What am I doing with a blog?

Awww…heck. I dunno.

Important enough to pause all else December 11, 2007

Filed under: dorky,feminism — himbly @ 11:04 am

These are worrying times, my friends.Many things to discuss, many things to contribute one’s thoughts to…and most of all this:

It must be admitted that few girls, of whatever age, have ever fathomed the delirious appeal of Mad humor.    

 These are the words of Michael Dirda of the Washington Post. Girls don’t like Mad?? Then explain to me, sir, why I have a picture of Fonebone hanging in my hallway?

Of course, no girl, and certainly no mother, could be expected to appreciate the risqu¿ insightfulness of “Snap Ploobadoof” — the sound of “Wonder Woman releasing her Amazon brassiere.”    

 If I have no appreciation of it, sir, then why did the detailed image instantly appear to me the second I read Snap Ploobadoof? Not only that, sir, I can look it up within one of my three or four Don Martin books 5 ft to my right, if I were inclined to do so.Hmph.Michael Dirda has an obvious desire to make Mad a “boys only/no gerls allowed” club house because, apparently, his memories of buying Mad at the corner store would be sullied if he knew that his ‘dorky sister’ was also reading it when she built her fort out of couch cushions. I submit, friends, that Michael Dirda is, in reality, a dork of the same type as those who has ruined the memory of Monty Python sketches by continually and unceasingly yelling “Ni!” every bloody g-damn opportunity. However, Dirda’s intention is to review The Completely Mad Don Martin…a compilation of Don Martin’s work over 30 years at Mad…and convince you, the reader, to buy it. I agree, and if I had $150 kicking around, I would certainly pick it up. His article, however, reviews memories of his favourite Don Martin gags in such a way that they manage to dampen the impact. How can you describe the Freak Accident, the Drag Race, or even the Rat Race:

My favorite single drawing — one I remember from boyhood — is “An Evening in the City.” A stubble-bearded guy with rolled-up shirtsleeves peers out of an office window and says, “I tell you, Mrs. Frimp, I’m getting sick and tired of this Rat Race!” At the next window the blowsy Mrs. Frimp answers, “I know what you mean, Mr. Eck! We’re all getting sick of it!” Below the couple, one sees the street: full of large, very determined rats, in track suits, running a marathon through the city. Mrs. Frimp then adds, needlessly, “Besides . . . a 7-day Rat Race is such a stupid idea in the first place!!”   

Sure, it recalls fond memories…but nowhere near as funny as the original cartoon was…because it was a drawing. Does one describe the Mona Lisa?mona.jpg

Don Martin made up that sound, and that poster, and those names. But, as Gary Larson emphasizes in his foreword to The Completely Mad Don Martin, the man most truly dazzled in his drawing. His jowly, cross-eyed characters stare at us from the page with an utterly sublime imbecility, unaware of their smug silliness, confident that they are in control, the captains of their destiny and the masters of any situation, no matter how complex or improbable. In fact, Martin’s characters — half of them named Fonebone — resemble and behave like the Three Stooges, but Stooges without the least modicum of intelligence. Martin’s naively stupid fairy-tale princes, incompetent surgeons, hapless Tarzans and demonic dentists generally end up with cracked skulls and dazed what-hit-me grins. Whatever happens to them, though, they never, ever see it coming. But the reader does — and this is part of the pleasure of Martin’s humor: Like silent-era comedians, his characters toss a banana onto the sidewalk, then slip on it.   

I think Dirda spent too much time intellectualizing something that wasn’t meant to be intellectualized in the first place. Then he made it lamer by essentially claiming something along the lines of “girls have cooties”.

Obviously, one’s dopey sisters could hardly be expected to grasp the sheer genius of a name like Elwood Pleebis, Fornis J. Plebney, or Horace Veeblefetzer. But even those girls one kind of, sort of, liked might actually fail to roll on the ground with uncontrollable laughter at a political poster that proclaimed: “Help the mentally incompetent. Re-elect your congressman!”   

Yeah. ‘kay.  Oh..one more thing.  I’ve read Mad lately.  If boys want to lay claim to the current state of Mad, they’re welcome to it. 

 

What marketing team thought this one up? November 29, 2007

Filed under: feminism — himbly @ 1:15 am

Behold.  The Lusty Linda pen holder:   Lusty Linda pen holderLusty Linda pen holder 2

Um, so…yeah.  I found this on Shakesville (via Pandagon) in a discussion of misogynistic toys/gags.  I typically ignore a lot of these things assuming only those who don’t get laid or are insecure about their sexual abilities think they’re worth buying, but this one.  Well, this one is special.  You’ll see why.    Lusty Linda, firstly…a personal thing…has a huge hole where flesh ought to be.  I get irritated by details like this.  I mean, if you’re going to be all super lame and shit, at least get the details right.  The vagina is further south.   

 

 

 

 

Now, another added feature of Lusty Linda is that she speaks.  Yes indeed.    

 

Let Lusty Linda the pen holder sun-bath on your desk.  When you stick in a pen, she will moan, groan or say any of 10 different things. A switch on the bottom lets you set Linda’s mood, from good or bad. (too bad all women did not have such a switch).Lusty Linda The Pen Holder Says 10 Different Things including:

  • ooow (ouch)!
  • Get out you, you dirty old man!
  • What are you looking at?
  • Help! Help!
  • Oh ooh (excited)

 Did you get that?  She has a switch where you can set her mood to her reaction to having your pen shoved inside her.  You can set her to a good mood, in which case she will moan and purr happily…or a bad mood, in which case she will essentially respond to your harassment or request that you do not rape her.    So many questions right now…so many flooding through my head.  Such as, if you are the type of a-hole who puts this toy on your desk, how much more of an a-hole do you have to be to switch it to ‘bad mood’ so you can hear her yell (comically, I suppose) for help? Okay, so that’s Lusty Linda…but she is only one of a bad lot. Arguably the worst, actually, but only one.  No!  You can anally rape a guy with your pen, too. 

Mr. Butt Face Hilarious!  Now, honestly…I enjoy a good Deliverance joke as much as the next gal, but would one be proud to have this on his/her desk?     

 

You can go to the site here and hear what Mr. BF says when you stick a pen into him.  Sadly, Mr. BF does not a happy switch.  He is always sad and never enjoys his forced anal pen. 

     So, what have we learned today, children?  That women sometimes like, and other times don’t like things in their vagina but it doesn’t matter…both are funny.  Also, we learned that men never like anything in their butt, but that also doesn’t matter.   

 

“Great Scott”, I mean “Knockers” November 24, 2007

Filed under: feminism,Uncategorized — himbly @ 6:18 pm

Okay.  This.   

It’s been confusing a lot of women lately. Dang, I can’t get it to embed here. Click on the link for the Heidi Klum Victoria’s Secret ad with her “great knockers”.   Anyway, It’s been confusing me lately, for certain.  And lilithattack, too.    

 So, last night I was out with lilith and gerbils and she and I got to talking.   We talked about this ad and why, even though we both wanted to like it for some reason, we just couldn’t.  I’ll outline the reasons here for me, and although lilith and my arguments both for and against were similar, I am not going to presume to speak for her.  Go to her blog…she writes better than me for one thing.  

 1- arguments for Heidi Klum pretending her boobs are machine guns

I wanted to like this ad. I really did want to.  I was very torn watching it.  I sat like a dog watching a cat dancing with a top hat on TV…ie. confused and uncomfortable.  And I think I figured it out.  I wanted to like that ad because it took away some of the mystique that surrounds the female body.  The female body has been taken to be such a damn serious thing…sacred…womb bearing…that the humour in it has gone away.  Our bodies, if you own one you know this, are hilarious and weird.  Nooks, crannies, dampness, dryness, lumps, bumps, humps…my humps, my lovely lady lumps.  Check it out:  we ought to rejoice in the fact that we can squeeze our boobs and make honking sounds.  Sarah Silverman, whom I love, devoted an entire episode of her brilliant show (it is too brilliant)  to queefing.  These things are important so that men can’t be the only ones that fart.

 2- argument against Heidi Klum yelling about her great knockers 

 Well..she does have great knockers.  Actually, in that commercial, they are so big they kinda freak me out.  Basically, I think I like the concept of that ad but Heidi Klum is all wrong for the role.  And not because she’s blonde, skinny, rich, famous, and gorgeous.  It’s because…and I mean no real offense to her…she just doesn’t pull it off for me.  She seems, how do I put this…she seems to have that “hot girl” sense of humour, which is less funny and more ‘hey, that hot chick is doing weird shit’.  Don’t pretend you didn’t know these girls in high school or your undergrad.  Or now, even.  I vote for the aforementioned Sarah Silverman.  Or Naomi Campbell because that chick has got issues.  Or what about less model-y women?  Why not make a series of women who love their knockers?  How weird would Dita Von Tease be?

 Now that I’ve said it, I’m wondering if that’s why the commercial is so heavily edited.  Because they filmed HK for an hour and came up with 30 seconds of ‘okay-good-enough-lets-wrap-up’ stuff? 

(ugh.  Wordpress changed shit and now I’m a bit confused.  Sorry if this post looks like ass.)

 

 

revisit November 4, 2007

Filed under: feminism — himbly @ 3:41 pm

at the end of this post: The Vajayjay Monologues I commented on something that Michael Smerconish wrote in his article.

I want to comment more on that. I think it’s a problem:

Years ago (when I was much younger than I am today), I had lunch in a men’s club (of course), where I made the acquaintance of an older, distinguished gent. We were randomly seated next to one another. I’d bet two generations separated me from my dining companion.

As the hour progressed and we warmed to one another, I asked him what he did for a living. With a sagelike glint in his eye, he said to me: “Son, I spend my daytime doing what you’ll spend your lifetime trying to accomplish.”

You probably figured out that he was an OB/GYN. Some things don’t get lost in translation.

My reading of the Smerconish article suggested that this event was considered a friendly and civilized joke between two healthy men sat down in a men’s club smoking cigars.

I find it disturbing.

What I don’t find particularly disturbing is that some older male OB/GYN made that comment. It was clearly a joke, and whether he sexualizes his work is really nothing you can actually read into it. The joke was made between two people discussing stuff and, in that context, I don’t think you can actually take anything seriously.

No. What I find disturbing is Smerconish deciding that it was a perfectly charming thing to write in his article defending the use vajayjay as a euphamism for vagina. That I, as a reader and a woman who knows nothing of Smerconish, this particular OB/GYN nor the men’s club they were at, would be comforted by the love of this doctor for his work. He loves vaginas. See? Men love vaginas. Mean ol’ feminists.

And I wonder, after reading the whole article, if Smerconish actually knows any women.

I’m glad that there are men who love vaginas. I’m glad to be acquainted with some of those men. Ummm…I wouldn’t want my OB/GYN to love vaginas in the same way when in his office. This isn’t why I have a female OB/GYN (in fact, a female GP). I’ve not been afraid of anyone sexualizing a Pap smear, so I’d rather not think that someone out there is.

I think that Smerconish and Christopher Hitchens (after reading his article on women and humour) maybe ought to go out and actually talk to the women they may or may not know. There seems to be an entire breed of men who have no clue.

 

The Vajayjay Monologues

Filed under: feminism,linguistics — himbly @ 12:30 pm

I’ve been reading a bit about the reaction to the new euphamism for vagina “vajayjay”. Specifically, lillithattack, Pandagon (this one, too), and the Pandagon refered Michael Smerconish and Stephanie Rosenbloom.

Now, I’m not one of those types of linguistics that decide on a favourite vowel, brake for portmanteau morphemes and hover over all sorts of dictionaries, but I am a linguist and a feminist so I have had an interest in this discussion.

(eek…this was meant to be a fairly short post, but upon rereading those articles, I found many more things to address. Anyway…here goes.)

On the use of the euphamism Vajayjay. My short answer: why not? My long answer: I understand why not, but including a few factors, I still say ‘why not’?

Via the NY Times:

It began on Feb. 12, 2006, when viewers of the ABC series “Grey’s Anatomy” heard the character Miranda Bailey, a pregnant doctor who had gone into labor, admonish a male intern, “Stop looking at my vajayjay.”

The line sprang from an executive producer’s need to mollify standards and practices executives who wanted the script to include fewer mentions of the word vagina.

That’s the problem. Right there. It stemmed from the network not allowing a character from a popular medical drama use the medical term: vagina. Wtf?

Since, it caught on like wildfire. Oprah, apparently, loves the word and uses it on her show. More NY Times:

Vajayjay found its way into electronic dictionaries like Urban Dictionary, Word Spy and Merriam-Webster’s Open Dictionary. It was uttered on the television series “30 Rock.” It was used on the Web site of “The Tyra Banks Show.” Jimmy Kimmel said it in a monologue. It has appeared in the Web publications Salon and the Huffington Post and on the blog Wonkette.

And feminists, I think correctly, got nervous.

Feminists are not nervous, unlike Michael Smerconish seems to think, because they feel as though the vagina should be seen as a no-fun-zone for men.

Michael Smerconish:
No matter what you call it, many feminists don’t want guys attracted to it. If it were up to them, there’d be an image at www.dictionary.com with a sign next to “vagina” reading “No men allowed.”

Quite the opposite! Good lord…very very much the opposite. In fact, many feminists, quite rightly, riducule those men who don’t ‘go down’. And this is the problem…that our bodies are somehow seen as either too ‘temple-like’ (because of our scacred womb) or ‘disgusting’ (because or our periods) to refer to without discomfort.

Pandagon:
There’s been taboo studies that show that tampons are more taboo than toilet paper—read: menstrual blood bothers people more than shit. … Hell, think of the constant use of the word “purity” to refer to virginal women. That word choice speaks volumes.

This is what causes the push for using vagina/vulva/clitoris when refering to these parts of a woman’s body. Because those are the names and we need, precisely the opposite of what Smerconish claims, everyone to be comfortable with them. These words are not dirty, disgusting, nor awkward, neither inherently nor because of what they describe. This is why feminists encourage the use of them.

This is also why I use the word ‘cunt’. I do not enjoy that the one big taboo word in our North American culture, the one that you really really have to be prepared to use, happens to refer to the vagina…or labia. Actually, I guess the whole kit-n’-kaboodle. I would prefer that everyone gets over their squeemishness use it as they would cock, dick, or pecker.

Having said all that….

NY Times:
In a voice-mail message left for a reporter, Gloria Steinem said she hopes the women using vajayjay are doing so because they think it is more descriptive than vagina, not because they are squeamish.

I’m not sure what else Steinem has said about vajayjay, but if this is at the heart of it, I agree. I hope the same thing. I am perfectly fine with the euphamism vajayjay…if that’s what it is about.

When I’m with my good friends and I want to refer to sexual intercourse, I’ll say “A and B fucked”. I may, if I want to seem baser and more teenaged, say “they pumped” or “they humped”. When I’m with my mother or father (and this conversation does not come up often with them, believe me), I will say “they slept together”. There’s no sleeping involved in fucking. I know that, my mom and dad know that, but we use that euphamism anyway. Vajayjay serves the same function. Now, personally, if I were addressing my mom or dad, I would probably use the word ‘vagina’..but I may find myself in a situation where a reference to one’s vagina needs to be made with minimum fuss. A children’s party, perhaps. Kidding…I do think that kids need to know what their body parts are properly named.

My point is that, as much as sometimes we don’t care to admit it, there is a cause for us to adjust our language due to social situations. I think that it is sometimes seen as phony, but it most certainly is a part of being a social animal. Recognising the social situation you are in and responding appropriately. We, as humans, just happen to have language to concern ourselves with.

I think vajayjay can help our cause. Men have all sorts of euphamisms for penis that range from acceptable (“little fella”) to unacceptable (I dunno..probably something to do with a snake) depending on the situation and euphamisms for vagina have been sorely lacking. Twat. Cunt. Snatch. Pussy. None of these are particularly friendly. Vajayjay might be the one that can’t be hurled at us by drunken frat boys to make us feel less than we are.

Though, thanks to Dan Savage for encouraging the use of pussy to mean something strong.

NY Times:
There have been at least 1,200 terms for the vagina in the history of the English language, according to Steven Pinker, a psychology professor at Harvard and the author of “The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature” (Viking, 2007).

There is? Who knew? Stephen Pinker, I guess…with his ‘rock star good looks’.

This is because sexual subjects are always “emotionally fraught,” he said, and each new euphemism eventually “gets contaminated” and prompts “the search for yet another euphemism.”

HE calls it “the euphemism treadmill.” Such words arise, he said, “because people want to make it perfectly clear to their listeners that they are not bringing up the topic for prurient reasons.”

Okay…sure. I agree. But lets be more to the point. I can’t remember the last time that the penis went through this ‘treadmill’. Female sexual subjects seem to be more ’emotionally fraught’ than male…but whatever. I understand what Pinker is saying.

So, I think I covered all I meant to say here. Essentially, I don’t think we need to be afraid of the dawning of another euphamism. Euphamisms do happen, and frankly, I agree with Nunberg in that there may have been a need for a new euphamism that was more female friendly:

NY Times:
“There was a need for a pet name,” said Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, and the chairman of the usage panel for the American Heritage Dictionary, “a name that women can use in a familiar way among themselves.”

But, as feminist writers caution us, this cannot be a replacement for vagina. And, as long as we remember that, I think we will be okay.

One thing, though….he most disturbing thing about Smerconish’s article:

Years ago (when I was much younger than I am today), I had lunch in a men’s club (of course), where I made the acquaintance of an older, distinguished gent. We were randomly seated next to one another. I’d bet two generations separated me from my dining companion.

As the hour progressed and we warmed to one another, I asked him what he did for a living. With a sagelike glint in his eye, he said to me: “Son, I spend my daytime doing what you’ll spend your lifetime trying to accomplish.”

You probably figured out that he was an OB/GYN. Some things don’t get lost in translation.

If this is how male OB/GYNs are talking to other men about their job…I think this is a problem. And fucking creepy.

 

It’s early, but I’ll try my best October 23, 2007

Filed under: feminism,misc — himbly @ 9:27 am

I found this article the other day: Ten Politically Incorrect Truths about Human Nature. I read it. I thought, ‘ummm…well…uh…huh?’

I can’t go into all of it right now since a/ I read it a couple of days ago and b/ I had a late night of exam marking and just woke up to a continued headache, but I’m gonna try my best here. There are two points to the article I want to address but the main point I would like to make is: I think the word ‘truths’ is stretching it.

4. Most suicide bombers are Muslim

According to the Oxford University sociologist Diego Gambetta, editor of Making Sense of Suicide Missions, a comprehensive history of this troubling yet topical phenomenon, while suicide missions are not always religiously motivated, when religion is involved, it is always Muslim. Why is this? Why is Islam the only religion that motivates its followers to commit suicide missions?

Now. Note the loophole in that particular paragraph. “…while suicide missions are not always religiously motivated, when religion is involved, it is always Muslim.” They can cite that line any time anyone brings up this:

Kamakaze pilots

I don’t buy the religion part. I mean, I do…Islam serves as a strong belief that motivates suicide bombers to perform the same act as a Kamakaze pilot did during WWII. Kill themselves in an attempt to kill others on a larger scale. Faith in their country and their service to it is what motivated Kamakaze pilots. But the article goes on to say this:

It is the combination of polygyny and the promise of a large harem of virgins in heaven that motivates many young Muslim men to commit suicide bombings. Consistent with this explanation, all studies of suicide bombers indicate that they are significantly younger than not only the Muslim population in general but other (nonsuicidal) members of their own extreme political organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah. And nearly all suicide bombers are single.

Alright. This is the meat of the matter. The Western willingness to believe that “those people over there” are so very different from us “regular folk” in the West that we actually believe that 72 virgins has anything to do with it. I don’t care if every suicide bomber shrieks out “I can’t wait for those 72 virgins” before they do their horrible deed, I don’t buy it. I once heard Ayaan Hirsi Ali say (and you’ll have to believe me since I can’t find this interview anywhere to cite) that it wasn’t the 72 virgins that motivated people as much as a profound fear of hell.

That is something I am willing to accept more than this ludicrous idea that these crazy men are offing themselves at the promise of sex with 72 virgins…something which not only has the West hung their hats on, but Western commedians everywhere have built their evening shows around. But what I really think…these people are killing themselves for the same reason that kamakaze pilots killed themselves. Honour and foolishness…they were convinced that it was something important they needed to do. They have a strong belief and nothing to lose. Sex has nothing to do with the age and marital status of the men who suicide bomb, as the article suggests. Young people are most often those who involve themselves in social protest (see, like, every university) and single men don’t have families and responsibilities.

More examples of protest suicides without the promise of ‘otherworldly sex’: Buddhist monks protesting the Vietnam war

10. Men sexually harrass women because they are not sexist

Abuse, intimidation, and degradation are all part of men’s repertoire of tactics employed in competitive situations. In other words, men are not treating women differently from men—the definition of discrimination, under which sexual harassment legally falls—but the opposite: Men harass women precisely because they are not discriminating between men and women.

And once again we have come to the same tired explanation of bad behaviour on men’s parts (or bad behavour of men’s parts *rimshot*). Men are evolutionarily, or biologically, predisposed to bad behaviour. The “we’re pigs…we can’t help it…we were made that way” argument that has been sold to us. The very reason women in some countries must cover their entire bodies, women need chaperones and that date rape is such a “grey area”. Men have so successfully sold us on the idea that they just ‘can’t act right’. What do you expect, they’re men?

I say, ‘bitch, please’

I know a whole whack of smart men who act right. Manly men, too. In fact, they are more manly for it, in my book. I know that the wives or girlfriends of some of these men do not concern themselves as to where they are or who they’re with. The single ones are, though certainly not eunichs, respectful and honest.

God..I forgot where I was…oh yeah. I don’t believe for a second that men who sexually harrass women think, deep down, that they’re doing the right thing by acting as though she’s ‘one of the guys’. What the researchers have failed to examine is the type of harrassment that is deemed bullying versus sexual harrassment versus the art of shit talking your opponent (like so many men (and some women) while in competition). In fact, I’m surprised that the researchers didn’t differentiate between these behaviours. Yesterday, my collegues and I, upon watching a presentation on the prosodic tone of sarcasm, discussed and thought about several types of tone that can be attributed to sarcasm (because we are a thrilling bunch). These researchers on harrassment didn’t take into account different types of harrassment? Shame.

I think that’s it for today, children. Morning rants sure take it out of Mama Himbly.

 

Poppa Trump can jump up his own ass October 18, 2007

Filed under: feminism — himbly @ 9:56 pm

So, I guess Trump was on Larry King the other day and said this:

Angelina Jolie is sort of amazing because everyone thinks she’s like this great beauty. And I’m not saying she’s an unattractive woman, but she’s not beauty, by any stretch of the imagination. And now she’s like a representative of the United Nations and world peace on hunger and all of this crap.

You know, I”m amazed at how many people think that the work Angelina Jolie does is horseshit. But that’s neither here nor there…I’m not here to talk about her work. Suffice to say, publicity or not, there’s attention drawn to a topic and people that need attention.

And…by that quote, I don’t necessarily mean to dispute his opinion of beauty. Me, I think she’s beautiful…I think she’s had a past and I think she’s changed a lot in her life and has started moving in a very good direction. So…Trump doesn’t think that AJ is beautiful. Okay. This is what got me riled:

And now she’s like this great beauty who is representing world peace and the United Nations. It’s called give me a break. But she’s not — in terms of beauty, she’s not a great beauty. She’s a nice looking woman. She’s OK. But she’s not a great beauty.

KING: And it’s your opinion.

TRUMP: Well, it’s my opinion.

KING: (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: I really understand beauty. And I will tell you, she’s not — I do own Miss. Universe. I do own Miss. USA. I mean I own a lot of different things. I do understand beauty, and she’s not.

You understand beauty, Mr Trump? Because you own a crappy, archaic, young-woman-mill you’re the expert on beauty? And by saying this, aren’t you betraying the whole facade that this is a competition for the whole woman? Nope…you actually are just interested in their bodies and faces and whatever else they have is an edge over the competition.

*puke*

Let’s check out Poppa Trump at work.

remember that? one of his girls did some bad things (of which, at her age, I did far worse) and now she’s labeled as an alcoholic and a drug addict. He shamed her, but then he made himself the hero by giving her a second chance. Wait…let me show you:

KING: Oh, when you forgave that winner of the contest, yes.

TRUMP: Right. Because I gave somebody a second chance — a drug addict, an alcoholic, you know, Miss. USA — who, Tara. Tara Connor. A wonderful girl. I gave her a second chance and Rosie went nuts.

What a dick. I’m not saying that Tara Connor isn’t an idiot for doing what she did when she knew she was in the public eye, but I do take issue with Trump’s a-hole spin on these things.

To summarize: Trump can jump up his own ass.