when the status quo frustrates.

Joys of Being Broke

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

The Obama administration has broken down and agreed to extend the Bush era tax cuts for not only the poor, middle class, and rich, but also the mega-rich in exchange for extending unemployment benefits. Some jerk-ass abuses food stamps and is amazed to find what you can purchase food. It seems like the most privileged people in the world have no idea what it is actually like to be poor, and therefore feel perfectly comfortable being superior asses about it.

But, let me tell you about being broke. My last temporary job ended early in November, and no new job has been forthcoming. Hubby’s still got his job, but since he makes less than a manager at Taco Bell as a pilot, this means our budget is stretched tighter than it can sustain. My credit card is maxed out, my Sallie Mae loans are past due, and we owe the hospital about hundred bucks for a bout of tonsillitis that I’m still paying off. We’re in a pretty bad place, but I still say “broke” instead of poor because our bills are paid, I haven’t accrued interest on my credit card yet, and fuck Sallie Mae, I’m never getting those loans paid off anyway. The hospital is working with us. But, because we’d like to have enough food to last us until the end of the month, I went and did that humiliating process that me, a good chunk of my friends, and probably most poor people have done at some time in their life or another: I rounded it up what stuff which was of value in my apartment (and that Hubby and I could bare to part with) and went to the pawn shop and then a book dealer’s.

I hate pawn shops. I hate how they basically scam on people who are desperate, I hate how they look at me when I bring my stuff in, and I hate how powerless I feel when I walk in. I know the stuff I have is crap. We have never had a ton of disposable cash, so we really don’t have anything worth pawning. We have a few pieces of weaponry that are family heirlooms that we basically wouldn’t get half of what we’ve spent on them, and a few pieces of jewelery that, again, we wouldn’t get a quarter of what we spent on them (I know- the last time I went to the pawn shop, it was to pawn a gold bracelet with diamonds and sapphires in it. An ex boyfriend gave it to me- he bought it new for a thousand dollars. The pawn shop was willing to give me fifty. I ended up selling it to a Cash for Gold place and getting 60 for it). I have a computer with a monitor that isn’t mine, a second-hand printer, a tv that’s half-way to broken and a pair of cars we couldn’t get $500 for. So, what I had of value in the apartment was a DVD player, and a harp. For the pair of them, I got twenty-five bucks.

The used bookstore wasn’t any better. I had about 30 books, all in good condition, popular reads, and for the lot of them I got…24 bucks. I have no idea which books cost which, or what the rubric was: they refused to say individually what book was getting what- I had a “you get 24 for the whole lot, take it or leave it” attitude.

I took it. I liked my books, I liked my harp, I liked my DVD player. Honestly, the utility I got for those items probably outweighed the cost I spent them for. But since real life is not economics, the money was more necessary than the items. This will cover gas and groceries for the rest of the month. I find it ironic- the people who have the ability to say “no” and walk away are the ones who have the most power when it comes to these sorts of negotiations. But if you’re at the pawn shop door, clutching your instrument, you aren’t in a position to say no. You aren’t the person who goes “Fuck it, I’ll wait it out and see if I can get better on Craigslist” or decide to see if Amazon can get you anything. You’re already in a position where you need the cash. It’s like a job interview in a terrible economy- you’re trying not to look too desperate, but both you and the interviewer know which one has the power. If you want better hours, better pay, better whatever *shrugs* sucks to be you. There’s a line of a hundred other people out there that can do that job as well as you can. If you are more experienced, more learned, more whatever, and you try to get those same features, you’re “overqualified” and it’s better to ask the row of people behind you to work for less.

Being broke is a constant battle with your pride and your values, and have to have people look down at you because of it. It’s begging to get a little more for your prized possessions, and groveling for a job you know you’re going to hate. It’s constantly assessing your value, because hey, even if you don’t believe them there are five million conservatives squawking about how unemployed people are just lazy, or even worse, your family and friends talking about how unemployed people are just not looking hard enough (but I don’t mean you, of course). Being broke is being tired, because you have all this time, but no money to really do anything, and nobody to do it with.

But fuck 600 billion dollars a year- rich people need a new yacht, right? And isn’t it the greatest injustice in the world that poor people can get candy?

Sometimes One Blog Site Just Leads To Another…

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

…so I was over at Sadly, No and ended up through a series of adventurous clicks on some site called “American Thinker.” (I’m sitting in a house under three feet of snow with another twenty inches on its way in the next twenty-four hours and it’s Server Maintenance Day on World of Warcraft. Expect lots more of this, unless the power goes out.) So scanning over the various article titles, the big question in my mind was, Republican or Libertarian? Republican or Libertarian? On to the About page!

American Thinker is a daily internet publication devoted to the thoughtful exploration of issues of importance to Americans. Contributors are accomplished in fields beyond journalism, and animated to write for the general public out of concern for the complex and morally significant questions on the national agenda.

Hmm…could mean anything…keep on reading…

There is no limit to the topics appearing on American Thinker. National security in all its dimensions, strategic, economic, diplomatic, and military is emphasized. The right to exist and the survival of the State of Israel are of great importance to us

Ha! Neocon!

Hey, it’s my big chance to find out what the Neocons are up to/really caring about now that their Big Cheezes are out o’ office!

A scattering of the gems on this site:

Democrats, Meet Your Biggest Nightmare

That was actually George W. Bush, but they’re pushing for the nomination of Scott Brown. I can’t agree because he was extremely hawwt in his Cosmo nude spread.

Barack Obama and Corpse Man

Barack Obama finally mispronounced a word, which doesn’t bother the author nearly as much as the fact that he’s familiar with the Creole dialect, Haiti and how Pakistanis themselves pronounce “Pakistan.” I think what she’s trying to say is that George W. Bush’s stupidity was endearing and honest and that even though Obama’s stupidity is now proven by his mispronounciation of a word, nevermind his clumsy and feeble attempts to hide it by frontin’ like he knows Creole or whatever, his stupidity makes him repulsive and cunning. But it’s kind of hard to tell.

Toyota response to crisis an object lesson for business

The way Toyota has handled the sticky accelerator debacle is heroic because their CEO both (a) bowed during a press conference that finally had to be called when all their attempts at total subterfuge on the subject over the past at least two years failed and (b) didn’t blame George W. Bush for anything.

I know it isn’t a parody site, but it really should be. :)

Goodnight Moon

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

I’m not sure that this will mean anything to any of the readers here, but I was really bummed to learn that Moon of Alabama is calling it a day. They were my secret weapon, a great place I could always rely on for knock-your-socks-off analysis of international affairs, and links to all the important articles the other blogs don’t carry. Plus commenters so smart I always felt unqualified to say anything there myself, though I did a couple of times anyway.

But all good things. Anyway, goodnight, Moon– I’ll miss you!

The “Derailing” Train Stops Here, Folks; or, How to Get Banned From Commenting on Lisa’s Blog Posts

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Did I mention in a previous thread that I’ve never been drawn to the field of child care? I should throw “teaching” in there too. I don’t mind tutoring, and have done a fair amount of that since my high school days, but as far as attempting to control an unruly class of children or adolescents day-in and day-out, MEH! No thanks!

Yet I find myself somewhat in that situation now. And I’m not even getting PAID for it. Talk about rubbing salt into the wound…

Now, on the off-chance that all the out-of-control behavioral issues we have all been witnessing over the past few weeks in the site comments genuinely springs from ignorance of the non-willful variety, I am going to lay out a set of guidelines for commenting on all my posts in future. Should a commenter violate them, he or she will be politely or snarkily, depending upon my mood at the moment, reminded to re-read this post and amend his or her behavior. Should a commenter then continue to disregard this, he or she will be banned from that comment thread. Should a pattern of behavior emerge on multiple comment threads, he or she will be banned from the site, period. These guidelines can be revised at any time, depending upon my whim; any attempt to argue with me about the unfairness of any part of it will most likely be ignored and also tip the scales of justice out of favor of the arguer. This ain’t a democracy, folks; it’s a blog.

Rule #1: NO THREAD-JACKING

What is thread-jacking? It’s when you insistently refuse to discuss the subject of the blog post you are commenting on. The subject that you are attempting to force the author and other commenters to discuss instead may or may not be related, superficially or otherwise, to the blog subject; that is irrelevant. Sometimes a set of blog comments flows naturally into humor or discussion of a related or even unrelated topic; that can be perfectly fine, or it can be thread-jacking. What distinguishes the two situations tends to be the attitude of the person penning the off-center comments. I am quite capable of discerning the difference between constructive exploration of a sub- or side-topic and a flat refusal to discuss the topic at hand for personal or ideological reasons, and I will not hesitate in future to exercise that judgement and cut any non-constructive explorer off at the knees. So, engage in this at your commenting peril from here on outward.

Rule #2: NO TIT-FOR-TATTING

What is tit-for-tatting? It’s when you take every issue that a blog writer tries to discuss and reorient it to apply to your personal life or crusades. This can be summarized as the No one has suffah’d as I have suffah’d! mindset. Now (gently, as to a small child): Nobody is suggesting that you, Joe Schmoe, have not suffered. Nobody is suggesting that your suffering doesn’t matter. Perhaps, Joe Schmoe, you can start your own blog to address the issues that you have suffered through in the past and/or are currently suffering through today, or the issues of whatever subset of humanity you are most interested in. However, Joe, we do not respect your laziness at attempting to save yourself the trouble of doing so and just vent over on our blog that we are taking the time and energy to create and maintain. Whatever the issue is and the subset of humanity it is described as affecting here at Punkassblog, that is the subject of the blog and that is what will be discussed. Again, as in Rule #1, that does not mean that we can’t veer off-topic in the slightest; however, as stated in Rule #1, I am quite capable of distinguishing between humorous or constructive exploration and pendantic or destructive obsfucation. I will call you on it, and if you don’t desist, you will be gone, first locally, then globally.

Feel free to question the dictator further on this thread, if you need or want clarification.

Wanted: Sage Advice

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

I recently wrote a review of Glenn Sacks’ “men’s rights” blog, and in this review I alluded to an experience I had some years back on another “men’s rights” site. As it turns out, the “men’s rights” blogosphere is an even smaller world than the feminist blogosphere is, and the long and short of it is that as a result of that I ran smack dab into an old MRA debating buddy of mine (which was actually kinda cool!). Now, Glenn, in his response to me on his blog, casually invited me to post the periodic article in his “Feminist Dissident” category; I ended up declining, but now, I’m reconsidering (assuming that the offer’s still open, of course). So I figured, who better to ask than the collective wisdom of the wild-eyed tree-worshipping baby-killing awesome and articulate PunkAssers?

Here are the reasons I initially declined the offer:

1. I found Glenn’s tone on his blog, when discussing feminists, to flip-flop between condescending and venomous, and his portrayal of feminism to be shallow and stereotypical. This did not indicate to me any real desire to explore the issues facing men as a gender from the feminist point of view; rather more a desire to make the straw target of feminism on his site more appealing to his readers by taping a real live feminist to its backside.

2. I read over the comments sections of a few of his “Feminist Dissident” posts and found them to mostly consist of either “feminists are giant oozing boogers” or “women period are giant oozing boogers.” This did not indicate to me any willingness or interest on the part of his readers to engage in meaningful debate about the role and ideals of feminism in terms of the issues facing men as a gender.

3. I read over the comments sections of some more of his general posts and found them to mostly consist of the same oozing booger representation, especially focused on women as a gender, not just feminism, which indicated to me that a large proportion of his readership are total misogynists, which made posting to them about as constructive and appealing as it would be for a black person to post to a bunch of die-hard KKK members.

Now, here are the reasons I am reconsidering:

1. My old MRA debating buddy has chimed in to request that I do indeed make my presence known as a contributor to Glenn’s “Feminist Dissident” category. This buddy is a “known quantity” to me; as in, I know from extensive past experience that while he can simply be a total wiener, particularly if he’s had a bad day, he also does have a genuine interest in exploring how actual feminism impacts the issues facing men as a gender today, and he will actually address said ideas when presented to him rather than simply sneering at the author of said ideas and calling her a feminist booger.

2. A few other of his buddies have hopped over and, in a very courteous and straightforward fashion, have stated that they too would like to see a real idea exchange presented in the “Feminist Dissident” category, and have backed this up by actually presenting a real idea exchange here on PunkAssBlog as an example.

3. It’s really fun to periodically write for an extremely critical audience, as long as the criticism is of one’s ideas and not the mere fact of one’s existence. (That is boring and pointless.)

One more consideration:

1. My old MRA buddy and his buddies have alluded to the presence of either folks that remember me from my earlier feminist-on-an-MRA-site days and still hold a wee bit of a grudge or folks that have developed a fresh hatred of me based primarily on the current blogular exchange over at Glenn’s site, which would make any genuine idea exchange much harder to keep from devolving into a big giant personal attack. This would not make me c-r-y, but I also would not find it particularly appealing or interesting.

So, PunkAssers…share your wisdom…help me find some direction here! :)

What is a Tim Blair?

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

I read Sabotabby’s most recent post, suffered strong pangs of empathy, then moved on with life til I nipped over to Pandagon and saw that Amanda had posted on it and linked to Feministe–and also to something called a Tim Blair. Following that last link, I found a page that can be accurately summarized thusly:

!!111Girls who swear have cooties!!11111 and feminists are stupid wussies111!!11 and guys who say feminist stuff are HOMOS*******!!1111!!

Though you’d think they wouldn’t, given the level of writing talent I observed above, apparently there are people out there who actually care what this dude has to say, leading me to ascertain that he has some kind of notoriety for something. Oh, I’m so uninformed! First I don’t know who Rachel Lucas is, now I don’t know who Tim Blair is…in my defense, I do know what Bernoulli’s equations are and can even use them to design a biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility, which I bet neither Rachel Lucas nor Tim Blair can do. (If that example seems appropos of nothing, I apologize–that’s what I was doing all last week and it’s permeating my brain. Even spending the day at the pool alternately marinating in chlorine and UV rays didn’t cook it out of me.)

Wikipedia is my favorite resource for stuff that I don’t really care about to the point where a flaw in the accuracy of the material presented would break my heart but that I am at the moment interested in, so I dutifully called up the page and typed in Tim Blair and clicked Search. And there it was!

Tim Blair is a journalist, commentator and blogger working in Sydney, Australia. His columns and blog are generally written in a humorous style, from a conservative viewpoint.

Isn’t a “humorous conservative” an oxymoron? Like “compassionate conservative?” Oh, well, it got George Bush elected; I suppose the same morons who fell for the latter are ripe pickin’s for the former. To continue–

In 2004, the Sydney Morning Herald said [blah blah wrote this voted that makes money off advertising] and has also written for Fox News.

Oh well, that’s all they needed to say in the first place! Passive-aggressive venom-dripping poorly disguised lack of actual incisive analytical intellect! Now I get it. “Humorous conservative!”

Blair is particularly critical of Islamofascism

HEY, me too. And “irregardless,” and “alright,” and many others–there are almost a million words in the English language, do we have to persist in using words that don’t really exist? Hey, maybe he and I have soulmate potential after all.

That’s most of the entry, except for an additional list of people he doesn’t like, of whom I recognize only Al Gore by name, and people he does like, none of whom I recognize by name.

Well, that’s that then–classifying Tim Blair in brain under “insignificant moron, cross-ref wingnut, cross-ref misogynist subclassification smarmy” (the other subclassification is rabid in case anyone was wondering) and then moving on to actual, interesting stuff.

Taking female bloggers seriously

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

monorailcat
It’s Caturday, after all, and I exercise my right to be a crazy cat lady on the internet.

I hadn’t heard of Rachel Lucas before today, and it’s probably just as well. (I object on principle to cutesy diminutives of the name Rachel—Rachie is bad enough, but Wachel is the worst I’ve heard. Also, people who dress their dogs in bonnets are to be shunned.) On a more substantive note, though, she’s a member of the Serena Joy school of women-bashing, the Malkins and Coulters and Dowds and Edens who believe that if they devote time to writing about how silly and subhuman women are, they’ll get a pass for their own sin of lacking a peen.

Gotta say that she’s refreshingly straightforward about it, though:

Speaking of pigs, The Other McCain dares to inflame the wound in his role as a patriarchal misogyny oppressor, and Vox Day goes further with a list of things to do if you want to be taken seriously:

1. Have at least half a brain and demonstrate that it actually functions by not writing egregiously stupid stuff.

2. At least 75 percent of your posts should have nothing to do with you or your life.

3. Don’t post a picture or talk about your romantic life, your children or your pets.

4. Don’t threaten to quit blogging every time anyone criticizes you.

5. Learn how to defend your positions with facts and logic instead of passive-aggressive parthian shots fired off as you run away.

Which led to me being dragged into this because as we all know, I routinely violate rules #2 and 3 and yet I’m one of Vox’s favorites, which was pointed out a few times in his comment thread, and thus was born the Lucas Exception by Vox Day, which states that “if a female blogger can be confirmed to be as amusingly bloody-minded as Rachel Lucas, she may post about her dogs or other non-feline pets, so long as such posts are not made more than thrice per week. Kids and cats are still right out.”

Don’t be jealous. Not everyone can have an Exception named after them. You see, Vox gets me.

Eh. You’re easy to “get.” There’s a certain class of women, who if they’re regular enough in differentiating themselves from both trivial, vacuous femininity (while still maintaining the trappings thereof, and being conventionally attractive, of course) and vocal and “unladylike” feminism, gain the temporary approval of professional misogynists. They get patted on the head and trotted out in blog wars for the menz to hide behind. It’s a survival strategy that would be pitiable were it not so damned irritating.

For what it’s worth, I do think there are substantive criticisms that can be made of BlogHer, which sounds far too corporate and fluffy to appeal to my politics. But I’m guessing that this isn’t what’s sending the concern trolls over to Feministe.

Anyway, ladies, let it never be said that I complain without providing constructive advice. Here’s what you really need to be do to be taken seriously by the misogynist blogosphere:

1. Be conventionally attractive. Post occasionally about the supposed ugliness of feminist bloggers in comparison to anti-feminist bloggers, using the same one or two pictures of yourself for comparison.

2. At the same time, mock teh femme. Complain about women who are too interested in stereotypically female concerns—menstruation, bras, motherhood, and so on. While it’s the duty of women to serve and defer to men, you get a pass to be as brash and outspoken as you want, as long as you direct your vitriol towards other women.

3. Link to and quote from well-known male conservative bloggers. Act as though you know them personally, even if you don’t.

4. Post about your guns. If you don’t currently own guns, get some.

5. Blogging about material acquisitions or pop culture that is interesting to men is Serious Blogging About Serious Issues. Blogging about material acquisitions or pop culture that is interesting to women is the reason no one takes you seriously.

6. Go farther in your far-right rhetoric than men. You must be twice as fascist to be considered half as good.

7. Dogs are better than cats, for some reason.

8. Bleep out your cuss words, because adding asterisks robs them of their power and shows that you’re a Good Girl. No one wants to marry a f**king pottymouth.

I hope this helps! *giggles and flutters eyelashes demurely*

Slate’s new Blog For Girls fails the ‘who the hell are you and why do I care’ test

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Slate’s new gals-only blog (called the XX Factor because it’s x-edgy to the x-treme, and also women have two X chromosomes while men have an X and a Y chromosome. Get it?) is drawing criticism for being eyeball-meltingly boring. Erica Barnett calls it “fucking DULL.” Gawker remains unimpressed by the writer’s “femiladyism.” Slate commenters suggest that XX Factor posters may be indistinguishable from men posting as women and quickly get to the heart of the problem:

I wonder if so far the writers for XX Factor just think it’s a place to jot down some thoughts before heading back over to the ‘real news’ that has nothing to do with women’s issues.

I’ll continue to read and post, because I think these are important issues. But I do seriously question how on earth writers for this blog are chosen. Is it just because they’re women? Can we get some actual educated feminists over here please? Men and women feminists alike is fine with me. Just PLEASE, some deeper thinking, some educated opinions, some people who are already familiar with feminist theory, some actual insightful, keen allies to the women’s movement.

And it’s true that the gals have left themselves open for criticism about being boring, too self-referential, and irrelevant. On a whole page of posts from four or more women who are devoted to two topics (that school in Maine that gives BC to students and the smashing, star-studded divorce of France’s biggest media-whore political couple, because nothing else is going on anywhere that needs discussing) one takes a break from toeing the affluent midwestern mom party line to defend her prattle:

And I don’t see why a bunch of women talking to one another is necessarily a “feminist” project. I had assumed it would be more like the all-women dinner parties I started giving a few years ago, when I realized how much fun they were.

For some reason, I’m reminded of this:


Blogs…For GIRLS!

Let me just say, if this blog is a re-enactment of Anne Applebaum’s gals-only dinner parties, then Anne’s parties must suck. If you went to a party where a core group of dull women dominated the conversation with their vapid opinions while you had to do the real-life equivalent of scrolling to the bottom of the page to find the disorganized mish-mash of responses that you’d have to sift through in order to get your opinion heard, wouldn’t you just leave?* What insane fantasy land does Anne live in where “everyone in [her] neck of the woods” is actually talking about the Sarkozy divorce? Seriously, if she’s not posting from France than WTF? And if she IS posting from France, exchanging bon-mots over the scandalous Sarkozys at sparkling dinner parties with her girl friends, then maybe her personal experience is a bit irrelevant for making the personal political all over the Slate girlie ghetto as though she speaks for the rest of us girlie girls.

Honestly, I don’t have any idea who any of these women are. If I’ve read stuff by them in the past then it failed to make an impression. Their names don’t link to any bios, so the only way I’ll ever find out who they are and why I care what they think is if I keep on reading the XX factor, and really after today’s taste I’ll probably just stop in when I need something to make fun of.

I award Slate 10 Lazy Points for going to the effort of creating a safe, mainstream place for women to discuss politics, then staffing it with whatever vagina wandered past the editorial staff within an hour of getting the concept approved. Because if there’s one thing women need, it’s a bunch of pseudo-intellectual women prattling on about how their husbands are just better at playing because guys are just better, and ick, feminism. Slate really saw a need there and filled it. Unfortunately for them, had their hiring process been a little better, they could have just gotten some Cotillion women who would provide the exact same level of “status quo forever!” gender politics while providing enough spite to stave off the cries of “borrr-iinnng!” from the critics.

*The top post right now is a Re: by another poster to a previous post. No comments on the posts themselves, but a “discussion forum” link at the very bottom of the page. It’s a blog layout and posting system as graceful and delicate as the ladies themselves.

Education: big mistake or bad idea?

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

“How much are YOU WORTH?” A shady computer tech school in my area begins their radio commercials asking people to pause and reflect on that question before going on to imply that a certification in information technology will be worth about 50K right at graduation, and creating a false sense of prestige by saying you have to pass a test (oh, god, not a test!) to qualify for their program. For a person stuck in some of the armpits of service jobs we have here, such an offer must sound pretty tempting – I know that at my least employed and most desperate I spent $200 on a bartending course that was laughably useless although by the time I was willing to admit that, the check had already cleared and the classroom had moved on to the next geographical set of suckers. I keep the certification just to remind myself that I’m not as smart as I think I am.

I thought about that a few days ago when Cog over at Offsprung touched a nerve on the topic of useless vs useful college degrees. Cog, who I guess got burned by his expensive but ultimately not lucrative undergraduate program, subscribes to “the idea of college is to spend lots of money to get a degree that will get you a job.” A view that drives others (like me) insane. By the middle of the thread, it was very clear that this was a highly personal subject that divided people into roughly three or four camps that were speaking different languages. And I thought about it when I ran into today’s MSN list’o'the hour, Top Earning College Degrees.

Of the top 10 starting salaries according to major, no fewer than five have the word “engineering” in them. Two or three others (depending on how you count economics) involve high finance, and the remaining ones are computer related. Unifying theme? Math, and plenty of it. And they’re freaking hard.

The participants in Cog’s conversation were heavy on the liberal arts degrees, no shock since college graduates in general are heavy on the liberal arts. As far as I can tell, they divided into camps roughly along these lines:

1) Cog’s Supporters: People who feel that since the conventional wisdom is that you need a degree to get a decent job then you should pick your major based on lists like the one offered by MSN to ensure that you’re not burning money.

2) People who feel that education is it’s own reward.

3) Sensible Educational Theory types, who’d like to agree with statement 2 but have been crushed by reality and would like us hoity-toity learn-for-the-love-of-it types to wake up to the real world, kids.

I belong to group 2, but I have to admit to being a bit of a hypocrite; I ended up trading a kind of joke major for a more impressive, and more reliably lucrative, one. You see, my original major was communications, which I studied at a University that cost as much per year as three or four years at the place I ended up graduating from. So really, I almost made the same costly mistake that Cog appears to think he made. But by the end of that year I was bored out of my mind, I hated the school, and I realized that for what I wanted to do, college was the complete wrong path.

So I quit, and spent a year in theatre, doing some prop stuff and stagehand stuff. But when I realized that I could -if I was lucky and worked my ass off- maybe someday have my boss’ job, I quit that too. I went back to school but this time I majored in physics, and it took 5 years which basically sucked the whole way through. But then I got my degree and it really was the magic piece of paper everyone thinks a college degree is, and I’ve been doing pretty OK ever since.

So with that disclaimer out of the way, I’d like to use this thread to sort out some confusion I saw between the camps in Cog’s thread, because it seems that a lot of people were talking over each other. The whole thing has a tawdry Mommy-war vibe to it, with opposing camps that each have really good points but are defensive and see only where they disagree. So let’s open this can of worms with an insanely long post!
(more…)

Invisible women bloggers are everywhere

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Women may or may not dominate the blogging community, according to a survey at TechBlorge.com that apparently only they can see, for there was no external link.

The survey also revealed that more women than men are bloggers, with 20% of American women who have visited blogs having their own versus 14 % of men.

Of course, since we don’t know what percentage of men v women visit blogs, this statement is fairly useless. If that 50% of Americans who regularly view blogs is roughly 1:n men:women, where n>= 1, then whooo! Go us! If not, then meh.

The survey also reveals that the vast majority of blog readers want gossip, opinion and entertainment from their bloggers, and are in no way looking to replace their normal sources of information, which is a good thing since the vast majority of us bloggers are getting our information from the same places everybody else does. I was surprised to find compulsive blog readers like myself are only 5% of the population.

Only 13% of blog readers say they spend less time with other forms of media (newspapers, television, radio) since they’ve started following blogs.

You’ll be shocked to find that blogs are increasing in popularity as more people read them, and that this makes them attractive to advertisers. Also, because ‘blog’ encompasses everything from DailyKos and ScienceBlogs to Livejournal and Myspace pages, there are still some credibility issues.

So you there! Boys club! Stop asking where all the women bloggers are and open your damn eyes! And you there! Traditional media! Calm the fuck down!

Video game fans prove that they aren’t racist by hurling racist slurs

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Kym Platts at Ask This Black Woman/Black Looks posted the other day about some seriously problematic imagery in the new Resident Evil 5 game.

The new Resident Evil video game depicts a white man in what appears to be Africa killing Black people. The Black people are supposed to be zombies and the white man’s job is to destroy them and save humanity. “I have a job to do and I’m gonna see it through.”

This is problematic on so many levels, including the depiction of Black people as inhuman savages, the killing of Black people by a white man in military clothing, and the fact that this video game is marketed to children and young adults. Start them young… fearing, hating, and destroying Black people.

Now, my knowledge of RE goes about as far as having seen the first two movies (which I liked, incidentally), so I watched the trailer that Kym linked to. And yes, it is disturbing. Because while it’s fiction, with zombies, it can’t be read outside of a cultural context: European imperialist adventures on the African continent, slavery, eugenics, criminalization of Black people, media depictions of people of colour as subhuman and violent, and so on.

She made a good point, and those familiar with how the blogosphere works can guess what happened next. A bunch of white gamer boys immediately leaped on her with responses ranging from “reverse racism!” to “Get back into the cotton fields, you filthy [N-BOMB].” And death threats. Because she dared express an opinion on a video game.

Follow-up posts are here here and here. Stay away from the comments if you happen to be eating—these fanboys are as bloodthirsty as a horde of zombies and about as intelligent.

Libertarian Troll Bingo

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

Zingerella and I have been watching the comment pile-up on Amanda’s review of “Sicko” with some amusement. It seems that the Pandagonians have been hilariously fending off a small influx of libertarian trolls. Said trolls are typing valiantly away in an attempt to make sure that health care isn’t extended to the unwashed masses. As the argument progressed, we noticed that the resident trolls followed a familiar script and shared certain similarities with previous libertarians we’d encountered. Like their ideological comrades, these fellows miraculously manage to do it all themselves, with no help from anyone else. Despite their humble backgrounds, they are autodidacts and their pluck and wits have landed them lucrative jobs at a young age. But they still remember being poor, and all those other poor people who siphoned off the system and, well, just didn’t work hard enough as libertarians do.

Still, Randroids aren’t unkind people. They donate to charity. They just don’t want to be told to help anyone. They don’t want to be told what to do. You know who told people what to do? Hitler.

So, in honour of our libertarian friends, their commendable determination in the face of facts and basic economic theory, and their triumphant individualism, we’ve created:

Libertarian Troll Bingo

Special thanks to “Bryan” and “kevin” for pretty much making my evening.