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“Turd-Pong” Or, Some of the Best Feminism 101 I’ve Read in a Long Time

Today someone linked* to a wonderful piece by Lindy West explaining feminism to the dude who wants to talk debate the existence of privilege and misandry. And it’s fucking wonderful.

I was sold before I hit the phrase “turd-pong” which just made my damn day. Here’s the end of the introduction:

It is nearly impossible to address problems facing women—especially problems in which men are even tangentially culpable—without comments sections devolving into cries of “misandry!” from men and replies of “misandry isn’t real” from women. Feminists are tired of this endless, fruitless turd-pong: hollow “conversation” built on willful miscommunication, bouncing back and forth, back and forth, until both sides throw up their hands and bolt. Maybe you are tired of this too. We seem to be having some very deep misunderstandings on this point, so let’s unpack it. I promise not to yell.

The rest is organized by sections.

Part One: Why Feminism Has “Fem” in the Name, or, Why Can’t We All Just Be Humanists?

Part Two: Why Claiming that Sexism Isn’t Real Is a Sexist Thing to Say

Part Three: Why People Being Shitty to You Is Not the Same as You Being Systematically Disenfranchised

Part Four: A List of “Men’s Rights” Issues That Feminism Is Already Working On

Part Five: I’m Sorry That You Are in Pain, But Please Stop Taking It Out on Women

You should read it.

* I don’t regularly read Jezebel, mostly because stuff there is problematic more often than I’m happy with, but feminists write some wonderful pieces there that I usually find through links and/or Twitter.

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Two Great Science Videos I Saw Today

First, allow dogs to teach you about chemical bonds. I wish I was this skilled a dog trainer. My dogs know some tricks and my parrot talks a little, but this is well beyond my league.  My hat is off to you, snuggliepupppy!

Next is another cool video that’s significantly more serious in its message: we’re doing students a disservice by not teaching any knowledge more recent than 1865.

minutephysics certainly drives the point home.

Our Mountains

Early European explorers, passers-through and pioneers had no great love for the young & tall mountains in the West. Mountains, sandstone canyons and mesas were barriers and impediments through unfamiliar landscape. A hard and sometimes cruel land that looked grey and barren to their eyes. The names they gave on maps reflect this, bearing innumerable hellish descriptors or names like “starvation.”

Little Cottonwood Canyon Wall from the Road

Mountains in their old homelands carried strange stories or were home to vengeful gods and spirits. Even some of those who recognized the great beauty of these vistas emphasized their danger and separation from people.

Rushing water up Little Cottonwood Canyon

For us, our mountains are incredibly important. My great aunt once told us that the end of a flight home when the well-known peaks came into view, it felt like being wrapped up in a warm blanket. These mountains are home itself in a very powerful way.

Lower flow in record heat of 2012 summer

And it isn’t that they’re loved because the ranges are beautiful and majestic. It’s not their draw for skiing tourism or an easy connection to nature & recreation. It’s not because it makes navigation easier because you never lose your sense of direction. All this is true, but there is a more powerful force at work.

What it's really all about: WATER

Without these mountains, we could not live. This place would be more open space, sparsely populated by unfortunate tribes confined to too little land on reservations while the rest would most likely be more land on which the military drops weapons. Our Western sagebrush ocean has always been seen as useless but for its financial utility by the federal government that owns the majority of our state.

Thistles: pokey and pretty

It is our mountains that let people thrive in this wild and arid place; we rely on mountains for water. Every drop of rain and (especially) flake of snow that falls in our mountains near reservoirs becomes part of the next year’s water supply. Because we need them, mountains become precious not just for beauty and wilderness. They mean home.

Giant Fallen Granite Boulder & Trees

Family outings and picnics up the many canyons are a childhood staple.  When I’m tired or stressed, a short trip up the canyons provides incredible refreshment and joy.  The landscape with rushing water and the reminder of life with greenery and the animal sounds all around me are euphoric and transcendental.

 Brave Midna @ Little Cottonwood Canyon  Brave Midna at Little Cottonwood Canyon 2
 Brave Midna at Little Cottonwood Canyon 3  Brave Midna at Little Cottonwood Canyon 4
Brave Midna at Little Cottonwood Canyon 5 Brave Midna at Little Cottonwood Canyon 6

The dogs seem to have a good time too.  Although I think in the future, I’ll avoid trying to shoot video while tethered to exploring, happy canines.

Dogs at the stream edge

Downstream view

Atrus finds this rock fascinating

More Canyon Walls

Water flowing through Little Cottonwood Canyon

Midna also finds the rock fascinating, but from underneath

The other bank

Branches washed down during spring

Go See This Movie

I’m not joking. Find out where it’s playing and go see it.  Safety Not Guaranteed is awesome. I thought so when we saw it at Sundance, and I’m very much hoping we can buy it on disc.  Here is the trailer.

Go watch this movie.

I Got the Pistol, So I’ll Keep the Pesos. Yeah, and That Seems Fair

The night of our anniversary, we went out to see Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers.  Not only are they great musicians, they have that gift of showmanship to build up the crowd and feed off their energy.  It’s a mixture of knowing how to play with the crowd, sharing drinks, that sort of thing, and more subtle building of enthusiasm by transitioning through multiple favorites without pause.  They also know their fans, and don’t fall into the trap of only playing their first hits or the most recent album; it’s always a good mixture of their work.

Of course, having seen them before, this was what I have come to expect from them on tour. What blew my mind was the cover of The Violent Femmes‘ Kiss Off.   They’re not a band that seems to really do covers, and I was certainly expecting that particular cover, though it brought a smile to my face.

Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers (and a fog machine!)

The concert was at my favorite music venue (which I’d like to believe would be my favorite even if I didn’t know the current owners and hadn’t been involved when they were looking at it in the first place): The State Room.  It’s a nice size, it’s comfortable and just offbeat enough (e.g. they replaced the seats stolen by the previous tenants with old church pews).

Plus, you know, booze.   The State Room opened an upper level bar at the back of the auditorium to help relieve the pressure on the main bar downstairs; how do you not love a small intimate venue with two bars?  I don’t think they’d installed the disco ball the last time we were inside, but regardless, Clyne seemed decidedly pleased it was there.  At the end of the show, he requested the lower all lights but the spots on the ball.

Disco Ball, and you can see the dude with the light up sombrero in front of stage right

It’s been long enough that I can’t remember the whole set list, but I do remember it included over half of Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy along with generous helpings of all the other albums.  There was also something on this tour with sombreros that puzzled me.  I swear no one wore them the last time they were in town, but there were a number of people wearing hats with assorted detritus stuck on top.  One concert-goer had rigged up a battery-powered color shifting lighting band on his. Band members borrowed a couple of the more elaborate hats during numbers.

Clyne Borrowed a Sombrero

Last time the Peacemakers came through, it was mid-week; this year’s Friday night concert was packed. I would not be surprised if the show was sold out, honestly. I’m always happy to see energized crowds like this.

Unfortunately, there was one serious sour note between the wonderful opening act, Buffalo Jones, and Roger Clyne. I took advantage of the break to stop into the restroom. Standing very near the door was a man who I just ignored because I assumed he was waiting for someone. But as I opened the door, I and a woman visible from the door were harassed. He was no more than three feet behind me at the time.

I cried in the bathroom stall, feeling so creeped out and threatened that I felt trapped. I worried he would be there when I tried to leave. It took me several minutes to pull myself together and brave opening that door again. (He wasn’t there anymore, thankfully.) It wasn’t for a song or two that I really even started to enjoy myself again.

It was a few days later that I realized this was the second anniversary in a row I faced harassment or assault. That is a deeply depressing thought. I just wanted to go out and have a good time with my spouse. And I did have a good time, but it was so much less joyful than I was hoping.

My Family Has An Awesome Accidental Tradition

Today is my fifth wedding anniversary.  It seems like both too short a time and too long.  It seems strange to think I’ve been married for five years, but it also feels like ages since Thrack became a central part of my life.  We’ve known each other since 1997 and have been friends all that time.  We’ve been in love since 2001 and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without him.  I married him on 25 May 2007.

On that day, I repeated a mistake of my mother’s and I love that.  When my parents were married, she was so nervous she shoved the wedding ring on my father’s right hand, rather than his left.  When Thrack and I were exchanging rings, he moved to adjust my veil, but he used his right hand.  I thought he was putting his hand out for me to take, so naturally, I put the ring on it.  Completely on accident, I echoed my mother and I love that I have a connection with her tied to my wedding.

I love my spouse.  Every day is a joy and a gift.

Thank You, Stephanie and Jen

Fighting sexist bullshit, particularly when you’re discussing entrenched aspects in culture and organization is beyond exhausting.  But while it makes it so much more satisfying when you see that getting the ball rolling toward conversation and change produces real tangible results.

I am so proud of Stephanie Zvan and Jen McCreight right now.  I am grateful for their words, actions and seemingly tireless advocacy.  Seriously guys, you rock.