Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page

to lifehacker

Oh, Lifehacker.  You’re littered with posts on how to save a minute here, a minute there, and make life simpler by using wire shelving to hide your computer cord clutter, or clever little apps that disable your keyboard so you can clean it without disconnecting it from your computer.

The thing is, LH (may I call you LH?) I can easily spend an hour catching up on all of your posts in my reader, and the amount of actual advice I’ve utilized from them is, well… actually, I don’t know if I have successfully utilized any of it.  I want to build my own moss terrarium for work, but both of my jobs are ending in a few months and I don’t know if I’ll have a place to put them after I leave.  I want to create my own pot rack out of a chain hung from the ceiling, but I’m moving in a month so what’s the point in doing that?

I need to find a new job.  I need to work on getting accepted to graduate school.  I need to find a new apartment.  And when I’m not doing those things, I’m already thinking about this blog and the innumerable froo-froo projects* that clutter up my space that are neglected when I play through a trial version of Half Life 2 because I’ve been putting off buying the real version because I don’t have money to be spending on unnecessary things like video games that suck away my already limited spare time.

I don’t blame you, Lifehacker.  This hurts me more than it hurts you.  Maybe one day, when I have steady employment and stable housing, I can visit with you again.  Right now, we just need some time apart.

*Though it cuts me deep, CRAFTzine may not be far behind.

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mini-reunion

A few days ago, I had an interesting experience.  I met up briefly with a friend that I spent every day with in college, but only see every 2 years or so now.  Let’s call her Martha.  And – Martha did not like my jump to the dark side.  Oh no, not at all.

You know.  That dark side where you don’t laugh at rape jokes.  Where you are disgusted by being harassed at bars, instead of “having fun” with it.  Where I, as a white person, try my damndest to not be complicit in the racism of other white people, which more often or not involves becoming the aguafiesta.

In school, our favorite bonding pastime was “people watching,” aka Body Police.  We’d sit outside, or walk outside, and make casual (and high-larious) remarks about the slovenly state of so-and-so, look at that dude’s sideways hat what a douche, and various riffs on the ever popular, “she shouldn’t be wearing that.”  See, the thing is, she’s very thin, and I’m fat.  Actually, I was fatter then than I am now.  And I had Issues with that, materialized in the form of social isolation, constant hand-wringing about others’ imagined perceptions of me, and a vacuum where my self-esteem should have been.

Flash forward 4 years in the future.  I spent 3 of them living far away in hip hip Seattle becoming all cosmopolitan and confident and independent and such.  Last summer I downed the red pill and had my feminist awakening (thank you blogosphere btw), and she hasn’t seen me since then.  Our mutual friend, herself quite an activist, visited Martha a few months ago, and did a little bit of that awkwardness-inducing stoic silence stuff.  Since our mutual friend was my roommate for a time, Martha decided to plumb the depths and see how much I’d been “indoctrinated.”

I don’t think it worked out quite as she’d hoped.

And I was disappointed too; I didn’t expect to play race bingo with one of my best friends.*

I know this is just the beginning, the first of many: as I start to see people I used to be close to, I’ll start realizing just how fucked up some of the things they say are.  I used to say those things, too.**  When I see them again, no matter which action I choose, I will be different.  I won’t be fun anymore.  Even if I turn a blind eye to offensive shit and change the subject, they’ll still notice I’m not participating, and their perception of me will change.

Which is good, if it makes them think.  Here marks the beginning of my journey to Keep Friends and Influence Them To Start Thinking About Their Privilege Without Driving Them Away Totally.

Which would’ve totally been a way better book.

*This round’s winners: “Well, it depends on the context.”  “Won’t people just find a reason to hate each other anyway?”  “Well, my 2 black friends don’t talk about race so it must not be an issue anymore.”   “Well, where I live, I’m the minority, so I understand what it feels like.”

**And I’m sure I will again, since privilege rears its ugly head even when you’re conscious of it.  That’s how it works.

today in science

A friend of mine who is a domestic violence victim advocate (and who is currently rocking an internship at Sport In Society, if I may toot her horn for her) let me know about this gem.

I don’t know how you could pack more awfulness into a single article, under the guise of science.*

I’m just going to list them out, as bulleted lists are a shortcut around actual thinking:

  • OBESITY CRISIS
  • Calories in/calories out: “Perceptions of neighborhood safety are important [when considering child obesity] because children have fewer opportunities for physical activity if their parents fear for their safety outside the home.”
  • Making mothers solely responsible for their children (‘S PROBLEMS), a la controlling for variables such as “mother’s weight, smoking during pregnancy, and depression as well as the child’s television viewing and bottle versus breast feeding.”
  • Placing the onus of domestic violence on mothers’ shoulders (you are a BAD MOTHER if you can’t simultaneously suffer domestic abuse from your male partner and make braised kale with roasted garlic for dinner).
  • I’m going to stick with this one for another bullet, because, seriously?  The first line of the article?  “Children whose mothers said they were chronically abused by their partners were more likely to be obese by age 5 than similar children whose mothers did not report such steady family violence.”  So, it’s not the abusive father that’s messing up the kids – it’s the mother who is chronically abused that is responsible.
  • Completely eliminate links between socioeconomic status and food options. And domestic violence.  And the roles of women.
  • Being flat-out confusing.  We start with, “Children whose mothers reported intimate partner violence” and end up with, “children exposed to abuse of their mothers.”  Kindly clarify what in the hell it is you are talking about, plzkthx.

My friend elaborates, “[…] how nice it must be to be so privileged that you have never had to think about what an abused woman might go through, to the extent that you’re hypothesizing that intimate partner violence, where one partner exerts sometimes total control over the other, *might* “change the way mothers care for their children.”  Indeed.

The frosting on the failcake is this:  “[…] researchers urge doctors and public health specialists to be aware of domestic violence and neighborhood safety when thinking about ways to prevent childhood obesity.”

Fuck working to end domestic violence!  Just make sure the kids don’t grow up to be NASTY FATTIES!

*I’m depressingly sure someone will enlighten me.
ETA the link to the actual article.  Jeebus.