Saturday, December 31, 2005

I'm Beginning to See a Pattern

Hat Tip: Evil Li-Brul Overlord
You're your own prince charming! You go girl! You
don't sit around and wait to be rescued, you
take charge of your own life! You are
officially an empowered and independent woman!
Rock on!

What fairytale archetype are you?
brought to you by

Monday, December 26, 2005

This Just In:

Semester grades have been posted, and I have apparently survived the attacks of the roving band of feral PhDs that was released upon me just a few months ago. Yippee! The grades are not 4.0, obviously, or I wouldn't need that tiara ring to inspire me. However, they are good enough that I'll accept them. (By 'accept' I mean, of course, bowing-deeply-while-backing-slowly-away-from-the-professors-so-as-not-to startle-them-into-sudden-grade-changes.) I am hopeful that I will be able to implement a sort of Zen and the Art of Scholarship next semester, so I feel more in control of my world, and not quite so much like I'm just reacting to external stimuli. Or, I could drink. Definitely one of those.

(Cute penguin image appropriated from this fine Website)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Glædmód Crístesmæsse!!

Glædelig jul! Frohliche Weihnachten! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel! You get the point, I think.

Well, the shopping and wrapping are done, and my apartment is finally fully clean. Twice now, in fact. Once to get rid of research strewn carelessly about the place, and once to get rid of wrapping paper and tags in the same condition. I'm off to my sister's for Christmas, to put in some serious auntie time, play with all the cool toys I bought the midgets,* and binge on sweets.

Wherever you're spending the holidays, enjoy the company and feasting.

*Several of the midgets are now significantly taller than I, but I refuse to rename them for a technicality.

(The medieval feast art swiped from here )

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Solstice!

Whether you'll be building a stone alter to Bertha, goddess of domesticity, and lighting fir branches in hopes that she will appear and foretell your future, decorating and blessing apple trees, decorating and blessing pine trees, burning a yule log for no fewer than 12 hours while you get blasted on mead, kissing your new very best-friend-for-a-year under sacred mistletoe, consulting the urn of fate, tying holly to your doors and windows to ward off evil spirits, or just quietly recognizing the rebirth of the unconquered Sun, know that I wish you and your family the very best of the holiday.


Now that the first, extremely disorganized semester is behind me, I have come up with a way to motivate myself into a 4.0 average in the future. And you're looking at it. It looks like a little tiara, doesn't it? Perfect for a medievalist-in-training, I think. It may not be the dusting fairy who would make my apartment always tidy, clean, and smelling like cinnamon and vanilla, but it'll do.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

And a Republican, Too!

Hats off to U.S. District Judge John E Jones III (shall we call him "Trip?") for being willing and able to make a ruling based on the facts of the case before him, the Constitution of the United States, and legal precedent. Against all odds as a Republican and a Bush appointee, Judge Jones ruled that the Board of the Dover School District did not have the right to compel educators to present Intelligent Design in science classes, what with its not being a science and all. Huzzah, philosophy recognized as such!

Kitzmiller. et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. <- The full 139-page case document is here.

The Highlights of Judge Jones' Ruling, as Reported by the AP:
"We find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in violation of the Establishment Clause."
"Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs' scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator."

"Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity* of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has not been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources."(emphases mine)

"The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.**"(emphasis mine)

*Oh, how I love that phrase!
** Through the soft prejudice of lowered expectations, this Republican judge earns double points for recognition of both irony and hypocrisy.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Well, I've handed in all my papers, such as they were, and I managed to get the students' grades in on time. I still feel like I've been bludgeoned half to death by a roving gang of feral PhDs, but things are starting to look up a bit.
1) I slept for 8 solid hours two nights in a row! I felt very guilty about it, but it was a good guilt. Like chocolate, or ... well, none of your business.
2) My legs are once more clean-shaven. And not a moment too soon, either.
3) A full 1/3 of my apartment is sparkling clean, and I have plans to do laundry tomorrow. No more tripping over research, or hiding a sleeveless cotton shirt underneath a wool blazer and calling it "eclectic personal style."

So, the first semester hasn't killed me. However, I do have to rethink my organization style before the next semester begins. I really don't like staying up for several days at a time and trying to come up with intelligent things to write while doing so. On the other hand, I've just shelved all the books I purchased and read in the past four months, and gathered up all those I borrowed for research, and, seriously, I rock.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Immer Fleißig!

You know things are getting tough when you start giving yourself pep-talks in German.

Update: 1) Melville and Behn are dead, and I have killed them. I now await my sentence.
2) I am currently in the process of seriously damaging Bede and Willibald.
Late, obviously.
3) Following that, I have a date with the 18th century. Medievalism has indeed
staked its claim on me, folks. This semester I discovered that the 18th century
doesn't have nearly the amount of bloody revenge I like to read about. Batch of
sissies, they were. Crying over love-lost, bah! Anyway ...

Happy Happy Birthday to my super-fabulous sisters! I promise I'll be human again soon. I may even stop muttering to myself in German.

Also, Ron, the dust-bunnies thank you for remembering them. They were really touched.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Heo Cwaeth Knows Best!

Cue Theme Music!

via Ancrene Wiseass, via Lauren

You scored 73 masculinity and 46 femininity!

You scored high on masculinity and low on femininity. You have a traditionally masculine personality.

Update: Sparknotes Gender Test confirms these results. According to them, only 16% of their test-takers are more masculine than I. Does this mean I have to watch football?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

!@#$%^& Term Papers!

Update: Aphra Behn is totally starting with me, and I do not have time for her impertinence just now. Herman Melville is also being a bit of a shit, but I expected it from him. Fortunately, I get to talk about power relationships in both papers. Yay! Gotta love deconstructing elitist mythologies.

In related news: I'm going to go hide under my bed and stay there until the semester blows over.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Presenting The Beast!

Asserting its rights as Master of The Guest Room over Thanksgiving weekend.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Goodbye, Young Friend

Early yesterday morning, cancer claimed the life of yet another child. I've previously written that his final wish was that no other kid would have to have cancer like he did. Right now, cancer is the second leading cause of death for children younger than 14 in the United States.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

December 1st: Blog Against Racism Day

Chris Clarke of Creek Running North has declared December 1st Blog Against Racism Day. For a brief moment on my drive home today, I was a bit torn about what I would write. While blogging against racism is a chance to start having a real discussion about race, today is also World AIDS day. I have lost someone to AIDS, or -- in medically correct terms -- a secondary infection permitted to run amok by an immune system destroyed by HIV. He was, and continues to be, the very best person I have ever known. There are not many aspects of who I am that would be as they are now, had I not had his example to work from.

My conundrum disappeared when I allowed a neuron or two to fire. I realized then that much of the racist discourse in America and Europe is inextricably linked to sexist discourse, all of it tied to Godliness in the perversion of faith that calls itself religion these days. Together, these discourses become the swirling vortex of fear, hatefulness, and apathy towards the injustices experienced by the "Other" in which we all live, whether we like it or not. Creek Running North, Quod She and Pandagon have good posts up about the hidden racist assumptions we make everyday, based on the information we've acquired as citizens of a racist culture. I'll let them speak to that.

The latest of the American Jeremiads, still continuing today in the body of neo-con "thought,"
became obvious to me and a number of others while watching the 1992 Republican National Convention. The basic tenets of that Jeremiad stated damned near outright that "we" (ie, WASP men in America) need to: 1) "Get the women back in line," 2) "Let the gays die of their disease, it's God's punishment, after all," and 3) "Get these Blacks to stop complaining about their fate, it's their own fault for having been born to the race of Ham anyway."

Let me quote Pat Buchanan, for the first and last time of my life:
"The agenda Clinton & Clinton would impose on America--abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat--that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God's country."... 1992 RNC speech.

And a few years later:
"Martin Luther King was one of the most divisive men. Some see him as the messiah of the nation, others think he’s a dreadful person. He is a divisive figure." ... NPR Talk of the Nation, May 30, 2000.

So, what the hell am I getting at, other than that racist jackasses tend also to be sexist jackasses? The bray is in the same voice, it just changes key sometimes. We all know that. Here's the thing, though. Oppression almost always involves assaults on the sexuality of the oppressed. ( I don't have citations for this. I'm too lazy to go get them. Look up Gender and Race in the Early Modern Period.) Women in the colonial period were not to be trusted around black men because they were perceived to be sexually attracted to the enslaved men. Shortly after, the fear of sexuality was transferred to black men, and how they all wanted to rape the white man's woman. Of course, black women were also "devilishly sexual," which made raping them far less likely to work on the consciences of the white men in the colonies. Moving along through the centuries, the myth of 'animalistic sexuality' in blacks/Native Americans/women/gay men/anybody "we" (again indicating WASP men) wanted to feel better than began to be seen as Truth. And then in the eighties, HIV came along. Now, we know that HIV affects proportionally more minorities in America than straight, white men. We also know that there's been a strong correlation documented between economic class and likelihood of catching HIV, almost the same correlation as between race and poverty. Coincidence? Nay!

Yet, because AIDS is a sexually-transmitted disease affecting minorities most, we have a government that deliberately, and evilly, refuses to work as hard as they can and should to eradicate the illness, or even educate people about how to avoid getting or transmitting it. What our government will do is lecture to "these people" about abstinence. Don't have sex, and you won't get a sexually-transmitted disease. Sounds logical. Except that people, much like other mammals, have sex. All sorts of people have sex. The neo-cons would like you to believe that straight, white, wealthy and married couples are above that sort of thing, but they keep breeding, so that can't be true.

Ask a conservative about taking care of AIDS patients and their families, whether here or in Africa. Watch their reactions. Suppose there were a sexually transmitted disease that disproportionately affected straight whites, and came originally from a bunch of god-fearing European dudes. Maybe the theory is that these dudes were assaulting sheep on cold winter nights. Do you suppose there would be a call to lecture the Europeans about the dangers of sex, God's wrath against the sexually active, and avoiding "the wrong kind of sheep"? Probably not. I'm guessing there'd be an invention of some sort that would allow the European menfolk to have sex and not get diseases.

In this case, we have a sexually-transmitted disease that does not affect those in power as much as it does the under-class, so we go back to stereotypes that served so well before. "Those people" keep having sex, they keep breeding, they keep getting diseases, and it's not my fault, they aren't my family, so I don't care. Racism, and all the braying about sexuality that accompanies it, has EVERYTHING to do with the way we deal with the AIDS epidemic in America and the world.