Good God, it's been too long....

Friday, May 30, 2008

I can't even claim that I've been busy, because in the grand scheme of my life, this is not a terribly busy period! Sigh.....I now have the pressure of trying to write a really extra excellent post, to make up for not writing for so long.

I haven't worked at all this week. That really frustrates me, since this is really the last chance for a decent paycheck before summer. The result is that I've been sitting around the house all week without much to do. I don't really do well with free time. I could have been practicing, or cleaning (lord knows the apartment needs it), or writing, or reading. I've done next to nothing. I have no energy nor enthusiasm for anything, and that sucks. I often find that time off does this to me. After about a week I start planning projects for myself. The trouble is that those projects usually involve money, which is going to be incredibly tight for the next few months. When I sit around the house, I start wanting to improve said house. I get the urge to decorate, replace things, engage in DIY projects...

The current urge is to replace the couch. Our futon has its function (giving friends a place to crash when they come to stay), but it also has the problem of being insanely uncomfortable. When you sit on our futon, you can feel the metal bars underneath poking you in the fun. We've looked at Ikea couches, which are pretty affordable, but not as cushy as we'd like. The thing with me and Boyfriend is that we tend to lounge on the couch, rather than just sit, so a high degree of cushiness is necessary. Real live furniture/department stores are way too expensive. Ideas?

Best Friend (We shall call her Molly. Another of her friends calls her that on his blog, so I'll keep the pseudonym) swears by consignment stores, but then again, she lives in Santa Barbara where such places contain the cast-offs from wealthy SB/Montecito people. I'm not sure that Oakland/Berkeley consignment places will be as promising. Thoughts? Or is anyone in possession of a really cushy couch they need to get rid of?

My next request is for ideas. What should I do to earn some money this summer? I've got my couple of piano students, and hopefully some tutoring, but that's not going to cut it. I plan to put a flyer up at work, advertising my tutoring services. I think that going and getting some dumb retail job is not logical. I'm only available for 1 month and a half, so training in a job that I'd leave immediately doesn't seem reasonable. What do you think readers? (or reader, as the case may be...)


Now, on to the issues that I've been reading about and thinking about but not writing about:

1) First up, a continuation of my Gay Marriage post: It might confuse some of you that I rant and rave about marriage and "wife-dom" and how it freaks me out, but then cheer over the CA ruling. Let me explain:
The gay marriage debate is only nominally about marriage. It's about equal representation under the law. It's about separating civic life from religion (which we should be doing anyway) and granting all people equal rights. Just like with feminism, what gets really twisted and misunderstood is the concept that granting rights to all does not take them away from anyone. That's the whole EQUAL part.

When the conservatives start going off about "legislating from the bench" I get really mad. Sometimes the court needs to assert what's right, because voters often won't.
The courts had to order desegregation. Courts had to order states to allow mixed-race couples to marry. The whole point of the judicial branch is to keep the other two branches in check. Voters will not always do what's right, and frequently "the will of the voters" is hateful, misogynist, and unaccepting. Now, with the clowns that Bush appointed to the Supreme Court, the judiciary is acting on those same 3 principles. infuriating....

Ellen DeGeneres had John McCain on her show just after the CA ruling. It was also just after she announced that she plans to marry her partner, Portia de Rossi. John McCain essentially told Ellen that she's less than he is and we should respect his bigotry. I stole that wording from Sarah at Shakesville. Her analysis of that interview, and loads of other really important issues to consider in the GLBT marriage debate, is right here. For more analysis, Pandagon has been great, and has worded things much better than I could. These three articles are especially good.

2) Feminism getting a bad name. Which it does. Nearly always. One way that it gets trivialized is to paint feminists as "angry." Anger, of course, is nearly always linked to female hysteria and being irrational. It's used as a way to condescendingly pat someone on the head, as one might do to a kitten trying to eat imaginary bugs: "Oh, you silly little thing, you. Don't you know that's useless?" For a useful dissection of anger and how it's perceived, read Melissa McEwan's Feminism 101 post

Next, who better to badmouth feminism that the daughter of one of the 20Th Century's foremost writers and feminists? I think that the world has known about Alice Walker's strained relationship with her daughter for some time. As far as I know, that's not news. This is partially why I found it so weird that there was a huge article in the Daily Mail in which Rebecca Walker (Alice's daughter) blasts everything that her mother has ever done. Again. Now, the Daily Mail is fairly conservative, so that may impact its desire to tear down feminism, but it seems like such a tired subject.

There's so much nonsensical, illogical anger and defiance in Walker's article that it's really hard to figure out where to begin. I really get the feeling that this woman should be dealing with her issues in therapy rather than an internationally read paper. I'm especially bothered by her reaction to divorce:

As the child of divorced parents, I know only too well the painful consequences of being brought up in those circumstances. Feminism has much to answer for denigrating men and encouraging women to seek independence whatever the cost to their families.

Okay, where should I begin? Well, how about with her incredibly awkward writing? Oops, that was mean. Sorry. First of all, I totally disagree with her interpretation of what it means to have divorced parents. Second, she really, really, really needs to stop drinking the Kool-Aid if she thinks that women seeking independence is a negative thing. Third, which is more apparent elsewhere in the article, Rebecca thinks that having a family is and should be a woman's highest priority. Nowhere does she acknowledge that this might not be the case for some people. Here's another choice nugget:

Then there is the issue of not having children. Even now, I meet women in their 30s who are ambivalent about having a family. They say things like: 'I'd like a child. If it happens, it happens.' I tell them: 'Go home and get on with it because your window of opportunity is very small.' As I know only too well.

Ugh....Walker constantly equates feminism with divorce. I think she assumes that all feminists will get divorced. That's part of my "nonsensical" criticism. I really don't get where that's coming from. Basically, I think that Alice Walker probably wasn't the greatest mother, but whining about not being mothered the way you really wanted to be is an argument that can only come from the privileged, and it's not something that should be used to paint an entire movement. The end of the article really left me fuming:

I believe feminism is an experiment, and all experiments need to be assessed on their results. Then, when you see huge mistakes have been paid, you need to make alterations.

I don't even know what to say to that....

3) Polygamy: This whole saga is endlessly fascinating, and I'm not sure why. I also had a really scary moment the other day, which is making me want to call up my genealogy-knowledgeable cousin and ask her to make sure that all of our relatives are properly accounted for.

I'm descended from a polygamist, you see. Yep. My great-great-grandfather, George Q. Cannon had 6 wives. This was right around the time that Utah was pursuing statehood. One of the conditions was that the LDS church give up polygamy. He went to jail rather than give up his wives. Our branch of the family is from Georgie's first wife, Elizabeth Hoagland. I suppose that makes me feel more legitimate, or something.

I really want to make sure that I don't have some long-lost 3rd or 4Th cousin living on one of these rape factories somewhere....George Q was the last polygamist in the family, right??? Please tell me that's right?? Anyway, I just found out that George Q. Cannon has his own Wikipedia entry....wild! But yes, if you're up on the family history, could you reassure me that we're not related to any modern-day crazies?

Here's George:He's in the center with the white hair and crazy beard. Here's his wife Elizabeth. I kind of think that of all my relatives, I look most like her. Maybe I'm wrong, I dunno.

I've got the high forehead, the big nose, the small upper lip...I actually have eyebrows, though, so that's a start...So, that's the stuff that's on my mind lately.

My afternoon will be spent replacing the bulbs in the headlights of our car. 'Cept that Boyfriend didn't tell me where he put the replacement bulbs....grr...wish me luck!


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