1. notes

    1 year ago

    A High Hobby Horse Indeed.

    So currently I live in a podunk town in the midwest, and there are not a lot of shopping options around here, for anything, much less art supplies.  Thank goddess for the internet, because I’d be screwed.  But in any case, from time to time over the years I’ve dropped by the local Hobby Lobby for random things.  We have a huge Hobby Lobby here, and while I guess about 80% of it is pure useless junk, every now and then I find something I need.

    Now I’ve known from the moment I moved here that they are a “Christian” company— after all, corporations are people now, right?  So a company can be a “Christian”.  One way I’ve come to know this is by the fact that the moment you arrive at the door you are hailed by a sign explaining they are closed on Sundays for religious reasons— that’s a hint— and then you go in and are immediately assailed with all kinds of Christiany literature in the store entry, and THEN as you continue to shop, you notice the insipid music playing throughout the store is relentlessly hymnal and religious.

    Here’s the thing.  I am not a Christian, but because I don’t care if other people are or not, it doesn’t bother me that Hobby Lobby is on full proselytizing display as a “Christian” company.  If I really had a problem with it, I wouldn’t go there.  It’s not like they don’t basically greet you at the door with a sign making a statement of, kind of, faith.  Do I think this is appropriate?  Not really.  If you are selling religious items it would be, but you’re a craft store, Hobby Lobby.  However by and large it didn’t matter to me, because I’m generally tolerant, until someone crosses a line.

    Which is what Hobby Lobby did this week, in filing suit to try to stop the new Healthcare Law proviso that requires health insurance companies to make birth control and other care pertaining to a woman’s health affordable and accessible.  Why does Hobby Lobby care?  They claim their religious rights are being violated, because as employers they will be picking up some of the health insurance costs, and they “don’t believe in birth control”.  Well, actually they said “abortion”, because now we’re supposed to believe that birth control and abortion are the same thing.  Technically it’s true, abortion is a form of birth control, but that isn’t what is covered under the Obamacare Law anyway.  If you need an abortion and can still find a clinic that’ll give you one, you’re on your own, ladies.  But back to Hobby Lobby and “the Green family”, who are the owners.

    Never mind that, (a) this is between the employee and the health insurance company and has nothing to do with the employer, technically, or (b) that there is nothing in the Bible about birth control with the lone exception of a moment in which God loses his temper because a dude pulls out of his dead brother’s wife during sex and God disapproves of him spilling his seed instead of knocking her up and strikes the dude dead— which oddly has nothing to do with birth control, even in that context, it has to do with a dude being so petty as to deny his own dead brother his legal claim to his generations, you can read all about it if you care to slog through Genesis, have fun, or (c) birth control is not a religious issue because there’s nothing about it in the Bible, period.  I know.  You’d think there was, with all the fuss being made, but seriously, nothing in the Bible.  Nothing about abortion either.  In fact, in another episode, which you can read if you care to slog through the Chronicles of the Kings, God strikes a newly born baby dead, because King David had a dude killed so he could carry off the widow, who clearly asked for it by having the temerity to take a bath on her rooftop, where lots of people used to take baths, by the way, he just happened to notice her.  So David grabs the widow for his own, knocks her up, and God decides infanticide is clearly the correct punishment for this sin.  Which makes perfect sense.

    Or, you know.  Not.

    But I digress.  So I happened to be trolling around my mainly unused Twitter account and came upon the Hobby Lobby story, and I had two reactions.

    1)  Fuck you you fucking fuckwads.  Here more than 50% of your employees are female (and in our local branch I’d guess about 70%, perhaps?) and I’m willing to bet 80% of your CUSTOMERS are female too, and you don’t think we are fully evolved humans who can decide for ourselves if and when we should have families?  In fact you think you can dictate the terms under which we can have sex, because if you think we don’t deserve control over pregnancy, you can try to control the terms of sexual freedom.  That’s the actual root, by the way, of all of this nonsense about birth control and abortion, for those of you who wonder why these creepy patriarchal religions who obviously don’t care about women and babies and children at all want to make sure women get knocked up.  Because the threat of unwanted pregnancy is the classic way in which women are brought to heel, like good little bitches.  You can see this attitude reflected in the comments section of sites posting this story, where goody two-shoes who haven’t received the memo that 98% of American women use contraception at some point in their lives, say things like:  Well if you’d take responsibility BEFORE you got pregnant, by KEEPING YOUR LEGS TOGETHER, or, another favorite, if you were responsible in the first place you wouldn’t have to WORRY ABOUT BEING PREGNANT— failing to notice that birth control and abortion both resolve that problem.  So what are they really saying?  They are saying they have the God-given right to control the sexual behavior of all womankind, and the threat of unwanted pregnancy is a weapon in their war.  They don’t give a shit about babies.  They don’t give a shit about children.  They don’t give a shit about motherhood.  They prove this in every single one of their other political actions and views, on war, capital punishment, charity, maternity leave, education, the living wage, gender equality, etc.

    No.  They just want to control me.  Personally.  Hobby Lobby, a corporation, is claiming the right to control the sex life of me, a female customer.  They think they are talking about their employees, but actually they are talking about all women everywhere, which is why they can fuck themselves.

    2)  But my second reaction was, interestingly, this:  back when I WAS a Christian, and I was, scary to say, I would have considered this action the very worst possible witness for their faith.  When you are a bad witness, when you align yourself with politics and not principles, when you try to use religion as a cloak for your disregard for half the population, you are not representing Jesus Christ.  You are representing the same thing your kind of person always represents, and it doesn’t matter if you are Hobby Lobby or the Taliban.  Oh, you think that’s an extreme comparison?  How do you think these kinds of movements start?  They start like this, like a thief in the night, under cover of religion and righteousness and trying to keep the women, first, safe, and then decent, and then under control because as Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell or one of those bastards once said, if you give women an inch, next thing you know they’ll be having abortions and practicing witchcraft and becoming lesbians, and we mustn’t have that, oh no, all of society will collapse.

    You are a terrible witness for your alleged faith, Hobby Lobby.  I know people like you don’t care, which also makes you a terrible witness.  I know you read only the parts of the Bible which please you, much as the infamous Chik-Filet Homophobes did in displaying their ignorance and hatred for all the world to see.  Maybe your business will prosper.  You’ll think it has something to do with God blessing you, because you haven’t read the book of Ecclesiastes.  Many women will, as women have been wont to for the last several hundred years, act against their own self interest and continue to shop at your stores.  Many of your employees will privately do whatever they have to do to continue to live their godless, hedonistic, free lives without getting knocked up.  Many of your employees will have abortions.  Because guess what?  Many women do.

    And if you think your business will suffer no consequences just because one person in the midwest ceases doing business with you, and if you think if you do suffer consequences you are just being persecuted, it doesn’t really matter.  Because your actions change nothing when it comes to women doing what we have always had to do, which is work around patriarchal bullshit like the kind you dish out, and meanwhile if there is a god who even remotely resembles Jesus Christ, he’s just looking at you and thinking Well.

    That was not helpful.

    politics

    religion

    feminism

    the usual

    hobby lobby

    birth control

    abortion

    lions tigers bears oh my

  2. notes

    2 years ago

    To Live Outside the Law You Must Be Honest

    I’m tired of the assumption that if you opposed the health “care” law, you are automatically a conservative Republican teabagger asshole, or some privileged little twerp on your mommy and daddy’s insurance.

    I opposed, and still oppose, the health “care” law, because it is a bad law, through and through.  It is yet more corporate welfare, a huge windfall for health insurance companies who are the ones directly responsible for the destruction of rational health care in this country to begin with.  But they get the big money now, and who gets screwed?

    Well, I do, for one.  While some of you are out there crowing about how you get covered now?  Congratulations, but I don’t.  As an unemployed person who can’t afford health insurance (and there’s millions of us, by the way), living in a state that already has announced it is not going to expand Medicare or make “subsidies” for private insurance available— not that the last bit would help, since that whole Unemployed Thing— and as someone who isn’t a young person able to hop on to mommy and daddy’s health insurance— and of course THEY don’t have any either— well.  And I repeat, there’s millions of us.  Some of us are even employed in one of the millions of low-paying part-time jobs that this country offers now, and guess who the IRS will be penalizing… I mean imposing yet another tax on if they can’t pay the exorbitant insurance payments that are the norm out there?  (Interestingly that mystery “tax”, which the Chief Justice saw fit to call it, doesn’t seem to go anywhere specifically to offset health “care” costs.  Perhaps if it did we’d all be way too close to the evils of socialized medicine, which has brought Canada to the brink of CANADA, and has destroyed Scandanavia by totally not destroying Scandanavia.  Commies.)

    Meanwhile we will be the ones targeted for penalization… sorry, taxation, and the filthy rich insurance companies who started the ball rolling and made sure that all of their needs were met by Obama and his pals when they were putting this law together, they get more money and power to entrench with.  Their lobbyists crawled all over Washington, and made sure both Congress and the President blocked anyone who suggested single payer, for example, from being heard.  The largest Nurses Union in the country opposed this bill and supported (and still supports) real health CARE reform.  They were not listened to, and anyone in the medical field who supported or supports single payer or even a public option was promptly refused a place at the table.

    You want to underscore how happy you are about this by using your personal story about what Obamacare is going to do for you and that therefore it makes this a good thing?  I’ll tell you a personal story.  You’re no better than me, and I’m getting fucked, and insulted by people willing to compromise on morals as long as they get theirs.

    So before assuming that I have something personal against Obama because he’s black, or that I’m a dumbass Tea Party Bitch, or that I don’t know what I’m talking about, consider this:  America doesn’t get health care with this law.  Insurance Companies and the for-profit medical establishment and big Pharma got all the care they need.  Some Americans are going to benefit, though I doubt that will last all that long.  Health “care” costs will continue to rise.  Pre-existing conditions will continue to jack up the cost for everyone, but that’ll be okay, right, because everyone has to pay?  Um, no.  Not in the world of logic, ethics, or morals.  But we’re talking about American politics and capitalism here, so I kid myself.

    I already know I’ll be living hand to mouth for the rest of my life, and that circling around me is the possibility of an accident, or sudden illness, or who knows what-all, waiting to take everything away from me.  That’s how it was before this law, and that’s how it is now, only with subsidies for the folks who created the threat to my scant well being.  And I’m expected to subsidize them.  I’m expected to subsidize a private corporation with more money than god, private corporations who are now people with free speech rights and all the attendant speech that money can buy.  And I’m expected to shut up and be a good little liberal and listen to all the lies about how this is a great day for America and think Yay.

    Yeah.  Like fucking hell.

    If the Supremes had overturned this law, I’d have to listen to a bunch of hate-spewing bastards on the other side crowing too.  As it is I still had to hear Michelle Bachmann whining and Rush Limbaugh working himself up into an apoplectic passion, which would have been funnier if I didn’t know the creep probably has the best health care in the country.  So really there was no upside to the news today.

    health care

    or whatever they call it now

    politics

  3. 2 years ago

    On Wisconsin!

    I am from California, and lived through a recall election.  In fact, in recent weeks, hearing Wisconsinites whine about the horrors of their recall election, I’ve had to nearly bite my tongue off to stop myself from saying “Oh yeah?  You’re a bunch of fucking ninnies.  Try dealing with a recall where the term Three Ring Circus does not begin to encompass the utter inanity of porn stars, drug addict former child stars, and a plastic European action-figure from the seventies all running around trying to get into an office held by a guy whose recall was triggered by Absolutely Nothing.  Then get back to me.  Punks.”

    But I refrained.  I live in the Midwest now, and around here, you’re supposed to pretend to be polite.  I’d say “when in Rome”, except that would be giving the Midwest WAY too much credit, at least from a cultural point of view.  But I digress.

    Wisconsin, ironically, was the state I was assigned to report on when I was in fifth grade.  I recollect something about dairy, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the state song being called “On Wisconsin” and which included the words “we hail thee good and great” and something about loyal sons and daughters.  I’ve been there, and it reminded me of Michigan, and also Indiana, and also Ohio, but more like Michigan, what with the lakes and all.  Anyway, Wisconsin had an opportunity, and in fact so did [insert sinister music here] THE UNIONS, and so did the Democratic party, but not quite in the way they thought, which is why it all went to hell (okay, back to hell, or maybe it just stayed where it was) on Tuesday.  There is a take-away from all of this, and here it is:

    1)  [insert sinister, preferably Bolshevik, music here] THE UNIONS were not busted with either this election or with the actions of Scott Walker, which led to this election.  THE UNIONS, and in this case we’re actually talking about the public unions— you know, the ones who represent the workers who are made out to be brave heroes when it is convenient for politicians and the media to do so (I refer to cops, who are usually not remotely heroic, and firefighters, who frequently are), or scapegoats for all those people who don’t want to take responsiblity for their own children’s study habits and who can’t figure out that if you keep on cramming forty to fifty kids in a class you end up with nothing but some glorified babysitting/prison guarding for very very little pay (and here I obviously refer to teachers, who are evil and are to blame for EVERYTHING WRONG WITH AMERICA)— THE UNIONS, I say, were actually screwed a long time ago, certainly during the Reagan administration, but possibly somewhat prior to that, when they bought into the idea that companies and/or government could be bargained with.

    This was a wrongheaded idea.  Partly because capitalism itself is built on a premise that workers are disposable, replaceable, troublesome, and an unfortunate necessity only, and partly because government is always in cahoots with big business, one way or the other.  Unions were, and are, the only line of defense for WORKERS.  But around the 1960s, thoroughly infiltrated by the FBI, private corporate thugs, and the Mob, Unions, particularly in the private sector, started to work on the premise that strikes are a move of last resort, instead of what strikes, especially general strikes, were always held to be, which is a move of middling resort.  Violence is the last resort.  But now no one is supposed to admit that, in spite of the violence government and hired corporate thugs bring to bear on anyone at the drop of a hat.  No, the citizenry should not organize at all (it is actually illegal in some states), but if it does, well, it should be prepared to bend over backwards for their lords and masters.  Unions are no longer unions for the workers, they are corporatized cogs in the corporate machine, with very few exceptions.  And strikes, therefore, have been written into a back corner, reserved for the point when strikes, 90% of the time, will not accomplish anything.

    That is the main reason strikes don’t work these days.  They’re timed wrong.

    2)  The recall attempt was a waste of political capital.  Anyone with the internet, and I know they have the internet in Wisconsin, because I’ve seen it, because I’ve been there, could have just googled the hellacious nonsense that was California’s recall election, and seen for themselves what a total waste of political capital it would be.  In the case of Scott Walker, who ran for office without ever mentioning that part of his cunning plan to balance the state budget would be to end collective bargaining rights for huge swathes of the working populace (which makes total sense, I mean, do the math), he actually did something questionable, and there were two far more logical and effective responses to his action.  The first, obviously, because this is America, was the Courts.  The second would require balls, and that was a general strike.  See, here’s the thing:  if you end collective bargaining, the union doesn’t exist.  Period.  So since the governor decided not to play by rules, the unions should have basically gone on strike.  On a full, Greek-style, European-style strike, because in Europe folks know how to strike.  This keeps the powers that be on their toes, and that is what a democratic system ideally should do.  In America we have a plutocracy, not a democracy or a republic, and thus we’ve forgotten how to strike.

    What you do is everyone walks off the job.  Go ahead, Scott Walker.  Replace thousands of teachers in Wisconsin.  A profession that pays little, that has an extremely high rate of attrition, and that is disrespected and trampled on a daily basis.  Replace us all.  We dare you.  Go ahead and dial 911.  See if anyone shows up.  Oh, that violates the terms set by our unions in cahoots with the government because of general safety and public welfare?  Too fucking bad.  Replace us all.  Yeah, that’s right, you can’t.  And if that were not enough, I’m pretty sure most other unions would have never crossed one of these picket lines, so everything in Wisconsin grinds to a halt.  It would scare the bejesus out of everyone for a few days, if it lasted that long, because see, a strike like that would work.  The media and federal government and everyone would panic.  There would be a total uproar.  But it would be an utterly untenable situation, and not even a Republican would have been able to sell his state on the less-government-is-good-government THEN, now would he have?

    3)  Money poured into Wisconsin from out of state and from special interest groups throughout the country.  It mainly poured into Scott Walker’s coffers.  With this money the airwaves and telephones of the populace were blanketed with a steady stream of shit.  Money, without a doubt, played a key role in this nonsense, as did

    4)  Voter turnout, or rather the continuing saga of the efforts the Republican party throughout the entire United States is making to stymie voting.  It is very important, if you want to overthrown a democracy, to make sure very few people vote.  You can do this by playing into the general stupidity and disinterest a segment of Americans absolutely have in spades.  But it’s even better if you can purge voting rolls, make rules so students and young people actually can’t vote, and of course enforce the time-honored Amerian tradition of Jim Crow, in which you make sure to outright disenfranchise as many black and other poor people as possible by making sure enough of them are convicted felons and stripping their civil rights away from them permanently.  Because it makes total sense that a felon should never vote again, am I right?  Who would want to give a convicted criminal returned to the general population any kind of, I don’t know, stake in his or her community?

    I have several solutions to America’s problems that I think would work, and one of them is to do what Australia does, and require all citizens to vote.  REQUIRE.  If you don’t vote, you get fined.  In Australia they have a voter turnout of something like 95% I believe, and this is good for democracy.  For one thing it mitigates the big money from special interests.  For another you don’t have to do dumb undemocratic shit like term limits, because with a significant voter turnout, people just vote out the bastards who aren’t doing their jobs.  Another part of my solution would require anyone released from prison to vote.  And for those who gnash their teeth and wail BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE DARN ILLEGALS, newsflash, in the modern era we have these amazing data processing things, a kind of machine, called a COM PU TER, and these machines can get information synthesized right quick, so all you really need is a proper voter registry and a card that can be scanned and, viola, problem solved.  Amazing what a little technology can do.  It’s actually useful for something besides my favorite application, which of course is Porn.

    5)  The Democrats are not organized, mentally or politically or generally, as a party, to fight the onslaught of Republican misinformation on the subject of debts and deficits.  I have yet to hear a single Democrat, within politics, state the obvious:  that the Republican obsession with debts and deficits is simply a byproduct of the Republican obsession with corporate capitalism, in which money is always far more important that people.  Also, let’s be clear, it’s not as though the Democrats are pure as the driven when it comes to corporate capitalism, social welfare, or the rhetoric surrounding debts and deficits. 

    But most importantly, just as the Republican party has clearly taken a nose-dive straight into the crazy fascist end of the pool, the Democratic party has decided to mill about and make half-assed statements and do little gestures and otherwise epitomize one of my all time favorite historical quotes, from Teddy Roosevelt, who referred to the head of the party in that era as “having the backbone of a chocolate eclair.”  And all god’s children said, Amen.

    So what have we learned today, boys and girls?

    Well, first, we live in a nation where we make major adjustments around the actions of a very very few, but we make no adjustments for the actions of the very very rich.

    Second, democracy is broken, and does not work.  Money trumps votes, advertising trumps information, the justice system is rigged, legislators are only in office for the money, revolving doors exist at all levels, radical special interest groups are running at least one of our political parties, and the other party isn’t running at all.  Meanwhile America holds its collective breath for the next disposable toxic iCreation from Apple, a major corporation that can’t be bothered to pay its taxes, or the next intellectual remark from Kim Kardashian, a person who is famous for being famous.  I think.  I’m not sure.  Mainly I thought the Kardashians were a race of aliens from Star Trek.  But then I also thought America would have woken up by now.

    Third, and most important, especially in light of what is happening to the unions throughout America, the Occupy movement has the right idea.  Stay out of politics.  It’s a difficult choice to make in a sense, because we’ve all been taught that you need to get involved, and vote, and go into politics to get anything done.  Heck, the Tea Party has upped and headed there, hell bent on turning America into Somalia.  So OWS appears as if it has stalled, and maybe it has.  Maybe some catastrophe has to happen again, and Wall Street or whoever needs to get bailed out again, in order to wake the people up.  It usually takes extremes to get people off their couches.  Women need to start dying in droves in back alley abortions again in order to fix the war on our bodies.  Children need to show up in schools starving.  Schools need to shutter their doors with no replacements.  Who knows what it will take, given that all the signs are here, and children are already hungry, and two women have already died of complications from botched “illegal” abortions, and schools are already closing.

    All the signs are here.  The climate is changing all around us.  The seas are rising.  The snows and glaciers are melting.  And what is America doing?

    Drilling for natural gas and lying about “clean coal”.  Cuz that’s how we roll. 

    not Tarot

    politics

    wisconsin

    recalls

    whatev

    Occupy

  4. notes

    2 years ago

    http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/2012/05/26/video-bill-maher-what-exactly-has-obama-done-that-has-made-conservatives-so-angry/

    I ask myself this every evening.  Why evening?  That’s usually when I’m watching or reading some conservative pundit bitching about Obama’s “liberalism”.

    So far I can only conclude they don’t like it that he’s black.  That’s all I can come up with.  I can’t come up with anything substantive.  I’ve tried. 

    bill maher

    obama

    politics

  5. notes

    2 years ago

    The Cranbrook Story, and Why It Matters

    #stillnotTarot #yesImapoliticalwonk #sowhaddayagonnadoaboutit? #yesIswearalot

    I’ve finally gotten sick and tired of the chattering classes on “both” ends of the political spectrum

    Yes, I could stop there and it would be accurate enough.  But I was going to say, I’ve gotten sick and tired of these motherfucking chattering classes on this motherfucking plane, talking about how the Mitt Romney Bullies A Probably Gay Kid At His Elite School Back In The Sixties story doesn’t matter.  There should be a moratorium, they say.  It’s hypocritical, they say.  Obama ate a dog, Fox News says.  Etc.

    The story matters for a large number of reasons.  I’ll list some here for your convenience!

    1)  The NonApology.  Now, far be it from me to suggest anyone, including Mitt Romney, should lie about feeling bad if he doesn’t feel that way.  Unless I’m running his campaign, in which case I’d smack him upside the head and MAKE HIM SORRY, I really don’t want to hear him apologize if he doesn’t mean it.  So, of course, he did a half-assed nonapology apology, which confirms him as a sniveling pandering wanker, just in case we didn’t know this about him already.

    2)  The Lie Within The NonApology.  I’m paraphrasing, but it goes something like this:  “Well I certainly didn’t know the fellow was GAY.  This was the sixties, you know.  Heh heh heh!”  Yes, Mitt, it WAS the sixties.  And in the sixties, and fifties, particularly at boys’ prep schools, but actually in high schools, junior high schools, elementary schools, and colleges even, throughout the land, so profoundly ran the utter terror of Boys, in particular, catching The Gay, that a massive Anti-Gay campaign was launched (they didn’t call it that of course.  You have to use the word “homosexual”, and make sure you kind of run the X in “sex” into the U, with a sneering sound, and you’ve pretty much got the correct pronounciation of the era) featuring creepy films, pamphlets, and creepy guys who went around the country talking primarily to boys (girls don’t count, and lesbians aren’t really serious anyway, right?  I mean they only do that stuff so boys can watch, right?  And that’s okay, right?  And the moment a cock shows up the ladies will jump all over the opportunity, right?)

    Ahem.   Creepy films, pamphlets, and guys blanketed the schools of America trying desperately to make sure the precious Boys didn’t catch The Gay.  This didn’t work, as evidenced by a kid in an elite prep school in Michigan, who actually took on the most blatant of all Gay Tropes at that time, and bleached his hair blonde.  That act doesn’t seem like a big deal nowadays.  Back then you may as well have put on a dress.  It was the iconic image of the stereotypical Gay man, the well advertised and known and widely disrespected “Fairy”.  And Mitt sure the fuck knew it then, and he knows it now.  The fifties and sixties were awash in sexual propaganda from a hetero culture terrified of The Gay.  And in an all-boys school, you absolutely got yourself identified right off as Not Gay, or you were in for it, as this poor yet weirdly brave (or completely oblivious, or terribly unhappy) kid was, the one Mitt and his gang of pals attacked.

    3)  The Bullying Aspect.   I’m not on the anti-bully bandwagon as many folks are these days.  It’s pretty trendy to be all Anti-Bullying now.  The reason isn’t that I like bullies— I never did.  And the reason isn’t that I am now or ever was a bully— I’ve never been.  I have reviewed my life from stem to stern and can honestly conclude that is not my style and I have not engaged in that behavior.  Some kids, mainly boys, attempted to bully ME, and there were fights, and bloody noses (theirs), and chipped tooth (mine), and crying (them), and pretty dresses torn (mine), and so forth.  I stopped a few bullies from bullying others.  So it’s not like I’m a fan of bullies.

    What I do think is the attempt to make this a cause is the wrong cause.  Because if you can’t cope with bullying in school when it’s actually no big deal, how will you deal with it later in life?  At work?  In a relationship?  In encounters with attorneys or cops or people who are paid to be bullies?  How about at church?  You won’t have the tools to recognize it or to cope with it, if you don’t do some coping in school, period.  The question is how to cope, and what tools you are given, and in that regard I think the anti-bully trend is a total write-off.

    That said:  if someone was The Bully when they were in school, and the reaction of friends was to join in and support it, and the reaction of a school was to turn a blind eye, and you basically were rewarded for your terrible, calculated, viscious behavior?  You learned a lesson too, didn’t you?  Especially if you are already a privileged white male.  You’d probably learned this lesson many many times before, in fact, which is why you were known as a prankster.  Pranks are rarely funny, and they are always aggressive, and the punchline always is “Can’t you take a joke” if someone doesn’t like it and didn’t want their space violated.  Pranking is bullying, only a bit nicer and more socially acceptable.

    So if you were the bully, and were taught it was okay, and don’t even care about it all these years later?  There’s a problem, right there, even if you are not the raging sociopath I suspect you of being, Mitt.

    4)  The Cause of the Bullying.  Let’s pretend Mitt somehow never did get the memo about the dangers of The Gay, and had no idea “the fellow” was gay.  Let’s just pretend that it’s possible he didn’t know, suspect, or care.  The fact is, Mitt led a gang of other guys on an attack on someone because HE DIDN’T APPROVE OF THE WAY HE LOOKED.

    5)  When the Bullying Happened.  Mitt was EIGHTEEN.  He was not ten.  He was not a kid.  If he’d commited a crime he would have been tried as an adult.

    6)  So all of that is important, but let’s take this where I want to take it, and say NONE of that is important.  Let’s say that the media has it right, and none of that stuff matters.  Let’s say Mitt didn’t lie, and he doesn’t remember, and he’s kind of sorry.  Let’s say Mitt’s not a fucking sociopath.

    The real issue is WHERE this all happened.

    Yeah.  That’s right.  Because the world Mitt Romney lives in now, the world of CAR ELEVATORS, the world where his wife pretends she’s a stay at home mom who works so hard when we all know she has maids, nannies, gardeners, the world where Mitt has always lived, is Cranbrook.

    And Cranbrook is the isolated, elite, all-boys, privileged club, where the children of the super rich were sent, where the son of the governor pulled rank so he could get academic favors, where someone who looked wrong was eventually kicked out for smoking a cigarette.  Cranbrook is the 1%, in youthful form, and that is where Mitt has lived his entire life.  He hasn’t eaten dog, because no one ever fed him dog.  He has no idea how regular people live because he has never been a regular person.  Not as a child, not as an adult.  He is removed from the 99% of America that actually drives the economy.  He doesn’t drive it.  He profits off of it.  He benefits from it.  But he gives back nothing, and he never did.

    So Cranbrook absolutely matters, and is relevant.  It says everything about the upbringing and background of a man who wants to be president of the United States, and make decisions that impact the vast majority of people who live in the Real World.  Cranbrook is the perfect illustration of why Mitt Romney is not fit to be president.

    Besides the bullying thing.  And the fucking car elevator.

    not Tarot

    politics

    Mitt Romney

    Cranbrook

    bullying

    car elevator

    swears

  6. notes

    2 years ago

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Mitt Romney!

    "This kind of divisiveness, this attack of [sic] success, is very different than what we’ve seen in our country’s history.  We’ve always encouraged young people:  Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business." 

    Speaking, first of all, as someone with a grasp on history, my first reaction to this was… wait, did he say BORROW MONEY FROM YOUR PARENTS???

    He did.  He certainly did.  To which I would like to add the following:  CAR ELEVATOR.

    Ahem.  Okay, back to history.  Historically we have NOT, as a nation, always encouraged “young people” to take risks, get educations, start businesses, etc.  Partly because, as a nation, we only think very particular and certain “young people” are entitled to those things.  It was only after World War II and the passage of the GI bill that Americans started giving some consideration to the notion that maybe college for everyone was a good idea.  And we still didn’t actually mean it, not for kids who were the wrong gender, or the wrong color, or from the wrong economic strata.

    Also, I hate to break it to Mr. Romney, but in fact the “divisiveness” he’s so sensitive to, probably because he has no clue about how rich and privileged he is, is hardly new to America.  I do believe I can go clear back to before the American Revolution and provide examples of statements by people, actual Americans, who noticed that inequality and lack of opportunity seemed to be the lot of the majority, while those at the top seemed to think that they were entitled to preach about how this is because if you AREN’T on top, you are lowly and unworthy and clearly somehow out of line with the will of our particular god.  Americans have historically been quite divided about the subject of equality and liberty, and how much of each you have to have in order to have both.

    It would be great if that was the discussion we were having as a country, but for now, Mitt would like it if we would tone it down about his CAR ELEVATOR and quit being all jealous of, I guess, his CAR ELEVATOR.  Because it’s unAmerican to point out that the filthy rich are usually hereditary princelings, and that there are people in this country who are going to bed hungry and who can’t find jobs because corporate capitalists would rather pay a few cents to unorganized labor overseas than dollars to organized labor here, and I could go on, and so could a long, long list of great Americans, since the nation was founded.

    Whenever I hear a politician use the word “always” about America, my bullshit-o-meter goes off.  (Note:  Bullshit-o-Meters are WAY less expensive than CAR ELEVATORS, and also more practical, even though for some reason if you deploy one YOU are the unAmerican one, and not the dude who thinks a CAR ELEVATOR is a good idea, or that kids have parents from whom they can just cavalierly borrow the $75,000 dollars for a four-year college degree that will then be dissed by big business here in America as being worthless.)

    politics

    mitt romney

    capitalism

    equality

    occupy everything

    seriously

    wtf?

  7. notes

    2 years ago

    Sexism and the Tarot, Part 3: A Jung-Free Zone

    (Originally published Sept. 23, 2010.)


    Here’s a lyric I’d like to lay on ya.
    "Single girl, single girl,
    Goes out on the town.
    Married girl, married girl,
    Works til the sun goes down.”

    That’s an old lyric from a traditional ballad. Believe it or not there was a time when women feared marraige. They knew exactly what they were getting into, and commercial interests had not yet inundated them with the belief that marraige was all about Queen For A Day Bridezilla (tm) White Dress Stuff, which of course marraige is NOT about. Why am I writing about this after a month-long hiatus from my blog and, well, almost everything else? I’ll explain.

    This is part of an ongoing series here. And originally I planned to write about inherently sexist imagery in the Tarot, using the Strength card as my jumping-off point, but I’ll get back to that later. Right now I’d like to launch into a diatribe about reading Tarot from a Feminist worldview.

    (Ahem.)

    No one bats an eye at the notion Tarot readers might be biased by, say, spiritual beliefs. In fact most people assume Tarot readers have a spiritual point of view. And in most cases (though not all) readers do not sit down and come across with precisely what they believe in— they read cards and offer advice, and if you listen you will maybe discern your Tarot reader believes in, say, some form of karma, or the duality of nature, or the presence of angelic beings, or the existence of gnomes and salamanders— whatever. Those things could easily come up, because Tarot lends itself to revealing them.

    What you may not so easily discern are the ideas that dovetail seamlessly with ideas already present in the broader culture, particularly if the ideas are assumed to be true rather than discussed as possibility. Let’s take as an example the issue of marraige. Say a woman client is having some petty trouble with her husband. Say the Two of Coins comes up in her reading. Say the Tarot reader says to her, “Well, you know marraige is all about compromise.” The client will most likely not notice what just happened here, because the notion that marraige is all about compromise (especially for women) is hardly radical or startling. It is, in fact, embedded in our culture.

    But something did just happen. First, a card was read based upon a social assumption and not based upon the card itself. Twos are generally about Balance, this is true, but Balance and Compromise are not, in fact, the same concept.

    Second, the assumption that was made, ie “Marraige is all about compromise”, is not a helpful assumption. For one thing it does not acknowledge that the client may have a valid objection to her husband’s pettiness. Also, since he is not present, the compromise comment is directed at her alone, with the clear implication that The Tarot Itself has spoken. Tarot readers need to be ever mindful of the power of the tool we use.

    For yet another thing, assuming that “marraige is all about compromise” disallows disagreement with the statement, and also ignores the multitude of other things marraige is about. More to the point, it ignores the Possibilities of what marraige can be about. It denies nuance, sympathy, hope, and change. It reinforces a status quo some of us did not stipulate to. It is inherently disempowering. A Tarot reading is about giving people insight into their situation and empowering them, and that includes giving them the power to CHANGE.

    But now things get tricky, because it’s okay if you have, say, a bizarre idea that someone’s lover is cheating on them because in a past life maybe your client was a womanizer and is now getting payback a millenia later. Oh, it’s fine to think THAT, and to say it aloud. It’s also okay to make a statement like “marraige is all about compromise”, whether it’s true or not, because it is not radical. But woe betide a reader who dares to let POLITICS slip into the open. No no no, that’s plain Wrong.

    If you do that, see, you are now judging someone, or, even worse, trying to persuade them to your own personal worldview. Tarot reading isn’t supposed to be about that!

    All of a sudden.

    Because you are judging someone when you bring up karma, and you are making a political statement and trying to persuade someone of the rightness of it when you declaim on the nature of marraige. In fact, you have let your politics out into the open. The difference is those politics aren’t noticed as such. But the moment you, the reader, cross over into these topics— you know, sex, marraige, money, family, religion, work, career, the things our clients care about? You HAVE crossed over into the political world. And your own personal politics DO have rammifications when you are reading cards for someone else.

    A great many readers prefer to claim Tarot is a spiritual matter, not fortune-telling certainly, not mundane, not at all that connected to the physical literal world. And one certainly can read cards that way. But in reality, most of our clients are pretty interested in the real world. So it becomes an issue, and you need to ask yourself: Do you know where you are coming from?

    (I’m not advocating, by the way, for Party Politics. I’m talking about broad principles with real world applications.)

    If you know where you, the reader, stand, you will be more aware of your own biases. For example, I am a Feminist, and I’m open about this fact. Read this blog. You’ll see. And because I am a Feminist and own it, I have to remember, many if not most of my clients are NOT Feminists. They will not see things the way I do, and my job, in any case, is not to tell them what to think or how to feel. My job is to read the cards and to acknowledge I am doing it through the prism of myself. Do I, and does my ideology, have something to offer? Does it dovetail with the cards I’m reading or am I forcing the cards to back my ideology up? Does my opinion bring something fresh to the table and help the client, or is it my way of sitting judgment? These are important things to know.

    Many Tarot readers make the mistake of thinking very general and non-specific remarks are “safe”, and that if you don’t get too specific you’ll be able to keep those pesky accusations of being political at bay. If there is any truth to that viewpoint it comes from the fact most clients will let you get away with this because they will believe they are of the same mind as you, or they won’t even notice a political viewpoint as such because it comes couched by the situation or in vagaries.

    One of the problems, though, with vagaries is it makes for a poor Tarot reading. A long time ago a client said to me airily, “Well, you know how men are.” In that moment I could have nodded and assumed we were on the same wavelength. Fortunately I am not a fan of generalities or blanket statements about only a little less than half the population of our entire planet. So I replied, “No. How are men? What do you think they are like?”

    And she was put in a position where she had to think and be specific. It turned out, her opinion of mankind was not as limited by her opinion of one specific guy as she made it seem. She realized there were a lot of fish in the sea. Also it became clear— if I were inclined to generalities about men, she and I would have been about as far apart from each other as it is possible to be.

    So letting slide blanket statements about marraige, women, men, family, children, teenagers, boys, girls, money, jobs, social roles, in-laws, gay people, racial groups (oh yes, I’ve heard it all!) because you’re afraid of getting “political” as a reader? It’s a cop-out. Let’s not do it. Let us look at our politics, our spirituality, all of it, and then use it as a tool. If you deny yourself it will render you less useful as a reader, and if you deny your client the full range of your abilities it will render you useless. And, worse, it won’t help anyone, and often our clients actually really do need our help and our different point of view.

    tarot

    sexism

    politics

    spirituality

    feminism