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Monthly Archives: October 2011

While we’re on the subject of analogies about rape….

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So this. 


And oh good god, didn’t we have this conversation before? Like, forever, always?

And I know we’ve covered how rape is not like robbery, because oh hey, people are not objects.


So you know, here’s an analogy: Rape is to sex as dancing is to boxing. Now before anyone gets all BOXING ISN’T RAPE OMG, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying boxing isn’t dancing, and rape isn’t sex. OK? OK.

See, they superficially resemble each other-

But they really aren’t like each other at all.

Sometimes, dancing resembles boxing:

Sometimes, boxing (and variants thereof) resembles dancing:

But they aren’t the same.

It puzzles me, the way that nobody seems to ever confuse boxing and dancing,they way the confuse rape and sex. Boxing may require many of the same movements as dancing, but the intent is not the same

Sex is a co-operative endeavor, even if you’re having sex with yourself.  Not that I should need to write this, but, to say the least , rape is not a co-operative endeavor.

And that is why rape is not about sex. Just because the water is the same color as the sky does not mean you can breathe it.

Rape is not about sexual desire, because sexual desire is in no small part about mutual, co-operative desire. Rape is about the desire for power, not the desire for sex.

There is so much evidence of  this that I don’t even know why we’re still having this conversation, as a species.


In Which I Live-Blog The Secret of NIMH

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Because it’s not like I have eight million other things to do.

I loved this movie when I was a kid, but in retrospect, it’s kinda fucked up. Who decided that animal testing at the National Institute of Mental Health was an appropriate topic for a kid’s movie? And how many other people had to approve this idea before the film was released? Oh, animators. You crazy kids.

Anyway, in lieu of a serious post, I offer you:

The Secret of NIMH Completely Pointless Live-Blog.


The United Artists logo was so dramatic.

Ok, I’m just gonna say it: most of the time, the candles in animated films look absolutely obscene.

Mr. Ages lives in a rusty contraption and appears to be an insensitive dick.

I love the nonsensical costuming of animated animal characters. Sometimes they wear shirts, but no pants; pants, but no shirts; overalls, with no shirts; short dresses, which look like shirts; and Mrs Brisby wears a little red shawl, like a Beatrix Potter character. The clothing never seems to cover body parts that are sensitive to cold, and the animals aren’t concealing any accurately-rendered anatomical parts, so…what the hell?

I forgot how sparkly this movie is. I think that’s part of why I loved it. It just threw all the magic right in my eyes and was like, LOOK AT IT SEE HOW IT SPARKLES.

Oh God. Pneumonia. I had pneumonia as a kid, and when I was diagnosed (after fainting in the doctor’s office), all I could think about was this movie, and how Mr. Ages had said “it’s not uncommon, but you can die from it.”

Ah, the quintessential Absurd Bird character. The Rescuers movies had one too. It’s kind of perfect, though; gawky adolescents are bird-like. The way the awkward bird character clumsily flaps his wings reminds me of teenage boys with disproportionately long arms.

Absurd Bird expects to feel love “way down in [his] wishbone.” I’m just gonna leave that there.

Absurd Bird “hates to see a woman cry,” and deals with this uncomfortable feeling by boasting about his mad cat-escaping skillz, even though Mrs. Brisby just demonstrated that she’s actually the tougher one. PATRIARCHY.

Absurd Bird’s name is Jeremy. That’s lame. I’mma keep calling him Absurd Bird.

Oh lawsey. Absurd Bird is such a Nice Guy. But props to Mrs. Brisby for offering kind of a call-out.

What is that thing above the Brisbys’ home? A rusted pot? I hope the handle doubles as a sundial or something.

Every animated film I’ve ever seen has featured at least one poor character with patched clothes, but the patches are never in a logical place. The little girl mouse’s skirt has a patch on the left side of the skirt, a ways above the knee. Why on earth would this area get worn through? Does she spend her free time striking elaborate yoga poses in her dress?

Uh, hi there, Auntie Shrew. Holy gender stereotype. Are you ever revealed to be a complex individual?—I can’t remember.

Ah yes, make soup and float some herbs in it. That’ll cure Timmy’s pneumonia.

We know Mrs. Brisby is good because she’s sweet and domestic. Auntie Shrew, however, is to be pitied, because she’s a bossy bitch who no man could love. Also, Mrs. Brisby is a timid widdle mouse, and Auntie Shrew is…a shrew. Facepalm headdesk. C’mon guiz, you could at least be subtle.

My one experience with shrews was in fifth grade, when I had to dissect a piece of owl poop and re-assemble the bones to discover what the owl had eaten. I was the lucky winner of a shrew skeleton.

I think this movie and A Christmas Carol are to blame for my tendency to associate the name Timothy with sickness.

Ok, I know those gold lights are supposed to be fireflies, but it just looks like a laser pointer zipping around.

So the Brisbys live in a tree stump with a rusty pot positioned precariously over it? It’s probably a good thing they’re moving.

And there’s our first mention of NIMH. Lab rats, how do they work? We don’t find out, because Stereotype Husband is ignoring Stereotype Wife’s incessant chatter. Bitchez, they be chattin’.


Something about Mrs. Brisby reminds me of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, but I don’t know what it is.

Sooo…the Great Owl lies to Mrs. Brisby, telling her there’s nothing she can do except move her sick son to a safe place, until she tells him her name, and then he’s all, ooooh, I knew your husband. I’ll give you the good advice. Way to be a douche, Great Owl.

Great Owl: The rats be movin your house, yo. Mrs Brisby: I don’t understand, but I will do as you say. Me: What the FUCK? PATRIARCHY.

From a certain angle, the door to Nicodemus’ lair looks like an unrolled condom.

Where the hell are Mrs. Brisby’s children? They just sort of disappeared. Plot holes, guiz. Oh, plot holes.

And just like that, the kids are back.

Oh look, there’s Justin, the Heroic Leader of the Rats. I think he’s supposed to be cute, Mrs. Brisby. Go for it!

Finally! The anti-NIMH propaganda. You know, it’s not that I don’t care about the effects of animal testing, because I do, but I somehow doubt that a group of scientists is going to accidentally create an army of hyper-intelligent rats who just wake up on morning and start reading—and comprehending!— English. This does not seem like a strong possibility.

Wait. The super-intelligent mice got sucked into the ventilation system and died? First, that’s terrifying, and second…what? That’s their solution to the problem of “how we be splainin’ the absence of genius mice?”

Nicodemus gives a shiny (look, shiny!!) red pendant to Mrs. Brisby. The pendant’s inscription says, “You can unlock any door if you only have the key.” DEEP.

Ugh, Mrs. Brisby keeps doing that thing where she repeats one key word of whatever someone else says in a voice of complete awe. “The plan? What plan?” I bet if you offered her waffles she’d be like “Syrup? What syrup?”

Absurd Bird is transfixed by the red pendant, and keeps saying “a sparkly. You’re wearing a sparkly,” which pretty much sums up my eight-year-old self’s reaction to this whole movie.

See, Mrs. Brisby just took off her cape/shawl thing and is scampering around all naked-like. There is no logic to the clothes!

CRAZY HIJINKS. Will the rats/mice defeat Dragon the Cat?!

Ah, Jenner the Evil Rat of Evil tells everyone not to listen to Mrs. Brisby because “she’s hysterical.” PATRIARCHY.

Is it just me, or do a lot of animated battle scenes start at sunset and end at twilight?

I want a status update on Timmy. How’s he feeling? Is his fever down? When I had pneumonia, my fever went up to 105, and my lungs shriveled up like those black snake firecrackers and died.

OoooOOOOoooh. The sparkly is doing sparkly things. My inner child rejoices.

What is that thing that emerged from the pool of lava? It looks like a huge flaming brick, and that’s kinda lame.

According to Absurd Bird, “girls can’t resist a sparkly.” PATRIARCHY, and also, I can haz sparkly?

Absurd Bird and Lady Bird Friend hooked up fast. I’m a little jealous.

D’awww, everyone’s so happy.


I thought Mrs. Brisby and Justin the Heroic Leader of the Rats got together at the end. Guess not.


Having completed many important things, I am now eating yogurt. I am the URWOMAN.

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I have never made this face for yogurt. Ever.



But I’m not laughing, ya’ll, so I’ve still got my feminist street cred. But seriously, Greek yogurt is delicious.

I’m in a better mood than when I last blogged, because I’ve taken care of (I hope) some debt related trouble. Like many other people, the combination of health problems and the tanking economy as well as a really shitty ex boyfriend who I shouldn’t have trusted, has tanked my finances. There was a time when Pepper had AAA credit, oh yes. Ha ha ha ha it seems like a dream!

Those were the halcyon days of 2007.

Now I have a shitload of defaults, and I’m trying my best to clean it up. I’m not proud of this, but I also don’t see much point in being ashamed or acting like I’m the only person in the history of life that has ever been unable to pay all of their bills on time. In fact, having worked in collections, I know damn well I’m not.

I really have to be conscientious about not viewing my debt as a moral failing. I am not a bad person. Nobody is suffering because I defaulted on a half paid off credit card. In terms of scale, not counting my mortgage or student loan debt, and oh god how I enjoy not counting those, I owe less than 10,000 dollars.

I realize that talking about money and debt is gauche. But I think that it’s a kind of secret that leads to profound self hatred. I don’t have a bad relationship with my body. We’re ok. I accept my body. But I have to fight to accept my circumstances as they are, accept that I’m doing the best I can with limited income, and not hate myself.

Part of this, I think is all of the rhetoric around making good choices, which effectively erases privilege from the equation. I made the choices I did, and took on the debts I did, for a variety of reasons, some noble, some stupid. Mostly it was so I could eat, buy books and gasoline for my 22 miles daily commute and pay utilities to get through college.

I am unapologetic about the fact that I will not live off of rice and beans and ramen to satisfy anyone. I lived that way throughout most of my teen years, and I won’t do it again. If you consider that a poor choice, and think that I ought to be scraping the pot of hominy and pinto beans while nobly darning my ragged socks, you can kindly go ahead and try it.

I remind myself that I will only live once, and only for a short time. I won’t regret dying in debt, if that’s what happens, and it probably will– but I will regret all of the good food I never cooked  for myself.

I just had the impulse to justify, to publicly flagellate myself and humbly explain that this doesn’t mean I’m spending every paycheck on gold leaf covered truffles- but you know what? If that’s what you think I’m doing, because you assume that the poor are just stupid animals who frivolously buy shit they don’t need instead of eating cold canned tomatoes in the dark to save electricity, you need to  really question those ideas.

There is no magic series of choices that anyone can make to save themselves from hardship of one kind or another. There are privileges, and for the privileged they are generally invisible. They are “good choices”– being born into a solidly middle or upper class family who can bail you out if you get yourself a little too deep in, is luck. That is not a choice.

I’ve had plenty of help along the way. If I hadn’t had the help I’ve had, in fact, I would be homeless, or perhaps in the advanced stages of cancer. That is amazing luck. I wish that the people who think that they have made good choices would acknowledge the element of pure serendipity involved in their position.

As for the rest of us, all we can do is push back against the rhetoric of both the noble poor and the animal poor. Refusing to hate yourself is a radical act of subversion against the kyriarchy, which expects and needs us all to hate ourselves for one reason or another or preferably all of them. I refuse to hate myself today.


Pepper and Paprika SLAMBOOK

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Inspired by this post at Svutlana (which is a hilarious blog, and you should go read it now), we at Pepper and Paprika created some beautiful search word poetry, using the week’s top search terms. Enjoy!

Welcome Seeking Women

if you don’t have paprika

can dimples go away

after you get your wisdom teeth pulled out?

gross fish, writing on your penis

laughing animals

dominant human males

english should be the official language of the US radical racist

is paprika pepper?

nickelodeon slime poop, slime

images of slime

obgyn and fuck

american fuck you gesture

are languages other than english becoming obsolete?

mean weasel

why do people over-post on facebook?

pepper and paprika blog south dakota

What I Meant to Write In My Whiny Post:

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1. Damn, I am really really busy, and it’s giving me a sleepy.

2. It’s not enough to be a political feminist; you have to be a personal feminist too. You have to look at the way you treat your friends and family; you have to examine your individual biases, your contradictions. Feminism is not just theoretical. It doesn’t just apply to Other People. It should spill over into all your interactions.

3. Probably don’t tell your kid that nobody will ever love them, since, if nothing else, you should love your kid, and yes, while I get the point you’re making (“you’re a heinous bitch who no man will ever want”), 1) a huge fuck you on behalf of single ladies everywhere, and 2) wow, really?

4. Basically what I said. “Yes, he’s kind of a misogynist, but I still like him” = unacceptable. People who are sexist, racist, and/or classist are bad people. It really is that simple! Someone with biases who is working to become more understanding and aware = great! Someone who is a dick and doesn’t care = not great. Not great at all. These things are dealbreakers in much the way that puppy-kicking is a dealbreaker.

5. This part of South Dakota has some pretty scenery, but politically it is a backwards shithole, and the town is cliquey, and we suffer from a dearth of maple trees. I can haz Vermont?

6. Rape Threat Tyler is a terrible person, and I’m not sorry he got head-injured.

7. Munchausen’s Mike is also a terrible person, and I hope his life is lousy.

8. I haven’t had a normal meal since I was 12, which blows.

9. Vodka is a hell of a substance.

Also, here is a puppy with a puppy:

Hi, I Haz a White Whine.

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  1. I cannot keep working two jobs while taking eighteen credit hours.
  2. I cannot listen to family members, who claim to be feminist, going on about how I’m a huge heinous bitch for setting boundaries and cutting toxic people out of my life.
  3. I cannot listen to “you’re going to die alone, with no one who loves you, and a huge house of cats.” Not from anyone, but especially not from family.
  4. I cannot pretend to like people who are misogynist, racist, or classist for any reason, but especially not for the sake of people who want me to perform femininity according to their exact specifications.
  5. I cannot keep living in South Dakota.
  6. I cannot deal with a former co-worker, who once pushed me against a wall, held a paper towel over my mouth, and asked me if it smelled like chloroform—who used to follow me around making jokes about murdering women—who made numerous rape threats—I cannot deal with this person harassing me on the dance floor, following me around, and forcing me to stare at his stupid weasel face while he thrusts his bony pelvis out. All I can think about is being shoved against the wall with all the hanging knives pressing into my back while he presses the paper towel against my mouth and tells me he’s going to follow me home after work. I cannot deal with this person; I hope he dies.
  7. I cannot shake all the terrible things I heard from terrible Mike, all the semi-consensual physical encounters, all the hurtful bullshit he said.
  8. I cannot eat like a normal person, and I want to. So fucking much.
  9. I should not blog while drunk.

This Post Brought to you by Viognier

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“It’s been months since I last wrote. I’ve lived in a state of mental slumber, leading the life of someone else. I’ve felt, very often, a vicarious happiness. I haven’t existed. I’ve been someone else. I’ve lived without thinking.”
― Fernando PessoaThe Book of Disquiet“ 

MMmmmm Viognier




I’ve been silent. Absent? Silent. I haven’t had a thing to say. Maybe it’s because I’ve been to tired, or too busy. But really, maybe I’ve been too angry. I’ve been working, at a job that uses none of my talents, except a talent for schmoozing tourists.

It’s been getting to me, this feeling that I am visibly poor, of the poor classes, that I will always be poor, and that everyone I see and talk to, can smell the poverty on me.

I know how to be poor, with a decent facsimile of not-poor manners. Unless you get too close. My teeth are bad. My nails are bad. My skin is bad. I’m shabby.

I’d like to return to blogging in a blaze of glorious righteous wit, but instead I’m grimly pushing words out between my figurative teeth. Spitting nails.

I’m half a bottle of Viognier down, which tastes like eternal springtime, like sucking the nectar from sweet clover flowers as a child in Seattle, of daisies and the neighbor man’s roses and green fig tree leaves- if it weren’t for that, I’m not sure I could write anything at all.

I’m not unlucky, I’ve been lucky as hell. I have family that loves me. I have a husband that loves me, and friends that love me. I have a job, which is more than a lot of people can say.

I believe in the degree I finished, but I can’t afford to pay my university bill to get my diploma. I can’t afford to apply for grad school.

I have a restless longing for someplace other than here, and a sinking feeling that everywhere is here. I’m curled in like a fist. I’m tired like a bit of plastic sheet lying half out of a dumpster.

I’m tired of feeling as though I made some cosmic choice to be born poor, as though I ever held a good hand to play. The only thing I’m playing into is a lie. But it’s enough to make me bite my own tail off, feeling small and weak and stupid and ugly and silent.

I’m not pleading for anyone to tell me I’m a genius. I’m just pleading for a chance to do something that makes me feel like I have a little worth.

it’s so selfish, I know. We’re all drowning, right?

All the protests in the street I’ve been waiting for are here, and I can’t stop myself, a little nasty part of myself from wanting to spit on the beautiful smooth white boys, smooth as milk glass, spouting socialist talking points in their scruffy facial hair, with their 80,000 dollar degrees from Auburn and Columbia, with their nice parents, and their nice warm houses.

Come down to where I’ve lived, hungry and smelling of fear and sawdust and dog shit. Come down, my wide open mouthed laugh will show where my jaw is partly missing because I waited so long to get my wisdom teeth removed, and the scars of acne that will never go away, and my dimpled thighs and my scarred hands.

Come down to my heavy arms, these arms of a peasant, come and hitch me to a plow, and let me be bovine, simple and peaceful, uncomplaining, unthinking.

I’ve been too bitter to write, too tautly wound to make sense of anything. I want to be pleased that there is at last some movement, but instead it’s a crazy laugh that goes skittering like a water bug, to think that now, now, hipster boys, pretty thin white boys, you’re passionate, you’re engaged. We’ve been here all the time, me and the ones who have it worse than me. Worse than I’ve ever seen, or felt, or imagined.

I’m trying. I’m trying to find something to say that isn’t invective.