My husband is more to me than a living jar-opener


I can open my own jars, haul furniture, mow the lawn, and get things off high shelves.

If I were unable to do any of those things, what would patriarchy have to offer?

Men don’t owe me their physical strength or time for help with activities that are beyond my muscular capacities. At the same time, I don’t owe them my gratitude for their existing with greater upper-body strength.
Patriarchy isn’t really interested in making women’s lives easier by persuading men to be available to help women when stronger arms are needed. Patriarchy is interested in making women dependent so that our assistance is constantly available to men. Differences are not written in stone.

Originally posted on Fit and Feminist:

If you’ve been on the internet at all in the past week, you’ve probably already seen the Women Against Feminism tumblr going around, or at the very least read about it.

I didn’t think too much of it when I saw it, for two reasons. For one, most of the women had a tenuous grasp (at best) on the definition of feminism, one that seemed like it was informed in its entirety by Rush Limbaugh and Jessi Spano, and also the belief that “misandry” jokes are actually serious.

The other reason was that most of the “women” actually looked like teenage girls. Considering that I was super into Ayn Rand when I was a teenage girl, I can’t get too far up on my high horse with regards to the contributors. Let’s just say that if Tumblr was around in the late 1990s, I’m sure there’d be a photo of…

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On the Difference Between Ability and Priority

Miri at Brute Reason has a guest post from CaitieCat, in which she asks us liberal heathens not to harp on spelling and grammar in place of meaning:

Particularly in a US context, where educational options are very strongly influenced by class (and race, in an intertwined manner), riding the xenophobes for misspelling ‘illegals’ as ‘illeagles’, or “Muslim” as “muslin”, what we’re saying is, “You should have been smart enough to get yourself born to the right kind of parents, who’d give you access to the best education, who were educated themselves enough to teach you ‘proper’ English, and who were rich enough to make sure you never had to work after school instead of studying!”

I agree with her position, up to a point. And it’s possibly hypocritical of me to even share her post at all, as I’m given to writing up entire blog posts just to tell people how to use better grammar, but here’s the thing: I’m a writer, and I hang out with other writers. I think writers should know how to spell. I think writers should know their punctuation and conditionals, or be actively trying to improve their skills. And I tend to focus on giving advice on how to do it right, rather than simply declaring, “You don’t know how to spell ‘socialist’, so your argument is invalid,” because I actually do have some awareness that learning the finer points of the English language takes more work for some people than others. I think being able to do things like keep homophones straight and use apostrophes appropriately is an end unto itself, if you’re going to make a habit of writing things which you expect large numbers of people to read.

So that’s where I diverge from CaitieCat’s position: I think writers should have a solid grip on the spelling of whatever language they’re using, and in the examples that I’ve pasted above, we know that these are errors some people make because we’ve seen them on protest signs.

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You should not be raiding the Little Free Library for a quick buck.

Oh, now really, book-lovers? Really? Who does this shit?

This type of thing is, sadly, more common than you’d expect. I’ve read multiple posts and heard some sad stories about Little Free Libraries getting raided and having their books sold at used bookstores and such. I’ve even heard some REALLY sad stories about the libraries themselves being stolen. I’m glad that this is the first (and hopefully only) time this has happened to my library, but it’s really frustrating.

There are people who take books out of Little Free Libraries and sell them to used bookstores.

This is not cool. It is really, really not cool.

If a book is put into the “read books for free” system, it should stay in some sort of free-reading system. I don’t think it’s a problem if the occasional neighbor takes a book or two out of an LFL and likes it so much they keep it in their private collection, but they should not get money for that book. Do not steal from your community to make a few dollars at the used bookstore, you rampaging assholes. Maybe pass it on to a friend who hasn’t seen the LFL. Maybe put it in a different LFL. Maybe even donate it to the local public library, but don’t fucking sell it when you didn’t buy it in the first place and nobody gave it to you as a gift.


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BAD Federal Government! No cookie for you!

I work for a USAID subcontractor. You might call them a “Beltway Bandit,” but we’re a bandit that does good stuff for people in need, really we are. ANYWAY. My job demands meticulousness and efficiency rather than creativity and judgment, and every summer it’s horrible and disgusting. This summer it’s worse than usual. So I’ve been overwhelmed and preoccupied with how to keep up with my workload, as well as finishing a new book and buying a house, so that may explain some of why I’ve been such a lazy blogger. Anyway, I was feeling especially angry and indignant about what I’m forced to do at work today (angry with good reason, I promise), and I got to thinking about what might be done to avoid this situation with other subcontractors and their grunt-work employees.

(My hands and feet are overloaded, but my brain still has room to play around.)

The problem right now is that my employer is being audited by the Inspector General. I can say that without giving away any sensitive information, as there are plenty of companies that have to answer to the paper-pushers at USAID. I’m not telling you who my employer is, but we’re being audited. Not that we have anything to worry about. The fine people from the IG’s office have not found anything amiss with my employer’s records, and they will not find anything amiss, because we are perfectly ethical, transparent and in control of our shit. I’m speaking from experience. I work my ass off, my supervisors work their asses off partly by riding my ass, and our records are immaculate. We have a financial audit (read: not coming from USAID) every year, and we fucking nail it every time. We fucking nail it every time because we work like a damn beehive in which I comprise the lower 60% of the worker bees.

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Want some free books? Of course you do.

If you happen to be hanging out in Riverdale, MD, I can show you to a new place to get free books.


It’s not registered with the Little Free Library system, but it’s there, and it’s open 24/7.



It’s not “just” a question.

There’s this comic here on The Toast, which is all displayed in graphics, so it’s tricky to excerpt. In “What Would the Yellow Ranger Do?”, Shing Yin Khor shows us what it means to be asked “Where Are You From?” in various contexts. And then we get to this part:

My husband is a tall white man, of Italian, German and Irish ancestry.

No one asks where he’s from, and if they do, the conversation ends when he says “State College, Pennsylvania” or “Los Angeles.”

“It’s just a question. It’s harmless,” he says.

It’s a harmless question if you look sufficiently un-exotic compared to your surroundings that you can answer with “State College, Pennsylvania” and not get any more scrutiny.

If you live in a place where you’re the exotic one—regardless of how long you’ve actually lived there, even if your family’s been there since well before you were born—then you soon figure out just how loaded a question that is. If it is impossible to exist as a tall, blue-eyed American without being treated like a fucking zoo exhibit whenever you walk out the front door of your house in whatever far-flung locale you currently inhabit, then you come to realize that the “harmless” question is tied up with a lot of baggage, and some of those bags are filled with toxic waste.

(Now picture being treated like that in the country you call home.)


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Princeton Mom acts like this is a bad thing.

I’m sure this here is supposed to scare us into behaving like good little Stepford bots:

The controversial author criticized today’s women for “acting like such an entitled princess” and prioritizing careers ahead of their families. Men, Patton told the Fox hosts, must be appreciated and respected, perhaps with a drink at the end of a long work day or gratitude and kindness. After all, should a woman alienate her husband, she’ll spend the rest of her life searching for a suitable replacement.

“If you are in your mid-30s or older the idea that you’re going to find yourself another husband, almost impossible,” Patton predicted. “And if you don’t believe me ask your maiden aunt, she will tell you when she’s done feeding the cats.”

This is phrased as a dire warning, but to me it sounds more like reassurance. Let me translate:

Don’t worry if you find yourself shackled by a wedding ring to some egotistical, inconsiderate butt-nozzle: you can get out while you’re still young! Get out of that trap in your mid-30s, and you won’t have to deal with another King of the Castle calling you Wifey. Ever again. Go hang out with your favorite badass aunt, who will mix you a fabulous mojito while you stretch out in the easy chair and enjoy guilt-free kitty cuddles.

Someday, perhaps someone will prove to me how heterosexual marriage is the ultimate validation of a woman’s existence, while enjoying four-legged company is a mark of shame. So far, I am the opposite of convinced.

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Flaccid means easy because it’s the opposite of hard.

Having acquired a paperback copy in a book exchange at work well over a year ago, I am finally reading Everything is Illuminated. It seems to be the type of book that rewards you for being patient. At first I was internally debating whether to keep reading, as I wondered whether it was worth the trouble to keep dealing with Alexander the translator’s bizarrely overworked English as a narrative voice. This guy’s English isn’t really broken so much as shouting across the steps removed from the way native English speakers talk and the way this naïve Ukrainian guy uses our words. His sentences are remarkably well put-together for a guy who has apparently never ever heard an English-speaking person, including an actor in a syndicated TV show, talk. It’s a voice that forces the reader to put some work into understanding the story, which tested my patience at first but now I’m glad I stuck with it. Jonathan the American writer and his friend Alex the Ukrainian interpreter are very much worth the trouble.

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“We’ll say we knew her before she was cool.”

Meliana is about to become the new big name in the world of art.

"She might even draw us some pictures of our cats, if we ask nicely."

“She might even draw us some pictures of our cats, if we ask nicely.”


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The Silkworm: “Ack! My eyes!”

Having read and enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling, I bought The Silkworm on Thursday morning and finished reading it late last night. It’s an interesting book to read, as a writer, because it’s all about publishing industry politics. Owen Quine, the missing man whom Cormoran Strike is hired to track down, is a mostly unsuccessful novelist who has been way more trouble than he’s worth to everyone who has to work with him. The characters who come in to bend Strike’s ear about what may or may not have happened to Quine are either the missing man’s wife, Leonora, who hired Strike in the first place, or they’re involved in publishing, whether traditional or indie.

One of the characters under investigation is Quine’s mistress, a self-publishing writer named Kathryn Kent, and at first, I was a bit annoyed at Galbraith/Rowling for how she portrayed Kent. My attitude was basically: “That’s how you choose to portray a self-publisher? Really? Some of us write decent books and use appropriate grammar, you know!” But then I realized that The Silkworm was full of characters involved in publishing, and they’re all assholes. If I were a traditionally published author, I wouldn’t want to be represented as Owen Quine or Michael Fancourt. If I were a publisher, I wouldn’t want to be seen as Daniel Chard or Christian Fisher. I sure hope most literary agents aren’t nearly as unpleasant as Liz Tassel. The only character in the publishing world of The Silkworm who is both good at his job and a mostly decent person is the editor, Jerry Waldegrave, who is also a drunken train wreck. It’s like, nobody can be a part of the literary world for long without being either a shameless opportunist, a predator, an egotistical bigot, or a self-destructive mess. We go through all these unsympathetic characters, and then Strike and his assistant, Robin, take us for a sit-down with Kathryn Kent, and she seems like one of the least offensive of the lot.

Overall, I think what bugs me the most about the portrayal of Kathryn Kent is that the book shows us her blog posts word for word, with all their apostrophe abuse, random capitalization and cringe-inducing typos. Sure, there are plenty of people in the real world who do even worse than that and still manage to write books, but do we really need to see that from a writer who knows better? And a professional editor working for a major publishing house? When I buy a book to read, I expect it to be a refuge from sloppy typing, your/you’re confusion and apostrophes in plurals.

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