eruthros: A panel from a 1950s educational comic book showing a communist deflating -- I mean, blowing up, the Washington Monument (Communists!)
eruthros ([personal profile] eruthros) wrote2010-05-07 21:55

Oddly this post is mostly about mice

1. I deleted my facebook page a couple days ago and was so happy about it. They've been eroding privacy rules and controls steadily, as long as I've been there, and I've never really done anything with facebook, and it's not really my ideal internet social network because I don't really want to talk about politics with people I went to elementary school with and haven't seen since. But I kept being like, oh man, people might be pissed or think I'm a weirdo if I delete. But connections was the last straw, and anyway I am a weirdo. So now: delete delete delete! And I just felt this great relief, that I could now get angry at facebook's privacy policy changes without having to go and change all my privacy settings or delete stuff from parts of the profile or whatever.

2. Today in Dangling Modifiers:

"Keith learns that three of the Lilith House girls were in the area of the Dean's office around the time of his murder, which was egged by unknown assailants."

From the wikipedia Veronica Mars episode guide.

3. We had a mouse or possibly mice in the house! We just discovered it this morning, although it's likely been in off and on for a while -- the problem with rentals is that landlords often don't cover holes in the foundation, so in this house a mouse can come up from the basement where the pipe for the sink goes down. And so we cleaned everything and took everything out from below the sink and swept and moved the oven to clean behind it and promised to live lives of purity and cleanliness henceforth and not leave dishes out overnight for ... at least the next couple weeks. And also we bought spring mousetraps, which is perhaps more to the point. And caught the poor thing in, like, the first hour -- sorry to kill you, mouse, but I can't do humane trapping, I don't have a car to take you to the middle of nowhere, and also you are a house mouse and wouldn't like it there. Twings took out the mouse after it was killed, and she was like "aren't you going to come witness my bravery?" which is kind of hilarious because she lived on a farm and dealt with mice a lot, but I went and held out the trash bag and witnessed her bravery, so.

Anyway, this involved going to buy traps at the drugstore, which reminded me of how much I hate the household-pests narrative, right. Like, when I say "live lives of purity," that's exactly the point -- if you have mice (or cockroaches, or fleas, or whatever) the assumption is that it's because you're bad at cleaning, that you're a slob, that you don't care about cleanliness. And it's a narrative about poverty, too, because mice and rats and cockroacahes are so associated with certain kinds of poverty, so it becomes this "dirty poor" thing. And so I'm supposed to be embarrassed to be buying mousetraps. And so of course they don't carry them at our "good" high-end grocery store, only at the little local drugstore. And actually I used to buy mousetraps and roach traps at the dollar store, which, well. I'm supposed to be properly ashamed of myself, for being such an awful, dirty, poor person.

Only the thing is, it's not just about sanitation, it's not actually about being dirty and disgusting, it's not of a sign of failing as a human being or not being educated enough to understaaaaaand how you get pests or that they're bad for you or whatever. It's a sign of living in rental housing where the landlord doesn't care about maintaining the building (class), it's a sign of living in certain climates (race), it's a sign of living in multiple-apartment buildings and row houses and whatever (class), it's a sign of living in certain houses and neighborhoods where everybody has cockroaches so no matter what you do you can't get rid of them (race and class), it's a sign of lacking time because of working too much (class), it's a sign of not having enough spoons to do the incredibly hard work of getting rid of pests when the entire neighborhood is full of them (ability and its associations with race and class). I lived in an apartment in Philadelphia that had roaches. We never didn't have roaches. The neighborhood was full of them; they lived on the sidewalks and in garbage cans and in the bins out behind bars, and we could put down traps and we could keep the kitchen impeccable and I could sweep every day and we still had roaches. I couldn't move the fridge or the oven to clean behind them, but we got the landlord to put traps behind them -- and we still had roaches. But barring, like, tenting the building neighborhood, that apartment still has roaches.

And I hate the scorn people would give me if I mentioned it. And I hate the scorn that doctors and social workers and whoever directed to women who didn't clean "well enough" in Philadelphia -- weren't they concerned that their BABIES could get SICK? weren't they GOOD MOTHERS? didn't they know about SOAP? And the health care clinic I went to had these awful brochures about How To Keep Your Home Healthy, with a pretty strong subtext of you bad bad dirty mothers. It's just such shitty and harmful rhetoric, the whole thing, and it makes me so angry.

Anyway, that is a story about household pests.
toft: Screenshot of the tomato roses created by Hannibal Lecter. (mythbusters_tomatolove)

[personal profile] toft 2010-05-08 02:06 (UTC)(link)
I am very impressed by both of your bravery.

Huh - that's interesting, about pests. I have never really come across that in England, I think maybe because it's maybe the other way around - like, most more upper/middle class people live in older houses, which were built before 1920 and so have mice. Recently we (that is, my mum, in England) had mice for the first time ever, and they had multiple kinds of traps in the top-end hardware store that we went to. Also maybe because England is less of a friendly climate to pests and so it's harder to get them (we don't have cockroaches), so they're more considered a freak accident than related to any particular living situation, I think at least in general. Anyway, I am interested by the differences.

"Keith learns that three of the Lilith House girls were in the area of the Dean's office around the time of his murder, which was egged by unknown assailants."

Maybe that should be egged on. As in, the murder!
Edited 2010-05-08 02:07 (UTC)
toft: Screenshot of the tomato roses created by Hannibal Lecter. (Default)

[personal profile] toft 2010-05-08 02:46 (UTC)(link)
Yeah, I mean, I think mostly the correct response that I've always seen when people say, "We've got mice," is, "Oh no, how awful!" Because it basically happens to everyone, no matter what kind of place you're living in, because of all the old houses with the bad foundations etc, lots of floorboard space, attics, the works. A lot of people got them this winter because it was so freakishly cold. Like, mice are just as much a feature of old mansion houses as they are of council flats, and are possibly even more common in the old mansion. And, like I say, mice are the most common household pests, probably, since we don't have huge ant or cockroaches. Flies would be considered a sign of poor hygiene, but you don't really get fly infestations for any other reason, do you? I mean bluebottle flies, not fruitflies, I guess they like damp and stuff.

To be fair, that I've mostly only seen this reaction is because I've mostly only mixed with English people of the higher class stratum since being in high school. But I don't feel like I've gotten any contrary impression from the media or marketing or anything like that.

[personal profile] nixwilliams 2010-05-08 07:33 (UTC)(link)
you don't really get fly infestations for any other reason, do you?

how different things are in australia! though since almost every door and window has a screen (something i always notice lacking in the uk when i'm there) most places manage to keep out all but the most persistent flies (maybe half a dozen a day)...
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[personal profile] thingswithwings 2010-05-08 12:45 (UTC)(link)
yeah, reading what Lim said above, I'm reminded of some nineteenth-century English journalistic narratives about what's threatening about the lower-middle-class and immigrants, and it's all about how they're unclean, probably incestuous (oh Victorians) and are covered in flies and roaches and rats because they don't practice proper hygiene or have decency. So it's certainly been a sign of moral failing in England previously.
lim: grinning Mulder (by liketruth)

[personal profile] lim 2010-05-08 10:06 (UTC)(link)
lololol, they pretty much treat you like scum in England, too. In terms of infestations, the hierarchy goes: bats -posh! mice - shabby genteel! flies - slovenly! roaches - delinquent! rats - SCUM!
lim: Mulder making an "uh huh" face (uh huh)

[personal profile] lim 2010-05-08 12:56 (UTC)(link)
I'm quite enjoying this branched conversation.

I know, right! Who gets BATS? People living in like, thatched cottages in Wiltshire, or castles and shit, I think.
lim: baby Spock peeks over the bottom of the icon (Default)

[personal profile] lim 2010-05-08 10:01 (UTC)(link)
We do have roaches in England. They can live outside, too, so you're basically fucked if you live in an area with them - which is generally somewhere with connected attics/cellars/vents. Like tower blocks and back to backs! *knows roaches well*

In Manchester, though, the council do extermination, so it's pretty cheap (£16 for a full course and free if you're really hard up), and they will do a whole terrace row or a whole block of flats if it gets bad. But here. in Moss Side, they live in the alleys so you'll never be completely rid of them.
lim: baby Spock peeks over the bottom of the icon (Default)

[personal profile] lim 2010-05-08 12:52 (UTC)(link)
Aye, class - it's inner city areas you get them.

The council does it because the council is also the biggest landlord, and realistically if you've got roaches, you're on a council estate or near one. You might be a private tenant because of people buying their council houses and then renting them, but if you have roaches then your neighbours will get them, and they have to do council tenants for free so they may as well get you to pay for it. Manchester has quite a lot of poverty and is pretty socialist, so council services are quite cheap. I gather that in other cities the council services are more expensive. Oh! In fact it's gone up. It's twenty quid now. Not that that is relevant. I've got lost in pedantry. *clambers out*

toft: Screenshot of the tomato roses created by Hannibal Lecter. (Default)

[personal profile] toft 2010-05-08 14:56 (UTC)(link)
Ah, well, I am showing my privilege, then! Huh. I guess if I'd thought about it I'd have known we have roaches in England, they're the universal insect.
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[personal profile] sasha_feather 2010-05-11 20:36 (UTC)(link)
Maybe that should be egged on. As in, the murder!

The office was actually "egged"-- people threw eggs at it.

:)
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[personal profile] pocketmouse 2010-05-08 02:09 (UTC)(link)
I keep wanting to delete my facebook, but I think there's 1 or 2 people who do use it to maintain contact with me, and I don't trust them to delete my data off their servers, so I'm just kinda sitting on a nearly empty page. It's basically got my name, phone number, city, and photos others have tagged of me. I kinda want control over that, too.

Man, the last place I had had roaches like woah, and yeah, there was nothing we could do about it. It really sucked. Fortunately, I only ever (AFAIK) had mice when I lived places where we also had cats. Which was how we knew about the mice, most times.
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[personal profile] pocketmouse 2010-05-08 02:22 (UTC)(link)
I mean past just deactivation and the actual deletion process. With their data-collection goals and their licensing and content rights stuff in their TOS, I don't trust them to delete my info off their server if I ask them to. It's one of those 'yeah, no one can see it, we'll delete it eventually' data purge type things. But I'd rather keep my hand in by deleting the content from the account than by hoping they'll get rid of everything.
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[personal profile] livrelibre 2010-05-08 04:35 (UTC)(link)
I stopped using FB out of laziness, context collapse, and fear f/disinclination to speak in public (my mom, my work colleagues, old high school people and that person I met at a conference once all in the same place! And you think I lurk here:) but I've been more and more alarmed by them. But I kind of can't delete because of work. Grrr. . .

As for mice, yeah. We regularly did battle with them. My roommate was already a cleaning fanatic but mice would pop up and then it would be all out chemical warfare for awhile but then they'd be back again. *salutes you in the effort*
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[personal profile] harpers_child 2010-05-08 04:51 (UTC)(link)
i live in new orleans. i hear you on the roach thing.
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[personal profile] meghanc 2010-05-08 06:25 (UTC)(link)
Oh, god, roaches. I used to live in an apartment that was completely infested with them, and it was awful. Nothing I did was good enough, and I was poor enough that I didn't have a bed, I just had an air mattress on the floor. The second night I was there, I woke up with roaches on my face and in my mouth. I spent the next nine months (until I moved) shaking borax in a circle around my bed every night.

The cultural baggage that goes with having any sort of infestation is appalling. There's so little that tenants can do about it, but they take so much crap over it.

[personal profile] nixwilliams 2010-05-08 07:36 (UTC)(link)
welcome to the world of the facebook free! i never had one, and i'm glad i didn't.

alas, mice. i think we've had one that's visited (and left droppings in the cupboard with the hot water service), but it's never been a nuisance/stayed long/made a family, which is lucky. i would feel sad having to catch/kill one.

[personal profile] nixwilliams 2010-05-10 21:20 (UTC)(link)
yes, a mouse sanctuary!

[personal profile] twospots 2010-05-08 11:18 (UTC)(link)
Huh. It would never have occurred to me that I was supposed to be embarrassed by having mice. One gets mice because one lives in an old house, and one gets cockroaches by living in a tenement in New York, and one gets ants by being a student in student housing. But then, I learned about mice by growing up in an ancient farmhouse, and about cockroaches by listening to Ani diFranco, and about ants from having students friends with ants so... yeah. I am not sure I can safely assert that it's a Canada/US thing rather than a Rachel-grew-up-in-a-bubble-of-socially-conscious-hippies thing. I would be curious to know whether TWW's Canadian experience agrees with mine.

And congratulations on leaving facebook! I feel much about facebook the way I do about LJ: I would like to leave, but there are people there who make it hard. But way locked down, yes--and I keep hardly any info posted there anyway. Ah, well.

(On a side note, I have heard all my life that you have to take mice faaaaaaaaaaar away or they will come back... but I am under the impression that their territory is teeny tiny, so this doesn't make sense to me.)

[personal profile] twospots 2010-05-09 12:50 (UTC)(link)
Hmmmmmm.... now I have yet another research project!

[But house mice *are* field mice, no? They just prefer houses when they are available, what with them being safer and warmer and comfier, and all. I thought? More research for me! Anyway, that doesn't mitigate the becoming-other-people's-problem though...]
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[personal profile] thingswithwings 2010-05-08 12:54 (UTC)(link)
yeaaaaah, I'm with you on the mice for sure, because I grew up on a farm and all my classmates grew up on farms or near farms, so mice were pretty common for everyone - we had to just have traps all fall/winter/spring (which is like everything but august in Manitoba) and were constantly disposing of mice. But since I've moved to cities, I've felt more like mice are a moral failing, or seen as one. And I think even in farm country everyone thought of cockroaches or rats as something you got from being dirty, and specifically something you got from being a dirty native, as my extremely racist family members would say. And when I think about the image of New York tenements with cockroaches that I got from the media, I don't think of white people. I think it's one of those cases too where if you're white and middle-class to begin with and get mice or rats or cockroaches, it's assumed that you probably didn't do anything wrong (though you are suspect) but if you are poor or seem poor or aren't white, and in Canada especially if you're Native, it's assumed that you're disgusting and dirty.

[personal profile] twospots 2010-05-09 12:57 (UTC)(link)
Eeeeenteresting. Clearly, my perceptions are derived from my bubble. I think you are right about how it depends on who it happens to--even within my bubble!

Also, in my head, ny tenements are inhabited by plucky 13-year-old girls who live in poverty with supportive families and have Challenges and Adventures. And if they don't have supportive families then they have a really nice plump neighbour lady who helps them out. Either that or they are inhabited by 18-year-old folksingers. Ahaha the brain of a bookworm: not always connected to reality.

I am going to be really disappointed if I ever visit england, because it is probably not filled with roving bands of adventurous children and farmhouses full of nice farmer's wives who feed you lots of cakes and cream. Probably also there are not actually that many hedgerows or carriages.
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[personal profile] thingswithwings 2010-05-09 13:01 (UTC)(link)
haha, awww, I like your YA-style view of the world! never change.

I can testify to the existence of plenty of hedgerows in England.
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[personal profile] isagel 2010-05-08 12:16 (UTC)(link)
Roaches thankfully don't like the Swedish climate, so we don't have them. Which means that the narrative about them is linked to narratives about exotic/poor/non-white foreign places where scary things live. Mice I don't think is really associated with any stigma: you're unlikely to ever see them in the city, but if you live in the countryside, their appearance is random and un-linked to class or hygiene. Rats are really bad, but not common, either. And I think mostly linked to garbage placed out-doors, which stigmatizes local authorities or businesses rather than individuals. Head-lice, though, that's a stigma (been there, done that), but I get the feeling that's changing for the better - certainly my boss talks about head-lice epidemics at her son's school very freely.

Anyway, I do think that the kind of pests that are seen as really bad here are the ones we don't ourselves have as a national collective, because of the cold climate, and so they are markers of unknown, threatening, incomprehensible, inferior far-away other cultures, where people less fortunate (and for the most part darker) than we live. Be that Calcutta or Marrakesh or slums in New York. Sometimes it's an orientalist narrative, sometimes it's a narrative about how, say, the American social system is a failure since obviously the state can't protect its citizens from living in rat- and cockroach-infested poverty, whereas in Sweden we are safe from dirty giant bugs and filthy disease-spreading rodents because our social system is the greatest in the world, hah! We are as a nation insufferably smug about these things, and like to think that everyone else is doing it wrong and should be pitied.

Hm, that was interesting, thinking that through.

Facebook is a tool of the devil. I am still refusing to touch it with a ten foot pole.
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[personal profile] isagel 2010-05-08 15:03 (UTC)(link)
I think mostly what our relative buglessness in this region does is make us extraordinarily ill-equipped to deal with the reality of 90% of the world. *g*

I've been thinking a lot about Scandinavian isolationism, lately, what with this being an election year and the anti-immigration party Sverigedemokraterna being on the rise (it makes me almost physically ill every time I think of actual people voting for them - they're also the only party in Sweden to be anti abortion rights and the only party to be vocally homophobic, and they make me so furious I want to scream), and being in the process of reading Lena Sundström's book Världens lyckligaste folk (The Happiest People in the World) about the development of the insanity that is the current xenophobic/racist/fascistoid state of things in Denmark. It's an excellent and funny and upsetting book, and I'm not just saying that because I have a major crush on Lena Sundström (item #7 in a href="http://isagel.dreamwidth.org/182821.html">this post). My local paper is making an explicit political statement by running it as a serial (I also have a crush on my local paper). Anyway, these issues are at the forefront of my mind a lot these days, because of local Swedish politics, and I feel like I end up talking about them all the time, so feel free to hit me when I get annoying.

Oh, look. I googled Sundström's book to see if there might be an English translation I could rec (there isn't), and the very first link that showed up is a YouTube clip of a radio debate about it posted by someone calling themselves "SverigesFramtid" (Sweden'sFuture), where all the comments are about how she is a "disgusting Asian" and should "go back to Korea" (which makes total sense when she was adopted by a Swedish couple at age two). Why am I not surprised? Also, I really loathe how "PC" has become an insult to use against anyone who believes in equality and human rights.
thingswithwings: look left (gen - look left)

[personal profile] thingswithwings 2010-05-09 13:07 (UTC)(link)
fwiw, I find your talk about Swedish politics really interesting - one of the things I like about the flist and the dwircle is that it helps me learn about politics elsewhere in the world.

also, the "PC" thing makes me so angry sometimes I could spit. The right won a huge victory when they got it called political correctness, rather than what it is, which is "not being a fucking racist sexist transphobic heterosexist asshole to people who are already often treated like shit." Oh I could hit things oh.
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[personal profile] isagel 2010-05-08 15:15 (UTC)(link)
I do this weird mental double-take when I read "white-people shampoo". Because it is such an alien concept that shampoo has anything to do with race. Because I grew up in a society where there was only white-people shampoo and nothing else. It had never occurred to me until the subject turned up in LJ discussions that black people needed different things for their hair. It's this huge blind spot I think all Scandinavian people probably have, which is scarily indicative of just how predominantly white and isolated out countries have been. I have still never seen hair-products geared towards black, kinky hair in real life. I have no clue where black Swedish people might get them. (But I pray it's not with the lice shampoo.)
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[personal profile] fish_echo 2010-05-10 04:54 (UTC)(link)
I have never had a Facebook. I have been maintaining that Facebook is evil for years, I just wish I wasn't being proved so right :/

Yay dangling modifiers :)