Women & Elephants Never Forget

Down from Caesar past Joynson-Hicks
Echoes the warning, ever new:
Though they’re trained to amusing tricks,
Gentler, they, than the pigeon’s coo,
Careful, son, of the curs’ed two—
Either one is a dangerous pet;
Natural history proves it true—
Women and elephants never forget.

~Excerpted from Dorothy Parker’s Ballad of Unfortunate Mammals.

A few weeks ago in comments I said that if I ever found out the sexism of this whole long election season was intentionally provoked by the Obama campaign, I would never forgive him. I amend that statement; I will never forgive them. By them, I mean Democrats.

Dr. Socks this morning has an excellent reminder of how this whole thing played out, discussing the infamous Bobby Kennedy comment this June. In hindsight, the hullabaloo is obvious. This is just one instance of how this dynamics worked.

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Victorious Faces

I just have a minute to briefly let people know (h/t to roofingbird in comments, last post) that the Morisette display has been taken down. According to the article, the mayor ultimately talked Morisette into it, though the national outrage, and the neighbors silent protest yesterday also played a role. I’d like to think our actions here at P&L played some small part in that. The Secret Service did investigate the incident as well. I’d like to thank Andy once again for posting the numbers of the neighbors, who played a significant role in getting this display taken down. I’d also like to thank readers who took the time to follow through on their outrage. Success, at last. How does it feel?

Also, did you hear Palin pulled in 16,000 people in the tiny nearby town of Jeffersonville, IN yesterday? I couldn’t attend because I am drowning under a load of grading, which also serves as my excuse for my absence here the last day, and my continued absence until tomorrow. See y’all on the flip side!

Follow Up on Faces: Updated

Well, the reaction to yesterday’s post was quite surprising. Apparently I tapped into some serious seething resentment over sexism and misogyny this year. In less than 24 hours, the post has almost 600 hits and 37 comments. Normally I never get 600 hits on a post, usually it’s somewhere between 100 and 300, depending on whether I get a trackback. Comments usually top out at 10 or so.

Keep it up, but keep it legal. As one commenter in the last post (Janice, I think) said, keep it polite. We don’t want anyone getting harassment charges. Stay mad and stay focused, but keep it polite when you call these people, especially the neighbors, many of whom are opposed to this and some of whom have reported it as a hate crime. Apparently, a special Hate Crimes Unit is investigating. That’s good. It means white, straight people aren’t the only citizens subjected to these ridiculous hate laws (sorry, I do think they are ridiculous). Anyone can hate, and hate is not a crime. If crime where actually treated fairly and punishment meted out objectively, with no consideration for who the victim is, there would be no need for these special laws. But I digress.

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Get in Their Faces: Updated x2

Alright, with this, I’ve blown my fucking top. It’s past time to fight back. It is time to get in their faces and let them know this is unacceptable. The blatant sexism and misogyny must stop, the double standards all over the place must stop. Do you need any more proof than this:

Sarah Palin lynched in effigy.

that sexism and misogyny are far more acceptable than racism in the culture? Imagine if this was an effigy of Obama in a noose. Would it fly? Would people being saying it was icky, but “it made me laugh, so?” No, they would not. Do you know why? Because you can’t lynch a black man in this country anymore (thank gawd), even a fake dummy version of him, but you can do any goddamn thing you want to a woman. If there’s a penalty, it’s light. If you know her, it’s even lighter. And that’s utter fucking bullshit. Even the bullshit artist that created this piece of shit knows it.

“I know if we had done it with Barack Obama, people would’ve probably thrown things through our windows,” Morrisette said. “The image of a hanged black man is a lot more intense than the image of a hanged white woman — for our country — in the history of our country.”

The person responsible for this bullshit lives in West Hollywood. His name is Chad Michael Morisette–he calls it art and has a budding art career in Hollywood. It’s time we got in his face and stopped him, and got in the faces of any motherfucker who supports this monster or shit like this. I don’t have his contact information, but I will publish it the minute I receive it if someone offers it. His contact information appears to be:

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Women’s Rights & Gender Progress

Dr. Socks, over at the Reclusive Leftist has a series of posts up reminding people of what they’re actually voting for if they vote for Obama. It’s good to remind ourselves at this critical time, and I encourage you to check her posts out. The fourth post in the series sparked quite a bit of discussion, and offered me an opportunity to revisit a post I wrote in July, one that I’m particularly proud of, called Eyes on the Prize. The post basically seeks to explain why there is cultural sensitivity toward issues of race and cultural resentment toward issues of gender. It basically boils down to patriarchy-approved educational indoctrination.

I spent a fair amount of the time this summer spinning the history narrative regarding women’s progress, hoping to inspire women to unite because that’s the only way women every make progress. Time and time again throughout our common national history racial progress has been pitted against gender progress as a means to diffuse the empowerment of one half of the population. I fear we are letting them do it to us once again. I saw early on that we needed fight back against that, but I was never successful in getting a major voice in the rhetorical development. People preferred posts that stirred them to emotional action, as opposed to rational action. That focus has led to additional credibility issues.

How might things be different today if we had done it differently? Imagine, if you will, if our protests had centered around women’s rights and gender progress. If instead of holding up PUMA signs, we’d held up signs with pictures like this:

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Sounds Like a Whisper…

I can’t call this race. Two weeks out and I just don’t know who is going to win it. I knew by this time already in 1992, ’96, 2000, and ’04. I’m not a pollster and have no skills in statistics, but I had a real intuitive sense in those elections of who would win. The first Clinton win was easy–Perot was gonna split the difference slightly in his favor, which is what happened. I actually felt bad for Dole, and thought the Republican Party shamelessly threw their weakest candidate into a race they knew they couldn’t win directly. Gore could never win because he comes with an aura about him, as if he’s been anticipating the role his whole life. Americans weren’t going to let that happen; they hate that shit. Unless it’s a tough guy. And face it, Gore was no tough guy. Anyway, Kerry gave it away because he was weak and ineffectual.

But this election I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m in too deep to see it, or if I’ve been confused between the signs and the signals. As I said, my political prophesy skills are entirely intuitive. I can’t quite get a handle on that this year, I suspect due to all of the haka thrown around by the campaigns and the media. I wish I had Murphy’s enthusiasm in that regard. She is certain McCain will win. I only hope he does. I can see a glimmer of possibility emerging, though.

I have long held a secret hope, and it’s time to share it here. Something has been happening behind the scenes, at least as far as P&L blog stats are concerned, and it has been giving me hope all summer. I mentioned it in Denver to the crew. Check out these blog stats from today and yesterday. These are the search terms people used to find my blog.

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10 Items or Less: Keepers

I use the film 10 Items or Less in my writing classes for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a damn fine film that I like sell by saying is “82 minutes of joy,” and it is. The students love it because it’s chock full of cursing, which is something they can relate to. But it also has some valuable lessons about life, acting, and even writing, which it shows through the meta-lens. Craft-based lessons ring so true to everyday life precisely because life is art. Or art is life. Or maybe there is no difference. At least that’s the conclusion I came to years ago with my poetry. It’s not just about the words; it’s also about the moment. Poetry happens in front of our eyes every single day, but a sort of lens is required to reveal it to us.

Anyway, I’m meandering way off topic. At one point in the film, Morgan Freeman asks Scarlet (played by Paz Vega) to name the parts of her life she’d like to keep, keeping the list to 10 items or less. She can only name seven. He names eleven. There’s a lesson even in that. But because my life sucks so bad right now (I won’t bore you with the details) and will for a little while longer, I find myself trying to keep perspective by creating my own list, 10 items or less, of keepers. Here’s mine:

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