Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Pearl-Handled Ladies' Revolver

The title refers to the stereotypical idea of the sort of gun a "lady" carries in her purse. Which of course is a bag that snaps shut at the top and is carried on the wrist via a short handle, and also contains her powder compact and her "pin money." More visuals: she is attired in a smart suit of pastel material, is discreetly made up (pink or coral lipstick, never red), pumps and hose, her hair is perfectly coiffed, and she wears white gloves and a hat when out of doors. And of course she is white.

Do you get this picture? I swear this is the figure conservatives envision when they talk about how women should all be trained to carry guns to "defend themselves in case of attack." Okay, maybe the NASCAR contingent sees a blue-jeans-clad beauty (who is also slender, young, athletic, and wears her hair long and loose... and of course she's white) with a shotgun slung over her shoulder. But anyway.

This argument, that the proper way to prevent rape is to arm all women, is just so cute. It implies that using a gun ain't no thing, that shooting another human being ain't no thing, that you should just be able to "do it" the way people have to put on clothes to go outside. "It's that simple!" chortle the dudes, half of whom have never picked up a gun in their lives. "If women want to be equal they should do what we do, carry a gun!" crow the males, one-quarter of whom couldn't hit the side of a barn door with a cannon.

There are so many flaws to that argument, I'm tempted to just sweep them all away with "you're all idiots." But that wouldn't be helpful, would it. I'm here to help. Let's review some things. First of all, let's look at the idea of wounding/killing another human being. That's what "shoot your rapist" means. Of course, I believe all rapists should be shot. Gosh that might mean we'd be rather short of men... trying to see the downside of that... trying... Sorry, sorry, got caught up in a "moment." Anyway, look. There's a reason we put army recruits through horrible, dehumanizing training. Despite the best efforts of our society human beings aren't "natural born killers" -- they need to be conditioned. I'll just mention I'm not going to argue with idiots who think otherwise: in this case the "you're all idiots" generalization will apply. Anyway, people can't just kill "just like that" and especially women, who are conditioned in this society to be quiet, yielding, submissive, and to put up with men's shit at all times.

But I know what this game is. I know. It goes like this: men don't want to take responsibility for controlling their penises, as usual anything to do with emotions is fobbed off on women. This is how a rapist can say a helpless woman who was nowhere near strong enough to make him do anything "made him" attack her by merely existing in a female form. Women are given the responsibility of controlling the emotional responses of everyone on earth, while men go on their merry way saying "Nope, not me." This is how they get away with shit, and women have let them do that because being told you can control men with superpower mind controls is a kind of power. Even if it's not a real one.

Telling women they need to carry a gun is another way of giving us this false power. It's actually just another responsibility. Because now we not only have to take time out of our lives to make sure we don't look "provocative" in our dress or manner, we also have to make sure we add yet another thing to the already heavy bag of stuff we carry (and we need it all: the phone to call the police who won't get there in time, the mace to enrage our attacker so he beats us half to death, the money to assuage his rage just a bit, maybe...) -- this time a gun, which will also cost a pretty penny (a decent handgun costs hundreds of dollars; look it the fuck up -- and then there are bullets, which also are not cheap) -- we have to go to gun classes to learn how to shoot the thing, we have to pay for a license, and then we have to maybe one day shoot a person, or maybe we'll just get overpowered and have our gun taken away and be shot to death. And added to all this will be the idea that if we don't do all this crap, it will be OUR FAULT, the way it is now OUR FAULT, the way it's always OUR FAULT, that we got attacked.

Fuck you, gun people. I have no intention of playing your game. I have no money for this shit -- the gun, the classes, the licenses, the ammo, ALL COST MONEY -- and furthermore I have no intention of taking any of MY VALUABLE TIME out of my day to learn to use a gun. You know, if guns are your thing, fine. They aren't mine. They don't interest me. I don't want to kill anyone (except maybe some of the smug Joes who push this shit). I pay taxes. Some of those taxes go towards laws and police. It's their job to protect me. Either do your jobs, or get the fuck out.

And men, your emotions and reactions to the world around you are not my problem. Control your penises. Teach your sons to control theirs. I'm not your mommy. No woman is -- even your mommy isn't supposed to run your life 24/7. Use some of that manly manhood and DO IT YOURSELF.

The people who really matter

Content warning: quotes the Daily Mail.

I had somehow missed this phrase of Richard Littlejohn's in his blustering polemic against Lucy Meadows, a transwoman teacher in the UK who died recently -- allegedly as a result of the press hounding of which Littlejohn's spew was a part. Anyway, the phrase was this:
"But has anyone stopped for a moment to think of the devastating effect all this is having on those who really matter?"
Oh man. "Those who really matter" are, of course, the Children™, a tool regularly pulled out in arguments by conservatives and liberals alike. By no means, however, are the needs of actual, real children considered -- such as the students of Ms. Meadows who now have to live with the fact that because they live in a society* where transphobia is rampant and whose media consider it no more than another ploy to get eyeballs and advertising dollars to mock and hound a transwoman to her death.

I hate, hate, hate the "what about the CHILDRENNNN???!!!" nonsense because not only do most adults who use it don't really believe the actual child matters -- it's only the adults' ideal of "childhood" they're concerned about, as well as the face-saving status game of being someone who Cares About The Kids -- as an argumentative tactic it's not about solving any problem, it's just about shutting up the opposition. Don't like someone's position on something? Trumpet "Well, YOU clearly DON'T CARE about the Children™!" Sit back in smug triumph as your opponent splutters, because in this setup the only response is "Do too!" and there is no way of not making that sound like a weak rejoinder according to the ways of Western-style debate.

The Children™ are used to shut people up, to let everyone know that the status quo will continue unchanged. It has nothing to do with real children.

Now let's move on to the other part of that phrase that is also a lie: "that REALLY matter." (Caps mine.) Oh I love it when white conservative Western males try to pretend they're sacrificing themselves for the little ones. "I don't really matter, I'm just a useless grown up, here, kill me and dine on my corpse, kids!" Does anyone believe for one minute that Richard Littlejohn, or anyone who pulls out this sobsister phrase, really believes it? "I don't matter! I'm just thinking about the kids!" the man sobs, then he presses "send," shuts off the computer, and goes to enjoy another childfree afternoon at the pub or golf course. I see you, Men Who Care About The Kids. I've got your number.

The idea that adults are just useless husks, their concerns to be considered secondary in favor of children, or infants, or in some circles, zygotes and fetuses, is horrible, but not because anyone who expresses it actually believes it, but because it's a pretty good technique for controlling the underclasses. Poor people who ask for help from their own rich society's government instead of starving quietly in their hovels "don't care about their children." Women who want control over their own bodies instead of being potential baby-making machines "hate children." Trans* people are "selfish" and "freaks" who will "traumatize" the "children" because they'll "confuse" them by living their own lives. As for the children, they'll learn the lesson that having to conform to someone else's idea of how you should live doesn't end when you become a grown-up.

*Even though this occurred in the UK, I consider that in instances like these "society" encompasses Western society, which of course includes that of my own country, the USA.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Why we should never forgive The Onion, ever

I have been thinking about something. I've been thinking about the Oscars. About this year's Oscars. See, I don't watch The Oscars or any other award show. I don't have television (I have a television, but I'm not hooked up to cable or network and I don't subscribe to any internet tv service, so except for the occasional glimpse via Youtube or some other website I don't watch television), and in any case I don't care about these displays of rich, powerful people mostly congratulating themselves for being rich, powerful, and upholding the status quo that keeps them that way.

But since I do have internet, I can't avoid hearing things. And since I've been spending a lot of time on Twitter, I keep sort of in touch with what goes on in the fake "real world" of the newsertainment media and its fans. So I found out about 1) this year's "fun" final dropping of the mask that was the Oscar show as hosted by Seth MacFarlane, and 2) saw the Onion's tweet (re-tweeted by many before the Onion's staff could delete it) that called Quvenzhan√© Wallis, a nine-year-old African-American actress, the c-word as some sort of clumsy "ironic satire parody" of the misogynist racist something something you know what, intent doesn't matter. They said it, it was stupid, cruel, racist, misogynist, really fucking creepy when you come right down to it because treatment of women and girls and children of color as sexual objects is not a thing of the distant past here in the USA.

But anyway, the Onion issued an apology, and it was a very proper apology, and said all the right things, and was not at all the sort of passive-aggressive "I'm sorry YOU'RE offended" sort of thing I've become used to seeing issue from white-male-dominated organizations that are caught being dipshits. No really, it was a very proper apology, I'm not being sarcastic here. The question is what to do now. Should we forgive them and give them a second chance?

I say no.

Why should we. What do they do that is so important and vital. It's not like the Onion is the fucking Romans, bringing roads and running water to the provinces. They're a humor website. We can live without them.

I'd like to take a moment to go off on a tangent about the current attitude towards comedy, humor, that sort of thing, in American society. (And probably Canadian and British too, possibly Australian... I don't know, American is the only society I am qualified to speak upon.) Anyway, we have come to place much more importance on humor than that facet of human existence warrants. We used to rather admire people who were "serious" and look a bit down on jokesters, but that all changed some time ago and it snowballed until now that's all been reversed, and to be accused of having "no sense of humor" has become one of the ultimate social crimes, making you unworthy of human companionship. Personally, I think as the litany of crimes we as a country have committed in history grows longer the need to "laugh it all off" grows stronger. One day we won't be able to drown out the screams of the tortured... Anyway, whatever, I'm a misanthrope, I refuse to laugh at things that aren't funny just because everyone else is and oh dear they'll think I'm a humorless scold. Hell, I'll have t-shirts made: "Humorless Scold 2013 -- the Tour." Coming soon to a city near you.

Back to the main topic. Why should I forgive the Onion and give them a second chance, never mind any other whitecismale org that gets caught being shitty and has to grovel? Because I am sick of these people, and their certainty -- their entitlement -- to an "aw shucks I'm not mad at you any more" from the whole fucking world. I'm mad and I'm going to stay mad. This is why:

Women who are not "good girls" are not forgiven. They're called "sluts" and "whores."

Women who are "good girls" are not forgiven either. (Because they won't "put out" for men.)

Gay people are not forgiven. They are still horribly killed and called names and treated like pariahs and told they should just stop living that "lifestyle."

Trans* people are not forgiven. They're told that they are mentally ill, or scamming, and called names, and horribly killed, and treated like pariahs, and mocked in media, and their preferred gender is ignored, and they're told to "stop being that way."

Poor people are not forgiven. They're called parasites and losers, drains on society, their children potential criminals, looked down on, called names, jerked around by the government, patronized by institutions that are supposed to help them, treated like collateral damage in the "war on poverty," deluded into thinking they deserve to be poor because no one wears fucking boots with straps any more.

Sick people are not forgiven. They are called weak and commanded to "feel better" even when that isn't possible, except with the help of strong painkillers that are difficult to obtain because people who need drugs are not forgiven.

People with disabilities are not forgiven. Able people roll their eyes and sigh and complain that the new handicapped ramp ruins the front of the office building and that it's not fair that the closest parking spots are reserved for them.

Mentally ill people are not forgiven. They're called scary and weird and difficult and insert superstitious fear that someone from the Middle Ages would side-eye and locked up and drugged if lucky and jailed and abused if not.

Non-white people are not forgiven. Ever.

Especially African-Americans, because how dare they be there a permanent reminder that our country was built on slavery and the kidnapping and carting away of people from across the sea just to toil to their deaths to make white people rich. How very dare they. But worse, how very dare they try to be confident, and assured, and act like they're people on their own terms instead of on the terms of the descendants and look-alikes of the people who kidnapped their ancestors. That must be crushed!

All of these things that people are not forgiven for are 1) not things they have any control over (no, women don't have any control over whether they are seen as "good" or not and not that that matters, as I said, and so on), and 2) THINGS THAT ARE NOT WRONG. There's nothing wrong with being female, poor, gay, trans*, sick, non-white. But for some reason, we have to keep giving infinity chances to rich white dudes and their little schemes because they say "sorry" and give the puppy eyes and make a joke that isn't offensive, or else space and time will explode or something. Haha, thanks for the laugh, I accept your apology, you're still dead to me, enjoy space and time exploding your ass. No love, Andrea.

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