute much (I’m the strong, silent type LOL) but I will definitely be reading, with much interest 🙂

  228. WomenArts has just released a special issue (online): Focus on Haitian Women & Artists, complete with a list of books to help us in “Understanding Haitian Culture & History” and a poem “Mud Mothers” by Lenelle Moïses (thx to Sue Katz for the pass-along).

  229. Pam I says:

    @ Maggie, can you clarify that link please, I can only find separate listings for different artists.

  230. Pam I says:

    Things to Remember While Helping Haiti? Here’s the Heritage Foundation checklist:

    Some good comments in response to alleviate the disgust.

  231. Thanks for your link, Pam. Mine got moved between the time I read it and posted here — guess they were getting some traffic. Anyhow, I tracked it down — here’s the WomenArts Haiti issue.

  232. Kate L says:

    Bechadelic (#228)

    What hairball said! 🙂 I’ve often thought of this blog community as the successor to DTWOF, the comic. I’m even thinking of getting a job at Madwimmin Bookstore! And, speaking of segues, folks, I attended the most recent meeting of the executive board of that human rights group I am secretary for (of?). In order to plan for pressing the local city commission to add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the city human rights ordinance, we are hosting a get together (call to radical action? big gay pow-wow?) at the local public library next week. Last time we tried to do this a few years ago, opponents said that a “choice” should not be included in the ordinance, despite the fact that religion and military status are both already included. Opponents also packed the city meeting that tabled the proposed changes with vocal homophobes who said things like, “God talked about Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”, and one local landlord who wanted the right to discriminate against those he perceived to be gay because of the threat of “disease”. They went on like that for TWO HOURS, after which a few brave souls (myself included) spoke in favor of the amendment. One woman who stood up in support of the amendment said that she was probably going to lose her job at the local christian college for coming out as lesbian. She did, the very next day. Flash forward to last week’s human rights group executive board meeting. At the meeting, planning for the community organizing session was going smoothly, until the man who is our chair said, “and now for the elephant in the room”. He meant the inclusion of gender identity and expression in a revised human rights ordinance. He then went on at length (and for no apparent reason) about how he did not “want to be a woman”. Okay-y-y-y… what is it about transsexuals that makes some folk (even in the lgbt community) seem to think that their identity is under attack?

  233. Okay, forwarding on from Tammy Gomez:

    Call Pat Robertson’s “700 Club” @ 1 (800) 759-0700 to give your opinion of his comments about Haiti. It costs them about $1 to pick up each 800 call. Cut & paste everywhere, a million calls costs them a million dollars…Just called and had a BLAST!!!!!! Performance art at its best. I highly recommend calling and creatively sharing your “prayer” with the person who answers at this number. Wow, this just made my day, and it was already rockin’!

  234. Bechadelic says:

    😀 @ Kate L.
    To be honest, I haven’t read much of Dykes To Watch Out For, but I have read “Fun Home” and I was floored. I definitely will be buying the anthology of DTWOF, hopefully in the near future, but for the moment, in the words of that that all-too-famous, all-too-common new-age, highly-overused status descriptor – It’s Complicated 😀 Never-the-less, I’m really looking forward to being a part of this community here.

    Oh and of course I have to say that God said plenty of things that modern-day homophobes seem to conveniently ignore. And perhaps God left out the eleventh commandment – “Thou shalt not speak like an ignorant bumpkin”, because he / she was so sure that silly people like the ones who spoke at the meeting you mentioned, wouldn’t understand a word of what he was saying anyway.

  235. Satan replies to Pat Robertson about receiving “credit” for Haiti’s misery — via a letter in the Minnesota Star Tribune.

  236. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Pam I (#231)

    Hmmm… not long after reading that Heritage Foundation racist paranoia piece (good comments, including many which said that they must have left out the H in GW Bush), I found the following news article about GW Bush and Bill Clinton on Bloomberg:


    Quoting from the article:

    The two former presidents, setting aside politics, are heading the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to help raise money for Haitians suffering from the devastating earthquake that struck Jan. 12. A Web site to collect donations is at www[dot]clintonbushhaitifund[dot]org.

    “I am so pleased to answer the call to work along the side of President Clinton, to mobilize the compassion of the American people,” said Bush. “Our hearts are broken” over the scenes of destruction, he said.

    “I know a lot of people want to send blankets or water. Just send your cash,” he said.

    [… snip …]

    Obama said it is modeled after the effort that Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton made in leading similar nonprofit organizations after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Asian tsunami in 2004.

    “This is a model that works,” Obama said.

    So the model seems to be “get a couple of former presidents, one from each party, and have them fundraise.” At least the elder Bush had some brains and could actually find Haiti on a map. Shrub would probably spell it “Hatey.”

    N.B. Shrub was the late great Molly Ivins’ nickname for GW Bush.

  237. Ian says:

    I’ve never known whether Haiti was pronounced “hatey” or “high-tea” (so to speak). The usually reliable BBC (which has a special pronunciation unit) has used both so I don’t know which is right.

    I prefer to donate to more-or-less independent NGOs who have some experience rather than new funds. Here in Blighty we have the Disasters and Emergencies Committee (DEC) which generally co-ordinates the donations to all the big charities in times like this, so as well as direct donations, you can give via the DEC as well.

    I’ve never trusted government donations since I saw a report that countries are lucky if half the actual aid promised makes it to the country concerned. I don’t have any references, but I’m sure folks on here know about it.

  238. Kat says:

    Ian (#238),
    In French it’s like “high tea” but without the “h” (eye-tea?. Damn, I wish I could type in IPA!!)….Perhaps the BBC is trying for the more French pronunciation? Or, rather, some of staff are?

    At work on Friday, an English faculty member mentioned Haiti (pronouncing it “hatey”) to a French faculty member. The French faculty member couldn’t figure out what she was talking about or why she hated something so much…

  239. As an alternative to disaster porn, I’ve looked at the careful and humane photographic approach they use at BagNewsNotes. (I love them over there.)

    And at the top right now is the AP photo of Shrub, Clinton, and Obama — sometimes pictures really do say it all — with the text “Can Bush really help, or his public involvement mostly symbolic, and even a face-saving gesture?

    “Besides the all-too-blatant sense of offering Bush a Katrina do-over, what the camera reflects when it focuses on Bush — especially without the Presidential seal for him to stand behind — is his fundamental inability to take anyone or anything seriously enough.”

  240. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#240)

    That photo is an interesting contrast in facial expressions and body language. Clinton looks genuinely upset and emotional. Shrub looks like he’s smirking and is standing there wooden as Clinton drapes his arm around his back. Obama is in robo-Obama mode with another efficient “Presidential” address.


  241. Acilius says:

    Thanks for the link, Maggie! That’s a great site.

    @h_o_h: Clinton always reminds me of the old line about sincerity being everything. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

    A student of mine, Richard, was very bubbly and cheerful on the first day of class Tuesday. Richard was full of stories about his home and family in Port-au-Prince. Thursday, I asked Richard if he’d heard from home. He said he’d tried to call his father, who was supposed to be out of town. Where Richard’s mother and the rest of his family are, there’s no possibility of getting in touch. Richard hadn’t been able to reach his father, so all he can do now is hope that his father will call him and tell him that everyone else is okay.

  242. Pam I says:

    @ Acillus, my consciousness was raised a lot about the peripheral effect of these natural disasters during Katrina, as my aunt and cousins live in New Orleans. What goes in these great crashes, is the Comms. No phones, no computer links. For ten days we simply did not know whether they were alive. In the end I found someone in New York via a dozen blog links, who visited their house and emailed me back that they were OK. So now whenever anything like this happens, my thoughts go out to the thousands of people round the planet who are safely distant but horribly worried. I hope your Richard can find a connection soon, it is one of the things that the UN etc are setting up it seems.

  243. Anonymous says:

    Apparently, Maggie Jochild has a blog. Perhaps I am in the minority for thinking it be nice if that blog were utilized rather than this one for very long blasts? One can link to one’s own blog, you know.

    Just in passing–never really cared for Mary Daly for the same reasons as were articulated by Audre Lorde (and I won’t bother repeating them here). And, I particularly didn’t care for the fact that Daly never lowered herself to respond in public–quite the little dis, that.

    I come here for Alison Bechdel. Silly me.

  244. Jean says:

    Damn it, the Perry/Stier and Katami/Zarrillo case is never going to win in the Supreme Court. Too many Justices appointed by Reagan and Bush.

  245. Ginjoint says:

    Anonymous, Alison is very busily working on her next book. So, she doesn’t have a whole lot of extra time to devote to the blog right now. In the meantime, we talk about Fun Home and DTWOF, but not nonstop. As much as we love Bechdel’s work, even we would run out of things to say. Everything’s talked about here – from cartooning to politics to food to sex to gardening, often within the same thread – and Bechdel’s characters and stories are frequently alluded to within these topics. I’d say her work is the force which binds this little universe together. Many here, like Alison, are readers, and don’t need everything handed to us in small bites. If you, however, find paragraphs daunting, there’s always Twitter or Facebook.

    Also, shout out to Bechadelic!

  246. Bechadelic says:

    Waving right back at you Ginjoint!

  247. Got this in my inbox and thought I’d pass it along for the Americans here:

    “In the weeks ahead we’ll all be hearing more about the upcoming 2010 Census. There are important reasons for those of us who are GLBT to fill it out identifying ourselves and our relationships as we choose. See below for the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce’s FAQ page on the Census, and for more information they offer.

    For the FAQ’s below, go to Queerthecensus.org:
    Why should I care about the census?
    Is there a sexual orientation or gender identity question on the 2010 census?
    How will LGBT same-sex unmarried partners and married couples be counted by the census?
    How do I know that the government won’t use this information to target me or my family for discrimination?
    If I am transgender, do I check the sex I was assigned at birth or my gender identity/expression? What if neither of these options fit my identity?
    If I am transgender, how do I record my relationship?
    What is being done to get sexual orientation/gender identity questions on the census or on other important federal survey instruments?
    When will Census 2010 Begin?
    Can Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People work for the Census Bureau?”

  248. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Anonymous (244) I expect to see input from Alison B once a month or so, for the reasons outlined by Ginjoint above. I come to this blog to find like monds who may have shown up for love of AB, but who stick around to listen to Ian and GInjoint and all the other people who live here and talk about everything in the world, including once in a great while opera and more frequently bacon or garlic. I can’t wait for AB’s next post, but in the meantime, settle down and join in the feast of reason and the flow of soul.

  249. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Anonymous (#244)

    Ditto on the relative sparseness of AB’s presence on the blog these days. She’s been kind and hospitable enough to leave this space open for a medley of interesting folks to chat about whatever comes to mind.

    More often than not, the conversation involves politics, art, science, math, comics, news, language, cats, music, opera, and various foodstuffs such as bacon, maple syrup, and garlic. Did I mention chocolate? Pizza? Maoist orange cake?

    And when our kind host does post, we scamper from the old thread to the new, first commenting on AB’s post, and then segueing into our usual diverse conversations.

    Think of it as a very interesting social gathering or party. Ostensibly we are all here as admirers of AB, but ultimately we are admirers of one another and the intelligent, interesting, and lively conversation and community contained herein.

    As for length of posts, most of us are readers, many of us are writers, we have good attention spans. Take up haiku or Twitter if you want short.

    Ok, here’s haiku *and* Twitter:

    Short attention span
    One four oh characters are
    All I can manage.

  250. Therry and St Jerome, yes, I come here for like monds and unlike monds both. And for those who like mons.

    I don’t censor easy.

  251. Ginjoint says:

    And for those who like mons.


  252. Pam I says:

    Tout le monde….

  253. For all the geographers and cartophiles here, I just discovered Geocurrents, a blog started by two geography professors to illustrate the news with maps.

    On another front, I got forwarded the following from The Advocate:

    ‘John Ireland, a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist and actor, has announced that he is filming daily reenactments of the Prop. 8 trial, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, and will broadcast them in daily installments on YouTube beginning Tuesday.

    ‘Ireland, who began casting for the production through a Craigslist ad posted February 15, told On Top Magazine on Sunday that, “People want to see this drama unfold and there is a tremendous narrative that was propelled by that first day of testimony…. I don’t think you need to be gay or lesbian to see there is a tremendous human story being told but so few people are actually hearing it.”

    ‘Ireland said he got the idea for the reenactments after the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked the planned broadcast of the trial, which got under way in San Francisco Jan. 11 and resumes Tuesday.’

  254. hairball_of_hope says:

    In Bush’s Poodle news, Tony Blair will be testifying before the UK Iraq inquiry panel next week.


    Quoting from the article:

    When he goes before the inquiry, Mr. Blair is likely to be questioned about accusations that he offered President George W. Bush support for an invasion as early as April 2002 — a year before legislators approved Britain’s involvement.

    In testimony Monday, Mr. Blair’s former chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, denied that Mr. Blair had agreed to invade in 2002. Britain’s former ambassador to the U.S., Christopher Meyer, has told the inquiry that Messrs. Bush and Blair used a meeting that April at Mr. Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, to “sign in blood” an agreement to take military action in Iraq.

    [… snip …]

    Mr. Blair, whose popularity suffered because of his decision to back the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, will face several hours of questioning at the five-person tribunal Jan. 29.

    The inquiry was commissioned by Mr. Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown, to examine the case made to Parliament and the public to join the war, along with errors in planning for postwar reconstruction.

    [… snip …]

    The inquiry won’t apportion blame or establish criminal or civil liability, but will offer recommendations on how to prevent errors in future conflicts.

    Its findings will be made public by late 2010 — after Britain holds a national election, which must take place by June. Labour, the party of both Messrs. Blair and Brown, is expected to be voted out after 13 years in office.

    I’m wondering if the inquiry’s findings will be made public in time to become an issue for the US mid-term general elections in November 2010. There might be some intersting revelations that would reflect poorly on the GOP.

  255. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#254)

    Geocurrents is awesome! Incredibly informative, and great maps too. How do you find these things?

  256. Feminista says:

    @251,252,253: Let’s not forget Le Monde,famous French leftist newspaper; demimonde;the old candy bar Mounds (chocolate and cocoanut),and Native burial mounds.

  257. Ian says:

    @HOH (255): Maybe I’ve just read too many conspiracy theories or thrillers, but why do I not find it too difficult to believe Bush and Blair actually signed something in their own blood?

    @Therry & St Jerome (249): I’m very thrilled that you namechecked me (and Ginjoint) as being among the people you come here to listen to.

  258. Acilius says:

    @Maggie: Thanks for the link to Geocurrents!

    @Pam: Richard did get hold of his father. His immediate family is alive, homeless for the moment but otherwise okay. He did lose two cousins, however.