eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (B5 - Delenn OMG)
... by the way, guys, this is why I'm interested in the use of Neandertals in prehistoric fiction. Ready? Here goes some Clan of the Cave Bear Jean Auel on the subject of Neandertals...
The women relied on their men to lead, to assume responsibility, to make important decisions. The Clan had changed so little in nearly a hundred thousand years that they were now incapable of change, and ways that had once been adaptations for convenience had become genetically set. Both men and women accepted their roles without struggle; they were inflexibly unable to assume any other. They would no more try to change their relationship than they would try to grow an extra arm or change the shape of their brain. ... Memories in Clan people were sex differentiated. Women had no more need of hunting lore than men had of more than rudimentary knowledge of plants. The difference in the brains of men and women was imposed by nature, and only cemented by culture...
Combine that with articles like this one in the Boston Globe, explaining that Neandertals died out because they "let" their women work? Man.

There are, of course, some awesome fictional Neandertals, and there are books that involve Neandertals in alternate universes going through the industrial revolution without ever doing the "Neolithic" (farming) revolution, and we can talk about, you know, production, and definitions of humanity, and all that. But really, you know that for me it's all about that quote up there, and that news article, and the way Neandertals are leveraged.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
I should not be permitted to get together with [livejournal.com profile] graycastle when I am trying to avoid work, because two things happen:

1. We invent a system of kin and gender relations for the Athosians that focuses on reproduction but still permits Teyla to be awesome and have lots of sex. (This largely involves declaring Teyla a "sworn virgin" in the Balkan sense, tacking on "on Athos" and making it a diplomatic position, declaring the Athosian hunting camps to be made up of two sodalities who are responsible collectively for all children, and then getting distracted and talking a lot about how Teyla would ask John for a child. And then about her subsequent pregnant lots-of-sex. And the fact that Jinto is totally her first son, two years after her blood. And Halling is the on-Athos kind of sworn virgin, responsible for keeping track of the brothers-of-blood (which is the only kin terminology we're using except mother: you have brothers-of-blood you can't sleep with, and your family, which you can. because we decided reproductive-obsessed people probably had incest taboos). Also, we got distracted a lot by imagining hilarious conversations between Teyla and John.)

2. We invent an Ancient device that turns ATA-having people into the opposite sex ... but they revert naturally (after at least an hour for the body to recover), but only at the point at which they are uncomfortable in their bodies. So the first few times, it's an hour even, and everybody's freaked out, but maybe the sixth or seventh time Rodney's so distracted by Science that he doesn't notice and become bothered for an hour and ten minutes, and then an hour and a half, and then he starts to get used to it... Which means slowly increasing Rodney and John's time as a girl, as they become more used to the body, but which also means that the experience of two-bodiedness (and the transition from "Lorne" to "Lorne as a girl" to "Lorne in any guise" ) will itself prevent two-bodiedness. As they become more comfortable as women, they stay women longer and longer and longer...

ALSO it means that every fannish genderswap trope would in fact be a stimulus to end the body swap: Cadman shows up with a bra? bamf! (1) goes Rodney, back to a boy; but maybe the next time he puts the bra on. Attempting to have sex? bamf! Menstrual cycle? bamf! Also, the device goes off randomly, which starts the process again. But it takes a different amount of time in every individual, depending on available caloric energy.(2) So Rodney, with his endless powerbars, is like a ten-minute-warning for the rest of the expedition. "We've been evaluating the procedbamfures for use of the ZPM, and ... *presses button for radio* attention, please, we are having another Stupid Ancient Device Episode."

Anyway, clearly hijinks ensue.

(1) We imagine this as a bit like Nightcrawler in the comics. No, you know, heading to the infirmary or anything. Just... walking along and bamf!

(2) Because Rodney as an early warning device is hilarious. Also, this permits them to sometimes change offworld. Which is also hilarious. Imagine, if you will:

Rodney off with scientist, exploring... grain bins or something. John et al doing meet-and-great. John hears Rodney's voice over the radio: "Colonel! Colonel! I need you to come here right now!" (Attempting, of course, to act as his early warning system.) John, attempting to be placating at Chief Whosits: "We come here as peaceful bamf! traders."

*

Also, from [livejournal.com profile] rusty76, the most awesome pride parade photo ever.
eruthros: Kate Winslet smiling at the camera (KW promo pic pink)
Look, y'all! She went after a paper for basically claiming that she wasn't really interested in healthy body weight, she just couldn't lose weight. And they settled. And she donated money to an eating disorder charity. Made of win.

I had this whole weird conversation with folks at this years' Oscar party, in which people insisted Jennifer Hudson "had to" be bigger than a size twelve. (Me: Um, she's standing next to Beyonce. And: that's how Hollywood makes women think normal-sized women are huge. One of them: no, that's got to be just her PR people trying to minimize her size, she's way bigger than a size twelve. OH MY GOD. Right. It's all about the PR people trying to make you seem skinnier, and that's normal for a woman that you just praised as being "one of the only big women in Hollywood.") And who had never heard the Kate Winslet Titanic story. And some of them insisted that she "couldn't possibly be big for Hollywood" (when she was standing on her own), and others that she was "way bigger than a size eight" and was "kind of huge in Titanic" (when she was standing next to other people).
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
Good:

The Frisco Vista blog makes me happy in this discussion of guidebooks and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. (Despite, that is, a name involving "Frisco" -- let's all just mark it as tongue in cheek and move on.) In any case, the Asian has, as said post points out, one of the largest collections of Asian art outside of Asia, a collection that spans millennia, and altogether makes up the most valuable mobile asset in San Francisco. And yet! Nothing but crap. The newspapers don't like to cover the exhibits, the guidebooks could care less -- so much oy.

Daniel Craig? You know, Mr. Bond? Yeah, he wants to do a Gay Bond scene. Also full frontal nudity.

Mark Morford takes this opportunity to mock the stupid. In this case, the stupid "no pre-marital sex for twenty-somethings!" Department of Health campaign.

***
Bad:

The Florida election officials involved in the Sarasota Congressional election? Yeah, they did a machine test, and can only explain 20% of the discrepancies on human error. Now, me, if I tested a machine and found it was screwing up that much? I might say there was something wrong with the machine. Florida election officials? Not so much. They say it's all human error, and they're sure to track down the errors eventually. (To recap: this is the FL-13 House of Representatives election, in which a certain area -- the largely-Democratic Sarasota County -- had a 1 in 6 undervote rate for the House election. For a total of 18,000 undervotes. Compared to c. 200 in neighboring counties. We want to know why, but elections officials are claiming that it's a Statement about negative campaigning -- which, just, okay, there are like more votes for local judge -- and that there's no machine error. Ever! Even though people reported machine error on election day! Oy.)

***
Ugly:

Michael Savage would like us all to know that when Keith Ellison (you remember him -- first Muslim member of congress) is sworn in, it'll be like a witch getting elected. From Media Matters, which transcribes things like this: "So what's next? A witch gets elected, and she says she's gonna only be sworn in with her hand over a pentagram? Where does this end? Tell me when this ends, the tyranny of the psycho, whacked-out minority. Tell me when it ends." So we don't have to. (Savage, incidentally, also critiques Media Matters for taking him out of context. Which is like... geez, what kind of context makes things like "I would also make the construction of mosques illegal in America" seem reasonable?)

Never, never venture into the letters section of salon.com. If you do, you discover scary people. Like, say, the people who appear to be arguing that of pregnant women will of course be battered more that not-pregnant women, because that's the only way men can keep from paying child support. THWAP.

***
Weird:

An ad campaign for milk is going to put up chocolate chip cookie 'scent infusers' at bus stops. Yeah. I'm a bit "... okay."

Some things about weddings freak me out. I mean, I'm not saying that this is a common post-wedding outfit, but apparently it's popular enough to be produced. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is a g-string with a TRAIN. (And thus probably NWS.)
eruthros: SG1: Daniel Jackson, text: "I never wanted to be an archaeologist... I wanted to be a lumberjack!"  (SG1 - A Lumberjack!)
Today, in The Bush Administration Argues Like A Five Year Old, the EPA will be presenting the following case to the Supreme Court: Greenhouse gases aren't airborne pollutants so they're not legally subject to our regulation. And even if they were pollutants, regulation would be too big of a step because it might cause more harm than good. (No explanation provided for same.) Also, regulating greenhouse gases is unfair to the USA, because the problem is global, so the developing countries get a free ride while we do expensive regulation. (Note from the bench: who is the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases? Hint: it's not India. Or China. Or any developing country.) Oh, and anyway, there's dispute about the causes of global warming so it wouldn't matter if greenhouse gases were pollutants because the EPA can't be expected to regulate without all the data. (One might then ask about the global-warming-global-causes logic statement.)

Okay, look, EPA and Justice Department guys: arguments that rely on a lot of "and, and, even if I had hit him, it would have been in self-defense?" Yeah, we laugh at those on CSI.

***

Oh, and people are talking about getting AH-nold to run against Barbara Boxer in the next California Senate race. PAH. Barbara Boxer = made of win. AH-nold = sucktastic but with really good image people. Voters = frequently idiots. "Arnold will kick ass! He's the Terminator!" You want someone to kick ass, you should have nominated his stunt double. DOUBLE PAH.

***

Jon Carroll, on the other hand, makes an effective argument in his discussion of the Warren Jeffs and FLDS trial. He does not make me cranky at all! Except, okay, he talks about the defense's argument that a fourteen year old girl was "happy" in her marriage and sometimes "volunteering" for sex to get to leave the house, so it clearly wasn't rape. And the very existence of that argument? Makes me CRANKY.
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
Some online, some at work, some people I don't even know: they all deserve a fish in the face.

I sum up the argument: "It can't be a feminist story if it's intentionally critiquing another story (that I like) by a woman!" "Well, we don't know authorial intent." "That doesn't matter! Even if it's an unintentional critique, I just can't read it as feminist, because it's mean to another woman." THWAP.

"Well, but he was from Turkey, so he can't be Orientalist, just Oriental." THWAP.

"President Bush never said Iraq and Al Qaeda were connected." "What about when he said that he was insisting on a relationship between them because there was a relationship between them?" "Yeah, well, nobody can show me a clip of that so I think it's just bullshit. God, why do liberals have such shitty logic?" THWAP.

Judith Regan, of ReganBooks, on the OJ Simpson book: "This is an historic case, and I consider this his confession." Yeah? You're paying him how much for that confession? Lovely. THWAP.
(No fish for Otto Penzler, of Penzler/Harcourt, who said he saw a moral problem with "enriching this lowlife in any way," for Patricia Schroeder of the AAP, who said it was "sickening," or for Sara Nelson of PW, who said "this is about trying to cash in, in a pathetic way, on some notoriety." And a handshake for NBC, who turned down the Simpson interview, saying "this is not a project appropriate for our network.")

[redacted]

I always picture fish-thwapping as a kind of Penny Arcade style comic, right? First panel, two people standing as total idiot says something totally idiotic. Second panel, reach into pocket of jacket, remove fish by tail. Possibly a mackerel. Third panel, cheek thwapped with fish, open "o" of a mouth, little flying fish scales making an action shot. THWAP.

ETA: One more. This is Glenn Beck of CNN's headline news interviewing Keith Ellison, newly elected representative (D-MN). And also, incidentally, the first Muslim in Congress. "OK. No offense, and I know Muslims. I like Muslims. I've been to mosques. I really don't believe that Islam is a religion of evil. I -- you know, I think it's being hijacked, quite frankly. With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, 'Let's cut and run.' And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way." THWAP.
Some of my best friends are Muslims but, Mr. Ellison, please do prove a negative to me, because the majority who elected you in Minnesota is clearly concerned that you're working for the enemy. GAR.
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
[livejournal.com profile] m_shell is doing a project on historical attitudes on hysteria. Based on the reading I'd done, and what she read to me from the theses of women's medical college doctors, I have come up with the differential diagnosis of hysteria: patient presents with a symptom and a uterus. (Sometimes the patient presents with a complaint from a man. And a uterus.)

Seriously, you read these things, and it's like the State Department's list of ways to recognize drug smugglers (first off the plane, last off the plane, in the crowd in the middle...). Based on the seventy-five page list of symptoms compiled by a Victorian doctor, everyone has hysteria! Too little interest in sex? Hysteria! Too much? Hysteria! Faintness? Hysteria! Too much energy? Hysteria! Shortness of breath? Your uterus has sneezed in your lungs, so... hysteria! Weak back? Hysteria! Fluid retention? Hysteria! Pain in your ankles? Your uterus is yanking on your muscles! Hysteria! Hand turning green? Hysteria! Better scare that uterus out of the wrist and back where it belongs!
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
We have this.

Of course! Vaccinating for an STD that kills 3,500 American women a year is basically telling girls to go out and have sex before marriage! Why didn't I think of that? (Also, does this mean that vaccinating for rabies encourages people to go out and be bitten by dogs?)

I just. I mean, I understand the issues parents can have with the concept of sex and their children. But ... cervical cancer. (And anyway you could get HPV from your husband, too. I mean, 80% of adults have been infected with HPV at at some point in their lives.)

Le sigh. It's a sad thing when I see people agitating for mandatory vaccines and think "oh, well, I guess that's to prevent parents from endangering their children by refusing to get it." Yeeesh.
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
... so I saw Stage Beauty, based on the play Compleat Female Stage Beauty, this weekend. Billy Crudup plays Mr Kynaston, a real-life male performer who played women's roles, and Claire Danes plays Maria, his female dresser, who becomes an actress when Charles II (Rupert Everett, in a fabulous wig -- he's in the movie just because, when anyone does a film with scary HOMOsexual content, they feel like they need to give him at least a bit part) decides that women should play women.

So. Okay. Could be interesting, yes? But. What it actually ended up being is a film about ... Maria rescuing Mr Kynaston from his hideous and unhappy and unreal and sordid homosexual encounters. I'm sure they think this was Subtle (and thus avoiding Giving Offense), but dude. So, so not.

So Mr Kynaston was trained his whole life to be a girl. His mentor was initially described so vaguely as a "man who took pretty young boys off the streets" that I thought they were proposing a Lurid Male Prostitute Past for Kynaston. And I just can't imagine they didn't notice the resonances. Anyway. His mentor trained all the "masculine mannerisms" and "masculine thoughts" out of him and left him not a woman in a man's body, which would be sad enough, but a man who wants to be a woman (trapped in a man's body) but never, ever can be -- because biology rules destiny. So, as Maria tells him, he can't ever really play a woman, because he can't think like a woman, can't act like a woman, can't be a woman. Nice thoughts for all the trans people in the world, yesno?

And Kynaston has a relationship with the Duke of Buckingham (!), but only when they are onstage after performances, so the Duke can think of Kynaston as a woman -- he doesn't love Kynaston when Kynaston's a man. And Kynaston does think of himself as a woman, during sex. He explains to Maria (who is curious, as of course all modern women would be -- wait, this is Restoration period -- d'oh!) that when two men are together, one is the man and one is the woman, always. (Kynaston also declares that he's "never been with a woman except himself," so he's clearly meant to have had only homosexual experiences.) And then! Maria asks him to show her! So they get all up in the bed, and he has Maria playing the man and himself playing the woman, and she says "not much going on," and he says "well, usually the man has more there," and so naturally they switch places, and then they do this routine where every twenty seconds Maria asks him "and who are you/am I now?" and he says "now...you're the woman, and I'm the man." And by the end, there's no hesitation, and after that acknowledgment they start to have sex, because Claire Danes has cured him, and he has seen the light, and now he knows he's a man and can have happy healthy relationships with women, and that's all it took to de-gay him. Because, see, gay men are just Confused and don't know how to be Real Men. And they don't have sex with gay men, they are the women to straight men -- the Duke of Buckingham wasn't gay, just a MAN, 'cause he was on top. And then! Finally! At the end of the play! Kynaston realizes that now he can play Othello instead of Desdemona, because now he can feel the Othelloness (having read Othello, I would not consider this a good development), and he is much applauded for his accurate portrayal of manness because Maria has finally taught him to be a man.

I. I mean, my dad turned to be afterwards and said "wasn't that just a lame cover-up of 'Claire Danes Can Cure Gay Men?'" and I said "well, yes." It was so unsubtle and generally blech. It's sad, because it starts well -- all about gender as performative -- but it ends so, so badly. Men, as we know, are men, and women are women, and these lines cannot be crossed.

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