A Post

…in which I write some things other than “Hey, I’m not going to post for a while.” Specifically, some reasons why I haven’t been posting and probably still won’t for a bit.

1) Two nights ago, a spider got up my pajama pant leg while I slept, got trapped around the knee, and left me with 11 goddamn bites. This happens about once a year, and it’s hardly a big crisis, but it means that for the next several days, I will wake up with my knee on fire, and sit around whimpering and cursing the spider for 10-20 minutes until it calms down instead of posting first thing in the morning, which is usually my best time. (This is not a good reason for not posting, mind you, but since I just woke up, it’s the one that’s foremost in my mind.)

2) I just got back from a 10-day trip to New York, which was amazing in several ways, perhaps most notably that I think I went like three days without turning on the computer at all. (I  did, of course, check e-mail and Twitter on my phone. But it was still a big change for me.) Like my recent trip to Toronto, it reinforced that I spend too goddamned much time on the internet, and I actually enjoy leaving the house and speaking to other human beings face to face. So I’m still trying to figure out how to do more of that.

3) I am, as previously mentioned (I think), working on a new book proposal. Although when I was out with Amy Benfer and another writer friend last week, I said “I’m still at the proposal stage,” and Amy immediately corrected me: “She’s still at the talking-about-it-in-bars stage.” Mostly because that’s exactly what I was doing at the time instead of writing. But A) that is an important stage, dammit, and B) I have written half a proposal and would like to get the other half finished soon. So that’s ongoing.

4) Before that, though, I have to finish revising/adding to the body image chapter for the upcoming edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves. How awesome is that?

5) My mother-in-law is coming to visit tomorrow.

6) In anticipation of 5 — and because I really couldn’t avoid it much longer and still have a usable space — I have spent the last two days thoroughly cleaning my office, including going through every box full of papers that’s been sitting around there for months to years, figuring out what to shred and what to save, and creating a filing system that lends itself to actually finding things when I want them, as opposed to my tried and true “throw it in a box and maybe go through it the next time I move” system. I am still not done. And now Al’s gung-ho on organizing the closets and pantry and trying to set up systems all over the place that will help our future selves avoid getting buried under heaps of clutter and I’ll Deal With It Later boxes, so if you don’t hear from me, it is probably because I will be cleaning this fucking apartment FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

But to tide you over, here’s a thing I probably would have posted about, had I been in a posting mood. In the “Flesh and Stone” episode of Doctor Who, which is the last one we’ve watched (so please don’t spoil anything past that) (and if you haven’t seen that ep and don’t want to be spoiled for it, quit reading now), new companion Amy comes back from a typically harrowing adventure and reacts in exactly the way I would if I were a young, single, heterosexual woman who’d just traveled through time and space (and nearly died) with a guy who looks like Matt Smith and is basically the most amazing dude ever, because that’s the whole point of him: She tries to get him into bed. (And gets nowhere, predictably, but still.)

Now, I should note that A) I am not remotely a Doctor Who purist (I’ve only watched the new version) and am therefore not invested in the notion that the Doctor is meant to be asexual. (Especially when he’s as hot as the last three have been, which frankly is the main reason I got into watching it.) B) I am also not remotely the kind of person who thinks sex/tension between leads ruins good shows in general. In fact, I would pretty much like everyone on TV to be fucking and/or having relationship angst all the time. So there’s that.

But even setting those things aside, I was stunned to see the internet reaction to that scene. Not only is there slut-shaming galore (I forgot to mention that Amy’s supposed to get married in the morning, so OMG HOW COULD SHE?) but there are several people advancing the theory that her hitting on the Doctor is meant to be read as evidence of mental illness (by which they seem to mean daddy issues and low self-esteem, mostly, but they’re framing it in terms of a disorder). Simply because she wants to have sex with what appears to be a very cute twentysomething guy (ok, he’s a 900-year-old alien, but still) after going through several adrenaline-pumping adventures with him. Previous companions in the new version have either mooned over the Doctor endlessly or kept it strictly platonic, and on a show about time and space travel and aliens and monsters, the fact that no one’s tried to bone him yet has strained my credulity more than just about anything else.

And I’m not alone, as I learned in this (very amusing) Doctor Who Confidential clip about the scene in question:

Around 2:05, the show runner, Steven Moffat (who’s been accused lots of times of being anti-feminist, but whatever, that’s another post) says: “Here’s this man, this generally rather good-looking man — sometimes older, sometimes younger, but generally good-looking — who’s wonderful, funny, passionate and kind, and the nicest, bestest human being (apparently), you’ll ever meet. And all those girls… didn’t notice? Ever? Not once?” GOD, THANK YOU.  ABOUT TIME. Yes, previous companions have been crazy about him, but only in a “You are my One True Love and I will wait around until you think of me that way, which I know you never will” way, so later, Moffat explicitly states the obvious:  Unlike them, Amy’s just looking for a romp, not true love, because why not? See also the part around 3:05 where Karen Gillan, who plays Amy, gives her reasoning for why the character went for it: “I don’t know, sometimes you do things in the heat of the moment…when you’re, like, excited, and you’ve shared something with someone and… [shrug].” Indeed. NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

And yet. Precisely because she just wants sex, a disturbing number of people can’t figure out her motivation. There must be something deeper — something dark and fucked up, in fact — because a young woman just wanting a roll in the hay because hey, you’re here and you’re hot and all that stuff we just did was kind of mind-blowing? Well, that makes no sense whatsoever! To take that at face value, you’d have to believe that girls like sex or something!

So, yeah. I guess I did sort of post about that just now, except if I were really posting, I’d spend 9 more paragraph reiterating the above points in increasingly ranty ways. As it is, I’m just going to issue a big, fat SHUT UP, INTERNET and turn it over to you guys. That’s all.

You Are My Sisters

Tasha Fierce wrote an incredibly personal essay As Fat As I Wanna Be, which was picked up by Jezebel and has touched off a bit of a dust up in the comment section. If you value your Sanity Watcher points I strongly suggest you avoid reading the comments.

Tasha Fierce says:

When someone is fat shamed, the person doing the shaming often justifies it as them being concerned for the fat person’s health. Of course we know that’s bullshit. Fatphobia has nothing to do with health, if someone was really concerned they wouldn’t harp on it to the detriment of fat people’s self esteem. And a ton of fat people can attest that they eat healthily and exercise. I however, cannot. So is the health argument justified in my case? Well, no, because fat also has nothing to do with health. It’s the food I eat that’s the issue. It’s the fact that I eat when I’m definitely not physically hungry. It’s my lack of exercise.

Tasha’s passage here echoes much of the conversation regarding false good fatty/bad fatty dichotomy. While the most vitriolic of commenters on the Jezebel repost scanned as nothing more than garden variety concern trolls, it would be reductive to suggest there wasn’t a bit of the sentiment coming from within the Fat Acceptance movement as well.

Leslie of Fatshionista shuts it down like this:

This divide is unworthy of any size acceptance movement because in the real world, we all straddle these lines, and trying to create a homogenized group of “acceptable” fat people only further marginalizes the fat people who, for reasons both within and outside their control, can’t fit into that category. Not everyone can afford a gym membership or fresh produce; not everyone has time to cook healthful balanced meals from whole foods, or to spend an hour running to nowhere on a treadmill; and not everyone can stave off health problems, no matter how virtuous their habits may be.

Marginalized groups must work to resist the tendency to devalue or bristle over any member whose actions might be viewed as “making the rest of us look bad”. The work to end all forms of oppression does not involve policing group members to ensure they are “on message”. Ending oppression – be it fat or racial or gender or whathaveyou – requires an active commitment to resist any cultural messaging seeking to frame one member of a marginalized group as representative of all members – regardless of whether the framing presents the members in a negative or positive light.

This can sometimes be difficult to deal with as a person who often feels uncomfortable when I see other women of color behaving in ways I feel are counterproductive to the struggle to end racist, sexist oppression. That said, if I really value being seen as an individual first, rather than my gender, size, race, then I must accept that other women are also free to make choices about the way they lead their lives as well. More importantly, I must actively work to ensure their ability to make choices I might not personally make is free of sexist, transphobic, classist, ableist, homophobic, racist and sizeist oppression. After all, they are my sisters – regardless of whether or not my own lived experiences mirror theirs or I agree with their life choices.

In my opinion, if we can’t all get to the mountain top it just ain’t worth going.

Fluff: “Arnold raced out of the door,”

Fans of Murder, She Wrote are often as fascinated by every detail of the opening credit sequence as they are with the actual episodes. In the sequence, Jessica engages in a host of wholesome activities having little to do with staging murders to later solve or writing about those staged murders. The exception is a few scenes providing the audience a glimpse into Jessica’s writing process, which involves a lot of focused keystroking, carriage returning and the shuffling of papers into what looks to be a menu from Red Lobster.

The few flashes of manuscript – thought to be from Fletcher’s first novel, The Corpse Danced at Midnight – only allow viewers seconds to absorb this particular phrase:

I vacillate between sensing there is more to the Arnold story than twelve seasons worth of episodes and two seconds of screen time reveal to believing Arnold – like the second most famous guest star appearing in any episode of Murder, She Wroteis just a red herring. As far as I know neither the producers of the program nor Angela Lansbury have ever publicly addressed the issue. In addition, Arnold has never come forward with his own version of the events.

I should point out one of my favorite Murder, She Wrote related activity is coming up with lyrics for the instrumental theme:

    There is a murder, a murder she wrote…Jessica can kill you by bus, bike or boat… Jessica, get out of there (cello solo) Jessica, get out of there…

It’s Friday and in some areas of the country – though not here – it’s Spring. It’s a fluffy open post, which hopefully will stay fluffy and can encompass any range of topics, AS LONG AS IT IS FLUFFY in nature. If you can cuddle it, water it, read it, write it, hot glue it, dance to it in your undies or bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes it’s all good. You can even dish Murder, She Wrote. Whatever.

In the meantime please enjoy this faithfully rendered send up of the opening sequence.


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A version of this previously appeared on Snarky’s Machine

Out of Office

Hey, it’s another post where all I do is explain why I’m not really posting!

I’m out of town until mid-next week, and at this writing, my internet access is not quite as robust as I hoped it would be. So posting from me might be even lighter than expected. In the meantime, have an open thread and be good.

Fluff: Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

Jezebel ran a post called How Tragic Kingdom Saved My Life and while that particular album didn’t evoke a similar response in me, I adore the idea of dishing the music that’s been instrumental in one’s life.

I suspect that most of us have an ultimate soundtrack filled with songs for different occasions and from different eras of our lives. Growing up in the 80s I was exposed to a variety of musical styles and artists – and much of it was mad cheesy. Despite having interests reflective of many genres – including the oft derided country and hip hop – I still find myself going back to the same few artists: David Bowie, Earth, Wind & Fire, Lyle Lovett, The Legendary Pink Dots (I was a teenage goth) and for some inexplicable reason Eric Clapton – don’t ask, it’s a long story.

I wish I could say I had uber amazing in taste in music, but I don’t. I like all kinds of foolishness without shame or a clear understanding of the concept: guilty pleasure. I don’t like listening to radio unless it involves blathering about cooking, gardening or alien abductions . I tend to like the structure of a set schedule of programming, given that I have ADHD and all.

What kind of music are you enjoying of late? Recommend something. Enjoy. Let’s be fluffy, respectful and all that jazz – yes, I love me some showtunes.

Currently, I can’t get enough of McCartney particularly the instrumental “Momma Miss America”:

That Lump in Your Pants is Not My Sexual Education Opportunity

Dear [name redacted]:

I get it. Discussing the fabulous ordinary whiteness of being as portrayed in Stillman films such as Last Days of Disco and Metropolitan is really hot. He creates fantastic, witty – albeit incredibly fatuous and pretentious – characters, giving them meaningful goals and interesting things to say. And I like what you said in terms of Stillman’s ability to put aside the snark in favor of crafting a substantial, sympathetic and realistic portrayal of a generally maligned group: yuppies (though often for highly understandable reasons). Your comments echoed those of reviewer Christopher Long of DVDTown who said:

Stillman isn´t here to mock. He had every chance to do it in “Metropolitan” with his privileged, self-absorbed young socialites who obsessed over literary criticism and televised debutante balls. But Stillman loved his characters not just despite but because of their foibles, and he treats his disco-loving drifters with the same gentle sensibility.

There was a lot of what I believed was appropriate passion in your voice as you quoted your favorite lines of dialog from the LDoD. That is until I glanced away from you face and noticed you were fumbling wildly with the lump rising in your rumpled and stained khaki pants. Okay, maybe fumbling wildly is a bit of an exaggeration, given that we were in Barnes & Noble, it was reasonably well lit and there were a few other patrons in our general area. That said, we can both agree you were conjuring up the contents of your boxer in a way that felt – well – problematic.

I’ll admit my share of the blame – as limited as it might be – because I am the kind of person starved for meaningful discourse about films. I have my mom and my boyfriend and that’s about it. Most people just don’t have the desire to delve that deeply into the kind of films I enjoy viewing. Now this isn’t to suggest my tastes skew towards the obscure, the pretentious or the punishing; they don’t. But rather, I tend to regard every film I view as ripe for cultural deconstruction, even if it does happen to feature Harrison Ford in the lead role.

I will also admit my eagerness to dish film whenever I get a chance does often causes me to act against my own best interests. That said, I’m just not willing to take on the responsibility for your wayward boner. That’s what the whole, “Motherfucker, please. Go bunch your slacks on someone who gives a shit!” business was all about. Yeah, I was kind of loud and indignant about it and I’m real sorry you were asked to leave the store before you were able to find some other fool to love you.

Okay, actually I’m not really sorry about that.

Now I’m really trying to get out of the telling business, but I feel I must give you this parting piece of unsolicited advice:

In the future if you’re talking to a gal who makes you go bunchy in the dockers region, and you’d rather not get cussed out in public (I could tell you didn’t much enjoy that one bit) or watch others get the attention you worked hard to cultivate, perhaps you might save your slack bunching for the privacy of your home, car or depending on your previous criminal record – a long subway ride.

I’m not here to judge, but oh c’mon. Seriously? Where exactly did you see this train headed? If you seriously did not realize the train was going to DERAIL, then consider this your painfully humiliating wake up call. Trust me, you got off easy – well technically you didn’t get off, ew, actually let’s not even go there. But I was a lot nicer to you because I was in a good mood and you had given me 3 minutes of non Skeevy Wonder time. I guess happy endings really are alike.

Well, maybe not for you.

Sincerely,

Snarky’s Machine.

PS: Nobody leans their dirty, bunchy trousers on Snarky’s Machine.

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This entry previously appeared on Snarky’s Machine with a much longer title.

Happy International No Diet Day!

It’s that time of year again, folks. As Fillyjonk wrote two two years ago:

Of course, we strive to make EVERY day No Diet Day, but if you’ve been teetering on the edge, today is the day to try it out for 24 hours and see how you function when you make peace with food. Or maybe it’s time to spread the word to some friends, or post a flyer next to the stats for your office “Biggest Loser” competition. Or maybe it’s just a day to eat a big piece of cake.

This time last year, we were celebrating by getting Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere to the number one spot on the Powell’s bestseller list. Of course, I happen to think that’s an appropriate way to celebrate every year, so feel free to try again. (Kidding, kidding. But it does make a lovely gift.) Tell us how you’re celebrating in comments.