Cocking A Snook Too!

Independent, Irreverent Unschoolers – or at least one – Take On the Universe

Wait, we’ve had this controversy before April 30, 2009

Filed under: Criticism of the Stupid,Funnies,News to Ponder,Random Drivel — Meredith @ 1:42 pm

I was just listening to MSNBC out of corner of my ear, and I heard that there is some sort of Barbie controversy brewing. Apparently, people are upset that Barbie suddenly has tattoos.

To which I responded:

“Wait, this has happened already. What the hell?”

My mom: “No it hasn’t.”

Me (increasingly insistent): “Yes, it has. In 1999. Butterfly Tattoo Barbie.”

My mom: “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Me: “I have one. You got it for me. I took it to the beach for my ninth birthday.”

My mom: “I’m sure I wouldn’t have gotten you that.”

Me: “Yes you did. You clipped an article out of the paper for me about the controversy after you bought the doll and told me to save it because the doll would be valuable someday.”

My mom: ” Nah.”

As evidence, I procured my Butterfly Art Barbie (I have since learned that this is the official name) from the naked

Jess the Butterfly Art Barbie today

Jess the Butterfly Art Barbie, who turns 11 this year

shoebox orgy in my closet where she currently resides with her other Mattel brethren and politely thrust her and her butterfly belly tat in my mother’s face.

“Are you sure it wasn’t a gift?”

Yes. I really really wanted one. Everybody did.”

My parents bought me the Butterfly Art Barbie, which, may I point out, was sold with temporary tattoos, so that you can “have fun decorating Barbie and you with cool washable decorations!” We snapped one up right after they were released in 1998, before a panicky Mattel pulled them off shelves faster than you can say “lead-lined toys from China.”

Oh, how short the memory of the 24-hour news channels!

I named the Barbie Jess (I named all my Barbies – if I’d called them all Barbie it would have been too confusing for them) and took her with me to the beach on my ninth birthday. I wanted to emulate her, sure. I thought she was great, with her plastic feet and alluring beach-hobo lifestyle. And yet I am devoid of tattoos? How is this possible?

The truth of the matter is that Jess the Butterfly Art Barbie did not make me want a tattoo, she made me desperately want crinkly hair, a style which is

a) hard for my hair to achieve, and

b) looks awful on me.

But I kept trying for years.

Anyway, people need to calm down. If your child is looking to Barbie as her primary role model, maybe you should let

Observe Butterfly Art Barbie's huge honkin' butterfly tattoo

Observe Butterfly Art Barbie's huge honkin' butterfly tattoo

her read, or watch television, or leave the house. In a world in which Michelle Obama is the First Lady, Sandra Day O’Connor is appearing on talk shows, and Tina Fey exists, are girls today hard up for flesh-and-blood role models? Oh, and how about you? The kid’s mom?

Also, why are we suddenly more concerned about young girls in this country getting tattoos than about young girls in this country becoming anorexic? I think we need to worry a little more about Barbie’s impact on body image than Barbie’s impact on images on the body.

 

Well, at Least We Don’t Live in Australia: Thoughts on Abortion April 21, 2009

prochoice21

I woke up to the sound of a vibrating cell phone.

Since it only vibrated once, it was almost undoubtedly Calvin texting me. I figured this morning’s text would be something about the day-to-day operation of the Venn diagram that is our lives, pertaining to our plant or trip to the beach, but it was the other kind of Calvin text: the Kind that Keeps Me Angry/Amused About the World Around Me.

He’s a very good news source, and he knows exactly which stories will make me scream/laugh. Today was a screaming day.

A 19 yr old Australian is facing 14 years in prison for “organizing her own miscarriage,the text read. [Abortion is] legal there, just illegal to seek.

That makes no sense, I texted back.

Correct, he agreed.

So if someone jumps out of an alleyway and gives you one against your will, it’s OK, but if you make an appointment, it’s not?

Sort of. The law is 100 years old and doesn’t even make complete sense by today’s legal standards. “Seek your own” is the key phrase, but it isn’t defined.

According to Wikipedia, the law in Australia is pretty similar to the state ours was in pre-Roe – cases turn on a state-by-state basis. Abortion is the law of the land, there, in the sense that an abortion performed based upon the health risks of the mother is always legal, but each state has the right to define what that means.

Therefore, the young woman in question, who facilitated her abortion with the much vilified “abortion pill,” is in violation of the law because she based her decision to abort not on health concerns, but on the fact that she’s nineteen years old, for god’s sake. The pill, misoprostol, is essentially banned in Australia, and was smuggled in from the Ukraine.

Luckily, much of Australia seems to be with her, although most of the news stories I can find make the old mistake of saying “pro-abortion activists” are rallying. This is a label that rubs more and more on me these days, creating an emotional and political blister the size of Kansas. No one is “pro-abortion.” No one likes the idea of it. Nobody has one with relish. What I am – and what most people in the pro-choice movement are – is a person who wants control over my own life.

This story hits home with me for several reasons, not least because this girl is my age. If I were to require an abortion at this point in my life and someone were to get in my way? Oh, there would be carnage, and damn the consequences. Conservatives try to obfuscate the issue by whining about life. What about my life? I am a fully developed person, a citizen of these United States, and I have certain unalienable rights to this vessel which is my own personal body. Sure, a fetus has the potential to become a life. I am a life already.

There were several moments in Barack Obama’s campaign that made me want to vote for him twice. One of those moments was during the Saddleback forum, hosted by the Devil. The Devil asked Obama about abortion (although he did not challenge him to a fiddlin’ contest, which is a shame), and Obama responded thus:

“I believe in Roe v. Wade, and I come to that conclusion not because I’m pro-abortion, but because, ultimately, I don’t think women make these decisions casually. I think they — they wrestle with these things in profound ways, in consultation with their pastors or their spouses or their doctors or their family members.”

Thank god that we are not in Australia, and that this man is our president. But does anyone remember that, for a while there, we were alarmingly close to this?:

Sarah Palin and her child named after a tree or something

Sarah Palin and her child named after a tree or something

Q: Your stand on abortion?

A: I’m pro-life. I’ll do all I can to see every baby is created with a future and potential. The legislature should do all it can to protect human life.

Source: Q&A with Newsmax.com’s Mike Coppock Aug 29, 2008

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a nuance gap between two candidates.

I think it comes down to this: the pro-choice concept is difficult for some people to latch on to because it involves the complex task of making your own decision with no guidance from anyone else.

Think about it. Atheists make religious fundamentalists uncomfortable because we manage to operate by a moral code which we ourselves developed, free of biblical intervention. Religious fundamentalists are people who cling to the chains that bind them, who genuinely don’t know how to operate without a set of rules handed down from on high. Why wouldn’t these people want abortion legislation?

I think women who are anti-choice are that way because they are as horrified by abortion as, well, anyone. And they are even more horrified by this thought:  what kind of monster am I if I decide to have an abortion? If abortion is illegal, well, congrats, you don’t have to struggle with your better angels at all. Decision has been made for you, and you have an excuse not to think about unpleasant things.

I am an inverse fundamentalist christian. I want everyone to step into the light, to see the beautiful future they can have if only they believe in it. But that future is not accessible through hate and fear. It is accessible through freedom, it is visible in the first steps taken away from dogma and puppet-strings, toward the terrifying brilliance of a world you can create yourself.

 

Teabagging John Adams: Or, a Brief List of Things About Which I Have Recently Become Enraged April 16, 2009

The greatest satirists of our age

The greatest satirists of our age

I haven’t blogged in a long time.

The Rick Steves thing doesn’t count, I phoned that in. But it’s just been that this last semester there hasn’t been that much to write about. Obama won the election; Sarah Palin was returned to the padded cell that is Alaska; John McCain seems to have rid himself of the Venom Symbiote; Scott McClellan revealed once and for all that Fox News was not only a Bush shill but a Bush mouthpiece, and there was Peace and Harmony Throughout the Land. Mostly. Enough.

There wasn’t much to be enraged about, really. The few rabid conservatives still showing their pasty faces were like amusing court jesters, or Vegas contortionists – a little disturbing, a little macabre, but ultimately hilarious. I mean, have you seen those people on Morning Joe? They’re a freaking laugh riot! There’s that blonde one whose father is an economist, but she doesn’t know anything about anything; and Pat Buchanan comes on sometimes to kill hippies live-on-air, and OMG, that stupid jerky one who pretends he used to be a Congressman? Joe? He’s better than Stephen Colbert.

But my ire has slowly but surely begun to rise. It all began with this Rhodes Scholar, right here:

Michelle Bachmann, fucking insane

Michelle Bachmann, fucking insane

Does anyone else remember that episode of How I Met Your Mother where the subplot was all about not dating girls with “crazy eyes?” That’s what Michelle Bachmann makes me think of. Crazy. Eyes. Like she wants to seduce me in an elevator and then kill my rabbit. Just sayin’.

She’s been on my radar since her fittingly disastrous Hardball appearance, when she basically suggested that we reinstate the McCarthy hearings. Every time I hear her name, it’s because she said something yet more awful. In an era of increasing globalization, ennui, and mediocrity, this woman outdoes herself every single time. A week or two ago she suggested that AmeriCore was going to turn into a “mandatory re-education camp.”

Check out this highlights reel. Nuckin’ futs.

Anyway, not too long ago, Bachmann made the following statement, which, as Dave Barry would say, I swear I am not making up:

“The Founding Fathers fought against taxation without representation.

Today we have taxation with representation.

I wonder what they’d think of that!”

(crowd goes wild)

Much as I hate to burst her crazy little bubble, I gotta say: I think the Founding Fathers would be pretty goddamn psyched about taxation with representation, considering that the right to it was what spurred them to revolution.

I dont even know what this means

I don't even know what this means

But the Republican base, as usual, is much more interested in style than substance.

“Tea Parties” have “spontaneously” “sprung up” “all over the country.”

Translation: “Uninformed protests” have been “organized and publicized by Fox News” “in cities in which they could scrape up a couple hundred, or in some cases, a couple dozen, people.” (more…)