Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friedersdorf's Post on Men and Abortion Rights Elicits, Unsuprisingly, Vitriol From a Self-Righteous Pop Feminist Warrior

Friedersdorf's post responds to his respondents. Harrogate doesn't have much to say beyond what he already said. Except one thing. "Anna N." at Jezebel is exactly the type of persona that makes Harrogate feel, as he occasionally does, embarrassed to be in any way associated with progressive American politics in general, and with pop feminism in particular--both of which movements are so freaking up to their eyeballs in identity politics one wonders sometimes at the rank ridiculousness of it all.

Award-Winning Snippet:

I don't believe that all anti-abortion advocates are acting in bad faith, or that they all want to control women. I do believe that many of them have genuine religious objections to abortion, and that these objections don't necessarily make them misogynists. But I also believe that on both sides of the debate are men who don't really get what it's like when something is not their decision to make. It's time for them to learn.

Oh, please. Do "teach" us blinded, oppressive, piggish men, Anna N.

Nothing in the abortion rights saga has been more stunning to Harrogate over the last decade--and this is including the murder of George Tiller, which was more heartbreaking than it was surprising for Harrogate--than the persistent presence on the blogosphere of women writers lashing out at male supporters of abortion rights, for having the audacity to enter the conversation in the first place. There are so many things wrong with such "logic," one hardly knows where to begin.

Anna N. asserts that Friedersdorf's post amounted to a threat by men, to withdraw financial and emotional investment in their offspring in response to the rhetoric of people like Anna N. But of course this is not at all what Friedersdorf's post said. But then, truth is not really a primary concern for those who worship at such poisonous wells.

For that is what identity politics has become, in the popular culture, in the political sphere, and increasingly, in the academic humanities as well. One wishes this were a straw man argument, but then one wishes a lot of things.

The illusion that women in the United States suffer greatly, that a vast patriarchy oppresses Anna N. and her sisters, must be maintained at all costs by any good progressive.

Blech on the race baiters and blech on the ovary peddlers too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Musical Tribute: Lola.

There is just something about today, today. We'll do this tribute today but under only one condition: you have to join in.

The Cynicism Against the American Public: The Soda Pop Campaign

As President Obama and Congress attempt to reform health care, there is a new group attempting to fight the reform through a juice and soda campaign. It is like the Twinkie Defense, only different.


First, watch the ad here. Then, continue reading....




It is an interesting argument:

In the current economic climate, families are trying to save and not spend (and, hence, not always enjoying life. Except this family who looks like their enjoying life. But see, they are a nice, middle-class, suburban family who needs to camp instead of going to Dizz-Knee-Land. And no one likes to go camping, especially suburban families. Hence, this tax is hurting the family in question.)

Congress wants to tax the simple pleasures of life (the only thing you may be enjoying right now): juices and soda. If Congress taxes these as "some in Congress are thinking about it," you will not even be able to have this pleasure. (And then you too will need to go camping on vacation.)

Taxes do not make people healthy. Only education, exercise, and a well balanced diet will make people healthy. (Um.... and you should eat your vegetables because people in Africa are starving.)

As this ad appeals to an "educated public" it is also deeply cynical as it expects the audience not to understand the role of juice and soda on health care. An educated public would know that the increase of juices and soda in our daily diets increase the chance for obesity (see here, here, and here). Obesity increases medical costs (see here, here, and here). Health care reform is urgent because of rising costs. Consequently, a tax on juice and soda will reduce obesity. Reducing obesity will reduce costs. This means there is great social benefit to this tax even if there is no reform of the health care industry, which I would argue is still necessary. But that is the subject of another post.

But this has very little to do with the real issue of the ad: preventing health care reform.

Yet, for Americans Against Food Taxes of all this means is that 46 million Americans should go without Health Care insurance because suburban middle-class family X wants to drink soda even if drinking soda increases health care costs. The group would like people to say no to discriminatory taxes that burden those who drink soda and, consequently, who burden the rest of society for increasing health care costs.

Enjoy liberty with no social duty!!!

Coca Cola for everyone, especially if the company puts the cocaine back in!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Poem of the Day

"Spring," by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Who, by the way, remains highly underrated in Harrogate's opinion.

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Thursday Musical Tribute: In Which Harrogate Pays Homage to his Modernist Friends

Part I of Rite of Spring

Part II

Part III

These are all "extracts," but they do the job.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Men and the Abortion Issue

Today, a guest blogger on Andrew Sullivan's site, named Conor Friedersdorf, posted what Harrogate considers an extremely well-written engagement with the role of men in the abortion rights discourse. Friedersdorf's post responds to the firestorm provoked by a recent piece published by Alternet and entitled "My First Abortion Party.

Friedersdorf (and, to a lesser extent, "My First Abortion Party") attempts to negotiate the abortion issue's intersect between women's rights and the misandry that often impels pop (and academic) feminist discourse.

From "My First Abortion Party"

I saw Maggie’s boyfriend, sitting near the kitchen, wearing rainbow suspenders and looking uncomfortably alone. As it turns out, he had been the object of a lot of vitriol from Maggie’s friends -- women who thought that he should not have had anything to do with the abortion


A few days beforehand, one of her friends had asked her to have the abortion in Ohio. When Maggie insisted on bringing her boyfriend along, the friend told her not to bother coming. Maggie was being shown a great deal of respect, certainly. But she told me she couldn’t help but feel as though her pregnancy had been "hijacked" by women who felt like her inclusion of a man in the decision was weak or wrong.

And then from Friedersdorf:

Without taking any position on abortion itself, I want to interrogate the appropriate role of males, and suggest that progressives especially face some thorny questions. As I understand it, the most common position on the left is that how a woman deals with an unwanted pregnancy is a choice to be made by her alone. At the same time, the progressives I know subscribe to a partnership ideal in relationships, wherein major life decisions between couples are made via a process of mutually supportive dialogue, stripped of archaic gender norms whenever possible.


Immediately followed by:

The woman gets pregnant: "I'm late," she tells her boyfriend. The man, if he wants to keep the sympathy of the audience, says, "What are we going to do?" The "we" signals his mutual responsibility for the circumstance and investment in the process -- and the question mark signifies that he'll pretty much support whatever she decides.

That shit's pretty funny, actually. No stand up comic could have done it better.

And finally:

Given that progressives and feminists are especially invested in pushing back against the notion and reality that rearing children is the province of women, I'd be curious to hear whether they agree with my diagnosis, and how they think these questions ought to be navigated. Is there an inherent tension between the social norms that advance your agenda on reproductive rights, and the ones that better bring about the world you'd like to see more generally?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How to get compensated for damage done

Within a few days of this YouTube video being posted, United Airlines contacted David Carroll (of Sons of Maxwell) and reversed their decision to deny his damage compensation claim. Oh, the power of going viral!

I should write a song about my UPS issues.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sotomayor pledges love for puppies... and kittens

Sonia Sotomayor confirmations hearings began today.

A CNN story on the hearings started with the following line:
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor said Monday that her hotly disputed judicial philosophy is, in fact, quite simple: Remain faithful to the law.

All of this means is that Sotomayor does not kick puppies. Furthermore, she likes them. In fact, if given the right opportunity, she will pet them. And, while petting one, she will remain faithful to petting it, ensuring maximum happiness for the said puppy.

She also does not spit on the baby Jesus. Nor does she use the Constitution to clean the kitchen counter by the coffee maker.

When in Athens....

If no one is going to make this confirmation process a serious discussion of the Constitution or of the laws, just confirm her already.

How Old is the Swimming Pool?

This civil suit might be the least of its problems.

Musical Tribute of the Day: Monday, July 13, 2009

This is a tribute to the high school and college bands of my youth...

Dinosaur Jr., "The Wagon."

If there were a band to describe the essence college rock, in general, and my high school and college rock, in particular, it may have to be Dinosaur Jr. With their odd sound and even odder songs, yes I am speaking about their cover of "Just Like Heaven," this was the band I listened to most during my "formative years." Whatever's Cool with Me, along with The Best of the Velvet Underground, were the first two CDs I ever purchased. I still possess fond memories of that post-Christmas, wintery day. And, yes, and the day of which I speak was December 26th, 1990.

So here is to you Dinosaur Jr and your first cut off of Green Mind, "The Wagon," because "There's a way I feel right now... Wished you'd help me, don't know how. We're all nuts, so who helps who. Some help when no one's got a clue ..."

This song always gets me in a good mood....

On a side note: Buffalo Tom may have made the cut with their appearances in My So Called Life, their radio hit, "Soda Jerk," turned Nike commercial, being one of Jon Stewart's favorite bands, and my fond memories of their show at the Palladium in Toronto.

Poems of the Day: Monday July 13th, 2009

From Aldous Huxley, The Defeat of Youth and Other Poems.

The poem for today is Huxley's The Defeat of Youth, which you can read here. The problem is that the poem is just too long for a blog post, hence the link.

But not to disappoint, here are two other shorter Huxley poems to appease your appetites.

"Winter Dream"
Oh wind-swept towers,
Oh endlessly blossoming trees,
White clouds and lucid eyes,
And pools in the rocks whose unplumbed blue is pregnant
With who knows what of subtlety
And magical curves and limbs—White Anadyomene and her shallow breasts
Mother-of-pearled with light.

And oh the April, April of straight soft hair,
Falling smooth as the mountain water and brown;
The April of little leaves unblinded,
Of rosy nipples and innocence
And the blue languor of weary eyelids.

Across a huge gulf I fling my voice
And my desires together:
Across a huge gulf ... on the other bank
Crouches April with her hair as smooth and straight and brown
As falling waters.
Oh brave curve upwards and outwards.
Oh despair of the downward tilting—Despair still beautiful
As a great star one has watched all night
Wheeling down under the hills.
Silence widens and darkens;
Voice and desires have dropped out of sight.
I am all alone, dreaming she would come and kiss me.

"Love Song"
Dear absurd child—too dear to my cost I've found—
God made your soul for pleasure, not for use:
It cleaves no way, but angled broad obtuse,
Impinges with a slabby-bellied sound
Full upon life, and on the rind of things
Rubs its sleek self and utters purr and snore
And all the gamut of satisfied murmurings,
Content with that, nor wishes anything more.

A happy infant, daubed to the eyes in juice
Of peaches that flush bloody at the core,
Naked you bask upon a south-sea shore,
While o'er your tumbling bosom the hair floats loose.

The wild flowers bloom and die; the heavens go round
With the song of wheeling planetary rings:
You wriggle in the sun; each moment brings
Its freight for you; in all things pleasures abound.

You taste and smile, then this for the next pass over;
And there's no future for you and no past,
And when, absurdly, death arrives at last,
'Twill please you awhile to kiss your latest lover.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

This Week's Second Sign of the Apocalypse: Question of the Day

While Heather Nichols, an unfortunate reporter, interviews UFC's Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, the fighter embraces Nichols and starts to simulate sex with her as she conducts the interview.

Question: why did Nichols continue to conduct the interview?

Question II: why did her producers, camera person, or anyone else fail to intervene?

You can read Nichol's actual answer here but is it convincing?