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When I first heard about the new X-Men movie, I was terribly excited. Professor X and Magneto back when they were BFFs? That’s probably one of the most interesting storylines in all of the Marvelverse (Civil War aside). Sixties era setting? I appreciate go-go girls as much as the next person, and besides, this makes Magneto and Prof. X contemporaries with a certain Mr. Bond. Happens BEFORE the X-Trilogy takes place? Even better: Cyclops is still alive out there somewhere, we don’t have to deal with Rogue’s emo-tantrums, and we can all pretend that Wolverine: Origins just never happened. (And seriously, they came up with marketing stuff like this- MacGuffin). Then I saw these posters. I probably should have given up any expectations then.
Who thought this was a good idea? I get that this movie focuses on Charles and Erik’s roles as mutant forefathers, but did they have to make that point literally, by having their faces sprout from their loins? Unfortunately, these posters seemed to accurate predict the movie itself as a series of missed opportunities. I don’t know much about movie reviewing, but I do like to think I know a bit about storytelling. And I can recognize a missed opportunity when I see one.
1. Professor X and Magneto
In my opinion, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were excellent for these roles. Fassbender’s Magneto was a brutal, sexy version of James Bond, except darker and more vicious. McAvoy’s Professor X was perfect. Snarky and pretentious, I was delighted to be suppressing my urge to punch him in the face throughout the movie. Nobody can be that sanguine without having been a complete prick at some point; it was refreshing to see Professor X portrayed as something besides a saint.
Unlike some of the other characters (but more on that later), Professor X and Magneto were actually well developed. To be fair, given their detailed history in the comics, how could they have not been? What was disappointing, however, was that their relationship was not as well developed as they had been individually. Maybe the writers intended to emphasize each man as his own maverick. I’m not sure. What I do know is the main reason why I gave this movie a chance was because I was curious to see what the writers had come up with for the enigma of how Charles and Erik became friends.
The best we got was a cheap friendship montage: the young mutants get trained, Charles and Erik become best friends, and a good time is had by all until Kevin Bacon strolls by and rains on everybody’s parade. Instead of rehashing the first movie (yes, I think we can all take for granted by now that Magneto was a victim of the Holocaust–and by the way, when did that become a trope instead of a tragedy?), maybe they should have spent their efforts developing actual relationships between characters. Furthermore, the ending was a major disappointment. Rather than Erik blindly tossing bullets over his shoulder, it would have been more interesting if Erik, lost in a blind rage, intentionally shoots Charles. At the very least, it’s better character development than a mere accident. Once he has realized what has happened, he is penitent–but he also has a moment of recognition. He sees that Charles’s path of peace and reconciliation could never be his own. The moment becomes poignant because Erik sees himself for what he is: a monster. In one moment, he is horrified by what he sees and hates himself for paralyzing his best friend, but also is strangely excited and relishes in his power. The sun eclipses; the dark side wins. Charles grieves for his friend, but more importantly he grieves for himself and can’t help but resent Erik for what he has done. He knows he will spend the rest of his life confined to a wheelchair. He tries not to hold his condition against Erik, but he knows deep within him that he will never be able to rise above it. The actors were talented and certainly could have dealt with such a complex scene–its a shame that the writers couldn’t.
2. Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique
I’ve heard such promising things about Jennifer Lawrence. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any of it during First Class.
Mystique’s development was such a missed opportunity in the movie. Yes, we get that she is young and vulnerable. We get that she wasn’t always the vicious, savvy villainness we typically see. And I don’t argue with her initial portrayal as your standard insecure teenager–I just wish that somehow throughout the movie, she moved beyond that. For being what turns out to be one of the most powerful female characters in comicbookdom, Mystique was sadly one-dimensional. She essentially played a stock character: insecure teenage girl with body image issues who has difficulty accepting herself for who she was. For Chrissakes, that’s the plot of She’s All That.
Her mutant power is a physical manifestation of a woman’s body image issues. Rather than using it to objectify herself in pathetic attempt to win attention by playing up male fantasies, we should have seen her using her power arbitrarily, recklessly, for the mere reason that she could. It would have established Mystique as a loose cannon and shown that she was more dangerous than the men had estimated her to be. Yes, appealing to male fantasies by shifting into female forms would have been a nice way to have her start the movie, but it would have been interesting if Mystique recognized her potential wasn’t limited to her feminine form. If she had shifted into the shape of a man, it would have been symbolic of her liberation and allowed her to evolve into Mystique, as I know her: an uncontrollable, unpredictable force to be reckoned with. She’s completely unrecognizable as Charles’s docile lapdog, cowering in the corner when any fighting occurs. And by the way, if Emma Frost remained the ditzy companion of Sebastian Shaw, this version of Mystique would have been a great foil to contrast the docile housewife to the independent, self-realized woman.
3. The Rag-tag Gang of Mutants
Forgive me if I’m mistaken, but I was under the impression that the reason comic book movies are made and funded is because they promise epic action scenes. X-Men boils down to the promise that the audience will see a handful of impressively powered mutants fight an all out battle with another group of somewhat less sympathetic mutants with equally impressive but slightly different mutant powers.
Somehow in First Class we ended up with Banshee. Banshee? Really? We also managed to snag butterfly girl and toanrdo man, too. The only person who could have been lamer than these sorry mutants would be Jubilee (sparkles!). I get that the first trilogy exhausted many of the more interesting and better known characters, but were these mutants really the best in show? There must have been lesser known mutants with cooler powers. Hell, they could have made up mutants with cooler powers.
In addition to having really, really lame powers, none of the auxiliary mutants were developed. At all. If the excuse for having less cool mutants was to introduce new characters to the franchise, then I don’t know, actually create real characters that are interesting and have some depth to them. We get it. Angel has daddy issues. (I’m still not sure why she defected. Was it because she saw some sort of acceptance from Shaw that she couldn’t get from the X-Men? Was that ever made clear?) Havok can’t control his powers. (But why? Could he maybe be trying to prove something/steal attention from his saint of a older/younger brother Cyclops?) Banshee… pretty much has no personality. Darwin is black. (Seriously–that was the extent of his character development. When did basing entire character profiles off race become okay?) I wasn’t compelled by any of these characters.
Instead of having the the ragtag team of no-name mutants, they should have just started off with the classic lineup. I get that we’ve seen Jean Grey, Cyclops, Iceman and Angel (Warren Worthington III) in the later films. It doesn’t matter. Cast them as their younger selves. We’re already tossing chronological consistency out the window by having Havok (who must have fallen into some sort of wormhole in order to be a teenager in the 60s if he’s Cyclops younger brother) and Emma Frost (who must have added backwards aging in addition to diamond form and telepathy to her powers since she’s about 12 in Wolverine) in the movie.
The classic lineup is good. And who cares that we’ve seen them before; we could have gotten a different spin on the characters. I would have loved to see a younger version of Jean Grey that foreshadows her development as Dark Phoenix. Wouldn’t it have been great if she were this rebellious, Beatles-crazed teenage terrified and fascinated by her power and throwing herself at poor Cyclops much to Charles’s dismay and Erik’s interest? She could have been what Rogue should have been in the first movie. I know we’ve seen this group of mutants before, but let’s be honest, their substitutes in this movie weren’t good enough to justify eliminating the classics. Jean could have been a rival for Charles’s affections with Mystique. Clearly, Jean Grey would ultimately win–which would provide more impetus for Mystique to leave and go rogue. All in all, the movie wasn’t terrible…but there were many things that could have made it great. For seeing all of its lost potential, it seems somehow a little more disappointing than if it had no promise at all to begin with.
MacGuffin here: as far as I’m concerned, this was the only good moment in the whole film. Click to see the animation, because apparently WordPress doesn’t like Gifs.
I have heard a heartwarming report that this billboard actually exists somewhere in Fort Wayne, Indiana:
These folks (a great Facebook group btw, definitely worth following) seem to think that it is real and not photoshopped. And Puffin, I can’t adequately express the depth of my hope that this is real. After all, Mike is a past winner of the Asshole of the Month award here at MacGuffin and Puffin. Unfortunately, until I get some sort of verification, I can’t quite make myself believe it. Some cursory googling has revealed bugger all. (Also it sure looks photoshopped…..)
MacGuffin (who would very much like to have 20 minutes alone with Mike Pence in a dark alley.)
Prepare yourself for a rant of epic proportions. I’m fucking furious.
So the House passed HR3, aka the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, aka the let’s redefine rape act, aka the let’s destroy women’s reproductive rights act, aka the let’s keep doctors from making the right medical decisions act, aka the totally pointless act that ‘codifies’ a rule that was already in existence even though it shouldn’t have been (the Hyde amendment), aka the worst piece of legislation since the Patriot Act. I am, not unexpectedly, right royally pissed the fuck off about this. Open Congress summarizes the bill thusly:
This bill would make permanent and expand the Hyde amendment restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortions. It seeks to prohibit even indirect funding streams that may potentially come in contact with abortion services. For example, it would deny tax credits to companies that offer health plans that cover abortions and it would block anybody with insurance that covers abortions from receiving federal subsidies or medical cost tax deductions, even if the abortion is paid separately with personal funds. Women who use tax-free Medical Savings Accounts would have to pay taxes on the costs of abortions.
Slate is less circumspect:
HR3 eliminates any tax credits or deductions taken by individuals or employers for health insurance, if that insurance plan covers abortion, even if they don’t use the service.
Quite how this qualifies as ‘small government’ I do not know. Apparently the GOP wants to limit the government’s ability to control the blatantly amoral shenanigans of corporations, but it’s totally necessary for zillions of civil servants to spend countless hours fiddling the tax code around to make sure that no money that was ever touched by the government can even indirectly pay for a legal medical procedure. And that, apparently, is a good use of my tax dollars. Yes, it is much more important than auditing Wall Street executives who are stashing cash in small Caribbean islands. Those baby-killing wimminz are much more deserving of IRS scrutiny. The government fucking prints the cash dudes, at a certain point it’s all government money unless we plan to go back to the barter system, in which case me and my knitting buddies will school the crap out of all of you. We actually know how to make stuff, assholes.
Also apparently we have completely forgotten about job creation. At the juncture I will do something I’ve never done before and quote John Ashcroft in defense of my own argument: “While women need the right to birth control and abortion, we also need to be able to have and raise children, and that means equal opportunity, good jobs and equal pay.” We’ve been distracted by all those gay teacher’s unions having abortions! After them! But on the other hand we have created a whole new profession: abortion auditors. It will now be up to the IRS aka the Ninja Abortion Squad, to make sure women don’t spend any government money on abortion.
Because H.R. 3 bans using tax credits or deductions to pay for abortions or insurance, a woman who used such a benefit would have to prove, if audited, that her abortion “fell under the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother exception, or that the health insurance she had purchased did not cover abortions.” Essentially, the bill turns Internal Revenue Service agents into “abortion cops.”
The taxpayer would have to prove that she had complied with all applicable abortion laws. Under standard audit procedure, a woman would have to provide evidence to corroborate facts about abortions, rapes, and cases of incest, says Marcus Owens, an accountant and former longtime IRS official. If a taxpayer received a deduction or tax credit for abortion costs related to a case of rape or incest, or because her life was endangered, then “on audit [she] would have to demonstrate or prove, ideally by contemporaneous written documentation, that it was incest, or rape, or [her] life was in danger,” Owens says. “It would be fairly intrusive for the woman.”
The Daily Kos has a good breakdown of how totally ridiculous this is.
HR3 would disallow tax deductions for your health care expenses if your private insurance plan covers abortion. Not if you actually get an abortion. And not if a member of your family does. All it takes for you to see your taxes hiked is if the private insurance plan you selected and paid for with your own money permits coverage of abortion at all. For anyone. Even if you never get one and never plan to. If you bought a plan that agrees to cover abortion if someone else totally unrelated to you needs one, then you lose eligibility for any tax deductions for the cost of your insurance, and your tax bill shoots up. Republicans take your cash, because you agreed to buy a plan that might someday pay for someone else’s abortion.
Or as the ACLU put it:
It manipulates the tax code so as to penalize millions of Americans by taking away tax credits to small businesses that offer insurance plans that cover abortion along with other pregnancy-related care and by precluding families from deducting medical expenses related to abortion.
How is this not the GOP telling me how to spend my own money? Apparently I lose my tax break for privately purchasing a health plan that covers abortion, even if I never plan to have one, even if I were physically incapable of getting pregnant, even if I don’t have a fucking uterus. All this, of course, is taking place while Texas approves a tax break for people who want to buy yachts worth $250,000 or more. So…. I lose my tax break if I buy an insurance plan that might, once, maybe, cover an abortion for a woman I’ve never met, but tax breaks for quarter million dollar yachts are totally cool. Maybe I can recoup the money I lost because of my health insurance by buying a quarter million dollar boat. Of course if I had a quarter million to spare I would just fly to a civilized fucking country (like Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Cambodia, Canada, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, North fucking Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Vietnam or Yugoslavia) and get a goddamn abortion.
Because you know what? Whether you like it or not, abortion is a perfectly acceptable option. And don’t give me that ‘adoption not abortion’ crap. For one thing, as Barbara Ehrenreich points out, “no one has been able to figure out, even with expert counseling, how to use adoption as a method of birth control, or at what time of the month it is most effective.” Pregnancy is difficult, dangerous, and should be done right, with care and attention and, if possible, love. To quote Garret Hardi, “Society does not need more children; but it does need more loved children… There should not be the slightest communal concern when a woman elects to destroy the life of her thousandth-of-an-ounce embryo. But all society should rise up in alarm when it hears that a baby that is not wanted is about to be born.” No one should be forced to remain pregnant. Surely we can cope with this idea by now.
Pregnancy is not some walk in the park. Aside from everything else, it’s dangerous. Almost 30% of births in the US are by caesarian section, which is major surgery that involves cutting your abdomen open and surgically removing the baby. And that’s fairly common. There can also be terrible terrible complications, even in the perfectly planned births of healthy babies to healthy mothers. Stories like John and Sherry’s are terrifying, impossible to predict, and they do happen. Pregnancy and birth are major medical events. Even when everything goes perfectly it’s difficult, painful, exhausting, and it completely disrupts your life, as it should, since it’s a big fucking deal. It’s not something that can be shrugged off with an ‘oh just have the baby and put it up for adoption.’ We who are pro-choice don’t think that pregnancy is not a big deal. We realize exactly how big a deal it is and we demand the right to make the intelligent, informed, responsible decision not to have the baby. Some of us are not willing to sacrifice 9 months of our lives to an unwanted pregnancy and are not willing to remain celibate in order to ensure that the problem doesn’t come up. (Note please that no one is asking men to abstain from sex in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Apparently using condoms fulfills the responsibility quota for men, but not for women.) When men remain celibate in order to completely eliminate the risk of unwanted pregnancy then I will too. Heterosexual sex without procreation will cease to exist and the lesbians will have all the fun. But wait, there is a better option than celibacy. It’s called birth control, and failing that, abortion. Get the fuck over it.
And don’t you dare even bring God up. If you seriously intend to tell me that I have to drop out of school or take time off work in order to spend 9 months growing an unwanted life and then push a 7 pound thing out of my vagina because the inaccurately reported words of some mythological dude told you it was morally right then I will laugh in your face. You might have a faith as deep and true as can be, but I, for one, do not believe in this ‘God’ person, and if you think that I’m going to let your insanely outdated cultish belief in a supernatural deity influence my medical decisions then you have another think coming.
The GOP position on health care “calls for ‘improving public health through flexibility and innovation’ and ‘giving patients and providers control over treatment options.” Unless those options include abortion, apparently. Y’all saw this video right?
That mother’s baby was being crushed to death inside her. The mother and the doctor were prevented by law from making the right medical decisions on behalf of the mother’s child/the doctor’s patient (both the mother and the fetus, although fetuses aren’t people, so it’s not actually the doctor’s patient, but you know what I mean.)(Also, can we have an episode of House about this? House would never stand for the government telling him what he could and couldn’t do for his patients.) Besides, if you truly believe that a fetus can feel pain (it totally can’t by the way) then how the fuck was it right to sentence this mother and child to three weeks of torture?
But according to Joe Pitts (R-PA) author of the abominable Protect Life Act, this is all fine and dandy, because “abortion is not health care. Abortion is the most violent form of death known to mankind.” More violent, apparently, than Danielle’s fetus being crushed. Or, you know, people being chopped up by machetes in Rwanda, or being stoned to death for being gay.
This leads me to Chris Smith, the reprehensible republican representative from New Jersey who, during the House debate, said that future generations “will note with deep sadness, that some of our politicians, while they talked about human rights, never lifted a finger to protect the most persecuted minority in the world: the child in the womb.” (emphasis added)
GET FUCKING REAL
1.) For fuck’s sake don’t let the Jews hear you say that. No seriously, that’s heinously disrespectful to actual people who have actually been persecuted. As opposed to a bunch of cells in some teenager’s uterus.
2.) You are a total fucking douche and as far as I’m concerned you must be morally bankrupt and I hope you someday realize what you have done and I hope your wife/daughter/everyone you know is ashamed of you and tells you so to your face. Seriously, how the fuck do you live with yourself?
3.) More persecuted than the women you are denying health care to? Because “the most immediate effect if HR3 passes into law would likely be that every insurance company in the country would drop abortion coverage, as no employers or individuals are likely to take a tax raise just to keep a plan that covers abortion services. This will result in more dead pregnant women, since insurance companies will also drop coverage for expensive late term abortions that are used to save women who develop conditions such as eclampsia later in their pregnancies, a service that can cost thousands of dollars.” Via.
4.) More persecuted than the victims of Joe Pitts’ Let Women Die Act, which would “allow hospitals that receive federal funds but are opposed to abortions to turn away women in need of emergency pregnancy termination to save their lives.” Currently, “if a hospital can’t (or wont) provide the care a patient needs, it is required to transfer that patient to a hospital that can, and the receiving hospital is required to accept that patient. In the case of an anti-abortion hospital with a patient requiring an emergency abortion, ETMALA would require that hospital to perform it or transfer the patient to someone who can. Pitts’ new bill would free hospitals from any abortion requirement under EMTALA, meaning that medical providers who aren’t willing to terminate pregnancies wouldn’t have to — nor would they have to facilitate a transfer. The hospital could literally do nothing at all.” I would like to think that no doctor would allow that to happen, but these days I’m not so sure.
5.) Also those fetuses are apparently more persecuted than, say, all the rape victims who were not ‘forcibly’ raped. Because yes, the forcible rape thing is back. Like a bad penny, this piece of cold hard shit just will not go away. Forcible rape. As if there were any other kind of rape. As if there were some other, non forcible way to force your penis (or whatever) into your victim. Or violate them in whatever other way. Violation is, by nature, forcible; that’s why it’s a violation. Rape is the act of forcing someone into sex, but according to the new forcible rape language, it’s not rape if the victim says no but does not physically fight off the perpetrator, or if the victim is drugged or threatened, or if the victim is physically or mentally incapacitated, or if it’s statutory rape. I guess this means it’s open season on coma patients. They didn’t fight the perpetrator off and they didn’t say no, so…..? And also, you know, when uncle Lester the molester threatens to beat the shit out of his 15 year old niece unless she keeps quiet about what he’s doing to her, that’s not rape any longer. And if he knocks her up she can’t have an abortion on medicaid, and her insurance wont pay for it, and Planned Parenthood will be gone or inaccessible. This is going to be a great new world guys.
For all these reasons and many more, Chris Smith, Joe Pitts and the authors of HR3 win the Asshole of the month award for May, even though we’re only 5 days in. I can’t imagine anyone is going to beat this in the next 25 days.
MacGuffin, who is seriously disillusioned with America in general these days
Did you know that the only reason women menstruate is so that they can avoid having sex with their partners and have an excuse to eat lots of chocolate? Neither did I. Thank god the clever folks at HonestAds have clarified this for me. (Note: it is possible that this is meant to be a send up of this kind of advertising. But frankly it didn’t come off that way. So there is some token balance, and now I shall return to my rant.) See, I was under the clearly incorrect impression that my period was merely a slightly annoying bodily function that we are all hopefully grown up enough to deal with.
But no! I was wrong….Imagine how shocked I was to discover that my uterine wall has a secret agenda! It turns out menstruation is a giant plot to deny men sex! Because, you know, it’s all about the menfolks. My uterus’s need to shed it’s lining once a month is all part of a cunning plan to keep men out of my hoo-hah. I did not realize this! It all makes sense now. My period is clearly one of my oppressive tools of sex-denying torture. It’s the wimminz number one excuse to withhold sex, which is, as we all know, one of the primary goals of all women everywhere.
I’m so glad HonestAds has legitimized this. I mean, usually I’m helpless to withstand the carnal advances of my lover, and I simply have to clutch the counterpane and think of England. It will be such a relief to be able to shirk my wifely duties once a month with a clear conscience! Cause, you know, women can only say no to sex once a month. In fact, women can only assert themselves and control their own bodies when they have the red shield of menstruation to hide behind and make the decision for them. And then, you know, it’s not really me saying no, it’s just that no man would want to have sex with a woman on the rag. Someone should really notify every man I have ever dated, since apparently none of them got that memo. (On the other hand, I did once have a tampon-crucifix nailed to my bedroom door to keep my little brothers out. Tampons are to some men as garlic is to vampires. All you have to do is wave it at them and they run screaming from the room.)
From now on I shall spend the last 5 days of every month reclined on a chaise lounge, eating bonbons and grapes peeled for me by my totally pussywhipped boytoy. It’s my entitlement, dammit! Yeah, I love getting my period, it means I can eat all the chocolate I want while I blueball my boyfriend. It’s my favorite time of the month! During that 5 day window I’m entitled to act like a bitch and I can just blame it all on the menses! Because that’s what my period is, when you come right down to it. It’s all just an excuse to be mean to men, and indulge myself with chocolate. Cause everything about the female body is really just about men.
Also, true fact, the only possible result of not being able to have sex is male sexual frustration. Shout out to hetero-normative thinking, and a total denial of the female sex drive!
I am disgusted Puffin. Thoroughly disgusted. What is the plural for ignoramus? It’s very important that I know this, because the people who came up with this are ignoramuses. Ignorami? Ignoramæ? Help me out here.
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It is refreshing to see someone on the right speak out against their party, especially on social issues. In fact it’s so rare these days that I feel like people on the right who do speak up deserve a gold star. I’m happy to report that today I have two candidates. Well, one and a half. Aside from the actual substance of current GOP/TEA politics, I have to say that one of the things that pisses me off most profoundly about the right is their attitude to the party line, which seems to be less a line than a razor wire which will violently decapitate you, should you cross it. Or maybe a cliff. They do seem more and more like unholy crosses between Wile E Coyote and a particularly obedient lemming, desperately running over a cliff and not quite aware that the ground under them is gone and had been for quite some time. [Update: I don't know why it is that the left gains legitimacy by questioning itself and earns points for hearing every view and being flexible and, (fine I'll say it), humoring the extreme opposition, while such mental agility would be suicidal for a right winger. Why is that?]
Alan Simpson, however, gets a gold star today for taking a stand against the anti-abortion nut jobs and homophobes that seem to be speaking for his party. And the especially nice thing is that he is taking an explicitly moral/ideological stand, rather than hiding behind the law. It would have been easy for him shelter behind the current legislation (abortion is legal, remember?) and simply argue to uphold the law. But Simpson is actually going out on a limb and declaring that this anti-woman crap is wrong. Which is awesome. Of course, the fact that we’ve gotten to the point that this seems like going out on a limb is depressing as hell. But be that as it may, Simpson earns a solid gold Death Star for this interview.
SIMPSON: Who the hell is for abortion? I don’t know anybody running around with a sign that says, “Have an abortion! They’re wonderful!” They’re hideous, but they’re a deeply intimate and personal decision, and I don’t think men legislators should even vote on the issue.
Then you’ve got homosexuality, you’ve got Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We have homophobes on our party. That’s disgusting to me. We’re all human beings. We’re all God’s children. Now if they’re going to get off on that stuff—Santorum has said some cruel things—cruel, cruel things—about homosexuals. Ask him about it; see if he attributes the cruelness of his remarks years ago. Foul.
Now if that’s the kind of guys that are going to be on my ticket, you know, it makes you sort out hard what Reagan said, you know, “Stick with your folks.”But, I’m not sticking with people who are homophobic, anti-women, moral values—while you’re diddling your secretary while you’re giving a speech on moral values? Come on, get off of it.
Fun fact of the day: you know who else crossed the party line? Barry Goldwater, famously spoke out against homophobia, especially with regard to the military. And the dangers of the religious right. Yeah. Him. The father of the modern conservative movement. (Or at least he was, before Reagan got in there) Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from one of his Washington Post articles
Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar. They’ll still be serving long after we’re all dead and buried. That should not surprise anyone.
Some in congress think I’m wrong. They say we absolutely must continue to discriminate, or all hell will break loose. Who knows, they say, perhaps our soldiers may even take up arms against each other.
Well, that’s just stupid.
The conservative movement, to which I subscribe, has as one of its basic tenets the belief that government should stay out of people’s private lives. Government governs best when it governs least – and stays out of the impossible task of legislating morality. But legislating someone’s version of morality is exactly what we do by perpetuating discrimination against gays.
Of course, his most famous quote on the subject was this:
You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.
FYI, Barry Goldwater was also pro-choice. And every year Planned Parenthood gives the Barry Goldwater Award “to an outstanding public official who has supported Planned Parenthood and reproductive health issues”. So, conservatives, put that in your pipe and smoke it.
I just don’t know what happened to this country Puffin.
Yours, from somewhere between anger and regret
asshole uterus of the day comes from the Florida state government where Rep Scott Randolph (D- Orlando) has been reprimanded for using a dirty word on the house floor. The word? Uterus.
House GOP spokeswoman Katie Betta: “The Speaker has been clear about his expectations for conduct on the House for during debate. At one point during the debate, he mentioned to the entire House that members of both parties needed to be mindful of decorum during debate.
“Additionally, the Speaker believes it is important for all Members to be mindful of and respectful to visitors and guests, particularly the young pages and messengers who are seated in the chamber during debates. In the past, if the debate is going to contain language that would be considered inappropriate for children and other guests, the Speaker will make an announcement in advance, asking children and others who may be uncomfortable with the subject matter to leave the floor and gallery.”
Um ………………….what? Yes, as a lady I find it very very disrespectful when people refer to a part of my body by its correct anatomical name. Seriously guys, show some respect for the vajayjay. Rep Randolph’s actual comment was to suggest that his wife should “incorporate her uterus” as the only way protect her reproductive rights. I think he makes a very very good point. On the other hand, I also see the GOP’s perspective in this. I mean, government regulation is the only hope if we are to be saved from the hordes of unregulated uteri that lurk around every street corner. Beware the impending uterus invasion guys. Its just one short step from recreational abortions to weaponized wombs marching the streets of America, terrorizing the populace. Suddenly I see why people are afraid of feminists. Cause that was totally our plan guys, and the only thing stopping us from taking over the world is the brave men and women of the GOP, valiantly trying to regulate us and prevent us from making any trouble. Like, you know, me making my own choices about my uterus. Did you hear me? UTERUS!
This reminds me of a great scene from Boston Legal
All together now, uterus, uterus, uterus, UTERUS! (That is definitely one of those words that becomes stranger the more you say it. Like spatula. Seriously, say spatula to yourself 20 times and see).
Also, as we all know, the Dodge Ram logo is just a stylized uterus. Don’t believe me?
Inappropriate I say, inappropriate! I hereby demand the removal of all such pornographic depictions of lady parts from America’s automobiles!! Never again shall our children (or our congressional pages) be terrorized by the specter of an aggressive sheep-womb charging at them on I-95!!
Be afraid Puffin. Be very afraid.
This New York Times article has already raised a stink, but I’m disgusted enough that I’ll weigh in with my thoughts as well. So this is the article:
CLEVELAND, Tex. — The police investigation began shortly after Thanksgiving when an elementary school student alerted a teacher to a lurid cellphone video that included one of her classmates.
The video led the police to an abandoned trailer, more evidence and, eventually, to a roundup over the last month of 18 young men and teenage boys on charges of participating in the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in the abandoned trailer home, the authorities said.
So the real story is the arrest, not the rape? I mean, ok, thats one way of reporting the story, but its not the way I’d do it. But its not out and out wrong. Its just a frame thats slightly off.
Five suspects are students at Cleveland High School, including two members of the basketball team. Another is the 21-year-old son of a school board member. A few of the others have criminal records, from selling drugs to robbery and, in one case, manslaughter. The suspects range in age from middle schoolers to a 27-year-old.
Update, because I keep noticing new things: Notice that the majority (as opposed to “a few”) are described as upright citizens, “baseball team” members, and “the son of a school board member”. The ones with criminal records (as opposed to these other rapists) are just “a few”, although the previous crimes seem to have been many and varied. Also, how many of these guys were minors? If you want to talk about how the aggressors are victims them surely the article should be examining whether or not someone was coercing or encouraging the underage boys to get involved in this. I’m perfectly prepared to believe that there was something creepy going on that probably *did* victimize or otherwise mess with some young boys, but note that the article doesn’t chose to frame it that way.
The case has rocked this East Texas community to its core and left many residents in the working-class neighborhood where the attack took place with unanswered questions. Among them is, if the allegations are proved, how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?
The case has rocked the community? Not the gang rape of an 11 year old girl? And what do you mean “drawn into”? As Puffin says, “oh, I slipped on some ice and raped a child. You should really put some salt down”. And I like the euphemistic “such an act” as opposed to, again, “gang rape of a child.” Also, note that the protective/possessive”their” is directed at the young men. Its not one of “their” (the community’s) children that was raped, but it was “their” sons who were “drawn into it”.
“It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”
……..? I’m sorry? As SKM on Shakesville points out “if it’s so terrible for boys to have to live with being rapists, would it not behoove society to teach them not to rape people?” And, unless I’m wrong, doesn’t the victim ALSO have to live with this for the rest of her life? Let’s hope she’s not pregnant. And why are we focussing on sympathy for the rapsists here? And honestly, if it were my community, I’d be more bothered by the fact that apparently I was living with RAPISTS, but thats just me.
The attack’s details remained unclear. The police have declined to discuss their inquiry because it is continuing. The whereabouts of the victim and her mother were not made public.
The allegations first came to light just after Thanksgiving, when a child who knows the victim told a teacher she had seen a videotape of the attack on a cellphone, said Stacey Gatlin, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland Independent School District.
Wow, they taped it too? Classy.
The school district’s security department interviewed the girl, 11, who is a student at Cleveland Middle School, and her mother. The security department determined that a rape had taken place, but not on school property, and then handed the matter over to the police, Ms. Gatlin said.
On Dec. 9, the police obtained a search warrant to go through a house on Travis Street and a nearby trailer that had been abandoned for at least two years. An affidavit filed to support the search warrant said the girl had been forced to have sex with several men in both places on Nov. 28 and cited pictures and videos as proof, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Passive voice, “had been forced to have sex”. Also I think “have sex” in inappropriate here.
The affidavit said the assault started after a 19-year-old boy invited the victim to ride around in his car. He took her to a house on Travis Street where one of the other men charged, also 19, lived. There the girl was ordered to disrobe and was sexually assaulted by several boys in the bedroom and bathroom. She was told she would be beaten if she did not comply, the affidavit said.
Again, not using the word ‘rape’, and we have “she was told she would be beaten” rather than “they threatened her”. Also note the judgmental tone, that basically asks us to wonder why she got in the car with the 19 year old.
A relative of one of the suspects arrived, and the group fled through a back window. They then went to the abandoned mobile home, where the assaults continued. Some of those present recorded the sexual acts on their telephones, and these later were shown among students.
By “the group” do you mean the rapists and their victim? Cause you should probably avoid talking about them like a cohesive unit, or else she sounds like she was participating in it, ie she “fled” with them. Also “some of those present”? Now, does that indicate that not all of those present took part in the rape? That’s certainly possible, but that needs to be made clear. As it stands its very likely that “some of those present” were also rapists, but the article doesn’t want us to think about the attackers that way.
Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.
“Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?” said Ms. Harrison, one of a handful of neighbors who would speak on the record. “How can you have an 11-year-old child missing down in the Quarters?”
WHAT? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? What decade is this? That is text book victim blaming. In fact, under current rape-sheild laws, evidence of the victim’s past sexual behavior or their attire or appearance at the time of the rape is inadmissible. And yes, it’s the mother’s fault that her daughter got raped. Not the rapists’ fault. Again, Shakesville points out “For all we know, the woman had been frantically trying to get someone, anyone, to listen to her concerns about her daughter. Even if she hadn’t been, parental neglect does not give other people a license to rape unsupervised children.” And for that matter, where were the rapists‘ mothers? Shouldn’t they have mentioned to their sons that rape is frowned upon? But no, the onus is on the mother of the victim to defend her daughter from attack.
Cleveland, a town of 9,000, lies about 50 miles northeast of Houston in the pine country, near the picturesque Sam Houston National Forest. The town’s economy has always rested on timber, cattle, farming and oil. But there are pockets of poverty, and in the neighborhood where the assault occurred, well-kept homes sit beside boarded-up houses and others with deteriorating facades.
So we’ve got descriptions of the town, the local economy, the attackers, the community impact….. but nothing about the victim except the fact that she was a painted harlot in tight jeans and that she hung out with teenage boys. One sided, no?
The abandoned trailer where the assault took place is full of trash and has a blue tarp hanging from the front. Inside there is a filthy sofa, a disconnected stove in the middle of the living room, a broken stereo and some forlorn Christmas decorations. A copy of the search warrant was on a counter in the kitchen next to some abandoned family pictures.
The arrests have left many wondering who will be taken into custody next. Churches have held prayer services for the victim.
My friend Maria was reading this over my shoulder and she pointed out that, by this point in the article, she almost expected the church to have been holding prayer services for the rapists. Thats a pretty scary thing, in and of itself.
The students who were arrested have not returned to school, and it is unclear if they ever will. Ms. Gatlin said the girl had been transferred to another district. “It’s devastating, and it’s really tearing our community apart,” she said. “I really wish that this could end in a better light.”
Just to be clear, is the rape perpetrated by your neighbors tearing the community apart, or is it the arrests? You should probably make a distinction.
Even the headline, Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town, focusses the victim frame away from the girl. We don’t even know it’s a rape from the headline, and it makes it sound like the real damage has been the interruption of tranquility in town, rather than a gang rape of an 11 year old girl.
Who suffers more here why am I even having to ask that question?
UPDATE: Sign the petition to tell James A. McKinley Jr and the New York Times what you think of their victim bashing, victim blaming, bullcrap here.
You can also write a complaint to any of these people at the NYT: Arthur S. Brisbane (Public Editor, The New York Times), Bill Keller (Executive Editor, The New York Times), and Arthur Sulzberger Jr (Publisher, The New York Times).