Saturday, October 9, 2010

Drop It Like It's Hot

Hello everyone, thanks for another great week of conversation. We covered a few controversial topics this week and I love the way that we are all engaged in challenging ideas people normally run from because it makes them uncomfortable.  Please be aware that Womanist Musings has an open guest posting policy, for those of you who would like to add to the conversations here.  Remember, that the more that people are talking, the wider the subject matter here can be.  Please send a link to your blog, or your original work to womanistmusings (at) gmail (dot) com.

Below you will find a list of posts that I found interesting this week.  Please show these bloggers some love and check them out.  When you are done, don't forget to drop it like it's hot and leave your link behind in the comment section.

Owning the Edges
The Female Horndog
Hate Crimes
Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better Project”: a counter-response
I Don’t Understand YOU PEOPLE
New Venice Beach Regulations Aim to Displace Homeless Population
No Fat Chicks: Navigating the Dating World as Fat
The Broken Arm of the Law
No Uncles, No Uterus
White America Has Lost Its Mind
How to Fuck
NEGRONIA vs. The Gay
To Queer With Love: The year I wanted to be a teacher
That’s Just The Indian in my Family
It’s not RAPE rape
Intersectionality and Privilege: Addressing the Squishy Bits
sexuality is compatible with Islam

Friday, October 8, 2010

It's Friday and The Question Is.....

It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.  This holiday is always complicated for me, because while I wish to truly give thanks for all of the love and comfort that I have, I am always reminded of the fact that it is built upon the near genocide of First Nations people.  I was wondering what strategies you have used to blend the celebration, with an accurate representation and or acknowledgment of what this holiday actually means for First Nations people?

Ironic Racism at Eastern Michigan University

The following is simply described at cartoon # 14.

 It appeared in The Eastern Echo, the school newspaper for the Eastern Michigan University.  Sp much for liberal colleges brainwashing the young. After the predictable set of complaints the editors released an explanation that was anything but apologetic.
 We understand the “You Are Here” cartoon may have offended some readers. We apologize for the lack of sensitivity some felt we showed for publishing the piece. The cartoon points out the hypocrisy of hate-filled people. Its intent was to ask how can someone show affection for one person while at the same time hating someone else enough to commit such a heinous act as hanging. We wish to remind readers that they are free to express their opinion on our discussion boards and we hope to continue to foster free thought and open discussion on campus and in the community. – The Eastern Echo
Yeah for free thought and open discussion, and as for those people of colour who are triggered by the sight of White people, in white sheets, with a noose hanging from the tree -- oh well.  Think of the grand narrative; that's what really counts.   There are many ways in which the newspaper could have gotten its point across and the use of clearly historcially triggering imagery was not sensitive.  There is always some larger reason why it seems acceptable to the majority to terrorize a margialized community.  Claiming that it is being done for the purposes of a larger good, as PeTA did last year, does not address the ongoing evil that such action perpetuates.

If You're on FoodStamps, No Soda For You

It never ceases to amaze me the way that the top 1% continually discipline the poor under the guise of helping them.  It seems that mayor Bloomberg, "has asked the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for permission to add sodas and other sugary soft drinks to the list of items that cannot be purchased with food stamps."  Apparently, this is in the interest of public health and to fight childhood obesity. Yes, it's the soda that is making people fat and ruining them for life.  Bloomberg knows that he cannot ban pop, nor can he stop people with means from purchasing it, but he can deprive the poor because empty calories are bad bad bad.
The mayor's latest campaign to reduce soda consumption wants to be seen as part of a comprehensive anti-obesity program the city is currently conducting. The excessive use of sodas is considered a significant culprit in the ever-growing obesity epidemic that affects many parts of the population, but especially the poor and the young. As reported by The New York Times (October 7, 2010), recently released statistics have shown "that nearly 40 percent of public school children…[living in New York City] were overweight or obese, and that obesity rates were substantially higher in poor neighborhoods.

This is of course is fat phobia and classism in action.  Caring about the nutrients that the poor are consuming should not involve deprivation of so called negative choices; it should involve increasing access to  whole foods.  How many poor live in food deserts, where a tomato is about as likely as a UFO?  Even when they are able to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, their prices are exorbitant -- yet the enemy is soda. 

When we consume food or a beverage, we do so because of a need based in survival, but also out of a desire for an experience - pleasure. Why should poverty exclude people from a common everyday experience? While he is eliminating the purchase of soda, will Bloomberg also reduce the cost of things like orange juice to make it more affordable? Why is it unreasonable to assume that given adequate ability to choose, that people will not balance health with items that one would consider a treat?  Oh yeah, I forgot that the by virtue of poverty, people lose the ability to think for themselves.

Childhood obesity have become trigger words.  It is the epidemic that is going to destroy North America, but where are the subsidized programs for sporting events?  Where are the daily gym classes to encourage children to move?   It seems to me that if obesity where such an issue, these programs would be high on list.  These initiatives are not about improving the health of children, they are about stigmatizing and disciplining the poor. We shame people that are fat without recognizing the conditions that lead to obesity. A health initiative means access and the maintenance of hierarchy is certainly not about empowering choice and agency. 

The Twink In My House

It is almost midnight and I cannot sleep, because I know that I have screwed up once again.  Being a parent is not easy and reigning in my personal privilege has once again proven to be a difficult thing.  Destruction has been very actively considering Halloween costumes.  Last year he went as Indiana Jones, and while it was not my first choice, considering how bodies of colour are "othered" in the Indiana Jones series, I could see why it would be an appealing choice for a young boy.  This morning he approached me when I was having my morning green tea full of excitement.  After weeks of deliberation, he had finally come to a decision.  My boy looked at me with a huge grin on his face and announced that he wanted to be a twink for Halloween.  I immediately choked on my tea.

"I think I would make a great twink," he said.  "When can we go shopping for a costume", he asked.What I didn't know at the time, is that he thought that twink meant soldier in the army.  We have been doing a lot of talking about D.A.D.T. as well as his grandfather and great grandfather who both served in the Canadian military. I must admit  that I took a ride on the heterosexist train to oblivion.  I told him not to call himself that and that it was not appropriate.  It was not helped by the fact that my neighbor, who I have written about before pipped up adding, "You don't want to be that.  If you were a twink you would be a man who thought he was a woman.  You would be like a dude with boobs."  There was my opportunity to open my mouth and challenge not only homophobia but transphobia and sexism and I dropped the ball huge.  Once it was clear that he wanted to be a solider, I told him that we would check out an army surplus store and not to call himself a twink.  I didn't elaborate on why I didn't want him to take on this label.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Monstrous Musings: Letting the Representation of Gendered Violence In: A Review of Let Me In

This is a guest post from Natalie Wilson

I am a literature and women’s studies scholar and author of the blogs Professor, what if…? and Seduced by Twilight. I am currently writing a book examining the Twilight cultural phenomenon from a feminist perspective. My interest in vampires and werewolves dates back to my childhood fascination with all types of monsters.

Warning: spoilers

Vampires have become so common in contemporary texts that they have lost some of their bite. With most of falling them into the emo, brooding, love struck and angst-ridden variety (Edward of Twilight, Damon of The Vampire Diaries, and Bill of True Blood), the female vampire featured in Let Me In (the US remake of the Swedish Let the Right One In) presents a refreshing change – Abby (Chloe Moretz) the twelve-year-old lonely yet resilient vampire in a world populated by male violence, is a feminist vampire worth routing for.

While the original film was also excellent, it lacked some of the more overt gendered analysis of the US version. Though this may be due to discrepancies in translation (I saw the film both in Swedish with English subtitles and dubbed in English) the bullying theme running throughout the narrative was framed very differently in the Swedish version. In it, the young male protagonist Oskar was repeatedly told to “squeal like a pig” by his tormentors. In contrast, in the US version, the male protagonist, now named Owen (played by Kodi Smit-McPhee) is attacked by bullies with taunts such as  “hey little girl” and “are you a little girl?” 

Owen’s burgeoning friendship with the young vampire Abby furthers this gendered meme when she advises him “you have to hit back…hit them back harder than you dare.” When she promises to help him, he says “but you’re a girl,” exhibiting the belief the bullies have instilled in him – that girls are scared and weak. Even though an earlier scene showed Owen watching the three bullies that torment him picking on a girl and smiling as he views her punching the lead bully in the arm, this approval of female resistance has not erased the anti-girl taunts the bullies have pollute his brain with.

With an existence shrouded by the aura of his parents’ ugly divorce, the film suggests Owen has turned to voyeurism as an escape from the prison-like existence he experiences at home and school. As he watches the world from his bedroom telescope and from behind his wide-eyed gaze, we see the daily injustices humans enact upon one another – bedroom fights, schoolyard torture, sibling abuse, interpersonal violence. Much of this violence is linked to codes of masculinity – from the male bullies to the film’s focus on the muscling-up men do so as to have bodies capable of violence.

Did Rick Sanchez deserve to be fired?

I have a new post up at Global Comment

Jon Stewart has spent quite a bit of time making fun of Rick Sanchez, and this week, Sanchez appeared on the satellite radio show “Stand Up! With Pete Dominick” and fired back.

Sanchez called Stewart “a bigot.” If he had simply left it at that, the popular host of “Rick’s List” might still have his job today.

Sanchez began by quite rightfully asserting that there are large cultural and economic differences between him and Stewart. What follows is a partial transcript of the conversation by Mediaite.
Dominick: How is he a bigot?
Sanchez: I think he looks at the world through his mom, who was a school teacher, and his dad, who was a physicist or something like that. Great, I’m so happy that he grew up in a suburban middle class New Jersey home with everything you could ever imagine.
Dominick: What group is he bigoted towards?
Sanchez: Everybody else who’s not like him. Look at his show, I mean, what does he surround himself with?
I don’t believe it is at all bigoted to suggest that coming from a different frame of reference might potentially make Stewart unable to understand what it was like to grow up poor and Hispanic. There seems to be this idea that if you grow up with a particular marginalization, that you are aware of what others who face different oppressions go through. All bigotry is bad, but oppressions are not akin to each other. Even as we recognize this, it is important not to engage in oppression Olympics.

Finish reading here

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Let's Ride Off Into The Sunset Together

I normally don't post picture of animals unless they are mine.  Darren and Sookie are the most awesome cat and dog combination in the universe. Yes, I am biased -- hush up.  At any rate I came across the following photo at crazed. com and since it is hump day, I thought we could all use a relaxing mid week break.

Doesn't that just make you want to say awe?

Here Comes The Rain Again: Disability and Pain

It is raining today and the damp is causing my fibromyalgia to flare.  The moment I opened my eyes this morning, I knew that I would spend most of the day on my back, on the couch.  I knew that I would struggle to have a moment without pain.  I knew that by the end of day, that my hands and my feet would be swollen and that every step I took would be tinged with pain.  I feel the need to say this clearly, because on many occasions, it has been suggested that I got lucky with my disabilities.

Disability is something I am constantly asked to prove to others.  It is seen as a free pass to lie around and do nothing and yet they cannot conceive of the pain that forces me to spend the day on the couch.  It is one thing to decide to spend the day in pajamas eating ice cream and watching movies, and another to have absolutely no choice in the matter.  Even if I were to attempt to push my body for one day to move as able bodied people do, the cost would be a further three or four days completely on my back, as my body responds to the added stress. 

The idea that someone staying at home is pulling something over on society, or that we are just too lazy to get out and find a job is simply a ruse to further disempower disabled bodies.  The very idea that all we aspire to is to spend our days on the internet or watching bad daytime television, is absolutely ridiculous and yet this myth continues to circulate as a truism.  I have been told repeatedly how lucky I am not to have to work, as though getting through each day does not require a mammoth effort on my part.  There is little understanding that to sit where I do, one must be in a constant state of pain.  Pain surrounds me and envelops my body, taking on a life completely of its own.

'Black on Black Crime' and the Hot Wing Controversy

For many members of the Black community chicken is no joke.  Monica Roberts,  of the popular blog TransGriot, talks about chicken so much that if the woman ever visits a chicken farm, the birds will all drop dead from fear.  My best friend has refused to ever purchase chicken and watermelon together at the grocery store and Destruction, my nine year old has elevated the love of chicken to the point that he is one malt liquor away from a bad stereotype.  I say again, chicken is no joke in the Black community. Even Tom Delay knew this and that is why he suggested that Obama have a chicken dinner instead of an inauguration, as a way to save tax payers money. Whiteness knows that we are sensitive about chicken and perhaps this why they keep using it to poke and prod us.

At Big Shot Bob's House of Wings in Avalon, the owner apparently decided to name one of their wings Black on Black Crime. Take a moment and think about this.  I know that the owner was going for the as bad as you wanna be effect; however, it came across as good ole fashioned, white sheet wearing racism.  Black on black crime is destroying our community and sending Blacks to jail, or to an early grave.  To reduce this for the sake of a bad ass hot wing name is insensitive to say the least.
"If I had any idea this would happen, it wouldn't have gotten on our menu," said Big Shot Bob's owner Matt Cercone. "We've been getting threatening phone calls here, and there are people saying we're going to go out of business."

Big Shot Bob's is more popularly known for its 100 different flavors of wings, but it was the "black on black crime" wing flavor that generated the negative publicity.Channel 11 first learned about the controversy through our WPXI-TV Facebook page. A viewer wrote, "How about this for a story. There's a place called Big Shot Bob's house of wings and they have a featured wing called black on black crime."Cercone said after he started receiving complaints about the wings name, he changed it. 

Cercone said he meant no harm and that the wing's inventor, a loyal customer who happens to be African-American, came up with the name."Offense was never part of anything," said Cercone. (source)
I officially call bullshit.  Oh he didn't know, he really didn't know that minimizing the deaths of Blacks and then associating it with chicken could possibly be offensive.  Did he not look in the mirror and see his White face the morning he decided to slap that ish on his menu?  Then, and this is the kicker: he didn't perceive anything as wrong, until Black folks said they were going to stop buying his product.  The fear of being poor certainly opened his eyes quickly didn't it?  I am sick and tired of the apology after the racist behaviour has been completed and the damage already done.  If this man isn't smart enough to see something this blatant, then he is not smart enough to be near a stove.

The Crime of Growing Too Much Broccoli

I didn't think much about the cost of food, until I had two boys that are steadily wearing a path in and out of the kitchen. I now spend twice as much as mother did to feed a family of five, for the four of us. This is something I am grateful that I am able to do and is absolutely a reflection of my class privilege.  Gardening has been something that I have not had to dedicate myself to beyond a hobby, which believe me is a good thing because after ten years of trying, this year we finally had edible tomatoes.  The unhusband reminds me yearly that I have Black thumbs for a reason.

Even the fact that I have access to fresh fruits and vegetables is a luxury, as many are forced to eat canned goods at an exorbitant rate.  Many communities including my own are starting the push towards community gardens.  Detroit is rebuilding with the idea of integrating agriculture into their urban development. This is a case of working old ideas into our current modern lifestyle.  It is far healthier, less expensive and will increase access to those who live in vegetable/fruit free zones.  This is going to require zoning changes in urban centers.
Steve Miller has grown organic veggies on his property for nearly 15 years. The Clarkston, Georgia man churns out figs, broccoli, cabbage, and other produce on his two-acre plot of land, selling the veggies at nearby farmers' markets or giving them away to his neighbors. "When he moved here, and I found out what he was doing, I said, 'Steve, you're the best thing that ever happened to Cimarron Drive,'" Miller's neighbor, Britt Fayssoux, told WSBTV. "And I still say that."

Growing cool veggies may seem innocuous, but it's landed Miller in some hot water. Back in January of this year, DeKalb County Code Enforcement officers cited Miller for growing too many vegetables and having unpermitted workers on his property. Apparently, according to city zoning laws, Miller broke the law when he started producing that many organic veggies on his land. Miller responded by putting his garden on a hiatus this summer while he got his property rezoned. But here's the kicker: The city is still suing Miller. "It's a passion that I have and unfortunately, the passion has gotten me into trouble and I can't understand why," Miller told a WSBTV reporter.

It's bad enough that a city would go after a guy for growing organic produce and giving it away to his neighbors (oh, the horror!). But to add insult to injury, code enforcement officers are still trying to slap Miller with $5,000 in fines even though he took the necessary steps to get his land rezoned. According to WSBTV, officials believe that they should throw the book at Miller because his infractions occurred before the rezoning. (source)
I could understand if he had a hog farm in his backyard, but I cannot for the life of me understand why broccoli is so criminal, that it deserves a 5000 dollar fine.  This is exactly the kind of behaviour that we need to encourage and it is an absolutely wonderful use of space.  We need to regain our connection with the earth, as well as promote the eating of whole foods.  Have we become so addicted to preservatives and ingredients that we cannot even pronounce that growing broccoli has now become a criminal endeavor? I understand that there are ways of farming that are absolutely harmful.  Agribusiness daily offers us frankenstein food that is laced with chemicals, but a simple check of this mans property to ascertain if harmful chemicals were being used would have take a few moments.  When we weigh that against the gain of urban farming, I cannot possibly understand what harm is being done.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Where Hot Pants and the Niqab Meet: French Niqabitches

France has a long history of xenophobia and its most recent manifestation is the banning of the burqa under the guise that it is anti-French.  The burqa is supposedly anti-French, but apparently all of those years spent colonizing bodies of colour is supposedly not problematic.  The burqa is a complicated garment because even as it is used for the purposes of oppression for some women it represent liberation.   This new policy is not only Islamophobic it is anti-woman.  The state telling a woman that she cannot wear a garment is little different than a husband or a community forcing a woman into one.  True liberation is supporting the right of women to choose.
Calling themselves the "Niqabitches," the veiled ladies can be seen strutting past prime ministerial offices and various government ministries with a black veil leaving only their eyes visible, but with their long legs naked bar black high heels. 
Bemused passers-by can be seen gawping at the pair or asking to take photographs in the clip.
At one stage in the film, the two women approach the entrance to the ministry of immigration and national identity, only to be told by a policeman to go elsewhere. However, a policewoman also present is delighted by their clothes. “I love your outfit, is it to do with the new law?” she asks. “Yes, we want to de-dramatise the situation,” one girl replies. “It’s brilliant. Can I take a photo?” asks the policewoman, who will soon be required to fine public niqab wearers. 

In an opinion piece published on the news website, rue89, the anonymous duo – political science and communication students in their twenties – said the film was a tongue-in-cheek way of criticising France's niqab ban, which the Senate passed last month and is due to go into force early next year. 

"To put a simple burka on would have been too simple. So we asked ourselves: 'how would the authorities react when faced with women wearing a burka and mini-shorts?," asked the students, one of whom is a Muslim. 

"We were not looking to attack or degrade the image of Muslim fundamentalists – each to their own – but rather to question politicians who voted for this law that we consider clearly unconstitutional," they said.
"To dictate what we wear appears to have become the role of the State (as if they didn't have other fish to fry ...)." (source)

Happy Belated Birthday Sparky

I have met a lot of people online since starting Womanist Musings, but Sparky without a doubt is one of my favourites.  He is a super awesome guy when he is not threatening to stab people, while whining about the supposed hardship he endures from his ever patient husband.  He loves urban fantasy and so I thought this would be the perfect cake.  I hope  you had an awesome birthday, though I am sure that it could only have been made better by having a garage party LOL.  I do have a little gift for you to celebrate your big day.

I hereby relinquish my claim on these men for 24 hours, but after that all bets are off  -- and I will ship begging Benny right to your door, if you take advantage of my kindness.

Happy Birthday Sweetie.

Bullying is Not Just an LGBT Problem

In the last month there have bee approximately seven suicides due to homophobic bullying.  This has drawn the attention of the media, with high profile stars like Ellen and Neil Patrick Harris speaking out to say that this must stop.  Gay advocate and writer Dan Savage started a program on youtube called It Gets Better, to inform gay youth that as hard as things are in high school, that if they just hang in, they will find happiness in their lives.  These stories are very important because they provide hope and support.  What saddens me is that it took a crises situation like multiple suicides, for the media to pay attention to what is going on.  A child need not even be gay to be subject to this sort of treatment.  The issue is that they have been identified as a member of group that society has chosen very specifically to marginalize and "other".

Bullying is about children learning to practice the coercive form of power that we have taught them from birth. Before babies can identify that they are individuals and separate from their mothers, we teach them how to conform.  Pink and blue baby clothing and names according to sex, teach them about gender and their place in this world.  The overriding message that children are taught is conformity to normalized standards.  The penalties for an unwillingness or an inability to conform, are made evident daily; oppress or be oppressed.  It is hardly any surprise that children exhibit a gang like mentality towards others, when they perceive difference, when this is what we model for them.

Though the bullying that arises from homophobia has gotten a lot of media attention recently, it seems that Keli Geoff of Loop21 has learned nothing from it. In The bullies can't be blamed for the recent string of LGBT suicides ze had the following to say.
Let me ask you a question. If a young student was called the N-word every day for weeks or months on end, and after repeated cries for help finally took his own life, how quickly do you think citizens of all races would take to the streets to protest? Or better yet how quickly would Al Sharpton and co. demand accountability from the school, and elected officials under the threat of casting the kind of media spotlight that people like Don Imus have nightmares about? .

Which makes me think that the kids doing the bullying are not really the ones at fault. They are simply taking their cues from adults. And the message they are receiving is that today in 2010 it may not be okay to call someone the N-word on the playground, but it is okay to call someone the F-word.
As a mother of a Black child, I can tell you quite honestly that black children get called nigger and it hurts like hell.  I have held my child as he wept in his arms because someone he thought was his friend, had no problem using his White privilege to hurt him.  I have struggled to help maintain his sense of self worth in a world that is determined to "other" him and reduce him to an animal, but apparently none of his experiences count when there is homophobic bullying going on.  This is oppression Olympics at its finest and an example of the worst kind of so-called liberation advocacy.  One does not become empowered by ignoring or purposefully reducing the oppression of other groups.

Even though homophobic bullying is front page news today, the truth of the matter is that any kind of perceived non conformity is enough to encourage children  to attack in the most vicious way possible.

Lost Ancestry: I am a descendant of slaves

Several times a day I see an advertisement for  The purpose of this site is to give people the ability to trace their family lines.  The people pictured in their ads are always White.  Each time I see this commerical I feel a nagging tug in my heart.  At first I wasn't sure why all of the White centric advertisements hurt me, until I had a conversation with the unhusbands nephew.  He spent a few months tracing their family line and was able to give the unhusband several facts about their family that no one had known about.  He even found a lost branch of the family a couple hundred miles away that he plans to reconnect with.  We asked for a copy of his research, because we thought it would be great for our boys to learn about their roots.

A few months later I was having a conversation with Sparky.  He mentioned that his mother was extremely interested in their family bloodline and had managed to trace his fathers side of the family back ten generations.  As a White Anglo Saxon family, the records were just waiting to be gleaned.  I found myself filled with jealousy.  As we were talking, the advertisement played again and I knew why those ads had always filled me with rage.  No matter how many times I type in the information that I know about my family, I will always hit a brick wall, because I am a descendant of slaves.  My family were considered property, and therefore; were little better than livestock and certainly not worthy of taking note of. was built to trace White families

I will admit that because my family is Caribbean of descent, our records would certainly be harder to trace, but even if we had been in Canada for generations, tracing them would still be difficult.  This site was built to trace White ancestry confirming once again that white bodies matter.  I cannot even recall seeing a single person of colour in any of the advertisement for this business.  I think I am especially irked every time they point out that  someone found a military relative.  It smacks of suggesting that people of colour have never done anything to support Canada. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Vampie Diaries: Memory Lane

This episode focused largely on the relationship between Katherine and Stefan.  Stefan has long been convinced that Katherine compelled him to love her, and therefore believed that there was another, far more sinister reason for her return to Mystic Falls.  Stefan awakes to find Katherine in his bed and jumps up startled. At first he pretends to be taken in by her and then stabs her in the back.  He ties her up in the basement jail and then tortures her by running vervain along her cheek to force her to speak. We later learn that this really had no effect on her because she has been sipping vervain for decades to build up an immunity.

She recounts the way he attempted to woo her in the 1800's and how taken aback she was by him.  She tells of Damon coming into her room and her compelling him to leave, because she was overcome with her affection for Stefan.  When he again tells her that he was compelled, she tells him that she only began to compel him after she told him what she was to deal with his fear.

We learn that during her first time in Mystic Falls that the Lockwood family were killing humans when they shifted to werewolf form and were busy placing the blame on the town vampires. Katherine arranged for the vampires to burned in the church and this further horrified Stefan, because they were supposedly her family.  We don't learn why she made the deal with the Lockwoods, only that she was desperate to have everyone believe that she was dead.  She says that Stefan and Damon almost ruined her plan to escape.  Before she drives off with Lockwood, she kisses Stefan, telling him that they will be together again one day.  I think from this that it is clear that what she feels for Stefan is real and the real mystery is what caused her to fake her own death.

At the Lockwood mansion, Tyler confronts Mason about how to become a werewolf.  We learn that it is a family curse that only takes effect after you kill someone.

Never one to leave anything alone, Damon gets himself invited to a gathering at Elena's house hosted by her aunt.  Aleric came up with this idea and used the lie of wanting to learn about her former escapades as a reason.  Damon spends the gathering making dog comments to make Mason aware that he knows his secret.  Finally alone, Mason tells him that the feud need not carry on between the two of them and that he only came into town to help Tyler deal with the loss of his father.  This to me seems like a valid reason, however Damon did not see it that way. Damon takes what appears to be a silver knife and stabs Mason in the stomach.  He begins to walk away with a swagger, but Mason stands up telling him that werewolves made up the myth about silver.  He tells Damon that he has now made an enemy.

Finish reading here

Editor's Note: Please tune in tonight at 6pm EST as Tami from What Tami said and I break down this weeks episode.  I will post the podcast here and at Women's Eye On Media for those of you who miss it.

Listen to internet radio with Vampires In Mystic Falls on Blog Talk Radio

Class and Pet Ownership

As most of you aware, just under a month ago, my family adopted a beautiful Lab/Sheppard cross, who we named Sookie.  Ms Sookie has been a true delight, but she has already been expensive.  Her first vet visit cost us two hundred dollars and her food is estimated to cost us fifty dollars a month.  We are currently looking for pet insurance for her and I estimate that it will run between 500-700 per year.  We are looking for insurance because we do not believe that cost should influence the quality of her care.  The reality is that money very much comes into play when anyone has a pet.

Sookie's dog food costs us fifty dollars per month, because we have chosen to go with a premium brand. Most food sold in the grocery store is full of filler and is absolutely not the best choice for a large breed dog.  The issue I believe is the language chosen to sell premium food.   Many ads that I have seen apply guilt and in fact suggest neglect if an owner does not purchase these foods.  The following is from Freshpet Select.

Animals thrive when fed biologically appropriate diets.
Dogs and even more so cats are carnivores. Their natural diet consists primarily of meat. While we welcome them into our home as pets, we need to feed them as nature intended. (emphasis mine)

The keyword in the above sentence is need.  Dog food companies have taken to focusing on things like healthy or organic and the more trigger words you find in their advertising, the more the price goes up.  What happens if what an animal needs is beyond your ability to afford?  This is a very important question, because we know for instance that seniors living alone on a fixed income and homeless people in particular benefit from pet ownership.  An animal gives them someone to care about who will selflessly return the care. All owners have the responsibility to take the best care of their pet that they possibly can, but it should not necessarily come down to a case of neglect, if we cannot negotiate an unbalanced system.

The Resurgence of White Nationalism

I cam across the following video regarding the resurgence of White nationalism.   This obviously is no surprise due to the highly public threats on Obama's life by these groups.  What did catch my attention however, is the link to the tea party, as well as the anti-immigration movement.  It seems that these groups are using these two issues as a vehicle towards mainstream acceptability.  Much of what organizations like the minutemen do is coded in nationalism.  It is seen as patriotic to oppress bodies of colour because apparently "the U.S. is a white country founded for White people."  One point that really stood out is the decrease in undocumented workers (the lowest in the last ten years) because of the American economy and yet the anti-immigration movement is gaining strength daily. 

 "This country and this entire world is full of closet racist how lack the courage to say even say that they're White.  They're like sheep and they're being lead to the slaughter man."  What these groups are fighting against is the perceived loss in White privilege though every single agent of socialization is still maintained by and structured to support Whiteness.  They believe that "Blacks don't come to the tea party because Black culture is less democratic than White culture."  These people really don't want a true democracy, because population demographics reveal that the White majority is quickly becoming a thing of the past.  When you have people like Glenn Beck saying that "Obama hates White people and White culture" what he really means is that Obama is an uppity negro who refuses to be ruled.

The very fact that they are becoming more mainstream means that we cannot afford to ignore them.  They continually speak about a coming race war.  They are holding on to their Whiteness because in many cases this is the only privilege that these people can conceive of .  It is not the supposed rise of bodies of colour that is the issue, but the inherently irrational capitalist state.  Poor and working class Whites have historically confused power with racism.  It quite obvious to any rational thinking person that the source of their angst is the White bourgeoisie. Even if every single person were to disappear from the U.S. today, the cruel system of imbalance would continue and a new group would be singled out for blame. 

Writing From The Mud Edition Of Stereotyping

Jaded16 is a Radical Feminist from India. She writes a humour blog Oi With The Poodles Already’, attempting to make her world a little woman-friendly using healthy doses of irony and sarcasm to de-condition the Indian masses. It is at times like these when she loses all her sense of humour and starts looking for a rock big enough to live under.
As a 'native' of what is still considered today 'The Third World' sometimes we get asked the silliest questions, as my students and I were discussing today. It never fails to amaze me how deep and insanely hilarious -- where hilarious is the new heartbreaking -- stereotypes are. Especially when they are as sensitive as, "Have you ever seen an American toilet?" or "Eaten waffles?". Another popular one is the assumption that Indians smell of dogs with rabies or something more pungent; we laughed when I brought this one up today but I remember it wasn't nearly as funny when my friend called me in tears from the UK where some woman got up from her seat just so she could be 'saved' from the obviously Poisonous Emissions Of The BrownPeople. Another favourite anecdote is when a woman told me "I didn't know people could be so educated in India" after I'd given her directions in fluent French. Or when in movie after movie, Indian culture is exoticised, appropriated and eventually reduced to the country that "makes that pepper thingy", my skin just leaps up in joy. I am not talking about how my pride as an 'Indian' -- whether I will ever be able to say 'nationalism' without sarcasm is an ongoing experiment people of the Olde Interwebes -- is tarnished when I hear or am asked such questions but rather how tiny and contained my 'box' as this 'Indian' is.

Last year, I was sitting at a coffee-house, reading a book and a woman walks up to me and starts inquiring about the book in a rather loud tone. Then she asked me if I could understand the book considering it was in American. Surely, now I cannot think of this anecdote without openly laughing but then I felt as if she was talking to a different version of me, preferably one that was three centuries removed from the present time zone and I was expected to be that way. Frustratingly and sadly these aren't the only instances of such blatant Othering I can remember. And I'm surely not the only one with such experiences, I've heard similar accounts from many people all highlighting that "we" as a culture are somewhere lost in the space-time continuum and can only squeak out a few words of English when addressed to in an ear-shattering decibel and/or accompanied by hand gestures. The point here isn't how incriminating these remarks are -- well not too much anyway -- but how people are so ready to stereotype and box people, cultures and ethnicities. Readers of the Olde Interwebes, you will probably defend yourself by saying, "I don't stereotype people!" or even better "I'm an extremely progressive person with Liberal leanings. Surely I don't fit into these slots" to which I can only say, let the LadyBrain explains what she means.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Shame: How Long Can you Keep an Item?

As you can see, above is a simple picture of a Black leather wallet.  I have noticed a trend in my neighbourhood of men holding onto their wallets until they are long past their expiration date. By that I mean until they are falling apart and looking absolutely ragged.  The unhusband has had the same wallet for about 12-13 years now.  My neighbor, Andy P  had his wallet for the better part of 20 years.  Yes, imagine what that looked like.  He finally replaced it this week, after I threatened to buy him one for his birthday this month, because I couldn't stand to see the ugly thing one more time. I have asked them both to explain why it is they have both been so reluctant  to part with them and have yet to get a reasonable explanation.  I have heard of men keeping their underwear until it literally melts away, but never have I heard a story or even an urban legend that explains the need to hold onto a wallet.

They both have defended their desire by saying that the wallet still serves its purpose.  And maybe they are correct, but honestly I would be ashamed to pull that out of my pocket to pay for anything.  I am well aware that North Americans have penchant for replacing perfectly usable items however, at some point we need to balance being frugal and environmental, with a sense of taste. December is coming and I have forewarned the unhusband to buy a new one, or discover that Santa brought him a new wallet Christmas morning.  I knew that even as I said this, that it was not a real threat because I bought him his last wallet for Christmas all of those years ago. He seems content to haul around his wallets until I get around to replacing them.

The unhusband has countered my wallet disgust, with my habit of holding onto shoes forever.  I have still not forgiven him for throwing out the running shoes that I had for over 10 years one day when I left them home unguarded.  It is my belief that a comfy, if slightly ugly pair of shoes are worth their weight in gold. So what if the dog chewed them and the smell emanating from them was a little less than pleasant.  Who's running shoes smell nice anyways?  I believe the difference here lies in the fact that unlike his hideous wallet, my shoes were not exposed to the public on a daily basis. Andy P however,  had no excuse. In fact, I am quite certain that Andy P realized this because he came over this morning to show me his new wallet.  And  no, it was not to stop my endless pestering.

Some of you may feel that this does not rise to the level of Sunday Shame but trust me it does; it's not a simple idiosyncrasy of mine showing through.  This week I think it would be great to talk about what one item you would like to see your significant other/roommate/friend/parent get rid of and what item you know damn well that you have had too long.  I agree with reduce reuse and recycle, but sometimes some things just outlive their usefulness.