Book Review: Difficult Women, Roxane Gay (2017)

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Stories about survival; stories we need now more than ever.

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free ARC for review through Netgalley. Trigger warning for domestic violence, child abuse, and rape.)

There once was a man. There is always some man.

You too have always been popular. I have seen the evidence in your childhood bedroom, meticulously preserved by your mother. Even now, you have packs of men following you, willing to make you their strange god. That is the only thing about you that scares me.

“I want a boy who will bring me a baby arm.”

“Honey, you’re not crazy. You’re a woman.”

Difficult Women brings together twenty-one short stories by Roxane Gay, all of which have previously been published elsewhere (or multiple elsewheres), most in slightly different forms and some under different titles. (I included the TOC at the bottom of this review; alternate titles are listed last, in parentheses.) However, the publications are so varied that it’s unlikely that you’ve seen, read, and/or own them all.

This is actually rather surprising to me, since the stories – published over a span of ~5 years – gel so well together. It really feels like each one was written specifically with this anthology in mind. The collection’s namesake, “Difficult Women,” perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the whole. Like the short story, this is book about loose women and frigid women; difficult women and crazy women; mothers and wives, daughters and dead girls. Women who have faced the unspeakable – rape and sexual assault; miscarriages or the death of a child; abuse and self-harm; alcoholism and alienation – and come out the other side. Not unscathed, but alive. These are stories of survival.

Usually I find anthologies to be somewhat uneven, but not so here. Every story grabs you by the heart and threatens to squeeze until it pops, right there in your chest cavity. Gay’s writing is raw and naked; grim, yet somehow, impossibly, imbued with hope. While some are straight-up contemporary, other tales are a strange, surreal mix of the real and unreal: In “I Am a Knife,” a woman fantasizes about cutting her twin’s fetus out of her body and transferring it to her own, the way she once did with the heart of a drunk driver who collided with their car, nearly killing her sister.

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Book Review: The Wolf Road, Beth Lewis (2016)

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

A thrilling plot + a scrappy antihero + a familiar-yet-not setting = a novel that belongs on the top of your TBR pile!

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for violence, including attempted rape.)

“Change” was one a’ them words I weren’t too friendly with. Nana told me I had to change when she caught me skinning a rabbit. Man in Ridgeway once told me I’d never get a husband the way I was. Only person never to tell me to change was Kreagar, and that’s because, way he saw it, I was already just the same as him.

Memories ain’t no one’s friend. They show you all the good things you had, all the good things you lost, and don’t let you forget all the bad shit in between.

I kept chewing. No matter what was about to happen, I’d eat as much as I could afore shots fired.

When Elka was seven years old, a freak storm destroyed her two-room shack in the forest beyond Ridgeway. She survived, but was hopelessly lost: the thunderhead deposited Elka – and the table she was clinging to – deep into the Thick Woods. After much wandering, she found a shack even smaller than her nana’s – one with strips of jerky curing on the porch. Starving, Elka swiped some meat, causing the owner of the shack to give chase. Eventually she’d come to think of this man as Trapper, then daddy – for he ultimately took Elka in and raised her as his own, teaching her the ways of the forest: hunting, tracking, trapping, skinning, curing. He showed Elka how to survive in the wild, though she learned little of the human world (“BeeCee”) beyond the trees.

During a rare trip into Dalston, a chance encounter with The Law – in the form of cold-as-ice Magistrate Jennifer Lyon – upends seventeen-year-old Elka’s world yet again: Kreagar Hallet, the man she knows as Trapper, is wanted for the murders of eight women and one child. Her home destroyed – metaphorically and literally burned to the ground by the redcoats – Elka decides to travel north to Halveston (seven hundred miles, give or take!) in search of her parents. They left Elka with her maternal grandmother when she was just a baby so they could find their riches in gold.

Yet Kreagar isn’t willing to let Elka go – and neither is Magistrate Lyon: the former is convinced that Elka dropped the dime on him; the latter, that Elka was involved in the murders. As she makes the treacherous journey north, Elka must evade capture, by enemies both known and not. Bloodthirsty, misogynistic Satanists; human traffickers; lakes made poisonous by nuclear bombs; garden-variety trolls and creepers; cannibals; and – perhaps most alarmingly – human attachments: all stand between Elka and her long-lost parents. Yet with her friends Wolf and Penelope by her side, Elka stands a fighting chance.

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Book Review: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1), Aimee Carter (2013)

Monday, December 15th, 2014

An entertaining political thriller/dystopia featuring an engaging heroine.

four out of five stars

(Trigger warning for attempted rape.)

I closed my eyes as my mind raced. If I refused, I was dead. But if I said yes – then what? I would be Lila Hart. For the rest of my life, I would have someone else’s face, answer to someone else’s name, live someone else’s life.

But at least I would be alive. I breathed in slowly, forcing myself not to panic. I was still me, wasn’t I? I still felt like me. They couldn’t take that away no matter what they did to my body. I might have looked like Lila Hart, but I was still Kitty Doe.

All Kitty Doe wants for her 17th birthday is to earn a respectable score on her test – nothing special, just enough to get her an average rank of IV – so that she can stay with her boyfriend Benjy. Get a relatively safe job, maybe buy a small house in the Heights of DC, even have a kid or two – with enough income to keep their “Extra” instead of sending him or her off to a group home, like Kitty’s own parents were forced to do to her. Just one little test is all that stands between Kitty and her happily ever after.

Unfortunately, Kitty’s dyslexic, and the Ministers of the Union don’t give kids like her additional time to take the test – no matter how intelligent they may be. The ranking system’s a farce, after all. Just ask the VIs and VIIs who inherited their ranks.

Kitty’s poor score lands her a III and a lowly sanitation job – halfway across the country, in Denver. If she hops on that train, she knows that her odds of ever seeing Benjy again are nil. But her options in the District of Columbia are slim: stay hidden at the group home, putting den mother Nina at risk – or get a temporary job at one of the local “clubs,” biding her time until Benjy turns 17 and takes the test himself. As a virgin, she’s sure to pull in an extra-high bid at the initial Auction; and after that, she can choose her own clients, so it won’t be that bad. And when Benjy eventually aces the test – as she knows he will – Kitty will have saved up a nice little nest egg to get them started. It’s a no-brainer, right?

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Book Review: Ash, Malinda Lo (2009)

Friday, April 25th, 2014

A Magical & Subversive Retelling of ‘Cinderella’

four out of five stars

Twelve-year-old Aisling – Ash for short – is having the worst year imaginable. In midsummer, her beloved mother Elinor died suddenly and mysteriously; and, before the last of autumn’s leaves turned brown and blanketed the ground, her merchant father William had remarried. To give Ash a mother, he said.

To the marriage, Lady Isobel Quinn brings two daughters: twelve-year-old Ana and her ten-year-old sister Clara. From the more “cultured” town of West Riding – located just a stone’s throw from the Royal City – Lady Isobel has grand designs for her daughters: they are to marry well and become gentlewomen like their mother. The wild Ash, with her love of books, fascination with fairy tales and magic, and still-fresh grief for Elinor, isn’t much more than a minor annoyance to her new stepmother. She provides neither comfort nor sympathy to the grieving child.

Shortly after the marriage, William falls sick; rather than allow “superstitious” greenwitch Maire Solanya attend to him, Lady Isobel uproots the family and moves them from Ash’s home in Rook Hill to the Quinn House. William dies just two weeks later, and Lady Isobel wastes little time in claiming Ash as a servant – to pay off her father’s (alleged) debts. (I love how Lady Isobel recounts bitterly to Ash how her father spent Lady Isobel’s money to prop up his failing business, while openly admitting that she married William for his money. Hypocrite much?) From orphan to slave in less than six months.

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Book Review: The Evolution of Reptilian Handbags and Other Stories, Melanie Lamaga (2014)

Monday, March 24th, 2014

A Bewitching Collection of Short Stories

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this book for review at the publisher’s invitation. Also, spoiler alert for the story-by-story summaries and trigger warning for rape and racism.)

If The Evolution of Reptilian Handbags and Other Stories isn’t my favorite book of 2014, it’s definitely my favorite collection of short stories. When Metaphysical Circus Press asked me to review a copy, I wasn’t sure what to expect. (Especially given the title. I’m a vegan, yo!) To say that Melanie Lamaga’s debut is a pleasant surprise is a gross understatement. The ten stories in this book are a lovely and imaginative blend of magical realism, supernatural fantasy, dystopian science fiction, and reimagined fairy tales – all with a distinctly feminist bent.

* begin spoiler alert! *

What Kind Are You? – “Names are important […] You let people call you the wrong one, you end up living somebody else’s life.” Shortly after her twenty-first birthday, Angel’s mom skips town. Runs out on her family, without explanation or warning. Shortly after that, the people closest to her start dropping dead – and Angel discovers what her mother already knew, that her name is more of a cruel irony than a term of endearment.

The Evolution of Reptilian Handbags – In which the world ends in a “tsunami of trash” (exemplified by the titular over-sized reptilian handbags all the rage) – and the mayor’s wife Winnie runs off with their maid Esmeralda, only to become a mayor’s wife once again.

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"The Hungry and the Hunted"

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

A Facebook acquaintance (is it terribly rude of me not to say friend?) posted this video some time back (try a year plus! I know, I’m the worst.) and I’ve been meaning to share it ever since. The clip’s from a short-lived show called Sports Night, which ran on ABC from 1998-2000. A comedy/drama created by Aaron Sorkin, Sports Night follows the production of a fictional sports news show (also called Sports Night).

The third episode of the first season (“The Hungry and The Hunted“) deals with newbie Jeremy’s reaction when, upon being tasked to produce a hunting segment for the show, he witnesses a deer being shot and killed right in front of him. As someone who’s never desired to kill animals for fun or “sport,” Jeremy is so horrified by the doe’s murder that he becomes physically ill and has to be rushed to the hospital.

Especially notable is the language Jeremy uses to describe the incident; as he transitions from the hunters’ perspective to his own, the deer ceases being just a thing, an “it,” and instead is recognized as a living creature – a she. From something to someone – and then to no one, an empty shell. A corpse. And for no reason, or at least not one discernible to the narrator:

Jeremy: (pauses) Yeah. Bob and Eddie were using the IR 50 Recon by Bushcomber. It’s got a 16 inch microgroove barrel with .30-.30 mags, side scope mount, wire cutter sheath, quick release bolt, mag catches and a 3 pound trigger. So I figured we must be going after a pretty dangerous duck.

Isaac: You can wiseass all you want. You’re gonna tell me what happened.

Jeremy: We shot a deer! In the woods by Lake Matatuck on the second day. There was a special vest they had me wear so they could distinguish me from things they wanted to shoot, so I was pretty grateful for that. Almost the whole day had gone by, and we hadn’t gotten anything. Eddie was getting frustrated and Bob Shoemaker was getting embarrassed. My camera guy needed to reload so I told everyone to take a 10 minute break. There was a stream near by and I walked over with this care package Natalie made me. Sat down. When I looked up I saw three of them: small, bigger, biggest. Recognizable to any species on the planet as a child, a mother and a father.

Now the trick with shooting deer is that you have to get them out in the open, and it’s tough with deer ’cause these are clever cagey animals with an intuitive sense of danger. You know what you have to do to get a deer out into the open? You hold out a Twinkie. That animal clopped up to me like we were at a party. She seemed to be pretty interested in the Twinkie, so I gave it to her. Looking back, she’d have been better off if I’d given her the damn vest. And Bob kind of screamed at me and whispered, ‘Move away!’ The camera had been reloaded and it looked like the day wasn’t going to be a washout after all. So I back away. A couple of steps at a time. And I closed my eyes when I heard the shot.

Look I know these are animals and they don’t play bridge or go to the prom, but you can’t tell me that little one didn’t know who his mother was. That’s got to mean something. And later at the hospital, Bob Shoemaker was telling me about the nobility and tradition of hunting, and how it was related to the Native American Indians and I nodded and said that was interesting, while I was thinking about what a load of crap it was! Hunting was part of Indian culture. It was food and it was clothes and it was shelter. They sang and danced and they offered prayers to the gods for a successful hunt so that they could survive one more unimaginably brutal winter. The things that they killed held the highest place of respect for them and to kill for fun was a sin. And they knew the gods wouldn’t be so generous next time. What we did wasn’t food and it wasn’t shelter and it wasn’t sports! It was just mean!

Also of interest is how Jeremy calls out the hunters for appropriating Native culture in order to justify their needless killing sprees. That said, death is still death, no matter how much you “respect” or “revere” the animal whose life you’re about to end. She has her own interests, and I’m pretty sure they don’t include being digested in your gullet.

Of course, context would most likely make this exchange less impressive; for example, I highly doubt that the Jeremy character has a sudden epiphany and goes vegan (or better still, is already vegan). I can’t say, since I haven’t seen the show – but it seems rather improbable, no? Even so, given the show’s likely demographic – youngish-adult-to-middle-aged dudes who enjoy sports, sports shows, and comedies about fictional sports shows – such a compassionate message is a nice surprise.

After the jump: the full transcript for those who can’t view the video.

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Is there another way to win a maiden? | Kindness, courtesy, good works, that sort of thing.

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Still fro The Last Unicorn

“What can I do for you?” Prince Lír asked. “Nothing very much just now,” Molly Grue said. “The water was all I needed. Unless you want to peel the potatoes, which would be all right with me.”

“No, I didn’t mean that. I mean yes, I will if you want me to, but I was talking to her. I mean, when I talk to her, that’s what I keep asking.”

“Sit down and peel me a few potatoes,” Molly said. “It’ll give you something to do with your hands.”

They were in the scullery, a dank little room smelling strongly of rotting turnips and fermenting beets. A dozen earthenware dishes were piled in one corner, and a very small fire was shivering under a tripod, trying to boil a large pot of gray water. Molly sat at a rude table which was covered with potatoes, leeks, onions, peppers, carrots, and other vegetables, most of them limp and spotty. Prince Lír stood before her, rocking slowly along his feet and twisting his big, soft fingers together.

“I killed another dragon this morning,” he said presently.

“That’s nice,” Molly answered. “That’s fine. How many does that make now?”

“Five. This one was smaller than the others, but it really gave me more trouble. I couldn’t get near it on foot, so I had to go in with the lance, and my horse got pretty badly burned. It was funny about the horse —”

Molly interrupted him. “Sit down, Your Highness, and stop doing that. I start to twitch all over just watching you.” Prince Lír sat down opposite her. He drew a dagger from his belt and moodily began peeling potatoes. Molly regarded him with a slight, slow smile.

“I brought her the head,” he said. “She was in her chamber, as she usually is. I dragged that head all the way up the stairs to lay it at her feet.” He sighed, and nicked his finger with the dagger. “Damn. I didn’t mind that. All the way up the stairs it was a dragon’s head, the proudest gift anyone can give anyone. But when she looked at it, suddenly it became a sad, battered mess of scales and horns, gristly tongue, bloody eyes. I felt like some country butcher who had brought his lass a nice chunk of fresh meat as a token of his love. And then she looked at me, and I was sorry I had killed the thing. Sorry for killing a dragon!” He slashed at a rubbery potato and wounded himself again.

– Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn (1968)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 7: Meat, Love & Objectification

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Update, 9/2/09: Carol Adams is soliciting videos for the upcoming 20th anniversary of The Sexual Politics of Meat; check out her Twitter account for more info and examples.

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A1 Steak Sauce - Prestige

The Discerning Brute: EAT LIKE A MAN.

The Discerning Brute weighs in on the conflation of “meat” consumption with masculinity:

How do rabbits eat? They carefully chew Vegetation. Strangely, no man scoffs at being compared to a rabbit when it comes to sex. “Doing it like rabbits” flatters a man’s virility, yet eating a diet that supports that same rabbit’s virility is lampooned. Instead, we consume entire animals with superstitious hopes of appropriating their strengths. The cover of September 2009’s Esquire Magazine proclaims “Eat Like A Man” and leads to a sixteen-page cover-story entitled “How Men Eat”. It is a total meat-fest. A cheesy, eggy, frat party wrapped in bacon and bathed in blood.

The offending article doesn’t seem to be available on Esquire’s website, though you can read about famous chefs’ favorite fast food joints, with much love for In & Out Burger. Gag.

Er, on second thought, no gag; that’s probably the womanly reaction the meat-eating manly men at Esquire are hoping for.

Carol J. Adams: The Sexual Politics of Meat Slide Show

Carol Adams has revamped her website since last I visited. The new setup includes a blog, interviews and – best of all – a Sexual Politics of Meat slideshow.

Apparently a 20th anniversary edition of The Sexual Politics of Meat is due out this fall; since I have the 1999 edition, I’m contemplating whether I should upgrade. It’s been awhile since I’ve read them, but I preferred The Pornography of Meat, Adams’s follow-up to The Sexual Politics of Meat – it’s more visual, less theoretical/academic. Then again, I read each in my college/vegetarian days, so wtf did I know? Perhaps an ’09 edition, with some new material, will provide an excuse to revisit Sexual Politics in my adulthood.

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Portrait of Benjamin, a Thylacine. And also, housekeeping.

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Those of you who do your blog reading the old-fashioned way – i.e., by actually visiting said blogs (how November 2008!) – have probably been admiring easyVegan’s new look for a few days now. (If you’re reading this on MySpace or through Bloglines, Google Reader or the like, you’re missing out!) Throughout June and into July, I was hard at work on a series of new banner graphics for the site. I finished them a few weeks ago, but Shane only got around to adding them to the site on Monday. (In his defense, they required some programming magic to properly work their mojo.)

So far, there are 77 images, set to display randomly and rotate every 90 minutes. The majority are work safe, but if you happen to draw a swear word or naughty image, there’s a handy-dandy “Reload Banner” button located in the sidebar, right above the search box. Don’t say I never did anything for ya.

You can find out more about each image, as well as the motivation behind the project, on the Banner Credits page. Not to rehash what I wrote over there, but I was tired of the blog’s old look and name; the old banner image was so plain! I wasn’t keen on the idea of up and moving the site, though, so I figured a face lift was in order. Spiff things up, you know? I didn’t change a whole lot – just the banner, really, and I also simplified the background image so the site wouldn’t look overly cluttered and busy – but I love the result. The new banners, which are primarily comprised of photos and artwork I already enjoyed, are so shiny and pretty! I’ve already cycled through a few clicks of the “Reload” button, just to see what would pop up. Ahem.

2006-12-15 - KC-Artspace - Cryptozoology-0107

Karma, in particular, has an interesting back story. The animal depicted on the banner is a Thylacine – a Tasmanian Tiger. Or rather, it’s a picture of a sculpture of a Thylacine. The sculpture is (was?) part of a traveling exhibit called Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale, which Shane and I saw at the Kansas City Art Institute’s Artspace in December 2006. Cryptozoology is the study of cryptids; a cryptid being an animal thought – but not proven – to exist. You know, like mermaids, Bigfoot, Yeti, etc.

Cryptozoology is more Shane’s kind of thing. (Not that he believes in unicorns; rather, he enjoys myths and legends, and is fascinated by people who do champion the existence of Sasquatch.) But I love animals and museums, so when he suggested that we check out the exhibit, I was totally down with it.

Most of the exhibits were really quite amusing – very X-Files-ish.

For the conspiracy theorists, the door to the Department of Cryptozoology at the Federal Wildlife Commission:

2006-12-15 - KC-Artspace - Cryptozoology-0041

Some sort of ridiculously adorable unicorn-doggy hybrid:

2006-12-15 - KC-Artspace - Cryptozoology-0020

ZOMG, WANT! She’s probably not vegan, though.

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Animal Advocacy: Contact eBay Re Selling of Guided Hunts

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

I’m trying to clear out my inbox before the holiday weekend, so expect a flood of miscellaneous action alerts from now ’til then.

This one comes from the Yahoo Group Animal Advocacy and is reprinted in its entirety. The CounterPunch article linked to in the alert is lengthy but informative; you can find talking points there or here. (The latter being the equally long-but-informative Newsweek article, “It’s Survival of the Weak and Scrawny; Researchers see ‘evolution in reverse’ as hunters kill off prized animals with the biggest antlers and pelts.”)

Why eBay Should Stop Selling Guided Hunts for Wolves, Bears and Cougars
Blood Sport Auction
By CHRIS GENOVALI

There is an amazing array of things one can purchase on EBay, from used lawn furniture to vintage dolls to bongs allegedly used by Olympic athletes. Among the myriad items being sold on EBay are guided hunts of North America’s grizzly bears, black bears, wolves and cougars. It’s hard to believe, but these recreational killing opportunities are now bought and sold on the world’s largest internet auction site; EBay has become an online marketplace peddling the trophy hunting of the continent’s top-level predator species.

ACTION: Please email and/or write the following individuals and demand that eBay stop this atrocious practice.

Matthew J. Bannick, President, eBay International: matthewb [at] ebay.com

Bill Cobb, President eBay North America: billcobb [at] ebay.com

You can also write a letter to them at:

eBay Inc.
2145 Hamilton Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125

PLEASE WRITE AND FORWARD WIDELY!

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Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 1

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Life Is Beautiful (1997)

I’ve decided to start a new feature (yet another!) on easyVegan.info. In “Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs,” I’ll highlight blog posts and news items that examine the various ways in which speciesism parallels or intersects with the oppression of marginalized human groups. In a word, intersectionality.

Previously, I was linking to these stories in my weekly weekend activist posts, but since they’re easily overlooked in a sea of links, I’d rather give ’em their own home. Deconstructing the patriarchy is hefty shit, yo!

So let’s get started, posthaste:

Stephanie @ Animal Rights @ Change .org: Pregnancy at Slaughter: What Happens to the Calves?, Part 1 and Part 2

Over the past few months, I’ve spent some time examining how modern animal agriculture subjects female animals to especially brutal and prolonged exploitation, turning their reproductive systems against them. Their children suffer greatly, too; the daughters of “dairy cows” are enslaved in the same conditions as their mothers, while brothers and sons, an otherwise worthless by-product of milk production, become “veal” calves; females born to “laying hens” become egg machines as well, eventually replacing their “spent” mothers, while males are simply disposed of in garbage bags and wood chippers; and so on and so forth.

In “Pregnancy at Slaughter: What Happens to the Calves?,” Stephanie turns her attention to the fate of newborn calves and late-term fetuses at the stockyard, where their mothers are faced with imminent slaughter. As she explains, some fetal calves die with – inside – their mothers, while others are harvested for use in “science.”

If you eat “meat,” drink milk, or wear leather, you’re complicit in this species-, sex- and age-based atrocity.

Stephanie @ Animal Rights @ Change .org: Women, Girls, and the So-Called Achievement of Killing

Following up on an earlier criticism of Feministing for celebrating a woman bullfighter as a feminist hero, Stephanie laments the pseudo-feminist news coverage of Teressa Groenewald-Hagerman, a 39-year-old Kansan whose major “accomplishment” is being the “first woman in the world to shoot an elephant dead with a bow and arrow.”

As Stephanie and others have noted, Groenewald-Hagerman’s slaughter of an elephant – someone’s father, brother, son, partner, friend – is no more a feminist victory than Aileen Wuornos’s unprecedented killing spree.

Elaine at Vegan Soapbox also weighs in:

Teressa was “inspired” to kill an elephant after a male friend said “women could never draw such a heavy bow.” But archery is NOT necessarily a hunting sport. My grandmother was an archer and she did NOT kill. She shot targets, not animals.

In order to prove the male “friend” wrong, Teressa needed only to show strength and skill, not a barbaric blood-lust.

Indeed. Sex-based discrimination in athletics (or any field dominated by men, for that matter) is a pervasive problem; the solution, however, does not lie in the slaughter of even more marginalized beings.

Vegetarian Star: Dan Matthews: Get Obamas Naked, Madonna Is Middle Aged Witch

PETA’s Dan Matthews on Madonna:

I was a fan of Madonna in the 1980s but she became this middle-aged witch who thought her style should be defined by wearing fur coats and eating foie gras. We had a long argument over her glamorising bullfighting in her music videos.

While I agree that many of Madonna’s actions are reprehensible, let’s not pretend that 1a) “witch” isn’t a G-rated euphemism for “bitch”; 1b) “bitch,” when used as an insult, isn’t misogynist; and 2a) “witch” isn’t also a sex-based slur, inasmuch as one never hears a man so insulted (e.g., “You warlock!”); 2b) “witch” isn’t also ageist and lookist, inasmuch as (bad) “witches” are conceptualized as old, wrinkled, ugly, scraggly, disagreeable, hideous creatures.

Alternatives one might employ instead of “witch”: killer, butcher, murderer, social carcinogen, Madge the Bunny Slayer. Lose the -ism in favor of creativity – you get the idea.

And also: fuck you, Dan Matthews.

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Hunting "Tail" on Dollhouse

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

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Caution: Major spoiler warning below the jump!

I’ve been a Joss Whedon fan since his Firefly days, so when I heard that he was working on a new project, Dollhouse, I immediately got all giddy like a schoolgirl. That is, until I hear that Eliza Dushku would be starring. Ugh.

Even before the hunting flap, I disliked Dushku. Perhaps it’s because she came off like an entitled snot in a very early episode of Punk’d; even before she was faux “arrested” for “shoplifting” in a local retail boutique, she copped a huge ‘tude over all the free swag she was obviously owed for being a celebrity. That, and Tru Calling looked absolutely dreadful. Well, and I’m also weird like that; Dushku isn’t the only celebrity I have an irrational, knee-jerk dislike for. Take Ben Affleck, for example: clearly, he’s a funny, charming, altruistic guy, but there’s just something about him that I want to hate. He’s smarmy, but not. Did I also mention that I have a crazy aversion to feet? So maybe it’s just me, after all.

Anyway, the aforementioned hunting flap gave me a reason to dislike her – a good one, actually. In an August appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Show, Dushku discussed her love of hunting – you know, that sadistic leisure activity which involves murdering innocent animals for “fun”:

Here’s the gist of the interview (via ecorazzi), in case you don’t want to sit through the whole video:

A couple night ago on Jimmy Kimmel Live Dushku revealed that she loves to hunt elk and deer. Not only did she brag about it, but she also showed off her bow and arrow skills and boasted about killing a deer in Oklahoma last Christmas. WTF, Eliza? Why are you such a jerk?

Even the studio audience turned on Dushku forcing her to joke, “My mother called me herself and said, ‘You’re a liberal from New England, what the ‘f’ are you doing in Oklahoma shooting things.” Backpeddling later she said, “When you’re in a relationship with somebody you have to, like, experience things that they do. A lot of people eat meat… and I eat what I kill.”

Dushku’s hunting isn’t so much the point, though, as it is a set-up for the rest of this post. Despite my ambivalence, I started watching Dollhouse on my DVR last week. It’s alright, certainly no Firefly, but also not the complete stinker I was afraid it’d be. The second episode, “The Target,” is of particular interest from an animal rights standpoint.

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Violence as a personal indulgence.

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Or, a sab is a cat is a dog is a wife.

“Sabbing” really came into its own in the mid-1970s after enjoying some favorable publicity in the British media. “Sabs” […] disrupted the hunt by laying false scents, wiring up gates to slow down the hunt’s progress, and setting off fireworks in woods to scare the foxes away. Some sabs developed an amazing expertise with a hunting horn and even succeeded in gaining control of the pack from the hunt master.

Hunters, of course, retaliated by attacking sabs. In 1976 the Joint Master of the Essex Union Foxhunt was widely quoted as saying, “Horsewhipping a hunt saboteur is rather like beating a wife – they’re both private matters.”

Excerpted from Kim Stallwood’s “A Personal Overview of Direct Action in the United Kingdom and the United States.”

(More below the fold…)

Dear peoples, including but not limited to Hillary Clinton:

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Hunting is not “fun” or “enjoyable“, nor is it a “sport”;

If hunting was just about honing your shooting skills – challenging yourself, your aim, steadiness and sight – and hitting a target (stationary or not), then you could shoot at non-sentient targets – pieces of paper, bottles, clay discs.

If hunting was just about the joy of tracking, finding and surprising an animal in its natural habitat, you could shoot your targets with a camera.

But it’s not, so you don’t.

Hunting is about asserting your power over the less powerful, about dominating “others”, about getting your rocks off through sadism, in a legally and culturally sanctioned way.

It’s about taking your lack of power out on creatures less powerful than yourself. What better way to relax at the end of a long workweek than to gun down unsuspecting woodland creatures, all the while pushing thoughts of the abuses inflicted on you by the evil megatheocorporatocracy to the back of your mind.

Hunting isn’t about “having a good time”; it’s about exerting control when you might otherwise have none (or less so) at the expense of others. It’s about lashing out at those with less voice than your own, much like so many forms of human-on-human violence that we abhor today.

But Hillary, you’re right when you say that hunting is “part of culture…part of a way of life.”

Spousal abuse, child abuse, hate crimes against racial, ethnic, and sexual/gender minorities; all used to be “part of [our] culture…part of [the American] way of life”, yet time has proven(or perhaps more accurately, is proving) them barbaric, inhumane, unacceptable.

Like these, hunting will one day be seen as the patriarchal pathology it is.

That is all.

(Crossposted on.)

———————

Tagged:

I’d rather be an elitist than a sadist.*

Monday, April 14th, 2008

One of my least favorite things about presidential elections – aside from the bitter partisanship, the misogyny and racism, the fear of additional conservative Supreme Court Justices, and the loss of my very personhood, of course – is all the dogdamn pandering to the redneck hunting lobby. (C’mon, like anyone took this seriously. Pffft!)

This cycle, it’s Hillary who’s selling out her humanity for the “sportsmen’s” murderer’s vote. Clinton’s comments of this morning, made in response to Obama’s comments of April 6, are what set me off, but in searching for the exact quote on teh internets, I found quite a few references to her Duck Hunter days. (See, I can condemn the misogyny directed at Hillary without blindly throwing her my vagina vote. Nay, nay, nay boiz!)

Here’s Clinton on February 18:

“I’ve hunted. My father taught me how to shoot,” she told a crowd at the Labor Temple in rural northern Wisconsin. “I remember standing in the cold water. It was so cold, you know, at first light. I was with a bunch of my friends, all men.

“And they all were playing a trick on me, and said, ‘We’re not going to shoot, you shoot,’ ’cause you know what they wanted to do. They wanted to embarrass me.

“So the pressure was on. So I shot, and I shot a banded duck.”

Awww! Isn’t that special. I think I’ll vote for her, because she’s snuffed out at least one life in the name of sport. She’ll be perfect to take over the war in Iraq!

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle – ACT/ Ban Live-Bait Dog Training

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Dec 14, 2007 5:43 PM
Subject: ACT/ Ban Live-Bait Dog Training

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

12/14/07: Ban Live-Bait Dog Training
http://www.KinshipCircle.org

SOURCE OF INFORMATION / BACKGROUND:

Indiana Coyote Rescue Center
http://www.coyoterescue.org/

Ban Live Bait Dog Training
BanLiveBaitDogTraining [at] yahoo.com

COYOTE-RELATED RULE CHANGE PROPOSALS
http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/about/rules.html

Kinship Circle - 2007-12-14 - Ban Live-Bait Dog Training

Stopping Cruel Dog Training with Live Coyotes
http://www.coyoterescue.org/

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: LETTER/ Stop Deer Slaughter In New Jersey

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Oct 14, 2007 9:40 PM
Subject: LETTER/ Stop Deer Slaughter In New Jersey

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

Kinship Circle posted 2 letter-writing campaigns tonight:

1. 10/14/07: Stop Deer Slaughter In New Jersey
2. 10/14/07: Killing Bears For Fun In Virginia

DID YOU GET OUR LAST ALERT?
10/7/07: Horses Agonize In Mexico As Federal Slaughter Ban Stalls

If your email provider censored any of our alerts, try to get them again.
Copy name of alert and email your request to: kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net

10/14/07: Stop Deer Slaughter In New Jersey
KINSHIP CIRCLE ACTION CAMPAIGN
http://www.KinshipCircle.org

SOURCE OF INFORMATION:

Plans for deer hunt moving forward
http://www.montclairtimes.com/page.php?page=15875

Letter campaign issue submitted to Kinship Circle from member Yashoda Jordan, ydjordan [at] comcast.net

===============================

SAMPLE LETTER & CONTACT INFO
Sample letters are prepared to give you ample background on an issue.
Try to change some words, pare down letters, and make them your own.
**DELETE ALL REFERENCES TO KINSHIP CIRCLE BEFORE SENDING**

===============================

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: LETTER/ Killing Bears For Fun In Virginia

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Oct 14, 2007 9:39 PM
Subject: LETTER/ Killing Bears For Fun In Virginia

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

Kinship Circle posted 2 letter-writing campaigns tonight:

1. 10/14/07: Stop Deer Slaughter In New Jersey
2. 10/14/07: Killing Bears For Fun In Virginia

DID YOU GET OUR LAST ALERT?
10/7/07: Horses Agonize In Mexico As Federal Slaughter Ban Stalls

If your email provider censored any of our alerts, try to get them again.
Copy name of alert and email your request to: kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net

10/14/07: Killing Bears For Fun In Virginia
KINSHIP CIRCLE ACTION CAMPAIGN
http://www.KinshipCircle.org

SOURCE OF INFORMATION:
Urge Virginia Governor to Cancel Black Bear Hunt on National Wildlife Refuge
http://ga0.org/campaign/gdsnwr2/nqye6577x?

Urge Wildlife Agencies to Cancel Black Bear Hunt on National Wildlife Refuge
http://ga0.org/campaign/gdsnwr1/nqye6577x?

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and Nansemond National Wildlife Refuge Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan

=================================

SAMPLE LETTER & CONTACT INFO
Sample letters are prepared to give you ample background on an issue.
Try to change some words, pare down letters, and make them your own.
**DELETE ALL REFERENCES TO KINSHIP CIRCLE BEFORE SENDING**

=================================

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Kinship Circle: LETTER/ Shot From The Sky: Aerial Wolf Hunts

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Sep 25, 2007 6:29 PM
Subject: LETTER/ Shot From The Sky: Aerial Wolf Hunts

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

9/25/07: Shot From The Sky – Aerial Wolf Hunts
KINSHIP CIRCLE ACTION CAMPAIGN
http://www.KinshipCircle.org

3 SAMPLE LETTERS IN THIS ALERT:

1. TO: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (COMMENTS DUE 10/11/07)
2. TO: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
3. TO: Your U.S. Representative

SOURCE OF INFORMATION:

Help Us End Aerial Hunting of Alaska’s Wolves

Tell the Bush Administration to Protect Gray Wolves!

VIDEO:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=Xz8KHsmBji7MjH0p38VtkA..

SIGN PETITION:
Urge Congress to End Aerial Gunning of Wolves!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/929804505?z00m=9454085

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: LETTER/ Polar Bears Are Not Trophies

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – info [at] kinshipcircle.org
Date: Aug 27, 2007 3:34 PM
Subject: LETTER/ Polar Bears Are Not Trophies

Kinship Circle Primary – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN
(Please do not delete identity/disclaimer information)

8/27/07: Polar Bears Are Not Trophies
KINSHIP CIRCLE ACTION CAMPAIGN
http://www.KinshipCircle.org

SOURCE OF INFORMATION:
Rebecca Young, Care2 Action Alerts, actionalerts [at] care2.com
Contact Information Source: http://www.fws.gov/offices/Directory/wo.html

PETITION: Stop Polar Bear Trophy Hunting!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/432024587?z00m=9457540

=======================

SAMPLE LETTER & CONTACT INFO
Sample letters are prepared to give you ample background on an issue.
Try to change some words, pare down letters, and make them your own.
**DELETE ALL REFERENCES TO KINSHIP CIRCLE BEFORE SENDING**

=======================

(More below the fold…)