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Category Archives: Douches and Their Overlords

I Hate Political Correctness.

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No really, I do. I mean, I know cray-cray feminists are supposed to be all politically correct and intolerable to be around and stuff, but I legit hate political correctness.

What’s that? Did I just hear a gleeful stream of racist, sexist, homophobic, cissexist, and ablist slurs? No no no. I’m not ok with that shit. When I say I hate political correctness, what I mean is—

I hate language and ideologies that support oppression, that ignore inequality, that prioritize the concerns of the privileged. I hate it when inequalities are only superficially discussed—when people try, for example, to talk about class without also addressing race, gender, and sexual orientation. (I’m looking at you, OWS.) I hate it when people say, “sure, he’s kinda racist, but he’s not a bad guy.” I hate calling someone out on their racism, only to be told that I’m not “patriotic.” I hate it when tone arguments are lobbed at members of oppressed groups, and then used to justify the completely unwarranted anger from members of privileged groups. (“Well, you put him on the defensive!”) I hate “I was just joking,” and “you’re just looking for something to be angry about,” and “it’s just a movie.”

I hate all forms of bigotry, basically. That is political correctness—bigotry wearing a mask. Native American Day and Black History Month are not politically correct; if they were, racists would have no problem with them. “I’m not racist, but” is politically correct. And that’s why we hear it all the fucking time.

“I don’t see race”—politically correct. Reality incorrect, of course, because it’s not true, and it’s a stupid and superficial way to address racism. But politically correct.

The thing is, I do see race. And I am racist. I try not to be, but I was socialized to be racist, and I benefit from white privilege, and now, here I am. Racist. And I don’t think I’ll ever be not-racist, but I can be less racist, and that’s my goal. To be less racist, and to shut the fuck up when I think something racist, and to really look at my motivations and prejudices and supposedly-objective opinions about racial politics. And to step the fuck down when I have nothing useful to offer, and to avoid swanning in on discussions between POC about race, and to learn through reading and listening, instead of pontificating.

Of course, I’m kind of pontificating now, but at least I co-run this blog?

And I also hate that, in writing about race, it’s the writing of white people that gets read, promoted, and praised. So. Here is a brief list of social justice tumblrs I’ve been reading lately—please feel free to add more in the comments!

Dumb Things White People Say

Hi-C Educates the Masses

Soy Dulce de Leche

Esoterica

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.

On Making Good Choices

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Hey. Poor people. You need to listen the fuck up.

Ok now:

Y’all need to make better choices.

I mean really, what were you thinking, getting sick? And on a work day, too. If you really need to get sick, do it on your day off—after all, what else are you going to do? It’s not like you have a life outside work, and if you do, you shouldn’t. Poor people are supposed to work, and work, and then sleep maybe three hours a night, and do it all over again the next day. That’s poverty. In fact, if you have days off, you don’t count as poor, which means you just shouldn’t get sick at all. And no, constant work and sleep deprivation are not hard on your immune system; you just need some Emergen-C.

So, ok, don’t get sick. Getting sick fucks things up, because then, if you have to call into work, they sometimes require you to bring a doctor’s note, and if you don’t have health insurance you have to shell out extra money for a doctor’s visit, and you miss a day of work, so you end up paying out the ass to sit around feeling miserable, and why would anyone do that? God, what a stupid choice you just made.

You also need to manage your money better. You make minimum wage, right? That’s 7.25 an hour, and you work 35 hours a week (because if it’s under 40 your employer doesn’t have to offer benefits), so before taxes you make, what? 253.75 a week, which comes to 1015 a month. Now let’s knock off some money for taxes, ok? It varies by state, so we’ll pick something that sounds reasonable—let’s say you actually make 950 a month.

This is totally enough money to live comfortably.

Let’s say you’re a single person living cheap. Your apartment is 400 a month, and your utilities come to about 60, and your phone is about 100 (you with your fancy smartphone that you totally don’t need to communicate), and your internet is 60 (why do you have that, anyway? Yeah, you’re a college student, but since when do students need internet access?), and you have several bills you’re paying off with excruciating slowness—they total about 80 a month—so all that comes to…700. Ok, well, you still need food, right? Let’s budget about 35 a week, which makes 140 a month, which leaves you 60 a month to spend on everything else.

Good thing you don’t have a car, right? Gas, repairs, all that shit—not having a car is a wise choice, one of the few wise choices you’ve made. Of course, you should also be able to travel everywhere people with cars travel, at the same speed, and no, you don’t get to bitch about how hard it is on your stupid poor-person body, because you chose to be car-less. Maybe you should’ve made better choices, right? Seriously, do I have to explain everything to you people?

So you have sixty dollars. That’s enough, provided you don’t get sick, or have to buy books for classes (if you’re a student), or need to buy a bottle of wine to bring to a dinner party, or have any unexpected expenses, or basically live at all.

Oh wait. 950 a month comes to 11400 a year, which is above the poverty line. You’re not even technically a poor person, and you still can’t figure out how to manage your damn money. God, you suck.

What’s that? Uh, no, the government does not have a fucked-up idea of what counts as poverty, you’re just a really very dumb not-poor person.

And what is up with you needing things? You don’t need things. Rich people need things. Middle-class people also need things (sometimes), but you? You need a better work ethic and the ability to balance a checkbook.

Uh. You don’t…have a bank account? I cannot conceive of a single reason why a person with no money would not have a bank account. What a stupid choice.

Also—and I know this is kinda rude, or at least it would be, if you were a real person and not just a waste of my tax dolalrs—but why are you so fat? As Sean Hannity once said, (The United States of) America is the only country where all the poor people are fat. And it doesn’t make a damn bit of sense, because as everyone knows, healthy food is cheap, filling, and delicious. Why spend five dollars on a meal at MacDonald’s when you could spend that money on a single container of unprepared wheat pasta from your local health food store?

No, you don’t need calorie-rich food, I don’t care if you’re working a double today. One slice of bread with peanut butter will totally get you through, and if it doesn’t, you’re clearly not cut out to be poor.

If you can’t hack it, go forth and be rich. This isn’t rocket surgery, guys.

I Have Questions For the English-Only Movement

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Or more specifically, for the movement’s largest and most vocal organization, U.S. English.

Q: So uh, first off, why do you call yourself U.S. English? Why not The U.S. English Organization or something? As it stands, your name is a little unclear.

A: Because we control all the English! Or at least the U.S. English. IT IS OURS.

Q: Oh, alright then. Well, maybe you could explain your position to me a little more, as it sounds, to laypersons such as myself, like a huge pile of bullshit.

A: Well, duh, making English the official language of the U.S. will make life better for immigrants, because it forces them to learn things, which, as we all know, immigrants are generally averse to doing.

Q: Yeah. Lazy immigrants. That’s not racism, it’s just truth! Anyway, I’m sure I’m not the first person to observe that trying to make English the official language of a country that is still home to so many indigenous languages, or at least the ones that have thrived in spite of what amounts to mass genocide, is a little—

A: We don’t actually address that anywhere on our website, so I don’t know what to tell you there.

Q: So you don’t see the hypocrisy in telling immigrants to learn English without having learned the indigenous language most common to your particular region of the country yourself?

A: No.

Q: Not to press the issue, but do you genuinely not see how offensive this is? English isn’t in any danger of dying out, but many—most, even—indigenous languages are. English doesn’t need to be preserved; it’s doing just fine. I mean, I totally support attempts to preserve endangered languages, like the indigenous languages I just mentioned. Or if you want to go across the ocean, take a language like Welsh, which, unlike English, isn’t even an official language of Wales. See, that’s a language that needs preserving. Wintu needs preserving. But English? English is thriving like a goddamn mosquito by a river.

A: A mosquito by a river?

Q: Look, I have six bites on one hand. I’m pissy. But you see my point.

A: Not really. We’re a bunch of clueless assholes.

Q: Well that just gives me a sad. The US is basically one big colony, you know? And to actually try and pass legislation mandating that people learn the language of the colonizers while native languages continue to die out is just—

A: Can we change the subject? Examining my privilege feels weird.

Q: Alright, fine. My next question is a more practical one, namely, should you succeed, what do you expect this movement to accomplish?

A: Force the dumb immigrants to speak good, of course.

Q: Right. But you know, on your website, you list all the states that have English-only laws, as well as the states that have the largest populations that speak English worse than “very well,” and there’s some overlap. Like California. California has English as its official state language, but also has the largest population of people who speak English “less than very well” of any other state in the nation. Doesn’t that kind of undercut your argument?

A: Hey now—

Q: I’m also wondering how, if English were to be declared the national language of the U.S., you would go about enforcing that. I mean, are you going to hand out citations every time you hear someone speaking a language other than English? Because you make this big point of being all, we totally support people learning other languages, but your position doesn’t really seem to support that.

A: Duh, Paprika, if English is declared the official language, it will be the only language used in government, and on driver’s license exams, and on signage—

Q: Wait. So if shit goes your way, people who don’t speak English fluently won’t be able to get driver’s licenses?

A: It’s already that way in Arkansas.

Q: Well fuck.

A:We win!

Q: Not yet. Look, I’ve yet to see any proof that your arguments stem from anything other than good old-fashioned racism. You cite national unity as an argument in favor of English-Only, implying that Amurrica is fractured and inharmonious—which, duh—but you fail to provide a causal link between linguistic diversity and general shittasticness. I mean, this isn’t an especially linguistically diverse country anyway, and what diversity we have is due in large part to languages that are becoming obsolete. We don’t generally encourage our native English speakers to learn other languages, but we insist on immigrants learning English. We ignore how difficult English is (and sorry, but some of the most ardent supports of the EOM can barely compose a coherent sentence), and don’t even consider how much more difficult it is for adults to acquire new languages. (You know that statistic you cite about the age disparity in immigrants who speak English “very well”? Yeah, well, I guarantee that’s related to how easily children pick up new languages compared to adults.) I also think it’s interesting that you act purely as a lobbying group, and don’t actually do anything to help immigrants learn English, short of linking to the US English Foundation. And although this foundation supposedly sponsors English classes for immigrants, they also make a point of saying, in their mission statement, that language learning assistance should be “short-term and transitional,” and that one of their goals is “to raise public awareness about the importance of our common language.” Specifying in the mission statement that the immigrants should only be granted “short-term and transitional” language assistance raises plenty of red flags, and suggests that they don’t really understand how the whole language acquisition thing works. And I have to wonder, too, if your goal is simply to lobby for legislation that supports your dream of a magical English-Only wonderland, why don’t you try to pass laws that, say, mandate the availability of free English classes to immigrants? That would be far more helpful than simply banning Spanish driver’s license exams.

A: So what’s your point?

Q: My point is that you don’t really care about national unity. You don’t care if everyone lives in perfect harmony, you just want brown people to act less brown. I mean, hell, if you were even advocating for an artificial language to bridge the gap between different nationalities, I’d think it was a needlessly complex approach, but I’d believe you when you said you were just trying to help. But what you’re doing with this movement is creating the illusion of a problem which you then try to correct with a plan fundamentally rooted in racism. Do you really believe people emigrate to the US expecting to never have to learn the language? Of course not. But there aren’t many resources available to immigrants—and I’m not just referring to illegal immigrants either, but to all of them—and at any rate, if you seriously have a problem with people holding on to their native languages and cultures, then you are terrible. Objectively terrible. And the legislation you’re trying to push through won’t do anything but make things more difficult.

A: Yeah, well, what’s your solution?

Q: I don’t think we should have a national language at all, personally, but if it went to a vote and my side lost, I’d say that at the very least we should declare more than one. That’s not actually very unusual, you know—ever heard of Switzerland? Declare English, Spanish, and maybe French. Keep signage in multiple languages; offer licensing exams in multiple languages. Encourage our children to learn languages besides English, because being multilingual is great. I don’t think we get to demand that immigrants be bilingual without making an effort ourselves. People will always figure out a way to communicate—you don’t need to pass legislation demanding that we communicate in one way. Basically, don’t opt to limit our knowledge; opt to expand it. Offer free classes in Spanish and English. Work to preserve indigenous languages. Don’t be an asshole. It’s really quite simple.

A: Do you ever shut up?

Q: No, actually.

A: I barely talked at all in this interview.

Q: Of course you didn’t. This was really just a platform for me to pontificate. Thanks for playing, though!

A: …

The End.

An Open Letter to the Couple Who Roofied Me During My Otherwise Awesome Vacation (TW)

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Man, fuck you guys.

What was that shit anyway? Ketamine? Home-brewed GHB? Some kind of magical Puke In the Gutter and Fail At Keeping Your Head Up chemical masterpiece? I didn’t even know where I was. I had to puke up what was, hands down, the spiciest (and most delicious) Indian food I have ever eaten. I had to do this on the curb, in a skirt. And it came right out of nowhere. One minute I was standing on the sidewalk trying to change from heels into flats, and the next? Boom. Vomit.

You had a pretty smart set-up going, I must say. You, chicky, looked like Ginny Weasley, and barely old enough to even be in a bar; you walked up all, “hey, my brother wants to get you a drink, but he’s shy…” and I was just like, cool, whatever, I’ll take a free drink. So I ordered it, and the bartender made it. You grabbed it and handed it to me, which just seemed polite, given that you were standing and I was sitting. And then you, Mr. Shy “Brother,” shuffled over and made small talk while I drank it down.

I don’t remember what we were talking about, but I think you said you were studying Forensic Science–which I hope you made up, because for the love of whatever, you need to stay the fuck out of the criminal justice system.

Anyway, I drank this sugary, pineapple-infused drink that looked and tasted totally normal, and sure, you, lady, had briefly handled my drink…but you’re a chick. And you were only in my blind spot for a second. And I was sitting right at the bar, so it’s not like you’d had to walk across the room to bring it to me. This was a distance of maybe four feet.

And you, Mr. Shy, you were just a chatty dude. So wev.

And who roofies someone who’s in a group anyway?

Oh wait. That’s right. There is no perfect victim, just like there’s no perfect criminal. There are just, yknow, assholes and the people they choose to target. And while I could continue to beat myself up for accepting the drink at all, I think we all know who’s at fault here.

So you were trying to drag me to a different bar, and we said we’d meet you there even though none of us had any intention of going, and you finally left. And then we walked outside, and bam.

Again, fuck you guys. It apparently took thirty-five minutes for Pepper and her sister to even get me to stand up from the curb, and then they had to walk me to a taxi, and the driver gave me a plastic bag to puke in, and then I somehow made it back up to Pepper’s sister’s apartment and blacked out. I guess. I don’t really remember. I couldn’t even hold down water until two p.m. the next day. It’s taken me a week to even imagine the taste of alcohol without wanting to vomit. I had stomach problems for three solid days. I had to forgo oysters for lunch thanks to you shitheads.

Stay the hell out of my close relationship with seafood.

And personally, I didn’t really enjoy that whole “I can’t move my limbs” feeling. The “where the fuck am I and who am I with?” feeling wasn’t much better. But you know what really pisses me off? The part where I have to take a drug test for my new job, and, since I don’t know what you gave me or how long it can stay in my system, I’m gonna have to drop thirty-something dollars on this shit:

I think you mean "Vile."

Thanks, guys.

Oh, and to that one person who was all, “well that happens, that’s why I’m careful when I go to the bar”? Stop talking. Not just in this one instance, but as a general rule. Just don’t.

Here, consider this painting Pepper and I saw at the pier in Bandon, Oregon:

 

Yes, it says "Repent" on the bottom.

For the record, you did not ruin my vacation. It was still made of awesome and fuzzy bunny happiness. But seriously–I got roofied by a woman? My faith in humanity, you guys took it.

Sincerely,

Paprika

I Drink Wine and Bitch About the Patriarchy.

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Ah, pick-up artistry. How awful you are.

This Hugo Schwyzer article on negging is characteristically excellent (minus the crack about gay hairdressers, which, what?–come on man, you’re better than that). But the comments are something. They’re mostly fine over at Jez, which isn’t surprising, but over at the GMP—and on Schwyzer’s own blog—well. You know.

My own feelings about negging are not complex: I just don’t think it’s very nice. I don’t understand what would possess a person to walk up to someone they presumably find attractive and make a derogatory comment. Why would you do that? Why would you think that’s okay?

Well, I suppose you’d think it was okay if you had no respect for women, and didn’t quite believe we were people, and if you were too embittered to consider other alternatives. I guess you’d be alright with negging if you were the kind of person who refused to really analyze your failed relationships, if you perceived every rejection as some kind of undeserved slight against You As a Human, if you believed you were entitled to a woman’s time, energy, and body. And if you lacked basic human empathy, that would help too. But nah, clearly the problem is that Women Are Mean.

Here, PUAs, let me explain something to you:

I am a bitch because I need to be. Because I am harassed in some way pretty much daily. Because I’m The Girl Who Walks Everywhere, and people think they know me, and that they’re entitled to my time. And I have heard everything already. I have had people take it upon themselves to figure out where I live; I have had salespeople call my cellphone after I leave their stores; I have had customers call my place of work and ask me out while I was on the clock. I have been pestered on the street, on staircases, on sidewalks, in restaurants, on the job, at home, and in class. I have heard pretty much any line you could imagine.

I say this not to make some arrogant point about how awesome I am (I’m really not that great), but to stress that my bristlyness is a learned behavior. I used to be friendlier, but it complicated my life, and now I’m a little standoffish. According to the PUA literature, this makes me one of those women who “needs to be taken down a notch”—except, no. No I don’t.

In fact, I basically have the self-esteem of a teenager, and although negging won’t hurt me as much now as it would have a couple years ago, it certainly won’t help. When I was twenty, negging could make me start or extend a fast, literally punch my body, or have a panic attack; now it won’t make me do any of those things, but the words will sit in the back of my head, chanting. They don’t just slip through me—they cling.  Remember the Nickelodeon amusement park slime machines?

Those kids look miserable.

Negging, for me, is like standing under a slime machine, only the effects are harder to wash away. I wish I were the kind of person who could just let those comments roll right off, but I’m not, and it’s taken me a long time to realize it, but: nobody gets to demand that I be that person, because nobody has the right to make those comments in the first place. Strange men shouldn’t be taking it upon themselves to “take me down a notch,” regardless of how insecure they are themselves. And chances are, if I’m being pestered, I’m not feeling confident; I’m feeling uncomfortable. I’m feeling cornered, and anxious, and irritated. What you’re reading as arrogance is likely something else entirely.

So yes, negging is mean. It’s a shitty way to treat another person. It suggests that you don’t actually consider me equal on the human scale, which makes you objectively terrible. And yeah, it might be effective sometimes—but it’s generally effective with people who were already vulnerable, whose insecurities are easier to locate and exploit. (I say this from personal experience.) And if you’re deliberately seeking out, and taking advantage of, vulnerable people…well, again, you are terrible, and you shouldn’t be dating anyone.

But, you know, the PUAs have complaints. They always have complaints. The most common of these seems to be “I haz insecurity and bitchez be mean!” I’ve no doubt there’s some truth to that, and to a degree I sympathize—but that’s a very small degree, because there’s no excuse for being a misogynist asshat. I mean, I’m sure it is, at times, ZOMG so hard to charm to laydee folk. But my answer to that is, well, duh—the patriarchy hurts men too.  Any system that attempts to force people into narrow, prescribed roles harms everyone involved. And that sucks for you, PUAs-in-training, it really does. It saddens me. It saddens me so much, I’m drinking a monstrous glass of wine to cope.

But it’s not my problem.

I have similar feelings about racism, so let’s start there. I personally feel that racists harm themselves, not only because they’re setting limits on what they will experience, and how they’ll feel about what experiences they do have, but also because, while we in no way live in a post-racial society (lollerskates!), there are usually some social consequences to blatant racism. Subtle, underhanded racism, not so much—in fact, it can often benefit a person—but someone who casually tosses out racial slurs will likely face some repercussions. So yeah, racism hurts racists. But it would be ridiculous to suggest that people of color bear the responsibility of reforming racists. (I’m sure that someone has tried to make that argument at some point, but whoever it was deserves a punch in the face.)

Coming to terms with your privilege isn’t pleasant. Realizing how much I benefit by being thin, white, young, cis-gendered, and able-bodied wasn’t fun. But you need to do it, and you don’t have the right to demand that other people drag you up into the light and make it all feel better. If there are people kind and compassionate enough to assist you in that realization, you’re lucky—but you’re not entitled to their help.

Similarly, women are not responsible for correcting the damage done to men by the patriarchy; men are responsible for that. I’m sorry, PUAs, if the pressure to conform to a narrow definition of masculinity has led to insecurity and resentment, but it’s not my fault, and I can’t fix it.

Sex and dating can be hard. It’s harder if you’re a dick.