The Silence of Our Friends

Friday, April 20, 2007

Short Break

I haven't been able to get online much in the last week and I don't expect it to be much better for the next couple of weeks either. Hopefully I'll be able to free up some more time at the end of the month or beginning of May and get back to blogging and commenting.

Friday, April 13, 2007


There is too much great writing out there for me to do a post on this.

First, the place to go for all updates is The Anti-Essentialist Conundrum. If there is anything you want to know about the whole flap you will find it there. My favorite post is Sylvia's Four Questions though, because these are things few others are talking about. Why not?

Second, Aunt B cracks me up:
“Boo hoo, a lot of white people buy rap music and we’re too idiotic, even though we’re grown-ups, to not repeat what we hear. Boo hoo. Poor us. If only those black men with their seductive music would stop brainwashing me into opening my wallet and buying it and listening to it, then I wouldn’t have to use those words that I know, if I said them to my mom, would cause her to cry or slap me. Woe is me!”
Go read the rest, some of the comments will raise your blood pressure, Ginger is especially clueless, but check Aunt B.'s comment at 21.

Third, for those who need a visual to understand the issues, venn diagrams at Zuky!

Any round up would be incomplete without giving BlackAmazon the last word! Go read Hip Hop Didn't Do That Shit.

Living La Vida Loca

Yes, I think Ricky Martin is a cutie, but also my life is a little crazy right now.

Ok, so we decided that we weren't getting enough interest in the house. We had shown it maybe a dozen or so times and even though people said nice things when they came through, no offers. So we talked it over and decided to drop the price, my husband even had a dream that we should drop it $3000, so that is how much we dropped it. I called up the agent who did our MLS listing and told him to drop it and I put in ads in the paper with the new price. Only now interest has picked up and we are expecting two offers. Lucky for us the agent said he can't drop it on just our word, we have to fax a signed approval, but by then I had gotten a call from one couple talking about putting in an offer so I didn't do it. Today I checked the paper and sure enough they are running the new price and so now I am praying that no one sees it! How is that, paying for an ad and hoping no one sees it. LOL This week alone we had two families come through to look, one was a second showing and the wife is taking measurements, pictures, talking about renovations, and said, "My son wants to look this weekend before we buy." BEFORE WE BUY! WOOO HOOO! I think we're gonna sell the love shack, baaayyybeeeeeee! And today I got calls for two more families to look. Keep your fingers crossed, and arms and legs crossed, and eyes, that's important, keep your eyes crossed for good luck for me!

Now for the bad news, my neck and back are still acting up. I'm in pain most of the day with my left arm going numb alot of the time. It's weird because I can still type or do just about anything with it numb, it works fine, I just can't feel it sometimes. I saw my doc today and there is nothing new to do about it. I need surgery but without my husband here to help me recuperate I can't have it. So it will have to wait until I am out east. Anyone know any good doctors or hospitals for disc fusion surgery in Manchester (Nashua or Concord too) or maybe even Boston? Or warn me who to stay away from!

Anyway, I've been trying to keep up with reading other people's blogs. Lots of good stuff out there. But I can't think straight to post my own stuff, so that's why there isn't anything new. I'll get my act together eventually!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

More Sofia Coppola Feminism

It isn't all about white privilege, it's also about class privilege, American Exceptionalism and blindness to the affects of colonialism. It's privilege vs marginalization of just about any other group. This is why they can say feminism trumps every other oppression. They are blind to intersectionality of oppression and how we are all played off each other to keep us in our place, they play right along with that in fact. So how about an example of class privilege?

Wooo Hooo! Kactus is back posting at Super Babymama and gives the perfect example in Travellers' Blues. The middle class white American feminists at Pandagon are talking about globe trotting and mingling with the natives, and are blind to the fact that most people in America can't afford to do that. But wooooooooooo some poor person, benjb, comes along and spoils their fun and watch the fireworks. The dumbest of dumbasses over there goes on to say that since benjb is "privileged" enough to own a computer he has no right to say anything. If Sofia Coppola Feminism ever makes it into a dictionary I don't think it would be necessary to give a definition, a picture of Amanda would suffice. No other feminist is quite this quick and willing to jump down the throat of anyone who dares confront her or any other middle class white American woman on her privilege.

For those of you who have never experienced poverty, poor people are allowed to spend their money any way they wish, just like you. They decide their priorities and generally find a way to pay for some sort of entertainment. When I was broke I still managed to pay for cable. I could have eaten a little better or bought more clothes or turned the heat up a little higher, but my mom and I decided we wanted cable and were willing to eat meatless spaghetti, mac & cheese, hotdogs, etc to do it. The same goes for internet access, and there are programs in this country that try to renovate computers and give them to poor people instead of polluting our landfills, or friends give them to poorer friends, or people just save up what little money they have to buy one second hand, etc. Poor people also generally work, but are not paid a living wage, they may still have computer access at work. Poor people also may go to school and have computer access there. Poor people may even go to a public library for computer access. Only an asshat middle class white American woman would think that only wealthier Americans can afford a computer and internet access or would judge someone poorer who makes that a priority. She may have thought she was turning the tables but some of these class issues are not even within the realm of possibility for alot of Americans. Regularly spending $40 to get your privates defurred, or hundreds to get that perfect pair of Manolo Blahniks, or flying to Tahiti to dance with the natives. It's a little different then judging someone who saves what little they have to get internet access or $30 to go out clubbing with their friends once in awhile. Sure, you can spend your money on whatever you want, but not everyone can afford it and it damn sure is going to appear frivolous to people who are struggling to make ends meet. Then to turn around and make a poor person feel frivolous for not living homeless in a cardboard box? Some people have no compassion or shame.

Anyway, just go read Super Babymama, Kactus gives the whirlwind tour of Milwaukee!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I'm Late To The Party Again

Since I have been offline for the past few days, I missed a great post over at Having Read The Fine Print: But But It's Just..... This post is actually very complicated covering many issues and many discussions over different blogs at different times. The first section is about a post BlackAmazon wrote describing what she calls 'Sofia Coppola Feminism'. A commenter, Mnemosyne, took issue with the term over at Pandagon in reference to a post I made here, which linked to BA's original post. (See, complicated!)

There are three problems with Mnemosyne's comments. First, she didn't bother reading what either BlackAmazon or I wrote. Neither of us say that Coppola is or is not a feminist. We are talking about the characters and plot of her films which mirrors a certain type of feminist, the middle class American white woman who is completely blind to her white privilege, class privilege, and privilege as a citizen of a colonizer/imperialist country. This type of feminist has a knack for marginalizing others while centering herself in any discussion, and forgetting that everyone is not just like her. She will discuss racism, classism, or colonialism; but only to advance her own goals or make herself seem like she cares. That was the point of my post, the "Oh gosh, I know horrible things are happening somewhere in the world, and it makes me sad." while expending little or no effort to make a difference. Second, she used her objection to Sofia Coppola Feminism as a way to derail an important discussion, while at the same time proving herself to be a Sofia Coppola Feminist. She managed to dismiss the suffering of real women and children in New Bedford to center herself and her film degrees. Shannon does an excellent job of breaking it down over at Egotistical Whining. Third, instead of derailing and misinterpreting BA, she should have taken it up with her. The link was there to BA's blog, but the black woman wasn't worth engaging, it was more fun to bitch about her and take her words out of context at another blog than to ask the writer of the Sofia Coppola post to clarify or to tell her directly that she disagrees with her.

The next part I was clueless about and had to do a little research. It's about fan fiction. Some fans of Stargate Atlantis write their own stories about the characters and there is a tendency to put the two POC characters, Teyla and Ronon, in the role of servants or animals. The real SGA does NOT do this, these are major characters in equal or superior positions to the white characters. Also the sexuality of POC characters is written as the exotic other, kinky, strange, fetishized, subhuman, etc. The latest flare-up was about SGA, but this has happened with other fanfic too, and each time white people find ways to dismiss the objections of people of color. They are too sensitive. White people mean well and don't intend to be racist. POC should be nice when making observations, because God forbid we get harsh when confronted with racism. Witchqueen wrote an excellent post about characters of color in fandom and I think much of that advice could also be used when writing about real people of color or addressing us at our blogs too.

Next BA references a post BrownFemiPower wrote about racism she encountered at a writing workshop. This is one of the "liberal" forms of racism, playing let's pretend there is no racism in this country and that will make it go away! This strategy only serves white people, they can ignore their privilege at the expense of POC, it requires that they do nothing about racism and they still get to feel good about themselves since they are "colorblind". Meanwhile, racism is a part of our reality that we can't pretend away or ignore. Colorblind means that you do not see me or other POC and our issues, we're all the same as white people and therefore only white people's issues count in America.

The last reference is to a post RenegadeEvolution made about the movie 300 and a couple of posts over at Cuntensquirten. (Can I help it if I laugh out loud every time I type that? No, I can not!) This is the same white privilege as in the last example. It's the ability to ignore racism in a movie, music, artwork in order to enjoy it. BUT if you read all the comments you will also notice that it is more complex. I didn't feel the need to bash Ren because I know that watching a racist movie is not going to reinforce racist tendencies for her, what I didn't say is that I know it will for some. I still won't go see 300 for that reason. Also I enjoy comedies, but many American comedies are mean spirited. They are laughing AT someone, instead of laughing WITH someone. If it isn't racist mean spiritedness, then it will be ageist, or ableist, or classist, etc. In order for me to enjoy many of the movies I like, I will have to play the privilege card myself. I felt it would be hypocritical for me to bash Ren when I do the same thing she does in other contexts. BlackAmazon is making a couple of points here, first, if you are playing your privilege card, don't try to pretend that it's something else and that you are pure. You are getting your jollies at the expense of someone else. When that someone else comes by and says something about it, listen to them!

Every one of these examples is the way that white Americans invalidate our perceptions, observations, and opinions in favor of their own. As a white woman with two film degrees, Mnem says that only her opinion is valid and that neither BA or I can call any kind of feminism "Sofia Coppola Feminism" without even reading what we said! Not only that but now the women and children of New Bedford don't deserve the time of day since we used an invalid argument in favor of them. In fandom, people use all kinds of excuses for why the POC fall into certain racist categories, but they didn't intend for it to happen that way, so POC observations of this are invalid. As long as the racism is unconcious I guess the white folks deserve a pass. When BrownFemiPower wrote a story about a Mexican man and his white wife, there was a preference for the liberal white perception of colorblindness in order to remove the teacher's discomfort discussing race, and who gives a damn about BFP and her uncomfortable reality. And Ren felt she had to justify using the white privilege card, but there is no justification for it. When you live in a capitalist society there are always the powerful and the less powerful. Entertainment and art will come at the expense of the less powerful much of the time. You have to accept that for what it is, and realize that others will be hurt by the movie/book/artwork/etc you enjoyed.

BA is a black actress. The result of these attitudes by white Americans means that her parts will be limited. White America does not want to know her reality. They want parts for POC that fetishize them, or marginalize them, or hide them so that they don't have to confront their white privilege or racism.

That's why I liked this post so much. It covers so much ground and gives so many examples and in the end shows what the result is for a real person. How this affects BlackAmazon directly in her work.

I wanted to explain everything she is talking about because I know that everyone doesn't read exactly the same blogs. I didn't know about the fandom, for example. And I think the post is too important for people to miss out on, or not discuss because they don't know what she is alluding to. So if you haven't already, get over there and read and post comments too!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

My Head Is About To Explode!

These past few days have sucked big time. It's been raining or overcast for about two weeks. Today the sun finally came out, but it was windy and felt like 30 below instead of +30 degrees F today. So, whatever. My neck and back are killing me. I haven't been sleeping well. And then there is my husband...

But first, I owe DeviousDiva an apology. I asked if I could join her chat today and then I didn't show up. I have a very good reason, my husband was back home here in WI from NH and we showed our house to a very nice family this afternoon and it sounds like they will be getting back to us with an offer to buy. *fingers crossed*. The husband is on his way back to NH now.

This also explains my absence for the last few days. When you only see your husband once every two to three weeks you like to spend what few days you have together, instead of online. As romantic as it sounds, it wasn't very romantic. We spent much of the time arguing. When you are trying to sell a house, and trying to buy a house too, and wondering whether you are even doing the right thing, it's pretty stressful for the whole family.

My husband has this fun habit of making me spin my wheels with no objective in mind. When he first started looking at houses he was interested in having a pool, so this morning I find one with a pool in our price range, and he gets pissed at me, telling me, why should we get a pool since he knows it will only be more work for him than he needs right now. Fine. Then I looked into different towns and different school systems and explained which ones I liked, and which I didn't, and why. Well, now of course he hates any of them that I like, and likes any of them that I don't. Swell. When I asked him why he has me wasting my time looking at houses out there, he said it's because he knows I "enjoy" it. Bullshit. I hate it. So he has me looking for hours to find these houses that fit these shifting criteria that he can't make his mind up about, only to shoot down anything that I pick and like. And I'm the one stressing him out, by finding these houses, and expecting him to look at them while he is in NH, even though he told me that he wanted me to do this, and that he wanted to look. I said, forget it I'll do it when I get out there this summer. Then, oh no no no no! Mr Control Freak has to actually pick out the house, but I have to do all the work finding them for him to look at, so that he can bitch at me for making him work so hard at looking at the houses I pick out.

And his mother has been calling and wants me to come to her house with the kids for Easter. I don't really want to go because there are no other kids around in her neighborhood and it bores my kids to tears. I'd probably enjoy it more if I could leave them behind. So it's a 4 hour drive there, 4 hours back, just to listen to my kids bitch at me. But my husband wants me to go since we will be moving so far away and his mom, sister, and niece won't be able to see us very often, probably only once a year. Then today he gets crabby about me going to visit his family for Easter instead of staying here to show the house to prospective buyers. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

He also has this wonderful way of devaluing anything I do, and every little wiggle of his pinky saving the world. I'm the one who did the research to get our house listed with the MLS, usually a realtor does this, but we wanted to save the 7% commission and do it on our own. So I found the best way to do it cheaply and set up the appointment and got it done. I'm the one who did the research and picked out the best local papers to advertise in, wrote the ads, and bought the ads. I'm the one who bought signs and directionals, and put them out so that people could find our house. I'm the one who bought a flyer dispenser, printed out the flyers with the details on the house, and installed it so that people driving by can find out if this house is what they are looking for. I'm the one who has been cleaning and showing the house to people. But today when this family comes back to look at the house for the second time and decides they might put in a offer, he's getting the credit. He thinks it's because he put up new curtains in the living room and put flowers on the kitchen table. It doesn't matter that they never would have found the house if it wasn't for me, he closed the deal with the flowers on the table.

Our last "discussion" was about the acceptable price for the house when we do get an offer. First, he wanted to list it cheap to unload it fast. I insisted on listing it at the high end for our neighborhood. I explained that most people will come in with an offer minus about 10 to 15 thou, this way we still get what we really wanted. Well, it's gone to his head and now he thinks we can get that higher price. It was only supposed to be for negotiating room. That family was throwing out some ballpark figures and it appears they want to pay WHAT HE WANTED TO LIST IT FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE. You'd think he would be happy, but no, now our house is worth the big bucks. I'm sure at the end of this all, it will be forgotten that I am the one who listed high to get what we wanted. Instead somehow I will get the blame for selling us short, that we should have gotten the high value, even though that was never expected.

I want to wring his neck.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Ignorance Is Bliss

I had been helping my son to understand the impact of the United States on Central and South America by researching news items and printing them for him. While doing so I came across something called Operation Condor in two recent news items, and I had never heard of it. The two news articles:

Kissinger's extradition to Uruguay sought over Operation Condor at Yahoo News
Argentine military warned Brazil, Chile of 76 coup at the Washington Post

So there is this huge conspiracy with US support for repressive right-wing military dictatorships in South America that I have never heard anything about? Oh I have heard about the School of Americas which trained these murderous regimes, and I heard that there may have been some CIA support for the overthrow Allende in Chile, but it's like hearing whispered rumors. When you hear whispered rumors you assume that there may be truth to the rumors, but no concrete facts to back them up. That is what blew my mind when reading about Operation Condor. There are concrete facts to back it up, but our media and educational system will not tell us about it, they prefer for it to be perceived as rumors and conspiracy theory.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

This world is upside down. No, this is not a new discovery. But it is amazing to me to continue to discover just how deep and wide it is. I had to go digging for news about South America to find those two articles, when this is the kind of news that should be screaming all over ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC. It should be front page in our national newpapers and news magazines. It should be featured programing on the History Channel, Biography Channel, Military Channel, and other cable channels dedicated to documentary and history. It should be taught in the schools. Instead, do you know what I am knowledgeable about? I can tell you all about Anna Nicole Smith. I have the news on for at least an hour each morning and usually for several hours a day. I should be able to have a conversation about real news with anyone, but all I am prepared for is a discussion of fluff. As sad and tragic as the stories about Anna Nicole's life and death are for her family and friends, it is not national news, it is not relevant in most people's lives. It is no more sad or tragic than the many other people who lose their lives in their prime across America and around the world. If I am interested in Anna Nicole I should have to expend some effort to dig out news about her life and death, while being inundated with news about world events, politics, the workings of our government, how those workings affect people in the US, how those workings affect people in Africa, Asia, South America, Europe, etc. Instead I get fluff and propaganda, and I have to dig for legitimate news. Upside down.

What is really sad is that this could have also been covered by mainstream liberal and progressive blogs and websites. It's not and it won't be. Our lives are much more comfortable believing in lies and propaganda. There is only so far some are willing to go in learning the truth. The reality based community? Not so much. I was thinking about "The Matrix" when Morpheus offers the red pill (truth) and the blue pill (safety, comfort, habit) to Neo. Conservatives one and all would take the blue pill. Liberals would nibble or lick the red pill before taking the blue pill. Just raise any idea that 9/11 might have been allowed to happen or an inside job and see how fast you get shut down. The government has been so good at lying and covering up 9/11 that I don't know how anyone can conclude what is true and what is false. But these liberals, "Oh noes! It can only be incompetence! Don't say anything else!" *covering ears* "LA LA LA LA LA LA!" And these are the people aware of PNAC. Ignorance really is bliss.